Monday, April 27, 2015

Be careful what you pray for

My devotional time this morning was in 2 Kings 20-21. The story of King Hezekiah. In 2 Kings 20:1 God tells Hezekiah to put his house in order because he is going to die. Hezekiah prays and reminds God that he has walked faithfully with him his who life. He cries and prays for his life to be spared.

In verse 6, God says that He has heard his prayers and seen his tears and that He will heal him.  God tells Hezekiah that He will give him 15 more years to live.

What happens next? Hezekiah gets proud. He welcomes visitors from Babylon. He shows them all this treasures (vv 13-18). Isaiah rebukes him and tells him that he is going to lose everything. (vv17-18)

When Hezekiah dies, his 12 year old son, Manasseh, takes over.  That means Manasseh was born in the “extra 15 years” that God gave Hezekiah.  In 2 Kings 21:9, it says that Manasseh led the people astray and “did more evil than the other nations that the Lord had destroyed.”  It goes on in verse 16 to describe how he shed innocent blood.

Because of Manasseh’s sin, God brought judgment on Israel.

So the last 15 years of Hezekiah’s life was an absolute disaster. God answered his prayer even though it wasn’t in Hezekiah’s best interest. He gave Hezekiah what he asked for even though it meant a disaster for the nation of Israel.

Perhaps the reason God was going to take Hezekiah home 15 years earlier was because He could see what the future was going to bring. It was God’s will to take him before all these problems.

When we pray, we need to be sure to be seeking God’s will and God’s best solution to problems and issues. He is so much wiser than we are. We can’t see what tomorrow holds, but God can. We need to trust in His love and care for us.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Publishing is scary

I am working on a new book.  The title is “Passionately Pursuing Jesus”.  It is quite different from my first book.  This book is at my editor and should be available in a few weeks.

This must be the year that God is teaching me to lay aside all my fears.  Writing is scary – especially the stuff I have written.  I’ve tried to insert personal stories from my life as examples and that is not easy for me. I’ve always been a fairly private person.

Publishing a book is scary because I will answer to God for what I write. I must be sure it is filled with His truth. What I write could affect someone for eternity. I have prayed over these books.  I’ve asked the Lord to lead me in my writing.  I know God can use these to impact the lives of other people.

I have no idea who will pick up my books and read them. I want them to be a clear message from God to them. It’s all about God getting glory and honor and praise. I pray that He hides me behind the cross and that people only see Jesus. I pray for them to be a blessing in the lives of others.

Writing the material in “Passionately Pursuing Jesus” is scary because it puts my life under a microscope. Do I walk every day like what I wrote about? Do people see obedience and faithfulness in my life? They will watch me to see if I am living up to what I wrote.

Writing the truth will bring attacks from the enemy. The calling on my life to stand for Jesus makes me a marked target. Satan will do anything to make me fall. If he can get me to fall, it will discredit anything and everything I’ve written, said, or done. I need to be sure to put my armor on every day. (Ephesians 6)

Publishing this book is scary because someone (probably lots of someones) isn’t going to like it. I can’t take their criticism personally. For some it will be too short and for others, too long.  For some it will be too much from the Bible, and for others not enough…..  too serious, not serious enough… too much application…too personal… I just need to trust it is what God wants it to be.

It’s scary because some people will read it and apply it. They will take what I’ve written and believe it and act on it. It needs to be truth not opinion. I need to take it seriously. Once the book is published and people purchase it, it’s out there.  I can’t take it back. There’s no undo. It has to be right the first time.

I am praying that God will help me accurately deliver truth.  God’s Word has the power to transform lives. I am praying to be bold, transparent, honest, courageous, and humble. I am praying that I will stand strong no matter what.  I am praying that I will only care about what my Savior thinks. I am praying that can live out what I’ve written.

I welcome your prayers….

Friday, April 10, 2015


Humility is not a very popular word. In fact it is often associated with weakness or a lack of assertiveness. However, it is really the opposite. Pride and humility are also opposites. A proud person wants to do things that will bring importance or attention to himself. He thinks what he does is what makes him special. A humble person understands that his worth comes from God. He understands that it has nothing to do with what he does, but has everything to do with who he is.

Writing about humility is humbling, as I am no expert. However, I see humility as a key to living a powerful Christian life. It is crucial to pursuing Jesus. It is in humility that we take a correct attitude before God. Without humility, it is impossible to live the Christian life. No matter what our gift is or how good we are at what we do - whether that be teaching, writing, singing, leading, preaching, or counseling - these are all worthless without humility. They are hollow. They are meaningless. Without humility no one will see Christ in us. We may proclaim to know him, but they won’t see him living in us.

Humble people are satisfied doing what God has for them to do. They are content. They understand that it’s Ok to ask for help. They don’t insist on having everything done their way. They are selfless people and are seen as putting other people’s needs ahead of their own (Philippians 2). They refuse to take credit where it is not due. They recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father (James 1:17). They do their best to help others succeed. They are understanding and patient. They are quick to forgive others and they are quick to admit their own mistakes. They see themselves accurately. They don’t have a false overinflated view of themselves, but they also don’t put themselves down. They are often quiet, but they know when to speak up. Humble people serve others. Humble people realize who God is in relation to who they are.

In Matthew 23, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for wanting the seats of honor at a feast. He told them that they should pick out the lowest seat. We are quick to condemn the Pharisees but how often do we do the same thing? Do we maneuver for the front of the line at the store? Do we pick the best seats at a meeting or a church service? Heaven forbid someone else sit in our pew! Do we seek our own wants and desires at the expense of others, or do we put others first? We need to learn to be humble. We need to learn to honor one another above ourselves. The Spirit doesn’t make us humble, he enables us to humble ourselves as we give him control of our lives.

Humility is vital for Christians We can only receive Christ as we humble ourselves and admit our need and our unworthiness. Jesus was the perfect example as he humbled himself even unto death. We see the humility of Christ in his servant’s heart. Mark 10:45 tells us that he came not be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for us. He did not seek his own glory. He did not insist on his own will. He demonstrated humility, time and time again. He washed the disciples feet, he kissed Judas at the last supper, he loved his enemies and forgave them even from the cross.

And what did Jesus get for his humility? He was crucified for our sin. He got the death penalty we deserve. He willingly took that penalty. He could have called down angels to save him from the cross, but he chose the Father’s will and he chose to die. He was then raised from the dead and exalted by God and now sits at the right hand of the God in a place of authority. Therefore joy and power come through humility. We have a confidence that is based on Jesus’ love for us. Our sin was so great, but the blood of Jesus took it all away. Why – because his love for us was even greater!


“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me.”
Jeremiah 9:23-24