Wednesday, September 21, 2005


A man had a beautiful estate, with magnificent trees on it. But he had a bitter enemy, who said, “I will cut down one of his trees; that will hurt him.” In the dark of the night the enemy slipped over the fence and went to the most beautiful of the trees, and with saws and axes he began to work. In the first light of morning he saw in the distance two men coming over the hill on horseback, and recognized one of them as the owner of the estate. Hurriedly he pushed the wedges out and let the tree fall; but one of the branches caught him and pinned him to the ground, injuring him so badly that he died. Before he died he screeched out, “Well, I have cut down your beautiful tree,” and the estate owner looked at him with pity and said, “This is the architect I have brought with me. We had planned to build a house, and it was necessary to cut down one tree to make room for the house; and it is the one you have been working on all night.”

Donald Grey Barnhouse

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Which book of the Bible are you?

Here is a quiz that purports to tell you which book of the Bible describes you.


Here are my results...I think that it describes me very well.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Love is...

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, the Bible describes the characteristics of love:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Since God is love, these verses are a description of His love (Agape) for us and if we, as Christians, abide in Him, they are also the characteristics of His love expressed through us. An attitude of pride has characteristics which are polar opposites of the ones expressed by love. The following is a link to a table that relates the characteristics of love described in Corinthians to Christ's expression of that love through the believer who is abiding in Him. The table also describes the behavior of someone with an attitude of pride.

Love is...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Your Sins Are Remembered No More

As Christians, all of our sins are forgiven. Not only the sins we committed before we were saved, but all of the ones we will commit in the future. The Bible is very clear about how God views our sin after we are saved. In Hebrews 10:15-18, the Bible says, "The Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, 'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws upon their heart, and on their mind I will write them,' He then says, 'And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.' Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin."

In Psalm 103:12, the Bible says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." And again in Micah 7:19, "He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."

Yet, even though all of our sins are forgiven, many Christians continue to ask God to do what He has already done...ask for forgiveness. By continuing to ask God for forgiveness, we are telling Him that His sacrifice on the cross was insufficient. We are calling Him a liar for saying "It is finished!" We are, in effect, crucifying Him all over again. No where in the Bible does it tell Christians to keep asking for forgiveness. Why? Because we already have it!

In Hebrews 10:14 the Bible says, "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." As Christians we are children of the Light and, "If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

Charles Spurgeon in his devotional "Faith's Checkbook," wrote the following:

According to this gracious covenant the LORD treats His people as if they had never sinned. Practically, He forgets all their trespasses. Sins of all kinds He treats as if they had never been, as if they were quite erased from His memory. O miracle of grace! God here does that which in certain aspects is impossible to Him. His mercy works miracles which far transcend all other miracles.

Our God ignores our sin now that the sacrifice of Jesus has ratified the covenant. We may rejoice in Him without fear that He will be provoked to anger against us because of our iniquities. See! He puts us among the children; He accepts us as righteous; He takes delight in us as if we were perfectly holy. He even puts us into places of trust; makes us guardians of His honor, trustees of the crown jewels, stewards of the gospel. He counts us worthy and gives us a ministry; this is the highest and most special proof that He does not remember our sins. Even when we forgive an enemy, we are very slow to trust him; we judge it to be imprudent so to do. But the LORD forgets our sins and treats us as if we had never erred. O my soul, what a promise is this! Believe it and be happy.

It doesn't get much better than that! Knowing who you are and where you stand in Christ is where true happiness is found. Too many people think that the Christian life is all about self examination. Nothing could be further from the truth. The "life" is about knowing and loving God and allowing God to love others through you. This is only possible when you believe in your heart that nothing stands between you and God...not even your sin. You are righteous (II Corinthians 5:21), accepted, holy (Ephesians 1:4) and completely free from condemnation (Romans 8:1). Even when you sin!

When God brings our sin to our attention, it is not so we can ask for forgiveness. It is so we can accept His revelation, confess it (agree with Him) and to thank Him that He is at work in us, both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Oswald Chambers in his devotional "My Utmost for His Highest," puts it this way:

If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn't ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of the truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God.

