Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Monday, July 2, 2012

Forgivenes

Psalm 32:1-11 NIV

Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord  does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long. For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord ."
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them. You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord 's unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord  and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!

God will forgive us all we have to do is ask.  We have to ask though.  We have to give a voice to our need for forgiveness and we have to name our sins that we need forgiven for. 

God will not count our sin against us.  When he forgives he forgets.  We must let go and let God have our sin and allow him to teach us and lead us in a new way of life.  We can't continue to do our own thing.  We can't continue to do what we say we want forgiveness for.  We become like the horse or the mule that do not understand. Be blessed instead.  Ask for forgiveness and move forward into the new life that God  has for you.  Forgiven and free.

God forgives you. In the name of Christ you are forgiven.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In His Hands

Psalm 31:18 MSG

Desperate, I throw myself on you: you are my God! Hour by hour I place my days in your hand, safe from the hands out to get me. Warm me, your servant, with a smile; save me because you love me. Don't embarrass me by not showing up; I've given you plenty of notice. Embarrass the wicked, stand them up, leave them stupidly shaking their heads as they drift down to hell. Gag those loudmouthed liars who heckle me, your follower, with jeers and catcalls.

God has you in his hands.  He has written your name on his palm.  Just fall into his hands he will catch you, hold you, comfort you, heal you and save you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Transformation

Psalm 30:1-12 NIV

I will exalt you, Lord ,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord  my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me. You, Lord , brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the Lord , you his faithful people;
praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning. When I felt secure, I said,
"I will never be shaken." Lord , when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed. To you, Lord , I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy: "What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, Lord , and be merciful to me;
Lord , be my help." You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord  my God, I will praise you forever.

God changes everything. He saves us from death and destruction.  Because of his unfailing love and grace he transforms everything about our lives.  He lifts us from the gutter and puts us on solid ground.  He turns our tears and our sadness into dancing and rejoicing.  God is worthy of our praise.  He turns test into testimonies. Storms into his his stories and changes messes into messages.

He transformed me from a selfish, mean, hard hearted person into someone who has heart for others.  He transformed me into someone in love with Jesus and a deep desire to live for him.  He transformed me into someone who wants to love God and love others.  To be real about God.  Real about love and connect the unconnected to God and others.

God is worthy of our praise.  He changes everything!  He speaks into darkness and emptiness and creates life.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ascribe: What's that mean?


as·cribe/əˈskrīb/

Verb:
  1. Attribute something to (a cause): "he ascribed Jane's short temper to her upset stomach".
  2. Attribute (a text, quotation, or work of art) to a particular person or period: "a quotation ascribed to Thomas Cooper".
Synonyms:attribute - impute - accredit - credit - refer
It was interesting as I read the 29th Psalm today I began to reflect on the meaning of the word ascribe.  It is not a word we use everyday.  At least I don't.  

I tried to see what the original word was and if there where other ways it has been translated and sure enough it has also been translated in other ways.  Give is a common translation.

Mighty ones are to give God the glory and strength that is die his name.   We are not to take the credit for power and might, we are to give god the credit.  We are not just to give him the credit we should also give him our love and our adoration because this is what he deserves.  Our love should also be ascribed to him.  The psalmist tells us why.  

We should love God because all he has to do is speak and it will be done.  Actually we should love God because he has all ready spoken us into existence and and loves us.   What God says is true.  You can count on it.  He can be trusted.   You are who God says you are.  Not what others say.  You can do what God says you can do.  Ascribe to him his power and might.  All he has to do is speak and it is so.  His voice is powerful and majestic.  His Word is sure.  When we give ourselves to him he gives himself to us.  He gives his strength to his people.  He ascribes to us his strength and his peace.  He has spoken powerfully and majestically and he has said you are his beloved.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Lord us my strength

There really are no tough guys.  There really are no strong women.   The strongest thing we can do is to humble ourselves and admit that we need God to be our strength.  We are not designed or equipped to handle the stuff that we encounter in this fallen world.  We can act tough.  We can play real strong, like things don't bother us.  But the truth is we are just playing and acting.  We need God because he is our strength.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Take time to see it.

Psalm 27:13 NIV

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.

I agree with the psalmist.  I am confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  We don't have to wait until some afterlife our a time after we die to see Gods goodness.  We can see it today. We just have to seek his face.  Open our eyes and look for it.  Be sure and see the good of God today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Living with God

Psalm 26:10 MSG

God , I love living with you; your house glows with your glory. When it's time for spring cleaning, don't sweep me out with the quacks and crooks, Men with bags of dirty tricks, women with purses stuffed with bribe-money.

Do I see my life as living with God?  Each moment of everyday is lived in Gods presence.  Everything that we do is before the face of God.  I really love the idea and understanding living with God. 

The next question is do I love it?  Do I truly love living each day and moment with God?  Or do I take for God for granted?   Do I forget that he is there?  Do I ignore him?  Do I act like he is not around?

Lord, forgive me for taking you for granted and ignoring you.  I love living with you!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is it Delivery or is it Do-it-on-your-own-o's

David cried out to God for deliverance and forgiveness.  As I read psalm 25 I was struck with how too often we try to make happen and work out deliverance and forgiveness on our own.  We want to be delivered from some struggle or battle.  We desire to overcome some hurt, habit or hangup.  We wish that we could let go of an addiction or break free from a bad situation.  We want to forgive someone.  We try hard to reconcile a relationship.Yet, we seem unable to do so.  We continue to do what we don't want to do.  We continue to struggle and add to our guilt.  We continue to feel the hurt and the pain that come s form not being able to let go.  


I think the problem is that we are trying to do on our own what is impossible to do own our own.  


Delivery ultimately means that is comes from somewhere else.  It is brought to us.  It is delivered.   Forgiveness is delivered to us.   Deliverance comes not from us but from another.  It comes from God. We can not do it.  This is why when we try to it feels like we get nowhere.  This is why we hear so often, "I am trying but I cant seem to do it!"   This is why we feel like we are banging our heads against the wall.  We cant deliver ourselves we need a deliverer.  God delivers us from the hurt and the pain so that we can live in the relationship that he has reconciled and restored.  God delivers us from our hurts, our addiction, our past, our problems and our enemies.


What David illustrates is that we have to stop looking to ourselves but turn to God and cry out to God to deliver us and forgive us.  Stop banging our head into the wall and lift our heads, lift our souls, to God.  Wait on God.  Trust God. Allow God to do the work in us.  Pray for and seek God your deliverer.


Love today.


In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, June 25, 2012

Open up to God

Lord,  help me to stay open to you today.  May I not close off my heart to you.  Let me be an open door for you to come in to me life today.  Be the king of glory in my life today.  Don't let me be a rusty gate but an open door.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Love today.
In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

I have a shepherd

I shall not want.
I will want for nothing.
I shall not be in want
I lack nothing.
I don't need a thing.
I have everything I need.

