You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2012.


Sing to him; sing praises to him. Tell about all his miracles. Psalm 105:2 (NCV)

Everyone loves a love song. Even us guys like love songs although we don’t always admit it. Proof of that comes from the fact that many of the great song writers in history as well as our era have written songs to the one they love.

So, what love song have you sung to Jesus lately? You might think that an odd question to ask. Me? Sing a love song to God? How could I come up with the words to sing to him? How can I sing him a song of my love when I do such a bad job of showing that love? I mean, look at what I did last week! Look at the words I used when I got upset with my [co-worker, child, spouse, boss]! How would God accept my words of love for him when I can’t use words of love to others?

Or perhaps you are gifted in the area of music and words and you say, “I wrote a love song to him once. Want to hear it?” You may even be able to pop a CD in the CD player and let your music fill the room in praise.

You may be one who struggles with words. You may be one that is gifted in words and notes. Whatever your situation let me suggest a love song each of us can sing. A love song that will bring tears of joy to the eyes of the Father. A tune that will make the angels pause to listen. A message that will waft through eternity, long after the final stanza.

At the risk of offending anyone, I don’t think the Father is all the concerned about what type of music is played on Sunday mornings. I’m not so sure he’s impressed with guitars and synthesizers and drums. I’m not convinced he misses the piano and organs that may grace your sanctuary.

The love song the Father longs to hear from us comes from the heart, and songs from the heart are best sung with the hands. The music he longs to hear is the music of your patience with those around you. The music that thrills his soul is the tip you left on the table for the person that just gave you the worst service of your entire life. The music that touches his heart are the words of encouragement you speak to the one who has failed you…again.

Sing for Jesus! Sing his praises from the mountain top by showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The acting out of those words in our world are the words of the love song he longs to hear.

The motivation for our love song isn’t what others have done for us, but what Jesus Christ has done for us!

PRAYER: Lord, there are times in my life when the words of my love song to you are watered down by the circumstances I find myself in. When that happens I tend to give you lip service and don’t show my song to others. Empower me with your spirit to show the words of my love song to others regardless of how I’m treated. Amen.


When I started this blog a few years ago I wondered if anyone would read it. I’m so thankful for the followers the I have and now, for being given the Candle Ligher award. (http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/the-candle-lighter-award/) A special thank you to Paulette, my good ‘cyber-friend, sister in Christ and fellow blogger for her nomination. Also thank you to Kate Kresse for the creation of this award. God Bless those of you who continue to be blessed by our efforts to glorify Jesus and make the journey just a little easier.

Mike


The mountains may disappear, and the hills may come to an end, but my love will never disappear; my promise of peace will not come to an end,” says the Lord who shows mercy to you. Isaiah 54:10 (NCV)

How powerful is God’s love?

Ask Adam and Eve. They intentionally went against God’s law to forge their own way in life. But he never gave up on them. In spite of the consequences of their actions he welcomed them back into relationship.

Ask David. Although he was called ‘the man after God’s own heart’ he constantly struggled with pride and lust. His Kingdom was mighty, his family was a mess. Yet from his lineage the very son of God came to redeem all of mankind.

Ask Solomon. The wisest and wealthiest man on earth, yet his love of life and his lust for things and women motivated him to erect idols and shrines to false God’s in contradiction of God’s love. In the midst of his wealth he found only vanity. But God never gave up on him.

Ask Peter. One of Jesus’ closest friends. Yet when Jesus needed him the most, Peter denied him. Wouldn’t even admit he knew him. Turned his back on his best friend during that friend’s darkest hour. But when Jesus rose from the dead, Peter was the one disciple Jesus wanted to make sure was at breakfast that morning.

Mountains are a symbol of majesty and unshakeable strength. Yet even a mountain, in all of its grandeur can’t stand up against the power of God’s love. His grace endures forever. His mercy is never ending.

Human love fails. It can grow old. It measures depth by what it can get in life. It’s wounded and even destroyed by poor decisions. Bitterness, envy and the lack of forgiveness (among other things) all work together to bring human love to its knees. When love fails us we can be wounded for life.

But what destroys a mountain? Can sheer will? Can emotion? Can a mountain be destroyed simply by ignoring it? Of course not. In the same way, there is nothing that can take God’s love from you. Regardless of what you have done in the past, regardless of where you find yourself now, God’s unshakeable love is available to you. That’s grace. That’s mercy. You can’t destroy a mountain and you can’t make God stop loving you.

There’s only one thing God’s love won’t do. Because of God’s unshakeable love for you he will never force you to love him back. He’ll never force you to follow his ways. He loves you too much to make you a robot.

PRAYER: Lord God, thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for your unshakeable love. When the voices of hate, anger, guilt, shame and grief attack me today help me rest in your love. When temptation, lust and fear attempt to overtake me wrap me in your arms of love so that I might endure. Amen.


The Law of the Lord is a lamp, and its teachings shine brightly. Correction and self-control will lead you through life. Proverbs 6:23 (CEV)

It was our last camping trip of the season. Mid-October camping trips are risky at best in Northern Minnesota but the need to get away outweighed the risk of bad weather. Our destination was only about 90 minutes from home but the short days still meant arriving just after dusk.

Getting the camper parked was a challenge, but once in the site I managed to get set up for the evening by holding a small penlight flashlight in my mouth on occasion in order to find get settled. I made a passing statement that it would be nice to have a light that I could attach to my head so my hands (and mouth could be free).

