Thursday, June 21, 2018

Day of Praise

Fri, 06/22/18, "Day of Praise"

Isaiah 25:6 - "On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines."

A couple years ago my wife, Amanda, and I drove from Alabama to Tennessee where we scooped up my mom and then drove on up the road to my mom's family in Pennsylvania. The memory of that trip reminds me of my childhood, specifically when my siblings and I were at our grandparents' homes in north-central Pennsylvania during strawberry season. Gram Yost had, what she called, a truck patch, which was filled with the most delicious strawberries you ever ate in your life. And Gram would just let us go sit in the truck patch and eat "strawbabies" until our little hearts were content. It was heaven!

Well, at least it was a picture of heaven. 

In today's verse from Isaiah 25:6, God is telling us, as he does consistently in scripture, that heaven will be a feast of abundance. The "Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines." And in order that we might enjoy the feast, God goes on to say that he'll remove death, tears, and disgrace.

Wow! Sign me up! I wanna be there!!!

But there's a catch, the same catch as always with God and his word. You must believe! You must believe that God is preparing this for you and for all people. In the face of whatever poverty, lack, difficulty, or hardship that you currently have going on, God calls you to believe that better times are on the horizon. And when you believe that a feast is just ahead, you actually begin to taste it in your heart right now. 

That's the power of well-placed faith. When you put your faith in any person or power or comfort of this world, just count on being disappointed down the road. But when you put your faith in God coming through down the road, when you truly believe that God's going to come through on his promises, then you immediately start to taste the fruit in the present.

Like a truck patch full of strawberries from your Gram.

Like a heaven full of "rich food for all peoples."

God is bigger in providing than your problems are in taking away.

"Taste and see, the Lord is good; blessed is the one who trusts him." (Psalm 34:8)

The feast is ready right now for those who believe! Please come!

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Day of Praise

Thur, 06/21/18, "Day of Praise" 

2 Timothy 3:16 - "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" 

It's baseball season, so each day I might look online to see how the Atlanta Braves did in their game the night before. The easiest place for me to check is ajc.com, which is the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper website. The thing is that their website's lead story is always a tragic death. It's an opportunity to pray for someone, but it's always quite depressing, too. It's a reminder that the world, by its very nature, in its fallenness and brokenness and sinfulness will always lean toward putting stuff on us that saps our life and strength. 

But thank you, Jesus, that there's another place to go online or however you can get there that pours life and strength back into us. Yes, any way that you can access Holy Scripture is a great way to renew your life and strength. As God says in today's verse in 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable." Indeed, all scripture adds to our life, in contrast to so much in the world that subtracts. 

So, as your day unfolds and you feel your strength and energy needing a boost, try opening a Bible or going to scripture online. And then read the Bible. As one deep radio voice says each day on the air, "Read the Bible; it's good for the soul." 

Praise God! 


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Day of Praise

Wed, 06/20/18, "Day of Praise"

1 Corinthians 8:1 - "Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that 'all of us possess knowledge.' This 'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up."

Though my parents and all the preceding generations of their family grew up with very humble means, they all valued my sisters, my brother, and me acquiring as much education as possible. Summer reading clubs, good grades, and going to college were non-negotiable expectations for us kids, even though, to the best of my knowledge, only my late father went to college from our preceding generations. And my father always used to tell us how very fortunate he was to win a scholarship, or he himself would've never gone to college either. 

But as much as I thank God for the educational pursuits that my parents both provided and also supported me in pursuing, I am constantly reminded of God's word in 1 Corinthians 8:1, where we hear that "'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up." I'll speak for myself in saying that it's very easy for us all to forget, especially when I'm sitting in my office surrounded by walls of floor to ceiling books, that as important as knowledge and book-learning are, there is nothing more important than the simple gospel message of Jesus.

The "gospel," which means the "good news," ultimately is best offered and explained in child-like language and simplicity. Simple Bible verses like "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son" from John 3:16, simple songs like "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so," and simple encouragements to others like "this must be hard, but God promises to love you and be with you" are all irreplaceable. No one can possibly understand why God loves them and how God loves them if they don't first understand that God loves them through His Son, Jesus Christ.

So many Christians never experience the unmatched joy of seeing someone else come to a life-changing trust in God's love because they're afraid they don't have enough knowledge of the Bible to say the right thing to someone.

But, Friends, I've yet to find a person, who was drowning in fear, anxiety, loneliness, isolation, grief, debt, or uncertainty, who was just dying to hear how much I know and how smart I am or you are. But, with rare exception, everyone I've ever called, hugged, listened to, spoken to on the street, worked with, visited in the place they were confined to, played ball with, talked to as they scanned my groceries, or simply passed for a moment as we walked somewhere in public, refused to smile when they heard me say, "Have a good day! Jesus loves you!" in those or other simple words.

To be sure, it's important that we want to know God more personally each day, and the way to learn of him is listening to and studying his word. But ultimately, any fear that you might have about not knowing enough to tell others about Jesus is overcome by God's simple reminder in today's Bible verse, namely, that God's way to truly build up somebody is not by impressing them with knowledge but by lovingly telling them that God loves them and that we know this in Jesus Christ!

Change the world today! Tell each person, starting in your home, that they're loved by God with an everlasting love!

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Day of Praise

Tues, 06/19/18, "Day of Praise"

Exodus 8:1 - Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.'"

