Friday, February 21, 2020


Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.  Remember, then, what you have received and heard; hold it fast and repent.  But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief and you will not know at what time I will come to you.  The one who is victorious will be dressed in white.  I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.
Revelation 3:2,3, 5

It seems that the church in Sardis has lost sight of the ultimate goal of God.  They got sidetracked and have unfinished business with God.  It's interesting that we are not talking about overtly "bad" sins that we think about - cheating, killing, gossiping that John is writing about - but rather "unfinished business" that has fallen short of God's plans.  Coming up short, lacking victory is about to kill whatever progress they once made.

How much do I get sidetracked?  How much have I separated from The Way, The Truth and The Life that God intended for me.  What keeps me from Jesus?  Too much electronics?  Too much self-focus?  Too much enmeshment in this world?

I think about that first wave of Spirit-led life that I held in times of renewal:  truths I need to go back to; trust I need to regain.  To come "awake" to those, to grow conscious again of the guidance they hold in my life is crucial, John says, to be victorious and to be ready for the returning Christ.

This may mean the final return of Christ, but have my distractions and other-reliance caused me to miss Christ's presence and possibilities today?  The world's call to evil and to sin will cause me to miss the mark of his presence guiding me along The Way.  When he comes along, I may have missed the chance to be led or comforted.  I may have missed the path altogether.

I want to be recognizeable and seen (dressed in white) on the day present or final at the coming of the Lord!  I want to put aside distractions and diversions which would cause me to miss Him! I need to finish the business that the Lord has begun in me!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Terror or Treachery

O how terrible for those who confuse good with evil, right with wrong, light with dark, sweet with bitter!  O how terrible for those who think they're so wise, who consider themselves so clever! 
Isaiah 5:20 

I have been an alcohol and drug counselor and prevention specialist for 30 years and if I have to listen to this statement one more time....

"I don't regret my (bad) history (whether abuse, bad circumstances or poor choices), it's made me strong."

This is a lie.  Those things - whether terror or treachery - have not made you stronger, but rather made you weaker.  Look at your trajectory:
  •   Have you been able to persevere?
  •   Have you been able to do the right thing?
  •   Have you had success by any definition?
  •   Have you been able to maintain healthy relationships?
  •  Have you been able to set goals and follow through to completion?
  •   Have you kept yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy?
I would contend NOT!  Otherwise, we would not be in relationship right now with me as your coach or counselor.  Not only have you not done the right thing, you are so blinded that you cannot discern right from wrong, distinguish right from wrong and, in fact, you call the wrong "right."  Totally blinded.  Let alone have any ability - strength or direction - to do what is right, even if you could see it.

How terrible for those "heroes" who can outdrink anyone, those "champions" who take pride in their mixed drinks; those judges who set the guilt free in exchange for "a little something," all the while denying the innocent what they deserve!  It is no wonder that the LORD burns with anger at His people.  
Isaiah 5:22, 23, 25.


Luke 15:11-32  The story of the Prodigal Sons. 

Both sons used the Father.  Both attached their allegiance to their father only based on the plenty and privilege they could receive.  Only when one went without that plenty and privilege, did he want to return.  Only when stripped of every ounce of dignity did he realize that his father had the most for him.  Upon reflection, the wayward son realized the father's generosity even to the hired hand.  Generosity changed him.

Why couldn't the other brother, enmeshed in the father's care, see it?  Why did the father's generosity not change him?  The brother enmeshed in his father's generosity was just as separated from desire to be with the father, it seems.

Which of the brothers actually loved their father?  

Is it only after life fails us that we can see our need for God?  If our choices always give us what we need and we never come into crisis, will we miss our opportunity to come into the party, the presence of God?  

I wonder what the home-bound prodigal son was most angry about?  Was it that this party and reinstatement of the wayward son would divide more of his part of the estate?  Was it that he missed the heart of generosity of his father all along?  

This story raises so many questions for believers.  Do we realize God's generosity includes all and have we somehow short-changed ourselves in receiving it?  Can we accept and love the late-comers?  Will we welcome them in or will we want them to earn it somehow?  Is that what we think: that we are earning the Heavenly Father's love by our devotion and service?

Realize this, we serve and respond to what is offered to us as the Father's children and heirs. He is not holding anything back.  We never earned it nor deserved it.  He invites us all in.  Note that in this parable, the father goes out to both brothers. 

How has God been inviting you into the celebration?  Don't deny yourself! 

Monday, February 03, 2020


...find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.  Everything exposed by the light becomes visible and everything that is illuminated will serve as a light.  This is why it is said: "Wakeup, sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you."

Be careful then how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Do not be foolish, but understand the Lord's will:
  •  be filled with the Holy Spirit
  • speak to one another with (the assurance and edification of ) psalms, hymns and music from the Spirit
  • Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord
  • giving thanks to God for Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:10-20

What a call for dealing with the darkness in the world!  

I am to shine light into the darkness, onto evil.  The actions which cause a revealing, a revelation about evil revolve around truth, which evil is always trying to subvert in order to maintain the lie.  Truth can be revealed simply and in love.  

Like the original disciples, I can also challenge the demons by casting their lies into the fire, returning them to the source from which they come.  I am challenged to  call the distant and disengaged into repentance, which can bring them close to the truth about God, who loves them most of all, and much more than any demon, who only wants to use them.

This will take the divine power of God: to pull down strongholds and to cast down high-sounding philosophies, which keep people from knowing God.  Before I can do these things for others, I will let my own thoughts be captivated and obedient to Jesus Christ and his message, his good news!

Lord, you know where the demon lives.  Cast him out.  Give me truth to tell, hope to heal, and power to live! 

Fear is a liar!