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Make Every Effort

I remember reading Dallas Willard's "Divine Conspiracy" almost 20 years ago and that book has affected me in more ways than I can count.  What he presented was an argument for the "NOW" of the Kingdom of God.  Not a future Kingdom that I had been taught, but a reality of the life of the Spirit in the church that transforms not only the individual who puts their faith in Christ as Savior, but also transforms their entire world around them.  This was the "Divine Conspiracy" he wrote of.  

It saturated my mind, heart, spirit and soul and took me from the arm-chair intelligent side of Christ to the "walk along-side" as a disciple of mine in my Kingdom.

The book is one of my "All-time-Favorite" reads and one I have recommended to people in all phases of life.

Here are a few gems from Dallas writing:

“Suppose our failures occur, not in spite of what we are doing, but precisely because of it.” 

“We don't believe something by merely saying …
Recent posts

Look and See what God has done/is doing

Yesterday a friend visited and we talked about worship.This summer we’re exploring several of the Psalms and what they display more than anything is that no matter the circumstances, no matter the troubles, no matter the difficulties, no matter the joys and successes...all things come from God and so in all things we worship and stand amazed at his work.
This next Sunday we’ll mine the riches of Psalm 90.The author reminds us of WHY we worship God...
Psalm 90:1-3
1  Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
2  Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3  You turn men back to dust, saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men."

Why do we worship?Because He is the Eternal God, the Creator of the universe, including us, and we are part of his creation.The Psalmist reminds us in vs 12:
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
That’s the key...can we SEE?…

Looking to Jesus and Not Ourselves

In my many readings I ran across this short, but compelling, devotion by Spurgeon.  He reminds us that our relationship to God is not by anything that we can do, but is solely because of what Jesus has done for us.  In a day when there is so much confusion about what it means to be a believer, a follower, a disciple of Jesus, this can help us clarify both the beginning and the ending.  Spurgeon reminds us to focus on one thing:  Looking to Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 It is always the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus. But Satan's work is just the opposite; he is constantly trying to make us look at ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you do not have the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold on Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the…

Delight in God Our Shepherd

Psalm 23 served as the place of teaching this last Sunday.  While most of us know the Psalm so well we forget that it's not a funeral Psalm (as it is used in funerals so often), but rather a Psalm of Confession - David's confession of God as His Shepherd...over the whole of his life..through the good times, the bad times, the ugly times...God has faithfully directed his ways through all of the Valleys of life.

I ended it with summarizing the last verse as "the hound dogs of heaven".  "Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever".

I ran across this some time ago, and it sums the Psalm up beautifully: The Lord is my Shepherd = That’s relationship. I shall not want = That’s supply. He makes me to lie down in green pastures = That’s rest. He leads me beside still waters = That’s refreshment. He restores my soul = That’s healing. He leads me in the paths of righteousness = That’s guidance. …

The Gift of Peace Within

I was sawing wood yesterday and thinking about lots of things.  Recently I asked the Elders to release me from full-time and allow me to work part-time and hire my son to be an assistant to me in order for the church's teaching needs, and pastoral needs to still be met.  The other choice was to retire, step away from ministry altogether and let the church get on with the task of finding another Pastor.  As I cut wood I found myself thinking about all sorts of things in relation to this.  Most people were happy that I chose to stay on and not retire, but there were a few who did not.  I care about people...and yet most of the thoughts I had yesterday were negative.  Did I do the right thing?  Should I have done more?  Emotions surface - sadness, self-pity, regret, guilt - to name a few.  

There is a word that I was introduced to years ago in reading Henri Nouwen.  It is the word Nepsis.  Nepsis means to be "alert, attentive, watchful, especially in relation to our spirit and so…

Work as Duty and Sacred

One of the hardest things I ever did was travel to Zambia, the town of Chingola and there along with 25 other European/Americans and a dozen or so Zambians, built an orphanage.  It was work without the supervision of safety under OSHA.  We used a lot of means that were not safe at all in climbing, use of tools, and equipment.  Scaffolding made out of leftover wood pieces cobbled together and used to work high.  I remember the afternoon where it all came tumbling one was hurt. 

It was an adventure in working manually.  We made our own bricks out of muck, cement, and water.  They were made in the shape of bricks like we buy in the States, but laid out in the sun for a day so that they would harden into bricks to build walls with.

We worked was a duty, a job to be done.  No one complained, everyone was exhausted at the end of the day.  We slept in grass-covered huts built especially for our team.  They poured small cement pads before we arrived and we put …

So Will You!

This last week I had another eye set-back.  The left eye had a retinal tear, which meant I had to return to the retinal specialist for laser surgery.  I have to admit I was really down.  The surgery isn't that painful, but it's not fun either.  The after-effects are lots of soreness, floaters that don't go away, some bleeding and I did very little except sit around feeling sorry for myself.

This morning as I awoke I started to think and pray - Lord, everything happens for a purpose in my life and you said that it was all for the good...but I'm struggling to find the good.  I picked up my Spurgeon morning devotional and he must have been writing it to me.

And the king crossed the brook Kidron.  2 Samuel 15:23 David passed that gloomy brook when fleeing with his sorry company from his traitorous son. The man after God's own heart was not exempt from trouble; in fact, his life was full of it. He was both the Lord's Anointed and the Lord's Afflicted.…