Saturday, January 31, 2009


So, I'm sitting in the living room of my apartment, leaning up against the couch enjoying the long-gone sunshine that is hear today. It has been so gray and cloudy and gloomy-feeling the last few weeks that this sunshine is absolutely glorious. Just a few minutes ago I was standing on the deck with my roommates basking in the sun, not wanting to come in, even though the wind made it a little bit nippy to be out there.

Now I'm thinking about how that can apply to our spiritual lives. We go through times when everything seems so dark and gloomy, and then we're out in the glorious sunshine, enjoying life. Both kinds of times are incredibly important. We may prefer the times of the sunshine more, but the dark times are also important. Really the times of sunshine would cease to be so amazing if we didn't have the dark times as well. The dark times, make the sunshine that follows all the more glorious! We need both, even though we may not want both.

I can definitely see this in my life. January, for the most part, has been one of those times of enjoying the sunshine in my spiritual life . . . and it has been glorious. But most of my fall was a dark time, a hard time. And that is what makes this time all the more glorious and exciting and enjoyable. Without my fall having been as dark as it was, I know that I wouldn't have enjoyed the sunshine of this past month so much.

So, maybe the next time life gets hard and dark, we need to take refuge in the fact that the sunshine is coming. And it will be all the more glorious because of the hard times.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

God is enough

So, just a quick blog about some things have been rolling around in my head for a few weeks now. I heard a message at that time that was talking about believing that God is enough for every situation. It's been stuck in my head since then. God is enough for it all!!!

God is enough for the tough situation at work. God is enough in the relationship that isn't what we would like it to be. God is enough in the most painful times in our lives. God is enough when it seems like everything that could go wrong in our lives is going wrong. God is enough!!!!

Isn't that amazing?!?!?!?!

But, the challenge is living as thought we believe it. We can proclaim that God is enough in everything . . . but do we actually live like it is? Do our actions show that we believe this? Or do we say it and then live as though He's not? As though we have to get through it all on our own?

The words to a song that's playing on my computer just seem to tie in so well with what I'm talking about. So, I will leave you with them.

Consistency (You Never Change)
(by Jason Bergeron, recorded by Elevate)

You never change
You stay the same
Yesterday, tomorrow, today
Though kingdoms may fall
The great become small
But You alone will always remain

When the world falls down all around me
You're the piercing light that always guides me

You never change
You are my consistency
You never change
You are my consistency
You never change

Forever strong
A mountain that cannot be moved
As sure as the sun
Your word will be done
In righteousness, in hope and in truth

When night drops down all around me
You're the piercing light that always guides me

You never change
You are my consistency
You never change
You are my consistency

That's what I'm talking about. Believing and acting on the declaration that God is your consistency - that He is enough to handle it all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

guard your heart

Above all else guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
-Proverbs 4:23-27

I was looking for something in my Bible the other day when I ended up stopping and dwelling on these verses for a while. There is so much practical and important truth in them. I honestly think that sometimes the simplest truths are the most important ones. But we tend to move quickly past them in search of the deeper, more complicated stuff. I want to spend some time on these verses, and the simple truth they contain.

The first truth and instruction is to guard your heart above all else. What we allow to influence our minds will have an impact on our hearts, which affects how we live. Think about it: When we are surrounded by negative things in the music we listen to, the TV and movies we watch, and even the people we spend time with, what happens? That negativity that we have surrounded ourselves with infiltrates our minds and we begin to see everything negatively.As our minds become negative, so do our hearts. And ultimately what is in our hearts is how we live, so this negativity becomes the basis for our interactions with others and for our attitudes.
Because of this, we must heed carefully the advice given in this first verse. We must guard our hearts at all costs. If we do not it will have a huge impact on our lives.
How do we guard our hearts? First and foremost, we must be filling our minds with things that are good - with the things of God. We must be active in seeking out the good and things that please God, so that our hearts are filled with them. Secondly, we must evaluate everything we be tempted to allow in. This means taking an honest look at our books, movies, and TV shows to see what kind of influence they have on us. We may even need to look at the people we are spending the majority of our time with.

The next verse seems like it should be rather easy, but in reality it isn't as easy as it seems. Keep corrupt and perverse talk away from you lips. It is much more difficult than it sounds because we are surrounded by this kind of speech that we want to avoid everyday in our culture. When it becomes normal for us to hear, it can begin to become normal for us to say, even though we know that we should not be.
Keeping our speech pure can also be helped by paying attention to what we are listening to everyday. If we are spending time with people, watching TV and movies, and listening to music that is full of speech we should be staying away from, then we may find it more difficult to do so. I don't want to come across as saying that we should never spend time with people whose language isn't clean - just that we need to be careful.
When it comes to keeping away from corrupt and perverse speech, I think this also includes gossip. It is probably the biggest thing that followers of Christ can struggle with. It is easy to talk about people, and I think we often do under the guise of sharing a prayer request. Think about it the next time you are going to say something about someone who isn't there: If this person were here would I still say this? If the answer is no, you probably shouldn't be saying it without them there.

