Monday, September 27, 2010

Spiritual Deafness

Jeremiah was a reluctant draftee into prophetic ministry. He didn’t think he was qualified to confront His people about their sin (1:6). But God convinced him otherwise. In some ways, he was just the man for the job. He knew them as well as anyone because he lived among them. He was devastated over the impending judgment that was coming upon Judah (4:19-21). He was aware of just how stubborn they were and even made excuses for them (5:3-4). He was appalled at how far they had strayed from God (5:30-31). Is it any wonder that the frustration level of the prophet finally bubbles over? “To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed and they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the Lord has become a reproach to them; they have no delight in it” (6:10).

The problem with refusing to listen to God is that, sooner or later, the time will come when you cannot listen to Him. Many in Judah had reached that point. They had stubbornly ignored the word of God for so long that they had become spiritually deaf. And the inability to hear God had dangerous consequences. They eventually came to view the word of God with contempt. What had been a delight became a reproach to them.

Avoiding spiritual deafness requires focus and determination. A preventative treatment regimen is found in Psalm 1:1-3: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Lord, I pray that Your words will always be a delight to my ears!

God loves you!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bragging Rights

Two farmers, one from Nebraska and the other from Texas, happened to be sitting next to one another on a recent airline flight. After introducing themselves, the talk quickly turned to their shared profession. Not long into the conversation, the Nebraska farmer began to notice a disturbing trend. No matter what he mentioned about his farming operation, the Texas farmer always claimed to have something bigger or better. It didn’t matter what they were talking about -- crop yields, herd sizes, profits, or football -- the Texas farmer always found a way to brag. Frustrated by the direction of the exchange, the Nebraska farmer finally picked up a magazine from seat pocket in front of him and pretended to read it. Undeterred, the Texas farmer asked, “How big is your farm?” Dreading the inevitable comparison, the Nebraska farmer muttered, half under his breath, “I farm 800 acres all together.” “Why, that’s nothin’,” the Texas farmer countered. “My spread in Texas is so big that I get in my pickup in the morning and I don’t make it to all of my fields until the sun is going down!” A grin slowly spread across the Nebraska farmer’s face. Finally, he had him! Turning to the Texan, with an expression of mock sympathy, he said, “I’m so sorry to hear that. I used to have a pickup truck like that myself...”

If you hang around children long enough, sooner or later you will hear them comparing their fathers. “My dad is richer than your dad!” The claim may or may not be true. And as far as playground bragging rights go, it is probably not a big deal. As children of God, we can truly claim to have universe’s richest dad. He owns the earth and everything in it (Psalm 24:1; 50:10-12). In view of that fact, I must ask myself some questions. Does my life reflect the wealth of my Father? Do I doubt His ability to provide? Do I really believe He has the resources to meet my needs? I wonder...

God loves you!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Danger In Doing Nothing

The U.S.S. Olympia is a 5,500-ton cruiser-class battleship that was built for and used by the United States Navy. She was launched on her maiden voyage in 1892 from San Francisco, California. She was chosen to serve as the flagship of the Asiatic Squadron during the Spanish-American war. She played a pivotal role in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1899 which resulted in the sinking or capture of the entire Spanish Pacific fleet. She saw duty during World War I and took part in the 1918 Allied landing at Murmansk during the Russian Civil War. Her final mission was bringing home the body of World War I's Unknown Soldier from France in 1921. This sturdy vessel was decommissioned for the final time in 1922. For nearly thirty years, the Olympia took all that the enemy could fire at her and proved to be unsinkable.

Oddly enough, it is inactivity and inattention that are proving to be the Olympia’s downfall. Since 1945, she has been sitting idle in the water near a dock in the Delaware River near Philadelphia. Her steel hull has been badly corroded. Some patching has been done, but the cost of the necessary repairs and restoration needed to keep her afloat are prohibitive. But if something is not done soon, she will sink where she sits. Ironically, what two wars and enemy attacks failed to do, rust now seems poised to accomplish (Sources: and

While I have no statistics to prove it, I’m beginning to believe that inactivity causes more Christian casualties than the wounds of spiritual warfare. Sitting on the sidelines can actually be more dangerous to faith than engaging the enemy. When children of God begin to pull back from active involvement in the body of Christ, spiritual rust starts to eat holes in the hull of their faith. To be useful, faith needs to be exercised, not mothballed. Could that be why we are encouraged to be “...always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58)?

God loves you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drive Carefully!!!

Not long ago, a news service compiled a list of the most dangerous roads in the United States. The results were listed by county and individual rankings were based on a percentage of the overall total of 562,712 fatal automobile accidents that occurred between 1994 and 2008. Those of us who drive regularly on the roadways of California probably won’t be surprised to learn that roads within our own home state filled up 50 percent of the list.

According to the study, the most dangerous stretch of road in the country is I-15 in San Bernardino County in Southern California. During the study period, this one section of highway recorded a total of 834 automobile accidents, resulting in 1069 fatalities. Using only the criteria of total deaths recorded, this one stretch of road is twice as dangerous as the second place road (I-10 in Riverside County, 515 fatalities). On average, 6 people have died every month in traffic accidents on I-15 in San Bernardino County in each of the last 15 years.

Let me tell you about a much safer road. The Bible calls it the “Highway of Holiness” and it is referenced in Isaiah 35:8-9: “And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there. Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it.”

Charting a course through this wicked world can be a daunting task. We must be careful to choose the right roads. Glittering road signs tempt us to take the on-ramp to Broadway, which will take you at freeway speeds to Destruction (Matthew 7:13). Once you are on Broadway, it can be very difficult to find an exit. Take an alternative route. The Highway of Holiness is much safer and leads to a better destination.

God loves you!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Strength Of Weakness

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).

I suspect that Saul of Tarsus was a driven individual, what we today might call a “Type A” personality. When he made up his mind to do something, he aggressively pursued that goal with all of his strength and ability. The trail of destruction left behind him as he endeavored to stamp out Christianity as a young man testifies to this part of his character. It was a part of Saul’s personality that likely endeared him to his associates and made him a rising star in Judaism.

But it was a character trait that God had to root out of His chosen messenger. The apostle Paul would never reach his full potential for God as long as he depended on his own power, knowledge, and ability. He viewed his “thorn in the flesh” as a hindrance to his task, but God viewed it as an helper. To Paul, it was an antagonist; to God it was his ally. And as difficult as it must have been for him, Paul ultimately learned that true strength is found in weakness.

In a world that applauds the strong, the flashy, the influential, and the attractive, it is easy for us to loose our focus. We begin to trust in our own power and ability. We start to compare ourselves to others. We glory in our accomplishments instead of glorifying God. We boast in our strengths instead of our weaknesses. We brag about our victories instead of our defeats.

Father, like my brother Paul, please weaken me so that I can be strong for You.

God loves you!