I think God is serious about our worshiping him. In Exodus, chapters 8-10 alone, God speaks seven times through Moses to tell Pharaoh, "This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me." In essence, God is emphasizing to us that all of his work is ultimately for two things: 1) to shape us in the original, perfect creation where we loved to worship God and 2) to set people free both from Pharaoh long ago and also from all the other distractions today so we love to worship God.

When God sent Jesus to die for us and set us free from the power of sin (which is guilt) and the power of death (which is fear), he might as well have said to guilt and fear, as in today's Bible verse, "Let my people go, so that they may worship me." (Exodus 8:1)

What is keeping you from worshiping God at least once a week? I know we like humor with this "Day of Praise" devotion, but a strong, successful businessman came up to me in tears one time and confessed that God had shown him how ultimately worthless was the "everybody-does-it" distraction that was keeping him from worshiping God at least weekly.

And here's another worship testimony from another person recently: 
"I didn't realize just how much I missed Wednesday night. The meeting, the fellowship, the study, the worship and message, the training, and then more fellowship -- God was with us and he is alive and showing his glory at [our church]. We just have to be there to experience what he is doing. I know God is with us in our everyday life, however, when we are at home, ball field, lake, movies, etc, our focus is not on Him, we get distracted from His glory. When we are with like-minded people, worshiping and studying his word, he blesses us abundantly, changing our mindset. The words tonight were from God and just what we needed to hear."

Friends, we were made to love to praise and worship the Lord, and God has blessings waiting for us when we do. So whether you worship together in a hotel room, or you visit a church where you're vacationing, or you go to your home church, please remember that you are free to do as you please because God set you free in Christ. But I pray that you'll follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and you'll use your freedom as God calls us to, namely, to worship and praise God, and in so doing, to receive immeasurable blessings from God!

Exodus 8:1 - Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.'"

Praise God! 


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Day of Praise

Mon, 06/18/18, "Day of Praise"

Romans 1:8 - "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world."

It's the spirit of faith that St. Paul was writing about in today's Bible verse when he says that "your faith is proclaimed in all the world." (Romans 1:8) In other words, when we're kind and gracious to one another, instead of dwelling on each other's shortcomings and errors, word gets around, maybe to all the world, and people are drawn to Christ because that's what people are, namely, people are drawn to a graciousness and kindness born out of faith in Jesus Christ.

And that's how I think of and, therefore, thank, you all! You are dear and encouraging friends. I am sincerely grateful to God for all of you! Have a great day, and know that you're making a difference in my life, as I'm sure you are with many, as you are kind and gracious to them too!

Romans 1:8 - "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world."

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Day of Praise

Fri, 06/15/18, "Day of Praise"

Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths."

What does God mean by "all your ways"? God has taught me, through his word, that "all my ways" can be summed up as follows. Knowing and trusting God through Jesus is the only "Way" (John 14:1-7) for us to live if we want to live abundantly now and forever. And then, within the overall Way of Jesus, there are two smaller "ways" that cover everything also, namely, the way of praising God and the way of thanking God.

For example, I remember a time when I had a huge meeting. Through the day, as God stopped me at various times to pray for the meeting and entrust it to him, I found myself either being quite calm and peaceful about it. Or I found myself becoming a little nervous and anxious about it. When I was calm and peaceful, I thanked God, for God alone can give peace (Galatians 5:22-23). And when I was a little nervous and anxious, I praised God as the One who alone can promise to give peace (Galatians 5:22-23) and then does! In other words, I was either thanking God for what he had done (giving peace). Or I was praising God for who He is and what He alone can and will do (giving peace).

Ya see, when we're in Jesus Christ through faith, in everything that comes upon us in the course of a day, there are only two possible ways to see it, namely, thank God for the good thing he's already done or praise God for the good thing that he will do for he is a good and gracious God all the time!

So, may we be found acknowledging the Lord in all our ways today! May we taste the Way that is the Life of Truth in God through Jesus Christ as we thank him for the good thing that we're tasting or as we praise him for the good thing that he'll surely bring about!

Trust him in these ways, and you'll see!

Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths."

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Day of Praise

Thur, 06/14/18, "Day of Praise"

Matthew 14:17-18 - "[The disciples] said to [Jesus], 'We have only five loaves here and two fish.' And he said, 'Bring them here to me.'"

In today's Bible verses, Jesus was teaching about 5,000 people in the middle of nowhere when he decided that the disciples should host a picnic for all those folks. Bottom line, there were a ton of people but basically no food, as indicated by the disciples saying, "We have only five loaves here and two fish."

But then Jesus responds with one of my all-time favorite lines in the Bible. Jesus says, "Bring them here to me." In essence, Jesus is saying, "Give me what you've got." And by implication, he's saying, "I will make sure that there's plenty to go around."

And Jesus did. Jesus made sure that there was plenty to go around.

For after giving Jesus their meager supply, the disciples distributed the food, fed the masses, and gathered up far more leftovers than the "five loaves and two fish" that they started with.

Ya see, Friends, here's the deal. Just like the disciples had far more people to serve than they could possibly serve, many of you have the same. Some of you have territories that one can barely drive in a year let alone serve all the families, children, or businesses within it. Some of you have multiple jobs where demands are coming from all directions as the work piles higher and higher. Some of you oversee large departments of your company so that the emails flow in an endless cycle of requests for feedback and coordination. Some of you work by day and go to school by night. And most of you have family that want you to feed them physically and emotionally at the end of a long hard day. Whew, it makes me tired just thinking about what y'all got going on in your lives.

You must be exhausted. You must say, "Lord, how can I possibly manage and serve and feed all these people?"

