Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27
Have you ever wanted God to answer all of your questions? Have you wanted Him to reveal why something happened in the past, how things will roll out in the future, or what He’s doing in the present so you could stop worrying?
If so, there is a wonderful lesson from David in the Bible that will encourage you.
David knew there were some things that were just too wonderful to understand about life and God. For this reason, he chose not to worry about those things God had reserved to be mysteries.  
“I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.” Psalm 131:1
Because David knew God was wonderfully mysterious, he chose to master his own soul, or his mind, will, and emotions.  
“Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2 
Stilling and quieting one's soul is a choice. It's centering on that believing, quiet part of yourself, away from pain-filled questions where we commune with God from a position of belief.
One morning I did this very thing at 4 AM when I couldn't sleep.  I didn’t ask Him questions about the trials I was having, and I didn’t demand that He tell me why I was experiencing troubles. I confessed my love for Him. And instead of asking Him, “Why?” or “How?” I asked Him a question of surrender: “Lord, will you please help me trust you more?”
In those quiet moments, a sweet peace settled into my soul, a peace I imagine David experienced when he chose to believe and let go of things he didn’t understand.  
When we choose to believe and relinquish what we don’t understand, when we embrace the magnificent mystery of God, our unanswered questions will melt away in the light of His sovereignty and His love, and instead of experiencing worry, we’ll experience peace.
Are worries or questions about your future, the past or the present tormenting you? Do like David did and surrender to the mystery of God. 
Prayer: Lord, Help me to remember that as I trust you, I will experience your peace. Thank you for loving me so much. Amen.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Bit and bridle

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.  Psalm 32:8-9 (NIV)
The words from this Psalm strike me as deeply moving and convicting. A bit and bridle are used for a creature that has no hope of every truly conforming to the will and direction of its master. The heart of the creature, we could say, is forever oriented towards its own interests and desires, constantly having to be redirected and brought back in line.
The first part of this Psalm promises the nearness and goodness of the Lord to guide and instruct us into the way of peace. His eye is always upon us, inviting us out of our selfishness and into His love. He is never forceful or coercive but instructs and counsels with gentleness and grace. His Spirit draws near to us in our weakness and restores us into His likeness, teaching us what it means to truly live as His sons and daughters.
In light of this mercy and grace, we are given a radical invitation: become by grace what we cannot be by nature. Left on our own, our wills will be no better than a horse or mule, always pulling and pushing away from the Lord and His plans for us. Yet the promise of grace is that we are made new! As St. Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (See 2 Corinthians 5:17).
It is incredibly easy to take on a posture of pessimism. We do this culturally, economically, politically, and often spiritually. We see the greed, selfishness, and pride in national leaders and corporations, we see the shortcomings in those we love, and we know the parts of our own hearts that remain darkened by sin. And yet, in light of all of this, we are as Christians a people of great hope! Christ has conquered all that is broken and disordered and now rules and reigns and welcomes us into His new Kingdom.
Each of us is a work in progress. There are areas of our life where we see great victory and triumph over sin. Yet there are others where we have still not fully submitted to the transforming grace of God. We are still beastly in our desires, like stubborn mules. May God give us the courage afresh to invite His grace into every part of our lives. We are people of hope, and we must believe that growth into Christ’s likeness is always possible.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

In it to win it

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:16-18
It is somewhat surreal to think and reassuring to know, that one day I will awake, not in this world, but in heaven. In the meantime, I am left with a mission from God to stay engaged in secular society. My role is not to be spiritually sterilized by modern mores that miss Christ’s heart, but to fertilize faith in God. The easier route is to check out of culture and check in exclusively with the saints. But I miss advertising Jesus if I stay secluded and isolated from society and culture. Beloved like a thermostat regulates a room’s temperature, so my engagement in this life can keep warm the culture’s conversation about the Lord.  
Jesus describes to His disciples this ongoing tension of being an influencer for good while not being influenced by bad. Sin does not need to be experienced to know it’s harmful, just like you don't have to break a bone yourself to know it hurts. Thus, the task of these early followers of Jesus was to bring faith in God to a godless society and culture. Not just faith in God, but faith in God through His son Jesus Christ. Their divine mission was to live and proclaim the gospel so believers of the good news changed for good, and thus, the culture changed for good. The disciples remained in the world so the world would embrace its Savior (See Matthew 5:13).
We are called to be salt and light for our Lord Jesus. Does our life in Christ engage other lives for Christ? Or, are we so worldly minded we’ve lost our influence for the Lord? If a person’s behavior becomes better when they are around you, you’re salt. If they respect and love God because you respect and love God, you’re light. If your workplace values reflect the values of your heavenly Father, you’re so tasty. If followers of Jesus leveraged their circle of influence for Christ, there would be a revolution of righteousness.  
This ongoing tension of being in the world but not of the world keeps us dependent on Jesus and His Spirit which lives in us. Indeed, He prays for us to walk this fine line of being and doing. Without these two pressure points, we would drift through life self-reliant and ineffective. It’s from our time spent with the Lord that we understand how to spend our time with people. Inviting the world into our world requires trust. When we take our world into the world, it requires radical trust. Christ compounds our faith investment into the fruit of saved souls and changed lives. Be in it to win it.