Love today.

In Christ's live and mine,
Doug

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Psalm From the Cross

This morning I read Psalm 22.  This is the Psalm with the opening line, "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?"  These are the words that Jesus speaks while he is hanging on the cross being mocked and dying.  When we read the account of the crucifixion we hear only that first verse however it is quite possible, and I believe to be true, that Jesus in that moment was referring to the entire Psalm.  Maybe he said it all or maybe he was reminding all those that were looking on of what this psalm was speaking of.  You see there is more to the psalm than that first line and there was more to what was going on in that moment than what they could see.  It may appear God forsaken but in reality God was in it.  As we read that psalm we see that it speaks of one who would be beaten, who would be mocked.  Who have his hands and feet pierced.  The 22 Psalm, that Jesus draws on from the cross, talks about how they would cast lots for his garment and how people would hurl insults.  Psalm 22 talks about how God hears our cries and how God rescues us and saves us.  In verse 24 it  reads, "For he has not despised or scorned the afflicted one and he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help."  Through the suffering of the one he will restore all of us.  The last line is very similar to the words that Jesus speaks himself from the cross, "They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to the people yet unborn; He has done it!"  It is done!  "It is finished!"

God has not forsaken us.  He has not turned a deaf ear to your cries.  God has saved us.  He has done it!  There is more to the story.  There is more that God has to say to the situation that is right in front of our eyes.  What we see is not what we get ultimately.  Thanks be to God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I am weak but he is strong

I am weak.

This is a deep theological truth.  We sang about it if we learned the the song "Jesus loves me."  We, you and me, are the little ones, the children, and we are weak but he is strong..  We never grow out of being children of God it is something that we actually grow into as we grow in our relationship with God. Maturity in the faith is a growth in understanding our total dependence on God and living life totally dependent on God.  We grow into the knowledge and grace that we can do nothing with Jesus.  We are weak, hopeless and helpless on our own.  Yet, we have a God whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.  We just have to give him our weakness.  We have to surrender the false idea that we can do anything.  The false idea that we are strong enough.  The false idea that we are responsible for our victories and our successes.   The false idea that we actually have done something to deserve what we have.

As I read the 21st Psalm this morning I was really hit with how the king gives all the credit to God.  God is who crowns him king, wins the battles, protects him from his foes and gives him life.  It is God's strength that he rejoices in-- not his own.  It is not about him, or us, it is all about God.

Jesus loves you and me.  This is good news!  Rejoice in his strength and who he is in your life.  Surrender to God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Trust In

Trust is always in something.  I trust in you.  You trust in me.  We trust in our cars to get from point A to point B.  We trust in God.  Trust always has a subject.  Trust is a verb.  Our trust is not displayed or shown in what we say it is revealed in what we do.  If we are really honest with ourselves we can see what we trust in when difficulty comes our way.  When trouble comes where do we look?  What do we turn to and lean on when times get hard.  Oh , and who or what do we give the credit to when things are going good.  Do we give credit to ourselves, our jobs, our status, position, wealth, or luck?  Do we grasps and reach out to those things when times are tough.  Be honest as you reflect on these situation in life because that is what our trust is really in.

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.  They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm."  Psalm 20:7-8


What we trust in makes all the difference.  We can trust in God and he will never fail us.  All other things that we trust in will fail.  Not God.  If we are following Him and  have given our life to him than we will give him the credit and we will always lean on, reach out and grab hold of him.  We trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Love today.

In Christ's Love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Psalm 19:1-14 NIV

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth. The law of the Lord  is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord  are trustworthy,
making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord  are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord  are radiant,
giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord  is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord  are firm,
and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord , my Rock and my Redeemer.

It is sad that at times I go through my day and I fail to listen to what the world around me is proclaiming about God. I can get so self absorbed and focus only on myself and my stuff.  If I stop and smell the roses, listen to the birds sing, or slow myself to focus on a sunset or sunrise I can hear and see the goodness of the Lord proclaimed.

Listen to what the world around you is proclaiming about God today.  And may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in his sight.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, June 18, 2012

God listens and responds

You might want to read Psalm 18.  This was inspired by it.

I have always been told there its a difference between hearing and listening.  Listening is a skill.  Listening is done with more than our ears.  It is done with our hearts and our minds.  It is done with compassion and care for the one who is speaking.  Listening is a selfless act.

The psalmist reminds us that God listens.  God hears us when we cry out to him.  Our prayers don't bounce off the cosmos or the ceiling.  They land on the caring ear of God who is our shelter, shield, rock and fortress.  God does not just listen, he also responds.  God lifts us, comforts us, protects us, saves us.  God protects, blesses, comforts, and wipes our tears.

God listens and responds.  Talk to him.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reward

Psalm 17:1-15 NIV

Hear me, Lord , my plea is just;
listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—
it does not rise from deceitful lips. Let my vindication come from you;
may your eyes see what is right. Though you probe my heart,
though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
my mouth has not transgressed. Though people tried to bribe me,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
through what your lips have commanded. My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not stumbled. I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me. They close up their callous hearts,
and their mouths speak with arrogance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey,
like a fierce lion crouching in cover. Rise up, Lord , confront them, bring them down;
with your sword rescue me from the wicked. By your hand save me from such people, Lord ,
from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
may their children gorge themselves on it,
and may there be leftovers for their little ones. As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

There is a lot that could be said about this psalm but what struck me today was the last few lines of this prayer to God by the psalmist.  Those who live for God seek a reward that is not of this world and ultimately comes to its fruition in the life to come.  Those who live as followers of Jesus, who give there lives to Christ, find satisfaction in seeing Jesus face to face.

What is the reward we are after?
What are we seeking to satisfy us?

Today, I pray this psalm with the psalmist.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

PS Did you catch that you are the apple of God's eye?  You are!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Apart from God I have no good things

Psalm 16:1-11 NIV

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord , "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing." I say of the holy people who are in the land,
"They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight." Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips. Lord , you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord , who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord .
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Gracious, loving God,
Keep me near you today. Do not let me stay from your side.  Fill me with your joy and help me to recognize and rejoice in your goodness.  Help me to see your path for me today and to praise you no matter where that path leads.  Amen

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, June 15, 2012

Unto Others

Psalm 15:1-5 NIV

Lord , who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord ;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.

