A Legacy that Matters

This latest song by Casting Crowns was just released in August, and the first time I heard it on the radio, it immediately struck me as powerful.

And I,

I don’t want to leave a legacy

I don’t care if they remember me

Only Jesus

And I,

I’ve only got one life to live

I’ll let every second point to Him

Only Jesus

 

In 2009 I participated in the first-ever National Bible Bee, and it was during the competition that I learned the story of Continue reading

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The Kingdom of Heaven: Not Bread Alone

16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

(Matt. 6:14-8, NKJV)

Matthew 6 has so far focused very much on humility. Do good deeds out of humility only. Pray out of humility only. And now Jesus commands us to fast out of humility only.

Since we’ve already talked about so much about humility, it would seem repetitive to dive further into that now. So instead, I’m going to take a slightly different bent and focus on fasting itself.

Most of us probably do good deeds. . . tithe a percentage of our income, do some volunteer work, and overall just try to be nice to people. Maybe we don’t do as much as we should, but at least we do something.

And most of us probably pray. . . at mealtimes, at church, or in privacy. Again, maybe we don’t pray as often as we should – but at least we do it sometimes.

But how many of us have fasted? Even once? Continue reading

When My Heart is Overwhelmed

August was a stressful month for me.

My mechanic was unable to do an inspection and repair on my vehicle due to unforeseen circumstances, and I had to scramble to find someone else who could squeeze me in before the end of the month on a day that would fit my schedule. They ended up needing my Jeep for two days, partly because my engine light decided to turn on for them. At least I was already planning on working from home the second day anyway.

Every single person at my workplace took a vacation at some point in August (including myself). My boss actually took two trips. Which meant that for a week-and-a-half, as his Lead Developer, I had to field his emails & phone calls, manage & delegate tasks to my coworkers, and try to keep up with my own tasks. Thankfully, there were hardly any phone calls, and no real emergencies to handle. Continue reading

The Kingdom of Heaven: Humble Prayer

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father 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 forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 6:5-14, NKJV

Have you ever heard someone lead prayer at your church and you found yourself wondering, “Did they plan this whole prayer out ahead-of-time?” The perfectly-worded sentences, the expert weaving in of Scripture, the lack of pauses, and maybe the addition of a “speech-giving voice” combine to make it all seem very scripted.

And then there’s the ones who are truly genuine – but again, their prayers seem so perfect that it can be intimidating to the simpler folk among us who haven’t quite attended that level of “prayer quality.” Continue reading

The Kingdom of Heaven: Do Right for the Right Reasons

It’s been a little while since my last installment in the “Kingdom of Heaven” series through the Sermon on the Mount.

But I’m back now to pick up where we left off! We’d finished Matthew 5, so now we’re heading into chapter 6.

Chapter 5 focused very much on relationships: our relationship with God and with others. In that first third of His sermon, Jesus talked about things like hate, lust, divorce, faithfulness, going the extra mile, and loving everyone – even those who don’t return the love.

Chapter 6 transitions to a larger focus on our actions and the motivations behind our actions: Continue reading