Friday, April 15, 2011


"Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8: 5-8

A young girl and a young boy were each given an expensive remote control car to play with - one of those beautiful large ones that hummed and whirred with incredible speed and precision turning. The young girl excitedly took the remote control and then tentatively eased the car into motion, testing the feel of her control. Once comfortable with the feel, she proceeded to take the care carefully around the room, driving it in much the same manner as her Mom or Dad would their "real" car. She has a lot of fun taking the toy through its paces all the while taking very good care of it.

Can you imagine what the little boy did?

The little boy lustily grabbed the remote control and immediately accelerated the toy, as fast as it would go, right into the wall - where it flipped into the air two times and landed on its side. He erupted with a delighted belly laugh of satisfaction upon seeing this collision. He then flipped the car back onto its wheels and ran it into the wall again with similar results. For the next little while he created new and varied ways to crash, demolish, and destroy the car. As you might imagine, it wasn't long before he ran crying into his Mom's arms complaining that his toy was broken.

Now, this is not meant to be a judgment statement on gender differences while driving - though I will point out that teen boys may much more for car insurance that teen girls ;)

This little example is a story of control...

Both the boy and the girl were given complete control of the toy. One used their control to destroy it, the other used her control to use it for what it was intended for.

Who's in control of your life? The Spirit or the flesh?

If your flesh (or your natural sinful instincts) are in control of your life - the Scriptures say that you are running yourself headlong into destruction, and you will never be able to please God. The flesh selfishly wants sensory pleasure. It wants to quench our sinful desires to please ourselves first and foremost. Much like the young boy with the car we end up pleasing ourselves to death.

But, if the Spirit of God dwells within you - Jesus takes remote control. You will want what God wants, go where God wants you to go, do what God wants you to do. As the Scripture says, you will live a life of peace. God himself at the controls will direct you in the wonderful ways of righteousness with care, precision, and joy.

So, who controls your direction (your mind and the choices you make)? Is it the Spirit or the flesh? Perhaps it is a little of both, with us fighting tooth and nail, not wanting to relinquish the controls over to God.

May each one of us be brave and humble enough to hand the remote over to God, and simply sit back and enjoy the ride.

Be God's, Scott

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


"If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared."
Psalm 130: 3-4

I wonder how many of us have had our concept or understanding of God influenced by the Jolly old fat man in the red suit - Santa Claus. For many, God is merely a benevolent old white man who generously gives gifts to people - unless of course, you are on the naughty list. Santa, you see, has a list that keeps a tab on all of the bad things you've done over the past year. His omniscient gaze records all of our mistakes, and if we accrue too many of them...we find ourselves on the naughty list - and that means that you will not be on the receiving end of any generous gifts.

Is this anything like your view of God?

With regards to our sins - do we have this picture of God keeping track, like a careful accountant in a ledger, of every sin we commit? And does He do this so that someday He might be able to justly hold them against us? Does the thought of being on God's naughty list send sickly shivers of guilt up your spine?

If you're anything like me, you have done your fair share of sinning and disobedience over the past week (let alone the past year). If God were truly keeping such a list as this (a record of our sins) - as the Psalmist rightly wonders, "who could stand?" We would all be brought to our knees in guilt before our holy God. And even going further, who would ever want to seek the presence of God in worship or prayer or fellowship? No one in their right mind would want to spend time with One holding a complete record of your mistakes in front of you.

God is not like Santa Claus. He is so far beyond our imagination in His greatness and eternal glory, and the good news is...that in Christ we have the complete forgiveness of our sins.

In other words there is no list, or record of our sins. Once we have been forgiven by Christ, His blood makes us white as snow, and through the work of the Spirit, Jesus imputes His righteousness to us. This means that when holy God looks upon us, He does not see sinfulness - He only sees the perfect righteousness of Jesus.

So do not fear the judging gaze of holy God anymore when you do sin - In the Name of Jesus, ask for forgiveness and enjoy the freedom that comes with having no record of sins with God.

Be God's, Scott

Monday, April 11, 2011

God In Us

"I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD." Ezekiel 37: 14

Eternal life - life to the fullest and brightest that can begin right now and last forever - this eternal life that we all seek whether we realize it or not, will only truly come about when Almighty God puts His Spirit in you. When God Himself takes up residence in your heart.

To live without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is really not to live at all. It's to hear only the bass drum of the symphony without the accompaniment of the strings and horns and woodwinds and the rest of the percussion. It's to watch a black and white TV with rabbit ears rather than a 3-D color TV with a high definition satelite signal. It's to order a dish of vanilla ice cream every time you go to the scoop shop, continually overlooking and ignoring such delights with candy bars, chocolates, fruit and nuts and other lush flavors.

To live ones life filled with the Spirit of God, is life as God always intended us to live it.

