Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day # 10 February 27th – Worship

Psalm 100 is a great way to simply worship. Worship is what we reserve for God and God alone, because he alone is worthy. Worship is how we respond to God. It is easy to go through our day not acknowledging God’s constant hand in everything we do. WE are called to respond to God’s daily grace, and infinite grace through his Son by worshiping him. This can be done in the streets like David did, this can be done with the family Jacob did, this can be done with strangers as Mary Joseph and the Shepherds did, and it can be done in a great gathering as the angels do. Revelation 4-5 is a great scene of heavenly worship. While we do gather every Sunday to worship corporally, worship is an ongoing event. The Hebrew word for worship means “to work, or serve, or worship.” Our work, if it is a response to God” is worship. Look for ways to worship God not only Sunday, but each morning. Remember worship is our response to God, therefore it is about God, not about us. Worship is full surrender, give yourself to God.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day # 9 February 26th – Celebration/Joy

Exodus 12:17 states "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.” God commands the Israelites to have a festival, to annually celebrate the awesome, liberating power of God. It is almost comical to think of celebration as a discipline or command, but many times we forget that what God offers us is something worth celebrating. Augustine of Hippos says “The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot!” God even incorporated a whole year of celebration with the year of Jubilee. The Year of Jubilee was a command from God to celebrate a whole year of God’s provision by not planting any crops (God would take care of that part) and canceling all debt. Forget one week of Mardi Gras, this was a whole year! Every one of these exercises, all the disciplines, and commands are to be done not with drudgery, but with a joyous spirit, knowing that God loves us, and has already completed his work for our salvation in Jesus Christ. We are saved by the cross, everything we approach than should be with complete joy. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 does not exaggerate with truth when it says “be joyful always.” Keep the redemptive work of Christ always at the front of your mind, and remember to work with God with unrestrained joy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day # 8 February 25th – Memorizing

Deuteronomy 6:1-8 stresses the importance of knowing the God’s decrees. There is a profound difference between reading the scripture, and being able to recite scripture. Memorizing comes only with great difficulty for many of us, However, the value of memorizing passages is infinite. Memorizing forces us to slow down and look at a passage much more closely. When we memorize we begin to understand a passage much more deeply than we would have if we just read it. Memorizing also allows us to recited God’s promises to ourselves throughout our hectic day. Finally memorizing allows us to share the power of God’s word with others. Knowing God’s word, by heart has a powerful impact in our lives, and the lives of others because we know that there is power in the Word. Take opportunities to memorize passages, once a day, or once a week, and allow God’s word to penetrate you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day # 7 February 24th – Journaling

Moses is told to write down all the laws in Deuteronomy 27:3, Isaiah is told to write in Isaiah 30:8, Jeremiah is told to write in Jeremiah 30:2, Habakkuk is told to write in Habakkuk 2:2, and John is told to write in Revelation 1:11. Throughout scripture God is telling people to write down what they hear and see. The reason for God’s call to journal is so that people will not forget. Imagine if all the people God told to write down did not write down, we would have not New or Old Testament! Journaling the events in our lives serve two purposes. The first purpose is that it reminds us what God has done for us through each day. Many times God does do something wonderful, but we quickly forget it, or never give ourselves to reflect on it. Journaling forces to reflect on the events that have happened through the day, and when we do that we see God showing up in ways that we might have originally missed. Secondly, Journaling is also a great way to pray if you have trouble holding your attention. If praying is difficult for you, you might find writing your prayers helpful in keeping your attention. Personally Journaling is difficult for me; I do well at first than my interest wanes. However, looking back at some of my spiritual concerns from a few years to even a few months ago is a reminder of all the prayers that God has answered. Try Journaling for a week, a month. Journal as a form of prayer if it helps, do it as a reminder for what God is doing, or do it as a tool that opens your mind to what God has done that you may have missed the first time around.

Here is a good journaling website:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day # 6 February 23rd – Silence

“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). Henri Nouwen states that “silence is the way to make solitude a reality.” Dallas Willard says “silence is frightening because it strips us as nothing else does, throwing us upon the start realities of our life.” With our mouth we lie, we rationalize, we make excuses, we exaggerate, we insult, we hurt, James was right “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:7-8). Silence is important when we approach God in solitude. When we pray we speak much, silence is about allowing the voice of God to speak, and this is a true discipline. To be quiet long enough in the presence of God is a difficult and terrifying thing. It is difficult because our mind, our interior tongue speaks when our outward one is still, and terrifying because when we truly enter into God’s presence there is nothing we can say. We can imagine that Jesus was silent much of the time during his 40 days of fasting and solitude, listening for the voice of his Father. Going back to Matthew 6:7, Jesus basically commands his disciple not to talk too much in prayer because your Father already knows what you need. Therefore, the rest of praying is dedicated to silent listening.

