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What are we here for as believers? What was the constant message Jesus tried to instill in his followers? What task did he leave for us? What parting prayer did he offer to the Father God before his death?

Judging from what I see in social media today and hear spoken from the pulpits of some of our churches, our goal is to defend God and his word. Now, before you stop reading, let me say that Paul and others are very adamant about standing firm on the Word of God. It’s not only important, it’s a requirement.

However, in reading today’s verse, it occurred to me that perhaps our error is not in the standing, but in how we stand; it’s not in the message, it’s how it’s delivered; it’s not in making things ‘right’ but in being God’s light.

Paul seems to be stating here (and I encourage you to check the context) that his goal, and ours should be to present people to God as perfect. I envision the opportunity to present to God a brightly colored package with your name on it. Here is ‘suzy’ God. I’ve shown her your love. I’ve used the wisdom you gave me to bring her to you. I’ve relied on your power to make the change within. She is my gift to you.

Jesus attracted people by the thousands because he showed them God’s love and God’s truth in a perfect balance that couldn’t be resisted. That’s why the woman at the well, when her faults were exposed, ran to the village and said come and see the one…!

What gift are you working on today?


We live in a culture that comes just short of ridiculing anyone who implies they need help. We like our independence. We like to be able to say “I did it! And I did it my way!”

Ironically, at the same time, Psychologists tell us that we are a ‘lonely people’. A recent study showed that nearly half of the people interviewed felt isolated and alienated from their peers.

I wonder if Solomon was thinking of loneliness and alienation when he wrote these verses in Ecclesiastes. Certainly as king of Israel he needed no one, and if he did, they were at his beck and call. Yet there was a loneliness there. A realization that no one is an island regardless of their political, social or financial stature.

While there are exceptions of course, generally speaking people who reach out to help people are generally those that others are willing to help. Jesus story of the Good Samaritan teaches us that everyone is our neighbor and so, each of us has a responsibility to reach out a helping hand. The help we receive isn’t a reason to help, it’s a side-benefit.


I remember the conversation well. He’s a personal friend who happens to be a billionaire as well. One day in conversation he said to me, rather sheepishly, “I don’t even know how much money I have. But God has blessed me to I can bless others.”

What a stunning statement. In a way it reminded me of King Solomon. He, like my friend, could have had anything his heart desired. Solomon sought all the earthly things. Gold, kingdoms, women, but none of them brought happiness. Finally in exasperation he confessed that there is nothing of any true value in earthly possessions. True value comes only from God.

Are riches bad? Of course not. Is it wrong to have a happy home, a good retirement and a whole bunch of friends? Of course not. But when those things take precedence over your relationship with Jesus, trouble is bound to happen!

Now, before you read this and smugly sit back and say, I got this covered, BEWARE! The enemy of our souls loves to deceive us into complacency and apathy. I have started the practice of trying to start my day with a prayer to ask God to use me and end my day with a prayer to ask God to search me, to dig deep into the words I say and the attitudes I have to make sure my life is in tune with him.

True blessing comes from the heart set on Jesus.


Those who have been bruised know pain like no one else. They’ve experienced the rejection. They have endured the guilt. They have wandered the wilderness of loneliness. No two bruised reeds handle pain in the same way. Some explain it away; some hide it under denial, chemicals or pseudo relationships. Some wear it as a badge and look for some sort of comfort in letting others know about their pain. This works for awhile, until people get tired of hearing about it.

The smoldering wicks of our world die a thousand deaths every day. The unmet expectations of others constantly remind them of their failure and guilt. The constant attacks of their inner being shame them into the realization (in their eyes) that they will never amount to anything; that they were some sort of cosmic mistake.

Jesus brings justice if we will listen. Unlike the justice of our society, which is based on man’s external assessment of the situation, the justice Jesus brings is truth. Not truth based on societies standards. Not truth which will come at some point in the future, truth that is here today. Jesus tells us the real truth about us. He knows a thing or two because he’s seen a thing or two. He’s seen every bruise. He knows every crushed dream. He’s gentle with your past failures (including the self-inflicted ones) and seeks to fan into flame the potential he gave you when he created you in his image to be a masterpiece.

Jesus knows the truth about you and loves you passionately.


When you are battered and beaten by the world it’s hard to burn brightly. We can be smothered by so many things from our past it’s hard to see the good we can do.

We can be smothered by that sin that seems unstoppable. We can be smothered by that act in the past that still has it’s consequences in our lives, that still haunts us. You know the one. The one you hope no one ever finds out about. We can be smothered by the unrealistic expectations of other people, or by the constant reminders others give you that you don’t measure up. I call them bullies and the worst bullies are the ones who bully you in Jesus name. The Bible is referred to as a sword but it was never intended to be used in friendly fire!

Not only does Jesus come to bind up the bruised reed, he comes to fan into flame the smoldering wick, the almost dead potential that was almost smothered by our past or by others. To fan a smoldering wick one needs gentleness and care lest you kill the dying ember.

In Jesus day, the wick was part of an oil lamp. Oil was the fuel that fed the flame. You know what the Holy Spirit is referred to in some parts of scripture? Oil. You know what else oil was used for? Healing.

Jesus fans the smoldering potential of our lives through the healing oil of the Holy Spirit. Allow him to fan your potential into a warm, room brightening flame.

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