Sunday, February 21, 2016


The world is a dangerous place. The last century saw more deaths from war than all previous centuries combined. And just a few years into the 21st century, we may be heading for a new record. Countless numbers suffer and die as victims of war, pestilence, malnutrition, disease. This world seems to be an increasingly dangerous place.

Even in our technologically advanced age, life is quite precarious. We may no longer face daily dangers from such things as wild beasts and creatures of the night, but there are plenty of new dangers that abound. Viruses, cancers, infections, radiation. It seems there is no safe haven from the dangers that surround us.

In the 17th century the hymn writer Hans Brorson penned the hymn, "I Walk in Danger All The Way", which pretty much describes the life of a person living today.

"I walk in danger all the way, the thought shall never leave me
that Satan, who has marked his prey, is plotting to deceive me.
this foe with hidden snares may seize me unawares
if I should fail to watch and pray, I walk in danger all the way."

It's a war out there, for sure. What most people don't realize, however, is that the world is a much more dangerous place than it appears. The violence and chaos of this world have their roots in a much more insidious and disturbing warfare between unseen spiritual forces in the heavenly realms. We are not simply at war with ourselves and with one another - we are at war with the enemies of sin, death, and the devil.

Human beings are in danger because they are in a broken relationship with their Creator, and because they live in a world that is in frustration and bondage to decay.  

From this bondage God in Christ comes to free us and to deliver us. By His cross and empty tomb we are freed from the oppression of sin, death, and the power of the devil. Jesus our Deliverer comes to save us - to liberate us from the dark evil forces that held us in their grasp. Jesus comes to bring us genuine freedom and liberty - He comes to set the captives free.

Thanks be to God - we have a Deliverer! And thanks be to God, that although in this world we may have to walk in danger all the way ... we also walk with Jesus ... all the way.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

give it up for lent

Here are a few things to consider giving up for Lent ...

Guilt – I am loved by Jesus and he has forgiven my sins. Today is a new day and the past is behind.

Fear – God is on my side. In him I am more than a conqueror. (see Romans 8)

The Need to Please – I can’t please everyone anyway. There is only one I need to strive to please.

Envy – My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

Impatience – God’s time is always the right time.

Sense of Entitlement – The world doesn't owe me anything. God doesn't owe me anything, either.
I live in humility and grace.

Bitterness and Resentment – The only person I'm hurting by holding on to these things is myself.

Blame – I'm not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.

Gossip and Negativity – I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will minimize my contact with people who are toxic and tear everyone else down.

Comparison – I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.

Fear of failure – No one succeeds without experiencing failure. Just remember to fail forward.

A spirit of poverty – Believe that with God there is always more than enough and never a lack.

Feelings of unworthiness – You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. (see Psalm 139)

Doubt – Believe God has a plan for you that is beyond anything you could imagine. The future is brighter than you could ever realize. (see Jeremiah 29:11)

Self-pity – God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can be a comfort for others.

Retirement – As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for good.

Excuses – A wise man once said, if you need an excuse, any excuse will do.

Lack of counsel – Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.

Pride – Blessed are the humble.

Worry – God is in control, so worrying will not help one bit.


Thursday, February 4, 2016


What's your favorite miracle?

I'm guessing the Transfiguration probably wasn't the first thing that came to mind. We don't typically think of the Transfiguration as one of Jesus' miracles. But it is a very important one, and one that points us ahead to the greatest miracle of all.

Jesus' miracles are always done for a reason - and they are always done in love. His heart reaches out to people, he's filled with care and compassion, touched by human sorrow. He sees the terror on the faces of the men in the sinking boat, or the distress on the face of the father who's lost his only child, or the hoarse cry of the lepers, begging for help. His great love and mercy is behind every one of His miracles.

So we come to the Transfiguration, the miracle of metamorphosis, as we witness Jesus pulling back the curtain for a moment in order to show us His heavenly glory. We see Him shining like the sun in all His radiant splendor on the mountain top with Moses and Elijah. And as we hear the voice of God the Father, we wonder what this miracle meant to the three men who were there to witness it, and what it means for us today as well. "This is my beloved Son - Listen to Him!"

This incredible experience on the mountain was not for Jesus' sake. It was for the disciples - and for us. The glory that lit up the sky on Mt. Tabor is the same glory Jesus comes to bring us, the same glory He will give to us on the day of Resurrection. The glory of His body will some day be our own.

In order for that to happen, Jesus has to come down from the mountain and begin to walk up another. From Mt. Tabor to Mt. Calvary.  From Transfiguration to Tetellestai. From "This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased" to "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

That's how Jesus will bring glory to our bodies - by rescuing us from death and sin, by trading places with us, by taking our shame, by dying lost and alone. Dying our death to give us his life. Bearing our shame to give us his glory.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the transformation that changes everything. It changes how we view our lives. It changes how we face our own suffering and death. It changes how we see God and how we treat other people. It changes us from the inside out.

This changes everything.