The final three verses really seem to go together. They talk about staying on the path that we should walk. Our goal is eternal life with God and our eyes need to be fixed on God. Our eyes need to remain focused on our goal, without wavering. It is when our eyes wander that we leave our firm path and swerve to one side or the other. It must be our daily choice to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we walk the path that He has laid out for us.
As the author of Hebrews puts it in Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I pray that this challenged you as you spent time looking and thinking about some of the more basic truths and commands of Scripture.

Friday, January 23, 2009

how firm a foundation

I came across lyrics to an old hymn the other day that I absolutely love. I have no idea how the hymn actually sounds . . . but I resonated with the words.

How Firm a Foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said -
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Fear not, I am with thee, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my gracious, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I never, no never, no never forsake.

(John Keith, 1787, public domain)

I just fell in love with these words as I read them and saw the incredible truth contained in them. God is with us in everything we go through. We are never alone! He never leaves us!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

how big is your God?

I originally wrote this for another place that I do some writing so some of you may have read it already, but I really felt like it was something I wanted to share with readers here as well. So, here it is.

Is the God you think of a God that is big and can really do anything? Is it a God who can handle every situation in life no matter how hard or confusing? Or have you put God in a box? Have you decided that there are only certain areas of life that He can handle and that you have to handle the rest on your own? How big is
your God?

I have been thinking about these questions for a while. And I think they are good questions to spend time thinking about. Because, I think the unfortunate answer to these questions is that many of do put God in a box. We allow Him to handle certain areas and not others. We do this because we do not want Him in certain areas or because we do not think He can handle certain areas. When we do this, we stop God from being able to do what He really wants to do in our lives. When we do not allow God into every area of our lives we miss out on much of what God has for us.

Far too often in my own life I put God in a box. I could be facing an important decision about something to do with work and I decide that this is one thing that I have to do all on my own. I do not spend any time seeking God and just go with what I think I should do. I have made God smaller than He really is when I do this. God is big enough to handle and help me make the right decision about things related to work, but when I decide to do it on my own I have made God smaller – made Him not big enough to handle it. I am sure if you thought about you could think of times in your own life when you have done the same thing. We are guilty of doing that.
But, the good news is that we do not have to keep doing that. God is big enough to handle it all, and we can learn to trust Him with it all. But, it takes work on our part. We have to consciously and continuously take it all to God. And we will need to declare to ourselves over and over again that God is big enough to handle it. We may even need to do that out loud so that we can hear ourselves say it.

Take some time to think about your own life. To think about the questions I asked at the beginning: Is the God I think of a God that is big and really can do anything? Is He a God who can handle every situation in my life no matter how hard or confusing? Have I put God in a box? Have I decided that there are only certain areas of life that He can handle and I must handle the rest on my own? How big is my God? Spend some time with these questions. And spend some time talking to God about them. Ask Him to show you how big He is. Ask Him to help you understand how big the God you serve really is.

Before I finish this, I want to leave you with some reminders from Scripture about how big our God is.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine . . .” Ephesians 3:20
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Genesis 18:14
“Is the Lord’s arm too short?” Number 11:23
“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love!” Psalm 36:5-7
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 7:33-34
And Scripture is filled with many more examples of times where God stepped in as a big God in a situation – when He brought Israel out of slavery in Egypt, the numerous times that He made it possible for a barren woman to have a child. We serve a big God and Scripture is filled with examples of that. I do not want to just through Scripture out about how big God is, I want to put it out there to encourage you and challenge you to trust God more.
We serve a big God! We can trust Him with absolutely everything in our lives! But learning to do that is a process – a journey that we are one. As long as continually learning to trust our big God more and more we are moving in the right direction.

I hope this challenges you and gives you reason to think.

Friday, January 16, 2009

God always gives us a choice

As I was reading the other day I was struck by a phrase I read in Jeremiah 21:8, which says: ". . . See I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death . . ." There is incredible truth in those few words . . . God does give us a choice. He will set the options before us and let us choose.

We are not forced to choose a certain path - God leaves it up to us. He may tell us the consequences of choosing of a certain path, but He still leaves the decision up to us. If we choose, knowing full well what the consequences are, to go our own way, God will let us. He is not going to force us to go His way. He may nudge and encourage us to go in the direction that He chooses, but He will not force us to go His way.