The spiritual discipline of silence however, is not just used between us and God. Silence is a disciplined we need to use with others. Again Dallas Willard says “Silence and especially true listening are often the strongest testimony of our faith.” Jesus knew the power of silence when he was brought before Pilate accused of many things in Matthew 27 he remained quiet. Our silence with others speaks volumes about who we are. Too often we are so busy speaking, or so busy getting ready to say something that we never hear what someone is saying. We never see what their body language, the tone of their voice, their eyes, or what the subtlety of their words are saying because we are so busy speaking, or getting ready to. Silence draws us closer to God because we must rely on his voice to participate in our prayer time. Silence also draws us closer to each other because to allows others to speak uninhibited. Use your prayer time to practice silence. As much as possible be silent at work or school. Be careful when you open your mouth that you do so not to complain or hurt. Speak only when absolutely necessary or spoken too (do not be a jerk about it). Imagine you have only so many words you are allowed to speak this day, use them wisely. In the silence, throughout the day, listen to the voice of God.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day # 5 February 22nd – Solitude
What better day to be alone with God than today?

Luke 5:16 says “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Jesus, who only had a three year ministry to train his disciples and preach the message of the coming Kingdom, was not too busy to find time alone in solitude. Jesus needed time to get away to be with the Father, and we too need time to get away. In Matthew 6:5-14 Jesus teaches us how to pray, part of his instruction includes going “into your room close the door and pray to your Father…” Solitude is a place of silence and being alone with God. Everywhere we go there is noise and something to distract us. We have our ipod, cell phones, car radios, CD players, television, DVDs, internet, and other devices that pollute our lives with constant noise and contact. Solitude is a chance to be away not just from people, but from everything, including your cell phone and be with God. Again Jesus spent 40 days of Solitude on the mountain, and that time was a time of strength. Find a half hour to be completely alone with God. This may mean you have to wake up early, or maybe go to bed late. This is a time to open your heart, and listen to God; it is another opportunity to discern the Holy Spirit in your life. In Solitude you find yourself not alone, but in God’s arms. In solitude you find strength. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

God of Comfort

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
and earth has nothing I desire
besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my
heart and my portion forever. 
                                                    - psalm 73:23-26

God give us strength, God give us strength, Dear Lord our God give us strength.
God give us mercy, God give us mercy, Dear Lord our God give us mercy.

Nothing is harder than letting go.
God give us your Spirit, God give us your Spirit, Dear Lord our God give us your Spirit

Saturday, February 20, 2010

40 Days of Obedience

Day # 4 February 20th – Fasting

Matthew 4:1-4 speaks about Jesus’ time in the desert fasting and praying to God. Jesus fasts for 40 days and resists the temptations of Satan and begins his most important ministry. Matthew 6:16-18 gives immediately following he begins his ministry by calling his disciples. We see fasting as a time of weakness, but for Jesus this was a time of strength. It is after these 40 days of fasting and being with God that Jesus guidelines to how one should fast, and Luke 5:34-35 reveals when fasting will be appropriate for Jesus’ disciples. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that postpones our daily gratification to hear the voice of God. Fasting is a great exercise when praying for something specific, trying to discern the voice of God, or just to be in God’s presence. Fasting was around before Jesus, and his disciples and followers continue the practice today. Fasting makes us hungry, tired, and yes even causes headaches, but it is in these moments where we understand our need for God’s hand. When we delay our own gratification or needs we experience God in ways that we miss out in our everyday life. It is not an easy exercise, which is why it is called a discipline, but you will be surprised how much God will help you through it, and how loud God seems to speak in these times of fasting.

The truth is that we cannot fast from food and drink for 40 days without some serious consequences; in fact many of us cannot fast one day without serious consequences due to diabetes, a specialized diet or other concerns. Before fasting it is always important to know your body, or check with your doctor. Fasting is supposed to bring us closer to God, not bring us to God in heaven (wink). Fasting can be done in many ways. If you are new to fasting I suggest that you do not go any longer than a 24 hour period. A good way to do it is eat dinner, then begin your fast, skipping breakfast, lunch, and all those snacks in between, then break your fast with thanksgiving and dinner. Fasting is typically from calorie substances; therefore, water is ok to drink. If you cannot fast from everything, try sticking to just juice. If your body cannot allow you to fast safely for a day, maybe you can try for a meal. If fasting even for a meal is too dangerous, try fasting from something else such as soda, coffee, or tea for a few days. Most importantly remember why you are fasting, you do it not to put your body in jeopardy, you do not do it to lose weight, put you do it to rely on and draw near to God. Find time and the discipline to fast and draw near to God.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day # 3 February 19th - Stillness