But, if you'll take a deep breath and listen, Jesus replies to each of us with what I pray will become one of your all-time favorite Bible verses too. Jesus says to you, as he said to the disciples of old, "Give me what you've got. And I will make sure that there's plenty to go around."

And Jesus will.

If you'll stop and take a deep breath at various moments through the day and give Jesus what you've got, he will personally and powerfully make sure that there's plenty to go around and cover all that you have to do.

Trust him, and you'll see!

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Day of Praise

Wed, 06/13/18, "Day of Praise"

Romans 8:28 - "And we know that God works through all things together for good, for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose."

God works through and orchestrates a whole lot of things, but surely we're not supposed to credit God with orchestrating all things. I mean, one time, did God orchestrate me locking my office keys in my car at the same time that I'd locked my car keys in my office? As Forrest Gump says, "Stupid is as stupid does." I would never put my stupid-key orchestration on the Lord. 

But the Lord (not luck, mind you) certainly gets credit for orchestrating that the only other person in the building at the late hour of my stupidity was one of only two people who had a key to my office so I could get the Bible study material I needed. 

And another time, God certainly gets credit for orchestrating the timing of me standing next to a hospital elevator at the exact time a church member exited the elevator because it required no less than three straight, separate incidents of people I didn't know, calling from behind me, asking me to come back down the hospital hall to talk and pray with them, which created the exact two-second window that was needed to bump into the church member at the elevator.

And another time, God certainly gets credit for orchestrating the timing of me bumping into the one person I really needed to see at a hospital as they, amongst thousands of people, happened to be walking out a wide, long corridor at the exact time as I was walking in the same way.

And another time, God certainly gets credit for orchestrating the timing of a church member, recently deceased Gene Murray, who said he'd had a dream about prison ministry and then awoke to read an appointed devotion that was on the exact verse that he'd preached from the Bible to the prison inmates in his dream. And, now years later, before his passing, Gene had ministered in Jefferson County jails in Birmingham, Alabama so that, through Gene, literally hundreds of inmates were brought closer than they were to God's saving grace in Christ. And some of those inmates weren't close at all to start with!

In sum, when God says through Paul "that God works through all things together for good" (Romans 8:28), God doesn't mean that he's only reacting to bad things that happen and hurt us or that he's reacting to stupid things like my stunt of locking up all my keys in different places. God is not just reactive.

God, being all-knowing and therefore knowing what's ahead of us, is proactively working out a plan to orchestrate blessings that will encourage us, even when we're touched by things that aren't so encouraging.

The one and only mighty and good God is greater than anything that will come your way today. And he is already orchestrating your blessings for today through those things. So believe it, and spread the word because, through faith in Jesus, we can 100% know and also see that it's true.

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Day of Praise

Tues, 06/12/18, "Day of Praise"

I myself enjoy the summer and the things about it that are different, and many of you do too. But whatever your schedule and wherever you may be, one thing never changes, namely, God made us to love to worship him. With that in mind, I pulled up this devotion that I wrote a couple years ago. 

Exodus 15:13 - "You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode."

Psalm 5:7 - "But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you."

Psalm 138:2 - "I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word."

Do you worship God? Why? Or why not?

How often do you worship God? Why?

Is worshiping God a priority for you? Why? Or why not?

In today's Bible verses, there are two words in all three verses: 1) holy and 2) love. These two words are coupled with a set of words that point to the same thing: abode, house, and temple. By inspiring the use of all these words, here's what God is telling us.

God is saying that worshiping him regularly with others should be a priority for all of us.

Let's break down that statement. First, in the Bible, what is "worship"? Worship is "bending the knee." It is bowing humbly before God. It is kneeling before God and crying out for mercy because we've gone our own way. It is sitting under God's word and listening both to the way he's ordered creation and also to his counsel for living in the world, according to his order, instead of the way we'd order it. It is singing praise to God for who he is. It is singing thanks to God for his works of grace. Have you worshiped God lately with these elements of worship?

Second, in the Bible, what is worshiping "regularly with others"? Regularly is both daily, wherever you are, which can be by yourself, but also, weekly with others so that you're listening to God's word in a gathering of people. Do you make time to worship God regularly with others? In an ever-increasingly busy world, you will never find the time. Time must be carved out and set aside. 

Finally, in the Bible, why is worshiping regularly with others a "priority"? Very simply, as noted in today's Bible verses, worshiping regularly with others is a priority because of the two words in all three verses (holy and love) that are coupled with the set of words that point to the same thing: abode, house, and temple. "Holy" simply means "set apart and dedicated to God's purpose." And God's purpose is to give life. And God gives life by pouring out himself, which is the definition of love. And God pours out himself, in other words, God loves us, by pouring out his Living Word, who is Jesus Christ. 

So here's what all that means. If God isn't holy and doesn't carry out his purpose to give life by pouring out himself in love through his word, then we're dead. If God isn't pouring out life, then we're dead. But it also then stands to reason that if God pours out life through his word, but we're not receiving it, then we're dead that way too. This is why worship is a "priority." Worship is a priority because it's the way God has ordered creation for him to give life and for us to receive life.

Think about it.

(But don't just think about it; act on it, because ultimately what God is saying is simple. God is saying that worshiping him regularly with others should be a priority for all of us. After all, we were made by God to love to praise the Lord!)

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Day of Praise

Mon, 06/11/18, "Day of Praise"

Luke 6:38 - [Jesus said,] "Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."

