The One Big Mistake

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Yesterday, my son forgot his lunch for school.  Oops!  That didn’t turn out so well for him.  A costly mistake!  Luckily his older brother felt some compassion and shared a portion of his with him.

How many times have we made the trip into town for an errand, only to realize we left the bag of stuff to return to the store just next door was left at home.  Oops!  That’s gonna require another trip.  A costly mistake!

When was the last time you decided not to lean over your bowl while enjoying some nice hot soup?  Oops!  That’s gonna need a stain-stick!  A costly mistake!

It’s not so unusual for at least one adult member of the family to push the indicator light on the gas gauge.  Oops!  That’s not gonna end well.  A costly mistake!

Those are examples of the many mistakes we commonly make throughout not only our day, but life.  The consequences are expected and not that drastic.  We kick ourselves with words like, “Are you kidding me?” and “How could you have been so dumb!” and “What in the world was I thinking?”  We even recreate an alternative ending in our minds by recusing our actions by saying things like, “I should have . . .”  or “I could have . . .”  or “I would have if only . . . ”

My life, like yours, is filled with a bunch of these “little” mistakes.  In most cases, turning around, making another trip or learning a lesson and changing are simple solutions to these daily misfortunes.  But life dishes out some game changers too.  You may know what I’m talking about — those mistakes that alter the course of your life, bring disaster to you and others, they hurt, rob and destroy.  They bring regret to a whole new level.

However, regardless of my many minor mistakes or major mistakes, my God is with me.  Today this is true: I know not what God will do, but God will do!  His presence is with me always and I must not forget that God is in control of my life.  Whatever experiences I have today, He has them with me!  He will restore through my mistakes!  It is true that my decisions can bring disaster into my life — and others — but God is the only one who can keep the disaster from destroying me!  “Lord Jesus, do not allow me to try and take control because I will make a mess of it.  I cannot meet life today without you!”

The ONE big mistake I can make today is forgetting you in the struggle around me.  I must not . . . MUST NOT . . . make that mistake today!  I must rest in you today!

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.”  Psalm 62:5-8

The Crux Of Captivity


“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
”  II Corinthians 10:4-5

It is commonly suggested that a person has between 12,000 and 50,000 thoughts each and every day.  Sometimes this seems a bit low — for the thoughtful, while at other times it seems a bit high — for the “worker bees.”  Either way, it is apparent that our minds are running a mile a minute . . . contemplating, refreshing, renewing, deciding, calculating, analyzing, predicting and dwelling.  But to what end is it captivating?

Some of my fondest memories include my days on the slopes as a casual skier.  I was the guy on the slopes everyone despised.  Just enough ability to get to the bottom of the hill, but lacking the grace and finesse to make it there without taking someone out on the way.  If you know anything about snow skiing, they rate the slopes according to the degree of difficulty.  Green slopes are generally easier and more groomed for the beginner.  This was me all the way.  But, occasionally there would be a Blue slope (intended for the slightly more experienced skiier) that I was tempted to try when my confidence had grown.  This false sense of security led me to picking up my skis, poles, hat, gloves and anything else that came disconnected from me on my way down the Blue hill.  My loud squeals and expressive doubts were merely attempts to warn anyone in my path.  It was for their safety . . . and my dignity.  Starting at the top, it was easy to maintain control, but the further into the slope, the faster the skis would go.  It wasn’t sudden, more gradual, until all of a sudden, my mind agreed with my will — I was out of control — and my body paid the price!

Thoughts, left unattended, will lead the will and the body down a slippery slope!  To avoid disaster, Paul teaches us how to live in the freedom of obedience to Christ by taking each thought captive.  But how in the world is one to do this when a single day brings tens of thousands of thoughts.  That sounds like effort!

It is!!  Satan’s plan is to seek and destroy — and he’ll just as well get in my head to do it!  Discerning the Truth, studying the Truth, praying the Truth, living the Truth all lead to a safe journey!  It’s taking the thoughts captive in order to MAKE them obedient to Christ.  It doesn’t say I will have good thoughts, or that I should only have good thoughts.  It means that WHEN my thoughts are good — take them captive and give Him the glory!  It also means that WHEN my thoughts are less than good — take them captive so that I may be obedient and give Him the glory.

Pointing the tips of my skis straight down hill was never a good idea — it always led to disaster.  In order to arrive disaster-free, I had to work at it, concentrate, think!

