Do You Have The Look?

look“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
—Matthew 22:36-40

Since Jesus emphasized the principles in this passage of Scripture I encourage you to do several things:
• Read it each morning this week before you leave your house and each evening before you go to bed.
• Ask God to give you a clear understanding of the meaning of these verses.
• Think about how this passage can help guide you in the context of three actions:
1. LOOK UP to God in worship God. This act deepens your personal relationship with Jesus Christ as you meet daily with God during times of private devotions.
2. LOOK IN to integrate biblical principles into your everyday life.
3. LOOK OUT to embrace the hurting people of your community. Invest a portion of your time, effort, and resources in your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers so they will comprehend what it means to be a Christian.

When you commit yourself to doing this, you will have the look of someone who loves the Lord with all of his heart, soul, and mind.

The Book of Boo

pumpkin-carving-05-slOctober is associated with the Fall Season and the time of year called autumn. You may notice its appearance at bedtime when you add a blanket to your bed; cooler temperatures greet you of a morning; leaves begin to fall; and you move your short sleeved shirts to the back of the closet and start dressing a little warmer.

October is also the trick or treat time of year. Children dress in costumes and practice their “boos” as part of the observance of Halloween.

I have some questions about the business of boo:

• If “boo” frightens a person are they scared twice as much if you shout “boo-boo!”
• If you were going to write a book about scaring people, would you call it a Boobook?

In the USA and other parts of the world, Boobook might be a good name for a book that is read around Halloween; however, in Australia it might not work due to a brown spotted owl from the land down under known as the Boobook.boobook

The Good Book is much different than what a Boo Book would be. The Bible is a book of comfort, and encouragement and the book of Psalms is proof of this:

• The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom should I be afraid (Ps. 27:1-2)?”
• “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me (Ps. 56:3-4)?”
• The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net, from the destructive plague. Because you have made the Lord—my refuge, the Most High—your dwelling place, no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways (Ps. 91).”

Whether it is a season of the year or a specific situation in your life, the Bible offers promises to help you with the boo moments you encounter.

Do You Grok?

Nope! None of the words in the title of this post are misspelled. G-r-o-k is the correct spelling of this word that means to “communicate sympathetically.”

When Paul wrote his second letter to the church at Corinth, he addressed the issue of groking. The subject is of such importance he included “all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia (Greece) in the address line.

Notice Paul’s grokology: “Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For he gives us comfort in our trials so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in theirs. Indeed, experience shows that the more we share Christ’s suffering the more we are able to give of his encouragement. This means that if we experience trouble we can pass on to you comfort and spiritual help; for if we ourselves have been comforted we know how to encourage you to endure patiently the same sort of troubles that we have ourselves endured. We are quite confident that if you have to suffer troubles as we have done, then, like us, you will find the comfort and encouragement of God (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).”

Here are four principles from these verses:
• God is the true source of all mercy and comfort
• Whenever you are afflicted, you need His mercy and comfort
• Your experience of affliction, makes you suitable to encourage others in their affliction
• You do more than just share the experience, you share the comfort of Christ

To learn how to effectively grok, I encourage you to give some thought to these words of Paul: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).”

Did I Just Lie?

I took two steps, then I asked myself: “Did I just lie?” While I was walking to my truck, I met a young man in the parking and asked: “How are you doing?” He replied: “Fine, how are you?” With a big smile, I replied” “Great!”

I took the two steps, and I thought to myself: “I’m sick at my stomach and I have a splitting headache, and I feel lousy, so am I great?”

It only took another second of reflection before my smile grew larger, and here’s why:
• I having a loving wife and a good family.
• I have a job, a roof over my head, and I have more than enough food to eat.
• I’ve never been exposed to Ebola or Malaria, and I don’t have cancer.
• I serve a loving God who has saved me through the sacrificial death of His Son.

I’m not great because of anything I’ve done or because of who I am; however, in comparison to much of the world, my circumstances are great.

***805 million people – or one in nine people in the world – do not have enough to eat.
***98% of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries.
***66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.
***Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger-related diseases.
***1.7 billion people lack access to clean water.
***2.3 billion people suffer from water-borne diseases each year.

