Monday, August 31, 2009


The justified person is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (Rom. 5:1–10)

It seems often that we take for granted what righteousness/justification means; at least I do.
Think about the fact that through Christ's righteousness we can be counted as perfectly obedient to the Law. That is mind blowing. How can we who have been guilty of offending so many points of the Law be counted as perfectly obedient to it?

We only can have this standing before God if we accept His free gift of grace. If we could work for it, then we could boast, but instead He has made it so our only part is that we are recipients. Someone who only receives can't boast in anything except how good the gift is and how gracious the Giver has been. This should not ever lead to pride.

If we were to try to provide our own righteousness we could work a little off today, but while yesterday's debt off, we would incur more wrath today and we would never gain any ground. The only possible solution to our sin "problem" is to have the Perfect Sacrifice for our sin. (I put problem in quotes because it is so much bigger than a problem).

What freedom to know that our debt has been paid, if we will only accept the payment. We can accept that it has been paid on the cross, or we can take our sin and pay for it for all of eternity, in Hell.

Accepting payment has "consequences". We will delight in walking in newness of life, we will not try to gratify the deeds of the flesh, we will produce good works that are in accordance with our new nature and Master and they will all flow out of a heart that loves to serve others. Those are some pretty serious "consequences". For sure, there should be evidence of our new Master's work in our life, not from compulsion, but from the joy that comes from being a door keeper in His house, rather than dwelling in the tents of wickedness.

So, how can we neglect so great a salvation? We must not. We must live as though we are changed into the likeness of the Glorious Son and share that with those around us. Go wage war.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Measure of a Soul

"The worth and excellency of a soul is measured by the object of its love" (Henry Scougal)

"The worth and excellency of a soul is measured by the object of its love" (Henry Scougal)

Somethings are worth reading more than once and I think this is one of them. If our affections are on seen things they can rise only as high as the worth of what is seen, but if our affections are on the unseen things of God, then there is no limit to our affections because there is no limit to our Great God.

We can not have eyes to see the unseen glories of His majesty unless He gives us sight to see. We cannot hear the Good News of His Gospel, but He give us ears to hear and We cannot understand any of Who He Is, unless He gives a heart of understanding.

So our soul's worth can only be high if He gives us the best objects to be loving. There is no boasting in this as He is the Giver and He is the Object. We can only hope to be a chosen, empty vessel that He delights to give right affections to.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

War and Worship

Ps. 65:4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

I have been at the fair, in a booth, for the last 2 days. It has been a very long time since I have been to the fair.

Since I have been thinking about orphans and Ethiopian villages, it is difficult for me to watch people going back and forth with all the things that they go to get at the fair. Past that, there is so little spiritual encouragement at the fair. So many lost, blind souls walking by, talking about granite being millions of years old. It is spiritual warfare.

Yesterday, about 9p, I was thinking how good it would be to be refreshed with God's people today at the wedding and then tomorrow on His day. We are made to worship and we are made to worship corporately. Just imagine, and we really can't, what it will be like when we get to Heaven and there are no more hassles, no more distraction and we can just worship our Savior.

Until that day, we need to encourage one another with songs, hymns and spiritual songs and make melody in our hearts toward God. Let's do that today.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day by Day= year

Ps. 63:3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
Ps. 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

"How we live our days is how we live our lives" Annie Dillard

The Bible tells us to number our days and just a couple of verses later the psalmist is asking God to "satisfy us in the morning". Does this mean that he was not satisfied with God when he woke up? I know personally I don't get up every morning totally satisfied in God; not that He is any different but that I have lost focus on all the goodness that He is while I have been sleeping.

Can you honestly say, before God, that His steadfast love if better than life? I think this is key to our loving God and enjoying Him forever. When He gives us a view of unseen things and allows us to take our eyes off of the seen things, then we can finally be most satisfied in Him and He will be most glorified in us.

So what does that look like for us each day and even each minute of each day? I am at the fair this week talking to people as they walk by. They are probably not coming to the fair to find Priceless Granite, but they may see something interesting and come by to visit and look. When they leave our booth what will they leave with? This might be the only "light" they get today, the rest of their day may be totally spent in really banal things like spending money to ride the rides and get food that is way to expensive and not good for you. Maybe , in talking to me, this will be the only refreshment they get today. This is how it is everyday.

How we live each minute of every day is what we will be known as when they write about us when we are gone. More importantly, this is what the Father will see when we stand before Him. Are we glad in Him; most satisfied in all that He is? I pray that I am today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Do you want some "furnace time"?

2 Thes. 1: 3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. 5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.

Do most people really want to have trials? If you asked someone today if they could have an easy day or hard day, which would they generally choose? I think the easy day. But should that be what the Christians chooses? Should we want to have an easy life? What do prosperity and ease bring to the Christian, more often than not? Complacency and apathy. This should not be our aim.

If we want to grow we actually should be asking God to put us through the trials that He has prepared for us to go through, knowing that those trials will test our faith and bring us the peaceful fruit of righteousness, that comes from being in the furnace. The furnace itself is not really a fun place to be, but the result of the work of the furnace is a glorified Christ, because the world will have to look on and see that there is no way this could come from inside of us, but has to come from God working in and through us.

1 Pet. 4:12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Knowing that the furnace can not singe even one of our hairs has to be an encouragement to us. God not only sets the temperature, but He goes with us in the furnace, like the fiery furnace in Danial's day. What Nebuchadnezzar meant for harm, raising the temperature 7 times as hot, God used for His glory. Who else but God could deliver those 3 young men out of the inside of the furnace, when the strong men who took them there died without even going into it? It is only God. Let us rejoice in the trials that God has ordained for us today.

