Tag Archives: devotional

How Badly Do You Want to Be Loved?

Jingles (not the bell kind)

Do you ever catch yourself singing commercial jingles for no apparent reason? Well, when I am driving, bored, and a little (or a lot) sleepy, I tend to start singing songs I learned as a child. In particular, one song is tops on my repertoire

The Oscar Mayer Wiener Song.

Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener / That is what I’d truly like to be ‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener / Everyone would be in love with me.

First appearing in 1965, this song has become boiled, grilled, steamed, fried, and even micro-waved into our memories. But recently it struck me…what in the world am I saying? Am I so desperate for the attention of others that I would be willing to become an unhealthy food source?

The Need for Love

There are many hurting people in the world who would wish for nothing more than someone to love them. They go to great lengths to be prettier, richer, more popular, or even more “available” – all to find love. But do you really think it’s a good idea to wish you were a hot dog?

What most people don’t know is that there was a second verse to the Oscar Mayer wiener song. In the 1965 commercial a truly intelligent boy quickly understood the true ramifications of the song’s wish and sang the following:

Oh, I’m glad I’m not an Oscar Mayer wiener / That is what I’d never want to be/ ‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener / There would soon be nothing left of me.

Sing it, brother! You tell ’em! Why would anyone want to be a hot dog? Do you really want to be loved so badly that you would sacrifice your humanity and allow yourself to be eaten? It’s not worth it, people…believe me!

The lyrics to this song could be re-written to expose what people are really saying. “Oh I wish I was something else instead of human / A tube of meat is what I want to be / I’d gladly die alone in boiling water / If you would only say that you loved me.

in potLook, there is no reason to want to become a hot dog (you might get eaten by one). Really, there is nothing to be gained by having your body boiled or grilled on an open flame; covered in chili, relish, mustard, and onions; then chewed repeatedly until you’re swallowed by someone who will forget you an hour later (unless the chili upsets them). Stay human. It’s better that way! 

You ARE Loved!

Ironically, someone did become something He was not in order to die for love. The big difference is that He was God and became Human, not a hot dog. And what’s more, He didn’t die to be loved – He died because He loved. His name is Jesus, and He died for you.

“For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 KJV

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 NIV

You are VERY loved!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Food, General Observations, salvation, Uncategorized, Witnessing

Daily Devotions: Definitions and Suggestions

How would you define “doing your devotions?”

What is it, exactly?

Honestly, I am a preacher/pastor who has a difficult time doing my “daily devotions.” Frankly, I am even unsure the term “devotions” is actually appropriate. Something about it often strikes me as magical, prescriptive, or simply religious.

You see, I’m the type of person who sorta recoils from scripted religious stuff; I don’t even like responsive reading in church! Whenever a preacher says “Repeat after me…” in a sermon, I usually don’t. Therefore, when I go into a Christian book store like Lifeway and see shelves of “devotionals” and devotional aids – many written by the most popular authors of the day – I feel like I’m being pandered to, the object of some Nashvillian marketing team.

Whatever happened to the promise from Jesus that the Comforter would come and guide me into all truth (John 16:13)? What about the discernment of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14)? Do I need the products of publishing elites to draw me closer to the Lord? Do I really need to read the polished words of some slick conference speaker to better understand the Word of God? Of course not.

But there does need to be some regularity of personal conversation with my heavenly Father. There needs to be regular communication with Jesus. How else could one develop a personal relationship with Someone if they never spent some one-to-one time together?

But again, how does one do it without it becoming mechanical? How does one keep it from becoming routine? How does one do it without letting someone else do all the work? How does one do it without it becoming just one more thing to check off the list?

I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to regularly spend time with God; yet, you may have some way that works best for you. Would you mind sharing it?

 

10 Comments

Filed under Bible Study, Christian Maturity, Prayer

Brethren, Pray for Us!

This Morning

image

C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

This morning (July 7) I picked up my cell phone and made use of a little app, the digital version of Charles Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening devotional.

