September 2010

Gaining and sustaining God’s favor

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us–yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17

One of the buzz words we often hear is sustainability. Sustainability is the capacity to endure. We hear it mentioned in talk about the use and abuse of the earth’s resources. And we hear it in the context of discussions about the pace of life both in the corporate world and in the lives of individuals.

A biblical word for sustainability is the favor of the Lord. When God’s favor or blessing rests on someone or something it is endued with the power not only to endure but to flourish even in the face of adversity. God’s favor upon an individual’s life is of inestimable worth and more to be desired than any measure of riches or success. God’s favor protects us, provides for us and prospers the work of our hands.
One of the remarkable modern day examples of God’s favor resting upon an individual and sustaining the work of his hands is the story of Billy Graham. Looking back over the 60 year history of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association most insiders would agree that the secret to God’s favor dates back to what has come to be known as the Modesto Manifesto.

Sold signs & the mystery of unanswered prayer

It could go without saying, but as a follower of Jesus Christ and a pastor to boot, I am a huge advocate of prayer. Not only have I been a praying man but I have also taught extensively about prayer and encouraged others to be pray-ers. But even after nearly forty years of walking with Jesus I still marvel at the mystery of unanswered prayer.

The recent trials and transitions in my life have convinced me as never before that getting an answer to prayer is not a matter of following some prescribed recipe for success. As much as all of us would like to believe, and teachers like myself have taught, prayer cannot be reduced to some sure fire formulaic approach to getting what we want. It just doesn’t work that way, primarily because we cannot reduce God or our relationship with Him, to a formula. It is much more complex and mysterious than that.

3 monastic commitments we all must make

Yesterday, Susan and I along with several other members of the family made the trek from the Twin Cities up to Saint John’s Abbey located at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. We went there to attend the first vows monastic profession of my nephew, Michael-Leonard who has become a Benedictine Monk. I was deeply impressed that the commitments my nephew and three other young men made, are commitments every true follower of Jesus must make if we are to follow Christ whole-heartedly.
The abbot’s message centered on an explanation of the three commitments each of the novices were about to make: Obedience, Stability, and Conversion.

An incredible testimony of living by faith

Sheila felt like God was speaking to her. But the magnitude of what He was asking her to do was overwhelming. The idea of quitting her job and simply trusting Him for her provision as she devoted her life to full-time ministry was a huge step of faith. As she pondered this challenge, she told the Lord two things: first, she would not live by “faith and hints” and secondly, she would require a sign from Him. Pulling a dollar amount of $69.10 simply out of thin air – she said – “Lord if I receive a check today for $69.10 I will know that you are calling me to live by faith.”

Is salt on your content label?

Recently I was sentenced by my doctor to 18 days without any salt in my diet. I discovered it was like working in a salt mine but not being able to have any salt. It was a blessing in disguise however, because it radically opened my eyes to what Jesus was talking about when He called His followers to be the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)

Salt is used primarily for two reasons — to add flavor and as a preservative. Every grocery store and restaurant would have difficulty surviving without it because it makes what they sell tasty –and even more importantly as a preservative it extends the shelf life of their products.

As never before, my diet helped me realize that as sodium extends the life of a perishable, how much more are we, as followers of Jesus, to be the salt of the world to extend the perishable lives of people into imperishable eternity. (1 Corinthians 15:53-54

Scroll to Top