My Dad Prechs

He handed me his drawing. It was a stick man standing behind a crudely drawn pulpit. Odd shaped circles dotted the area around the pulpit with two eyes and a smile in each “head.” Above the doodled drawing he penciled uneven letters made by a child, “My dad prechs.”

So I said, “Son, you should wait until you take art lessons to draw this picture.”

Or did I say, “Boy, this is substandard, what are they teaching you at school anyway! Don’t you know how to spell?!”

Of course, I didn’t say any of those things! Rather, I glowed with admiration. I knelt down and gave him a manly hug. I framed it and put it up in my office. It is one of my prized possessions still today even though it happened in the 1980s at a little church in Bradley, Arkansas.

Why? I knew his motive. I knew his heart. The innocent love and admiration of a little boy for his dad trumped any imperfections in the work of art!

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:2-3 ESV

.

Paraphrase: My son’s drawing seemed pure in his own eyes, but his Dad weighs his spirit. He committed his drawing to his dad. His plan was established, still hanging on his Dad’s wall!

I believe that if we go to God with our great plans, expecting Him to bless them, tell us how great we are for “thinking them up” and ask Him to put His stamp of approval on them, then we have become presumptive and He will certainly not bless them.

But I also believe that if we commit ourselves to the Lord, submit our minds, hearts, and skills to Him, and ask Him to guide every step we take in seeking to do His will, He will bless it. If we will saturate a decision with prayer first, make sure our motives are godly, and earnestly want to do it God’s way, He will guide.

Many times I’ve prayed, even agonized over a situation, asking God for a direction, but not receive a plan or a prescribed action. Yet, I had to walk into that situation totally dependent on His guidance in the moment.

In Joshua 3 (read it HERE) the people crossed the Jordan River at time the river overflowed its banks. But not until the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant STOOD IN THE WATER did the Jordan stop flowing!

Instead of asking God to bless our plans, we must give ourselves totally to God and ask Him to bless His plans using us in the process.

There’s a fine line there somewhere! But, oh, let us be sure we are on the God-side of that line!

Our Father, thank-you for Your promise to establish plans which we commit to do with the right spirit of honoring You. Examine our hearts that we may proceed to do Your work with pure motives.

Confess to each other our sins? Really?

James 5:16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.  The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.

The word for “sins” in this verse is often used in the context of being offended by someone or when one of us offends another person.  It literally means “to fall beside.”

This verse bothered me for a long time!  It seemed very unhealthy for people to stand up and confess whatever sins they have been committing.  This could lead to a lot of hurt, confusion, misunderstanding, and mistrust.  My thoughts often wander all over the place.  If I’m confessing publicly every wrong thought, then what a mess I’d make!

But there is clear teaching in Scripture when one of us offends another person.  As soon as we know we have offended another person, we are to go make it right.  Ask forgiveness for the offense.  Humble ourselves.  Seek to reconcile with that person.

I’m not a psychologist, but it is obvious that holding in bitterness and unforgiveness is unhealthy physically, emotionally and especially spiritually for the persons involved, both the offended and the offender.

Oh Father, make me a forgiving person.  Father, You have forgiven me of millions of offenses by your extravagant grace through the sacrifice of Your Son Jesus.  Help me to forgive just one offense against me.  Help me to humble myself when I offend someone else and seek to make it right with them.

Humble Pie

“He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs 3:34

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.

Mocking is putting others down so that you think more of yourself and think of yourself more.

Our new nature (2 Cor. 5:17) in Jesus Christ will think of God and our neighbor before we think of ourselves.  Why?  The new nature is guided by the greatest commands: love God with everything you are and love your neighbor as yourself.

Our old nature, corrupted by sin, always thinks of Self first. Sin always misses the mark because we aim at pleasing ourselves, rather than pleasing our Creator and Savoir and serving Him by serving others.  Notice sIn always has an “I” in the center of it.

So mocking pride is very simple.  It is all about me, mine, myself, and my preferences to which you and the rest of the world ought to give your full attention.

So also, humility is very simple.  it is all about pleasing God and serving others.  It is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.

Our Father, forgive us our pride that looks at others to mock and put them down in order to push ourselves up.  Fill us with an awareness of how much You love us.  May we be so secure in that awareness that we think of ourselves less and think of You more. May we have a servant’s mindset to love those around us you put into our paths by serving them in Jesus’ name with simple cups of kindness.

Kid in a Candy Store

He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. (‭Colossians ‭1‬:‭17-18‬ HCSB)

Before anything existed HE WAS. Everything that exists now is held together BY HIM. Paul is talking about JESUS! Our Father, our Lord Jesus, and our indwelling Holy Spirit were there before the universe was created.

No matter what we face today, Our Savior was there BEFORE it, He is there IN it, and He will be there WHEN IT IS ALL OVER. We BELIEVE this! This is true! It is true whether we are talking about a minor inconvenience in our life today or worldwide persecution of believers bringing misery and death.

For a few years Jesus walked this earth in a human body. He still walks the earth today as the head of the body called the church. He is the head of the worldwide body of believers as well as each local assembly of called-out followers. HE is the head of Balboa Baptist! HE is walking the earth today IN US!

HE is the beginning. JESUS is the beginning of creation. He is the beginning of the church. He is the beginning of our resurrected lives. He is the first to rise from the dead. He is FIRST!

Your life and my life may seem insignificant in this great big world. But if JESUS is allowed to be FIRST, then each life becomes very significant!

I have been like a kid in a candy store. Balboa Baptist Church is such a praying, generous, talented, experienced, educated, gifted group of Jesus-followers. Multiple ministries put the hands and feet of Jesus into so many places! The potential God has given this congregation boggles my mind.

I also have been like a squirrel on the interstate. But the blissful blur I’m in now is all kept in perspective by keeping Jesus FIRST.

Our Father, You have established Your Son Jesus as FIRST in everything. Today, please live in and through us. Give us willing minds that will obey you. Let us not “cop out” by being unwilling to participate in what you are doing. Please give us eyes that SEE what You are doing and the willing mind to “get in on it.”