If we don;t have trials along the way we should be concerned that God has not chosen us to be His children, because He purifies those He loves and there is nt purification without the heat of the furnace. Don' ask for an easy life; ask for the strength to endure the trials that God brings our way.

"The more furnace-work you have the sooner you will get home; for God will not keep you long out of heaven when you are fit for it. When all the dross is burned, and the tin is gone, he will say, "Bring hither that wedge of gold; I do not keep my pure gold on earth. I will put it away with my crown jewels in the secret place of my tabernacle of heaven." Spurgeon.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What about the Change?

This is hard to explain, precisely, as I am not really sure exactly what has happened, but I want to try to chronicle for you the change in my life over the last few years. I was asked this question yesterday by a friend.

For 45 years, or so, I have been going on with my life as I have wanted; more often than not having no regard for what God wanted from me or for me. The selfish life is easy to live, as it is lived out for us by so many others. It is the "going down stream" approach to life. Everyone else is doing it so it makes it easy to jump right in and do the same. See what you can get and get a bunch of it.

The first large step was, of course, Grant's event. Watching God work out all the timing and then bring him back to us, for us to enjoy his smiling face each day, was a real eye opener. To be sure one will never know what is going through the mind of a parent when they are standing by the side of their child who could live or die based on the next few minutes of hours. But that eye opening event made me see the unseen in that God wants us to be willing to turn our kids over to Him. He is in control; NOT me.

The next big step was Sept/Oct. 2008, when the economy tanked and Teresa and I were in Italy. There was absolutely nothing we could do about anything and I was wondering if America would be here went I returned. Sales started to fall off and it began to get pretty scary, but all we could do was trust God to provide as He always has.

Another big step was in Dec./Jan. we had all the snow on the ground, considerably more than we have ever seen here, and there was again nothing I could do except trust that God knew what He was doing and that He would have to provide. It was at that time that I told Teresa, if PG goes down, we will lose everything and then some. That is a hard thing to have to think about and a hard thing to say out loud, but in saying it out loud it forced me to admit that I was not in control of my own life or the lives of those around me.

Was I ok with losing everything? Was it ok for God to take everything away? I wouldn't write it up like that, but I also would not have written up for Grant to go into cardiac arrest. Maybe it was ok. Maybe it was better than ok. Maybe it was best if I could say out loud, and believe in my heart, that if I lost everything and yet still had Jesus it was more than ok. This is not the me I am used to hearing. God is doing something in me that has allowed me to say this kind of thing.

So the next step was connected to the adoption, although not really the "adoption proper". In saying "yes" to adopting that just was showing what God had been doing in my heart. I really didn't have to think too much about it, since I had known what God thinks about adoption. It was just a natural step toward doing what God was telling me to do; obey. BUT, the real next big step was when we went to the seminat in Spokane and we were watching the videos and hearing the stories of what is going on around the world. "What has God gifted Teresa and I to do and what does He have planned for us?"

Itis pretty crazy for me to look back over the past year and a half and see where God has brought me. I am amazed at His care and tenderness as He works with such a stubborn, selfish man and sweetly brings me along. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance.

The reason I am telling ou this is because I often think about salvation as being one precise moment in time where God works in a heart and brings it to repentance, and while that is true it seems there is also the process of sanctification along the way that requires we take steps, ordained by God, to bring us into the conformity of the Image of His Son.

When did I get saved? I thnk when I was 33. When did my life change the most, so far; this past 15 months. How is all this possible. I don't have a clue except that God is good and He wants what is best for me and i just want to follow where HE leads and do what He wants me to do. I don't care what or where it is. He has started the work, He does all the work and He will be faithful to complete the work. How awesome is that. All I have to do is show up and obey.

No Good Thing does He withhold

Ps. 84:10For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Like the prodigal when he realized that to be a servant for his father would be better than living the way he was living, we too should realize that to be in the service of the King is much better than to be doing life our own way; even if it seems profitable right now.

God never breaks His promise and His Word is always true. In light of that think about vs 11. Where does favor and honor come from? The Lord. NO good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. I want to be in that line. Really, NO good thing? I want to have all the good things that God has planned for me. I don't even have a clue what they are but so far He has blown me away with how good He is, so I don't want to miss any of the good things that may be in the works as I walk uprightly.

Blessed is he who trust in You. Blessed in so many ways that we can't even know. For sunshine when you're walking when the weather man said it was supposed to rain. For rain to water the lawn when it was still supposed to be dry. For health when everyone else got sick. For "NED"-no evidence of disease. For disease to make us look to Him for our every need. For taking the burden of trying to do it all ourselves and taking his yolk- which is easy because He is doing all the work. For getting pregnant at the right time and not getting pregnant so we have to wait on Him. "Oh, the differences that often are between, What we want and what we really need"-Nicole Nordeman.

May we truly trust that Our Heavenly Father knows what we need, right now, at this very minute and just let Him have His way- it's much better anyway. May we give Him our lives to do with as He pleases. Take My life and let it be a sweet offering to You.

"Am I a Christian?"

In the last few months I have been asked this question in various forms. When a jr. high or high school students asks this type of question what would you say?

Some parents tell their kids they know the child is a Christian because they have said a prayer, or walked down an aisle. Many men through out the ages have said prayers while in battle and God did not answer their prayers to be saved out of the battle so they could go on to serve Him. Were they saved? How would you know?

Many people have walked down an aisle in multiple church services and a day or 2 later they look no different than before they walked. Does the aisle have some sort of secret power? How can our kids know? How can we know FOR SURE that we are Christians? Can we know?