We have freedom in Christ, however many Christians have placed themselves back in prison. They continually examine themselves to "see how they measure up." They continually ask for forgiveness for sins, both real and imagined. They berate themselves because they don't measure up to the standard. They don't see themselves as growing in Christian maturity fast enough. They live bound in chains behind a prison wall because they believe God sees them the way they see themselves.

But what does God see when He looks at a Christian? He sees His precious son Jesus, in whom there is no sin or guilt. You are in Christ and He is in you. The righteousness we have comes from Him and Him alone. You may think that God is somehow disappointed with you, but that is impossible. God never expected anything from you anyway, how could He be disappointed? We are not responsible for "cleaning ourselves up" or even for our spiritual growth. We gave that responsibility to Jesus when we asked Him into our heart.

In Galatians 2:20, the Bible says, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." The only way to enter into the life that God has for us is to trust Him and surrender ourselves to Him. He will do the rest! That will never happen as long as we make ourselves, and our holiness, the primary focus of our attention. It is only when we focus on Him that we can rest in Him.

Monday, March 28, 2005


There was a young man who desired humility. He went to an old wise man and said to him, "Sir, I wish to be humble, but I don’t know how to obtain it." "What must I do to acquire humility?"

The old wise man thought for a minute and replied, "Here is what you should do…go out and find someone who is beneath you and do something nice for him." "Give him something that you have or do something for him that needs to be done."

The young man replied, "I can do that!" He immediately left and came upon a homeless man on the street who looked like he had not eaten in days. He took the man to a restaurant and bought him a nice hot meal. After he dropped-off the homeless man, the young man, who was feeling pretty good, returned to the wise man and told him what he had done. He then asked him, "Do I now have humility?"

He wise old man replied, "Not yet!" The young man’s face fell and after a while, he asked the wise man, "What else must I do to acquire humility?" The wise man said, "Go out and find someone else who is beneath you and do something nice for him."

This upset the young man who replied, "But I did that already!" and asked "If I go help someone else, will I then have humility?" The wise man replied, "No you will not!"

This upset the young man even more and he asked, "How many people do I have to help…10 people?"


"100 people!"


"I don’t understand…please tell me how many people I have to help?" "How will I know when I have obtained humility?"

The wise old man replied, "You will have obtained humility when you can no longer find anyone that you think is beneath you!"

Spiritual Breathing

One of the characteristics of physical death is that we don’t breathe. There is life giving oxygen all around for us to breathe, however we cannot take it into our lungs because we are dead. Spiritual death is similar in that, since we are dead, we don’t breathe spiritually. We not only don’t breathe, in and of ourselves we don’t know how to breathe. Furthermore, there is nothing there for us to breathe. There is nothing in us to give us spiritual life…no “spiritual oxygen”. So, spiritually, we not only don’t know how to breathe, there is nothing for us to breathe.

In the physical world we need oxygen for life. In the spiritual world, Jesus is life. In Genesis 2:7, the Bible says that God breathed into Adam’s nostrils, the breath of life. We often think in physical terms, so we interpret verse 7 to mean that when God breathed into Adam’s nostrils he received his physical life. However, the Hebrew word used for breath in that verse can also mean spirit. When Adam was created, he not only received physical life, he received spiritual life. God’s spirit was breathed into Adam and it gave him spiritual life. When Adam sinned by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God removed His spirit from Adam. This caused Adam to die spiritually, because there was literally no more “spiritual oxygen” for him to breathe. Everyone who descended from Adam inherited this spiritual death. We are born into this world spiritually dead (separated from God).

God, in His goodness, did not intend for us to remain dead. He provided a plan for us to receive Life…His plan of salvation. In Ezekiel 37:1-14, God is speaking specifically to Israel, however it also provides an illustration of what happens when we are saved. The Lord took Ezekiel out into a valley full of dry dead bones. In verse 4, He had Ezekiel tell the bones to listen to the Word of the Lord and in the next verse God told the bones, “I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.” God did as He promised and the bones came to life. In verse 14, God explains what the vision meant, “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life…” That is a good illustration of what happens when we are saved, we hear the Word of the Lord, we ask Him to come into our heart, and He comes into us and gives us Life…His life, our “spiritual oxygen.”

