What Are You Looking At?

You have seen the video clips… A woman texting on the phone and falls into a pool of water for a fountain. Or it was a man walking along the sidewalk right into a light pole. Or the person looking at their phone and about to walk into oncoming traffic only to be stopped by a passerby. Where we are looking matters.

Consider Revelation 4:8 “Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty – the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”

I have always thought these are some really weird creatures. What are they all about? It dawned on me this week that the beings are covered with eyes so as to always be looking at Jesus no matter what direction they are heading. And, it is because their eyes are always on Jesus that they are always in worship of Him. The honor, and praise and worship, and singing all come from creatures whose eyes are always on Jesus. Never is Jesus out of their sight, thoughts, hearts.

Our greatest need in life, my greatest need in life is to have my eyes always on Jesus no matter where I am or where I am going. When my eyes are on Him I worship better. When my eyes are on Him I honor him in greater ways. When my eyes are on Him my unique service for Him shines just like these creatures in their calling. Hebrews 12 is right – “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”

What are you looking at?



Of Hats & Hearts

Hats; we wthear them or see them worn everywhere. The baseball cap variety has any number of things on them. Flags, sports teams, brand names, etc. I have never thought of a hat or logo on a hat as life changing… until this past weekend.

We had stopped at a store – one of those places a guy is ready to get through ASAP. As I walked by the registers to exit a hat caught my attention. One word was on the hat – “blessed”. It really wasn’t the word on the hat that captivated my thoughts. It was the thought the Lord brought to mind. It started with one word, that led me to a question, which in turn led to an assessment. The Word? “Obedience.” What if the hat said obedience instead of blessed? I bet there would not be much of a market for that!

As Christians, we can be obsessed with the perks of knowing Jesus, but not so much with the calling or responsibility. Frankly, we are blessed to be vertical and above ground. To exist at all, given our sinful nature is a blessing from God. Yes, I should relish the blessings of God. I should live in faith that God will bless my life in Christ. After all, we are called to live in hope and blessing must be a relative of hope. But what about the call to obedience?

Obedience is a response of being loved, forgiven, blessed in Jesus. Obedience is following the pattern in the life of Jesus who lived in obedience to the Father. It is certain that we will not live perfectly in obedience. This is why Jesus came. But obedience includes recognizing sin, seeking forgiveness, and turning from it.

I wonder… does our hesitancy of wearing a hat that says obedience come from excusing our disobedience? Do we ignore those twinges of conscience from the Spirit? Does our lack of passionate love for and study of the word of God stem more from subconsciously wanting to avert anything that would touch on places of disobedience? I’m just asking questions…

For me, this all became a call to encourage myself and other followers of Jesus to consider obedience as main stream rather than extreme. Consider the following verses and your thirst (or lack of) for obedience:

“Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, FOR OBEDIENCE to Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:2

“And this is love: that we WALK IN OBEDIENCE to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” -2 John 6

Blessed and seeking a life of obedience,

Blessing Others

Sometimes it is hard to know when you have done enough….

The Christmas lights outside had already come on. Dusk had tripped the timer to turn on. There was a knock on the front door. No one uses the front door at our house – unless they are strangers. I walked to the back door and walked around the porch to meet a man in his 20’s asking if I had jumper cables.

A tow truck sat in the parking lot at the church with a car in tow. As I headed out to hopefully find the cables I discovered the cables were not for the tow truck but a motorcycle. It was 37 degrees and raining in South Carolina last night. Who in their right mind is riding a motorcycle in these temperatures after dark?! As we were walking back to the bike and tow truck he pieced the story together. He and his partner repossessed cars. They had picked up a car and was asked to get another vehicle, not knowing it was a motorcycle. There was no room on the tow truck so one of them had to drive it. The owner had stopped making payments on the bike and just waited for them to pick it up. (I don’t get that but let’s move on!)

I also discovered the man riding the bike had never rode a motorcycle; never even been on one! With my years of riding I was thinking he had no business to be riding this bike in these conditions especially. Even someone with experience would need to be careful! We jumped the bike and it fired right up. As I talked with them some more I realize he has no helmet, not even a stocking cap, or gloves! This just kept getting worse!

I started to walk away, and then there was this nudge, a thought if you will. I turned around and went back. I still had my helmet. I couldn’t quite part with it when I sold my last bike – just in case… I offered him my helmet which he gladly took. As I walked away I was thankful to have been of help. However, I was also bothered – He had no experience doing what he was doing. I could have offered to do it for him. I had the rest of the clothing for such a ride. But I didn’t. It wasn’t my responsibility.

I sometimes wish the leading of God was always crystal clear all the time. But it is not. As the Apostle Paul says “we see through a glass darkly” in this life. So, sometimes things are clear, sometimes they are just shadows. I did the right thing offering my helmet, even if it was to a complete stranger. The rest isn’t so clear.

As you go through the holidays take time to pay attention to the nudge of the Lord, that seemingly random thought might not be as random or crazy as you think. God might have a plan. Do what He prods you to do for others knowing some of it will be clear, some not so much. Just go be a blessing to someone – including the stranger who comes your way. It just may be a Divine appointment.