I used this illustration this past Sunday morning in our short time of small group when I had asked the guys if they were reading their Bibles and praying over the summer break and I got a less than exuberant response.

Kimmy and Ian just got engaged. Now Ian is away in So Ca and Kimmy is here. Think about what it would be like for them to be building their relationship like this. Ian calls Kimmy in the morning just to wake her up, say that he loves her and to visit. Kimmy tells him that she is too tired to talk right now. Ian is really nice and so he apologizes for waking her too early. He calls again at noon, but she is having lunch with her friends, so now is not really a good time. Maybe she is telling the girls how excited she is about being engaged. He calls again in the evening and she is at the movies, can't talk right now but she will call him back later. At about midnight she rolls into bed and picks up the phone and call. "Hey Ian, just wanted you to know I'm alive, but I'm so tired. I'll try again tomorrow". This goes on for a couple of days, then a week, month, the summer, a year and over an entire life. What should Ian think?

Do they have a relationship? How can we say we have a relationship with God if we never talk to Him and He never can talk to us? How can we be children who obey if we don't know what our Father wants us to do? You can tell me all day that you have a personal relationship with Christ, but if you don't communicate with Him then is that really any different than what the illustration would look like? Worldly people would say that Kimmy and Ian don't have a relationship if they acted like this; how must God feel from many of our relationships, or lack of, with Him? Do I have to encourage Kimmy and Ian to talk to each other? Do I have to remind them that they should communicate? Should we have to be exhorted to read our Bibles and pray if we truly have a relationship?

Don't tell people you think they are Christians. They are the only ones who can know their heart and God will convict, or convince, them. Encourage where you see fruit, but then also make sure you speak up when you don't.

We are told to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, because it is the most important decision we will ever make or not make. To make no decision is to make a "NO" decision. We can know we are Christians because the Holy Spirit will encourage us as we walk according to the Word. I'm not exactly sure how He works, but I know personally He does.

Here is something to think about; as a parent, friend and small group leader. There are many people standing on the edge of the cliff and hell is over the edge. Many are ready to take one step forward and be lost forever and you/we may be the only ones who can grab them and bring them away from the edge. Don't tell them you think they may be able to fly.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Vertical Adoption

Eph. 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Adoption gets some strange looks and ideas, even in the Church. There are those who think that adoption is fine as long as it is within the same race. There are those who believe adoption is fine as long as you sort of keep your family looking somewhat the same and with similar personality traits; they may even think that one should try to attain a similar intellectual level when adopting.

But what does God show us through His vertical adoption of His children? If there is every tongue, tribe and nation represented in God's family, then it should make sense that He is not interested in segregation within a family. It should make sense that He has chosen His children in eternity past and He did that without any merit on our part. He selected us before we had any intellect, looks or character traits.

There are people who would like to adopt that want to be selective of their children's features. Does that resemble How God made His choice of us? Isn't it awesome that He did not choose us because of something that we had done? If He did, then we would always have to keep doing it to remain in His good graces. But He chose us because He loves us and wanted to choose us. He chose us because He knew He could get glory in making us His own. When all we had to offer was sin and need, He chose us.

Now we have a "Big Brother" who makes intercession for us. Now we have an Advocate to the Father who will do what is best for us. Now we have an Advocate who has been tempted in all things, but He did not fail in any and He is making intercession for us. He can approach the Father, because He is perfect.

What an amazing story. This is the Gospel and everyone needs to hear it. We need to preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday. God did this for us!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hotel Lobby Visiting

As I sit here in the hotel lobby, so I won't wake up my room mate, I see people come in and out, all on their way to some important meeting or home from one. They are going on vacation to some place fun, or maybe going to visit their family in the hospital. Only God knows what they are all up to, but He does know.

I came here to read and maybe post a little, but for the first hour have been talking to one of the staff about true religion. He is a "christian" who believes in God and reads his Bible everyday, but that doesn't prevent him from taking the Lord's name in vain. His mama went the "chuch" 5 days a week and talked about the people who went to "chuch" with before she got out of the "doe". But now his "granma", she was the sweetest woman who would give you the shirt off her back.

Why is this 60ish year old man so cynical? It seems that it is hypocricy. He has seen much over his life and it doesn't seem that many are living it out. I chllenged him with the notion that it really doesn't matter what others are doing, or have done, with thier lives, but God wants to know what we are going to do with Him; will He makes a difference in our lives?

I have been trying to be available to talk to those who God brings across my path, and just let Him take it where He would like it to go and so far, it really doesn't seem to be that difficult to engage people and many are hurting enough that they will talk about God pretty easily. I don't look at myself as one who shares his faith enough or well, but maybe it's about just starting somewhere rather than trying to figure out where it will end up.

I am not sure what He will do with the weak words of faith I shared this morning, but He uses the weak and base things of the world. I am thankful for that. He puts us right where He wants us; hotel lobby, grocery store, gas station or doctors office, and we just need to be ready to tell others of His goodness and HE will take it the rest of the way. He is good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lukewarm OR Chrstian?

Rev. 3:15"'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"

This church was at one time a growing, thriving body of believers, but something happened along the way to change all that. Could it be prosperity? Could it be that over time they began to see that they had much and that they started to think they didn't really need to depend on God? Could it be that 2000 years, or so ago, this church could have just as easily been called the American church?

It is difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven; Jesus told us that. It is impossible for someone to serve both God and money. We will either love one and hate the other or vice versa. Prosperity is dangerous because it takes our eyes off of Christ, as our Provider, and turns our eyes onto ourselves. We can often be found thinking or saying, "I just need to work a little harder, or smarter or longer". Maybe we have been slothful in our business, but maybe we are not supposed to be so prosperous because God is protecting us from falling to this place of prosperity.