As Christians, we have His life within us so we are now spiritually alive…we have “spiritual oxygen.” The only problem is we don’t know how to breathe, spiritually. We don’t know how to breathe “spiritual oxygen” because we have never had any reason to take a breath. It should be evident by now what spiritual life and spiritual death are, but what is a spiritual breath? Spiritual breath is faith in the Life that is in you, Jesus Christ. When you breathe “spiritual oxygen” you are exercising faith in Jesus. Before you were a Christian you did not breathe spiritually, meaning you had no faith and whatever is not from faith is sin (Romans 14:23). You were a sinner, dead in your trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1).

Imagine, in physical terms, that you have been given the ability to breathe under water. Not like a SCUBA diver, but that you could actually breathe water into your lungs and it would sustain your life. Here is the catch, suppose no one told you that you could breathe water. Now imagine that you are thrown into the lake and completely submerged under the water. What happens? Well, you hold your breath and struggle to get to the surface to get a breath of air because breathing air is all you have ever known. You reach the surface and take a breath of air and tread water until you tire and are drawn under the surface. Once again you hold your breath and try to reach the surface to get a breath. Eventually, you cannot reach the surface anymore and in desperation (almost unconsciously) you breathe water into your lungs.

This is similar to what happens when we receive “spiritual oxygen,” yet we don’t know how to breathe…we don’t know we can breathe. Fortunately, God not only gives us “spiritual oxygen” (Life), He also gives us our breath (faith). In Romans 12:3, God says that each of us has been given a measure of faith. God provides our “spiritual oxygen” (Jesus) and tells us that it is all we need for life; all He wants for us is to have faith in His provision (to breathe).

So, why don’t we breathe? God has given us “spiritual oxygen” to breathe, He has told us to breathe the oxygen because it is all we need for life, and He gave us the capacity to breathe it. Yet, most of us, even after we are saved and have taken our first breaths of “spiritual oxygen,” have the tendency to hold our “spiritual breath” and not breathe the Living Water that God has provided for us. That Living Water of Jesus is our “spiritual oxygen.” We don’t breathe spiritually because we are not accustomed to breathing spiritually just like the body is not accustomed to breathing water. In fact, we often struggle to keep from breathing the Water just like the drowning man. We are born into sin (not breathing); it is all we know apart from God. It has been our means of getting what we want and for satisfying our desires in an attempt to achieve happiness. It is more comfortable to our flesh to sin (not breathe) than it is to breathe (have faith). So when it becomes too difficult to breathe spiritually we hold our breath and attempt to find comfort and life in what we knew before we received Jesus.

There are problems that inherently come with not breathing (sin). When we were dead spiritually, “not breathing” was not a problem. The dead don’t need to breathe. Christians, on the other hand, are spiritually alive. The living are the only ones who can breathe and need to breathe. It was with your first spiritual breath that you received Life, the Life of Jesus. That first breath when Jesus entered your heart was so wonderful that you kept right on breathing and basking in the warmth of your new birth. You celebrated the Life that was in you and was thankful for His presence. Somewhere along way, in your new life, you faced a temptation or a difficult situation and for a brief time you stopped breathing. You stopped having faith in the Life within you and tried to handle the temptation or difficulty the only way you knew how…in the flesh. Now, God has told us many times, in His Word, that when we are tempted or going through difficult times the only thing we need to do is to keep breathing. If we keep breathing the Living Water that is within us, then He will bring us and sustain us through our temptations and difficulties. Knowing that, however, nearly all of us stop breathing from time-to-time.

In the physical world, when a person stops breathing the body dies. As mentioned earlier, not breathing is one of the primary characteristics of physical death. And again, not breathing is also one of the characteristics of spiritual death. You might ask the question “Does the Life that is within us die when a Christian stops breathing spiritually?” The answer is no! Unlike the physical body where life is sustained by breathing, the Life that is within us is eternal…it can never die. In other words, the Life of Jesus within us does not depend upon our faith for His existence. However, there is a “death” that occurs when the Christian stops breathing. It is the death of the manifestation of Life.

What in the world does that mean? It means that, even though we are still alive spiritually, there is no outward sign of it. When we stop breathing, spiritually, we give off all the signs of being dead. We think and act just as if we had never received the Life in the first place. Lets mix some metaphors at the risk of totally confusing the point. The Life of Jesus is not only the Living Water; He is also the fire that burns within us. When we breathe spiritually, the fire burns brightly and provides warmth and light that cannot be contained. It shines forth for all to see…it is the manifestation of the Life of Jesus in the believer. When we stop breathing, the fire is quenched. It is not quenched completely, but enough so that the light and warmth can no longer escape and be manifested in our lives. I can’t help but to think that this is what Paul is referring to when he wrote, “Do no quench the Spirit” in 1 Thessalonians 5:19.

Fortunately, God wants us to breathe and encourages us to do so. How does God encourage us to breathe? We are encouraged much like the man that was thrown into the lake. When we find ourselves in a time of temptation or distress it is God’s plan for us to breathe the Living Water. However, like the drowning man in the example we refuse to breathe the Water. We struggle to the surface (which is our flesh) and try to save ourselves…to get out of our predicament in our own power. God draws us back into the Living Water and again we struggle to reach the surface and save ourselves. It is only when we give up, stop struggling, and take a deep breath of the Water He has given us that we find the perfect peace and rest that God wants us to have.

Many of us go through this struggle many times in our life where we stop breathing and God encourages us to breathe again. But it doesn’t have to be that way. God never intended for a Christian to stop breathing, spiritually. When Jesus lived on earth as a man He never stopped breathing. He never stopped having faith in His Father. That same Jesus lives in our heart; He is our Life, our Living Water. He wants us to breathe the Living Water no matter what happens to us and never stop breathing.

Impossible! You might say. Jesus lived His life on earth as a model for the way we are to live our life. He lived in complete faith and dependence on the Father…He never took His eyes off the Father and never stopped breathing. The only person that ever lived his entire life in complete faith now lives in the heart of every Christian. Our failure, is not that we don’t have the perfect Life within us, it is that we don’t have complete faith in that Life…we stop breathing. The reason we stop breathing is that we have made trying to breathe our entire focus. We become so intent on trying to breathe (having faith) that we quite often forget to breathe. It is only when our entire focus is on His Life, that breathing becomes effortless.

In a normal healthy person, the physical act of breathing air comes naturally. It is not something you have to think about, it is not something you have to try to do; it is just something that you do. God wants our faith to be the exact same way. Complete faith is not something you conjure up; it is not something you have to think about, it simply is a consequence of Life…His Life. Complete faith is as natural to the Christian as breathing air is to your body. It can only occur when the focus of your life moves from trying to breathe, to focusing on the Life within you. When your entire focus is on Him, then you can’t help but to have faith. It will be as natural as breathing.

The 20 "cans" of Success

Why should I say I can’t when the Bible says that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength? (Philippians 4:13)

Why should I worry about my needs when I know that God will take care of all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus? (Philippians 4:19)

Why should I fear when the Bible says God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind? (2 Timothy 1:7)

Why should I lack faith to live for Christ when God has given me a measure of faith? (Romans 12:3)

Why should I be weak when the Bible says that the Lord is the strength of my life and that I will display strength and take action because I know God? (Psalm 27:1; Daniel 11:32)

Why should I allow Satan control over my life when He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world? (1 John 4:4)

Why should I accept defeat when the Bible says that God always leads me in victory? (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Why should I lack wisdom when I know that Christ became wisdom to me from God and God gives wisdom to me generously when I ask Him for it? (1 Corinthians 1:30; James 1:5)

Why should I be depressed when I have hope and can recall to mind God’s loving-kindness, compassion and faithfulness? (Lamentations 3:21-23)

Why should I worry and be upset when I can cast all my anxieties on Christ who cares for me? (1 Peter 5:7)

