Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV)

Thursday, May 1, 2008, has been designated as the National Day of Prayer. It is an opportunity for all Americans of faith to join together in approaching the throne of Glory in petition for our country, its leaders, and for our world and its existence. Here is a prayer for this week that we can apply to ourselves, our churches, our country:

Lord, make our hearts turn toward you

Without malice for our fellowman

Without haughtiness within

Cleanse us from our selfish approach to your work

With understanding and compassion

With love and grace

Send us forward for kingdom strengthening

With understanding and compassion

With grace and love.

May it be so on our lips, in our minds and from our hearts. Amen.

Friday, April 11, 2008

How Long is God's Arm?

The Lord answered Moses, "Is the Lord's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you." -- Numbers 11:23
It was just a normal day for Moses! Fire had consumed the outskirts of the camp. He had two million people to take care of for which he truly needed help. And now the rabble, the non-Israelites who had come out of Egypt with the Israelites, had taken up the "O Unhappy Day Chorus" because of the rations that had been set before them. Their complaint was a simple one: they needed some variety in their diet.
And, true to form, they swayed the crowd to begin to complain about the food. Numbers 11 records in verse 4-6, "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost (emphasis mine) --also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" They forgot how hard the food was to come by and how depressing their work was!
And now Moses has another problem. God isn't happy with these people. And when God ain't happy, nobody's happy. Moses is disturbed as well by the attitude of these people. And in all the chaos of the day, God, though not really thrilled about the rebellion of His people against His provision, promises to provide meat for His people, enough meat that they will be up to their ears in what will soon become foul fowl!
Moses then asks, I think out of both curiosity and disbelief, a long question that essentially boils down to, "How are you going to do that?" And God's answer is a simple one that challenges both Moses' inquisitiveness and his doubting, "Is the Lord's arm too short?"

Bingo! There it is! Moses had seen everything that had happened, from the plagues to the Passover, from the burning bush to the burning sky, from no people to tons of people, and he still asks God if he can do it!
Moral to the story for you and me: If God says He will do it, He will do it and He has more than enough power to do what He says. I sometimes wonder how God can help little churches keep afloat and how He can take care of thousands of missionaries in hostile lands. I wonder how He can heal the sick, while some we pray for so diligently pass away from this life. I wonder how I will survive from day to day. But I often miss the fact that all of this, every little iota of it all, is God's planning and work. So, next time we don't see how something is going to happen we need to remember this lesson from the life of Moses. Love the Lord and have a normal day -- God will still be in it.

Father, I confess my ignorance to the might and majesty of your ways. Forgive me when I doubt you and help me to accept your blessings, even if they aren't what I think I need. I know you know all about me. And thank you, for Jesus, the greatest blessing of all. He really is what I need. When I act ignorantly, please forgive me, put my feet on the right path, and help me press on. In Jesus name, Amen!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Foolishness for April Fools’ Day

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
(1 Corinthians 1:18-25, ESV)

Today of all days we ought to charge the world with the message that is to them foolishness. Instead of attacking others with pranks and backhanded compliments, we ought to approach the world outside the church with the wisdom of the gospel. How often we try to impress the world with our intelligence. I recall the time a young man commenting on a movie that a group was watching together. “This is set in Seattle,” he announced. “You can go anywhere by bus in Seattle.” Most of us were from a more southerly environment and had no knowledge of the great coffee city of the northwest. In fact we were in awe of the metropolitan knowledge of the young man.

And then another of the group intoned, “No, you can’t.” and a minor argument followed.

“Yes, you can,” the first speaker insisted. “In Seattle, you can go anywhere by bus.”

“No,” his opponent countered, “you can’t go to Sidney.”

Suddenly the intelligence of the first young man was deflated. His wisdom turned into foolishness right in front of him. Of course, everyone understood (as you do) that the well-traveled young man was speaking about traveling within the city of Seattle. And quite possibly they have such a spectacular mass transit system that no part of the city is unreached by the web of bus routes. Sadly, whenever both young men were at a gathering after that the first young man was afraid to speak because he would be made to look foolish by the second.

Too often this is our own approach to sharing Christ with the world around us. We are afraid of appearing foolish. Think of the message—the sinless one would leave all the comforts of heaven (not just a comfy position, but heaven), become a man with limits heretofore unknown to Him, die to pay for the sins that others committed, and offer the payment so that the actual sinners might avoid death. It bears a strong resemblance to the three-dollar bill. But this foolishness is just what we are called to spread.

How about it? Have you been foolish today? Will you?

Father, strengthen our resolve to be willing to look foolish for your wisdom that others might know you. Amen.