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Bethlehem Ephrath, you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the Lord will choose one of your people to rule the nation—someone whose family goes back to ancient times. Micah 5:2 (CEV)

It was one small stone, flung from the sling of a teenager that dropped the giant and saved the nation.

It was a handful of barley and a few drops of oil that fed the prophet, the woman and her son for weeks.

It was a few small loaves and fish that fed over 5,000 men women and children.

It was a small, insignificant nation made up of men who’d never fought before, that routed the Promised Land.

It was a tiny village in Judah that produced the one who would save the world of their sins and bring them into a renewed relationship with the Father God of the universe.

It was a small band of uneducated, arrogant, self-seeking men that turned the world upside down with their teaching.

God has never sought the large and spectacular to accomplish the great and impressive acts. God has always used insignificant people in impossible situation to accomplish spectacular things. Our heavenly father doesn’t need Shock and Awe to accomplish his desires. God’s power is shown best in brokenness and humility. He does his best work with willing hearts and humble attitudes.

Why is it then that we are surprised when famous people come from small towns, or great athletes come from obscure schools?

Why is it that we dream of having a large church so we can accomplish great things for the Kingdom when Jesus changed the world with 12 broken and Spirit-filled men?

Why is it we dream of the great things we could do for others if we had a big bank account when most people really need what we can give them without cost: compassion, grace, forgiveness and love?

From humble beginnings the Father raises up mighty warriors. You have what it takes to make a difference in your world today. You may be able to change someone’s world, even for just a few minutes, with a kind word, a smile or a heartfelt prayer.

Don’t wait for God to do a great things in your life before you do great things for others through ‘small’ acts of Christ-likeness. Don’t let your past or our perceived weaknesses and shortcomings keep you from being a blessing. Your Father specializes in making insignificance grow into significance. All he needs is your heart.

PRAYER: Father God, there are times when I look at the task before me and feel too insignificant to accomplish all I want to do for you. Then I realize the problem. It’s what I want to do for you, not what you want to do through me. Make me a vessel you can use to give living water to those in need. Amen.


The tax collector stood off at a distance and did not think he was good enough even to look up toward heaven. He was so sorry for what he had done that he pounded his chest and prayed, “God, have pity on me! I am such a sinner.” Luke 18:13 (CEV)

When I was about four years old my father, a pastor, invited some regionally famous friends and musicians to our church for special evangelistic meetings. One afternoon my dad and the musicians were in the living room discussing the upcoming service and I eagerly listened in.

Then it came time to pray. I kneeled as the men did and listened as my dad prayed. He was a passionate pray-er. When Dad prayed it was as if he left the room to talk with a friend. We listened, but we were not part of the conversation. Then one of the men followed in prayer, equally eloquent as I remember.

I don’t remember much of what happened next. What I do remember is that I decided I was next and began to pray what I thought was an eloquent, theologically based, Holy Spirit empowered prayer. I began by lifting my voice loudly and saying “OH LORD GOD IN HEAVEN! WE COME BEFORE YOU THIS AFTERNOON IN PRAYER!”

It was about that time my dad interrupted me. It was a gentle interruption but the lesson stuck with me all these years. Prayer isn’t about fancy words. Prayer isn’t about voice inflections designed to conjure up the Spirit of God and make him see the value of listening to us. Prayer isn’t about trying to get an alienated God to pay attention to us. Prayer is talking to a loving Father, a dear friend, an intimate lover.

Thus it was in the temple that day. The Tax Collector entered the far part of the temple. His guilt was ever before him. His burden too great to bear. His heart heavy with disgrace and embarrassment. We aren’t told what his sin was. It doesn’t matter. What we do know is that his simple prayer of just seven words was far more powerful than the 30 some eloquent words of the Pharisee up front at the altar.

No one, except the Pharisee, even noticed the tax collector in the corner, head bowed, fists clenched against his chest, a demeanor that spoke of humility, repentance and simplicity.

He was aware of the fact that there was nothing, absolutely nothing that he had to offer God.

He was aware of the reality that only because of God’s grace and mercy was he even able to take the next breath.

Yet, he was aware that there was no place on earth where he could find forgiveness than at the feet of his father.

When we pray, the angels aren’t holding score cards to judge our words and eloquence. The Father is looking at us to see the sincerity and simplicity of a broken and contrite heart. Our religious and social activity doesn’t impress him, our brokenness before him is what moves him to act in our lives.

PRAYER: Holy Father. I confess to you that from time to time I still try to impress you with my many words and activity when all you want is my heart. I’m so unworthy of all you have given me. Thank you for your grace and mercy to help me on the way. Amen.


Musings of a Bipedal Vertebrate

I don’t know the exact reason you chose to read and follow my blog but I’m assuming it is because you find something about the way I think and/or write appealing. Even if it was only to try to get one more person to follow your blog that’s fine, why blog if nobody is reading it.