Why should I ever be in bondage knowing that there is freedom where the Spirit of the Lord is? (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Why should I feel condemned when the Bible says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus? (Romans 8:1)

Why should I feel alone when Jesus said He is with me always and He will never leave me nor forsake me? (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5)

Why should I feel as if I’m cursed or have bad luck when the Bible says that Christ rescued me from the curse of the law that I might receive His spirit by faith? (Galatians 3:13, 14)

Why should I be unhappy when I, like Paul, can learn to be content whatever the circumstances? (Philippians 4:11)

Why should I feel worthless when Christ became sin for me so that I might become the righteousness of God? (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Why should I feel helpless in the presence of others when I know that if God is for me, who can be against me? (Romans 8:31)

Why should I be confused when God is the author of peace and He gives me knowledge through His Spirit who lives in me? (1 Corinthians 2:12; 14:33)

Why should I feel like a failure when I am more than a conqueror through Christ who loved me? (Romans 8:37)

Why should I let the pressure of life bother me when I can take courage knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and its problems? (John 16:33)

(From Victory Over the Darkness, by Dr. Neil Anderson)


I had a discussion with someone months ago and I think about it from time-to-time. I was sharing with this person that I was having a problem at work that I couldn't solve and that I had asked the Lord to help me with it, and He did. The person I shared this with was convinced that the Lord didn't help me with it because He doesn't get involved in the minutia (trivial details). I don't believe that is true. I think He wants to be involved in every area of our life. I would like to share why I believe this.

My first thought on the subject isn't entirely tied to scripture; it is more a matter of scale or relativity. God created everything...the entire universe. He created the heavens and the earth and the things on the earth, living and not-living. Everything was created by Him and for Him, even down to the atomic and sub-atomic particles. Everything is held together by Him. To the God of the universe, how could any detail of a man's life be more trivial than any other detail? Look at it this way, a large SUV may be twice the size of a compact car, but viewed from the perspective of the entire earth, the difference in size is insignificant.

Since I am an engineer, I will ask a question from that perspective. Does God care about the trivial details of the day-to-day operation of the earth and the things on the earth? I believe He does. I talked to someone else about this subject and it was his belief that God set things into motion when He created the earth and then, in essence, took His hands off and let it run. I don't believe this is the case. I believe that even something as trivial as a leaf falling to the ground doesn't happen apart from God's will. I can't find where God talks about leaves falling, but He did talk about sparrows. In Matthew 10:29, Jesus said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father." What detail could be more trivial than that? Well, look at the next verse, "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." God loves you so much, that He numbers your hairs. What else in our life is more trivial than the number of hairs on our head?

God cares about every detail of our lives. In 1 Peter 5:7, we are told to cast all our anxieties on Him because He cares for us. Again, in Philippians 4:7, we are told, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." And again in Psalm 55:22, "Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." So we should cast all, not just some, not just the important ones, but all of our anxieties and burdens on Him. He wants to carry them. He wants us to rest and be careful for nothing. (Not rest in a physical sense, but in our spirit) In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus said "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

God not only wants us to cast our burdens on Him, He wants to guide our lives. In Psalm 32:8 God tells us, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you." and in Proverbs 3:5-6 He tells us, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

You might say that all of this only applies to spiritual things. But I say that our very lives and everything that we do with our lives should have but one purpose; to bring glory to God. God tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." So, how can something as trivial as eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, or tying your shoe bring glory to God? And why does God care about how you brush your teeth or tie your shoe? Furthermore, in general, what brings glory to God? The easiest way to answer that is to look at what doesn't bring glory to God.

So, then, what doesn't bring glory to God? The obvious, and correct, answer is sin. Sin doesn't bring glory to God. What is sin? God tells us in Romans 14:23, "But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin." So the answer is plain, anything not done from faith is sin. Paul, again, uses the example of that trivial thing called eating. If eating, or anything else, is not done from faith, it is sin. When we normally think of sin, we think of murder, stealing, lying, pride, etc. But what did God say in Romans 14? He said that apart from Him even the basic and trivial necessity of eating is sin.