I am struck as I meditate on this passage by how the way I treat and act towards others is what reveals my relationship with God. If I love God it will be seen in my love of others. As John reminds us in his 1st letter, if I don't love others than I lie about my love for God. It is impossible to love God and hate our neighbor. Love today. In Christ's love and mine, Doug

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Foolishness

Psalm 14:1-7 NIV

The fool says in his heart,
"There is no God."
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good. The Lord  looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on the Lord . But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
for God is present in the company of the righteous. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
but the Lord  is their refuge. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord  restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

It was one of those days when what I planned to do and what accomplished were two different things.  Ministry is the interruptions.  I saw God not in my plans but when my plans were interrupted.  A fool gets lost in the  details and fails to see God.  A fool gets angry that they didn't get the to-do list because they where able to help another.  A fool avoids the interruptions and the opportunity to serve and see God in others because their plans are too important.
I have discovered that ministry is often what happens when my church work is interrupted.  I am grateful for eyes to see.  We only see God when we seek God.  Then we see him in the interruptions and in the details.  Seek God today.  Don't be a fool.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Unfailing love

Psalm 13:1-6 NIV

How long, Lord ? Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?  How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord  my God.  Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord 's praise, for he has been good to me.

God's love never fails.  My loved has failed many times.  I have not always loved in times when I should love.  (Which is all the time.)  I have been failed by the love of others too.  The truth is our love is not a love that is unfailing.  The good news is that God's is.  His love never fails.  We can trust that.  We can trust in God's unfailing love.  Trust it more than our feelings because our feelings fail us also.  When we feel like God is far off or hiding from us don' t trust your feeling trust His love.  He is there.  Sing his praises.  His love is unfailing.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Change My Heart Oh God


Psalm 12

"Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.  Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.  May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue— those who say, “By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”  “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,  I will now arise,” says the Lord.  “I will protect them from those who malign them.”  And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.  You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race."

Is it true that there are no faithful people anymore?  Do I, do we, say words with our lips yet they have no depth in our lives?  Do we say all the right things that make people think highly of us yet our hearts are deceptive?  Am I out for me-- to get what is mine, not caring for others?  Do I honor what is vile?  

I like to think that there are still some people in the world that will trust in God enough that they will not hide behind flattery words.  I like to think that there are those who will be real and not lie to themselves or to God.  I like to think that there are those who cry out to God to change their hearts.  I hope and I pray that I can be found faithful and loyal and that God will change my heart to be like his.  I like to be a little more optimistic and believe that the faithful have not vanished from the human race.   


Today I pray that God would seek my heart and reveal to me the areas of my life that I am not being real.  I pray he show me the areas that I am unfaithful and disloyal.  I pray that he align my speech, my character and my action.  I pray that he create in me a clean heart and renew a right Spirit in me.


Love today.


In Christ's love and mine,
Doug 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Foundation

Psalm 11:1-7 NIV
In the Lord  I take refuge.  How then can you say to me: "Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?" The Lord  is in his holy temple; the Lord  is on his heavenly throne.  He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. The Lord  examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur;a scorching wind will be their lot. For the Lord  is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.


Evil lurks in the shadows.  It is just waiting for us to weaken.  Evil is there always because we have the conditions to do evil in us.  This does not mean we are evil or we do evil.  But, the truth is we can.  We all have the potential.   It is in the "shadows" of ourselves.  Lurking.  We have to be on guard against it and we have to constantly be reinforcing our foundation.  Constantly building our lives on Jesus.   He is our foundation.  The evil that is lurking is just waiting for us to show a crack and then it will start to chip away.  We have to be real about our relationship with God and not play around pseudo faith or just feel good sayings.  Because when we stray from relationship with Jesus to something other.  Our foundation crumbles and evil's attack cannot be rebuked.  We need to constantly seek God and settle for nothing less than seeing him face to face.  Overwhelmed by his love and Grace living in his love and grace.
Love today.
In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happy Sunday: Psalm 10

Psalm 10 talks about promises of God.  It tells us that God "hears the desires of the afflicted."  He is called "defender to the fatherless and the oppressed."  This is good news and it is comforting to know that God does hear the cries and bring comfort to those who grieve and are afflicted.  It is good news and comforting to know that he is the helper to those that commit themselves to him.

Flip-side.  Yes there is a flip-side and I/we often fail to recognize that we can be the wicked that are talked about in the scriptures.  Oh, we can read and place ourselves as the ones on God side pretty easily, after all we are reading the Bible, it makes since that we are the ones that are the "good" ones.

I think it is helpful to see how the "wicked" in this text might rear it ugly head in me.  It is very descriptive when it describes what the wicked do.  Wicked hunt down the weak.  They find someone who has is weaker than them and manipulate them to get their way.  The wicked boast about the cravings of their heart.  (I want this.. I want that..I did this..I did that...if it feels good do it) This is what the wicked do.  They are prideful, they don't seek God they think they can do it in their own.  They don't have room in their thoughts for God.  They don't think about God they are thinking of other stuff.  The wicked say nothing will shake me.  He says no one can harm me.  He does not tell the truth.  We are also told that the wicked prosper in all their ways.  The wicked have a much more familiar face when we read about the wicked in this Psalm.  They are not just villainous looking characters that are obvious to detect.

As I read this Psalm and really listen I can see that the wicked looks a lot more like me than I want to admit. (How about you?)  I think I need to see and hear how God might be speaking to me in the description of the wicked and seek his face so that I might know his comfort.  I need to cry out to him and seek his help.  He hears the cries of all who cry out to him.

Love today.

In Christ's loug

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'm Telling

Psalm 9:1-2 NIV
I will give thanks to you, Lord , with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you;I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

I come from a family of eight children.  It was not uncommon as a child for me to hear one of my siblings say to me, "I'm telling."  This usually meant that I had done something that was not right and they were going to let my parents know what I had done.  It seems that we are really good at talking about the bad stuff that others have done.  We, way to easily, will tell stories of others wrong doings.  We are notorious tattle tells when it comes to dishing the dirt of others downfalls.  As I was reading Psalm 9 this morning I was struck with the way that I can easily fall into the trap of the "tattle tell" while at the same time find it difficult to tell of the good things that God has done.  Yet, what I should do will all my heart and with all that I am is be glad, rejoice, grateful and tell of the wonderful things that God has done.

Each and everyday God does wonderful things for.  Throughout my life God has done wonderful things.  I have plenty to sing his praises about.  Today, I am focusing on telling.  Today, I am going to work on biting my tongue and speaking of others and filling my words with praises to God.  No gossip.  No judgement.  Praises.  I will tell of his wonderful deeds.

I'm telling!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Created to be loved

Psalm 8:1-9 NIV

Lord , our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord , our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

It is awesome to understand that God is mindful of me.  The creator of everything thinks I am something.  HE SAYS YOU ARE SPECIAL TO HIM.  You and I, he shows favor to.  Not because we did anything special but because he desires to care about us.