I was pouring the twenty-ounce orange juice into my cup. It was turned totally upside down and had stopped flowing. But I continued to hold it and move the bottle up and down, while only drops of orange juice were now slowly dripping out of the bottle and into my cup. A friend of mine walked by with a chuckle and said, "I think you got it!"

I like to get my money's worth. Whether it's shampoo out of the bottle or salsa out of the pack or air freshener from the sprayer or cereal from the box or skin lotion from the pump, I like to get it all and get my money's worth. 

Fortunately, we don't need to worry about getting our money's worth with God. Even moreso, praise God for his goodness, and thank God for his grace that God wants to give us far more than we need. But as always, God's giving and our receiving of God's exceeding abundance is tied to faith. 

Our giving is an act of faith. That's what Jesus is telling us in today's verse. In the same way that seeking God is a way of receiving God and in the same way that obeying God is a way of trusting God, so too is giving to God and people a way of expecting God to refill our needs to overflowing. 

Jesus poured out his whole self, every drop of blood, so we could be both cleansed by him and also filled and refilled and refilled again and again to overflowing with his love. Jesus tells of a woman who gave her last two pennies to the poor, implying she trusted God to refill her needs to overflowing. Scripture also recounts a widow who shared her family's last earthly meal with Elijah, implying she trusted God to refill her needs to overflowing. We hear of Stephen sharing his last breath to tell of God's love to those who were stoning him, implying he trusted God to refill his needs to overflowing. And on and on and on, for it's true. Our giving is an act of faith, so that giving to God and God's people is a way of expecting God to refill our needs to overflowing.

Which is exactly what God promises to do.

That's why Jesus said, "Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:38)

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Day of Praise

Fri, 06/08/18, "Day of Praise"

Isaiah 61:10a - "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation."

I remember a time at church when our nursery staff supervisor was telling me how one of our mature youth was ushering for worship. This youth came back to the nursery at the appointed worship time to have the small children come into worship for a blessing. As it turned out, there was only one small child to bring into worship. However, that little one had experienced a "blowout" so they only had on a diaper but no outer clothes. The youth usher wasn't sure how to carry this basically unclothed little one into worship, so he held the child with two hands but at arms length with his face turned away as if he was carrying a stinking diaper to the trash. Picturing what the nursery supervisor described, I started laughing. 

And thinking.

At first, I thought of the sign posted outside a church nursery from 1 Corinthians 15:51, "Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." Get it? Nursery. Small kids. They won't all sleep. But they'll all need a diaper change. Of course, the Bible verse is talking about the Resurrection when Jesus comes again instead of a church nursery. But it made me chuckle.

But as I thought some more about the picture of the youth usher carrying the diapered-only little one, I thought of today's verse from Isaiah 61:10a, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation."

In sum, friends, God will never leave you in the lurch, which means that God will never leave you abandoned in a difficult position without help. He'll always make sure you're "covered." He'll make sure you have the most important covering, namely, "the garments of salvation."

So, when you find yourself in a precarious position today or anywhere in the future, maybe you could first chuckle, thinking of a church youth usher holding a diapered-only baby at arms length as if the babe were a stinkin' diaper. And then you can rejoice, turning your heart to God's promise that he'll never leave you in the lurch, making sure that you (and all little ones and all who believe) are covered.

Yaaaaaay!

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Day of Praise

Thur, 06/07/18, "Day of Praise" 

Philippians 3:8-9 - "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith." 

On one short vacation recently (like every vacation) where we ate too much fast food, I was reminded of a time we were at Taco Bell, and this guy came in and presented this big sheet of coupons to the cashier. She calmly said to the guy, "You can't use those here." He replied, "But they sent 'em to me in the mail." She kindly said, "Hold on," as she went to get a manager. The manager came out, looked at the coupons, and kindly said, "I'm sorry, sir, you can't use those here." The man's now getting a little excited and says, "I don't understand. They sent these to me in the mail. Why can't I use them here?" The manager calmly replies, "I'm sorry, sir, but this is Taco Bell, and these coupons are for Steak 'n Shake next door." The man realizes how silly he's been looking, starts to humbly but enjoyably belly laugh, and walks out the door. 

Presenting Steak 'n Shake coupons at Taco Bell is what St. Paul is writing about in today's verses. We can present our own works and deeds and merits and goodness to God all day long, as if they're supposed to get us something in exchange. But God can only say, "I'm sorry, sir, you can't use those here." And we can argue all day how we've come to have these good deeds, and they should therefore count for something. But the only thing that's going to get us anything with God is the righteousness of Christ, which becomes ours through faith in Jesus. 

Oh, sure, it's very important for us to do good works and strive for excellence. But we do these things, not to get something from God, but instead we do them to thank God that we already have everything from God through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Thank you, Jesus! 

Praise God! 


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Day of Praise

Wed, 06/06/18, "Day of Praise"

Genesis 3:8-9 - "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?'"

So, don't you think that when "the man and his wife hid themselves" that the Lord God knew where they were? I mean the Lord God is the Lord God so he's all-knowing. So why did "the Lord God call to the man and say to him, 'Where are you?'"?

Simple. On the one hand, God was giving room for the man and woman to tell their story. And on the other hand, God was not backing them into a corner to make them feel trapped. In this way, God was inviting them to confess their wrongdoing in a way that would bring them back into freedom and fellowship with God.

When you know someone has done something wrong, how do you deal with them? It's easy for all of us, well, I'll speak for myself, it's easy for me to get on my high horse and get all upset and rant and rave and tell people what they did wrong and back them into a corner so they feel totally worn down and ashamed when I know they've done something wrong. (I'm not saying I do that; I'm saying that that would be so easy for me to do.)