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way:  bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  Colossians 1:10-14

In The Face Of Impossibility

“Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God.'”  Luke 18:27

Certainly reading the scripture invokes the thoughts of the impossible becoming possible.  Story after story, from Noah to Jonah, from Adam to Moses, from Esther to Sarah, from David to the blind man.  But no story captivates the trust, the belief in the impossible more than Mary, the mother of Jesus.  It is a riveting moment of wonder, curiosity and faith.  Mary had no clue how the impossible would become possible. Why might that be?  Because all things impossible by man is beyond possible by God.  Mary simply had to trust that despite what appeared unlikely, through He who promised would become a reality.

“‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’  The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most high will overshadow you.  So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  Even Elizabeth you relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.  For no word from God will ever fail.’ ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’  Then the angel left her.”  Luke 1:34-38

I find myself asking as did Mary . . . “How will this be?”  I doubt and question the nature of things, events and circumstances in my own life where and when it appears impossible.  But I know you are seated on the throne today and I know that you have made promises.  Promises to keep me and sustain me, to give me strength when I am no longer able to keep my step, to give me wisdom when I don’t know the answers, to provide when all is gone, to love when love is unrecognized, to embrace me when a heart is long unheld.

Lord Jesus, remind me of these promises.  It is your will I seek and your sustaining grace that I consume.  Remind me often that despite my flaws, I am free, so very free and whole!

Broad Shoulders

As a part of my study yesterday I read a post from one of the blogs I follow from Scotty Smith out of Nashville, TN.  It was though this prayer was written for me.  I wanted to share it with all who read my blog in that you may learn too of the broad shoulders and loving heart of Lord Jesus.

I am posting it below, but if you would like to learn more about the original author, I have placed a link to his blog here.

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A Prayer about Jesus’ Broad Shoulders and Loving Heart

     For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isa. 9:6-7

Dear Lord Jesus, knowing the government of the whole world already rests on your shoulders profoundly humbles me and gladdens me. It fills me with a joy second only to knowing your shoulders fully bore the sin of the world, including mine. As this day begins, I raise my shoulders and face to bask in the radiance of your glory and the wonder of your grace.

Lord Jesus, in you are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. You are Wonderful Counselor. I look to you for knowledge of great mysteries and insight into things eternal; but you’re also the one to whom I look for counsel on handling fresh disappointments, dealing with old hurts, and stewarding unfulfilled longings. You care about everything.

Lord Jesus, you uphold all things by the power of your Word. You are Mighty God—the one who created and sustains the entire universe by the power of your word; the one in whom all things are being summed up. You’re also the one who gives me power to humble myself when I’d rather stay proud, and strength to boast in my weaknesses when I’d rather be self-sufficient. You are Lord of all things.

Lord Jesus, to see you is to see the Father. To know you is to know the Father. In this sense you are Everlasting Father. You care so tenderly for the needs of the world—even the flowers of every field and the birds in every sky; but you also care about me. You didn’t leave me as an orphan. Through your work, I’m not only declared to be righteous in God’s sight, I’m able to declare God as my Abba, Father. You bear all my burdens.

Lord Jesus, no one else can pretend to be the Prince of Peace, for you alone paid the price of peace on the cross. Even as you are presently “shaloming”—bringing the increase of your government and peace to all things, so you are advancing the reign of your grace in my life. Forgive me when I look for wholeness, contentment, and healing somewhere else, for it cannot be found except in you. You don’t just give me peace, you are my Peace.

For your broad shoulders, big heart, and coming kingdom, be glorified, O blessed Messiah and Redeemer. So very Amen I pray, Lord Jesus, in your matchless and merciful name.

Live It Up

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11 is without doubt, THE chapter in the Bible on faith.  And it speaks of the confidence and sustainability of the strength each of the characters of the Old Testament we have come to admire.  It is quite the list — a “Hall of Faith.”

Something each of these men and women demonstrated in their lives was an assurance of the mighty God who has promised to deliver, to provide, to comfort, to protect, to heal, to save and to strengthen.  All of them remained focused not on their circumstances, but instead on things above.

Living by faith means living it up.  Living by faith means living in response to who God is and not what I want.  Sure, I ask for God to perform miracles both big and small, but my faith in response to who God is can be seen when I don’t get what I want.  God has nothing but great things planned for me and despite my circumstances, I trust, through faith, that whatever it is, it’s better than anything I could ever dream.  So I live it up . . . lift it up . . . trust in that which I cannot see and press on in the hope of the promise made that you will deliver, provide, comfort, protect, heal, save and strengthen me.