You may think at times that no one  cares but God does.  The creator of all things thinks you are something.  You are the apple of his eye.  He created you so that he could love you and you could love him in return.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pit digging

Psalm 7:1-17 NIV

Lord  my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me. Lord  my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands— if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe— then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust.  Arise, Lord , in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies.  Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high. Let the Lord  judge the peoples.  Vindicate me, Lord , according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows. Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads. I will give thanks to the Lord  because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord  Most High.

"Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.  Whoever digs a whole and scoops it out falls into the put they have made."

What is inside of us will come out of us.  If I am filled with evil, evil is what comes out.  If evil is coming out of me it is what its in me. 

This seems obvious, yet, I think we try to convince ourselves that we are ok and everything is  alright on the inside even though what is coming put of us is not love.  If we have the love of God in us it will give birth to love.  Love will come out of us.   We should not continue to be unloving, selfish, hurtful, mean, snide, rude, gossipy, judgmental and ungreatful people because love does not give birth to that.  

We need to cry out to God when we see this stuff coming out of us.  We need to invite God to do a work in us.  To fill us with his love and righteousness.  We cannot fall into that pit of thinking that a relationship with God does not change us from the inside out.   We can't fall in the pit that says we love God but we are mean and evil to our brothers and sisters.  John tells us that we are lying and the love of God is not in us.  What is in is what comes out of us.

Is whats coming out matching up with what we profess us in us?  What we do and how we do it are very revealing of our real relationship with God.

Anything other than love is digging a whole that we will fall into to our own destruction.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Lord hears our Weeping

Psalm 6:1-10 NIV
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish.  How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning.  All night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord  has heard my weeping. The Lord  has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord  accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

I will admit it.  There are times that I cry.  Sometimes the pain and the agony is just to much to handle.  We are not wired to be able to handle much of the pain and the sorrow that we face from time to time in our world.  It is not true that we are not given anything that we cant handle.  The truth is we cant handle anything.  With God we can handle what life throws at us but apart from God we can do nothing.  I am weak.  God is strong.  Did I mention that I am weak?  In God's unfailing love and mercy he hears our cries, he wipes our tears, and he strengthens us.  The psalmist reminds me that we are to cry out to God.  Our prayers on not surface level, flowery words, with no depth.  Our prayers come from the depth of our souls, they are emotional and cried out  with all that we have and all that we are.  God is concerned about us and what we are going through.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What do you expect when you pray?

Psalm 5:1-12 NIV

Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly. For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence.  You hate all who do wrong; you destroy those who tell lies.  The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, Lord , detest. But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, Lord , in your righteousness because of my enemies—make your way straight before me.  Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice.  Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.  Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, Lord , you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

I have spent the day meditating on this passage. I realize that too often when I pray I don't wait expectantly throughout the day for the Lord's answer. I do expect that God hears my cries and that he is at work answering my prayers. I believe that God cares and will lead me. Yet, if I am honest, I too often offer my prayers and fail to seek to see God answer with the expectancy that the psalmist speaks of. I will worry. I will look for what I can do. I need to just wait expecting God's favor. Love today. In Christ's love and mine, Doug

Monday, June 4, 2012

Prayer is Essential

Psalm 4:1-8 NIV

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God.  Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. How long will you people turn my glory into shame?  How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Know that the Lord  has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord  hears when I call to him. Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord . Many, Lord , are asking, "Who will bring us prosperity?"  Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. In peace will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

I am struck as I read this psalm today by just how essential pray is l for David.  Prayer is his power source.   The same is true for us.  God hears our prayers and he answers.  He is the power of our lives and without him I am powerless against the things life throws at me.  I must pray continually.  Each morning I need to awake and call upon the Lord.  I need to constantly call upon him throughout my day to sustain and strengthen me and to lead and guide me.  Each night as I lay in bed I need to be still and allow God to search my heart.  

Prayer is essential.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Shield

Psalm 3:1-8 NIV

Lord , how many are my foes!  How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him." But you, Lord , are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord , and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord  sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Arise, Lord !  Deliver me, my God!  Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord  comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

My enemies will never outnumber or be more powerful than my God.  God sustains and delivers us.  My waking this morning is a reminder of that promise.   God is my  shield and my protection.  My enemies fear my God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Never too big to kiss the Son

Psalm 2:1-12 NIV

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together
against the Lord  and against his anointed, saying, "Let us break their chainsand throw off their shackles." The One enthroned in heaven laughs;the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his angerand terrifies them in his wrath, saying, "I have installed my kingon Zion, my holy mountain." I will proclaim the Lord 's decree:
He said to me, "You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery." Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord  with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

He is the king of  kings.  We should never allow position and power given to us in the world to make us thing we are something we are not.  We still need Jesus.  He is our refuge.  He is the one with the power.  He is the one in control.  We are never too big to kiss the Son.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, June 1, 2012

Psalm 1: Day 1

Psalm 1:1-6 NIV

"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the rigorous. For the Lord  watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction."

It is interesting that the day that I planned to begin this discipline seems to be so busy that I almost can't find time to post.  I knew this was gonna happen I just didn't think it would happen so early.  Yet, I found myself hurrying through my day from the time I woke up.  Dallas Willard says, "hurry is the enemy of our spiritual life."

I refuse to let that enemy win. 

I also think this might have something to do Psalm 1.  One promise that we find in this Psalm is that God is with the righteous.  Righteousness does not come from us it comes from God.  He makes us righteous as we hang out with him and allow him to work in us.  We can't get in a hurry and go throughout our day without God.  That is the way of the wicked. 

Who we hang out with has an impact.  I heard someone say that if you put a white glove in a mud puddle it will always come out muddy it will never turn the mud puddle white.  The psalmist reminds us that righteousness comes from meditating on Gods word day and night.  Hanging out with God, not walking, standing, and setting in the company of the wicked, the mockers, and sinners.
The only way that we can really grow in our relationship with God and become more like Christ in our charecter is by spending our time walking, standing and sitting in His presence.   That is what this journey is about for me.

Who do you spend your time with and how does the company you keep and the things you do help you become more Christlike?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, May 31, 2012

An Invitation

Tomorrow I will start a journey.  It is a journey that consist of reading a Psalm a day for 150 days.  However, I do not intend for this to be a bible reading plan or for it to just be something that I can look back on and say, "I accomplished this."  I am not just trying to get all the way through the Psalms.  This is a journey.  A spiritual discipline to connect to God and have his word get through me.   I intend to read and meditate and to pray through each Psalm and listen for God to speak to me.  I intend to have has word convict me, shape me, comfort me and turn my world upside down.  I am seeking God not education.  I am seeking God not an accomplishment.  I am seeking God not a Psalm.

