Archive for July, 2010

The God Cap

“…And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mathew 28:20 NRSV)

This verse has given me great comfort and confidence over the years. I am able to step forward in faith each day because I know my Savior is there guarding and guiding me along life’s way.

The only problem is that today there are scientists who believe my sense  of Jesus’ presence may be nothing more than an illusion triggered by my brain. Recently researchers have begun studying the effects of MP900386733[1] wearing a cap, which contains magnets designed to stimulate certain parts of the brain. With this cap on, research subjects report feeling the presence of others around them, even when no one is there.

Some researchers equate this sense of presence with experiencing God. They claim that the “God cap” proves that religious people, who report MP900385807[1]feeling close to God, are really feeling the effects of neural activation.

For some, this research is proof that there is no God. They believe God is nothing more than a collection of electrochemical events in the brain.

I think the findings suggest an altogether different conclusion. The research on the “God cap” reminds me how wonderfully we are made. It is amazing to realize that God programmed our biology in such a way as to enable us to experience that which transcends our senses. It is wonderful to realize that we are wired to be able to experience God’s presence, God’s love and Christ’s peace in a way that passes all understanding!

This research also suggests that sensing God’s presence isn’t just some mystical experience. The capacity for it seems built right into us, just waiting for us to access it through a faith that is grounded in truth, dependent on grace and motivated by love!

So I am excited by what this research says about our capacity to experience exactly what Jesus promised. He promised his abiding presence. Now we know that his words are more than wishful thinking. Woman On White BackgroundHis words are a fact that we can experience!

So take a moment today to thank God for making you so wonderfully!  Then, commit yourself to centering your thoughts on God, your beliefs on the truths in Scripture, and your actions around love.

As you do, you will know the abiding presence of Jesus, who will be with you every step of the way!

God’s Light/My Lamp

There are all kinds of lights.

There’s the blue light special.

There’s the red light district.

I don’t know about you, but the blue light special isn’t usually anything I want, and the red light district is certainly not a place I want to go.

The best light of all is the light that comes from God’s Word. That light leads to pastures of peace and rivers of living water. That lights leads me into the presence of God and reveals God’s plan for my life.

Lamp 

The Bible is God’s light. The question is, will you make it your lamp?

Us the Bible today to light your way and lead you to eternal life!

Do God’s Thing

The wise listen to advice, while fools think they know what is best. Proverbs 12:15 adapted00083671

I grew up in an age where it was popular to say, “Do your own thing!”   That’s a great idea if you know what’s best. The problem is that what seems best is often what feels good. But feeling good and doing good don’t always lead to the same end.

The writer of Proverbs reminds me that when I think I know what is best, I am setting myself up for trouble. I am acting like a fool when all I do is to do my own thing.

It’s only when I look outside of myself, when I turn to God and listen to the truths of Scripture, that I am acting wisely.Confident businesswoman in futuristic interior.

That’s because God knows what’s best for me. God also knows what’s best  in the context of God’s creative plan for my life. God knows the big picture, and God knows where I fit into it!

That tells me that my best bet is to do God’s thing.

After all, that’s what we were all created to do!

 

The Inescapable God

 God is with us.

Wherever we are, God is there.

Wherever we go, God will be there.

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Believe in God’s presence.

Trust in God’s plan for your life.

Praise your Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer!

Click here for a wonderful video presentation of Psalm 139, and let it assure you of God’s presence.

A Kingdom Perspective

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel. Acts 9:15 (NRSV)

MP900177811[1] Ananias had a surprise vision. In it he was instructed to visit Saul, the number one persecutor of Christians. As most anyone would do, Ananias listened quietly to what the Lord had to say.

Once he had been given his assignment, he had a few questions. Ananias wasn’t sure that the instructions he had received were correct. Saul had quite the reputation. So he reminded Jesus that Saul was a man who had done evil to the Lord’s followers.

Got questions? Go ahead and ask!

Maybe Ananias thought Jesus had the wrong person. At that time Saul was headed to Damascus with signed orders from Jerusalem to continue his reign of terror against the saints. That made Jesus’ orders to visit Saul seem like a suicide mission!