Yet, many of us have chosen to settle for less than the fullness that God freely offers, in our lives. We plod through our black and white existence often as people without hope.

I am often discouraged by folks who have contented themselves to settle for less than God offers. Despite pleas to embrace the offer of eternal life that Jesus gives - many turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to this reality of life. What is truly needed, are believers who wear the life giving hope of the Spirit on their sleeves.

There are many times in our lives as Christians, that despite the filling of the Spirit within us, one would never know the difference from our outsides. We have the joy of the Lord, yet our outward appearance displays nothing more than anyone else in our world: Worry, fear, despair, anger, anxiety...

Those of us who are believers need to model and loudly live out the joy of the Spirit filled life - to such an extent that those who have settled for so much less will be jarred out of their slumber. We have been given the gift and privlege of God Himself taking up residence in our hearts - may our lives shine brightly for all to see the glory of His way. And may God explode Himself into the ordinariness of our life and the lives of those around us.

Be God's, Scott

Friday, April 8, 2011

Stumbling In The Dark

"While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” - Jesus (John 9:5)

There was this exercise that I did with Youth Groups once upon a day, that was designed to teach them empathy and understanding to those in our society who must live with physical disabilities. Each young person would receive some type of device that would impede either one of their senses, or their ability to walk/ use their arms and hands (you get the idea). They would then have to try to live their life, either for the duration of the meeting, or for the duration of the day (during a weekend retreat). While they were temporarily "disabled" some of the other young people (who were not disabled) were tasked to help them get by.

I can vividly remember one instance when I took part and was given the "disability" of blindness. I was fitted with a very snug blindfold that did not let in even one hint of light. I can't tell you how difficult it was to get around and even accomplish simple tasks, let alone find my way. Even with my "guide," who I think secretly enjoyed watching me walk into things, I left that experience frustrated with none too many bruises and bumps.

For a leader it was very difficult to have to be led. For one used to seeing and moving freely it was very frustrating to stumble around in the dark.

The Bible describes our life on earth so entrenched in sin as people stumbling around in the darkness. We may not realize it, because for many it is the only life we know. Yet, that is what we do, we grope and feel our way through life, desperately seeking direction and the way to salvation, joy and peace. Our blind search always ends in futile frustration, complete with assorted bumps and bruises. The cold hard fact is that on our own, stumbling in the dark, we can never find our way.

Thanks be to God - Jesus is the way. He is the light of the world. When one puts their faith in Him to guide their life, He miraculously removes our spiritual blindness and deftly guides us towards salvation, joy and peace.

No one needs to experience the hurtful life of stumbling through life blindly. The light of the world is still in the world, through the power of His Spirit, promising to never leave nor forsake us. Anyone can have their blindfold removed, and no one can do it themselves. A courageous step of faith into the light of Jesus is all one needs.

I was so thankful when I was able to take off that blindfold and see again...I am so thankful that Jesus removed my spiritual blindfold and blessedly enabled me to see His paths of righteousness.

Be God's, Scott

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Living In The Light

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord." Ephesians 5: 8-10

Our world is filled with amazing creations of the Lord. His creative brilliance is especially seen in the animal kingdom. I find the diversity and uniqueness pretty awesome. In fact, we stand amazed at all of the splendid species that we have discovered, yet there are many other undiscovered species living and thriving that we have yet to encounter. Many of these creatures are in spots that we cannot yet access - like the deep dark places of the earth and sea.

These species that live in the dark places of the world are pretty remarkable. God created them in such a way that they would be able to live in a place with little (hardly any really) light. Certain mammals will have huge eyes and retinas to allow as much light as possible in. Certain sea creatures of the deep will possess phosphorescent qualities to their bodies that give them a translucent glow. Other animals are given greater sensitivity to things like sound or touch to allow them to compensate for the lack of vision.

Now, despite the amazing ability to adapt that God has blessed His creatures with - a subterranean creature with retinas the size of softballs would have a very difficult time surviving and existing if suddenly thrust into the bright terrain of a Florida beach. Their first instincts are to do that which they know, and have always done. The bright light would be a huge shock to their whole system. Truth be told, they would likely die if such an environment change were to happen.

We are pretty amazing creatures too. God made us to live in the light of His holiness and righteousness - to do that which is good and true and holy. Yet, we struggle to live in the light, don't we? That's because the natural instincts God made us with got skewed and broken the moment sin entered the world. We were all born with a natural tendency to a life of darkness. We are creatures built and equipped for a habitat of light, yet trying to get by in a habitat of complete darkness. As you might imagine, if we don't change habitats, we will die - no amount of human adaptation can save us.

Thanks be to God, Jesus died to save us from the darkness. Through His death and resurrection we have been delivered into the light of life - our originally intentioned instincts towards righteousness restored. Through Christ we now walk in the light of the Lord, just as we were made to.

