Monday, February 8, 2016

Where Every Breath of Our Lives is Breathed



She saw Him standing behind her, but she wasn’t expecting a living, breathing Savior.

“Why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” He asked.

She was looking for His dead body—a body no longer in the tomb.

She peers inside again. If she could only find His body, she would carry it away and bury Him properly.

“Mary!”

One word, and all her doubts disappeared. Her tears stopped.

She turned and looked again.

She knew it now.

She loved a living Lord.




When R.C. Sproul came to Christ, the man who shared the gospel with him “talked as if Jesus were alive.”

How often are we like Mary? Peering into an empty tomb. So distracted by our cares, we don’t recognize His presence.

Are we looking for the Lord? But not a very alive Lord.

Do we love Him so much we’re willing to do the impossible for Him—like Mary, who wanted to carry His lifeless body away? 

If He were to ask us in our tears, “Who are you seeking,” would we point back to an empty tomb and say we’re looking for Him? But not someone who is alive and able to do for us.

Are we coming to the right place, but forgetful that the place we’ve come is a place of life not death? A place where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father we are pouring out our hearts to--a place where He is very much alive and aware of who we are.

Do we forget that we live and breathe and even weep and pray in the presence of a living Savior who knows our name?

Let’s talk and pray and live “as if Jesus were alive.”

Because every breath of our lives is breathed in the presence of a living Lord.


“Remember that Jesus Christ. . . was raised from the dead.” –2 Timothy 2:8


Click here to listen to the beginning of the series: "Conversations with the Risen Christ."




Monday, January 4, 2016

The Best Place to Be in 2016



Ever feel like you’re standing alone in a sea of confusion formulated by the father of lies?

Often this ocean’s breakers pull us under. At other times, we are like beach-combers, picking up the beautiful this sea often leaves behind and stepping gingerly around the ugly it spews out as well.

Each of us lives in a world that wants to suck us in, destroy, and shout loudly that everything we’ve believed in and hoped in is a myth, a chasing after the wind.




2016 glares in front of us. The same old sea of deception beckons us to come closer; to believe we can’t ignore it or avoid it or keep standing for truth when lies are more prominent.

How do we keep ourselves from stepping in instead of standing firmly?

Where is the best place to be in 2016?


“You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence.” (Psalm 31:20)


When we feel alone, swept under, or overwhelmed by the world of lies and beckoning voices, we can step into a place that is secret, hidden, and permeated by the very presence of the God who can’t lie and who loves to shelter us safely in Himself.

This secret place is a place of the heart.

Unseen by men.

Known only by those who learn daily to rest in a God bigger and more loving and more alluring than what this world has to offer.

The hymnwriter asked for it bluntly:  “A mind to blend with outward life, while keeping at Thy side.” – Anne L. Waring

This is the secret place of His presence.

This is the best place to be in 2016.


“You are my hiding place.” (Psalm 32:7)


Monday, December 21, 2015

How the Message of Christmas Changed My Prayer Life



Strange how a baby born in humility could be named Emmanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23).

Strange that the “God with us” left this earth with the promise, “I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20).

Strange that the God who is the “Great King over all the earth” (Psalm 47:2) stooped to arrive in the womb of a teenager, be born in a stable, sleep in a manger, and be tortured on a cross.

This God who came to dwell among us was called Emmanu-el. “El” means “the powerful God.” When He humbled Himself to become a man, Emmanuel was the powerful God among us.



When we approach His throne, enter through the curtain, and kneel in His presence, we are stooping to the King over all the earth, the powerful God who stooped even lower so we could come.

Prayer is humility—following in His footsteps.

Prayer is bringing requests to a God who hears prayer from a humble heart (Isaiah 66:2).

Prayer is kneeling in the presence of the powerful God who is with us (Emmanuel) who welcomes our presence and listens to our voice.

Prayer is the message of Christmas believed in and celebrated every day of the year.


“The LORD of hosts is with us.” (Psalm 46:7,11)



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Monday, December 14, 2015

How Three Extra Minutes Changed My Prayer Life



I’ve never read the book, Too Busy Not to Pray, but often its title has flashed through my mind and convicted my heart.  The busier I am, the more I need to pray.

But because many of us have only windows of time here and there when we can enter our closets and kneel at His throne, how can we take advantage of those prayer times most effectively?

Recently, I learned the importance of three extra minutes.

Sometimes it’s less. Sometimes more. But my prayer life has changed.




When God gave instructions for building the Temple, the stairs leading up to the entrance were to be structured unevenly, so the worshipper was forced to take each step with caution, slowly and thoughtfully.

This is how we are to approach prayer. Not running into His presence, whipping out a prayer list, and rattling out our requests like a To-Do List.

We need three extra minutes—sufficient time to remind our hearts what prayer is all about and to acknowledge to the One we are trusting that He is much more to us than a friend and a loving Father.

When we pray, we’re entering a throne room, where a curtain has been pulled back so we can come boldly into the presence of the One who is waiting to hear our voice.

So I’ve been starting my prayers by reading others’ prayers. The Psalms. Out loud. As worship to the God who will be answering my prayers. And as a comfort to my heart as I remember who He is.

Think of yourself as a worshipper ascending the stairs slowly as you approach His throne. As you come, pray a Psalm, such as this one: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God . . . I shall yet praise Him. The help of my countenance and my God.”  (Psalm 42)

The stairs are ascended now. Your heart is prepared. You can go through the curtain, kneel, and lay your requests before God.

We’re too busy not to pray.

But when we pray, let’s not be too busy.

Let’s give it three extra minutes.


“In this manner, pray:
Our Father in heaven.
Hallowed be your name. . .”  (Matthew 6:9)

Next post: How the Message of Christmas Changed My Prayer Life

Photo credit: Veri Ivanova (unsplash.com)

Monday, December 7, 2015

How a Curtain Changed My Prayer Life



It’s 3:00 on Passover afternoon, following a darkness that could be felt.

With the light returned, the lambs begin to be slaughtered. Sin had to be covered, and only by their blood.

Suddenly, the sound of fabric ripping fills the temple courtyard. Something was happening to the giant curtain dividing man from God! Had someone entered the Holy Place? Was someone breaking into the Most Holy Place?

No one had entered.

No one touched the curtain.

God reached down and tore it in half.

God opened the way for man to come to His throne—the mercy seat—where we find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).




Because that curtain was torn, prayer is the welcome of God, beckoning us to kneel before His throne in His presence and commune.

Prayer isn’t words hitting a stone wall, an iron ceiling, or even a 6-inch-thick fabric barrier.

Prayer is our spirits entering a throne room, opened by priceless blood.



“Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus . . .
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:19,22)


Photo by Liane Metzler (unsplash.com)