Jesus called these people "Luke warm" and I have heard the term "Luke warm Christian"; I have said it before myself. But what part of this passage would make us think that Jesus has in mind that these people are His sheep? Does "spit you out" sound like they are His own? Shouldn't "Buy white robes" make us wonder why Jesus would ask them to purchase something He has already purchased on the cross for them? "Luke warm Christian" is an oxymoron. There is no such person. You are either lukewarm, being spit out, or you are a Christian. They don't go together. In Heaven there will be no lukewarm saints; only hot ones. Hell is where the lukewarm people will go.

This realization should make us really examine ourselves and see if we are of the faith. We should be working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, because this is a very important thing to be sure about; the MOST important thing. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul? The answer is "Hell". That is his return on his investment. If we trade our lives for prosperity on earth, we will have a bill to be paid for all of eternity in Hell.

Who is like the LORD our God

Ps. 113:4 The LORD is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the LORD our God,
who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the LORD!

Ok, I have read this passage so many times and have skipped right over verse 5. But think about it, I mean really think about it. Who is like our God? Who can sit ABOVE the heavens and still be right here? Who could make the sunrise like it is this morning, following right after the crystal clear stars; the crescent moon so bright that you could totally see the dark side of it? Who placed so many stars up in the sky, that we can see, and to know that there are hundreds of trillions of stars that we can't see? Why would He do that? Because He can and to show off to us how great is our God.

For thousands of years those millions of galazies have been out there and the only One who could ses them was God. Now we have a little technology to see past the end of our noses and we are sarting to get an idea how big God really is; but only an idea.

The crazy part is, to me, is that there can be all these stars and planets in our large galaxy, as galaxies go, and we are spinning around at around a thousand miles an hour an don't get flung off. And not only that, we are orbiting at a "fixed" distance of approximately 150 million kilometers from the sun. If the distance increases or decrease we would freeze or melt to death, respectively. AND, not only that we are orbiting at some 67,000 MPH through this galaxy. Have you thought about the path that would need to be cleared for us to make it through without running into anything.

You know when a truck goes by you on the side of the road and it makes this vaccumm? Well what do you suppose it sould be like if the earth got too close to any star or planet as we were buzzing by at 67k mph? The bark on every tree would be sucked off if the other planet were moving the opposite way, or all the rock would fly into space from the other planet or star. Not only can we NOT hit the other objects, we can't even have a close call. ANd this process happens every day of every year. 1000 miles an hours around and 67k MPH in a circle.

How can we no get dizzy? How can there not be wind all he time? How does the moon know were to stay and how does that really effect the tides when all this other stuff is happening at the same time? I con't even keep a couple of things going with out help and God has all this happening and still ahs time to listen to my heart concerns and takes each and every one on at a personal level.

Truly, Who is like our God? Think about it. Stand in awe of Who He is and what he has done and is doing. There should be no lack of praise coming from our lips. Let us exalt His name together; forever.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

TOO BIG for me

I am going to post this on both blogs, as I think it connects well with both.

Romans 8:28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Before leaving for the mission field a young missionary once said, "If predestination is true then I can not be a missionary". After 20 years in the field he only added one word to his statement; "NOT" "If predestination is not true then I can not be a missionary".

What do you think he meant by this? If the fields are white with harvest and God already knows who is going to be saved, then why do any need to go? Matt. 28 tells us why we need to go; to obey Christ's command. and also Romans 10:14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

So, again, why do you think that this missionary said this? It is because the job is too big for us to do. There is too much work for us to do in our own back yard, let alone the entire world. But if God has planned all this work for us to do, wherever He has planned it, all we really need to do is obey and be faithful and He will do the rest. He will make sure that the people we are supposed to talk to are in the exact spot they need to be to hear exactly what they need to hear, all we need to do is get there and open up our mouths.

The weigh of the world is NOT on our shoulders, but on Christ's. The blood we may or may not spill has nothing to do with their salvation; it is Christ's blood that has already been spilled that is what saves them. No amount of sacrifice on our part can win them, it is only through the death of Christ that they can be won. These truths just take the burden of evangelism and missions off of us ao all we need to do is to go and be faithful to His commands; He will take care of the rest.

So if we are thinking about living radically, we don't need to try to figure out where we will end up before we start, we just need to start and let God take care of the rest. If we have a heart for adoption, which we are commanded to, so we all should, then we don't need to try to figure out where all the money is going to come from before we start, we just need to start and let God handle the rest. He is big and He loves for us to realize and show our utter dependence on Him. He loves for us to have just one way to get out of a situation that its way too big for us, and that one way is Him. He delights in that.

So whatever direction God is pulling on your heart, wait on Him, trust Him and then let Him move you in the direction He wants you to go. Don't try to solve all the world's problems before you start moving, just start moving.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Matt. 12:49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

Last week Teresa and I went to a church to hear a missionary speaker. I had never even heard of the church, almost all of the members are Chinese, as is the pastor. The amazing part is we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord. We are family. There was an immediate connection.

We have our staff retreat for 128 this weekend and as I look around the room of 27 staffers I really am pretty different from all the rest; none of us are really similar, but we are all family. For most of us the people in this room are some of our closest friends.

I go to networking meetings where there are a hundred business owners, which we should have a lot in common, and it just feels like I am a fish out of water. When I am with believers who love the Lord and are delighting in Him, we have an immediate connection. We have our Big Brother and our Loving Father that make it so there is never a lack for something to talk about and rejoice over.