Most of us would agree that it would have been reckless for Ananias to go without asking a few questions. There was a lot of personal risk for Ananias, and he did not want to get this wrong. Of course, Ananias was right about everything he said. But he only had half the story.Dedo de Deus

The truth is that doing Kingdom work requires a Kingdom perspective.   Jesus knew that Ananias didn’t see the big picture. So Jesus gave him a different way of looking at Saul. He gave Ananias a chance to look at Saul through God’s eyes.

In the Kingdom of God, Saul was a chosen instrument. He was a man with a divine calling on his life. As such, he would become an instrument for God’s own purposes. Saul would bring the Good News of the Gospel to the Gentiles, to kings and even to the Jews. Jesus was going to use him as a vessel to spread the word of life to the nations of the world!

At this point, Ananias saw things very differently. He was ready to do the work God was asking him to do. That tells me that doing kingdom work is always easier when we take a kingdom perspective on things!

A Kingdom perspective makes Kingdom work easier!

It’s important to remember that God sees things differently than we do. God’s vision spans eons of history and projects out to the end of time. If we want to do God’s work, we need to step out of our own limited view of things, and ask God for some perspective. Then we will be more ready, more willing and more able to step forward in faith and do the work God created each one of us to do!

Look Blessing copy

Take a heavenly perspective today!

Fight the Good Fight!

Therefore…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 NIV

Throw off every sin, and run the race for Jesus. That’s easier said than done!MP900438620[1]

As a psychology instructor, I know how easy it is to tell people what  they should be doing. But that doesn’t mean they do it, or that I am good at following my own advice. Often, the real problem isn’t not knowing what is right, but doing what is right.

This is a dilemma for many of us as Christians. Jesus died for our sins, giving us the forgiveness we so desperately needed. But that is only the beginning. We have to keep on turning away from the sin and temptation that daily entangle us. That is where the real battle is waged!

Forgiveness is only the beginning!

John Owens says that believers, who are freed from sin’s condemning power, ought to make it their business to mortify the indwelling power of sin.

Today, we don’t hear much about mortifying sin, but Owens reminds us how important the fight against sin is for all Jesus’ followers. Let’s explore one of Owens’ thoughts, and see how we might fight the good fight of faith. Owen’s says:

“The problem is, if we are not killing sin, sin will be killing us.”

The only way we can grow our faith and deepen our devotion to God is to make more room for God in our lives. If we want to have more room for God, we must work to give less room to sin. That’ means limiting sin’s influence.

Even though God’s grace offers us forgiveness and frees us from sin’s condemnation, sin is still in us, working to entangle us in the deeds of MP900314229[1]the flesh. Paul wrote in Romans 7:19 that the sin at work in him kept him from doing the good he wanted to do, and drove him to do the very things he didn’t want to do.

If sin is always acting, and we fail to do all we can to stop its influence in our life, we too will fall victim to the strife, envy, rage and destruction it causes.

To help us resist sin’s allure, and to minimize its influence over our lives, God gives us a new nature and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit acts against sin, strengthens our new nature, and helps us escape the world’s polluting influence. Wise Christians submit their wills to the leading of the Spirit, and use what God has given them in their daily battle with sin.MP900400238[1]

Let’s all strive to follow Owens’ admonition. Let’s do more than talk the talk. Let’s walk the walk! Let’s do the work of Christian living, using the tools God has given us to fight the good fight and run the race of faith!

Adapted from John Owens: On the Mortification of Sin in Believers.

Pray For Love

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For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 1John 3:11 NRSV

O God of love, we pray for love,

Love in our thinking, love in our speaking,

Love in our doing, and love in the hidden places of our soul;

Love of our neighbors near and far;

Love of our friends old and new;

Love of those with whom we find it hard to get along;

And love of those who find it hard to get along with us;

Love of those with whom we work;

And love of those with whom we spend our leisure time;

Love in joy, love in sorrow;

Love in life and love in death;

So that at last we may be ready to live with you,

who are eternal love.