Tuesday, July 30, 2013


You have heard of faithfulness, holiness, mercy, and love.  The Lord exhibits these traits towards us and we seek to show them as followers of Christ.  There is one trait that does not get as much press.  Thanks to an Israelite king, I began pondering it.

Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place and strengthened himself against Israel. He placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim that Asa his father had captured. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah. (2 Chronicles 17:1-6)

I usually do not consider courage as a Christ-follower trait because the land I live in allows me the freedom to worship as my conscience allows.  In some countries, courage is a necessity.

So why was it necessary for Jehoshaphat?  He was the king and one of the Chosen People.  Why did he need courage?  He needed it because his actions bucked the status quo.  He took on the popular practices and traditions that took root among the people after the days of Moses and Joshua.  During David's time, they were more muted.  After David, they came back with a vengeance.

The king's father and grandfather and great-grandfather were considered good kings.  But they let the practices of idolatry continue in their midst.  Jehoshaphat decided enough was enough.  He did not order the practices to cease.  He went out himself and destroyed the idols.  He sent teachers to the people to direct them to the Lord.  He took on the status quo and he was successful in the Lord.

I enjoy the freedom of this country.  That same freedom and its comforts easily lull me into going with the flow.  Why rock a boat that is drifting well with no waves around? 

Yet truly waves will come.  Will I be able to stay with the boat?  Do I need to get out of the boat as Jesus comes close and bids me go a new direction?  If change is absolutely necessary, am I willing to strike out alone if no one else wants to go with me?

Jehoshaphat was courageous in heart.  He did not let the status quo become his measuring rod.  As a Christ-follower, I feel the need today for the same courage.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself.  It's as if they are showing you the way.   - Donald Miller

I snatched this quote from Reader's Digest before I tossed out the old magazine.  I pondered the quote after my first reading.  What do I love and what would I want others to be excited about? 

I first thought of foosball and how my girls enjoy a rousing game - especially if it means beating dad.  They love the game and play it when they can and it started with us.  It started with my enjoyment of the game passed on to them.

I enjoy the Hebrew language.  When I first studied Hebrew, it was to fill a requirement in my M.Div. program.  But taking Hebrew from Allen Guenther and Elmer Martens was not about requirements.  It was about learning to love a language they both loved.  I still remember Allen saying with fire, "Read the Hebrew Scriptures in the original even if you cannot translate it all.  It will transform you!"  I know he meant the transformation would come through the reading of the Word, but I could tell he was full of passion for its original language.

How we love something will tell others how important it is.  Take the disciples of Jesus.  I don't mean the ones in the Bible,  I mean the ones who worship each week in churches and join for Bible study and prayer groups.  I mean the disciples who live today and confess their love for the Lord.  Would you follow Jesus based on what you see?

Jesus said that the world would know who his followers were by their love for each other.  Is this evident among the followers of Jesus today?

The intent of these questions is both reflective and evaluative.  I mean to make the followers of Jesus (of which I am one) consider how their lives demonstrate a passionate love for the Savior.  It is also evaluative.  Do we have a love for Jesus that would cause someone else to take notice and want to love Him  as well?

I really hope I demonstrate that kind of love.  If others do not see it, then I pray that the Lord will continue to draw that kind of love out of me and that my love for Jesus will cause followers and seekers of Jesus to want to love Him more.

It is not like we are without an example.  See what kind of love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God.  And that is what we are.  1 John 3

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


This particular blog opened up a few months ago, but I am slowly migrating my writing from a former blog to this one.  As I do, those past writings will show up with the date and time they originally appeared.  Just thought I'd let you know.


Satan is more than willing to let us think whatever we want about ourselves as long as it doesn't line up with what God really thinks of us.