Friday, June 28, 2013

Using Our Head

You shall love the Lord your God withal your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. Luke 10:27

This was the answer Jesus gave when asked about the greatest commandment.  Basically we need to love God with our total being; heart, soul, mind, strength; the whole package of who we are.  I would like to focus on one of these, the mind.

Peter tells us we are need to be ready to defend what we believe in, “and always be ready to give a ready defense” (1Ptr 3:15).  We need to be able to make a positive argument for what we believe as well as defend against negative attacks.  In order to do this we need to have knowledge about what we believe and to gain that knowledge we need to study.

What are your study habits like?  Do you read you bible or your devotional so you can check it off your to do list and get on with your day?  I know I have.  It has been much more rewarding to take the time to really study what I am reading.  There are so many resources available to use today.  Highlighting passages that jump out at you, taking notes, a variety of great book on various aspects of theology and Christian living.  You may even have a mentor or other more mature Christians you can ask questions.  Whatever resources that are available to you, take advantage of them.

We are also told by Paul to take our thoughts captive “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).  This helps us avoid falling victim to the attacks of the devil.  The devil assaults our minds again and again hoping we will start believing the lies.  Believing the lies fills our heart with the wrong things and it is a matter of time before we start speaking the lie, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34).  From there it goes downhill, Jesus promises us that what we believe in our heart and speak with our mouth will come to pass (Mk 11:23).

So we can see how important it is to guard our thoughts.  This requires determination and energy.  Spending time in God’s Word and filling our mind with the truth found there renews our mind, gives us strength and energy to resist the lies and take our thoughts captive.  If our heart is filled with truth we can only speak good things.

Obviously this goes beyond the time we spend reading our bible and daily prayer.  We need to be ready all the time.  Actually studying what we read gives us information we can take with us throughout our day.  It sharpens our mental muscles, engages our intellect.  It also gives us something to discuss with God whenever and where ever we are. 

Prayer is so much more than just giving God our current wish list.  Prayer is communing with God, praising Him and thanking Him for who He is and what He has done for us.  Prayer is also the act of reflecting on our lives and communicating our experience to God.  One of the great things about prayer is that we can do it any time we want, not just at a specific time of day.  Look for time throughout your day to pray, talk to Him about what you are feeling about a given situation; thank Him for something, anything!  Talk to Him as if He is your friend because He is.

The Christian life is supposed to be a deep, mysterious and meaningful experience.  Make it a daily practice to take the time to learn God’s truths and apply them to your life.  Step up to the challenge of a healthy habit that will lead to intellectual and spiritual growth and culminate in spiritual maturity.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Last Tuesday a fire broke out on the north side of town in a rural area with lots of trees called Black Forest.  In a very short time it grew out of control and required mass evacuations of people in the area.  Over the next couple days, thousands had to evacuate their homes as the fire continued to spread out of control.  Strong winds drove the flames through an area with plenty of fuel and a significant lack of water.  The picture above is from the fire.

One of the things I remember doing early on was looking at the weather forecast to see if there was any rain coming.  There was only a listing for a small chance of rain over the weekend and, at the time, that was still three days away.  I also started praying, the same kinds of prayers people all over town were praying.  Prayer for those that were having to evacuate or were in pre-evacuation areas including friends that lived in these areas.  Prayer that the firefighters would be able to get the fire under control.  Prayer for the safety of those fighting the fire, and those running from the fire.  And most of all for rain.

The Lord answers prayer my friends.  For 5 days now, starting last Friday we have had rain showers coming through town.  Definitely helping in gaining control over the fire.

Looking at the numbers being reported by the Sheriff’s Office just a little while ago, they are at 85% containment, over 14,000 acres burned, 502 houses have been listed as destroyed with several more damaged, and two people died while preparing to evacuate their home.  

The community response has been amazing.  Volunteers helping our at Red Cross Centers, donations to local food banks, people opening up their homes to take in those displaced by the fire, and others helping prepare food for the hundreds of firefighters trying to put the fire out. 

