Wednesday, October 27, 2010


“Who is the wise man that may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken, that he may declare it? Why is the land ruined, laid waste like a desert, so that no one passes through? The LORD said, "Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice nor walked according to it, but have walked after the stubbornness of their heart and after the Baals, as their fathers taught them" (Jeremiah 9:12-14).

It really is pretty simple, isn’t it? Perhaps we make it more difficult than it is because we don’t want to face the truth. But the choices are crystal clear. We can choose to forsake the instructions of God or we can accept them. We can choose to listen to God or we can ignore Him. We can choose to follow God’s way or we can chart our own course. But choose carefully because judgment comes to those who forsake, ignore, and refuse to follow God! Why can’t people see it? Why don’t they make better choices? Because they are stubborn!

How do I know this? Not only because God said it but because I battle stubbornness in my own life. I know the precepts of God but I find it so tempting to make my own rules. I know what God says, but, too often, I find it easier to listen to myself. After all, I always agree with me! I know that following God is the best way to live, but I struggle with wanting my own way. My stubbornness keeps getting in the way.

I am called by God to present myself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:2). But the difficulty with being a living sacrifice is that there is always the possibility of crawling off of the altar. My own stubbornness prompts me to do that too often. Lord, please help me to die daily as I seek to follow You (Luke 9:23-24).

God loves you!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Brooks Conrad, a professional baseball player for the Atlanta Braves, became an instant celebrity last Sunday. No, it wasn’t because he hit a game-winning home run. It wasn’t due to a diving catch that prevented a key base hit. He didn’t pitch a perfect game. Conrad can only wish that his notoriety was based on any of those heroics. No, he had the dubious honor of committing three errors in one playoff game. His third and final error of the game, when a ball skipped by his glove and escaped between his legs, allowed the opposing team to take a one-run lead in the ninth inning and, ultimately, win the game.

Negative reaction to Conrad’s miscues, especially the last one, was swift and strong. Many of the hometown Braves fans booed him mercilessly. Following the game, a hoard of reporters cornered him at his locker and peppered him with questions regarding the costly mistake. To his credit, Conrad didn’t make excuses. He was quoted as saying: “It’s completely embarrassing. I feel like I let everybody down. It’s a whole lot to swallow, but I’ll do my best to get over it. I probably won’t for a long time, if ever. I wish I could dig a hole and sleep in there.” Regardless of all the good things he has accomplished as a baseball player, if the Giants go on to win the series, he will likely be remembered for his errors in this one game.

I can sympathize with Brooks Conrad. Not because I am a professional baseball player, but because I am a player in the game of life. I live in a world that tends to remember my errors instead of my successes. Too often, my errors end up being costly and disappointing to others. Thankfully, I serve a God who specializes in forgetting my errors (Hebrews 8:12). As a child of God, while I may deserve getting booed, I am not defined by my mistakes.

I hope Brooks Conrad gets another chance. I know God continues to give me one.

God loves you!

Monday, October 11, 2010


“Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' And I set watchmen over you, saying, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But they said, 'We will not listen.' Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their plans, because they have not listened to My words, and as for My law, they have rejected it also” (Jeremiah 6:16-19).

Judah had not navigated wisely on her spiritual journey. She had come to a crossroads and chosen the wrong path -- one that led her away from God. Her chosen path was characterized by sin, stubbornness, and rebellion. Mercifully, God had been pleading with Judah to correct her course -- to make a u-turn and find “the ancient paths.”

What are these “ancient paths?” These are roads that lead toward God, not away from Him. The ancient paths are characterized by repentance and submission, not rebellion. The ancient paths encourage reverence for and knowledge of God, not arrogance and abuse. Godly people since the beginning of time have charted their course along these paths and have enjoyed the blessings of God. But Judah would have none of it! Like an insolent child, she stamped her foot and declared, “I won’t do it! I won’t listen!”

Periodically, I have to re-calibrate my spiritual G.P.S. (Godly Path Sensor). Like Judah, I regularly face the temptation of choosing a road that takes me away from God instead of toward Him. I must choose carefully because the wrong path can appear so appealing. I must remember that the “new” road isn’t always better than the “old” road. God has clearly marked out the safe path to a relationship with Him. The question is: Will I follow His directions or stubbornly insist on my own?

God loves you!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just Walk Away

The Texas Rangers secured their place in the Major League Baseball post-season for the first time since 1999 on September 26 with a win over the Oakland Athletics. Not long after the win, the victors gathered in their locker room for the obligatory team celebration. If you have seen these events on television, you know what goes on. Players are yelling and laughing, slapping each other on the back. The aches and pains of a long season are temporarily forgotten. And, without fail, large quantities of alcoholic beverages are sprayed or poured on everyone in the room. Some is consumed as well.

Josh Hamilton, one of the best Ranger players (as well as one of the best hitters in all of baseball), was noticeably absent from the locker room revelry. Hamilton celebrated with his team on the field after the last out but changed out of his uniform in an area away from the party in the locker room. Why? Does he think he is better than everyone else? Not at all. You see, Josh Hamilton is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. A few years ago, his addictions nearly ended his promising career just as it was beginning. It has been an incredible battle for him to try to clean up his life. He has had some embarrassing setbacks. The temptation of alcohol and drugs will always haunt him. So he made the difficult choice to steer clear of the locker room scene even though he wanted to celebrate with his teammates. The risk was just too great.

This example illustrates a basic principle regarding whatever addiction we may be facing. Instead of drugs or alcohol, our struggle might be with addictions to money, power, pornography, etc. Whatever it is that threatens to destroy us, let’s avoid it! Let’s keep our distance from sin’s entangling web (Hebrews 12:1). Often it is best just to flee from situations that may lead to a relapse in our battle against sin (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22).

God loves you!