Archive for » August, 2012 «

August 4th, 2012 – Psalm 1-2

Click here to read Psalm 1+2  on

Every so many moons, Americans get the extreme privilege of choosing between two millionaires chosen for their looks and voices by hooded secret societies. In the run-up to this exercise of free choice, we are treated to six months of commercials telling us why option A’s .0003% tax increase is the fifth horse of the apocalypse, and option B’s fuel emission standards will send us all back to riding mules. I think I can speak for everyone when I say the real joy of the electoral process is the day after, knowing that we get at least a 12 month break from political ads.


Judging by the media attention, it would seem that the fate of the planet hinges on exactly how many chads are hanging here and there. Yet what does one candidate actually bring to the table? Is there real power there? There’s an old story of a king that was out walking along a beach with some of his sycophants…i mean servants. They were praising him as suckups tend to do, telling him of his great power and authority. The king turned to the most boisterous of his flatterers and said “do you really think my power is absolute?” The man replied, “Oh yes, Your Majesty, there is no power on earth to rival yours.” The King turned his face to the sea and said, “very well, if I command this tide to stop coming in, you believe it will stop?”

This king showed considerable wisdom. While temporal power is all well and good, all the power in the world is not enough to slow the tide on iota, nor add one more minute to the day. The psalmist writes with amusement in Psalm 2, saying “The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and…The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” It seems God is in the same position as the restaurant patron watching lobsters pushing and climbing on top of each other in a vain attempt to reach the top of the tank. A simple push sends them all crashing back to the bottom.


Lest it be misunderstood, voting is an important part of our American life, and everyone should avail themselves of the opportunity. However, we should always keep in mind that the fate of the world does not rest in the seat of government, but in the throne of the Most High. The Bible says in Philippians that our citizenship is in heaven; our ultimate allegiance belongs to an Eternal King, not a temporal ruler.  Our fate and the fate of the world is already under God’s control; there’s no need to get panicky if our favorite candidate doesn’t make the cut.

That should help put your mind at ease while you wait for the potato chip commercials to reclaim the airwaves. How sweet it will be.

August 3rd, 2012 – Mark 16

Click here to read Mark 16 on

Have you ever said something you didn’t really mean? Like “I’m never going to eat a whole cheesecake by myself again,” “I’ve learned my lesson, Officer, I’ll never speed again,” or “I can’t believe I wasted my money on that; I’m never going to store without a shopping list again.” It seems we are very quick on the draw with our mouths, but a little less contemplative with our meaning. Take heart, my fellow blabber mouths, we are not alone. No less a person than the great Peter blazed a wide trail for us.

Everybody knows the story about how Peter denied Jesus 3 times, possibly because he was terrified of a 9 year-old serving girl. The ye ole rooster crows, and Peter goes out and cries himself to sleep. Later on, Peter is all over the book of Acts, including the big Pentecost speech in Acts 2. But the time inbetween there is a little fuzzy; what happened to Peter between cowering before Hannah Montana and standing up to the Jewish leadership?


Mark 16 gives us one small incident from this time, and I think it reveals more of Jesus’ nature than it might appear at first glance. When the Mary’s show up at Jesus’ tomb, the angel tells them “He is not here; He is risen…go tell his disciples and Peter.” And Peter. Notice that Peter is not included in the disciples anymore. Just because Jesus rose from the dead, Peter doesn’t get to just ignore what happened.

Often times, when we screw up, we just want to forget about it. Remember what I said when I was mad, jesus? I didn’t mean it. Remember when I told that joke? I was just trying to fit in, but that’ not really who I am. Remember when I watched that? That was just an accident, let’s just forget it. Unfortunately, the nature of sin is such that we can’t just “ignore” it. It must be addressed, and Jesus does not just forget about our failures because he loves us.


Don’t worry, though, there’s good news. In John 21, there’s a story of how Jesus officially reinstates Peter as a disciple, bringing him back into the disciple fold in a fairly moving scene (go read it, people.) Jesus had not forgotten what Peter had done, but his love was greater than his memory. Peter became a disciple again, and his whole life from that point on was dedicated to serving Jesus. As far as we know, he never wavered again, taking his dedication to his own cross.

That’s good news for us. We all screw up; if you haven’t yet this week, I’ll go out on a limb and guarantee you will before this time next week. But take heart, Jesus is ready to welcome us back. Not because he forgets, but because he loves us more than he remembers our failures.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

August 2nd , 2012 – Jeremiah 29

Click here to read Jeremiah 29 on

One of the trickier aspects of the Christian life is the relationship of modern prophets to our everyday walk with the Lord. In the Bible, prophets seem to pop up fairly frequently, and the true believers know them and follow them. But in our time, it seems often difficult to tell the phonies from the realies. Especially when so many people that claim to have received a divine mandate to take up the mantle of prophet are…um…unique.

If only there was a way to weed out the pretenders. In the book of Jeremiah, we read “you should put any maniac who acts like a prophet into the stocks and neck-irons.” That’s an idea. Maybe there’d be a few less self-appointed prophets around if they knew that all the maniacs would be put in stocks and neck irons; I know i’ve been around a few churches that could have benefitted from a stock or two.

This isn’t to diminish the role of the true prophet; by following a few simple rules, we could eliminate a few of the glory hounds, and open the airways for authentic messages from God to his people.

Number One: Beware the Joyful Judge

Abraham Lincoln once said “the problem with brutally honest people is that they often enjoy the brutality as much as the honesty.” Most of the prophets in the Bible, particularly Jeremiah and Ezekiel, did not relish their jobs as much as many modern “prophets” do. The true prophets seem to genuinely beg God to pick somebody else. If someone has “Prophet” on their business card or facebook profile, or if they have “PrFit” on their license plates, let the buyer beware.

Number Two: Check the Facts

According to Jeremiah 28:9, true prophets always predict accurately (in the rare instances when they actually predict the future; a fairly small percentage of prophecies in the Bible are forecasts.) If your local Prophet o’ the Day is not consistently proven correct, time to move along.

Number Three: Watch Out for Innovation

Isaiah 8:20 says “they speak not according to this word, because [there is] no light in them.” If a prophet suddenly starts with a new teaching or a new vision that goes against the Bible, make sure you keep a firm hand on your loved ones. This is usually the making of a cult, not a divine messenger.

Number Four: Stay on Target

True Godly prophecy always has as its aim to glorify God and edify others. If a prophet proclaims things such as “Thus the Lord says, listen to this man, for he is awesome” or “All of the people in this church are blind stumbling sheep except myself,” you might want to take their words with a grain of salt the size of a volkswagon.

While it may be true that the majority of our local prophets have…um….difficulties, we shouldn’t throw out the little prophet baby with the bath water. God is clear in his Word that prophets are a gift to communicate to His people. We just need to ensure that is God speaking, and not the author of today’s entry in Chicken Soup for the Prophet’s Soul.

Speak Lord, for your servants are listening.