So what about those trivial details you think that God can't or won't be troubled with? The minutia of life! We think that God can't be bothered with them because to our way of thinking, they are insignificant in the "grand scheme of things." Yet we know from Isaiah 55:8-9 that God's ways are not our ways, they are higher than our ways. Do we trust what we think or what God says? There is a saying that people sometimes use, “The devil is in the details.” Meaning, that unless you consider the details, all of the possible ways something can go wrong, they will rise up and “bite you.” Conversely, this is also true in a spiritual sense. You will have trouble if God is not in the details, no matter how small. To God, no problem or anxiety or detail of our life is too large or too small for Him to bear. He asks us, by faith, to leave them at His feet and He will give us the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Get on Board

The other day we were discussing if the trials that God allows a Christian to go through become harder (more painful) as you mature as a Christian. The reasoning behind this, in essence, was that it takes more and more to "get your attention." While this may be true, in and of itself, I don't think that it tells the whole story. I will illustrate with a personal example.
For some time now, I have felt like God was working in my heart (reflected in my desires) and in my circumstances to take me to a certain place. It’s as if He is driving a train that will take me far outside of my comfort zone in my service to Him. I now have two options and they will both carry me to my destination. The "train" is not just limited to Christian service; it could be a period of trial and testing or anything or anyone that God chooses to bring into our lives. Since I gave my life to Christ when I was saved, I don't have the option of not going, I only have the option of how I will board the train.

One way to board the train is at the station, before the train ever pulls out. Through faith and total surrender you can accept God's invitation to board the train. While you are riding in the train you are at peace and fellowship with God. You are totally focused on Him and allowing Him to live His life through you. He will work in you and through you to carry you to your destination. The only thing you need to do while riding in the train is to slide into a nice comfortable chair and rest while God works. Now, I am not referring to rest and comfort in a physical sense, I am referring to rest and comfort in our relationship to God and His will.

Through lack of faith and surrender you may choose not to board the train at the station. This brings us to the other way to board the train. You can stand on the tracks as the train is coming through. In this case you board the train much like a bug boards a car, flattened on the windshield. Although you are now aboard the train and God is accomplishing His purpose of carrying you to the destination, you aren't exactly comfortable. Are you? It is painful riding a train in this way. But God, in His goodness, even has a purpose for you boarding the train in this manner. To bring you to the point where you can do nothing except have faith and surrender to His will. Once you surrender, He scrapes you off the windshield and brings you inside the train and seats you in that same comfortable chair while He works. As God works, you sit back and relax, in total peace, and wonder to yourself, "Why in the world did I not get on the train at the station?"
It is not that the trials get harder as we mature as Christians; it is that each of us has areas of our lives that are harder for us to surrender to God than others. The harder that area is to surrender, the more difficult and painful it will be to surrender it to God. We want to be in control of our own lives and we think we are in control, even while we are flattened on the front of the train being carried somewhere we don’t want to go.

When you were first saved maybe it was easy for you to give up drinking, while for someone else it is a continuous struggle lasting years. We may even look down on that "drunkard" as being a weak Christian or maybe "not a Christian at all." Yet, at the same time, there are things in each of our lives (pride, envy, a critical spirit, etc) that we have not fully surrendered to God. God doesn't just want you to surrender the things that are easy to give up; He wants your total surrender to His will. How painful that total surrender is for you depends on how you board the train. Jesus, while He was on earth, chose to board the train at the station and lived in complete dependence and obedience to the Father. I believe that, to Jesus, no trial He endured was any more difficult than any other trial because He was completely surrendered to the will of the Father.

God is good all the time!

This is one of my favorite songs that we sing at church. I thought I would share the lyrics with you.

God is good all the time. He put a song of praise in this heart of mine. God is good all the time. Through the darkest night His light will shine. God is good. God is good all the time.

If you're walking through the valley and there are shadows all around, do not fear; He will guide you. He will keep you safe and sound. He has promised to never leave you, nor forsake you and His Word is true!

God is good all the time. He put a song of praise in this heart of mine. God is good all the time. Through the darkest night His light will shine. God is good. God is good all the time.

