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I’ve often looked at this verse from 2 Corinthians and focused on the beautiful promise of the first half of the verse. NEW creations! Not refurbished. Not remodeled. Not modified. NEW! That’s grace! My loving Heavenly Father took this worthless pile of flesh and made something new. And, might I add, God don’t make no junk!

Then one day, rather somberly, I spent some time on the rest of the story.

“The old life is gone…”

Is it? The question haunted me. Yes, I’m forgiven. The debt of my sin is eternally washed away. On the inside I’m new, but this battle raging inside me continues on. Some days I’m strong and watch the enemy retreat. Some days he wins the battle.

Jesus’ invitation to follow him is no party. Instead of balloons there is hardship; instead of cake, temptation; the ice cream is replaced by worry. That’s when I’m also reminded I was never called to walk this road alone. My strength was never a factor, only my reliance on him.

Paul had a similar struggle he tells about in Romans. He loses with the reminder that only the grace of Jesus will rescue me from the battle. Some days I lose the battle. Some days I win. But in the end the war is won because of the empty tomb!

Father help me to live worthy of this new body. Give me a Holy Spirit power to leave the old behind and dwell in the new!


Desire. We all have it at different levels. It’s desire that drives us to work every day. It’s desire that fuels our relationships. It is desire that drives us to fulfill, or attempt to fulfill our dreams.

Desire in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s an emotion God has created and placed within each of us. Desire can be destroyed by constant criticism. Desire can be wounded by our tendency to focus on failure and our past. Desire can be crippled by outside forces beyond our control or choices in our past that disqualify us.

On the other hand, the psalmist frequently tells of his desire for a closer relationship with his God. The Apostles tell us in the New Testament writings to ‘earnestly desire’ the things of heaven.

Society tells us to desire those things our eyes can see, our hands can touch, our pride can rest in. If you gain all those things, we are told, you will find fulfillment, contentment and happiness.

But those things will never give us the peace and satisfaction we seek because they are temporal. The secret to contentment is a close walk with Jesus Christ Don’t be sucked in by the things of the world, bask in the fulfillment of eternal things: love, grace, mercy, goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, joy. These things can’t be bought or stolen, and they last for eternity.


I remember it vividly. I’d had my eye on a certain truck at the local car dealership for some time. I couldn’t afford it, but had all sorts of good ‘ministry’ reasons to buy it. Finally I went in to talk to the dealer. He gave me a deal I chose not to resist. A deal that was right out of my budget range. You don’t get deals like that everyday! I signed the papers and drove it off the lot, completely ignoring the knot in my stomach. God never yells. God’s soft voice is often drowned out by the voice of desire.

Fast forward…i remember watching the repossession guy hooking my truck up to his truck and watching my dream truck being pulled away down the street.

Today is the first day of 2019! Many will be making resolutions to lose weight, eat better, spend more wisely and the list goes on. Goals are good. Plans are good. But the missing ingredient in many of our planning sessions is the ultimate question of ‘Where is God in my plans?

Each week we say the ‘Lords Prayer’ at our church. Each week we say “thy will be done” but in reality, our hearts are saying ‘my will be done.’ When our hearts are in tune with God’s heart our plans will naturally gravitate towards his desires and not our own.

Make 2019 the year that God shows himself mightily to you because you are close to his heart. Draw close to him and he’ll draw close to you.



Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13

incompetentAll of us have people in our lives who annoy us. Most of the time, our annoyance comes from the fact (in our eyes at least) that that person is incompetent in everything they do. One day, years ago now, I was coaching a little league baseball team. I received a call from one of the parents asking for the name and number of my immediate superior. I gladly gave him the information he requested and then asked if he’d mind sharing with me the reason he wanted to talk with my supervisor.

His response when something like this, “I want to talk to him about how incompetent you are as a coach.”

That set me back on my heels a bit! For one thing, the player in question was one of our better players and one that I felt I had a good relationship with. I’d also talked with this dad on occasion and never felt any animosity between us.

My nature, as I’m sure many of ours would be in that situation, would lead me to be very defensive and offended by his remark. Somehow that day, however, I remained calm and in the discussion that followed, was able to diffuse what turned out to be a lack of information and misunderstanding.

Sociologists will tell us that there are two main responses to attack, fight or flight. Jesus offers a third option, forgiveness based on the understanding that we have been forgiven for our faults as well. Jesus forgave us when we were at our worst so that we could be our best for him.

It’s not easy to accept others weaknesses, or as Paul puts it, “Make allowances for the faults of others”. “Making allowances for each other’s faults” involves two actions on our part. One is to realize that we too have been forgiven for many faults. The second is to rely on the Holy Spirit to work through us to forgive and through our antagonist to bring them to a relationship with Jesus.

PRAYER: Father God. I want to take this time to meditate on my faults and thank you for your forgiveness. I ask that your Holy Spirit would give me the power I need to forgive others when their actions are hurtful or offensive to me. Let me show them the love you’ve shown me. Amen.


For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

I have a list. Actually I have several lists. Some are written on scraps of paper. Others are stored digitally on my Smartphone or computer. They are work related, personal and, of course, my honey-do lists.

The frustrating thing about my lists is that many of the things on them are things that really wouldn’t take that much time. That’s the issue. Time. I’m lousy at time management. Before you give me a list books to read or ten easy steps to time management let me tell you I’ve read many books and articles about that and have a few more on my list. (Have I already mentioned I have plenty of lists?)

What’s true in my physical life is also true (unfortunately) in my spiritual life. I love Jesus Christ. He is my source of comfort, encouragement, forgiveness, acceptance… (There I go again making another list!)

I have to confess though, that there are many things in my ‘spiritual side’ that don’t get done, or don’t get done well. Like my physical side, most of the time it’s not an issue of difficulty or time consumption; it’s a matter of self-discipline.

Self-discipline. I hate that term. ‘Self’ gives me the picture of who it all relies on. It’s all about me. I need to try harder. I need to organize better. I need to prioritize. I need to delegate. ‘Discipline’ to disciple, to follow a standard. To accomplish what you have set out to do. To suffer consequences for failure.

The Apostle Paul writes to a young pastor named Timothy. It seems like Timothy was almost like a son to Paul. It also appears that this young pastor was ministering in a difficult place and time.

So ‘Father Paul’ writes (my paraphrase), “So remember Timothy. This God we serve has given us the ability to stand courageously, live powerfully, love passionately and accomplish the task set before us by the Lord Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

For someone like me who already feels overwhelmed at times this can be small comfort. I’ve been given the Holy Spirit to accomplish all that but reality screams at me that it’s not working!

Here’s one thing I’ve discovered. I need to continue reading on in Paul’s letter. Just a couple verses later, Paul explains more of life and ministry to his young protégé.

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

Did you catch it? The solution to my (and perhaps your) dilemma? Go back and read it again. One tiny little phrase we often overlook, ‘not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.’ Once again, I’m reminded that this life isn’t about my power, my ability, my ‘self-discipline.’

From now on my endeavor is to shelve the old term ‘self-discipline’. From now on my goal will be to live in Christ-discipline. To let his power live in my, through me and in spite of me. I’m not relinquishing responsibility. I’m handing it off to the one who said to cast all my cares on him.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I’m tired of trying to do things on my own. I hereby give you back the reigns of my life as you’ve commanded me to do. Empower me with your Spirit to live a life of ‘Christ-discipline.’ Amen.

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