The entry for this morning was based on the words from 1 Thessalonians 5:25, “Brethren, pray for us.”

The impact of this short morning devotional was twofold. First, it comforted me with the knowledge that someone else gets it, and that someone out there is encouraging people to pray. But secondly, and even more importantly, the items for which Spurgeon encourages prayer stood out as areas in which this preacher struggles – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Please take moment and read this, if it’s not already part of your daily devotional material. I added spaces for readability, but note the parts I made bold.

“THIS one morning in the year we reserved to refresh the reader’s memory upon the subject of prayer for ministers, and we do most earnestly implore every Christian household to grant the fervent request of the text first uttered by an apostle and now repeated by us. Brethren, our work is Solemnly momentous, involving weal or woe to thousands; we treat with souls for God on eternal business, and our word is either a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and it will be no small mercy if at the last we be found clear of the blood of all men.

As officers in Christ’s army, we are the especial mark of the enmity of men and devils; they watch for our halting, and labour to take us by the heels. Our sacred calling involves us in temptations from which you are exempt, above all it too often draws us away from our personal enjoyment of truth into a ministerial and official consideration of it. We meet with many knotty cases, and our wits are at a non plus; we observe very sad backslidings, and our hearts are wounded; we see millions perishing, and our spirits sink. We wish to profit you by our preaching; we desire to be blest to your children; we long to be useful both to saints and sinners; therefore, dear friends, intercede for us with our God.

Miserable men are we if we miss the aid of your prayers, but happy are we if we live in your supplications. You do not look to us but to our Master for spiritual blessings, and yet how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers; ask then, again and again, that we may be the earthen vessels into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. We, the whole company of missionaries, ministers, city missionaries, and students, do in the name of Jesus beseech you, ‘BRETHREN, PRAY FOR US!'”  – C. H. Spurgeon

Pray for Me

If you have a pastor – and I hope you do – please pray from him. Pray for your teachers, your ministers, and your missionaries; they all need it.

As much as ministers like to portray themselves as “just one of the people,” or “just like you,” there is a difference. The difference is not in quality, but in responsibility. Ministers are no “better” than the people they serve in the name of the Lord, but they are certainly more in danger of spiritual (even physical) attack. We have a real Enemy, and we ARE at war.

So, please, pray for your spiritual leaders.

But if, for some reason, you have no one else to pray for, PLEASE pray for me! 

3 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, community, ministry, politics

Trust the Lord, Not the Liar

Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. – Psalm 40:4

Homework Helper

Just a couple of weeks ago I was helping my youngest daughter with her history homework. For one particular assignment she was required to read some stories from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, specifically those having to do with the Inquisition. Because of her dyslexia, my reading the stories aloud to her made things go a lot quicker.

As I read aloud the injustices and tortures inflicted upon those who had (or were even accused of having) any disagreements with the Catholic church, one thing became glaringly obvious: the people needed to read the Bible for themselves.

Haley and I took the time to discuss the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, how corrupt church leaders could even coerce kings and queens to obey them, even to the point of watching innocent teenage girls being burned alive. It was amazing the amount of fear the world experienced, all because it thought the ability to read and understand God’s Word rested in the hands of a few.

How different things would have been had the people been able to read the Bible for themselves.

Who Do You Trust?

In this verse David speaks of how the man who makes the Lord his trust is “blessed,” or genuinely happy, as opposed to the one who puts his trust in proud and deceived men. Yet, millions of people today put turn on their televisions, sit in pews, or pop in the teaching DVD’s of masterful manipulators who claim to have a special revelation from God. Where have all the Bereans gone?

Blessed is the man who puts his trust in the Lord, not priests, politicians, potentates, power players, or prognosticators.

Blessed is the man who puts his trust in the Word of the Lord, not the self-help books of Oprah and the myriad of television evangelists.

Blessed is the man who places his trust, his faith, and his hope in the Lord, not those who claim to have special knowledge, special revelation, or a new gospel.

