Planted By the Stream

I have challenged our deacon body to read through some selected Psalms over the next month.  Today we began with the first Psalm.  It begins like this:

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

As I read these verses this morning, I was reminded how important it is to remain planted in God’s truth.  It is really hard for a tree to bear fruit if it is not receiving the needed sustenance to survive.

tree-and-riverWe are no different.  We need God’s truth flowing into us so that we can bear fruit.

We all go through dry spells in our walk.  But always remember, we are dry most likely because we have ceased to be planted by the stream.

Stay planted today!

A Masterpiece

Is God at work in your life?  Have you asked yourself that question lately?

God leaves nothing unfinished.  Philippians 1:6 says, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

God has begun something amazing in you.  The work really started with your conception.  God knew your potential even then.  God knew your quirks.  God knew your strengths.  God knew what would bring you passion.  God knew.

Your entire life – all of it – leading right up to this sacred moment right now, God has been working in your life.  God takes everything you experience and uses it to shape you.  You potter-and-clayare a masterpiece of His creation.  God’s fingerprints are all over you.

God is still at work.  So no matter what you encounter today, remember . . . God IS NOT finished.  And God is faithful and trustworthy to carry out what He has started.

Rest in this truth today!

Never Alone

Have you ever felt alone – really alone?  Like no one could ever understand what you are feeling?  Maybe you feel this way today.

Each of us encounter times and circumstances in our lives in which we feel we are walking the path in solitude.  It is not that we want to walk alone but we find ourselves isolated.  We receive a call with bad news or that opportunity we have been hoping would materialize falls through.  That person we have counted on in the past lets us down.

There are countless reasons we might feel alone, but my reading this morning offers hope.

Psalm 139 reminds us:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

praying-beach-sunriseIt doesn’t matter where we find ourselves today, God is in our midst.  Allow God’s presence to bring you peace – the thought of His presence to bring you joy.

You are not alone – – you are never alone!

Be blessed today.

Indescribable Joy

This Sunday we will wrap up our current sermon series entitled, Walking With God.  The topic for this Sunday is walking with joy.  So I have been giving a lot of thought and prayer to the subject of joy this week.

What brings us joy?  Do we even know how to describe it?  Most might describe joy as happiness.  We might think of things we obtain or positions we attain as bringing us joy.  We might think of the experience of holding a new born for the first time or meeting that special someone.

As we think of ways to define joy, different experiences begin to come to mind, but putting a clear definition into words is a bit difficult.

The classic definition of joy is “emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune.”  But when we look at how joy is used in the sacred text, we find a deeper nuance to the word.  As we study scripture, we begin to see joy as a compilation of the experience of security that comes by being known and loved by the creator coupled with the experience of confidence in God’s provision.

1 Peter 1:8-9 tells us that when we believe Jesus is who he says he is – really believe to the point of staking our lives on him – then we will receive joy that far surpasses descriptive definition.   This joy is a direct result of the realization that Jesus provides us with something we can never attain on our own – salvation.

So today, as you think about the things in life that bring you happiness, think also on the deeper experience of joy that can be yours in believing.

Be blessed today!

God’s Peace

I don’t remember a time in my days on this planet that this nation has been more divided and in uproar.  There have been seasons of unrest to be sure but nothing quite like this.


As we read the headlines or hear the commentators, it would seem the world is spinning out of control.  In many ways, I fear it may be doing just that.  But before you buy a one way ticket to a deserted island to live out the rest of your days there in solitude, remember this:  God said that he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

As he was getting ready to make his way to Jerusalem for the final time, Jesus gathered his disciples and said, “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)

Do not be afraid . . .

When we think about his peace we need to remember one important truth.  The peace of Jesus – that peace that far surpasses human understanding – is not the absence of struggle but rather the freedom from anxiety in the midst of struggle.

So today, as the headlines continue to bear more bad news – remember – Jesus offers peace to all who will surrender to him and accept it.

Stay close!

Do not be afraid . . . just believe.

The Weight of Words

I am back in the realm of my normal schedule today, but for the past two days I have spent time with God on a retreat titled Longing For His Presence.  On this retreat, the attendee is given the opportunity to practice a handful of Christian practices or Spiritual Disciplines.  It has been a while since I spent concentrated time not doing strategic planning or sermon preparation but specifically on focusing intently on God.

One of the disciplines I practiced on the retreat was silence.  From 8:00 pm on Monday night until 1:00 pm on Tuesday I practiced silence.  Granted, at least 6 hours of that I was asleep, but it was still a lengthy time to keep quiet.  When you think about it, a large part of my calling involves speaking.  So for me to commit not to talk takes a little effort.

But really, the time alone was not difficult.  When I noticed the strain was at breakfast, sitting across the table from the brothers and not saying anything.

I am still working through the impact of this experience, so I am sure there will be other insights that will come as I reflect on this in the days to come.  But one overwhelming thought came over me yesterday as I sat in silence in the presence of others – the weight of words.  I was overwhelmed with the realization that we were created for relationship – to relate to God and to others.  Without words, developing those relationships would be very difficult.  Words are not the only way we develop bonds but they certainly help.

Our words have the ability to bring encouragement or hurt.  Our words can offer healing or they can offer division.

I think also of how words are wasted.  We spout off things with little thought to their impact.

Sometimes withholding words is powerful – sometimes using words to express ourselves can be powerful.


Words carry weight.

How will you use your words today to offer life?

Walking With God

This Sunday we will begin a new series here at the church entitled, Walking With God.  So I have been thinking for some time about all the ramifications of this thought of actually walking with God on a daily basis.  There are all kinds of images that come to mind when thinking about walking.  walking-with-god-series-poster

Kristi and I often walk together along the jogging trails around our house.  But when we walk it is more for exercise than for leisure.  Walking also serves as the means of getting from one place to another – so the idea of destination becomes important.

But when I consider walking with God, I am drawn to the idea that walking with God is more encompassing than simply exercise or destination.  Walking with God is more about the time together and the direction than it is about meeting a specific goal in a specific timeframe.  Maybe it is more about the conversation and observation than about the distance.

As you set out to walk with God today, note what is happening around you.  What is God showing you?  How is God leading you as you walk through this day?

And as you walk, remember this – God’s promise to Joshua (Joshua 1:9) is extended to you as his child –

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

God is with you on this journey so walk with confidence today!