The men and women of Hebrews 11 never received what they were promised.  They were, however, commended for their faith.  “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:40)

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given me.”  Romans 5:1-5

Self-Inflicted Cain

“Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”  Psalm 51:11-12

I recall the pain and still experience the occasional grief.  It hurts terribly and in those moments, when all seems lost and hopeless I cry out, “God . . . don’t leave me!”  It’s a state in which your heart yearns for comfort, embrace . . . forgiveness and grace.   And, before my spirit rests in tune with my soul and body on the presence of God living within me, I blame . . . I judge . . . I condemn . . . I self-inflict Cain upon me.

Cain, as you recall (especially if you read the story in Genesis 4 yesterday), was confronted by God on his anger toward Abel.  God spoke clearly to Cain regarding the presence of sin, it’s sneaky, “ready-to-strike” position and the fact that he (and we) must master or conquer it!  This is a simple reminder that God, my only strength, enables me to conquer the grip of sin!

But Cain chose for sin to master him.  The apple didn’t fall far from the tree did it?  In fact, that orchard is still producing fruit and it continues to drop not so far from that same tree!  The seed of sin was welcomed in and it grew to death — Abel’s death.

Cain, fully aware of the sin in his life began to experience the essence of pain, grief, shame and guilt we all experience because of sin in our own life.  And Cain, like David many years later, casts judgement upon himself.  Thinking he knows God well enough to predict the Creator’s behavior, he tells God what to do.  I’ve never done that . . . HA!

“Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is more than I can bear.  Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”  Genesis 4:13-14

God’s reply?  “Not so!”

What???  Not so?  Cain was wrong!  He miscalculated the love of God . . . God’s grace and forgiveness!

  • Where Cain felt punished, God said, “No way!”
  • Where Cain felt burdened, God said, “No way!”
  • Where Cain felt kicked out, God said, “No way!”
  • Where Cain felt abandoned, God said, “No way!”
  • Where Cain felt unloved, God said, “No way!”
  • Where Cain felt unwanted, God said, “No way!”
  • Where Cain felt unworthy, God said, “No way!”
  • Where Cain felt restless, God said, “No way!”
  • Where Cain felt homeless, God said, “No way!”
  • Where Cain felt friendless, God said, “No way!”
  • Where Cain felt hated, God said, “No way!”

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  II Corinthians 12:9

Pain Of Cain

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”  Romans 6:16

Sin carries such a heavy burden on the soul it causes our bodies to sag and slump.  It saturates our very being with guilt and shame so as to reflect the disobedience in our hearts.  I’m reminded of the child that has disobeyed their parents, but confesses nothing of the such.  He goes about his day thinking and feeling the pride before his fall.  Not until he stands before his judge (his father and mother) does he begin to feel the weight of the sin of disobedience.  And once he does, his head drops, shoulders slump, eyes turn away, a frown appears and a strong desire to be somewhere other than here manifests itself.

Cain experienced this with his brother, Abel.  In case you’ve forgotten the glorious details of this amazing story (Genesis 4), allow me to shed the highlights.  I would encourage you to read it, read it again and then read it slowly!

In response to God’s receipt of the brother’s offerings, Cain became angry.  Cains body reflected his anger and his heart stirred in his countenance.  God asks Cain why his face is so downcast.  And then, the most profound words perhaps in the entire Old Testament are spoken by God directly to Cain.  He said, “If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”  WOW!!!!  Perhaps the first . . . . okay, the second lesson on sin!  It didn’t work the first time, so now God is spelling it out to Cain.  Sin doesn’t own you!!

But Cain, in his sin and shame, responds much like many of us respond to our own sin.  Filled with shame and guilt, we listen to the lies about who we are, what we are like, what others must think and rarely recover from the self-inflicted wounds to our own heart.  Cain felt so ashamed of the most horrid of crimes he committed, killing his brother, that he condemned himself to become an outcast from God’s own sight and a target to any who find him.

God’s response?  The most amazing grace ever found in Scripture!  While Cain felt certain his punishment would lead to death, God’s plan . . . God’s way was and is much different!  God said to Cain, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.”  WHAT?  God raised His glory from the ashes of ruin in Cain!  Through the pain of Cain came the salvation of the world!!!

How might you ask?  Well, Cain was used to build a city. Then, through the descendents of Adam’s third son, Seth (because Cain killed Abel) came Noah!  WOW!

Salvation of the world through the pain of Cain!  Who knew?

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”  Genesis 4:7