We were sinners so unworthy. Still for us He chose to die. Filled us with His Holy Spirit. Now we can stand and testify that His love is everlasting and His mercies, they will never end.

God is good all the time. He put a song of praise in this heart of mine. God is good all the time. Through the darkest night His light will shine. God is good. God is good all the time.

Though I may not understand all the plans you have for me, my life is in Your hands and through the eyes of faith I can clearly see.

God is good all the time. He put a song of praise in this heart of mine. God is good all the time. Through the darkest night His light will shine. God is good. God is good all the time.

Doctor's Visit

When most of us go to the doctor with an ailment or need some surgery in order to correct a problem, we trust that the doctor knows what he is doing and will submit to whatever treatment he deems appropriate. In the back of our minds, we may have some fear of what may happen to us and doubts about the knowledge and skill of the Doctor. However, these fears and doubts are usually not strong enough to keep us from undergoing the treatment that the doctor has prescribed. We will trust our lives and well being to the hands of someone we barely know in order to be made whole again, in a physical sense.

When we became Christians, we entrusted our spiritual health and well being to the Great Physician. His goal is to conform us to the image of Christ. In order to do that He must place each of us on the “operating table” and, essentially, remove anything from our lives that doesn’t look like Christ. He wishes for each of us to be completely submitted to His will and allow Christ to live His life through us, thus, relinquishing any claims we have to control our own lives. He wants our complete surrender. God “operates” on us by allowing us to go through difficult circumstances and testing. He wants to bring us to the point of having no confidence in our ability to do anything and completely trust and abide in Him (John 15:5).

I was talking with a friend at work the other day about something we read in The Purpose Driven Life on page 84. “When you decide to live a totally surrendered life, that decision will be tested.” He expressed some fear of what that testing could bring into his life. What is there to be fearful of? We have a Father in Heaven that loves us as His children. As Christians, we stand before Him completely righteous and accepted and totally free from condemnation. We have God’s own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, living in our hearts. When we asked Jesus into our hearts, our old self was nailed to the Cross and died with Jesus. Then we arose with Him in newness of life. We were spiritually dead and now we are spiritually alive. We are quite literally, new creations.

Now, as Christians, we still live in the flesh and the sinful patterns that we developed before we accepted Christ are still present. We still do things that we shouldn’t. We still try to do things in our own power instead of allowing God to work in our lives. We try to be self sufficient instead of trusting in the providence of God. While we still live in the flesh, that is no longer “who we are”. We are children of the living God. Everything God allows us to go through is but for one purpose, to conform our lives to “who we are” instead of who we used to be. The fancy church word for that is sanctification.

In order to conform our lives, as mentioned earlier, God must operate on us. Most of us will willingly lie down on a surgeons table and trust our lives to someone who we barely know, who doesn’t love us personally, and is fallible. Yet when God, who loves us more than we know, tries to put us on His operating table we kick and scream and fight for all we are worth. God knows exactly what treatment you need and is completely infallible, yet we will trust a mortal man more than we trust God. Stop fighting and start trusting. When you are going through a difficult time, praise and thank God for He is showing you His immeasurable love and He will be with you every step of the way.


Have you ever looked closely at what the Bible says about faith? In Matthew 17:20 it says “And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” Do you have that kind of faith? Furthermore, what is faith? In Hebrews 11:1 the Bible defines faith as “… the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Where does that assurance come from?

Have you ever prayed to God about something you wanted and had the prayer go unanswered or had it answered, but not in the way you expected? Have you ever prayed for God to heal someone of a terminal disease and the person died anyway? Have you prayed for God to remove some mountain in your life (some affliction or obstacle to you achieving a desired goal) only to have the mountain remain? At the time did you think, “If I only had more faith, this person would not have died.”? Well I have some news for you; there is absolutely positively no power in faith. In other words, faith does not have the power to do anything. The only value of faith is found in the object of your faith…God Almighty.

Some Christians have a distorted idea of what faith is. They believe that if they want a mountain to move to the sea, all they have to do is have "great faith" in the Lord and the mountain will obey their command. If the mountain doesn't move, then they didn't have enough faith. What they are really doing has nothing to do with faith. They are trying to perform a magic trick using God as the magic wand. In other words, they have something they want done and they are trying to get God to do it.