“Young man, I’m great. Thanks for asking.”

Clueless or Less Clues

cloudPeople speak about “not having a clue” and “being clueless,” and they often have no idea about the origin of the word “clue.”

A quick look at Greek mythology will clue you in to the meaning of the word. When Theseus entered the Labyrinth to kill the, half-man, half-bull, Minotaur he unraveled a ball of string behind him, so he could find his way back. This ball of string was called a “clew.”

Sometime around the mid-1500s the spelling of “clew” was changed to clue and was used in reference to a fact or idea that could help solve a riddle, a task, or a problem

Since I don’t want you to be clueless about your relationship with Jesus let me share a clue or two with you:
• John 13:34-35 says that when we love as Jesus loved we are identified with Him.
• Find your way to John 14:6 and you will discover the clue to finding God.
• Read Matthew 7:7-8 and you will see the clue to prayer is in the acronym A.S.K.
• If you have a hunger that cannot be satisfied, the secret to a fulfilling diet is found in John 6:35.

Ravi Zacharias believes “true worship” is a clue to your relationship with God: “Man is by nature a religious entity. He finds objects or persons to worship and will ultimately reflect that object. It is for this reason that authentic worship is pivotal for the Christian’s life. True worship pulls together my conscience, heart, mind, imagination, and will. When these coalesce in unified expression, life finds its meaning.”

When your life is examined by your family and friends, and it will be, do they see a clue that points to Jesus, or do you leave them clueless? Alister McGrath has said that “Within each of us exists the image of God, however disfigured and corrupted by sin it may presently be. God is able to recover this image through grace as we are conformed to Christ.”

“the image of God in us”—a remarkable clue to everything I just said.


asapWhen you read the title of this post, how did your mind interpret it? Was it: As Soon As Possible?

Let suggest a new definition for ASAP: Abundant Supply Artistic Purpose. I base this new definition on my understanding of Ephesians 2:8-10: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Notice how Scripture refers to the Abundant Supply of grace:
• “The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus (I Timothy 1:14).”
• “With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all (Acts 4:33).”
• “Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of abundant grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).”
• “Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness (John 1:16).”

After reading these verses it is very clear that there is no shortage of God’s grace. His grace is active in your salvation, but it does not end there. Grace also equips you for God’s Artistic Purpose.

The word “workmanship” is the Greek “poiēma” and it is the word from which we get the English “poem.” You are the result of God’s artistic handiwork. Think about it: God created you; Jesus died for you; and, the Holy Spirit resides in you.gods_workmanship062710

What is God’s purpose for you? By God’s design, you are created in Jesus to live a life of good works. This is the way you serve Him and glorify Him.

You are not ordinary and you are not average. You are a one-of-a-kind original designed by God to fulfill His purpose.

The choice is yours: Will you live your life as just A-Sap or will you embrace ASAP, and claim your Abundant Supply so you can live a life of Artistic Purpose?

Silencing Sound

I’m watching the Royals and the Orioles play game one of the American League Championship Series, and I just reached for the remote. The chants of the crowd that are an invigorating sound to most fans is just nauseating noise to me.

As a result of a head injury in 1972, I have trouble tolerating noise that is prolonged and loud. Whether it is eating in a restaurant or listening to music, what is relaxing to many of you is painful to me. This is why research that focuses on “silencing sound” is interesting to me.

Researchers have discovered that noise cancellation can be achieved by a principle called “subtraction by addition.” Unpleasant acoustic waves are neutralized when an opposing wave is produced to counter the original sound wave. This “subtraction by addition” equals digital silence.

We live in a hyper-active world that is filled with noise pollution and a mindset of louder is better. Like Elijah, we think we have to have an earth-shattering grandstand event to meet our needs and to keep us going. Elijah thought God would appear to him in an amazing manner like a powerful wind, an earthquake, or a blazing fire, but God came to him in a still small voice (I Kings 19).

When Elijah subtracted his preconceived notions about God, he began to discover what he had been missing—the presence of God. To know the presence of God, practice the principle of Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Turn down the volume, turn off the technology, mute the phone, and focus on God. You may discover that silence is really is golden.