I want to invite you to join me on this journey.  I am devoting my blog space for the next 150 days to the Psalms.  If you want to join me on this journey you are welcome to come each day and read my reflections on the journey.  I ask you to read a Psalm and seek each day with me and share your thoughts, on the Psalms not on me, in the comments.   If this is not what you are looking for I invite you to check back after the 150 days are over and see where the journey has taken me.   I hope that many of you will take the journey because I believe that God will do a mighty work in our lives, shaping our character and growing our relationship with him,  through this discipline if we make it about seeking Him.  

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, May 11, 2012

TGIF

"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
    I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High."

                                                                          Psalm 9:1-2

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spring Morning

Yesterday was one of those days to open the windows and let the spring air move through the house.  We left the windows open through the night so this morning I awoke to the sounds of the morning coming to life.  We have a birdhouse outside the window that my son Tanner built in scouts and there is a bird who has been busy building a nest in the house for the past few days.

This morning I could hear the birds singing outside.  The songs of the birds as they worked and started their day filled my home.  I could not help but think about how joyful they sounded as they started the day and how often times I groan to get out of bed.  They go about there work with a song, with energy, and vitality.  I have watched this bird building the nest for the past couple days.  One twig at a time, one blade of grace or stray peace of treasure at a time the bird works through the small hole at the entrance of the house.  Sometime it takes the bird several tries to get her piece of home furnishings into the hole.  But, she keeps trying,  And she is still singing.

I think Jesus told a story about birds.  We can learn from these birds.

What is the song in your heart?  Are you singing it as you awake each morning and go throughout your day?  Is the song resonating in your heart and resonating from you as you do your daily work?  When you face challenges do you keep singing your song?

Jesus wants to be our song.  He is the source and the giver of each day we have.  He is the reason to sing each day.  His praise should be constantly on our lips.  He is our hope.  He is our strength when we are weak, our joy comes not from our circumstance but from our Lord.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What is in You

I read this verse this morning first thing and it has me meditating on what is in me and does it show in how I live my day?

" For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7


We have been given a Spirit of power.  The same power that raised Christ from the dead has been given to us. The power that God gives us is the same power that calms the raging seas and restores sight to the blind.  It is the same power that healed the leper and cast out demons.  It is in me and you.  It is God's gift to us when we give pour lives to him. 


The same love that is touched the leper, not just pronounced a healing, and turns the other cheek is the Spirit that is within us.  The love that lays down his life for his friends and for those that rebel against him is in you and me.  It is a Spirit of love.  God gives us his heart when we give him ours.


And it is the Spirit of self-discipline.  God gives us his Spirit and his Spirit helps us to get control of ourselves. When we give up the control of our lives and live by the Spirit, it is then that we really gain control and have the power to be self-disciplined.  Until we do we will always struggle with to do what God desires us to do.  Too often people think that they must get themselves together and then they will give their lives to Jesus.  The truth is that we can't get things together until we give ourselves to Jesus and he gives himself to us.  Then we receive the power, the love and the self-discipline that can only be found in Christ.

What is in you?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, April 27, 2012

TGIF

I am preaching on blessing during a two week series.  Last week we looked at how we very often misunderstand God's blessings as worldly ideas of wealth, health and success.  It is true that all good and perfect gifts come from God.  However, to be blessed by God and having God show us his favor is not measured by our worldly wealth or the state,of our current health, or whether we seem successful or not.  Paul may not have seemed very successful while chained to a prison guard without a two nickles to rub together, but he was blessed by God.  He could rejoice in the Lord because of his great blessings.

Jesus says we will be blessed by God and that means that we will have a place in His kingdom.  He will comfort us.  He will show us mercy.  He will give a life and a place on this earth-- he will be our shelter, shield, and provider.  We will see him in our lives because he will be with us in all our situations.  He says we are blessed because God calls us his children.  We are blessed beyond earthly measure.  We are blessed because we have Jesus who is our blessing.

Thank you God for loving and blessing me by showing me your favor.  Thank you for calling me your child and giving me a place in your kingdom.  Thank you for your daily provisions for me and for your comfort and mercy.  Thank you that I can see you face to face and that through my day today I will see you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Been Away

As you can tell by the dates of my posts there has been some time pass between posts.  I have had a lot going on and time for the blog has been difficult to find.  However, I still see this as an important discipline for me.  I need to journal my thoughts and prayers.  I need to take time daily to reflect on how I am living in and living out my relationship with Christ.

Now, It is important to say that just because I have not been "blogging" it does not mean that somehow my relationship with God has been suffering.  It does not mean that I have started playing church and not intentionally focusing on being real about my relationship with God.  This has not been the case.  In fact, I feel that God has really been with me and working in and through  me as I have been away.

I have been away from wherever this is but God has always been with me.  He has not been away.  That is not why time has passed between posts.  God does not go away.  I have that promise in the scriptures.  He is faithful and will never leave us or forsake us.

God has been nurturing and comforting me through the loss of my stepmother Maryle.  This has been a great loss and I continue feel God's presence with me in this time of grief.  Death cannot separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. I know this as a deep truth not just a memorized scripture verse.  I am so grateful for a God who cares about us enough that he transforms death into life and turns our mourning into dancing.

I think that the time is right for me to come back and try to start making this a regular post discipline again.  I am still incredibly busy but I hope to make time to ramble on here more days than I don't.  

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We cant fool God

I am not sure if it is that we try to fool God or that in an attempt to try to fool ourselves we hope God wont notice that we are lying to him and ourselves.

The truth is we know deep down that we are lying to ourselves. We also know that we cant fool God.  Yet, we  try it all the time.  We will tell ourselves and profess a love for God above everything else and then we put all kinds of stuff ahead of our relationship with God.  Family will go first.  Our job will go first.  Money will go first.  We will put our own wants and desires first.  We will put ourselves first. 

WE CANT FOOL GOD.  

We will say that we want Jesus to save us and be Lord of our lives but we refuse to turn away from our old way of life.  We fool ourselves into thinking that we can have the benefit of what Jesus can give us without giving our lives to him.  We turn Jesus into an enhancement to our lives rather than making him our lives.  God is not fooled by our words in a prayer.  He knows us.  He knows our hearts.  He knows our motives.

True worship and true repentance is authentic.  It begins in honesty. It is honest.  It begins when we stop trying to fool ourselves and God.  New life in Christ happens when we stop living the old life and live a new life in Christ.  New life happens when it is no longer I that live but Christ lives in me.  It does not happen because we say certain words.  It happens when we surrender and get real with God.  Real about who we are.  Real about who God is.  Real about our love.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug




Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

I need Jesus.

I cannot live with out Jesus.

I need His love.  I need His forgiveness.  I need His presence in my life.

