Sunday, January 10, 2010


"Be still, and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10 (New King James Version)

"Desist, and know that I [am] God...." Psalm 46:10 (Young's Literal Translation)

The Hebrew word for "be still" is raphah (rä·fä') and here are the definitions taken directly from the Strong's concordance:

1) to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, be disheartened

a) (Qal)

1) to sink down

2) to sink, drop

3) to sink, relax, abate

4) to relax, withdraw

b) (Niphal) idle (participle)

c) (Piel) to let drop

d) (Hiphil)

1) to let drop, abandon, relax, refrain, forsake

2) to let go

3) to refrain, let alone

4) to be quiet

e) (Hithpael) to show oneself slack

Life is busy and rather noisy. Seeking God in the quiet places requires that we first find the quiet places. Our quiet places seem to have gotten lost these days. I think it's because silence and solitude are no longer natural responses to moments of free time---we have TV and cell phones and e-mail and texting to fill the silent spaces. Even when we are alone we are not alone.

Solitude is a forgotten art. However, Jesus modeled for us the spiritual discipline of solitude as an essential habit for spiritual renewal. We can be sure that what He found necessary to fulfill His Father's will is needful for us as well. Here are some examples of Jesus engaging in times of solitude:

  • When preparing for the tests of leadership and public ministry, He spent 40 days alone in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).
  • Before He chose the Twelve, He spent the entire night alone (Luke 6:12).
  • When He received the news of John the Baptist's death, He withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart (Matthew 14:13).
  • After the miraculous feeding of the 5000, Jesus went up on a mountainside by Himself (Matthew 14:23)

Solitude gives us space to adjust our attitudes toward people and events. It takes the world off our shoulders for a time and interrupts our habit of constantly managing things, of being in control (or thinking we are)! Notice particularly the words drop, withdraw, idle, abandon, relax, and refrain in the Hebrew definitions.

I firmly believe one of the greatest marks of spiritual maturity is the capacity to do nothing! The 17th-century Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal insightfully remarks:

"I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they are unable to stay quiet in their room. The cure for too much to do is solitude and silence, for there you find that you are safely more than you do. And a cure of loneliness is solitude and silence, for there you discover in how many ways you are never alone."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Today's Monday Morning Mentoring is simply the text of Abraham Lincoln's original Thanksgiving proclamation. I have not added my own comments, but I have highlighted a few sections that strike me as especially profound. As you read this proclamation you might ask yourself : What would happen if an American President used this kind of language today in an official proclamation? What in this statement speaks to the heart of our national crisis today?

"The Year that is drawing to a close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke the aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversion of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace,

harmony, tranquility, and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them,

"Does this offend you?".... John 6:61, NLT

I am continually amazed at how loosely Christians use the word "offend" to describe a hurt or perceived wrong done to them by a fellow believer. Please read carefully the following definition of the New Testament word skandalizō (skän-dä-lē'-zō) which is the word most often translated "offend" in the New Testament:

1) to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may

trip and fall, metaph. to offend

a) to entice to sin

b) to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to

trust and obey

1) to cause to fall away

2) to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and

what hinders me from acknowledging his authority

3) to cause one to judge unfavourably or unjustly of another

c) since one who stumbles or whose foot gets entangled feels annoyed

1) to cause one displeasure at a thing

2) to make indignant

3) to be displeased, indignant

Have I ever been hurt by another's words? Certainly! Have I been misunderstood, misrepresented, even mistreated? Perhaps! Has anyone ever OFFENDED me? ABSOLUTELY NOT! No injustice ever done to me has the power to "entice me to sin" or "to cause to fall away." I refuse to grant it such authority in my life!

"Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them

or make them stumble".... Psalm 119:165, Amplified Bible

Monday, November 2, 2009


"....How long will you live crazed by illusion?" -- Psalm 4:2, The Message

According to the dictionary, the word "illusion" is defined as "something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality." Therefore, the word "disillusioned" means to be freed from a false impression of reality. Could it be, then, that disillusionment is a necessary part of growing in the truth?

Some of us need to be "disillusioned" when it comes to God! Yes...I meant to say that and exactly that way! It is so easy for people to form their own theologies on the basis of their wishful thinking about God, not on the solid foundation of God's own self-revelation in history. Even those of us who know God through Jesus Christ, and who derive our core theology from Scripture, often believe things about God that simply aren't true. For us, God may be a big ol' friend who is there to give us everything we want....hardly the biblical God. Or perhaps our "God" is harsh and severe rather than gracious and merciful. To some extent, we all need to be "disillusioned" when it comes to God in order to embrace the truth of God's nature as revealed to us through Christ and through Scripture.

If I am fooled by an illusion, if I embrace as true something that isn't, then "disillusionment" might be a painful but necessary step on the road to truth and health.

I wonder which illusions I need to be set free from? Where do I need disillusionment? When it comes, will I accept it as a tough but gracious teacher or will I cling to my illusions?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Men vs Women Brains

Today is a first for Monday Morning Mentoring...I am simply directing you to a link with Mark Gungor of Laugh Your Way To a Better Marriage. He's describing the differences between the brains of men and women. I hope it helps you begin your week with some laughter!

Monday, October 19, 2009

"We have drifted away from being fishers of men

to being keepers of the aquarium"

-- Paul Harvey--

Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew's house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus' followers. "What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?" Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders."

Matthew 9:11-13, The Message

The local church is the hope of the world! If we as church leaders do not embrace the vision to become salt and light in our world, the Church will fail to realize its potential as an agent of change. We will become inwardly focused on meeting the needs of 'insiders' to the exclusion of 'outsiders.' We will become a spiritual cocoon, where Christians meet to retreat from a hostile world, rather than a 'transformation station' whose primary objective is to change the world.

It's not that churches shouldn't minister to their own members, but there should be a balance between internal and external ministry. When our churches become spiritual spas to which we retreat from the world, our salt loses its saltiness and we are no longer able to impact our culture.

Why did God make me? To love, serve, and obey Him--very simple, yet extremely profound. If we all woke up each morning asking, "How can I love, serve, and obey God today?" it might change everything---it might even change the world!

Monday, September 28, 2009

What is Worship?

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father
is seeking such to worship Him...John 4:23, NKJV

For many years Christians have broken fellowship and broken God's heart in the name of worship. We have argued over form, anguished over the opinions of others, and attacked those who looked or acted differently. Meanwhile in Heaven, the search goes on --

When you can give yourself permission to do everything else imperfectly, so long as you love Him completely...that is worship.

When you can come to Him boldly, even at the risk of the disapproval of others...that is worship.

When you can pursue His presence, even when your heart is broken...that is worship.

When you can submit your life to Jesus even when you don't understand all of what is happening around you...that is worship.

When you can love Jesus with ridiculous generosity, offering to Him the finest of your time, your talent, and your treasure...that is worship.

The Father still looks for that kind of worshiper. I hope His search finds completion in you.