I almost forgot, a little over four hours after I started writing this, the Royals defeated the Orioles in the 10th inning. Hmmm…a Kansas City versus St. Louis would make for a great World Series.

A Real Character

Character seems to be in such short supply, I want to encourage you to make it the focus of your thoughts today. Integrity and character are key concepts of Psalm 26:

“Judge me favorably, O Lord, because I have walked with integrity and I have trusted you without wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and test me. Look closely into my heart and mind. I see your mercy in front of me. I walk in the light of your truth. I did not sit with liars, and I will not be found among hypocrites. I have hated the mob of evildoers and will not sit with wicked people. I will wash my hands in innocence. I will walk around your altar, O Lord, so that I may loudly sing a hymn of thanksgiving and tell about all your miracles.”

Each of the quotes below speak of some aspect of character:
• “Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wing, and only character endures.” ~Horace Greely
• “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.” ~Abigail Van Buren
• “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” ~Abraham Lincoln
• “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~Maya Angelou
• “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” ~Albert Einstein
• “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ~John Wooden
• “Talent is a gift, but character is a choice.” ~John C. Maxwell

When people comment about you what do they say?
• “Now, there goes a real character.”
• “Now there goes a person with real character.”

Which of the two above best describes you? Does your life resound with the words of the Psalmist? “Judge me favorably, O Lord, because I have walked with integrity and I have trusted you without wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and test me. Look closely into my heart and mind.”

The Great Fullness of Gratefulness

708161.052doughnut_hole_man1_origBefore I go to the office of a morning, I usually stop at the donut shop for a cup of coffee. Some mornings I yield to temptation and eat a donut. I guess this makes me somewhat of an expert on these high cholesterol, artery-clogging treats.

Donuts reveal a little bit about your perspective on life. Do you focus on what you have or on what you do not have? Here’s a little rhyme to explain:

As you go through life, make this your goal:
Keep your eye on the doughnut and not on the hole.

Some people focus so much on what they think they are missing, they miss out on the joys of life. Because they are always wanting more, they know nothing of contentment.

Paul spoke to Timothy about this when he said: Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (I Timothy 6:6-7).”

A common companion of contentment is gratefulness, and great fullness is what Paul wanted Timothy to experience. Because he was grateful, Paul had a great fullness that helped him to face the trials of life:

“I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of facing either poverty or plenty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the one who lives within me (Philippians 4”10-13).”

It was Charles Dickens who said: “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

If you just focus on your misfortunes, you will miss the fortune you have in your family, your friends, and in your Savior. Think about them, express your gratefulness and great fullness can be yours to enjoy.

The Rescue Mission

In the late 70’s I was enrolled at Arlington Baptist College, and I was fortunate to serve on the staff of Dr. Raymond Barber at Worth Baptist Church.

One of the ministries I was involved with was the Rescue Mission in downtown Fort Worth. At that time, the Rescue Mission was located close to the Fort Worth Water Garden. water

The setting of this ministry was a stark contrast in reality. On one side of the street, there was a dilapidated building that served men who were the outcasts of society—men who had been beaten down by the trials of life. On the other side of the street, there was the magnificent beauty of the water garden with the relaxing sound of its refreshing water.

As I worked with the men at this mission, I would often say that not only does Jesus save to the uttermost, He safes even the guttermost. I based this on Hebrews 7:25: “Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them (Amplified Bible).”

Just as the water running down the steps of the water garden never ran dry, the grace and mercy of God is an abundant resource available to you. Regardless of where you are in your journey, Jesus died for you:
• If you are a drunk, the sobering news is that Jesus loves you and He can quench your thirst.
• If you are hooked on drugs, Jesus is the only way that gnawing hunger in your hear will ever be satisfied.
• If your life seems to be one trial after another, Jesus promises to ease your burden and to help carry your load.

Jesus said He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), and one day I realized that I was the object of that search. Jesus was not searching for me to criticize me or to be demeaning to me. He came to give meaning to my life, to give me a purpose for living, and most of all to save me.

Jesus changed my life on an October day in 1972. What He did for me and for those men at the Rescue Mission, He will do for you.