I need Jesus because I am a sinner.  I do things that separate me from God and others.  I can't change this about me.  But, Jesus can.  I need Jesus to be my life.  Not just to bless my life but to be my life.  I mess it up when I try to be the Lord of my life.  I need Jesus.  Without Him I am nothing.

Jesus, I am sorry for the things that I have done to separate me from you.  I am sorry for my sin and my disobedience.  I need you.

Thank you for your forgiveness.  Thank you for loving me unconditionally.  Thank you for loving me just the way that I am and for loving me enough not to leave here. Thank you for being me life and my all.

Today, I repent and believe the Good News!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, February 17, 2012

How are you today?

We are often asked "how are you today?"  This morning I was asked that and I said I am fabulous.  I started thinking why do we not ask the other "w" questions as easily.  I guess it might be rude to ask "what are you today?" or "why are you today?"  But, I think when we can answer the who, what, when, where, and why it effects the how we are. As followers of Jesus we can answer these "w" questions and because we can answer these particular question in particular ways because of our relationship with Jesus then we can always say we are fabulous when asked "how we are doing?"

What am I today?  I am a child of God.  I am created by God for his good works.  I am an image bearer of the king. I am his precious.

Who am I today? More importantly whose am I?  I am his.  It is not about me it is about Jesus.  It is not about What I have done but what Christ has done.  I am who I am because of who He is.  Who am I?  I am a servant of the  King!

Where am I today?   I am in the presence of God because God never leaves me or forsakes me.  God is in me.  I am seeking to be in the will of God.  I am in a committed relationship with God.

Why am I today?  This is a day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.  The why is to worship and be glad.  The why os to love and serve Jesus.  That is why today. To love God and to love God's people.

When?  The when is now.  I am not stuck in my past.  I am forgiven and I am a new creation.  I do not have to worry about the future because God is my provision.  I am living now.  I will not allow the past or the future to be my when and rob me from living today.

This is why I can say today.  I am good.  I am great!  I am fabulous!!!

Thank you Jesus!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jesus Loves Me (You)

"Jesus loves me this I know.  For the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to him belong.  They are week but he is strong."

I think it was a theologian named Karl Barth, when asked what the greatest thing that he knows about God is, who said, "Jesus loves me this I know."  The greatest, deepest, most true insight that he had discovered in all his years of study was that Jesus loves him.

Wow!

Have you discovered just how wide and how deep that love is that God has for you?  Yesterday was Valentines and maybe someone said to you they loved you.  God loves you more.  Maybe, you have deep feelings for someone and yesterday you said to them "I love you."  God loves you and me more.

Maybe, you had no one say those words to you yesterday, you did not get any cards or candy or flowers.  I want you to know that God loves you.  God loves us more than anything or anyone.  God loves you and me so much that he hurts when we hurt.  He hurts when we run from Him.  His heart aches when ours aches.  God loves you and me so much that he pursues us and wants to lavish us with love and grace. He pursues us all the way to the cross where he laid down his life so that we could be know his love and live in his love for all eternity. God loves you and me so much that he created us not because he needs us or has to have us but because he wants us.  God created you and me so that he could love us and we could love him in return.

God loves us.  I think it does us good to just stop and ponder just how much God loves us.  It is the deepest, truest greatest thing that we can understand about God.  When we really understand just how much God loves us it changes everything.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nursing Injuries

This past week as I have been taking care of sick kids I have also been nursing a nagging knee injury.  I have been training to run a marathon in April.  It was a goal of mine to run a marathon when I was 40.  I am running  out of time to reach that goal.  The last time I was training I injured myself playing softball and missed that race.

Okay.  I can hear all of you saying it, "maybe, I am too old for this stuff."  I am not too old I just need to take care of myself.  I am not a teenager any more.  I can't recover like I did in my twenties, but I can still do things. That is why I am training and it is why I am taking special care this time to take care of myself.

This has me thinking about how often we neglect taking care of ourselves spiritually.  We get a few bumps and bruises and if we don't stop and really care for the bumps and bruises before you know it we are missing out on the things we really want to do.  We want a deep, committed, real and authentic relationship with Christ.  We want to love and live like Jesus.  Yet, the stuff of life comes in and cripples us from doing that.  The problem is not the troubles of life.  Jesus says in this world we will have troubles.  The problem comes when we don't treat our hurts and hangups.  We get our feelings hurt or we do something that we wish we had not.  Instead of stopping to care for the pain that it has caused us spiritually we ignore it.  We have a relationship with a brother or sister that is fractured and we ignore it and don't care for the pain that it is doing to us and it drags us away from what we really want and effects our relationship with God.  We cant say that we love God and not love our brothers and sisters.  We want to live in relationship with God yet we continue to do things that we know are not Godly. Instead of working on our behavior that is unhealthy for us we try to do more "good" things yet the unhealthy behavior is dragging us away from what we want.  We need to stop and care for the hurt because it is effecting our relationship with God.  If we ignore it or try to cover it with a mask it will rob us of what we truly want. We have to really are for our hurts and hang

When our hearts are hurt it is hard to love.  We have to take care of our hearts.  When we are spiritually empty  we are not being led by the Spirit.  We have to take care of the bumps and bruises that we get along life's road because if we don't it will keep us from what we really hope for.  Don't let things fester.   Do what you got to do as soon as you can so that you can heal and be whole.  When we do this we understand more fully what grace is and we understand more fully the power of the resurrection for our lives.  We grow to be more like Jesus.

I am going to finish the race.  This means that I will take care of  my injuries along the way and not ignore them.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Prayer

Father God,  you are my life.  Help me to live today for you.  Help me to decide and stick to it that today I want to become less and you become more.  May I be so connected to you that your love flows through me to others and may they not see me but see you.  May they only recognize the pieces of my character and my heart that bring you glory and honor.  Help me to get out of of the way so that others wont trip over me on their way to you.  No matter what I encounter, no matter what happens, may I praise you and bring you glory.  This is the day that you have made.  It is a gift to me.  May it be for your glory.  May I make it about you and not about me.  In Christ name.  Amen.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, February 3, 2012

TGIF

Thank God today.

The last three days I have been home with sick kids.  Being sick is no fun.  But, feeling bad or bad situations does not eliminate the good.  We can still find good and be grateful.

I am grateful that my work is flexible enough that I can be there for my kids.  I am thankful that God is always here for his children and that he comforts us and brings his healing to our lives.  I am thankful the time spent with my kids.  We have had fun with each other even as we have been sick.

Make sure that you look for the good in your day today and take time to thank God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Live like that- Sidewalk Prophets

Here is the title track to Sidewalk prophets new album.  I got this in my email the other day and it just reaffirms the desire of God's heart that we be real about loving like Jesus.  Give it a listen, be blessed and be a blessing.



