Wednesday, April 27, 2016


 Psalm 139:23-24
“Search me, Oh God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!”

When I was young I often understood this passage to have a totally different meaning than others. I thought as David spoke of hating those who hate God in the previous verses he was asking God to find something to prove him imperfect. In other words I used think that David was very proud. I may have looked in context at it from the point of the earlier verses but not the following verse. “And lead me in the way everlasting!” why would someone perfect need to be led, why would they need guidance? They wouldn't. This changes the whole tone of Davids plea.

It has changed it from that of a proud man, to that of a desperate man. No matter what the motivation to ask God such a thing is bold. Each sentence ends with an exclamation. Once again this is the cry of a desperate man, but what is he desperate for? Since a young age David had known about and experienced God's presence and providence in his life. God delivered him from from a lion and a bear, from Goliath and Saul, and later in life, sin and death.

I do not know at what point in David's life this was written. Some say while he was a shepherd boy, it would be easy for me to want to disagree with this as I have been reading through second Samuel and have seen the bloodbath, the murderous nature of David's sons etc. again I don't know, but if he penned it as a shepherd boy I find myself amazed. Imagine if you will the encouragement this would give David in the years to come as he walked through every trial, and faced his own failures, and saw his sons commit so much evil. If sung as an adult imagine the depth of the cry as it has taken on new meaning through experience. Songs are such an encouragement and sometimes the full depth of them does not hit me until years after first hearing it. Though I enjoyed it at the first time I heard it, events in my life lead me to grasp deeper meanings in it. I wonder if he wrote it as a shepherd boy how it kept and changed his perception and understanding of God's character. Kept because it already spoke of God's omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience, changed because God became more and more real as he saw the unchanging character of God through his life. So once again I say what was he desperate for? He was desperate for God, he was desperate to never be separated from God. If he were a boy perhaps he was confident in being seen as perfect in God's eyes through faith in God's keeping him, and yet he had some humility knowing at any time he could walk down the wrong path. So he cries out “Lead me in the way everlasting.”

I can do this in a heart not only desperate for God, but unfortunately doubting God's good character. Fearing that I could do something to make Him leave me. However a wonderful truth is David did not first seek out God, God sought out David. The same is true in my life. God placed me in a God fearing family with God fearing parents. As I have grown I have seen many of my siblings walk away from God. Before that happened they were an encouragement to my faith and helped me grow in many ways. Because they wandered from God does that mean God is any less faithful or His word any less true? No. most certainly not. It only means they have stopped believing it and therefore it has stopped showing outwardly in their life. I pray often that they are again filled with a hunger for God. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says “Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” God has put a desire in each of us for eternal life with Him. And In John 6:44 Jesus says “No one can come to me unless the Father Who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” The very fact that I have a desire for something more, though I have tried to satisfy it with earthly things, is proof that God is seeking me. The fact that David cried out to God to search him, and to lead him says that God was drawing and seeking him. We are desperate for God, because He is desperate for us. He does not by any means need us, but He by all means wants us and wants to save us. We didn't choose him but He chose us. See john 15:16.

The response then to God when He seeks us should be seek Him also, to cry out for him to search and lay bare every intention of the heart as David did, and show if there is any wicked way in us, that we might repent of it, that we might be led in the way everlasting.

seek God.


Tomorrow I will make a point of getting up in time to have my morning devotional, 5:30 am.

A generation Of Fools.

Proverbs 18:2
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.”

Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Blogspot. I live in a generation where making my opinion known is all too easy, and highly encouraged. However I have often felt pretty foolish after sharing my opinion on a subject, only to realize I did not understand the subject at all. Then instead of trying to understand it I planted down and tried to defend my opinion. I pray I do this less and less as I get older. Any way you look at it there is a lot of foolishness happening on social media.

But some of the most interesting and best discussions can come out of these situations as well. There have been times where instead of expressing an opinion I asked questions, and learned quite a bit.

We are all entering into new cultures, with different customs, and languages.
I get to go to Guatemala again, so I have been exposed to the culture before at least. And as I think of this verse from the point of view of being in missions. I think how damaging and foolish it can be to express our opinion of how something should be done, without seeking to understand why it is being done the way it is already.
How damaging it can be to look at things through my American worldview lens, and how ineffective my communication of the gospel can become. Because when I only express my opinion, I can easily leave out the gospel and God's word. However as a christian working alongside PFM what I do becomes instantly linked with others view of the gospel, God, and Christianity as a whole. How awful it would be to foolishly express my own opinion and hinder someone understanding the gospel because of it.
Now here is where being teachable, trainable, and coachable comes in. As we are learning about new cultures and say we don't agree to some of the restraints on what we can wear, how we may eat, and how we must interact with others. We have to submit, we have to seek to understand the values in the culture and why we are being asked to dress, act, or eat a certain way. Ask those question and be willing to listen. If I do this I'll be finding myself feeling far less foolish far more often.