This Christmas my ‘prayers’ were answered when my daughter gave me a small flashlight that attaches to my cap. Now I’ll be able to work with light and keep my hands free!

Although we are months from official camping season, I’ve tried my light out and expect it will be very useful in guiding me through the dark. It has its limitations however. My little light is bright, but it won’t light up much more than my immediate surroundings. With my little light I’ll be able to see what is only a short distance ahead, so I won’t be able to discern things in the distance. My little light is focused on the direction I’m heading, not to the sides, not to what is behind me. It is designed to keep me moving forward.

My little light is a picture of God’s word. Some think God’s Word is full of useless, confining and irrelevant rules and regulations. It’s outdated and doesn’t allow freedom. I say, on the contrary! Just like my little light, God’s word is a useful guide in the dark, steers me clear of danger and assists me when I can’t see my way.

God’s word is like my light in regards to my future as well. My Heavenly Father knows my tomorrows. While God knows what I’ll be doing ten years from now, he also knows that I don’t need that information right now. I need to get through the next day, the next few steps. His word gives me all the guidance I need to keep me moving forward.

When I follow God’s rules and God’s way I don’t need to be concerned about what lies to my right or my left either. I can focus on moving ahead. The past is just that, past, done, finished. What goes on around me isn’t important as long as I’m focusing on what God wants me to do.

Lastly, God’s word allows me to make necessary adjustments to my journey. I can choose to turn my light off and go it alone. If I do so I risk injury or getting hopelessly off course. In the same way ‘having God’s word’ is useless unless I use God’s word to guide me.
God’s word irrelevant? Gods’ word confining and outdated? I don’t think so! It’s just what I need to get through the dark times of my life!

PRAYER: Thank you Father for giving me the guidance I need through your word. Empower me to live by the standards you set for me so that I can walk confidently during the dark periods of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.


Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Philippians 2:1-2 (NASB)

Although I never wish disaster or crisis on anyone, something interesting, even refreshing happens when disaster strikes. All of the sudden race, gender, denominational affiliation and social standing don’t matter. People pitch in to clear trees, search for victims, provide food and supplies where necessary and sometimes just offer a shoulder for encouragement.

I’ve never once heard a news report where an angry homeowner said something like, “Why are all these people strolling through my yard with chainsaws and such to clear my property after that tornado hit? I don’t want them providing food and helping me clean up this mess after my home was destroyed!”

Never seen an interview where an earthquake victim stands in front of his house warning people to stay away while he searches the rubble for his wife and kids; or heard of a family demanding an apology from the fire department for saving their home; or heard an angry patient wake up from surgery demanding an explanation for why the surgeon worked so diligently to save his life.

Crisis tends to bring out the best in us. There are exceptions of course, but deep within each of us there seems to be some sort of trigger that says “When disaster strikes we come together.” A unity develops over a common cause and after that task is complete we all go our separate ways, waiting for the next opportunity to help where needed to save a life or provide for some physical or emotional need.

The Apostle Paul seems to have had a special relationship with the church he planted inPhilippi. He writes, “I thank my God every time I think about you!” The Philippians had been Paul’s partners in ministry from the very beginning and now they were worried about reports that he was in prison.

In the midst of Paul’s own personal crisis these dear friends wanted to help. Interestingly, Paul sends message to them not to be discouraged, but to rejoice in what God was doing in him and through him. Then he says “If you really want to make my happy; if you really want me to feel like this is all worth it; if you really want to show others what following Christ is all about, here’s what I want you to do. Be unified in your minds. Set your hearts towards one purpose. Don’t let divisions keep you from showing others what the gospel is all about.”

What would our world look like if we as believers in Jesus Christ handled every day as though it were a disaster? How would we treat those who are ‘different than us’ if we approached life with an attitude of urgency to rescue them from calamity?

If we truly had a sense of urgency about us would it matter what sexual orientation our neighbor had? Would it really make a difference which version of the Bible we read, or what kind of music we played in our churches? Would the sign on the front of our churches and the ‘denominational distinctives keep us from snatching people from the jaws of hell?

It’s not the stand we take that will win others to Jesus; it’s kneeling down to lift up those in distress. Seek to reach out to those who are in their own personal disaster and crisis. With one purpose bring them into the safety of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. Show them grace by your actions.

PRAYER: Lord it’s so easy at times to forget that our main purpose on earth isn’t to be right, but to show others your love. Help me to see the crisis’ those around me are going through. Empower me by your spirit to show grace to those in need. Amen.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,715 other followers

RSS Podcasts from Zion

  • You Can Trust the Bible
    From our series, 40 Days in the Word. Knowing ABOUT the Bible isn’t the same as making it the one and only authority in your life. Living the Bible is more important that telling others about the Bible.
  • RESET your life when you’ve been forgiven
    From our series “RESET Your Life. God knows we can never love him the way he loves us but calls us to follow him in spite of our weakness.
  • RESET Your Life When You Doubt
    From our series, “Reset your Life”. Jesus understands the struggle we have between head belief and heart belief.
  • RESET Your Life When all is Hopeless
    From our series “RESET Your Life.” Never give up hope. Jesus knows where you are and what your need is. Hopelessness; John 5:1-15;
  • Reset your Life When You’re Grieving
    From our series ‘Reset Your Life”. Sometimes RESET comes from outside sources. Jesus shows us the way through grief.

LinkedIn

Candle Lighter Award

Built With Grace

Twitter Updates

Archives

Follow Built with Grace on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: