Author Archives: gmd40187

2 Chronicles 33; Revelation 19; Malachi 1; John 18

It’s a Wonderful Life.

As I do every Christmas season, last week I watched It’s a Wonderful Life.  And just as in every other Christmas season, tears streamed down my face as I watched George Bailey be blessed by the discovery of just how profound an impact his life had on those around him.  He was a man who sacrificed his dreams and his right to his own life for the greater good of his family and community.   One cannot help to see the parallels to our Lord and Savior’s ultimate sacrifice. 

But George Bailey is far more like me than he is like Jesus. 

George’s desires for worldly success are a constant counterbalance to his desire to serve the needs of those around him.  Same for me.

George’s stress and frustration in difficult circumstances boil over into anger, jealousy and sin.  Same for me.

With supernatural help, George is able to see how God has used him to serve His purposes.  And George’s reaction is pure, unadulterated joy.  Same for me.

For our Lord God Almighty reigns.  Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!  Revelation 19:6b-7a

In his mercy, God has given me a glimpse of the blessing that awaits “those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Rev 19:9).  I see this blessing in:

  • the excitement of my three-year old racing down the steps on Christmas morning to see what is under the tree
  • the joy my wife gets from having “just” enough margin in her life to help out a needy family during the Christmas season
  • my children exchanging gifts (and yes, even hugs) on Christmas morning genuinely showing that they love each other

Dear Lord,

Thank you for all the blessings that you have provided me.  And thank you that this is a mere appetizer compared to the wedding supper that you have prepared for me.  “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to you, my God.”  (Rev 19:1)

It’s a Wonderful Life.

Greg (gmd40187)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

2 Chronicles 16; Revelation 5; Zechariah 1; John 4

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”  John 4:13-15

I’m parched. 

Again. 

Apparently, I am drinking from the wrong well. 

Jesus tells me that He provides me a source of living water that assures that when I drink from it, I will never thirst.  And yet, my experience is that I do thirst again.  There can be no other explanation than I am choosing to drink from the wrong source.

  • When I place my faith in my own abilities, I am drinking from the wrong well.
  • When I look for significance in what others think of me, I am drinking from the wrong well.
  • When I seek pleasure in this world apart from God, I am drinking from the wrong well.

I have such easy access to this living water.  In fact, it is within me:

 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”  John 7:38

Lord God,
I have tasted living water, the Holy Spirit within me, and experienced the freedom and pleasure of life lived in unity with the Spirit.  And yet, I confess that I often revert to living life “the old way”.  Thank you for the blessing of living water.  I desire to drink deeply from this well “so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here…”

Greg (gmd40187)

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

1Chronicles 28; 2 Peter 2; Micah 5; Luke 14

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”  Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.  At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’  “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’  “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.  Luke 14:15-20

Fresh off a time of Thanksgiving and celebration with my family, I am reminded of how often I am “too busy” to partake of the blessings God has prepared for me.  I allow life’s pressures to keep me from resting in Him, or even more, partying with Him.  God is inviting me to an amazing celebration.  And it’s not a celebration for some uncertain time in the distant future.  It’s in the here and now, as the kingdom of God is at hand.

Lord God,

Help me to slow down.  In my pride, I assume that I must constantly be at work to meet the needs of others.  Allow me to enjoy the party you have prepared and invite others to join in, rather than struggle to create my own sorry excuse for a party.  Amen.

Greg (gmd40187)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

2 Kings 15; Titus 1; Hosea 8; Psalms 123-125

I am a leader. 

I don’t mean this in a prideful way to communicate particular leadership competence.  I simply mean that the roles which have been thrust upon me as husband, father,  business owner, sunday school teacher, and coach confer the responsibility of leadership.  With this in mind, I have often taken particular interest in what qualifications the Bible provides for good leadership. 

It is natural to look for these qualifications in the direction provided for establishing leaders of the early Church.  In I Timothy and Titus, Paul offers criteria for selecting good leaders.  Here’s the passage from Titus:

An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.   Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless–not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Titus 1:6-8

What can I learn from this passage about the qualities of good leadership? 

1)  Temperance    – A good leader needs to maintain self-control in all circumstances.

  • husband of but one wife
  • not overbearing
  • not quick-tempered
  • not given to drunkeness
  • not violent
  • self-controlled
  • disciplined

2) Respect  – A good leader is esteemed by his/her followers.

  • “a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.”
  • “blameless”
  • “upright”

3) Love – A good leader must place the interests of others above his/her own.

  • “not pursuing dishonest gain”
  • “must be hospitable”
  • “one who loves what is good”
  • Main goal – “so that he can encourage others”

How do I measure up? 

Am I a person that demonstrates temperance in thought and deed even when stress and difficulties enter my life? 

I know I am not “blameless” in the purest sense of the word.  But am I someone who is respected by others for the way I choose to live my life?

Above all else, do I demonstrate love for those who I have the privilege of leading in one aspect of life or another?

Lord,

Leadership is an awesome, and sometimes intimidating calling –  one for which I often feel unqualified.  I desire that you work in my life to help me become the kind of leader that you intend for me to be. 

Amen
Greg (gmd40187)

4 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Titus

1 Kings 22; 1 Thessalonians 5; Daniel 4; Psalms 108,109

Amidst Paul’s final instructions as he closes out his first letter to the Thessalonians is this little nugget:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Paul isn’t telling me what to do; he’s telling me how to be.  This isn’t a response to what life sends my way, but a state of being that transcends any particular issue or problem that life deals me.

Be joyful always.

When I am depressed, afraid, or angry something  is wrong and it has nothing to do with my circumstances.  It’s a warning sign of heart disease – spiritual heart disease.

Pray continually.

When I am distracted or anxious and I choose to worry rather than bring my issues to God, I am missing out on fellowship with God.

Give thanks in all circumstances.

When I am jealous and ungrateful, I am rejecting the blessings that God has poured out on me.

Lord God,
Thank you for your promises.  Thank you that since you have conquered the grave so that I may reign with you, I really can be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances.  Amen.

Greg (gmd40187)

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan