Everything We Need – Where from?

The promise in 2 Peter 1:3 is that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

Where does the “everything we need” come from?  The answer is right there at the beginning of verse 3 – “His divine power has given us everything we need…”.  God himself gives us power.  It is not natural power or ability – is supernatural power and ability – it is “divine power”, not “undivine power”.

When God gives us “divine power”, does that mean that we can do miracles that only God’s power can do?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, it is supernatural power that can do things that we cannot do on our own, but no, it is not some kind of magical power that make us look greater.  He gives us power for his purposes and glory.  Amazing things happen when God’s power is at work, but they are not necessarily the kinds of things that people would associate with miracles (like a supernatural healing). 

This kind of power is for things that we need in our everyday lives.  As fallen and sinful people, we are not strong and wise enough to live our lives well, but when God’s power is at work, he gives us strength and wisdom to do what we would not otherwise be able to do. 

In a word, God gives us “grace”.  Grace is the desire and ability to do what is right.  Grace is the divine power that God gives so that we have everything we need for life and godliness.  Grace to be patient, to be kind, to exercise self-control, to lover our enemies – those are the kinds of miracles that God’s divine power works in our lives.

Everything We Need – How would I know?

How do I know that God has given me everything I need for my life and godliness? 

Everything We Need – An Encouraging Promise!

What an encouraging promise!  God has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

Reflections on Leadership – Part 14 – Great Leaders Encourage the Heart

In the pursuit of any great goal, we often face discouragement.  But great leaders find ways to encourage us to continue on.

Reflections on Leadership – Part 13 – Great Leaders Model the Way

Great leaders lead by example.

Reflections on Leadership – Part 12 – Great Leaders Enable Others to Act

Ironically it may seem at first, but great leaders are not controlling.  They liberate their followers to bring all of their skills into play – they enable others to act independently in order to reach their shared goals.

Reflections on Leadership – Part 11 – Great Leaders Inspire a Shared Vision

Leaders see something in the future, and they motivate their followers to join them and share in the efforts required to reach that future goal. 

Reflections on Leadership – Part 10 – Great Leaders Challenge the Process

Great leaders are especially skilled at challenging the “status quo”.  They have the ability to see what is wrong and what needs to change while many others do not.

Reflections on Leadership – Part 9 –Observable Skills

Practice leads to skill, and skills lead to effectiveness.  When watching effective leaders, a collection of practices emerge as a pattern – they’re “observable skills”.  But it is God who by his grace first calls his people and equips them to lead, and he is the one who can teach us the heart and mind behind these skills. 

Reflections on Leadership – Part 8 – Great Leaders Keep Learning (Humility)

There is something attractive about a person who never stops learning.  We don’t want to follow a “know it all” – or do we?

Reflections on Leadership – Part 7 – Great Leaders Love

The greatest leaders of our lives are those who truly love us.  There are a number of reasons people will follow someone who loves them. 

Reflections on Leadership – Part 6 – Integrity as a Leader in Training

We’re not really good enough to lead – especially if we want to lead others for Jesus and his purpose.  So, what are we to do?

Reflections on Leadership – Part 5 – Great Leaders Have Integrity

Would we ever follow a person that we knew was corrupt, dishonest, and selfish?  Would we follow a person who lacked integrity?

I think we do it all the time.

Reflections on Leadership – Part 4 – Greatness in Purpose

It’s an odd place to start, I suppose, but it seems to me that much of the popular leadership discussion fails to first consider the underlying reason for leading.  In other words, “why lead?”

Reflections on Leadership – Part 3 – Leaders Need to Listen to Criticism

It is easy to criticize people in leadership roles, and lots of times that criticism is undeserved, but nevertheless, and somewhat ironically, it’s important for leaders to listen to criticism.

Reflections on Leadership – Part 2 – Criticizing Leaders is Easy

I’ve noticed that a lot of the material on leadership gets momentum from criticizing leaders. 

Reflections on Leadership – Part 1

“Leadership” seems well understood, but at the same time hard to define. 

Living in Ziklag - Part 11 (the last part) – Long Term Consequences

I’ve come to regard the phrase “Living in Ziklag” as a symbolic reference to living a dark and deceptive two-faced life. 

In the end, God’s rescue and grace were simply amazing.  David comes home, is established as King and all is well.  But don’t miss the message.

Living in Ziklag - Part 10 - Amazing Grace

I’ve come to regard the phrase “Living in Ziklag” as a symbolic reference to living a dark and deceptive two-faced life. 

God’s deliverance was amazing.  It’s an amazing rescue, and an even more amazing grace.

Living in Ziklag - Part 9 – Utter Exhaustion

I’ve come to regard the phrase “Living in Ziklag” as a symbolic reference to living a dark and deceptive two-faced life. 

The path to victory is exhausting.

Living in Ziklag - Part 8 – Asking God

I’ve come to regard the phrase “Living in Ziklag” as a symbolic reference to living a dark and deceptive two-faced life. 

It’s time to ask God.

