Dare To Enter God’s Presence–Part 3

Mamas and Grandmas are death on dirt, often to the point of putting little boys in danger.

When I was little, I went to church with Mamaw and Grandad Deloney. I’d take a bath and put on clean clothes.

But, in the car on the way to church, Mamaw would ask the question that makes every little boy tremble, “David, did you wash behind your ears?”

“Yes, mamaw.” She wouldn’t take my word for it though, and she would investigate. She always found something.

Note to mothers and grandmothers: little boys are very sensitive behind their ears and if you rub too hard you risk killing them.

I don’t think Mamaw was worrying about germs. I think she was afraid the other ladies at church would look behind my ears and say, “Would you look at that? What kind of Grandmother brings her grandson to church with all that dirt behind his ears?” She probably had a problem with pride.

I was very humble. I could care less as long as she left my ears alone.

Afraid of God’s Presence Continue reading

Dare To Enter God’s Presence

The best part of knowing God, for me, is being with Him, enjoying His presence. Lots of us know frustration as we desire to get into His presence, but it seems there is a blockage somewhere. 

How do you get into His presence?

I hear the gears in some of your heads grumbling. “He’s gonna say, ‘Pray more.’”

How many books have you read about prayer? How many magazine articles made you feel guilty? How many times has the pastor stood behind the pulpit, pointed his long preaching finger until it stopped just in front of your nose, and said, “You ought to pray more!”

And you thought, “Yes, I need to pray more. Three minutes and thirteen seconds per day doesn’t get it.” So New Year’s eve you purpose, “I’m going to pray one hour every day.”

The next day you go to your bedroom, kneel down, wrap a shawl around your shoulders (so you’ll look like Elijah the prophet) and you pray one hour three minutes and thirteen seconds.

It’s true that the last 30 minutes you checked your watch every 45 seconds and the last part of your prayer sounded like a countdown to a moon blast, “Ten seconds, nine, eight … one… yes!

One hour, three minutes and thirteen seconds. “Wow! Move over apostle Paul. More spiritual than me, you won’t find.”

Next day you were busy so it was only thirty-three minutes and thirteen seconds. The day after you forgot and the day after that you were watching a series on Netflix that cost you three hours. That day your prayer was thirty-three seconds. Continue reading

The Man Who Asked the Right Question

A good percentage of those who came to Jesus asking questions were certified gourd-heads. They thought they could ask questions God couldn’t answer.

One fellow, though, was serious. His query and Jesus’ answer, flash like neon signs for those seeking a deeper walk with God.

“One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: ‘Which is most important of all the commandments?’

“Jesus said, ‘The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.’

“The religion scholar said, ‘A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate—that God is one and there is no other. And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that’s better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!’

“When Jesus realized how insightful he was, he said, ‘You’re almost there, right on the border of God’s kingdom.’” (Mark 12: 28-31)

That’s great and that’s terrible. “…right on the border of God’s kingdom.”

David, are you telling me that I can love God with everything I’ve got and love my neighbor as myself and still not be in God’s eternal Kingdom?

No, God wants us to love like that. The problem is: who always loves God passionately and who consistently loves his neighbor like he loves himself? Continue reading

That Crazy Song Stuck In My Head

Have you ever got a song stuck in your head and not even dental floss would get it out?  There’s a contemporary Christian song, something about “inside out,” that drives me bonkers. If I hear it coming on my music, I’ll jump it or zap it or whatever.

The song is okay, but for some reason it lodged in my head and I’d wake up in the night with it playing in my brain. Often during the day I’d become aware of this song in the background of my consciousness. This continued for weeks!

Scream! I finally asked the Lord to take it away because it was making me miserable. Well, it finally went away, though now that I’m aware of it, it may come back again.

Recently, though, an interesting idea has been trotting around that great empty space in my skull. This hasn’t frustrated me like the song did; it has intrigued me.
God has been talking to me about generosity.

Now, I know that’s what I wrote about last week, but it keeps getting better.

Here’s some things I’ve noticed about generosity:

1.    A generous person tends to create a culture of generosity around himself.  This word has Proto-Indo-European roots (whatever that means). The “gen” part meant “give birth, beget.” When I read that I got excited. The person who is generous creates something, gives birth to something, around himself—a culture of generosity.
He influences his family towards liberality. She impacts her colleagues at work to speak generously, kindly, and act in the same way.

2.    Generosity and sacrifice are blood brothers. It’s rare that you see generosity where you don’t see sacrifice of some kind. It might be a sacrifice of money, a sacrifice of time, or a sacrifice of self, or a sacrifice of praise. But sacrifice is vitally connected to generosity. If you don’t believe it look at the generous cross of Jesus. Continue reading

“I Heard That!”

My dad used to irritate me when I was a kid.

Sometimes I’d ask him a question and he wouldn’t respond. I’d ask it again and he still wouldn’t answer. He’d usually respond if I asked the same question the third time.

Since I’ve had kids of my own, I think I know why he didn’t reply. Constant questions can get annoying.

Have you ever been like my father when God speaks to you? You hear His voice, but you pretend not to.

Has someone ever asked you something and you closed you heart to him?

Whoever wrote the letter to the Hebrews quoted parts of Psalms 95:7,8 three times in the first four chapters. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did…” (Heb. 3:7-9)  Continue reading