May we love and encourage our brothers and sisters as we learn and grow under the care of our Gracious Heavenly Father. May we share our hearts and our resources as He continues to fill us to over flowing with good things;
Ps. 107:
8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

There is no other icebreaker like our Ice Breaker in Heaven. There is none who compares with Him. Rejoice in His goodness and with the family He has given us.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Average or Radical?

Average-a ratio expressing the average performance especially of an athletic team or an athlete computed according to the number of opportunities for successful performance; central tendency of a data set is a measure of the "middle" or "expected" value of the data set.
Norm- means the average of performance of a significantly large group, class, or grade.

Have you ever stopped to think about how we want to just live a normal life? I have heard many times, "I am just the average American guy living the average American life". What does the average life look like? Do I really want to be in the middle of the way Americans live their lives?

In the definitions the phrase "according to a number of opportunities" jumped off the page at me. In life, I only get one opportunity at it; I only get one chance at life to see if I can not be the average American living the average American life. It's not like a batting average that I get to take 500 at bats and then see how I did; I get one "at bat". I don't want to be the average American, or even the average Christian in America.

I am not particularly tall, smart, good looking, wealthy, athletic or anything else above average. I am the average person when people look at me. But what about Christianity? Could I have an above average Christian life?

When I look around at how Christians are living today, and without being judgmental, and I see how most are living, I think "I want to have more than that", "I want to live for Christ way more than that". I think God is telling us there is way more than average if we follow Him like the disciples did. Matt. 13:44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

This man was living the average life and THEN he found something that caused him to stop and think, "This is what I have been searching for my entire life and this will change the way I live". After he bought the treasure do you think he went back to living his life the way that he did before he found it? No way. His life totally changed. He could do everything he wanted to before but he never had the resources to do it. He had so many limitations before because he was average; now he was NOT average.

Radical- marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional, existing in a very high degree or going to great or exaggerated lengths.

In these definitions what jumps out at me is existing in a very high degree. Existing, or living, in a very high degree. The man who found the treasure never looked back at his old way of life and said, "I wish I could live like I used to live; like everyone else lives". He didn't want to be normal or average again. He wanted to exist to a very high degree.

Isn't this what God is calling us to? Doesn't He want us to live radical, sold out, on the extreme end or to exaggerated lengths? When Jesus called the disciples, He didn't call them away from their normal lives to go and live a normal life someplace else, He called them to be the antithesis of normal; radical. They were "average Jews, with average houses and 8.5 kids with 200 sheep and went to the average synagogue". Jesus called them away from that. He called them to live like no one else lived; to be different.

Do you think that their friends and families understood what they had found? Do you think that some of them, most of them, thought that they were crazy for leaving the life that they had built for themselves and follow some carpenter's Son? "Really, you are leaving all you have here to follow that guy?"

Maybe in the end the others figured out that the disciples really had chosen the best way, but maybe not. BUT in the end, the disciples knew for sure that they had found the Treasure and that in leaving "normal" they received radical and it was totally worth the trade. At the end of their lives would they have traded in martyrdom for a normal life? NO WAY. Do you think they thought that they had sacrificed some precious thing to follow Jesus once they had really figured out what they had found? Once they figured out how much the Treasure was really worth do you think they were trying to return it?

They had traded in smelly fishing boat, nets that were always needing to be fixed, cold night and hot days in a boat that leaked all the time, fish guts and worries about whether they would be able to catch enough to feed and provide for their families, for being fishers of men.

Sure there were times they couldn't figure out what Jesus was trying to tell them; times that they got out of the boat and then freaked out; times when they had no food and they had to watch Jesus make food for thousands out of the lunch of some kid, but in the end they got it. In the end they could really see that this was no short changing on Jesus' part; they got the good end of the deal and way more. They traded in a bucket of rotten fish guts for getting to be with the Son of God and watch Him change dead people to people who are now alive.

There is no way they would trade that back in. They were like us; sinners, proud, slow to understand, selfish, small in faith, argumentative and that was just Peter. But they were normal, average people whom God called away from their average lives to live radically changed lives. Didn't He do the same for us? Did He call us to follow Him and live like everyone else around us, even the world? Or did He call us out of the world to live transformed lives; lives that look very different, in an amazing way, from the world?

Did He call us to be so different that when we have trials we are joyful in them? That is not average. It is not average for us to welcome persecution, because we know that when we follow Christ there will be persecution, or we're not following Christ. He called us to love our enemies and pray for them. That is not normal or average. He called us to be last when everyone else is trying to be first. He called us to look out for the interests of others and not to worry about what we have. Is that normal?

So, how are you going to live? Have you found the Treasure, or the Pearl of great price, and now are you going to try to go back and live like you are the same as everyone else; to blend in? How can we neglect so great a salvation; to receive so great a salvation and then just go back and try to live normal? God sent His only Son, to live here on earth, away from His loving Father, to suffer at the hands of His creation, and then to be murdered on a cross. He did that so that we might have life, but not just average life, but life more abundantly. He didn't do all that so we could act like we have sacrificed everything to gain Him, He did it so we could accept His free gift that is so much better than we deserve and then be excited to tell others about it. "We have found the treasure you have been looking for".

How can we live average when our great God is so much above average and He has adopted us as sons? Do you really want to live average?

Sorry for the long post; I guess I'm a little excited about this. Have a great day living radically for God.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Planned Work for our Joy

Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Sorry I have missed a couple of days. It is not that I have not been wanting to write, but have been busy with so many really good things. My heart really is overflowing, so much so that I just have to shake my head because I am not sure why God has given me so many blessings.