Blessed is the man who puts his trust in the Lord and holds ever other beings feet, whether human or angelic, to the fiery, unchanging, life-changing Truth of the inspired Word of God.

Those who place their trust in men are subject to fall for the same old lies and manipulations of the greedy, selfish, egotistical, power-hungry rulers of the past – and there’s nothing “blessed” about that.

“…let God be true, and every man a liar…” – Romans 3:4

1 Comment

Filed under Bible Study

A Pit Stop Before Direction

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. – Psalm 40:2

The Pits

Can you imagine being in a deep, dark, hole? Imagine no cell phone, no rope, no ladder, and nothing but slippery, muddy walls. The ground on which you stand, if you could call it ground, is nothing but thick, sticky, pull-the-shoes-off-your-feet miry mud. If you could manage to climb, you’d first have to find a way to pull your feet from the clay.

That’s the kind of circumstance I believe David was describing, but not a literal pit, like an ancient well or cistern; he was talking about his circumstances. David wasn’t really in a well, at least not the kind that held water. He hadn’t really fallen into a muddy pit. The pit David was describing was not all that dissimilar to the pits we fall into every day.

Faith and Waiting

What is it like to fall into the pit of depression? What about the pit of financial ruin? What’s it like to be trapped in the pit of emotional or physical pain? Are the walls in the pit of broken relationships any less slippery? As with the pit David was in, does the pit you’re in, or have been in, make your feet feel stuck, yet unsteady? See, David understands – and so does God.

What did David do while in the pit? As noted in verse one, he cried and he waited. Now, that’s not too hard to do in the average pit, is it? I mean, when you are down in a hole it’s not that difficult to cry and to wait – what else is there to do? But instead of just crying, instead of just waiting, David cried unto the Lord and waited patiently on Him for deliverance. While in the pit David put his faith in God.

Perfect Timing

Then, once the time was right, deliverance came. And when it came, which was in God’s timing, David was lifted out of the pit, set on solid ground, and pointed in the right direction.

Think about it: David didn’t get out of the pit when he wanted or how he wanted to; he had to depend on God. What if David had had a stroke trying to deliver himself? How many people kill themselves (literally and figuratively) trying to get out of their pits? How many people never cry out to God for help, never wait patiently, but curse the circumstance, frantically flailing about in a useless attempt to get free? Maybe you are in a miry pit for a reason, to cause you to trust God.

One thing is for sure, when you are in a pit there aren’t many places you can go fast. Unless you’re going up, right or left, east or west, really makes no difference, does it? When you’re in a pit, all you can think about is the pit. But what happens when you do get out? What then? Where do you go? When God lifted David up out of the miry pit, He set his feet on solid ground and made sure he set off in the right direction. Maybe you are still in a pit because the timing is not right for the direction you need to go. Maybe you are still in the pit because you are so week from trying to deliver yourself – if lifted out you might simply fall right back in. Again, wait patiently on the Lord.

Learn While You Wait

All pits are horrible, aren’t they? But as we wait patiently on the Lord, knowing He has heard our cry, maybe we should take note of where we are, how we got here, and how to warn others of the dangers, the darkness, and the loneliness. There is something to learn until deliverance comes.

God doesn’t want to leave you in a miry pit, but what we learn while there may impact the timing of our deliverance and the direction of our going when free.

1 Comment

Filed under Bible Study, Christian Maturity, Faith, God, Theology

Overtaken vs. Granted

Scary Things

There aren’t many of things that scare me now that I am an adult. However, as a child I lived in dread of a lot of things. I was afraid of vampires, clowns, Russians, and girls with cooties. Now I know that vampires can be killed with a good flashlight (the handle part, that is) and Russia is less of a threat than China, I think. However, clowns and girls are still a problem.