Psalm 46:10 “Be Still and Know that I am God.” We do everything on the run. We eat on the run, we talk on the phone in the car, we can even send emails at the dinner table, text a friend while waiting for an appointment, and check our stocks while waiting in line at the grocery store. We are a people who are constantly moving. Even our spiritual life can be guilty of too much at one time. In fact, most of us Christians have Spiritual A.D.D. We miss out on so much of what God is saying to us because we do not stop long enough to hear his voice. Is it any wonder that God gave us a Sabbath? He knows we are a people who like to busy themselves with “important tasks.” However, in the midst of our business we have tuned out God’s voice. Today find time to sit up in a chair and be still for 15 minutes. If you cannot do 15 minutes than try 10. Try reading Psalm 23 then set down your Bible, close your eyes and just be still and listen knowing that God’s promise of protection and presence is there. Our time of prayer should not be only a time of speaking, but listening. Try being still, listen for God’s voice.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

40 Days of Obediene

Day # 2 February 18th – Word
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 stresses the importance of knowing God’s decrees written down. Psalm 1 is a beautiful passage about the fruits produce when keeping God’s word on your heart. Scripture is God’s will, his desire and plan written down for us. Scripture is how we get to know God personally and intimately. Obedience to God begins with prayer and scripture. We must push ourselves to knowing God’s word. The sad reality is that less than 10% of Christians have read their Bible. Commit to reading each day, than pray on what you read. Go to and click on the link on the left of the home page to help you get through the Bible in one year. I know a woman named Mary who has done this for 30 years now, and every time she learns something new. Let scripture and prayer be part of your daily obedience, and respond to how that is transforming you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

40 Days of Obedience

This is a challnege to myself and everyone else reading to move away from an easy faith.  God has given us so much, our response should be joyjul obedience.  Each day there is a new call to follow Christ more closely.  Read if you are ready to pick up your cross.  Respond below and let us share together how God is changing us.

Day # 1 February 17th – Pray

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray continually” or “pray without ceasing.” Wake up and designate a time of prayer for strength before you get ready for your day. At night designate a time of prayer of thanks and a prayer of handing things over to God. In the middle of the day designate a time of prayer for whatever God puts on your heart. Walk in prayer all day. Write on your hand with a pen this verse so it will remind you. Wear a rubber band to remind you, put a small rock in your pocket. Have a note in your car, on your desk, on the refrigerator to keep yourself in the attitude of prayer throughout the whole day. Numbers 15:37-41 God tells his people to have tassels on their clothes to help them remember the commands of their Lord, let us be in constant reminder of God’s presence. Go into Prayer with God; let this be a continual practice. Write below how this is effecting your life.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Have you ever been driving on a familiar road to a familiar destination and you are set on auto pilot (you know when you are conscious but you are not conscious that you are conscious as you mindlessly apply foot to gas and pedal almost methodically with no reference of time passed). I was driving with my baby beside me at the wheel (good ole oldie reference) back to our apartment a couple of months ago when we found ourselves in such a position of unaware traveling. It was sometime during this trip that Jen exclaimed with a bit of panic,

“Where are we?”
“What do you mean?” I ask as I begin looking around for familiar territory.
“I mean where are we?” she asks again with obvious frustration in her voice as she does not know how to explain the scenario any clearer.

As I continued to look around, the relevancy of her question became more apparent. The once familiar lit up road with fast food restaurants, consignment shops, and the small kingdom of Wal-Mart are nowhere to be seen. The once knowable suburban strip has become reminiscent of a dark small farm town. It seemed as if we were instantly transported to my wife’s hometown of Cordova, Illinois which has no stoplights and their only restaurant is attached to a gas station. It was after just a few short moments that Jen realized the problem, the power in the immediate one mile radius had gone out. Police were rushing to the edges of the outage, cars were pulling over in confusion, and droves were being ushered out of Wal-Mart, and when we got to our apartment people were standing outside with candles adorned in hand, unsure how to handle the situation. Jen and I did what seemed to make sense when all power has failed, we went to bed.

Light is important. It was the invention of the light bulb (thank you Thomas Edison) that led to an evolution of human life. No longer would our race be held captive by the setting and rising of the sun. No longer would candles be the only light to read by at night. Stores can be open at all hours of the night, work can be done around the clock, we can govern lights so as to govern our lives as we see fit. The only problem is that we suck at governing our own lives. The problem is that our human-made lights can fail at any time (it was perfect weather conditions when the lights went out in the one mile radius). Imagine running your life without any light.

Read 1 John 1:5-7, it says that God is light. The closer we allow ourselves to be to God the more we can see. The further away from God the darker and more confusing life becomes. God is light, but it is not a light we can govern or control. God is moving, and if we want to stay in the light we must move with God. I believe that if we find our lives in the dark, if we do not know where we are or how we got there, it is because we did not want to go where God the light was taking us. It is not a stretch to say that the world is in darkness, simply read the paper or watch the first 5 minutes of the news. If we are honest we may say our own life is in the dark or that we find ourselves in a cloud. Do you want to be found, do you want to be in the light? Are you ready for a glowing tan that radiates your life in the light? Come to God, and give your life over. Come to the scriptures and learn who this loving God is. Come to church and be strengthened by others.

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