We were better prepared in some ways this year.  You see, we had a fire ravage our city a year ago.  A fire that started in the mountains west of town and after a couple days strong winds blew it down the mountain side into town, destroying almost 400 homes.  And last year the community response was amazing, reaching out to our fellow man to lend a hand.

This has me thinking.  Why does it take something like this to pull a community together?  Why don’t we do this every day?  Some people do live their lives like this, always there to help out when needed.  But how about the rest of us?  I know I am not always thinking about how I can help others but isn’t that what we are supposed to do?  Part of following Christ’s call and serving Him is to be the one that sets an example.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16 "Let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Daily prayer, devotionals, and reading the bible are important to our walk with God but we also need to make sure we are rolling these things we learn into all we do.  Our spiritual walk is not just about spending time with God.  We need to let our spiritual walk spill out into all areas of our lives.  It all ties together. 

I will be asking God to help me keep my eyes off myself and to focus more on what I can do for others.  I will also be thanking Him for the rain and for the local officials, the National Guard, the local military commands, and the fire fighters that came to fight this fire and how well they all worked together to help our community.  Finally I will be praying for those whose lives have been turned upside down by this fire.  I would like to ask you to do the same.

God bless.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness. (Eph. 6:14)

What is righteousness?  Nelsen’s Bible Dictionary says righteousness is “holy and upright living, in accordance with God’s standard. It refers to a state that conforms to an authoritative standard. Righteousness is a moral concept. God’s character is the definition and source of all righteousness. Therefore, the righteousness of human beings is defined in terms of God’s.”

We have a choice to make.  We can choose to be self-righteous, or we can accept the righteousness given to us by God when we accepted Christ.  To be self-righteous is to be confident in our own morals or virtues.  Romans 3:10 tells us, “There is none righteous, no, not one.”  And verse 23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  It looks like self-righteousness is a dead end, literally!

This leaves us with righteousness from God.  But, how do we get this?  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” (Phil. 3:8-9)

By having faith in Christ we are covered in His righteousness.  When we accept Christ, God covers us in Christ’s righteousness.  In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul put it this way: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 

Why is righteousness important?  When Paul wanted to give an example to the people of his time as to why “holy and upright living, in accordance with God’s standard” was important, he used the breastplate of a Roman soldier.  The breastplate was important to the soldier because it protected his heart and vital organs, his core, when in combat.  Righteousness protects our heart, our core, from the attacks of Satan.

We can see that self-righteousness; that confidence in ourselves, our principles, or our deeds, would be like wearing paper armor.  It just isn’t going to provide any sort of protection and we will succumb to the attacks brought against us.

Wearing our righteousness protects and strengthens us.  We do not need to fear what man or the devil can do to us.  This gives us the assurance we need to step out boldly and do the work God has called us to do.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  (Col 3:16)

I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the city is nestled up against a group of mountains commonly called the Front Range.  As I was out running early this morning I had a great view of the mountains as the sun was coming up behind me.  I had my iPod on shuffle and music from Last of the Mohicans started to play.  With the mountains before me and soul stirring playing I had a wonderful feeling of thankfulness for God in my life.  I love those special moments with God.

Do you enjoy listening to music?  Music has been around for a long time and has a multitude of uses.  We have music and songs for celebrations, entertainment, expressing our sorrows, and a variety of dedications.  Music can also help us create a romantic mood with our special someone, inspire us to keep going in times of trouble, and music can reach in and touch us at the very core of our soul.

The bible is full of examples of the use of music.  David was a musician in his own right, he wrote most of the Psalms and also developed a number of instruments. Have you ever noticed the notes in the Psalms concerning the type of instrument to be used with the Psalm?  David also played music to sooth King Saul when he was affected by a distressing spirit (1 Samuel 16:14-23).

There is so much great music out there that you can add to your worship experience.  Whether it is older hymns or more contemporary music, there is something out there that will touch your heart. Paul even encourages us to “speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:19)

By yourself or with a group of believers, using music as part of your worship is a great way to connect with God.