Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Coming January 1, 2010...

Daily devotions from the Bible. 
Right here!

If one of your New Year's Resolutions is to begin having a daily quiet time, you've come to the right place. Starting January 1, 2010, I'll be posting a short meditation each morning right here.

Based on the daily Bible Reading Guide from the Canadian Bible Society each devotion will have:

- Today's Special: the Bible Reading Guide passage, linked through Bible Gateway (you don't even need to own a Bible).

- To Chew On: a focus verse (from the day's reading) and some thoughts on how you can apply the ideas from this verse to your life.

- Prayer: a short prayer.

- More: quotes, links, songs - generally more stuff to help you take what you learned from the Bible into your everyday life.

I'm so excited to start these daily devotions! Won't you join me January 1st?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Spiritual drifting

Last Sunday our pastor preached a great sermon.  He called it "Spiritual Drifting," and listed fourteen things that can cause us to drift away from God. Here's his list:

1. Busyness.

2. Illness, isolation, discouragement - all can cause a loss of perspective.

3. Trouble - financial pressure, business trouble.

4. Conflict - in marriage or conflict with friends.

5. Prosperity - more option;  the tendency is often toward idleness.

6. Picking up someone else's offense. (The original people resolve their problem, but I, an outsider, still hold bitterness toward the person who has offended my friend.)

7. Controversy - theological controversy and debate, with no normal accountability structure.

8. Loneliness - Especially for singles - God has a best for you in a relationship. Don't accept 'good enough.'

9. Return of old habits - resuming something that was representative of your life before Christ (e.g. drinking, clubbing, etc.).

10. Worldly saturation - TV, movies, internet - becoming infatuated with the personalities and world views of our society's stars.

11. Compromise - a pattern of downward spiral.

12. Disobedience - self-willed knowing "I know that I should but..." soon becomes comfortable with disobedience.

13. Sarcasm, arrogance, negative, critical, humor at the expense of someone, judgmental.

14. Carelessness - priorities get rearranged; reading the Bible and prayer get left out.

Those are the points in brief as I wrote them in my notes. Of course he expanded on each one. If you'd like to hear his whole talk, it's here.

Can you relate to any of these? (I know I can - even to most of them to some extent.) What additional items could be on the list?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Joseph the optimist

I think Joseph was an optimist. And that's no surprise. Because he'd had an optimal childhood as the loved and coddled favorite of his father.

Once that caravan of Ishmaelites got to Egypt and Joseph was installed in wealthy Potiphar's home, life continued along pretty much as it had up till the well incident -- his way. He was a good worker and soon had as much responsibility as he wanted. The golden touch -- that was his due. Until someone else noticed this natural-born prince.

I can only imagine the shivers of revulsion that ran up and down his spine once it came home to him how truly determined Potiphar's wife was to have him. The day she made her move, all he could think of was getting away. No matter that he ended up in prison! I don't imagine him having one second of regret that he didn't give in to her demands.

Maybe that first day he woke up in jail, he thought, I really am finished now. But of course he wasn't - just like we aren't when we emerge from a tight spot where we had no choice but to make the decision we made, but now we're in more trouble than we were at first.

Joseph found that with God, even that was a good spot to be - and so will we. His presence with us gives us reason to be an optimist any time and in any situation.

(If you want to read this story, it's in Genesis 39.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Joseph Classes

Genesis 37 is the beginning of the very interesting story of Joseph. His brothers hate him - and we can understand why. He is an irritating, spoiled kid,obsessed with his own greatness (which has come to him in dreams) and a tattle tale to boot.

However, God will sort all that out. He will arrange schooling for Joseph, the like of which he has never imagined. The prison years will grind off all that superiority.

I wonder how God uses Joseph techniques with us. Our hidden times -- the quiet places we inhabit when we're on display to no one but God -- could be some of our Joseph classes. Have we learned our lessons? Or do we need continuing courses, refreshers and review? Pity but I fear this old student still needs some of these Joseph lessons in her ripe old age.

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