Category Archives: Devotional

Inhabiting the Lord’s Prayer

 

Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

The Lord’s Prayer is more than just a quaint, prayer to memorize and recite mindlessly. If we’ll slow down and meditate on it long enough, we’ll soon discover this is a prayer spacious enough to take up residence in. We can learn to inhabit these powerful petitions and abide in these comforting truths. Let’s explore all the various rooms of the LORD’s Prayer, as though we’re coming home for the holiday to the Great House of God our Father! This is based on Max Lucado’s book The Great House of God.

Its a universal longing: the desire to “return home” from wherever we’ve been. We desire to settle in where we most belong, where we’re most honestly ourselves, where we can stop pretending, quit performing, take off the mask, lounge around in our pajamas, comfortable enough to put our feet up on the furniture and enjoy a drink without worrying about a coaster. Welcome home to the Great House of God.

Let’s “sit in” each line of this over-familiar prayer, ponder these majestic surroundings and experience these truths as though for the first time. Let’s begin the tour.
Continue reading Inhabiting the Lord’s Prayer

28-Day Spiritual Fitness Challenge

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-9-14-20-pmInstead of giving up something for Lent this year, how about taking up a 28-Day Spiritual fitness challenge?

Two amazing MainStreet friends — Jaimie Hanly and Melissa Noreen — created a wonderful tool for growing in one’s prayer life and relationship with God. It’s a great idea for this Lenten season.

In invite you to check this out, and join the challenge!

Check it out HERE.

Thanks again Jaimie and Melissa for your labor of love!  May it bear fruit in many lives!

A Tale of Two Buildings (1 Peter 2:4-11)

There are two major building projects undertaken in the story of Scripture — they both continue today. In our study of 1 Peter we discover that each believer is called to be a part of God’s “spiritual temple” He is building.

In the OT era, God’s healing, forgiving presence dwelled in the physical temple in Jerusalem. People came from far and wide to worship God, offer sacrifices and receive forgiveness and healing.

Jesus the Messiah came and announced the Jerusalem Temple was now going out of business and being replaced the Messiah’s people — scattered far and wide across the earth — who are being built into a spiritual temple where God promises to dwell by His Spirit. God’s global, multiethnic, transnational family called “the church” is now where believers are to encounter God, offer spiritual sacrifices, and shine forth the light of God’s rescuing reign on earth.

Thus, Peter says:

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5). 

Continue reading A Tale of Two Buildings (1 Peter 2:4-11)

Cabin 5: Meeting Jesus

I was awake well before the sunrise. I paced the house, deep in thought. What will it be like to meet Jesus face to face?  How should I address him? A handshake? A hug? Should I fall down prostrate in worship? Should I offer him some toast and orange juice? 

My thoughts were both practical and ridiculous all at the same time.

What kind of car will he drive? Will he come like modern royalty in a limousine with Michael the Archangel as his chauffeur? Will he come in a more biblical fashion like Elijah with a whirlwind riding in a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire? 

My stomach was in knots. I felt ill. I was not afraid in the usual sense….but absolutely terrified in another sense. I was weak in the knees.

What will it be like to look the Son of God in the eyes? What will he look like? I couldn’t help picturing him as Charlton Heston, even though he played Moses! Then my mind began recalling the Apostle John’s description of Jesus in the Book of Revelation. I reached for my Bible and opened to the first chapter of Revelation and read:  Continue reading Cabin 5: Meeting Jesus

Cabin 4: Riding Shotgun

After a short snooze, I awoke. Restless. Nervous. No sign of my family anywhere. I still had no sense of time, and my surroundings still looked altered in some inexplicable way. Familiar and yet strange. Hazy yet somehow clearer than ever before.

I tossed and turned, trying to sleep. How could anyone sleep with the Son of God picking them up in the morning? Then I panicked a bit. Maybe I could just meet Jesus at the cabin instead. I could use the drive to collect myself, get my head around this situation. I will use the car ride to pray! Yes, that’s a reasonable request. Jesus will understand.

These were my thoughts. I was probably just too afraid to meet Jesus face to face, and wanted to delay the encounter a bit. Hmmm…I wonder how long of a drive it is to the Father’s cabin anyway? 

I grabbed my phone before I could second guess my plan, and hit redial on the unlisted number. This will never work. But to my surprise, it did. He answered!

“Hello?”

“Jesus? It’s me…Jeremy.”

“Shouldn’t you be sleeping? We have a big weekend ahead of us.”

“Yeah, I know. But I was just thinking. I would really prefer to just drive myself and meet you up at the cabin. Would that okay?” I said hesitantly.

“I’m sorry, Jeremy, but it doesn’t work that way.”

Continue reading Cabin 4: Riding Shotgun

Squirrel Spirituality

Here’s a timely repost from 2010. -JB

It’s that time of year again.  The leaves are turning colors and the trees are raining down acorns like rogue astroids in our backyard. They’re more plentiful this year than ever before at our home.  I literally need to shovel off the deck every morning to avoid a cartoon-like slip and fall accident.

But the squirrels are in heaven!  Each day I watch them busy gathering an abundant supply of acorns to get them through the long, dark, cold winter months.  I don’t know where they’re hiding them, but they must have a secret treasure trove somewhere nearby.  (In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re lodging somewhere in our basement ceiling considering the piles of acorns I’m finding in the insulation and on the basement floor! But that’s another story.)

But as I reflected on the busy gathering and storing habits of the squirrel, I thought of a spiritual lesson we can learn from the big tailed critters.  Just as the squirrel is wise to hide away acorns to endure the long, cold winter days, so we are taught to hide away God’s Word in our hearts to get us through those cold, dark nights of the soul.  Psalm 119 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (v. 11).

Like a squirrel on a lawn surrounded by acorns, the Psalmist in Psalm 119 stands big-eyed and excited before all the promises found in God’s Holy Book.  All fall I’ve watched the squirrels work tirelessly and endlessly in the work of hunting acorns.   Continue reading Squirrel Spirituality

Seeking Still Waters Under a Waterfall (1 Peter 2:1-3)

I took my morning walk today at a nearby nature preserve. I walked through the countryside enjoying a crisp fall breeze off the lake in the distance. I am trying to practice what I so often preach: Carve out time and space each day to escape the noise and quiet myself in the presence of God and His Word.

Soon the soothing sounds of the gentle breeze and singing birds were drowned out by loud music coming from a vehicle that was stopped ahead by the stream. I was even more disturbed to discover that this was no casual visitor to the park, but a couple of DNR or park employees out taking water samples from the stream.

Yes, the people called to serve and protect the beauty and peacefulness of the natural habitat were checking the water for pollutants while polluting the air with noise. Hmmm.  Continue reading Seeking Still Waters Under a Waterfall (1 Peter 2:1-3)

Cabin 3: Traveling Light

“Great!” Jesus said. “I’ll pick you up in the morning then! See you at sunrise!”

Tomorrow? I thought, pondering my schedule. Isn’t this a bit last minute?  Tomorrow is Friday, a work day. I wanted to suggest we go after work, or maybe the following weekend but then quickly remembered who I was talking to!

“Are you sure? That’s a bit sudden.” I suggested. “I will go with you, but first let me go make sure its okay with my wife and family.” Continue reading Cabin 3: Traveling Light