The 90 Day Challenge Day 90 – Promises & Inspiring Questions


“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” – 1 Peter 3:15

I like my coffee. I have tried many different kinds, flavors, and means of preparation. As a result there are some coffees that are just poor quality to me. Forget instant, can’t even be in the mix. Many regular store brands I can drink but not fully enjoy. And, there are specialty brands for which I do not care for the taste. I have developed this sense of taste for coffee by experience. And sharing our faith is also about experience.

Many focus on our need to be ready to explain our faith. And we should be ready to clearly and simply explain why we believe to others. But it is not that hard. It is not rocket science. What captures my imagination is the phrase “And if someone asks.” Why does someone ask? What happened that caused someone to ask? When was the last time I/you had someone ASK us about our Christian hope? I can only come up with one answer. The person who asks about a Christians hope can only come to that point by experiencing a Christian living a life of hope; living a life of worshipping Christ as Lord of their lives. The person who asks is experiencing the Spirit of God creating interest in them by experiencing a believer living out his/her faith in the real world.

Which brings me to another question. Why am I/we not being asked this question more? There is more than one answer to this question, and more than I will outline here. People will ask questions, when we as Christians are sharing more than cursory time with them. People will ask questions, when we as believers are pleading to God for the Spirit to awaken spiritual sensitivity in people we encounter every day. People will ask questions, when we actually live distinctly from the world. In fact, we may even need to live distinctly different from typical Christian or church culture. People will ask questions when we live and talk like Jesus is the most important thing in our lives. People will ask questions when they know we love them and will be there for them whether they ever come to Christ or not. No one asks questions if they are feeling like a project!

Father, make my life a question generator to all who cross my path each day.

Readings: 1 Timothy 5, 1 Peter 3, Genesis 1, Ecclesiastes 4

The 90 Day Challenge Day 89 – Promises & Investing


“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” -Isaiah 11:2

The above words are spoken about Jesus. Jesus, in possessing the Spirit possessed wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and reverence for the Lord. In coming to Christ as Savior, I too have been given the Spirit. While I can not experience these same qualities perfectly, as Jesus did, I have been given these things as well. I usually don’t see myself this way. But the reminder is important. The Holy Spirit in the believer brings with him – wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the Lord. Since I am not fully like Jesus (yet), I can invest in ways to build these qualities. I can follow the Spirit leading me. I can study the Bible and apply it to life. I can participate in studies with others, learning from the Spirit what others have learned. I can pray and seek these qualities from the Lord. The more I invest the greater these qualities will be in my life. I need wisdom and understanding. I need counsel, both the receiving of good counsel (and the ability to recognize it), and the ability to provide good counsel to others. I need might, spiritual power so that what is done or said through me is clearly from God not me. I need knowledge. And, yes, I need the fear of the Lord. I need to keep him first.

Father, help me to invest in the Spirit this day

Readings: Isaiah 2, Isaiah 11, 1 Corinthians 6, Revelation 20

The 90 Day Challenge Day 88 – Promises & Joyful Singing


“Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy… Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.” – Isaiah 35: 2a, 10

Singing, joy, and gladness will one day be mine in abundance. Joy will be even more than abundant. It will be everlasting. While I can surround myself with music now, abundant singing from a joyful heart that never dissipates is a whole other level of singing. Joy that lasts forever will be a new experience. Joy is temporary now. It can change in a flash due to circumstances. But when Jesus comes, sorrow and mourning will disappear. Sorrow, mourning, sadness are unwanted regular companions that come and go at will in my life now. Some events leave a sadness that never quite goes away. But a day is coming when it will be gone forever. The presence of God, his glory, singing and joy will be so overwhelming I will one day forget what sorrow and mourning are like! Bring it.

Father, I look forward to Jesus coming again and filling my life with singing and joy on a whole new level. In the mean time, guide me to sing and rejoice now, in spite of my situation, as part of the preparation for what I will enjoy for eternity.

Readings: Isaiah 4, Isaiah 35, Isaiah 65, Zechariah 9

The 90 Day Challenge Day 87 – Promises & Power To Accomplish


“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” -2 Thessalonians 1:11

Prayer, as Christians we profess to believe in it, and practice it… well sort of. I sometimes wonder if our prayers only touch the margins of what God has in mind. We pray for the sick, as we should. We pray for safe travels, again ok to pray about. But if this is the major thrust of our praying we may very well be missing out on some marvelous answers to prayer. Anemic praying can only lead to anemic believers, churches, and communities.

Look at what Paul prays in this verse. He prays for God to enable them to live a worthy life. Living worthy was not on them, or us. Living worthy is a work of God in us. He does it. Even more astounding is the next part of his prayer. He asks God to give them the power to accomplish all (not most or some) of the good things that faith prompts them to do. He prays for God to accomplish through them all that faith inspires. Imagine what the church would be like if all who came were accomplishing all the good their faith prompted them to do! Imagine, what God might do through you/me by asking him to give us the power to do all the good things our faith inspires. Imagine what would change in our churches if we were asking God to give everyone (by name, not just an all inclusive prayer) in our church the power to accomplish the good things their faith prompted. Imagine how the very accomplishing of those things would lead to a greater faith for bigger things the next time around!

Father, grow my praying for others that I would ask for you to give them the power to accomplish all their faith prompts them to do. Do so in me, and grow our faith for even greater things.

Readings: 1 Corinthians 9, 1 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 19, 2 Thessalonians 1