Love like that today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Look up

Take a moment today and look up.

Often times we get so caught up in our situation and circumstance that we see nothing else but that.  We get consumed by what is going on.  it is important that we take time to look up.  I don't mean that we need to actually tilt our head backward and stair at the ceiling.  I am talking about stopping and looking to God.  Be intentional about looking for God.  Do n't allow your situation or circumstances to distract you so much that you  don't take time for God.  Time with God is what we need.  It helps us to recognized that God is not removed form our situation.  God cares.  God is at work.  Take a moment and look up.  You will see.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Loving God



Every day we have an opportunity to express and show our love to God in real and tangible ways.  We love God by loving His people.  In Matthews Gospel  Jesus said, "whatever we do to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine you do to me."  John says in one one of his letters that "we cant love God and hate our brother.  If we love God we will love our brothers and sisters who we do see."

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Self-Control puts God in Control

I have been thinking about what it takes for us to give up control to God.  I think, I have discovered the answer and it seems to be different than I expected.  I know that it requires God working in me to give up control but, interestingly I believe the fruit of the Spirit that leads to giving control to God is self-control.

There is a direct link between self-control and giving God control of our lives.  Letting go requires self control.  We have to get ourselves out of the way.  We have to get out of the drivers seat.  We need to get ourselves under control so that we can let God have us.

The Good news is that this is a fruit of the Spirit.  This is what Christ will produce in us when we surrender and let him work in us.  God will do this.  If we want to give God control of our loves we need to ask him to give us self control.

I know it sounds easier than it is and that is because self control is not something that we are good at it is not from us it comes from God.  One day, one opportunity at a time.

Love today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In a Funk

I am in a funk today.  I did not sleep very well last night I was up thinking about people.  I was thinking about how we can so easily hurt one another.  I was up thinking about how much it hurts when are feelings are hurt by people whom we love and respect.  I was up praying for relationships that I know have been hurt and are hurting.  Today, I continue to pray.  I am praying my way out of the funk.  I am praying that God's love, grace, and forgiveness become all the more real in our relationships.

God created us as people with feelings and emotions.  Jesus shows us that feelings and emotion are not a bad thing.  Jesus wept, he got angry, he was hurt emotionally, because that comes with love.  Love hurt when the rich young man walked away.  Love hurt when those He came to save nailed him to the cross.  Love hurt when we hurt and and are hurt by others.

Love also heals.  Love reconciles. Love forgives.  Love keeps no records of wrongs. We are created for each other that is why when we do things that damage relationships they hurt so bad.  We are made for relationship with God and each other.  It is in these moments of hurt that we can most grow in our capacity to love.  It is the moments that offer our greatest opportunity to understand what grace is and to live by it.  It is in these moments of real, raw, emotional, relationship crossroads that we can understand more fully the cross of Christ and grow to be more like him.  Now, I don't wish relational hurts on anyone.  I pray that we can learn and grow like to be like Christ without causing emotional hurt and pain to one another.  I wish that we did not do things to hurt one another, but the truth is we do, we all fall short of the glory and a result of that is that not only do "bad" people do "bad" things but "good" people do "bad" things.  But, there is a bigger truth!  God can and will work to use these situations to help us to be more like him.  It begins by praying our way out of the funk.  Pray it all the way through until our hearts are like His.  Be reconciled.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, January 20, 2012

Heart of Wisdom

This past week I have continued to think about one scripture.  It is not a scripture I will be preaching on.  It is one I think God is giving me for my life.  (I know that is a scripture that God has given to each of us for our lives.  That is what all the scriptures are.  Sometimes we forget right?) I have been meditating on this one verse from Psalm 90 and it keeps making it way into the situations that I have been in this week.

Psalm 90 verse 12 says, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

What does it mean to number our days?

I think that having a heart of wisdom is to be truly wise.  A heart of wisdom is not just street smarts or book smart it is wisdom.  Wisdom of life.  Wise about what really matters and make for living.  I want to be that kind of wise.  I want to be wise not to win games or trivia contest but to experience and enjoy and gain life and love of and in God.

I believe that is what the psalmist is writing about here and they say if we want to gain a heart of wisdom than we need to be taught to number our days.

What does it mean to number our days?

The 90th Psalm is talking about how eternal God is and how short our lives are.  I was with a young man who was in a car accident and needed surgery this week as well as a with a friend who lost their childhood friend at age 57.  I lost a neighbor who was 58.  Life is short it is very precious.  When we start to understand  that we start to gain a heart of wisdom.  When we are taught to see that each day is a gift from God we begin to gain real wisdom.

When we start to understand that this life is brief and for just a little while we can begin to gain the wisdom that we should not take anything for granted.  A heart of wisdom says I will not take this day for granted because I only get so many.  I will not take my time with the people I love for granted.  I will not take God and my relationship with God for granted.  I have understood that number of my days and I am going to make the most of this day, because this day is a gift from God.

Wisdom says thank you to God and others.  Today.
Wisdom says I am sorry to God and others.  Today.
Wisdom says I love you to God and others.  Today
Wisdom serves God and others.  Today.
Wisdom stops and smells the flowers.  Today
Wisdom listens to the birds sing.  Today
Wisdom treasure what is really important.  Today.

A person with a heart of wisdom makes the most of each breath, each moment, each word, and each opportunity because they have been taught by God to number their days.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Freebie

It is one of the toughest concepts to grasp and actually live.  I am refering to grace.  Yes.  Grace.  This is central to our relationship with Christ.  Grace means that God does for us what we can't and offers us his favor even though we can never earn it or ever deserve it.   We can do nothing to reconcile our relationship with God.  Sin is a terninal illness that ends in death.  Christ dies our death so we don't have to pay the price for sin.   He gives us a freebie if we will recieve the gift of his salvation.

Here is where it gets tough for us.  We have knowledge of this and in our heads we agree and understand grace, but, we live like we have to work for it.  We tell ourselves that we are not good enough or we are too bad.  We work hard to try to live up to it when all the work has already been done.

When we do this we are actually saying we don't believe in grace.  We really don't live like God is a loving God.  Instead we live like we can control God.

The Good News is we don't have to work harder to earn God's love.  You and I have done nothing to lose God's love.  It is not about us it is about God.  God is love.  He loves us and pays the price to be in relationship with us for all eternity.   We have to take the freebie.  Believe.  This means we live what we believe by faith.  Stop trying to earn it.  Just live in relationship with God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Flow

I have been thinking a lot about Jesus being living water lately.  We are talking about Jesus as The Well for our lives at church so I am sure this is causing me to reflect about how I allow Jesus living water to flow in my life.  