This restoration is our salvation - we are now fully able to be and do good, true, and holy things again. Oh, but we got used to our old destructive dark living, didn't we? Sometimes these habits are hard to break.

Yet through Christ, and the strength of His Spirit we can overcome these sinful temptations and choices. He has, He is, and He will deliver us into the goodness of His light.

Live as children of the light.

Be God's, Scott

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


"Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Psalm 23: 6

You all remember Pigpen from the Charlie Brown (Peanuts) comics, right? He was the little boy who didn't enjoy the finer points of personal hygiene and bathing (as little boys are want to do). As a result, he walked around with a little dirt cloud surrounding and following him everywhere he went. Thus the name Pigpen.

We may be made of cleaner countenance than Pigpen (well most of us) when it comes to our bathing habits. And, we may not have a cloud of dirt following us around, but...

Sometimes I wonder if we are not too different than Pigpen. The only difference being the type of cloud that follows us around. Our dust cloud is not dirt, but all of the junk from our past that we often cling onto, often for the express purpose of beating ourselves up. Our past mistakes follow us around - an ever present reminder of our brokenness and our fallibility. Even the knowledge that Jesus has forgiven us, isn't enough for us to forgive ourselves. Our dirt follows us for the rest of our lives.

Only, it doesn't have to...

What if we could leave our junk from the past, in the past? What if we could lose the guilt, and free ourselves from stench of our mistakes from an earlier life? What if instead of having our cloud of sin and guilt follow us for the rest of our life - goodness and love followed us all the days of our life?

A thorough scrubbing from Jesus' forgiveness is really all we need. Once He forgives our past - the slate is wiped clean (and so are we). He doesn't see a sin cloud surrounding us when He gazes upon us, but a cloud of righteousness. And if Christ, who is holy and without sin, saw fit to forgive and clean away our junk...who are we not to forgive ourselves - and simply let go.

Far better to be one who walks through this life followed by a cloud of goodness and love - in fact, that might be exactly the kind of cloud that attracts the attention of others, and leads them to join you as a tenant in the house of the Lord forever.

Be God's, Scott

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Sheep's Life

"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing." Psalm 23: 1

The image of God as our Shepherd has been a rich and cherished one for many believers over the years - as has this Psalm. Even more so, when one fully understands the job description of an Ancient Palestinian shepherd.

A shepherd's job was to tend to the sheep as they moved and grazed through the sweeping hills of ancient Palestine. They did not pen up their animals as we do today - rather they moved the flock from pasture to pasture in search of good eating and drinking. The sheep, single-mindedly waddled around on their stubby little legs, with heads down, looking only to quench their appetites. It was the job of the Shepherd then, to tend the flock by doing 3 things - Protect the flock, Guide the Flock, and Feed the Flock.

It was a shepherd's job to protect the flock, because the flock could not protect themselves. In fact they would not even be aware of any impending danger, because they were concerned only with feeding their appetite. So the shepherd, with staff and sling in hand, protected the sheep by keeping them together, and watching for predators. No decent shepherd worth his salt would ever lose a sheep on their watch. They would protect each and every sheep from any kind of danger.

It was a shepherd's job to guide the sheep, because sheep walk with their heads down munching away. Eyes on the ground have a hard time seeing the big picture and knowing where to go. Left to there own devices, sheep would wander aimlessly - even into a desert or over a cliff to their destruction. The shepherd knew the best ways to go, and would ensure that all of the sheep in his flock went the right way. Sometimes this meant a swat in the hindquarters from his staff to a sheep headed unwittingly in the wrong direction - but every shepherd took it upon themselves to guide the flock in the correct direction.

It was a shepherd's guide to feed the sheep, because the sheep were unable to feed themselves. Remember there were no pens and troughs for controlled feeding - the sheep needed to be led to a good green pasture in order to fatten them up. That is what the shepherd did. He knew where the good pasture land was and he led his sheep to the feast. He wouldn't be much of a shepherd if he let his flock become malnourished and die. The shepherd fed the sheep.

So, if God is our Shepherd that seems to indicate that we are sheep. In fact the Bible says that "we all, like sheep, have gone astray." We have been walking around aimlessly with our heads down looking to quench our insatiable appetite for sin, and if not stopped and corrected, we will eventually walk ourselves towards our destruction.

Thankfully so, Jesus is our good shepherd, and we shall lack nothing under His care. He chases us down and returns us to the safety of the flock - in fact He gave His life for His sheep. With His power and love, He protects us from any real danger, He leads us into paths of righteousness, and He feeds us with the Word of God. He will never leave us, nor forsake us.

Under the care of our Great Shepherd Jesus, we will truly never be in want for anything.

Be God's, Scott