On the other hand, I used to love to fly in airplanes, drink from unwashed soda cans and public water fountains, and drive sports cars at ungodly rates of speed down curvy mountain roads. Now, as an adult, I know that it takes a long time to fall from 30,000 feet, germs are everywhere, and deer have a habit of walking in front of good drivers.

But the biggest thing is that most of the scary things in life are either in my mind, or avoidable. I have no fear of them eventually catching up with me. If killer bees get too close, I’ll just move. The wicked, however, have no such hope.

Gonna Getcha

The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted. – Proverbs 10:24

I like the way the NIV translates the first part of this verse, “What the wicked dreads will overtake him…” This proverb is telling us that the wicked are running from something, while the righteous are running to something. And more than that, whatever the wicked are fleeing from will eventually catch up.

What do the wicked fear? What will eventually overtake them? A few things come to mind: being alone, pain, loss, falling, and death.  Huh…coincidentally, all of those will be present in hell. Go figure.

Gonna Grant It

But for the righteous…the ones who know every good gift is from God, the ones who know grace can’t be earned…their desires will be granted.

Amazing, isn’t it? What does the righteous desire? To be loved. To be healed. To have treasure that won’t decay. To be caught up. To have eternal life. Wow! Everything that heaven will bring!

But there’s one more thing: the righteous will welcomed into the presence of their greatest Desire – Jesus.

Don’t run from Jesus. Run to Him. Make Jesus your desire.

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Living, Faith, Life Lessons, Theology

Feedback Needed! Don’t Be a Snotty Susie!

The following is an excerpt from a new book I am trying to complete within the next few days. It will be called Life Lessons from the School Bus. Let me know what you think. Marketable? Funny? Gets the point across? 

“Losing Marbles”

Once there was a little girl on my bus who cried over everything, especially when she didn’t get her way.  She ended up losing her marbles.

Snotty Susie

One morning this little girl – let’s just call her “Snotty Susie” – was crying about how everybody hated her.  Seriously, not two minutes after getting on the bus she started in with her caterwauling (the howling or wailing noise a cat makes). For the next 15 minutes the rest of the kids tried to console her, but all she kept saying through the sniffing, slobbering and crying was “Nobody wants to be my friend! Everybody hates me! WAAAAAH!

Fortunately, we reached the elementary school before everyone went deaf from the crying. Then, just as “Snotty Susie” was stepping off the bus, a little boy who had gotten off in front of her looked back and said, “Nobody hates you, Susie; we just don’t like you.”

At least the little guy was being honest.

The Great Giveaway

Well, that afternoon, when the elementary kids were getting on the bus to go home, “Susie” got on first and sat on the front row. “Would you like a marble, Mr. Baker?” she asked. “No,” I said, “I have plenty.”

What kind do you have?” she asked. “The round kind,” I replied.

Then, as the other children entered the bus, just as soon as they walked past her, she would ask, “Would you like a marble? You can have it for keeps. EVERYONE! Get your FREE marble, if you WANT one!

I asked, “What are you doing? Why are you giving away your marbles?” She said, “Because I am going to MAKE them like me.

Honestly, I felt sorry for the poor little girl. No one had ever taught her how to make friends.

Life Lesson

When we treat people poorly, and then try to buy their friendship with shiny trinkets, we end up losing our marbles.

“Snotty Susie” usually had a bad attitude about everything. She regularly talked mean to other kids, made fun of them, and then cried out in emotional pain when someone wasn’t nice to her. No one wanted to be her friend because she was NOT friendly! She couldn’t even buy friends for a day.

The saddest part was that I picked up a handful of marbles after all the children got off.

Route Suggestions

  • King Solomon said, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24). How can you be nice to someone today?
  • Don’t try to buy your friends. If you do, you’ll just go broke (marble deficient) trying to keep them.
  • Don’t let anyone buy YOUR friendship. Be a real friend to somebody who’s a marble short.

[UPDATED IN AN ATTEMPT TO BE LESS SOPHOMORIC. I HOPE IT WORKED.]

10 Comments

Filed under book review, Humor, Life Lessons