I was talking with the small group last night and just thinking about the events in each of our lives that make up the fabric that we are today, and useful to God for the work He has called us to do.

I'm a person who moved all over the US and even Japan and finally landed in a tiny place in SW Washington to meet my sweet wife, who really never moved from that town her entire life. All the things that make her who she is and all the things that make me who I am and those 2 fabrics are knitted together to make another very unique fabric that God adds 3 kids into, and then maybe another from an entirely different fabric, all to make 1 fabric that He will use for His glory. Makes me just scratch my head in amazement.

Another thing that I have been thinking of in conjunction with this passage is that God, from eternity past, has created work for us, each one of us, to do. So from eternity past God knew that I would have a small group last night and that we would talk about what we talked about. He knew I would be sitting here this morning and writing about this. 16 months ago I only typed out my sermon notes and that's about it. God knew that I was going to be a blogger long before there were blogs. I don't know why I am so inclined to share with the world what is on my heart but I hope that He will use something in here to encourage or admonish someone who needs it.

It's the same way with our conversations every day. He will use our words to impact His Kingdom, but we must share. There is no reason to be nervous or scared when we speak, because He will not put us into a situation that HE can not handle. Not that we can not handle, but that He can not handle. He prepares the work for us to do, He gives us the opportunity to do the work, He equips us perfectly to do the work and then He gives us the strength and wisdom to go and do it. How freeing is that? All we have to do is go and do it and He will take care of the rest.

So, what are you going to do with your life? Are you wondering if you are in the right place right now? Are you wondering if your life should look different than it does, or if you should be doing something "more important" with your life? Well, know that if you are reading your Bible and praying for God's direction, He will lead you to that place and it might be that right now you are in the place that He wants you to be in for the rest of your life. He may not ever want you to move, but He does want us to be maximizing the opportunities that He gives to us. He wants us to be totally exulting in the place we are in right now, because that is where He has us doing the work that He has ordained from eternity past.

He may move in your heart to give you the unrelenting desire to do something else, but if and when that time comes He will give you the strength and wisdom to go and do what He has called you to do. There is no need to worry if you will be able to handle it; you can't. But He can and He will. So freeing.

Matt. 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

How can Jesus' work be easy and light, when it may cost us our life? Because He is the One who does it, not us. All we have to do is be a clean, empty pipe that just shows up and He will do the rest of it through us. Doesn't that take some of the pressure off? If He wants the work done, He has to work out every detail and provide all the strength and wisdom for us so "we can do it". If He doesn't work out every single detail then He doesn't expect us to do it.

So what should our attitude be in those situations? We are to have joy in every circumstance and the reason has to be because He provides everything for us to do it. How could we be grumpy doing the work that He actually is doing? We work for the King of all kings, He provides the employment and knows the perfect job, that fits perfectly into the fabric He has made us to be, and He tells us to be joyful in all things. It should be obvious that He will give us work to do that we love doing, because He does all that for us before we even get there.

So let's go and do it and have an absolute blast doing it. I don't know what He has planned for me day today, but it must be good. That doesn't mean there won't be trials, because the trials are what changes us to be the people who will follow closely. It means even if there are trials today, that they are going to be exactly what we need to be complete in Him.

Lord, may we delight in Your Law and in You. May we understand that you are the great Treasure. Please give us desires that are focused on You and Your people. Make us clean pipes that You might be glorified in us. Give us the boldness to go and do what You have called us to do. Give us joy inexpressible in the process that You would be glorified in the way we live our lives.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Response and Responsibility

Ps. 39 "O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!

The power of music is pretty amazing. Sometime yesterday, or even the day before, I heard just part of the song "Live like you were dying" and now it is stuck in my head. The idea of the song is fine, but the things that he chose to do with his last days, for the most part, are not too beneficial.

In Ps. 39 the Psalmist is asking that God would let him to know how fleeting his life is and to even know the actual number of his days. If you knew today exactly how many days you had left, would you live today and tomorrow differently? If you knew, for sure, that you had 40 years left would you live it differently than if you had 40 days?

It is good that we don't know how much time we have because I don't think we could handle that amount of truth, but, as Christians, we should live like today is our last day. Only God knows if we have tomorrow.

Teresa and I had lunch yesterday with a couple who have been in missions for 40 years. It is evident that he is passionate about evangelism. Even in the restaurant he was finding a way to talk to the wait staff about Christ, or to at least hand them a tract. There are so many people that we run into 1 time, EVER, in our lives and we may be the only person who is willing to share the Gospel with them; or will we chicken out?

If the person we are talking to is, for all we know, dying and going to hell and we are having a nice conversation with them about whatever, shouldn't we share the only really good news we have with them? Compared to the Gospel, finding a good deal at some store is not really good news. Compared to the Gospel, giving some vacation tip, or restaurant review is not really good news. So why do we not share? We buy Satan's lie that they may think us strange, or they may not be interested.

Even more than in other areas, with the Gospel, the other person's response is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to be faithful to share and God will do the rest. You might be the very first person that has ever shared with this person and they need to hear the Gospel 15 times before God works in their heart. You might also be number 15. We can't know and it doesn't matter, we just need to share.

So, if we live like we are dying today, who do we need to share with that we have been waiting for the "perfect time"? What if today is your last day and you're waiting for tomorrow's lunch meeting? What if you or they are done today?

This is especially true of the Gospel, but is also true of just saying what we really need to say. Maybe that comes in the form of some encouraging words we have been wanting to share, maybe it is to tell someone that you really do love them, or that you have finally forgiven them after all these long years. You know what it is as you read this post, but don't wait until tomorrow, because we are not guaranteed a tomorrow, at least not here on earth.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Helping or Hurting?