True faith never begins with us. It begins with God. In Romans 4:20-21, Paul described faith this way, “yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.” There is that “assurance” word again. Faith is the full assurance that what God promises He will do, He can do. Hebrews 11:1 said that faith is the assurance of things hoped for. So, putting these two verses together, when the things that we hope for are the same as the things that God promises, He will be faithful to do what He promised.

How much faith do we need to move mountains? We need just enough faith to take God at his word. To have faith that He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. Here is the really good part; it is the exact same faith we exhibited when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We took His word that He is who He says He is (the Son of God), He did what He said He did (died on the cross in payment for our sins), and He will do what He says He will do (give us eternal life). We often look at people that God has used greatly, such as Billy Graham, and say, “There is a man of great faith!” Billy Graham doesn’t have great faith; He has a great God. Billy Graham simply trusted God to do the things in His life that He promised He would do, and God did the rest.

Sinning under God's Grace

As Christians we are righteous (II Corinthians 5:21), accepted, holy (Ephesians 1:4) and completely free from condemnation (Romans 8:1). Does all that mean that Christians do not sin? No it doesn't. We had an interesting discussion last night at church. The pastor began by sharing some verses that address the issue of people using the grace of God as a license to sin (I Peter 2:16 for example).

The pastor made a point that, when we sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit. The term grieve is most often associated with the death of a loved one. I think that we grieve because we are no longer in the presence of someone; we can't talk to them anymore or do things with them. A parent would grieve if one of their children ran away. I think something similar happens when we sin. When we sin, we (not Him) withdraw ourselves from fellowship with God; we don't talk to Him or ask Him to fill our needs. We don't feel worthy to be in His presence. We are, in effect, running away from God and I think that this is what grieves Him.

Fortunately, God made a way for us to come back to Him. It is called repentance. When God convicts us of our sin, we then turn and confess our sin to Him. We agree with Him that what we did was wrong and at that moment our fellowship with Him is restored. Between the time we sin and the time we confess the sin, we did not cease to be righteous, accepted, holy and free from condemnation. We were out of fellowship with Him because of our guilt. Confession is what restores that fellowship.

In the mind of some confession is not enough, they (me included, until recently) continue to beat themselves up for days, weeks, months, or even years for a sin they committed. This would depend on how bad the sin was in their eyes. Instead of restoring fellowship with God, they think that they need to punish themselves in order for God to accept them again. Through His grace, God accepts you no matter what you do.

By beating yourself up you are in essence calling Him unjust. You are saying, "God, I know that You are a loving and forgiving God. I have confessed my sin to You and know in my heart that my sins are forgiven, but Lord You are so unjust. If you were just, you would make me feel bad for what I did for at least two weeks. Since You are unjust I will take it upon myself to feel bad for two weeks, while I grovel at your feet hoping that at the end of the two weeks You will take me back."

Look at it this way, you are a loving and kind father and want only good things for your children. One of your children takes your brand new fishing pole to the lake, even after you asked him not to. In the process he steps on it and breaks the pole. He comes to you with tears in his eyes and tells you he broke your fishing pole. You can look into his eyes and see that he is completely distraught and full of remorse. You are filled with compassion and take him into your arms and tell him that he is forgiven. You offer to take him to the corner and buy him some ice cream. At this point the child pulls away and declines the offer. Furthermore, he goes to his room and you don't see him for the next two days. It would break your heart and you would grieve, because you want to spend time with your child and talk to him and do things with him, but he has locked himself in his room and is not talking to you.

Isn't that what we do to God. We have a loving and kind Father in heaven that wants to spend time with us and give us good things (Luke 11:13). Yet, we refuse his offer of restoration and punish ourselves for the things we do. In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), the son had prepared a speech and was ready to grovel at his father’s feet (become a slave). His father wouldn't have it; the son was already forgiven. The son was instantly in fellowship with the father (they celebrated together) when he confessed and so are we. If we accept the truth of God's word.