Tag Archives: commitment

Dry and thirsty

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to San Francisco. For the most part, it was a gorgeous drive with the crashing waves of the Pacific on one side and the rugged coastline on the other.

The middle part of the journey was a different story. California is undergoing a serious drought. The landscape shows it. The land is so parched in areas that it’s cracked open. In other areas, I drove over bridges where there were once raging rivers and flowing streams. Now, there’s not so much as a mud puddle. Everything is brown.

The irony is that there is a vast ocean right next to this parched land – millions of gallons of water. Unusable water. Salty, briny water that cannot ease the pain of the extreme thirst.

Similar to us. We have a desperate need, a gaping hole in our hearts that can only be filled with the fresh, living water of Jesus Christ.

Yet humanity tries to fill that thirsty cavern with the salt water of the world. The world’s offering looks good, just as the ocean sparkles blue and appears to be so refreshing. At first, it may even feel good to dive into the cool water and drink huge gulps. But as any sea captain will tell you, in a survival situation, drinking ocean water will only hasten death.

We can drink in the world and all it has to offer, but it will only lead to death. Jesus has promised us eternal living water. While the world is dying of thirst, He dwells within us and causes us to never thirst again.

How many times though, do we forget? How many times do we see the sparkling, shiny attraction of the world and drink it in? It may satisfy at first, but in the end we’ll only be left drier than before.

All the while, Jesus is calling. He is holding out to us the true living water.

…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (‭John‬ ‭4‬:‭14‬ NKJV)

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Those who pray for you

This post is a bit different (and later) than usual. But recent events have had me thinking about the power of prayer. You and I may be small people in the grand scheme of things, but we can never know the full impact of our prayers for others. You may be the only person offering prayers for your neighbor. And those prayers can be all the difference in someone's life.

I once heard a story about a preacher. I don't remember which one, but I do remember the basic story. This preacher was in the hospital for a surgical procedure and had a spiritual dream. In the dream, he went to heaven and ended up in a room of crowns. Jesus was there to choose the crown for the preacher. There were all kinds, from simple earthen creations to ornate diadems.

After a few moments The Lord settled on two crowns. One was rather simple, made of silver with no gems or special decoration. The other was a beautiful crown of gold that was delicately carved, and laden with diamonds and other precious jewels. Jesus asked the preacher which crown he thought belonged to him.

The preacher was very famous and had led countless souls to The Lord. So he was eying the crown of gold and gems.

Before he could answer, Jesus handed him the simple crown. Trying to hide his disappointment, he thanked his Lord. Knowing the preacher's heart, Jesus asked what troubled him.

The preacher said, “Lord, I have preached Your Gospel all over the world and led countless souls to You. I am grateful to be received into your glory, but I must know – to whom does that beautiful gold crown belong?”

Jesus answered, “It belongs to your grandmother, the woman who never stopped praying for you.”

Wow! Even as just a dream or modern parable, that is a powerful thought. Think of the people who prayed for Billy Graham, Saint John Paul II, Mother Theresa, you, me. Don't ever minimize the power of prayer, either yours or others for you. The Bible says that the prayers of a righteous man avail much. So pray, and don't hesitate to ask others to pray for you.

For my part, I'm thankful for the faithful prayers of my mom, Cortney, Marie and countless others who's prayers have had and continue to make all the difference in my life.


Follow Me

After a period of Lenten reflection and solemnity, we are now in one of the most joyous seasons of the church year. We focus on our Risen Lord, and in a few weeks will celebrate Pentecost – the moment that the Holy Spirit came in power.

So how does this season relate to our quest for holiness. While Jesus walked this earth He told his disciples to be perfect as the Father is perfect. But they had the living example of perfection in their midst. How do we of the 21st century follow such a command?

The message that Jesus gave to his apostles was always: “Follow Me.” Those were among the first and last words He spoke to Peter.

At the end of the Gospel of John (Ch. 21), Jesus has a conversation with Peter where He asks three times if Peter loves Him. By the end, Peter is almost offended or hurt that Jesus continues to question His love and loyalty. Peter, who not so long ago, denied Christ three times. Peter, who just recently felt the sorrow of his own failure.

John's account of this event is insightful because at the end, Peter assures Jesus that He loves Him. Jesus gives a somewhat ominous warning that this love will take Peter to a place he doesn't want to go (his own death as a martyr). It gets interesting when Peter sees another apostle and essentially asks “What about him?”

I think the response Jesus gives Peter is the response He gives to us all, “Follow Me.” There's a bit more to it, Jesus basically tells Peter that it's not his concern what happens to anyone else. Peter's commission is to follow Jesus. Period.

Our commission, mine and yours, is the same. Follow Jesus.

It doesn't matter to you how He uses me, and it doesn't matter to me how He uses you. I pray, that for my friends, some of that will overlap and we can share in the joy of service to our Lord. But at the end of the day, at the end of my life, at the end of this world, what matters is: did I follow Him. Did I live a life that will cause Him to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

That question is, or should be, the motivating force behind every action, every decision, every choice. Is it pleasing to my Savior?


Daily Acts of Discipline: Writing

Monday starts the work week. It's a great time to set the tone for the whole week. So I like to focus on an act of discipline that calls my mind and body in line with Him and helps me on my path toward unsullied holiness.

For me, writing this blog is an act of discipline. God placed it on my heart almost a year ago. Since the beginning of this year, it has been like Jeremiah's words – a fire shut up in my bones. If you know me, you know I don't like to do anything halfway. So I put off starting this blog for a long time. It's a commitment. A commitment to write. A commitment to be real when I'm succeeding and when I fail. A commitment to actually follow the path of unsullied holiness – publicly. So here you have it, my commitment to you who read these words, my commitment to myself and most importantly, my commitment to God – to write. What has God asked you to do that you haven't done? I challenge you today to begin whatever it is in whatever way you can. He will meet you where you are and help you rise to the challenge.

 


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