Ask questions to understand instead of seeking to share my own opinion.

How? I have prayed for God help me be a listener and observer in this culture, as well as to anyone I meet.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Desire To Be Corrected?

Proverbs 12:1

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.”

In order to learn anything I have to be corrected. It is just how I learn. When I was first learning martial arts I got corrected a lot, but less so as time went on. Somehow constructive criticism is harder to take when you have been doing something for a long time, I know that was the case with martial arts for me. And yet, I also desired it. As I got higher and higher up in rank there were less and less people to teach me, and I began teaching others. However the new techniques are not explained as often as a basic straight punch, so many times I found myself desiring to be corrected. Again I don't really like it, it's embarrassing to be taken aside and told how you don't meet the standard, but without it I also never get better. Just as I desire to practice martial arts with excellence, I desire to walk through life excellently. I want to walk alive in the Spirit, and I want to do that excellently. This verse says whoever loves discipline loves knowledge. I want to know God more, I'm not sure that that is the knowledge being referred to here, but I have a feeling it still applies. If I love the knowledge of God, I have to be open to the discipline of God.

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” ~Hebrews 12:11

This explains what I mean, being corrected whether verbally, physically, or through trials, is not a pleasant experience. However look at what it yields, the peaceful fruit of righteousness. God often uses painful situations to break us and bring us to repentance again when we have started to stray away. Then the righteousness of Jesus can be imputed to us, and we are at peace with God again. However there is a small catch.

“to those who have been trained by it.”

In other words there are people who are not always trainable, and therefore do not gain the fruit of the discipline but instead have to be disciplined again and again. They harden their hearts more and more and have to go through more heartache, they hate reproof, and miss out on the fruit. And as our verse for today says that's just stupid. Please don't think I mean this to put someone down, I am thinking of my own life first. I would hate to miss have a closer relationship with God because I hated reproof. It is stupid, I want so badly to be close to God, but if I don't receive discipline then there will definitely be times that I will be held back from closer communion with God. I will also have to go through learning the same lesson over and over. To go through it once is more than I want, and to try and escape or ignore it would mean I don't even get anything good out of it, and I do feel then that hate is a stupid response to discipline.

So in order to be trainable I need to love discipline and reproof, not experiencing it, it's probably not mentally healthy to enjoy pain. However, I should love it because of what it produces in my life.

Receive discipline willingly.

Today I will write out 3 occasions where discipline has brought me closer to God in the past, in order to help me keep things in perspective when I am corrected. I will also tell God I am open to His discipline and ask for a heart ready to receive it.

A Youth Leader's Worst Nightmare.

Luke 2:46

“After three days they found him in the temple,

sitting among the teachers,

listening to them,

and asking them questions.”

After three days. We have come into the middle of the story which might be titled every parent's or youth leader's worst nightmare. Jesus parents thought their son was in the group they left with, and they traveled a whole day before realizing he was gone. There must have been the agonizing sinking feeling, and a sick feeling in their gut. The equivalent of leaving one of your kids at a gas station on a road trip.

But the good news is they found him. Now if you happen to get left behind somewhere and then found where would you like to be found?

Jesus was found completely calm. I don't know if He fasted those three days, or if He stayed with relatives, or if the teachers in the temple invited Him to meals. But I am given no indication that He was worried whatsoever with whether or not he would be provided for.

He was found sitting. He had made himself ready to wait. When I spend time talking to someone, it comes to mean something more than a casual chat when we move to a comfier place to sit instead of standing.

He was found listening. Now kids can listen but it's not often that they want to. More than that He was asking questions, He was not only listening, He was completely Engaged in conversation.

Jesus is our perfect example for how we aught to live. And what with our theme being Teachable, trainable, and coach-able, there is one major thing I want to point out.

Jesus was found sitting among the teachers. This prompts a question for me. Am I sitting among teachers, I mean right now I am, we have had countless pastors come through this center and pour into us. And it has been awesome, but what about when I go home? Am I seeking to speak with those who are digging into God's word? Am I seeking to be taught more and more about God?

I mean think about it. Your family has forgotten you what would you do? Probably find the nearest phone, and call for help, but here's Jesus at 12 years old and what does He do? Goes into the temple, granted that was probably a central place so if parents came looking for Him they'd probably go there. But then what does He do? Starts a conversation with someone, then it turns into a group of people, and a group of teachers. Not only that but it says in verse 47 “And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” And his answers, Jesus was teachable, He listened so well, that when He answered back people were astonished by Him.

Seek out teachers who rightfully divide the word of God, and sit with them.

Tomorrow I will try to sit with pastors at mealtimes.

Confidence and Humilty.

Proverbs 9:9

“Give instruction to a wise man,
and he will be still wiser,
teach a righteous man,
and he will increase in learning.”

