Friday, February 23, 2007


Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others. - Saint Augustine

I heard this story on Marketplace yesterday. The short summary is:

  • Zambia is an incredibly poor African nation
  • Zambia has had a large portion of its national debt written off, to help make poverty history
  • Prior to being written off, an American financier bought a portion of the debt for $3 million
  • He is now suing Zambia for $55 million - the full face value of the debt
  • If successful, this would drain away any benifit Zambia would have received from debt relief.

This just boggles my mind. Buy from the rich, sue the poor.

God help us.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pray continually

Prayer should not be an isolated occurrence. It should be a lifestyle.

Take several English translations of I Thessalonians 5:17:
  • NIV - pray continually
  • NASB - pray without ceasing
  • NLT - Never stop praying
  • AMP - Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]
  • YLT - continually pray ye
Praying without end. Never stopping. Always in communications with God.

The picture that always comes to mind is when I think of this passage is Tevye, from Fiddler on the Roof. When you see him alone, he's not really alone. He's talking with God. A free-flowing conversation, just as if he's talking to a companion on the roadside.

And he's honest! Look at this quote from the movie: "Sometimes I think, when it gets too quiet up there, You say to Yourself, 'What kind of mischief can I play on My friend Tevye?' "

How often do we think things like this? How often are we honest enough to admit that to God?

There are certainly those times when we must approach the Throne of Grace with reverence. We are, after all, approaching the King.

But we must also be mindful that God is our Loving Father; Jesus is our caring Brother. Our Redeemer. Our Friend. And we should approach Him as such as often as we can.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Valentines day is behind us, but the Love we feel for our wives should be ever-present in our hearts.

Ephesians 5 gives a very high standard for how any Christian man should Love his wife: "just as Christ loved the church".

Think about what Christ as done for you. He has met our needs; provided for us materially (Matt. 6:25-27), emotionally (Psalm 46:1-3), eternally (John 3:16).

We should show such Love for our wives.

Surprisingly, it's easier to think about dying for the Love of our lives than it is to live for her.

Could I take a bullet for my wife? Absolutely!

Could I do the dishes? Probably. Every day? Well, that's not fair!

Think about the Love that Christ has given you. Love without condition; withouth merit; without end. That is how you should Love your wife.

That is how I should Love my wife.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It is useless for you to fight against my will

My three year old son has been throwing a lot of fits lately. It's time for bed, but he wants to play. It's time to go, he wants to stay. Basically he wants to do the opposite of whatever it is time to do!

This always works against him. He starts kicking and screaming, he gets a time-out. He starts knocking over furniture and tearing up his stuff, he gets in big trouble.

How often do we act that way with God? He has His plan; something better for us than we can imagine. Yet like a kid who can't get his way we kick, scream, and break stuff.

Thankfully God is a loving Father. He may give us a time-out. He may smack us upside the head. But He is patient, and will guide us back into His will.

Monday, February 05, 2007


How often do we agonize over other people? We may fret and worry about family members and friends, but agonize? What about people we've never met?

We are so bombarded with worst of the tragedies that happen every day, it doesn't even faze us any more. Some tragedies are real, but many of them are fiction; entertainment.

The line between fact and fiction blurs to the point that we lose the ability to feel for our fellow man.

Two thousand years ago, we have Paul. He is making a personal connection with a body of believers he had never met. He is struggling, praying, hurting for them. And he had face real tragedy in his day. He had seen murders, poverty, cruelty. And yet he had enough compassion to agonize over people he has never met.

We must find some way to work past the numbness. To see the nameless, faceless masses as the people they really are.

Friday, February 02, 2007


The parents of John the Baptist, Zechariah and Elizabeth, had been praying for a child. These prayers when unanswered for many years. For so long they had given up hope. Then out of the blue God revealed his plan to Zechariah: he and his wife were to have a son! But not just any son - but the messenger who would pave the way for the Messiah. Zechariah responded as any man would: with disbelief. The angel promptly shut him up (literally), and taught Zechariah a lesson.

This, plus the recent north Alabama snowfall, has reminded me of my own disbelief and ingratitude toward God.

My wife loves the snow. It makes north Alabama a difficult place to live in the winter time. It gets cold enough to be miserable, but rarely snows.

Every winter we pray for snow. We might get a dusting here or there, but most years there isn't a flake.

Last year in February we were planning a family trip to Disney World. Wouldn't you know, the day of our flight the weather forecasters were predicting all sorts of winter weather. Normally we would have loved some snow - but this was just the wrong day for us. We were worried, fretting, praying the snow would not come.

God was gracious, and our flight went on schedule and without issue. But looking back, I've learned something. I had a serious lack of faith over something incredibly minor - the family vacation. I should have trusted that either God would work out our vacation, or He had something better planned for us.

God will do what He wishes to do. He Loves us, and "in all things [He] works for the good of those who love him". But His will and His ways sometimes don't make sense to us. And many times we will not see His reasons this side of Heaven.

This is all well and good to talk about getting pregnant, and going on vacation. It's easy to look on these minor inconveniences and say "You just need to have faith." But what about really bad things. People do get murdered. Children do get abused. Wars; famine; strife. Where is God in all that?

Hopefully I'll never have to find out.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


As best I can recall, a day has always had one thousand, four hundred and forty minutes in it. Sure, Daylight Saving Time will take an hour out of one day every spring, but it gives that hour back in the fall.

Why is it that each day seems to have fewer minutes than the day before? It's an illusion - there are still 1440 minutes in the day. Maybe the minutes themselves are shorter?

I've had a real time management problem lately. I've started a new Bible study last week that meets at 6:00 AM on Fridays. Yes, that's AM - as in before dawn. So now five days a week I've got to take time out for a new study (theoretically - the minutes budgeted this week were spent on sleeping).

And I'm toying with the idea of starting an entrepreneurial venture with a friend. It's an exciting project, with much more promise than my day job. But yet one more thing to budget out of my 1440.

And, finally, there's my family. The wife and son are so incredibly important, and yet their slice of the 1440 seems so expendable.

God, help me focus on my day. Show me where I'm wasting these precious minutes you've given to me. Give me a true sense of Your priority, so that I can spend my time on what's important instead of what's urgent.