Really when I think about this, it makes me realize again how much God actually loves and cares for me - for you - for us. He loves and cares for us enough to allow us to make our own choices, even if we make the wrong ones far too often. That is pretty amazing!

And when we choose the wrong path and realize it and turn back to Him, He welcomes us with open arms. We will probably still have to live with the consequences of having chosen that wrong path before, but we will not have to walk through it alone. God will be there with us in the midst of those consequences and He will help to provide us with the tools to choose the right path next time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

give me Jesus

So I have come across tis song that fits so well with my desire for this coming year. It is a very simple song and yet it describes an incredibly profound desire. It is called Give Me Jesus.

I especially love the chorus: Give me Jesus, give me Jesus, You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

don't let today take up too much of tomorrow

So, usually when I read one of those church signs with a cheesy saying I just dismiss them without a second thought. But, every once in a while it sticks in my head and makes me start to think. Today was one of those times. I was driving along and I read the sign outside a church that I pass often when I go to my parents.I did not think much of it at the time, but it is something that I have had rolling around in the back of my head since then.

don't let today take up too much of tomorrow

I read it once and thought: "oh, that's nice". But then I thought some more and realized the significance in what it was saying. Read it again:

don't let today take up too much of tomorrow

I wonder how many times we do exactly what this is cautioning us not to do. Something happens in our day - whether good or bad - and we take it into the next day to such a degree that we forget about the day we are currently having. Granted it is much easier to do this when it is something bad that happens. But we do this all the time.

Our today takes up most of our tomorrow. Or, to put it another way, yesterday takes up so much of today. When we live this way, we miss so much of life. We are so caught up in what has happened that we do not see what is happening now.

In Scripture, Jesus reminds His listeners that each day has enough trouble of its own so we should not worry about tomorrow. I think we can also say that because each day has enough of its own stuff, we should not be dwelling on and worrying about the past.

Yes, our yesterday could have an influence on our today, and our today could have an influence on our tomorrow. But, we must be careful that we do not get so caught up in it that we miss today - that we miss what God has for us today!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


It often amazes me how God will continue to bring up the same things over and over again. Like today . . . this afternoon I was listening to a sermon online form a favourite speaker of mine and they talked about asking God to amaze us with what He shows when we come to His Word. Then tonight at church was the introduction to a series on Revelation and the pastor talked about how the book of Revelation was written to make us worshippers when it writes down the amazing things that John saw in visions from God.

As I heard that tonight I made a connection in my head that I hope makes sense to those of you reading this. Revelation can be a difficult book to read and understand because of what it describes, and yet it is full of amazing things that should cause us to fall on our knees in worship of our God. I connected it to what I had heard earlier than the day online about asking God to amaze us with His Word and what He reveals to us. I think that when we turn to reading the Word of God asking for Him to amaze us, we will fall on our knees in worship of Him . . . and I think this is especially true when we read a book like Revelation. This side of eternity I do not think we will ever be able to fully grasp what all of the stuff contained in Revelation means, but when we read it and what we read about should cause us to fall on our knees in worship.

OK, I hope that made sense to you. I am not sure it made sense as I wrote it, but that is as clear as I can get it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

if you want me to

OK, I know I have been sharing a lot of songs and videos lately, but they have been things that God has been using and I share them in case God wants to use them in your life.

On that note, here is another song I have come to appreciate lately.

do i really know Scripture?

I have been thinking a lot about how much I actually know Scripture in the past couple of weeks. I mean I know a lot about the Bible and what is in there. But I have been thinking a lot about how much I actually know what it says. I find that quite often I end up in a situation where I know that the Bible has something to say about a topic and if I have my Bible I can find it eventually because I know where to look on the page to find it, but I do not actually know what the verse or passage has to say about it.

As I have thought about this more, I have come to the conclusion that I want to actually know more of the Bible . . . not just know about it or the page that it is on in my Bible . . . but to actually know it. To have passages and verses that I know so well that I can remember them without having to have my Bible in front of me.

I am not usually one to make New Year's Resolutions, but this is one that I have made this year. I want to actually memorise Scripture . . . not just read it and know about it . . . but actually know what it says.

I wonder if that is something that more followers of Christ need in their own lives. As a kid I was often memorizing Bible verses for Sunday school or another kid's program at church, but as I got older that stopped. If it was important for us to do it as kids, why do we seem to think it does not have to same importance now. As I have thought about it recently I have started to think that maybe it is even more important now - maybe it is something we need to make more of a priority in our lives.