There is a key characteristic of the wise and righteous man. There is a measure of humility in him. There is also a measure of confidence. I know we often don't think those two go together, I know it seems like they are opposites but in reality they walk hand in hand. To be humble is not to put yourself down. And to be confident doe not mean to raise yourself up either. True humility is seeing where your truly at, and confidence is knowing your abilities. There is also a confidence not in oneself but instead God. A man who is humble and confident does not lash out when he is given instruction or is taught. Because a wise person realizes that no matter how much they know, they do not know it all. And the more they learn the more they learn how finite their understanding is. A wise man becomes still wiser at instruction because he is open to listening without getting defensive.

But look at the contrast in verse 7. “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.”

A scoffer. I am trying to recall a scoffer from my life. And I wonder how many times I have been one as well. Maybe a scoffer is best defined as someone with a morbid sense of humor, or a bitter sense of humor. Think of those scoffing at Jesus on the cross. And that scoffing was born out of what? Jealousy and envy. What is the cause of those feelings I would suppose it comes down to insecurities. The Pharisees where always afraid of man might do to them. Whether it was politicians or crowds they often based their actions off that fear. And they often lashed out with words of abuse. They were what we'd call today “haters.”

And he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. I do not think I have gone through this luckily. I have not incurred injury by reproving someone as yet. Yet again though as with the Pharisees and Sadducees, when you reprove someone their true colors come out. If they are humble they will receive it with a grain of salt. However if you expose the sin of someone who is stubborn in their ways, they'll probably be plotting your murder.

Lets look at verse 8 “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; Reprove a wise man, and he will love you.”

There is a season for everything, but usually if someone if scoffing, they are bitter about something and will not receive what you have to say. I never know if I have tomorrow to talk with them again. But sometimes I wonder if God wants me to wait for another time to tell someone something for this reason. However a wise friend is open to being reproved and actually would love it. Why? Because a wise friend knows you are their friend. A wise friend know they have faults and has been vulnerable with others about those faults. A wise man knows they have not yet gotten to where they want to be. I have heard it said we should never think we have arrived as Christians. We should never think that we know it all in other words. That's pride and it's a distraction. A wise person, a humble person knows that. And a wise person wants to keep growing. If I want to keep growing, I need to love being reproved.

I will say I don't like the process, I don't like to have the shell I hide in peeled back and letting anyone see where I need reproof. However I am honestly grateful for the people who have been reproving me and keeping me accountable. I don't know that I always act like the wise man, sometimes I am honestly the scoffer. However I want to be a wise women, who readily and willingly accepts reproof. I want to grow in wisdom and learning. And I want most of all to grow closer to God. Sometimes that means being reproved.

Be more teachable, trainable, and coach-able by accepting reproof without getting defensive.

Tonight I will ask my room mates if they see me doing badly in an area of my walk with God to reprove me gently.


2nd Timothy 2.2

“and what you have heard from me
in the presence of many witnesses
entrust to faithful men
who will be able to teach others also.”

In order to teach others one has to be teachable. I'd like to say I am a teachable person, but I doubt that would be a very accurate assessment. I tend to gather up all this knowledge but then I make excuses for why I can't walk out what I've learned. The truth is, though I'm great at learning I'm not the best at submitting to those I have learned from. I'm not exactly teachable. Do I have the ability and capacity to walk out what I've learned? Yes. Actually I have found that there are some things I grasp very quickly and naturally. However many times I'll let my mentality hold me back.

For example I learn physical things rather quickly, Flips and head stands I do pretty well at learning the general idea, I can feel movements through my body just watching someone else do a flip that I have never done. Even so, I have a major problem doing a flip. Why? Fear.

I am of course afraid I will wreck myself. My body tightens at the thought and then I am twice as likely to become a self fulfilling prophecy. In my spiritual life I do the exact same thing, God reveals something awesome to me and then I get all excited. However when He asks me to walk it out I recoil, I say “but God if I do that what if A, B, or C happens.” I am so afraid of getting wrecked emotionally, no not even that, worse than that. I'm worried what others will think of me, I'm worried my pride will get wrecked. I am afraid of failure and rejection. However when I am afraid of failing and never try I fail by default.


I'll admit I am not as teachable as I want to be. And of course it's a pretty bad policy not to practice what you preach. I learned years ago that if you want to lead you have to lead by example. Communication is more through physical and vocal cues than it is words. People are going to learn by what they see you do, not by what you say.

So how can I become more teachable? How can I be that faithful man. As always pray, first to confess my sin of always making excuses, and to ask for strength to walk out what I have learned, and to be more mold-able. And last of all just try it, just do it.

confess, and ask for strength to walk out what God is asking me to do.

I have been given a tool and task this week by someone that I have not really practiced, today I will make time to use what they have given me.