However, God's way is not my way. From the beginning, as in today's verse, when God knows someone has done something wrong, God deals with us in a way that maximizes the possibility for restoring not just the person but also their dignity too. God invites us to tell our side of the story, which includes recognizing our error and asking for the forgiveness that God is eager to give so that our freedom and dignity can be restored.

We will all encounter mistakes today. May God help us to handle them as God does so that mistakes will be overcome with the wisdom and love of our Lord.

Praise God!


Pastor Chris
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Monday, June 4, 2018

Day of Praise

Tues, 06/05/18, "Day of Praise"

Matthew 27:26 - "Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified."

So, what would you have done? Ya know, if you had seen Barabbas on the street after his release? I mean, he was in prison for murder. But he was set free because of Jesus. So, what would you have done?

I have some friends in law enforcement. They're responsible for some people being in jail. They also often work traffic shifts, and sometimes they help traffic get in and out of large churches. Consistently, they speak of seeing someone pulling into or leaving church who they had helped to put into prison. Every policeman I know says that it warms their heart when they see someone whose life has been turned around by Jesus. 

But, the question is still out there: what would you do? Ya know, if you saw Barabbas on the street after his release? He was in prison for murder. But he was set free because of Jesus. So, what would you do? Would you, like my police friends, rejoice in seeing someone have their life turned around by Jesus? Or would you harbor ill feelings, and say that they should be locked up forever?

Now, what if I told you that "Barabbas" literally means "son of the Father" and more broadly means "child of God"? In other words, what if I told you that Barabbas represents all of us? Ya know, Barabbas represents the fact that all of us are set free, in spite of our sin, because of Jesus. Jesus bears the penalty of our sin so that we don't have to.

God tells us plainly, in the Bible, for example, in Luke 15, that God rejoices and angels rejoice and heaven rejoices when someone's life is turned around because of Jesus. Luke 15 has the parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Wayward or Prodigal Son. God rejoices when the lost are found, when the imprisoned are set free, and the wayward child comes home. 

So, though it broke God's heart to see his own son suffer, it warmed God's heart that Barabbas and every other child of God is set free because of Jesus. And that's what God would stir in us. When we see Barabbas or any other human being, because we all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, God would have us see each other like God does (and my police friends do). God would have us rejoice in the new beginnings that are made possible for us all both through the death of Jesus and also through our faith in Him and His love. 

Dear God, help us to see each other and all people through the eyes of your love. Amen!

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Day of Praise

Mon, 06/04/18, "Day of Praise"

Colossians 1:9-10 - "And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."

I once saw a church sign that on two lines read, "Is your life pleasing to God?" And then on the next line, it said, "Zumba - Wednesday 7:30." You can do all sorts of things with the sequence on the sign, but when I first read it driving by, it sounded as if a Zumba exercise class was their suggestion for pleasing God. So I chuckled.

Setting all humor aside, today's verses from Colossians are amongst sixty or so Bible verses that tell us what does and does not please God about our lives. In sum, God is pleased with our lives when we walk with Him and therefore walk in His blessings.

Walking with God is not difficult. Walking with God means surrendering to the faithful work of God's Holy Spirit so that we:
1) have faith in Christ, (both in Him personally and in His saving work),
2) look for Christ, (for example, look for the many chances to serve him daily by serving people in love), and
3) listen for Christ (for example, daily Bible reading, prayer, and at least weekly worship).

The result of such a walk with God, according to today's verses, is that we are:
1) filled with Christ and, therefore, his spiritual wisdom and power,
2) increasing in the knowledge of God, and
3) bearing fruit in every good work.
In sum, we are blessed. The result of walking with God is that we are blessed in such a way that we become a blessing to others and a glory to God.

To bring it full circle, when, through faith in Him, we are a blessing to others and a glory to God, then God is pleased indeed.

Happy day!

Praise God!


Pastor Chris
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Friday, June 1, 2018

Day of Praise

Sat, 06/02/18, "Day of Praise"

Mark 4:8 - "And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."

I remember the dad of an eighteen months old child being rightly excited to tell me how he and his wife had given their daughter a cracker. After a moment, this sweet little one put down the cracker and held out both hands in a way that plainly said, "Let's pray." Wow!

Friends, God is eager to see the seed of His word "growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold" as is recorded in today's verse from Mark 4:8.

Spread the seed of God's word, especially to those in your family, but also to others in your day. God is eager to bless and amaze all who do!

Praise God!


Pastor Chris
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Day of Praise

Fri, 06/01/18, "Day of Praise"

Proverbs 10:12 - "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses."

1 Peter 4:8 - "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins."

As one who can talk, I've been told more than once in my life to "put a lid on it." But one of my family's greatest memories was when the lid went flying off and through the air.

It was almost thirty years ago. My parents, my little sister, Cheryl, and I went from east Tennessee to Dallas to visit my brother who was located there with his first job out of college. 

For one of our last meals together, my brother suggested we go to a barbecue place called "Judge Beans." We were enjoying visiting and had just prayed over our food when I grabbed the bottle of ketchup by its base. I assumed the lid was on tightly, which proved to be a bad assumption. Holding the base, I gave that bottle a great big shake with a flick of my wrist. And before any of us knew what was happening, the lid flew off, and the ketchup flew out, and my father was absolutely covered in ketchup. I mean covered! 