Yesterday, got me thinking about how Jesus wants his living water to flow through our lives.  We are to live in the overflow.  I pulled into my driveway in middle of the afternoon.  The weather outside was beautiful.  It did not feel like January in Missouri at all.  The sun was shining and a breeze was gently blowing and then I noticed something that seemed out of place for the scene.  There was water crossing my driveway.  This was odd because there were no puddles anywhere else.  For the most part the ground was dry.   Yet, there was this patch  of  water that appeared to flow all the way across my gravel drive.  I got out of my truck and noticed that the water seemed to be coming from the old house that is at the front of our yard.  Last year we moved from the old parsonage to a new parsonage just behind the old house.   We have not yet removed the old house and I discovered that all though we had cut most of the utilities from the old house we had forgotten to cut the water off.  It seems that in our recent cold spell the pipes must have frozen and burst.

When I entered the house I could hear water just gushing forth from the pipes.  I noticed that the carpet was wet in one of the empty bedroom and ran down stairs.  All that I could hear was water rushing through the pipes and splashing against the walls.  When I got to the basement the floor was covered in several inches of water finally I made my way to the shut off and turned the handle until the sound of the rushing water finally stopped.  

Rushing, flowing, water, that is what Christ wants his living water to be in us.  Water that flows from us and makes an impact on the world around us.  Water the is noticeable.  Out of the ordinary.  Too often though we just act like that old basement.  We get filled with the water and then we shut the tap off.  We had a great experience with Christ that filled us but we stopped going to Him as our well.  Something stopped the flow.   

Do you have a flow of living water into and out of your life?   

If we don't have a continual inflow than we will become like that stale, musty, mildew growing basement.  We will eventually dry up and deteriorate.  Sometimes our "pipes" get "clogged" or they "freeze up" and the flow that was once there is stopped.  We need to continue to seek God as the source of our lives to sustain us and to provide for life.  

How is your flow?  Is it just trickling?  Is it a drip?  Or is the flow all that you can hear?  

The good news is that Jesus want his living water to burst through and flow like a river in our lives.  He wants to continually fill us with the water that will never leave us thirsty.  This old house reminds me that it is important that I keep an eye on how the water is flowing. 

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, January 13, 2012

TGIF

In the Great Thanksgiving (this is the prayer that is prayed during a communion service) of the United Methodist tradition we say "Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.  It is right to give our thanks and praise."  It goes on to say "It is right, that we should always and everywhere give thanks to you almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who rose victorious from the dead and comforts us with the blessed hope of everlasting life."

Why am  I thinking about all this?  Why do I write it in this blog?

Not so that everyone knows what the words of the Great Thanksgiving are or that people know that I know them.  As I began my day today these words where brought to mind.  "It is right always and everywhere to give God praise."  We are called to live lives of thanksgiving.  To be thankful in all circumstances.  Followers of Christ should be marked by their love and an outflow of love is gratitude.

I know that in life we good through things that we are not thankful for but we can still be thankful.  WE can be thankful that God is with us.  We can be thankful that he created us and loves us so much that he overcame sin and death for us.  We can be thankful for his comfort.  Thankful for the hope that we have in him and thankful for everlasting life.  All of these things are true no matter what is happening and no matter what we go through. These things are just barely scratching the service of all that we have to be thankful for.  It is right always and everywhere, all the time no matter what, to give thanks.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Set the Prisoner Free

Jesus, using the words of the prophet Isaiah, while in the synagogue in his home town said that he had come to set the prisoner free.

Now, I am sure that the first thing that comes to mind when we here these words is someone who is an actual prison as we know it.  Someone behind bars and serving time.  But there are other things that imprison us in life.  Some are imprisoned by thoughts, regrets, what if, words that people say, unhealthy habits, unhealthy situations and fears.  The list could go on and on but what ever they are, they keep us locked up and keep us from experiencing the freedom of life that God desires for us.

This morning I was sitting in court with a friend who is facing some time in actual prison and I was reminded of Christ words to all of us who are imprisoned in this world.  Whether, are prisons are actual cells in a state facility or cells that have been created by us, Christ comes to set the prisoner free.  Free from the things that imprison us and rob us of life.  Free from the "cells" that  trap us and keep us from the joy that God has for us.  Freedom from the internal prisons that are holding you and me captive.

We need to be honest about what we need freed from and then we need to hear the words of Jesus and receive the gift of His love and grace that frees the prisoner.   We don't have to be imprisoned any more.

"Amazing grace, my chains are gone!"

Love today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More on Read and React

In yesterdays post I talked about how are natural reaction to whatever happens in life ought to be turning to God.  I was drawing on an understanding of a basketball offense called read and react.  The premise of the offense is to drill certain actions over and over so that they become a natural reaction when playing the game.

This also applies to my life and making turning to God my natural reaction.  I must continually practice turning to God.  I need to have a deep and rich prayer life.  I have to drill prayer until it is natural for me to talk to God.  It is just what I do.  I need to spend regular time in God word and apply it to my life so that it just becomes my natural response to life to view life, and myself, through the lens of God's word.  I need to practice a  life of worship so that worship is natural for me and worship is what I do in spirit and truth as I offer my life to God as an act of worship.

No matter what life brings or how we read the situation, our reaction will always be understood and predictable.  If we are continually working on building our relationship with God than our natural reaction will become turning to God no matter what life brings.  But we have to practice spiritual disciplines until they become natural to us and our relationship with God is the action of our lives and not just reaction to life.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Read and React

I am coaching an 8th grade basketball team at the YMCA this year.  I was asked if I would help and even though I don't know a great deal about basketball, I said yes.  I enjoy helping the kids.  This has led me to try to learn more about basketball.  I talked with people that I know who know about basketball and I looked for resources that I could use.

I have now become interested in a style of offense called read and react.  The idea is that you are always reading what is happening and then reacting to it.  The premise is that you stop thinking and about what to do and your body just naturally reacts to a given situation.  If this happens then automatically without thinking you react in a certain way.  When all five players understand these reactions than all five players react together and work together harmoniously because they naturally react in the same ways.  I don't know if I explained it as well as it should be explained but it did get me to thinking about how we react to the things of life.

Turning to God ought to be our natural reaction.  He is our strength.  He is our hope.  He is our security.  He is our Savior.  If Jesus is the Lord of our lives and our shepherd than our natural reactions to anything that happens ought to be turning to God.  When live causes questions-- we should seek the answers from God.  When times are hard we should turn to God.  When times are good we should turn to God.  Prayer should not be the last thing we do, it should be the first thing as a natural reaction.  When we read what is going on around us we need to react by giving it to God.  This is the best offense for our lives.  Give our lives to God as a natural reaction.  This is how we make him our shepherd and allow him to lead us in our lives. We make offering it to him our natural reaction to what happens in life.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug