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Getting the Inside Out

“The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance.”

Oswald Chambers

Stuck in the Wash Cycle

Am I the only person unable to give a voice to what God lays on my heart? I don’t mean to imply that I have received more revelation than you or any other fellow believer in Jesus. What I mean is that the nuggets God has revealed to me continue to slosh about inside me like blue jeans in a washing machine. They always seem to need more time to get past the spin cycle and become ready to come out clean and well-fitting. What’s inside my washing machine takes forever to come out.

I am not implying that I have nothing to write about. I have plenty of words, but when I give them some breathing room, I often find them lacking. It takes time and a delete key to provide a voice for something suitable for spiritual consumption. Do you ever feel this way? 

You may want to communicate a deeper understanding of a passage of Scripture or an insight that you know came from the Holy Spirit, but it seems stuck. No matter how you say it, it doesn’t communicate what you mean.

Spin ‘Till Dry

Whether informal or formal, God sets a high bar when we endeavor to teach. Concerning teachers in local churches, the book of James warns us, “for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1–2 NLT) It is often good for us to let our thoughts age for a while. We should revisit them regularly but not always to edit them. We just need to be sure that what we state as truth is really Truth. Attaching God’s name to our words carries great responsibility. We must teach, we must preach, and we must demonstrate unconstrained love for each other, for this is the command that Jesus gave us.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34–35

Remove Before Wrinkling

We should not hold back what the Holy Spirit has shown us something that needs to be communicated. But when we do, let’s be sure that we are proclaiming the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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wedding rings on open Bible

Made in the Image of God

When we read chapters one and two of Genesis, we see that God created both man and woman and both are in the image of God. So, there is an equality that God is showing us between the genders. Both genders are made in God’s image.

Also, from Genesis chapter one and two, we see God doing something more than just a to-do list. God didn’t just “check the boxes.” He brought His will to bear upon the chaos (Genesis 1:2), and out of chaos, God caused order and purpose.

Order and purpose

We see this order and purpose in His creation on the first five days, and we see it on the sixth day in how God first created man and then woman. God’s creation order of man and woman is affirmed by the apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

“For Adam was formed first, then Eve;

1 Timothy 2:13

Both genders are made in God’s image. Therefore, they are equal in quality, value, and destiny. They both are from the same image of God (quality), they both enjoy the paradise of Eden (value), and each judged by God (destiny). This equality is affirmed:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

Quality, value, and destiny

Notice that Genesis, chapters one and two, are before sin and the fall, so we see God’s intended design. Why didn’t God make man and woman at the same time and in the same way? I’m glad you asked!

Men and women are equal in quality, value, and destiny, but God has established separate roles. There are some things we need to understand. First, we see that God assigned responsibility for a marriage’s moral compass to man. Yes, God lays the leadership role upon man, and when a moral failure occurs within a marriage, it’s the man that God first takes to the woodshed! 

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

Genesis 3:6-9

Nothing would make my blood run cold faster than hearing my dad yell, “Gary, where are you?!”

Godly men are essential for families, churches, and society. However, leadership isn’t leadership if no one is following, and you can’t make someone follow you. We are told:

“In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

Ephesians 5:28

Now for a man to accomplish his moral leadership role in marriage, the wife needs to follow his Godly leadership within their marriage. The Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write:

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 11:3

After the fall in the Garden of Eden, everyone is a sinner (Romans 3:23), so marriage is challenging, even for Christians. The sin that lives in our flesh wars against us; so often, our sin-nature sets wives against husbands and vice versa. Only as each person strives to please Jesus our Lord can we become acceptable to our mates.

Jesus and His Bride

Also, in man and then woman’s creation order, we see a beautiful picture of Jesus and His Bride, the Church. Jesus is the Head, and His sacrifice on the cross came before the birth of the Church (in Acts 2). From the very creation of humanity, we see Jesus and His Bride. Now that’s good news!

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

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Chaos has no Meaning

The irony of cosmology is that its most basic tenant is that the universe is not chaos. In its article titled, “Why Carl Sagan is Truly Irreplaceable” the Smithsonian magazine makes this statement,

“…his boyish enthusiasm for understanding the universe we’re so lucky to live in.”

Carl Sagan, an avowed atheist, sought an understanding of the universe. His search implied that the universe is not chaos.

Chaos Provides no Benefit

In mathematics, it is impossible to create accurate, repeatable equations for pure chaos, for within chaos, there is no intelligence. That chaos is unintelligible has been a decades-long problem for scientists working in quantum mechanics. 

Most quantum processes seem to be chaotic, yet, slowly, science has made headway because they believed; they’ve had faith that there exists intelligence and logic within the quantum world. Why else would corporations spend billions of dollars to understand the quantum world? It is worthy of study because science has found incredible value in quantum mechanics. If it were chaos, there would be no point in studying it for chaos provides no benefit.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. – Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV emphasis added

Chaos has no Meaning

God spoke, and chaos transformed into order. The chaos of the cosmos became knowable, usable, valuable. Just one example: For millennia, sailors navigated by the intelligence in the stars. God’s transformation of chaos into meaning is only one of the infinite attributes of God.

Many times during Jesus’ earthly ministry, He demonstrated this Devine attribute. One that immediately comes to mind is when Jesus calmed the storm. The storm was so fierce that His apostles, who had lived their lives as fishermen, woke Jesus up because, humanly, all they saw was the chaos of the winds and waves sending them to destruction. We see Christ’s response in Mark 4:39 (ESV):

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea,Peace! Be still!And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Chaos Cannot Exist in God’s Presence

Chaos cannot exist in the presence of God. Why? Because nothing happens outside of God’s will; it is without meaning. The nature of chaos implies an activity that would be beyond the omniscience of God. If your life has become chaotic, call on Jesus. Find your purpose (Mt 11:29), your peace (Jn 14:27), your protection (Mt 7:24) in Him!


Heavenly Father, I come to you now in the name of your beloved Son, Jesus. I ask You to intervene in the lives of Your children that feel as if they’ve been thrown into a clothes dryer for they are tumbling and buffeted on every side. Speak into their lives, I ask Father, bring purpose, peace, and protection to them; transform chaotic lives into meaningful, purposeful lives. Impart to them the employment they need, the church fellowship they need, their ministry that others need. I thank You for Your answers. Amen.

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kids running

Walk, don't run!

I have no idea how many times, when I was growing up, I was told walk, don’t run! In the school’s hallways, at church, when our family visited friends or relatives. It was always slow down, walk, don’t run!

Matthew 4:18 (NLT), One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living.

When I first began computer programming, it took 24 hours for me to get the results back from my program. When I worked on a significant software project back in the 1990s, I was told that the results from a User clicking a button had to come back in 15 seconds or less. When I a manager of product development, I was told the results from a User clicking a button had to return in less time than a person could pick up their coffee cup, take a drink, and put it back down. Now, a User will abandon a web site if it doesn’t come up in less than one second.

The world in which we live is all about instantaneous. People have no time for “slow.” This mindset collides with that of God, for He is not in a hurry. He’s never running late. He never gets upset when someone else throws a prayer request on Him. He is the Great “I AM” and the Creator of time.

A Different Perspective

Nowhere in the Bible is this difference of perspectives made more evident than in Isaiah 5:19 (NLT): They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what you can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan, for we want to know what it is.”

We are now in arguably the most hurried and stressful time of the year – Christmas. How easy it is for us to become infected with the “hurry & worry” virus. Let God’s Word inoculate you. We are to be imitators of Jesus (Ephesians 5:1). We should flow with the Holy Spirit, make no compromise with the impatience of others, and seek Jesus; even during Christmas, you will find Him!

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

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Order from Disorder

I’m not sure how often I will post a devotional, but I will post when I am able.

My wife builds nests. It took me several years after we were married before I was able to articulate this idea that kept niggling at my brain. I had observed an unusual pattern of my wife abhorring unorganized things around her.

Finally, I understood that my wife had a strong need to create order around her. In our home (and we had many) she would find her spot in the house and then buy things that enabled her to surround herself with pens, printers, paper, and popcorn that quieted the roar of chaos into our surroundings. In truth, my wife always builds a nest wherever she’s at, even in a church pew.

Once I grasped her mindset, it got me thinking about human nature’s need to bring order out of disorder. And, as I began studying this in God’s Word, I became aware of a characteristic of God that seems rarely taught. And that is this: being created in the image of God we inherited His nature which includes the desire to bring order out of disorder in everything that works to glorify Him.

So I considered people, in general. Is this characteristic pervasive throughout the history of Adam’s descendants? I did a bit of searching and found this article:

Mount Precipice, also known as Mount Kedumim, is located just outside the southern edge of Nazareth, 2.0 km (1.2 miles) southwest of the modern city center.

It is believed by some to be the site of the Rejection of Jesus described in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 4:29-30). According to the Bible, the people of Nazareth, not accepting Jesus as Messiah tried to push him from the mountain, but “he passed through the midst of them and went away.”

At this location archaeological excavations found pre-history human remains. The human skeletons were associated with red ochre which was found only alongside the bones, suggesting that the burials were symbolic in nature. There were order and structure within the burial site.

This need by the progeny of Adam for order is so ubiquitous that we rarely see it when, in fact, the Bible opens by telling us that bringing order from disorder has been present with God from the beginning time.

In the following brief excerpts, we find God transforming “formless and empty and darkness” into light and other orderly things (Gen. 1:1-4). We also find Adam naming all the livestock, birds, and wild creations which is the first documentation of Man acting in the image of God by bringing order from disorder (Gen. 2:20).

In the New Testament, we have an overt command “to do all things in a fitting and orderly way. (1 Cor. 14:40)” And, in nearly the last chapter of the last book in the Bible, we find the eye-witness account of the Apostle John which tells us about the old, worn out heaven and earth being retired and a new heaven and a new earth coming into being (Rev. 21:1-2).

All of these Scriptures testify to God’s intent to keep all things in a fitting and orderly way.

Our inherited trait of bringing order from disorder is from God. This is something we shouldn’t balk at but should embrace, for it testifies of God’s nature and will surely touch hearts that are hungry for salvation, compelling them to come to you to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, embrace this characteristic of your heavenly Father. Whether it’s in your profession, in your family relationships, or in your home, wade into those messes and, through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, bring order. In this, you will glorify Christ Jesus.

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

Just Jesus and His Cross

Our society is more fractured now than it has ever been in my lifetime. You would be hard pressed to pick any social topic, be it ethnicity, gender, economic, political persuasion, the morality of computer games, or anything that comes to your mind, if you say what you think online, in a forum, on facebook, and now even face-to-face, the topic will immediately spark a vicious debate with no possibility of anyone changing their mind. These are not exchanges of ideas but mechanisms for demeaning people. 

Christian, we are all created in the image of God; do not participate in this useless “arm wrestling” that tempts even the best follower of Christ to create homegrown scripture to bolster their position.

Instead, the next time someone tries to draw you into a debate, say what Paul said to the Corinthians, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (MSG), “You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.” I think we can learn something from Paul’s approach.

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?

Word of God
 From the movie Rush Hour 2:

James Carter: Who died, Lee?
Lee: You!
James Carter: Detective Yu?
Lee: Not Yu, you!
James Carter: Who?
Lee: You!
James Carter: Who?
Lee: Do you understand the words
that are a-coming out of my mouth?
James Carter: Don't nobody
understand the words that
are comin' out of your mouth.

In Luke 8:1-15 Jesus speaks in a parable and then in verse nine we read, “His disciples asked him what this parable meant.” Jesus had to tell his disciples the meaning because they couldn’t understand.

We all filter what we hear through our perspectives, preconceptions, and prejudices. Sometimes our filters block so much that what actually gets in doesn’t make any sense so we’re left with conversations like James Cater and Lee.

When we are confused by what we think we are hearing or reading we need to get clarification, “For God is not the author of confusion…” (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV)

Now imagine what an un-churched person is thinking when they hear Christians talking about Christian-stuff. They will think Christianity is lunacy.

And, is it any wonder people don’t understand us when we talk about regeneration, the substitutionary work of the cross, righteousness, sanctification, sin, iniquity, the privilege of suffering for Jesus and so forth?

In all situations, but especially when talking about God, It’s up to us to help people understand the words coming out of our mouth!

Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Unsplash


Photo by Kevin Noble on Unsplash

My mother understood entropy better than any physicist or engineer I’ve ever known.  Every spring and every fall Mom did top to bottom, side to side cleaning, clearing, creating, and curating of our house and all the stuff in it, including us kids. Likewise, Dad did repairs, remodeling, and general rummaging about, under Mom’s direction. Twice each year she fought the good fight against entropy, the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity per thermodynamics. She won all the battles except for the biological ones. The kids grew up, Mom and Dad grew old, and, eventually, entropy won.

With Christmas 2018 now in our rear view mirror, we are preparing for our national tradition of New Year’s resolutions. This usually is intended as our individual and social battles against this aspect of thermodynamics. Most of us will fail quickly, all will fail eventually. Still, the fight is worth the effort.

For a Christian, we have a kind of spiritual entropy with which we must challenge. It’s not the same as that of the world. We don’t lose our salvation, our spiritual condition does not return to some inert uniformity. No, we are made alive in Christ. This is not by us but by He who lives in us. Jesus imparts to us a vibrant life that is active now and will be fully manifested once the shackles of this world are thrown off.

However, we are not yet fully escaped from thermodynamic entropy. As we walk through this world its “dust” clings to us, attempting to return us back to its process of degradation. We need to get that worldly dust out. Though it reminds me of Mom, it is Jesus who taught us that it is important to clean the world off of us. This was memorialized when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. You can read the whole account in John, chapter 13. The verse I wanted to close with is verse 10, where Jesus says to Peter, ” Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean…

Already, as a Christian, the laws of this old physical world have no hold on the regenerated you “…because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NIV)

sign: to be continued

To Be Continued

Lev 24:2 “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually…”

“Continually” is very important in our walk with God. It’s unthinkable that Jesus would be double-minded or only occasionally holy. What hope would we have if Jesus “usually” saved, but not always, He usually forgave, but not always, He usually loved, but not always?

The more I think about this, the more I appreciate why God’s Word, front-to-back, is full of “continually.” It’s our daily walk that is most pleasing to the Lord. Great acts of sacrifice, love, and service are wonderful but, just as in a marriage, it’s our “continually” that builds our relationship and enables us to show our love indeed.

Photo by Reuben Juarez on Unsplash

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