Monday, December 17, 2012


Recently a friend of mine started living for the Lord. After a year of sharing his faith vocally, we had coffee and he told me something he found surprising. He said that in chess, the pawn pieces are used to advance the more important pieces. They go forward and sacrifice themselves to create opportunities for the Queen, King and Bishop. He thought of himself as a pawn, trying to actively serve the needs of others and serve the kingdom, clear that life isn’t about him. He said the biggest surprise though was that the more he served and lived a life for Christ, the more he felt attacked. But not by other people, by other Christians. He was confused because he’s never seen a King attack its own pawn in a game of chess. He’d never seen a Bishop take out its own pawn, but the more time he spent in church, the more he got attacked by the people who were supposed to be his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I started to think about that because it’s an issue I keep seeing come up. A pastor once said, ‘Nobody is as mean as Christians who are being mean for Jesus’” (Jon Acuff, “Why Are Christians Such Jerks?”,
Have you heard of “autoimmune disease?”  It is a physical condition that results in the immune system attacking healthy cells.  It is a case of mistaken identity, where the body turns on itself and damages its own tissue.  The general term refers to a group of more than 80 serious, chronic illnesses of the human body, including rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and lupus.    It is estimated that up to 23.5 million Americans have an autoimmune disorder.
Something is seriously wrong when a physical body begins to attack itself.  The same is true of the spiritual body of Christ.  “But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another” (Galatians 5:15).  Remember -- we are on the same team.  Save the artillery for the real enemy.
God loves you!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Faithful Friends

          “When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven”” (Mark 2:1–5 NAS95).
          This paralytic was blessed to have faithful friends.  They were faithful enough to be alert for an opportunity to help a friend in need.  They were faithful enough to make the effort to take him where he needed to be.  They were faithful enough to refuse to let some obstacles stand between their friend and the help he needed.  When they couldn’t get to Jesus through a door or window, they created their own access point!
          Note that nothing is said regarding the faith of the paralytic.  It is possible that his own faith was at a low point.  Perhaps he had given up any hope of life ever being any different.  The burdens of life (health or otherwise) can suck the faith out of a person.  But, thankfully, hope is linked not only to the faith of the one in need but also to the faith of those who rally around him or her.  It was the faith of the paralytic’s  friends that Jesus noticed and acted upon.
          Let me remind us all to surround ourselves with faithful friends.  The time will come when our own faith will waver and that is when we need friends with enough faith to carry us to Jesus.  Find faithful friends who will do whatever is necessary in your time of need.  Be a faithful friend to those in your sphere of influence who could use the help.

God loves you!

Monday, December 10, 2012


          “In the operating room of a large, well-known hospital, it was the nurse’s first day on the medical team.  She was responsible to be sure that all instruments and materials were accounted for before completing the final steps of the operation.  She said to the surgeon, “You’ve only removed 11 sponges.  We used 12 sponges and we need to find the last one.”  “I removed them all,” the doctor declared emphatically, “We’ll close the incision now.”  “No,” the rookie nurse objected, “we used 12 sponges.”  “I’ll take the responsibility,” the surgeon said grimly. “Suture.”  “You can’t do that, sir,” blazed the nurse.  “Think of the patient.”  The surgeon smiled and lifted his foot, showing the nurse the 12th sponge.  “You’ll do just fine in this or any other hospital”” (Dennis Waitley, “Your Absolute Bottom Line,” Priorities Magazine).
          Integrity is defined as “steadfast adherence to a...moral or ethical code” (  It’s doing what you believe to be right regardless of the consequences.  It’s staying true to your convictions even when it may be unpopular.  But having integrity is tough, isn’t it?  It’s difficult to stick to your principles when you know it could be costly. The temptation is to compromise when the pressure begins to build.
          God’s servant Daniel is a great example of someone who didn’t allow circumstances to alter his convictions.  As Daniel rose in prominence in Darius’ kingdom, other officials became jealous of him.  They did their best to find grounds for accusing him according to Babylonian law, but were unsuccessful because Daniel was a man of integrity.  So they formed a plot to use his integrity against him.  Knowing that Daniel had convictions about praying faithfully to his God, they convinced king Darius to pass a law forbidding it.  Now what would Daniel do?  “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house...and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously” (Daniel 6:10).
          May God help us to be men and women of integrity!

God loves you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Want To Be Faithful

“Many years ago the legendary golf pro Gary Player was hitting balls off the practice tee one morning, and the first ball he hit went 280 yards straight as a bullet.  A guy in the gallery just within earshot said, ‘Man, I’d give anything to be able to hit a golf ball like you.’  Gary walked over to the guy and said, ‘No, you wouldn’t.’  The guy said, ‘Yes, I would.  I’d give anything to hit like that,’  Gary said, ‘No, you wouldn’t.  You wouldn’t be willing to do what it takes.  You have to rise early in the morning and hit five hundred balls until your hands bleed.  Then you stop, tape your hands, and hit five hundred more balls.  The next morning you’re out there again with hands so raw you can barely hold your club, but you do it all over again.  If you do that through enough years of pain, then you can hit a ball like that.’  Player won more than 160 professional golf tournaments and is a member of “the big three” -- along with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer -- who dominated golf through the 1960’s and 1970’s” (Bob Merritt, 7 Simple Choices for a Better Tomorrow, p. 136).
Do you have a fellow Christian whom you admire?  Perhaps you have even said, “I wish I was as faithful as Brother or Sister ________.  Is that really what you desire?  You do realize that they weren’t born with a “faithfulness gene”, don’t you?  Although their parents or grandparents may have encouraged them along the path, faithfulness is not something that can be inherited.
How does one become faithful?  P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E!  “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).  “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
The road to faithfulness runs through the practice field.  There is no shortcut.

God loves you!