God takes care of widows and orphans; of the helpless and fatherless. He tells us He is the Father to the fatherless and turns them from being orphans to heirs. But what of those who oppress and afflict them? What is to become of them?

Often little kids ask the parents, "Well, what about so and so, what are you going to do to them?" Even from an early age we want justice served; as long as it is to someone else.

There are 2 possible places of judgment for the wicked who oppress the helpless. The first came in the form of God's written Word, the Bible. When read with a tender, humble, obedient heart this is the kindest judgment that could be given. Repent and God will forgive.

But there are many who will never heed this written Warning and have to wait for the second one. They have gone their entire lives thinking that God is not paying attention to them, Ps. 10 and that they are getting away with what ever atrocities they are committing. But in the end God will make it right. It may be too late for them to live out a happy existence here on earth, but if they are beilevers God will right all wrongs.

When God right the wrongs, it will be a very sad day for those who were wronging the helpless. God will not only judge them, but He will punish them for all eternity and for as much as He loves the helpless, there will be hell to pay, literally for all of eternity, for messing with God's little children.

We can stem the tide by doing all we can do, to get them the help they need. I don't know what that looks like for you, but you should look into it and jump on board. If we are not helping, then we are probably hurting their cause.

Don't have God coming after you for not stepping in to aid the helpless.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Isaiah 58 Vacation

Is. 58:10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

I have been talking with my sweet wife about what I am now calling an "Isaiah 58 vacation". We have been to some pretty fun places in our lives, through work and then just on our own; Italy, France, Austria, and Hawaii to name the top fun places. I will focus on Hawaii for poignancy sake in this post.

When I think of Hawaii, and I would guess most people would voice the same sentiment, I think of relaxing, doing little or nothing but hanging out at the pool or beach and just resting so our bodies have some down time. I do have some friends who try to literally engage in every activity there is, but I think they are the exception.

So we go, get warmed up in the winter months and then come back to our normal schedules and busy life. We have some memories, we did get to relax and that is about it. But, I for one, have not really found those vacations to be all that I would hope them to be. There has always been something missing. I think that something missing is in Isaiah 58.

What if we took an Isaiah 58 vacation, and instead of going someplace to find refreshing for ourselves, we went to give refreshing to someone else? It seems that God is asking, maybe even telling us to do that in this passage.

In this chapter He is giving, through Isaiah, a list of things we are to do to help others who are in need and oppressed. He is telling us He wants us to take care of those who have less food, freedom and clothing than we do. But He doesn't ask us to simply give ourselves away and then just leave us empty. When we do it God's way He is telling us that He can change it all around. We pour out ourselves for His sake into the lives of others and He will make sure we are filled. How is it that we can pour ourselves out and not get empty? It has to be that God does the work.

Is your family life dark, gloomy, dry, scorched, weak? Is your small group, or even your church lacking direction or does it seem like God is not actually there? Do you want to be the repairer of the breach and the restorer of the streets? Maybe we should take God's promise to fill us up, to make us watered gardens, to make light shine in our lives and let Him have our time of "refreshing". I personally want God to answer me when I call. Maybe if we give it to Him, to be spent on those who don't have any way of returning, He will give us refreshing from being poured out.

I have never known God to not keep His promises and I don't think He will start now. Have you thought about taking an Is. 58 vacation or weekend? Have you done it? Would you be willing to share your experience if you have? Did God keep His promise to you? I would love to hear about it.

I want to be truly refreshed. I want to be used by God to help lift the burdens of those who can not lift them themselves. We, Christians, are supposed to be burden lifters, not adders. How are we doing?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

How to get out of a Hostage Situation

1 Tim.2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

I don't know why I have been thinking about this this morning, but the hostage/ransom idea was going through my head as I was lying on my bed post sleep, pre roll out.

The thought of a hostage situation is quite scary, especially when we see the crazy people on TV and it is dramatized so much. But it probably is about that scary in real life, since there are so many people who are really disturbed in the world today, who have no regard for human life at all.

But, to follow the analogy of the ransom for many, our hostage situation is self fulfilling. We are hostages of Satan and until He completes the ransom exchange on our behalf, we live as a hostage and we love it. Satan has so blinded the eyes of his hostages that they think this is a great way to live. Until Christ opens our eyes we can not see that Satan hates us and would just as soon kill us as take the ransom.

But Jesus is our Ransom. He does come riding in to save the day for some. But who are the some and who are those who remain and how do we get to be ransomed and not left in Satan's hands? The first part of this chapter reminds us what we are to be doing because He has ransomed us.

1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

If the Father would send the Son to be a ransom for many and if the Son would willing be the ransom and lay down His life, should we not be making intercession for those who are still hostages? God's power is amazing, and He delights to make His name great and what a great display of power in that He can change hearts?

I have been reminded often/lately that there is much power in prayer, especially when we are praying according to His will. Verse 4 tells us that He would desire that all would be saved, but maybe He is not saving them because we are not asking Him.

Let me encourage you to make a list of those who you would love to see come to faith in Christ; those you would like to see ransomed from the power of Satan. Take your list and dedicate a day of fasting for them. The American church does not fast nearly enough. God takes delight in seeing His children humble themselves enough to set aside eating for a time and come to His throne- only by the work of Christ can we come there- and lay our requests for the salvation of some at His feet. This is serious business and we need to take it seriously. When we sacrifice our own comforts for the salvation of others and we fast in the right way, God is pleased to answer according to His will.

