Saturday, November 27, 2010


If you're like me, confession does not come easily.

It's painful to take a look at attitudes you'd rather not acknowledge. A simple thing like mild annoyance that rises when you don't get your own way or full grown anger that flares when you have been crossed are signals for confession. Other signs could be fear crawling in the shadows or insecurity leading to uneven ground away from the Rock of Ages.

Confession, the "C" of the ACTs model of prayer, is hard. But it is like presenting yourself to the doctor, revealing the infection in your body, and waiting for the prognosis and the cure. Sometimes it is quick and painless. Sometimes it calls for a deeper incision than you would choose, but it allows you to rid your body of the poison that the Creator never intended for you to absorb.

Telling the Great Physician your discovery sits you in His office. There you can listen for His instructions on how to get whole.


"If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts" ( John 1:8-10, New Living Translation).

Examine your life with the Great Physician's help. Is there any attitude or habit that you need to confess?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Old Faith Recipe

I savor the food old saints serve. It's obvious that they've learned some good recipes in God's kitchen.

My devotions got me mulling over how God teaches fresh faith. An occasional stint in His kitchen won't do it. To live by faith, we need regular practice. It seems like sometimes God changes ingredients on us, so we have to carefully listen, daily, to His instructions.

We learn how to mix the ingredients then wait for them to cook. Finally we get to taste, chew and swallow. Then digestion, a slow process, benefits our whole body feeding muscle, bone, and brain.

Listen to one of A. B. Simpson’s recipes.
"God is looking for people on whom He can place the weight of His entire love, power, and faithful promises. And His engines are strong enough to pull any weight we may attach to them. Unfortunately, the cable we fasten to the engine is often too weak to handle the weight of our prayers. Therefore God continues to train and discipline us in His school of stability and certainty in the life of faith. May we learn our lessons well and then stand firm."
(Streams in the Desert, L. B. Cowman, Updated by Jim Reimann, 1997, Zonderman, p. 426.)

Simpson used a metaphor of his day to describe an ageless principle: circumstances that test our limits are opportunities to prove God’s limitless supply. Even when our faith is scant, we can use the little we have and get into God’s kitchen. There we will discover resources and recipes that will deliver an uncommonly satisfying meal.


Might you trust that your short faith supply is really an opportunity to discover God's ‘love, power, and faithful promises?’

"Not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed" (Joshua 23:14, NIV).

Try reading this verse out loud three times. Listen for the Holy Spirit’s promptings after each reading. Jot down your impressions.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Adoring God

"I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom”                         (Psalm 145: 1,3, NIV).

You’d think that adoring God would be easy-- like pouring sweet praise over your lover or speaking with abandon to a gurgling baby.

But I’ve found that it’s not always easy.

In fact, to adore God I have to prime my heart with praise from scripture. If I am preoccupied with a concern, I don’t praise easily. But when I recall God’s prior revelations, I can refocus. That creates an expectant gaze which helps me to move to praise.

When praise doesn’t come easily, I choose to look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3). When I do, my whole being can tell a difference. That’s because adoration takes me into God’s presence.

Adoring God (the first part of the ACTS acrostic: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication) opens windows to fresher air than I breathed a minute before. Adoring God opens my eyes to see the eternal impinging on my day, the power of the Most High poised to act consistently with His good purposes.

Adoring God can bring fresh life to a tired body. It can bring hope to my flagging spirit and the Prince of Peace to a pocket of pain. I might still need sleep, but now I’m aware of Christ's enabling presence with me.

How better to start a day – or finish it – than to adore the most lovely Being who loves us!


What helps you focus on Christ’s amazing presence?

What benefits do you experience when you adore God?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Success in Suffering

It takes some strong weather and the maturing of your vine to realize that you can be in a windstorm and still prosper.

Joseph was thrown into prison for doing things God's way. Yet, "the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor.... and gave him success in whatever he did." (See Genesis 39:21-23.) The scriptures don't tell if Joseph stayed awake, tormented by the false accusations that put him in prison. Neither do they describe him as sullen or bitter. Instead, he seems to have discovered that, in this place of shame and constriction, God was with him and would somehow bring good (Genesis 50:20).

In the midst of difficulty, is this not success: submitting to God's presence, listening for God's insights, applying all that the Lord reveals  -- and in the strength which He mightily supplies? When we have a clear conscience and remember that God is with us, then the severe pruning of the vine is nothing to fear. We know it will eventually cause larger, more luscious fruit to develop. (See John chapter 15.)

Recently, my mother shared with me that, as she faces the ravaging storm of cancer, she feels as if she is in the eye of the storm. Everything around her is in turmoil, but she is at peace in the center. Because, like Joseph, God is with her.

While we might grapple with the whys, moving to the whats and experiencing God's transforming presence is ultimately what brings success in our prisons. There we experience uncommon peace, one of suffering's gifts. That's success!


Might God be using discomfort in your life to strengthen you for greater things?

What do you need to address with God so you can move to the center and His peace?