Living in Ziklag - Part 7 - Find Strength in the LORD

I’ve come to regard the phrase “Living in Ziklag” as a symbolic reference to living a dark and deceptive two-faced life. 

Find strength in the LORD.

Living in Ziklag - Part 6 - Bitter Weeping

I’ve come to regard the phrase “Living in Ziklag” as a symbolic reference to living a dark and deceptive two-faced life. 

Even after God rescues us – the can be bitter weeping.

Living in Ziklag- Part 5 - Divine Intervention

I’ve come to regard the phrase “Living in Ziklag” as a symbolic reference to living a dark and deceptive two-faced life. 

Only God can rescue us.

Living in Ziklag - Part 4 - Escalation

I’ve come to regard the phrase “Living in Ziklag” as a symbolic reference to living a dark and deceptive two-faced life. 

Thing is, it gets worse.

Living in Ziklag - Part 3 - Daily Darkness

I’ve come to regard the phrase “Living in Ziklag” as a symbolic reference to living a dark and deceptive two-faced life.  What was it like to live there?

Living in Ziklag - Part 2 - How did he get there?

I’ve come to regard the phrase “Living in Ziklag” as a symbolic reference to living a dark and deceptive two-faced life.  “How did David get there?”

Living in Ziklag - Part 1 - Introduction

Are you living in Ziklag?  I hope, for your sake, that the answer is “no”.

Trusting a Person: Contrary Data - Evil - part 2 of 2

If God is good, and is powerful enough to create and do anything - then where did all the evil come from?

Trusting a Person: Contrary Data - Evil - Part 1 of 2

If God is good, and is powerful enough to create and do anything - then where did all the evil come from?

Trusting a Person: Contrary Data - Fallen Followers

God promises that he can make his followers stand.  Yet, many who claim to be his followers fall - and fall hard.  How can this be?

Trusting a Person: Contrary Data - Weakness

If Jesus is the “Way, the Life, and the Truth”, why are we his followers so weak?

Trusting a Person: Contrary Data

How do we trust God when there’s evidence that we shouldn’t?

Trusting a Person: Missing Data - Purpose

“Why is this happening to me?”

Trusting a Person: Missing Data - Destination

“Where are we going, Daddy?”

Trusting a Person: Missing Data - Timing

One of the hardest parts about trusting Jesus is the matter of timing:  How long?

Trusting a Person: Missing Data

What are some of the things that we don’t know that make it hard to trust Jesus? 

Jesus is King - Quality Followers

The quality of King is often measured by the qualities of his followers. 

Jesus is King - Quality Followers

The quality of King is often measured by the qualities of his followers. 

Jesus is King - Long Live the King!

If there is any phrase I associate with the idea of “king”, it’s “Long Live the King!”  I guess I’ve seen it in movies or wherever.

Jesus is King - Judge (Part 2)

Jesus has been appointed judge for all humankind.  There are good reasons for this - he is perfectly prepared and qualified to be our judge.

Jesus is King - Judge (Part 1)

People judge us all of the time, but we don’t like it.  What would have to be true to make judgment “ok”?

Jesus is King - Teacher

I’ve got a lot of questions.  The more I think I understand, the more questions I have. 

Jesus is King - Masculine Strength

I’ve heard it said, and I have to agree, that many aspects of the church in our culture today has been overly feminized.

Jesus is King - His Wishes, My Commands

“Your wish is my command.”  Isn’t that what the genie says first, after you rub the lamp? 

Jesus is King - Justice

“It’s not fair!” 

More times than we’d care to admit, those are very true words.  Life is mostly, “not fair”, I think.  And, even when it really might be “fair” - it often doesn’t feel like it.

Jesus is King - Wisdom

I wouldn’t know what to do first to begin solving some of the really big problems in our world today.  I’m not that wise - but I know someone who is! 

Jesus is King - Rewarder

Should a follower of Jesus pursue a reward?  Isn’t that selfish?

Jesus is King - Example

What does God really want from us?  What does he want us to be like?

Jesus is King - My Privilege

Being a King is a great privilege - after all - being a king is like… being a king!  But, if you weren’t a king - what would be the next best thing?

Jesus is King - Provider

What does Jesus provide, that no other king or politcal leader could ever hope to provide?

Jesus is King - Rights

Citizens have rights - but what about a King?  What rights does a King have?  Or, more specifically - what rights does Jesus - the King of Kings - have?

Jesus is King - Narrow Minded

Being labeled “narrow minded” is hardly a complement, especially in a culture that exalts tolerance and liberality in all things.  But, in matters of life and death - in matters of heaven and hell - Jesus is especially “narrow minded”.

Jesus is King - Peacemaker

What kind of King is able to destroy, but rather chooses to sacrfice himself in order to make peace with his enemies?

Jesus is King - Warrior

Are you comfortable with the idea that Jesus is a warrior?  A military man?  A soldier?

Jesus is King - One Who Pays

Has any king ever purchased his own kingdom?  Not like this…

Jesus is King - Servant

The greatest of all Kings is also the greatest of all servants.

Jesus is King - Coat Walker

What is a “Coat Walker”

Jesus is King - Rex Lex

Is it “Rex Lex”, or “Lex Rex”?