I am not suggesting that everyone on earth will be saved if we just fast, but this is a way for us to show God that we are actually serious about our prayer life.

Pray that He would give us a heart for the lost, that He would give us the desire to see them come out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of His marvelous light. Pray that He would give us strength to fast and that He would encourage us as we obediently do what He has commanded us to do. All these things are according to His will and He will give us the desires of our hearts when they are in line with His desires.

We can only come to the Throne of Grace clothed in His righteousness and so we must be clean/holy before we come and then the Father will listen and answer our requests. What an awesome God we serve who listens to our hearts, knows our frailties and loves to be the Giver of what we ask. Now we need to humbly ask.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Great Cloud among the Clouds

I am reading a good book, given to me by my sister. It is part one of a 2 part collection on Hudson Taylor. She gave me both, the first entitled "The Growth of a Soul" the second is, "The Growth of a work of God". I highly recommend at least the first one and I am pretty sure I will be recommending the next as well.

Heb. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

We have an amazing group of men and women who have gone before us showing and telling us the way to treasure the Treasure; showing us how to run the race to win the prize; we should not ignore their sacrifice.

Hudson Taylor was not perfect, as he battled sin to be the man God would have him to be. I am early in the book but I have already seen that God was gracious to keep him from having lots of outward defiling sins that he would have a hard time erasing in the future. Often I think that those who are raised in the church long for a testimony that is extravagant, but God works in the heart of those who are not so far sold into slavery just as much as He works in the heart of the slave trader. It is all His work on our behalf even to bring one into repentance.

At 17 he was converted and he didn't have to develop of knowledge of the Word because he was taught the Word from his earliest remembrance. He loved to read and since he was "delicate" there were often things he could not do that others could, which meant he could spend more time studying. We must teach our children, and grandchildren, good study practices and to have a love for all things righteous and holy.

I will keep you posted as I go, but right now the call to go to China has just come to him and he is NOT trying to resist. Get the books if you are able, or read them on line from the link. It will be worth the time.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do you want your prayers to be heard?

God telling Isaiah what to tell His people. He is not happy with their worship, though outwardly they look like they are doing and saying the right things.

Is. 58:1
"Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily-this is good-
and delight to know my ways,-this is good-
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;- if these things were true it would be good.
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.- can this be bad?

God is not happy with their worship, even though outwardly they seem to be obeying what He has commanded, and even though they seem to be doing it all with the right motives and posture. So why is He not happy with them? They respond in the next section.

3 'Why have we fasted, and you see it not?- fasting is good-
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?'- humility is good-

Rebuttal from on high.

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,- selfish-
and oppress all your workers.-tyrants
4Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight- grumpy
and to hit with a wicked fist.-angry

Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.-He is going to tell us where we went wrong.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the LORD?

It would certainly seem that these are the qualities, attitudes and actions that would make God accept a fast, but He says this is not enough; He requires more and different fasting. He gives the requirements of an acceptable fast; one that He listens to the cry of the worshipper.

6"Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

So maybe what God is saying to them, and us, is that on Sunday they were fasting and taking all the right attitudes and postures required for a fast that is acceptable to Him, but they negate all of it on Monday-Saturday by lording it over all who are under their care, including their families. Maybe they fasted on Sunday but then feasted through out the rest of the week while their employees starved the entire week. Maybe they were in sack cloth and ashes on Sunday, but their employees could afford clothes at all. Their attitudes were right and their actions would have been acceptable to God, if only they had continued them the entire week.

The promises from my last post are connected to an acceptable fast; to acceptable worship. God is serious about how we treat others, especially those who have not been blessed in abundance as we have been. We are commanded to fast, yet that is something we seldom, if ever, do. We should be fasting for God's direction in our lives, for the salvation of our families and friends, for the holiness of Christ's Bride, for unity, for love for the lost. There are so many things that we should be fasting and praying for, bending our heads low so He will answer. But He will not accept our fasting and prayer if we turn right back around and oppress those who have less than we do.

So, how can we change this in our own lives? Look around you and actually see the needs that others have. Be quick to bless others in your abundance. The Macedonians, 2 Cor. 8:1-2, gave in their extreme poverty, but it was their joy to give to others and God blessed them for it. He not only accepted their fast and giving, but preserved their actions for us to read about even 2000 years later. This is what acceptable worship looks like- care for those in need, everyday of the week, not just on Sunday when everyone can see you.

Monday, August 3, 2009

How do I get Blessed by God?

How would you like to have all these things listed below?

Have your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing spring up speedily;
your righteousness go before you;
the glory of the LORD be your rear guard.

'When you call, and the LORD will answer;
you cry, and he will say, 'Here I am'.
Have your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.

The LORD guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
Be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.

Have your ancient ruins be rebuilt;
and raise up the foundations of many generations;
be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

This would make a great wedding registry list. If we could give this kind of thing to newly weds, how good would that be? If we could ask for this and receive it wouldn't that make life more fulfilling?

I am not going to give a reference for this list, I want to see if you can find it. I would not be able to find it without having a search done, but it is worth the search. I also find it interesting that we can have this list of benefits given to us, by God, but I think as you search you will find an interesting pathway to having these things given to us.

I love the second section,
'When you call, and the LORD will answer;
you cry, and he will say, 'Here I am'.
I want God to answer when I call. More than anything else I need Him to answer when I call. When I cry out He will say "Here I am". How awesome is that? The Creator of the universe hears me when I call, says "Here I am" when I cry out.

But what are the requirements to have these things given to us? Since you all are so quick to post a comment, I will let you answer the question with a post. Don't be shy. The answer is amazing. What a great chapter. I will wait to hear from you all.