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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT)

Nearly 40 years ago my in-laws purchased a small, modest home on a quiet street in the metropolitan area they lived in. A couple years ago they sold that home and moved to a smaller place outside the city…their retirement home.
By the time they sold their home it was no longer located on a quiet street. The area had bloomed over the years, a major interstate and shopping mall moved in just a few blocks away, and the ‘quiet street’ was now one of the busiest four-lane thoroughfares in the area.

From time to time we drive by the old place. It has different owners now. The in-laws didn’t like clutter in the yard. Their definition of clutter was not only bicycles and other things out of place, but lawn ornaments and plants which seemed to just randomly appear.

Ironically, and somewhat humorously, the new owners seem to have a strong desire to place as many lawn ornaments and flower bushes as they can in the small yard. Even though it’s not the taste of my in-laws, there is nothing wrong with what they’ve done. They have the right to do as they please. It’s their house now.

How inappropriate would it be for my father-in-law to stroll into the yard and start dismantling and removing all the ‘lovely decorations’ in his old yard? Not only would it be illegal, it would be preposterous to think of such a thing. It’s not his to touch anymore. The price was paid. There is no more ownership or responsibility.

When each of us was born, we were owned, so to speak, by the ruler of this world (Satan) and our human nature (Satan’s chief ally). Our thoughts, our actions, our desires were a result of his ownership over us.

Now, because of Jesus, we have new owners, or should I say owner. God loved you so much that he purchased you from the slavery to fear, anger, worry, and uncontrollable, rampant desire. The price he paid was huge. It cost him his son. You and I were so valuable that He was willing to spend what it takes to purchase us.

I have a friend that ‘turns houses’. He buys an old, deteriorating shack and spends hours refurbishing, cleaning and restoring the house in order to sell it. Often, when he is finished, the house isn’t recognizable. My friend sees the value others overlook.

In the same way, God saw the value in each of us. As a result he is more than willing, ready and able to take us in our beat-up condition and make us new again. He sees the value in you that others overlook.

PRAYER: Lord God, during those times when I’m feeling insignificant or unable to accomplish anything of any value; during those times of failure; help me remember that you love me enough to purchase me. Keep me from allowing the enemy to try to regain control of me. I’m yours now. Thank you. Amen.


You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. John 15:16 (CEV)

The man led us down to the shed where we could hear the excited barking of puppies. I could see the look of anticipation and excitement in my son’s eyes. We’d been looking for a Cocker Spaniel for months and the price on this one seemed right.

As we entered the shed the pups called home, we were met by five excited, jumping little puppies. “Price on all of them is the same,” the kindly old gentleman said.

While I was looking at the five that met us, my son’s attention was drawn to a smaller, quiet puppy in the corner.

“What’s up with the little one in the corner?” My son asked. I could see by the look in his eyes that his heart had made its decision. My son had always had a soft spot in his heart for the down-and-outers of the world.

“Oh him? He’s the runt. Lucky to be alive actually. Came down here one morning and he had managed to climb the fence and fall in the stock tank on the other side. I figured he was a goner, but he seems fine now.”

While I would have chosen any of the other five, you have probably already guessed which one we went home with that day. The pup became my son’s closest friend until it died a few years later of cancer.

There are times in each of our lives when we may feel like the ‘runt’ in our circles. It seems like everyone else we know seems to get the whole Christian life, get the jobs they want, have the families we long for, and the list goes on.

The heart is a cruel liar. It constantly reminds us of our weaknesses. It continually points out the successes of others and compares them to our failures. It reminds us of our faults on a daily basis.

When your heart rears up and points at all the ‘uglies’ of your life, remember this: You were Chosen by the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe. Not only did he choose you as a friend, he made you His Child!

And if that isn’t enough, he did all this knowing you would fail, rebel, stray, stumble and fall. That’s because he didn’t choose you on the basis of anything you could offer. He chose you simply because he loves you.

Just as my son chose that puppy based on compassion, he chose you. Rejoice!

PRAYER: Father God…Daddy. Thank you for choosing me even though I have nothing of real significance to offer you. Help to live as a son of the Most High God. Amen.


5/19/2012

I pray that the Lord will listen when you are in trouble, and that the God of Jacob will keep you safe. Psalm 20:1 (CEV)

There are times in our lives when we feel completely alone and overwhelmed with the battle before us. The uncertainty of the future and the rugged trail of the present seem to keep us from making any headway at all on the journey.

Sometimes, in the midst of the turmoil, there are no easy answers. Sometimes when life seems at its lowest, there are no clearly defined routes to victory; no words of comfort. During those times it’s nice just to have someone to listen to us. We don’t need solutions (although they’d be nice). We don’t need sympathy or advice. We’d just like to know we are heard. We’d just like to be assured that our thoughts, the deep feelings of the heart are being listened to without judgment.

Other times, listening isn’t enough. We need a defender. We need someone who will come to our aid and fight the battle for us. Our strength is gone, our will to continue is waning, and our hope of victory is dim.

It’s as though the battles we fight are two-fold. One the one hand attacks come from within, from the depths of our very soul. Doubts about our faith seep like cancer into the very sinew of our being. Questions of our worth and value linger in the corners of our minds. Accusations and our past haunt us.

On the other hand, we are in danger physically. Financial woes keep us trapped. Family and relational stress weaken out resolve to even try to reconcile. Health and old age remind us that some of our dreams are no longer accessible.

It’s during these times that the God of Jacob comes to our aid. Jacob, the man who wrestled with God and refused to give up until he was blessed. His blessing carried with it a limp for the rest of his life. A reminder that his battle was huge, but he won. A reminder that his God was a God you could get down and wrestle with over the issues of life.

Jacob, the man who approached a brother that tried to kill him. Jacob was vastly outnumbered. Esau was powerful and heavily armed. Jacobs’s strength that day wasn’t his own; it was the strength of his God.

The Psalmist reminds us in his prayer that we have a God that will listen to our deepest longings and struggles. We are loved passionately by a God who honors those of us who would dare ‘wrestle with him’ into the dark hours of the night. We are protected by a God who put his very life on a cross to guarantee our eternal protection.

Today, whatever trial you face, may you know that the God of Jacob is with you to listen, to protect and most of all to forgive.

PRAYER: Lord I thank you today that you listen to me in my hour of need. I praise you for the protection you offer in my time of physical and emotional danger. Help me to be ever aware of your presence today as I travel this journey. Amen.

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