Jesus is King - Already

It doesn’t matter whether we believe it or like it; Jesus is the King.

King: A Difficult Term

For the next several weeks I’m going to use my blog posts to reflect on what it means that Jesus is King.

Ignore the big 12

A couple of years ago we taught the kids in our Young Explorer’s program to memorize Romans 11:33-36.  It’s a high worship song (or poem), starting out with, “Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”, and ending with, “For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen.” 

Time accelerates

I was dreading this post, because, well, it ages me.  Yep, I’m going to say something about how fast time goes.  Only old people say that.

I wish I had time

I have a lot to do, but I don’t have time.  There is a lot I want to do, but I don’t have enough time for that either.

This is not a “it’s not that you don’t have the time, it’s just that you don’t make the time” lecture.  Nope, I’m admitting straight up on this one:  I really don’t have enough time. 

What happens next?

I’ve been thinking about time.  Last week I reflected on the significance of every moment, both for now and forever.  The “now moments” of life all together add up to eternity - the never ending experiences of my “everlasting life” in Christ.

This week I want to talk about this question: What happens next? 

Eternity in the Now

Last week I wrote about my “Emailer OK” program - a program that sends me an email every 30 minutes telling me that is still working.  It has been interesting to me how this regular 30 minute “drum beat” shows me how fast time goes, how easily I forget, and reminds me of my temporal and time-measured life.

But, it is precisely this idea - that my small moments are the “nows” with which I experience eternity - that has me thinking.  There are some pretty awesome implications.

The first implication that I’d like to explore is that of significance: that the “now” moments of my life are significant.

Emailer OK

In my other job as a software developer, I have a customer for whom I’ve written a program called “Emailer”.  As its name implies, it runs on my customer’s computer, watches for certain events in their database, and sends out Emails as warnings, reminders, and other sundry notifications. 

Weakness Shots

You’re driving along, working on something, even sleeping or otherwise minding your own business, and - WHAM!  Somewhere between your stomach and your heart -  a shot.  It doesn’t hurt, really, but we call it “pain”.  Either way, it sure gets our attention.  My kids call it a “snake bite”, or a “cloud in the heart”.  Biologically, I think it’s a adrenalin.

Blind Spot

On one of my first times driving on the road during Driver’s Training, the instructor told me to change lanes.  I did all of the right things -the head check, the mirror check, the turn signal - and then started to change lanes.  In the process, I cut off another car, the other driver blasted the horn, and I was surprised and shocked, that I had almost caused an accident.  My Driver’s Training instructor, of course, saw it all happening, saved the day, and proceeded to lecture me about my blind spot. 

“But I did look!”, I cried. 

Motivated by Grace.  Then what’s stopping me?

Since grace is the desire and ability to do the right thing (see my previous posts), why is it that I still sometimes feel unmotivated?  What is stopping me, or rather, what is stopping God’s grace from enabling me to “work with all of his energy” - which so powerfully worked in Paul?  (Col 1:29).

In a word, pride. 

Resting and working - at the same time!  Part 2

The question I raised last week was: “How is it that Paul - the apostle of grace, is also so incredibly motivated to work?” 

Many people work hard at “religion” - sometimes very hard.  They do so because they’re convinced that working hard - doing “good works” - is the way to earn God’s blessing and acceptance.  But, Paul’s writings (and the Bible as a whole) make it clear that salvation (pleasing God) is based not on our “works”, but rather on grace - God’s grace - and we respond and participate in that grace through our trusting his Word (faith).  “Grace” is the gift of God - it something that comes from him, and that he gives us without us deserving it or earning it on our own. 

Resting and working - at the same time!

I’ve been impressed by Paul (the apostle) again.  It’s not hard to be - he’s quite the follower of Jesus.  But of late, there’s a particular aspect of his Christian experience that has me digging.  It’s how he works so hard and yet rests - at the same time! 

More specifically, how is it that Paul rest so thoroughly

A Letter To First Mommy

Our youngest sons are sons by adoption.  They have the same birth mother, and since ours is a semi-open adoption, we met her for an hour on the day she entrusted her boys to us, and the day we promised her that we would take them as our own, and love and cherish them.  And, we also promised that we would send her a letter and pictures of the boys - more frequently at first, but now only once a year near their birthdays, until the youngest is 18 and the adoption records become public.

So, it’s that time of year again, time to write her a letter.  It’s an thought provoking task - pausing long enough to ponder their lives and then to give a report - a report to someone who cares very much about them.  What does it mean to report on a life?  Is a matter of accomplishments?  Possessions?  Happiness, character, health?  What really matters this year?  Every year?

Version 2

I’m looking forward to when we have two or more worship services at our church.  I’m looking forward to “version 2” of my messages - with fewer rough edges. 

Yesterday’s message (Luke 11:14-36) is a good example of where II think version 2 might be better. 

There was a lot of material to cover, and at the heart was an important message, but I sometimes fear that the essential point of a message (at least when I preach) can get lost in all of the information. 
So, what was I trying to say?  Our problem…