You know the situation I’m in, going to be homeless and I’ve been forced to ask for donations because every job I’ve managed to find has turned out to be short term for a company’s busy season. I’ve asked everyone I know for leads on jobs, if they know someone with a spare room I can barter for, if they have or know anyone who has cash work they need done with no results.

Now I’d like to ask you to help. If you can please reblog one or more of the posts about…

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The Pharisee stood over by himself and prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not greedy, dishonest, and unfaithful in marriage like other people. And I am really glad that I am not like that tax collector over there. Luke 18:11 (CEV)

Tradition states that in Biblical times, a prayer every Jewish man was encouraged to pray every day went something like this: “Blessed be thou, that thou hast not made me a Gentile”; blessed art thou, that thou hast not made me an unlearned man; blessed art thou, that hast not made me a woman.”

It’s little wonder then, that when the Pharisee entered the Temple to pray that day, his prayer centered on who he was. God certainly should be proud of the way he’d turned out. On the other hand, that guy in the corner? The tax collector. How can he even show his face in the Temple. Simply disgusting.

When Jesus taught us to pray he warned us against being so caught up in our own righteousness that our prayers be more like talking about ourselves than talking to God. Usually, when our thoughts focus on ourselves they do so at the expense of other people. In this story, the one to bear the brunt of the Pharisees critical spirit was the tax collector in the corner.

The writer to the Hebrews tells us that we can come before the throne of grace (prayer) with confidence (Hebrews 4:16), not arrogance. The difference? The confidence we have before God comes through the grace offered through Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with our own works; it isn’t compared to anyone else. Arrogance, on the other hand, compares our status in relation to other people.

I may be able to jump higher than you, but if we both decide to see who can jump to the moon, we both lose. Whichever one of us gets an inch closer means nothing. We both missed the mark. On the outside, the Pharisee was a ‘good, church going Christian’. On the inside he was no better off than the very people he degraded with his words. The Pharisees words were in the right place (I thank you God) but his heart wasn’t (that I’m not like him).

In all honesty, your Heavenly Father loves you beyond measure. Regardless of your stature now, or your past, he gave everything he had to bring you to the place you are today. Frankly, He’s not as interested in your own achievements as he is knowing how you feel about Him. Without him nothing, absolutely nothing you have accomplished would have been possible.

The prayer of a thankful heart has very few “I’s” and “me’s” and many “You’s” and “Lord’s”. The prayer of a thankful heart is marked by love and compassion for all people. The prayer of a thankful heart measures our progress in life by God’s standards, not the actions of others.

PRAYER: Father God. I come before you in awareness that often my words betray my true feelings. While I thank you for where I am, it’s easy to measure my progress by the progress of others in living for you. I praise you and you alone for who I am and what I have. There is no one like you. Amen.


Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:17-19

‘He was a Samaritan.’

Only the most bigoted person would be able to grasp the full meaning of this simple phrase. To say the Jews hated the Samaritans would be far too soft of a statement. Self-respecting Jews would have nothing to do with Samaritans socially, religiously or in business transactions. People going from Galilee to Judea would do whatever they could to go around Samaria or travel through it very quickly.

The Samaritans had mutual feelings for the Jews. It was a hatred that went deep to the soul.

Funny how adversity can bring even the most hated enemies together though. As Jesus traveled the borderland of Galilee and Samaria he came to a village that must have been very close to the border. The group of lepers that approached him we most likely Jewish, except for one. Somehow, for whatever reason, the group of ‘walking dead’ had bonded. Now, as a last ditch effort, the group approached this Jewish teacher and begged to be healed.

There was absolutely no reason on earth that the Samaritan should be healed by Jesus. He was an outcast. He didn’t believe the same way as Jesus, in our society it might be best described by saying he was from a different denomination. Still, Jesus reached out to him.

It really should be no surprise that he would do that. He reached out to the Samaritan woman at the well. He reached out to the woman in Tyre. Jesus’ main ministry was to his Jewish brothers and sisters, but he wasn’t above reaching out to others.

He still does that today. We sit in our warm, comfy sanctuaries and thank God for all he’s given us, but do we really realize the extent of his reaching out? Do we fall to our knees as the Samaritan did and cling to him realizing the death sentence we lived under has been removed?

Ten men were healed of the terrible physical disease of leprosy that day. Ten men went home that night to restart life with loving family members. Ten men once again became members of a society that had branded them as outcasts. Only one went home with a healed soul.

We seek to heal our outsides in hopes that the healing will satisfy our soul. The tenth leper found that the only true healing comes from the inside out.

That’s why I’m thankful this morning. Like the leper, I was far from God. Things I’ve done had separated me from God and from others. Jesus never looks at what a person has done, he only looks as what he can do for that person and he freed me from the load of guilt, shame and embarrassment. All because he loves me.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I too fall on my knees before you in humble adoration and praise for all you have done for me. Others may still look down on me. Others may still criticize and doubt me, but you know my heart. Thank you for healing me. Amen.

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