Literally, everyone stopped breathing to see what my dad would do. And not only us but also the people at both tables next to us stopped breathing too. It seemed like an eternity. Even reliving this memory with my brother a couple years ago, we both recalled how we thought our dad was going to fly off the handle and get angry. The silence was deafening as we all waited for dad to react. He looked down at himself, kind of thought for a moment, then, to our wonder, a smile started to shape on his face, and he laughed. Belly laughed. And all of us, including strangers, joined in the biggest hee-hawing that I know I'd ever experienced.

A man who was covered in ketchup was the man who covered us (namely me) in grace.

'Cause that's what love does. It covers. Accidents. Oopses. And sins.

That day my dad was a picture of Jesus. He was covered with the consequence of my carelessness, coupled with the carelessness of whoever used the ketchup before us and didn't secure the lid in its place. But the man who was covered in others' mistakes was the man who covered us with grace. Thank you, Jesus!

So live today remembering the grace of a man who was covered in ketchup and, even moreso, the Son of Man, Jesus, who was covered in our sin. For God's Word in 1 Peter 4:8 is true: "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins."

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Day of Praise

Thur, 05/31/18, "Day of Praise"

Psalm 23:5 - "You prepare a table before me, even in the presence of my enemies."

Here's an image for being at table with your enemies. A five-year old sits by himself in a booster seat at the kitchen table with a plate of green beans and a green glass filled with red kool-aid in front of him. By the way, the green beans won and it wasn't a pretty sight. Enough said.

Here's a better image for today's verse. Whatever difficult and anxiety-producing situation, person, or reality is set before you today, God prepares a table before you as God says to you, "Sit down and eat. I've got the other stuff covered." Enough said!

So, have a great day!

Praise God!


Pastor Chris
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Day of Praise

Wed, 05/30/18, "Day of Praise" 

Let God's Word speak joy into our hearts. 

Philippians 4:4 - "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" 

Psalm 13:5 - "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation." 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 

Psalm 40:16 - "But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, 'The LORD be exalted!'" 

James 1:2-4 - "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

Romans 5:1-4 - "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." 

Psalm 28:7 - "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." 

Romans 15:13 - "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." 

Psalm 64:10 - "Let the righteous rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him!" 

Praise God! 


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Monday, May 28, 2018

Day of Praise

Tues, 05/29/18, "Day of Praise"

Luke 23:43 - Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."

So as I write this for Tuesday, it is Monday. I remember a Monday in my recent past when I was at the room in a hospital where pastors go to sign in, and it happened again. A person greeted me, nice and cheerful. But, when I asked how they were, they said, "Well, I've almost made it through Monday, and I hope God will help me make it through Tuesday."

And I thought, "Here's another who doesn't understand." So I said, "Ya know, God wants us to more than just make it through a day. That's a weary existence. God wants us to be genuinely joyful in every moment as he lives in us by His Holy Spirit."

The person stopped and said, "Wow! That's exciting! I feel better already! I guess I was just thinking about normal days where it seems we go it alone."

Ah, it seems! 

Friends, whatever may seem true to you, here's the truth in today's Bible verse: Today, you will be with Jesus in Paradise.

We tend to hear this as, "Well, someday down the road, when I die, I'll get to be with Jesus. But for now, I hope I can make it through the day like I did yesterday."

But this is what Jesus wants us to hear, "Dear Children of God, whenever I tell you something will be today, it's my promise to you for today. And when you believe my promise, it's immediately your reality in that moment. So, when I promise that today you will be with me in Paradise, if you will believe it, you'll immediately have a joyful Paradise with me. And your weary existence is no more."

And that's the way it is in the whole Bible. Whenever God speaks and uses the words "will" and "today" together, God is making a promise that immediately becomes reality when we believe. God's blessings are right in front of us to claim in faith: His Victory, His Presence, His Preparing the Way, His Prosperity, His Providence, His Provision, His Paradise and more, as are listed in the Bible verses after today's "Praise God!"

So, don't just survive the day; instead, you can thrive today! All you need to do is believe the promises of God, and you will!

Praise God!

——————————————

And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.

and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord, and a cereal offering mixed with oil; for today the Lord will appear to you.'"

Moreover the Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jerobo′am today
And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Eli′sha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?" And he said, "Yes, I know it; hold your peace."
The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Eli′sha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?" And he answered, "Yes, I know it; hold your peace."
will establish his kingdom for ever if he continues resolute in keeping my commandments and my ordinances, as he is today.'

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?

But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith!
And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Day of Praise

Mon, 5/28/18, Memorial Day, "Day of Praise"

Having just visited last week with our now three grown children, here's one of my favorite devotions I've written for Memorial Day. 

John 15:13 - "[Jesus said,] 'Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.'"

As we take time this Memorial Day to thank God for the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and the freedoms we enjoy, let's remember that Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the spiritual freedom of every nation, was raised from the dead to pour out his life everyday to set people free.

My three kids and I are on vacation for a few days. As we worshiped together in our hotel room yesterday morning, my oldest, Calley, concluded our worship by asking God to cross our paths with His choices so we could be a blessing in Christ here like we ask to be at home. 

Well, no sooner had we finished worship than we walked 50 yards to our bus and got there just in time to be the last on board so that we were standing at the yellow line next to the driver. The driver started having a grand time, looking in the mirror and engaging everyone on the sound system. His name was Tito, and he was from Carolina, Puerto Rico. 

I turned to Tito and said, "I'm so excited because I've always dreamed that when I retire from pastoring that I'll become a Disney bus driver and minister to people like you're doing." 

Tito replied, "Oh, I'm a big believer, but I don't do the church thing."

I said, "Just look at all the joy you're bringing to people on this bus who weren't even looking for it. Just think how much you'd bring to the many people who come to church because they're looking for God!"

Tito's face turned white as a sheet. Then he asked if, after we got to our destination and everyone else got off, we'd stay and listen to something about God as Creator that he'd recently downloaded to his phone. 

Of course, we said, "Yes!" because Calley had asked God not ten minutes beforehand to cross our paths with His choices. 

After the bus unloaded, we stayed with Tito, and he played his download about God being the greatest Artist who created all the other great artists. And then we encouraged him to find a church home and use his God-given gifts toward others. 

He started crying, which is a Biblical mark of revival, and shared how he wasn't even supposed to be driving that bus yesterday, but two others bailed out on the company, and he was the next driver they called. He also shared how God told him to close the door right after we got on the bus instead of cramming in 20 more like he was supposed to do, which led to our standing right next to him. 

In sum, y'all, Christ poured himself out through worship in a hotel room and Calley's prayer and a willingness by Tito to serve by driving a bus you're not supposed to be driving and to talk to the most important person in your world, namely, the person who is right in front of you. Tito, Calley, and the rest of our family, we're just plain ordinary people like all of you, who God wants to work through extraordinarily, as with all of you, so He can get the glory because we were all made to love to praise the Lord. 

So stop right now, like Calley did, and ask the Lord to cross your path today and everyday with the people of His choice. Yes, it's kind of scary because it's laying down your life both for others and for God's glory. But we can lay down our lives for these purposes because 1) others have poured out their lives for us, as we celebrate today on this Memorial Day, and 2) Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, continues to pour out his life for us everyday!

To God be the Glory!

Praise God!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Day of Praise

Sat, 05/26/18, "Day of Praise"

Luke 15:20 - "And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him."

When I was a kid, just 3-4 years old, living with my family in the Fox Meadows section of Memphis, Tennessee, one of my favorite activities in all the world was standing on the front porch of our house at 3117 Flint Drive and watching my older sister, Cathy, and brother, Ben, Jr., walk home from school. I loved spotting them in the distance of our long, straight, treeless street. As if it was yesterday, I remember how excited I was for them to get home, after their long, hard day at elementary school, so my mom and I could greet them and welcome them home. 

How much more does God, through Christ, eagerly wait to welcome us home?

In today's Bible verse, from Luke 15:20, the story has gotten to the point where a son who, in essence, had told his father, "you're as good as dead to me, so I want my inheritance," has come to his senses, realizing that it's better to be a slave in his loving father's house instead of being free in his own pig pen and pig slop. So the son "arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him."

I, as a young child, eagerly watched everyday for my sister and brother to appear in the distance so I could greet them and welcome them home. So too, God, who is the father in today's Bible verse story, eagerly watched everyday for the son to appear in the distance so he could greet him and welcome him home.

Ya see, Friends, we all know people who have been away from the Lord, maybe their whole life, maybe just for a season. Maybe that person is you.

But no matter who it is or how long they've been away, God is eager to welcome you home and spread his arms wide as we see on the cross of God's Son, Jesus Christ. God loved you enough to let you go and explore and see for yourself that there is nothing as joyful and satisfying and lasting and life-giving as daily fellowship with our God through His Word. 

Have you been away from daily fellowship with our God through His Word? It's about more than reading a devotion at the start of the day. Do you know His presence and listen for Him and call on Him through the day? As His child, you have been given access, through faith in Jesus, to all the power and wisdom and riches that belong to God. 

Arise and come to Him.

He will welcome you home. 

He will eagerly greet you.

And he will shower you with gifts in Jesus Christ. 

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Day of Praise

Fri, 05/25/18, "Day of Praise"

Psalm 34:14 - "Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."

1 Timothy 6:11 - "But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness."

What shall we pursue today and this weekend? May God help us to pursue what is truly valuable! 

A couple years ago, our young church member, Sydney Estill went to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to work in a protection zone for the critically endangered Black Rhino. Sydney's trip reminded me of what I learned years ago as to why Black Rhinos are almost extinct in the wild, with barely 5,000 remaining. The reason for their downfall is that people keep pursuing and killing the Black Rhino to get its large, front horn, and the tragedy in this is that the Black Rhino's horn is worthless in substance because it's made of the exact same material as human hair and finger nails. In essence, people are wasting a lot of time, endangering their own lives, and threatening the end to a beautiful creature because they're pursuing something that, in substance, is worthless. 

Such pursuit of the Black Rhino's horn is a tragic parable for what many people will do today and this weekend, namely, waste a lot of time, endanger their own souls, and threaten the end of the beautiful creatures they influence by pursuing things that are worthless.

But God calls us, in today's Bible verses, to turn away from, even flee from, worthless pursuits, and calls us instead to pursue peace, righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness.

Every man, woman, boy, and girl, should ask the question each morning, "What am I ultimately pursuing today?" And if we go a small step farther each day and ask God to help us see the true worth of our pursuits, the Living God, who is a God of clarity, will help us to truly see our pursuits for what they are, namely, a worthy and lasting pursuit or not. And then if we ask Him, God will gladly help us to not only shape and mold what we pursue but also our motives and reasons for our pursuits so that our own lives both are truly worth living and also serve to encourage the same substantial reasons in others!

Dear God, please help us to "turn away from evil and do good; [to] seek peace and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14) and to "flee [worthless] things [and instead] pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness" (1 Timothy 6:11). Amen

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Day of Praise

Thur, 05/24/18, "Day of Praise"

Ephesians 5:21 - "Submit to one another out of reverence for Jesus Christ."

In my silly moments, thinking about today's Bible verse, I picture two people endlessly bowing in honor back and forth to each other. How does anything ever get done if all they're doing is bowing and submitting to each other? Doesn't someone need to take charge and make something happen?

However, in God's economy, submitting to one another is not an endless waste of time where people constantly bow and do nothing while waiting for the other to act. To the contrary, submitting to one another is a mutual affirmation and a mutual encouragement. Submitting to one another is a way to say to the other person, "I value the gifts that God has given you. Please use them so that we'll both be blessed. I value the perspective that God has given you. Please speak so I can see what I'm missing. And I value the work you do. Let's work together so we can do what needs to be done."

Mutual submission works when two people share Jesus Christ, because it's not about knocking yourself down, but, instead, it's about valuing, building up, and celebrating the other person. And when both people are doing this, as I like to say, "Everybody wins!" And so it is, when Jesus is in it: Everybody Wins!

So in our society where everybody loves to win, let's be found heeding the Great Coach's strategy for victory in Ephesians 5:21, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Jesus Christ."

Praise God!


Pastor Chris
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Day of Praise

Wed, 05/23/18, "Day of Praise"

1 Corinthians 13:12 - "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."

It's wedding season around here and most everywhere else. And 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the all-time favorite Bible chapters that brides and grooms choose to have read at their weddings. 

You know 1 Corinthians 13 - Love is patient; Love is kind; Love keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13 is all about love. That's why couples choose it. It's clearly about love.

But towards the end of 1 Corinthians 13 is this part in today's verse that is not so clear, "For now we see in a mirror dimly." Say what? That's not clear. And that surely isn't about love. 

As they say, "Not so fast."

Some, hey, maybe all of you may know that seeing "in a mirror dimly" refers to the quality of mirrors that they had in Bible days. My training on the matter was that mirrors in Bible days were like pieces of glass that people often use decoratively today where you can see both a little reflection of yourself and also a foggy view of things on the other side. I think they call it bubble glass nowadays. Bottom line is that your own reflection in that kind of mirror is dim, at best, and you actually can also see through it, but dimly also at best. In sum, as the verse goes on to say, the mirror glass of Bible days only let you "know in part" both your present (your reflection in the glass) and your future (your seeing through the glass). 

Such dimness and knowing in part is also, like the rest of 1 Corinthians 13, about love - God's love. 

God's love reminds us that we often don't see ourselves too clearly. We often kick ourselves over things that God (and others) have long ago forgiven and/or forgotten. We often see ourselves as far less beautiful and handsome than the child of God that our Heavenly Father adores. And we often see ourselves as far less worthy than the worth that God obviously attaches to us by deeming that we're worth it to him to send His Only Son to die for us and our sin! We have a dim view of ourselves, but God sees us clearly as His own, so he calls us to listen to his voice about us instead of our own voice about us. God loves us far more than we could ever love ourselves!

Similarly, God's love reminds us that we don't see our future too clearly either. The future looks unclear to us, but it's perfectly clear to God. We look through the bubble, and our future looks most uncertain, but God certainly knows what's ahead, namely, He Himself. In other words, God doesn't want us to see clearly all the details of our future. Instead, God wants us to see Him! God wants us to focus on the fact that, though the "whats" of our future are unclear, the "who" of our future is very clear, well, when we look in faith, because nothing about our future is clear apart from faith. But, in faith, we clearly see who is in our future, yay, the Sovereign Loving God. And since God is already there, our future will clearly be blessed.

So right now take a look in the mirror or better, before you hop in your car today, look in your car window, which is kind of like the dim mirrors of old. And, as you see a dim reflection of yourself and a little bit through the glass, remember the love of God that sees you and your future clearly. He loves you right now and will be present in all that's ahead to clearly guide your ways.

Trust Him, and you'll see!

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson

Monday, May 21, 2018

Day of Praise

Tues, 05/22/18, "Day of Praise"

Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths."

What does God mean by "all your ways"? God has taught me, through his word, that "all my ways" can be summed up as follows. Knowing and trusting God through Jesus is the only "Way" (John 14:1-7) for us to live if we want to live abundantly now and forever. And then, within the overall Way of Jesus, there are two smaller "ways" that cover everything also, namely, the way of praising God and the way of thanking God.

For example, I think about how I often am with a big meeting. Through the day, God stops me at various times to pray for the meeting and entrust it to him, I find myself either being quite calm and peaceful about it. Or I find myself becoming a little nervous and anxious about it. When I'm calm and peaceful, I thank God, for God alone can give peace (Galatians 5:22-23). And when I'm a little nervous and anxious, I praise God as the One who alone can promise to give peace (Galatians 5:22-23) and then does! In other words, I either thank God for what he does (give peace). Or I praise God for who He is and, therefore, what He alone can and will do (give peace).

Ya see, when we're in Jesus Christ, through faith, in everything that comes upon us in the course of a day, there are only two possible ways to see it, namely, thank God for the good thing he's already done or praise God for the good thing that he will do because he is a good and gracious and mighty God all the time!

So, may we be found acknowledging the Lord in all our ways today! May we taste the Way that is the Life of Truth in God through Jesus Christ as we thank him for the good thing that we're tasting or as we praise him for the good thing that he'll surely bring about!

Trust him in these ways, and you'll see!

Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths."

Praise God!


Pastor Chris 
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson