Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Two words.

I want to ask you for two words, but the two words I'm talking about won’t make sense unless you read this verse:

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.
Psalm 28:7

That verse ends with the phrase, "in song." That is going to be the author's method of giving thanks. So what is yours? If you rewrote that for your own life, what would it say? Mine would say "in writing." I will give thanks to him in writing.

With the words I write on these blogs, with the words I write in the book and any other books I get to publish, with every word I pen, I am going to give thanks.

What are your two words?

At work?
In meetings?
At school?
During homework?

What are your two words?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hiding in fields.

I think there are a few things I'm supposed to be doing right now, one of which is writing more. I feel that 97secondswithGod, prodigaljon and stuffchristianslike, are what God wants me to focus on right now. But for a variety of reasons, all three of those sites only constitute a thin sliver of my week.

It's easy to get frustrated about that. To think, "Ugh, I have a call, I have an idea of the direction I'm supposed to be going, why am I not going at the speed I want to?" Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever thought, "I'm not were I'm supposed to be right now. I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I have more to give."

Maybe not, but that's where I'm at this morning. And while praying through that I felt like God reminded me that He's still in the business of hiding people in fields.

Which is a weird kind of reminder, but when I looked at the story of David in 1 Samuel it made sense. David didn't just receive a call or a suggestion or a "what if" from God, he was anointed King of Israel. In 1 Samuel 16:13, after he's anointed, it says, "from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. And then he went back to tend some sheep."

It doesn't say that last line but it should, because that's what happened. The rightful king of Israel returned to the field. Even when David becomes a member of Saul's court, it says in 1 Samuel 17:15 "but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father's sheep in Bethlehem."

It's easy to look at our lives and think, "Why am I working here God? Why am I a part of this church or this ministry or this whatever? I should be doing great things for you! I should be starting a new, all consuming adventure with you. Right this second!"

But I think that sometimes, out of His infinite love and wisdom, God chooses to hide us in fields. Why? I don't know. Maybe he wants us to wrestle more bears before we face Goliath. Maybe He's got a really important message He wants to whisper to us and it can only be heard in the loneliness of a field. Maybe Job 23:9-10 answers this question better than I ever could:

"When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold."

Maybe God has you in a field because He wants to introduce you to the world as gold.

I don't know, but I rest in the fact that I serve a God that does. I rest in the fact that I serve a God that knows exactly where I am and has a purpose for that unique spot, whether it's a field or a kingdom, a mission field or a corporate meeting.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ah snap, hate mail!

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11

If I truly believed that verse, I would respond to hate mail with a thank you note. I would receive criticism that was meant to wound, as a gift. A confirmation that I was doing the right thing and was in fact blessed. But I don’t right now. Most of the time I just get mad. I act surprised that God would allow something like that to happen as I try my best to do the work I feel like He’s laid out for me. Maybe, just maybe, instead of reacting to hate with hate, I need to believe what Jesus said in Matthew and react with thanksgiving.

How would the way you react to persecution be different if you really lived Matthew 5:11?

p.s. please remind me of this post when the book I'm writing comes out.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


We might take the Bible casually, but you know who doesn’t? satan.

He knows God’s word inside and out and loves nothing more than to use it as a tool of condemnation and attack. That’s why he’s the father of lies. He tries to wound us with our own weapons. Even Christ experienced that in the desert when satan quoted the Bible as a temptation in Matthew 4:5-6.

What does that mean? We shouldn’t take the Bible casually. We shouldn’t assume that the verses pressed upon our hearts are always going to be gifts. satan will use anything against us, even the Bible.

(And yes, I lowercased the s on purpose.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The cause and the source.

When I feel weary, as I do this morning, my first inclination is spin my heart and my head trying to identify the cause of my discomfort. But I wonder if it would be better for me to focus less on the cause of my sorrow and more on the source of my joy, Christ?

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This is 5:09 AM.

I've written about Isaiah 30:18 a million times, but a few minutes ago, while doing my quiet time I was struck by a picture it paints. Here is what the verse says:

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

What struck me is the line, "he rises to show you compassion."

I know God never sleeps, but when I get up at 5:09 every morning to start my day, I feel like I might be the only one awake in the world. When I come into a dark office building and turn on the lights at work, it feels like I'm the only one up. But in this verse we get the picture of God rising. He is awakening. He is getting up. And the question on His lips, the thought for the day is "How can I show compassion to Jon today? How can I be gracious to him?"

I feel heretical just typing that. That is too good to be true. As I scribbled that idea down in my five star notebook this morning I couldn't help but hear the voice of doubt repeating, "No way. No way. No way."

But maybe doubt is wrong this time. Maybe when verses like this say "the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion," I shouldn't read them as "sometimes the Lord longs to be gracious to you. If you're good, he might show you compassion."

Maybe, just maybe, this God of ours really does love us as much as He keeps trying to tell us.