A 21 Day Spiritual Journey: Day 6

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

Today I am having some trouble quieting my soul.

The words to the third verse of “Just As I Am” keep coming to mind:

Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. – Just As I Am, William Bradbury

The world is not falling apart around me. I am not in crisis but I am beset by a plethora of things to do that keep calling me away from the place of quiet prayer. It seems I just get settled in and whamo! Something else comes up to pull me away from the secret place.

I’m beginning to think God’s as much in these distractions as HE is in the devotion. Somehow I am being challenged to walk in contentment and peace even in the place of constant disturbance.

Today’s quotes:

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” 
― Dale Carnegie,


“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” 
― Martha Washington

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.” 
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So here I am Jesus. Praying in bits and pieces today…fits and starts. Just as I am I come and if you want something different Lord then form it in me.




















Honorbound Again

      Every Christmas churches around the world reenact the story of the birth of Jesus. Proud parents look on as little Johnny leads little Sally down the church aisle pretending to be Joseph to her Mary.

     Year after year as the tradition plays itself out people are touched by the sweetness of this young couple, lost in an unfriendly Bethlehem. Congregants smile and maybe shed a nostalgic tear as the children/magi gather around the altar to bring homage to the Christ child and his mother.

    In every portrayal I have seen Joseph is left off in the corner. No one is looking at him, not the shepherds, not the magi. Joseph’s job is done when he gets the girl to the stable. But what a job that had to be!

     “Love is not rude.” I Cor. 13: 5

      Now that may seem rather a violent segue to you: Christmas story… Joseph… “Love is not rude” On the surface they don’t seem to have a lot to do with each other. Just bear with me.

     “Love is not rude” is actually, “love is not aschēmoneō.

      Here in 21st century America being rude means being impolite.   

     When your mother says, “Don’t be rude!”, she means “Stop burping at the table” or “Quit picking your nose in front of Aunt Rosie. She’ll never pay for those piano lessons you want so much.”

      But in first century Corinth, When Paul wrote “Love is not rude.”, the word had a much different connotation. Rude to Paul was unseemly behavior that not only brought shame and reproach to you but to someone else as well.

     Paul was saying, “Love does not engage in behavior that puts other people in a dishonorable light.”

  In First Corinthians 7:36 Paul uses the word aschēmoneō  when he is explaining how an unmarried man should treat the girl he is betrothed to.

    “If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, [fn] if his [fn] passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry–it is no sin.” I Cor. 7:36 ESV

      Paul is teaching that a man needs to marry his fiancée if his passions are strong and that he should not bring disgrace upon her by behaving in inappropriate ways with her outside of marriage.

       You see love cannot bring disgrace on other people because it considers not only the wants of others but the honor of others as well. It is not love when a young man takes his girlfriend to bed and ruins her reputation. It is not friendship when a buddy asks you to break the law so that you can join his gang. It is biblical rudeness.

     Let’s  go back to Joseph. In the eyes of all Nazareth Joseph had the right to not only divorce Mary (even though they had not been officially married breaking of an engagement required a legal divorce in their culture) but to have her stoned to death. But Joseph was loving. He was not rude. He did not want to expose her to any dishonor if it could be avoided.

    In the end and with a little prodding from God and His angels Joseph took away Mary’s dishonor and Jesus’ by becoming the earthly husband and father Heaven had appointed him to be.

    Joseph was a man who protected the honor of his wife and the  child she bore. In that way he was not rude. In that way he loved greatly.

     What are some of the ways you can preserve the honor of those you love? How do you keep yourself from being rude?

Heaven Pt. 12

“Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;” Ge. 19:24

 I realized as I read this verse that Heaven isn’t a hopeful topic for everyone.  For some it’s just an expectation of fearful judgment.

I once heard an evangelist say “Everyone’s going to Heaven. But only a few are going to stay there.”

That’s so sad and so true. I do a lot of talking about the end times. For me it means that soon Jesus will come and set up His kingdom where I will be allowed to rule and reign with Him.

But for someone who doesn’t know Jesus….for someone who isn’t assured of Heaven the topic of the future according to the Bible, is just more death and destruction.

Listen Heaven doesn’t have to be a fearful topic. Assurance of eternal life is simple. The Bible says “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

It also says

“But to all who believed him and accepted him (Jesus), he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

Today can be the day you receive assurance of Heaven. All you must do is believe on Jesus and accept Him as your God and you will be given eternal life.

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord Jesus, I believe that you are God’s one and only son. I believe you came to Earth and died on the cross for my sins. I believe that God has raised you from the dead. Today I accept your sacrifice for me. I accept I need it for I am a sinner. Thank you for forgiving me. I accept you right now into my life as my God. My life is yours from now on.


Hey if you just prayed that prayer for the first time would you do me a favor and let me know by commenting?

Be Blessed!

Gotta Stand Pt. 9

     Yesterday we concluded with a question. “How do we begin to live right for God?”

       Practically: If I’m a thief how do I stop stealing? If I’m angry how do I calm down? If I lie every time I open my big yap how do I quit it?What if I’m a fornicator?A nag? Abusive? Frustrating? Lazy? A slave-driver? In short, how do I go about changing all the negative ca-ca that is in my life?

     Some people would tell you that true change will only come by trying really, really hard. It’s the old Franklin philosophy, “God helps those who help themselves”.

     Others will tell you. “You can’t do anything. It’s all God’s work. Just wait and one day you will magically be ‘poofed’ into goodness.”

    So which is it? Neither answer is completely correct. They are both extremes; And extremes usually hold a smidgen of the truth and a whole lot of hot air.

        Let’s  skip out on the book of Ephesians for a post and turn to another of Paul’s writings, Galatians. The church at Galatia was a church Ben F. would have liked, a real work hard  kind of church. They believed that salvation could only be achieved by accepting Jesus and then DOING  everything the Jewish law required.

     Paul writes, “Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? …. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? ” Gal 3:1-3 NLT

    Paul indicates that not only is forgiveness of sins God’s work, so is making a person perfect. Does that mean we sit around and wait for God to ‘poof’ us? No! Just as God has a work in helping us to live for Him, the Christian has a part to play as well.

    Paul continues to the Galatians, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. ” Gal: 5:16 NLT

    To the church in Rome he writes the same thing another way, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ” Romans 12:1,2 NLT

 If we are to stand in victory, our part is to trust God and give ourselves to Him. God’s part is to work the change.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Gotta Stand Pt. 6

      Lights in the darkness! That’s what we are called to be!

     “  Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us  and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God….  once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! … Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Eph. 5:1-20 NLT

      Paul admonishes us that the time has come for the church to step up its atmosphere of sexual purity.  If we want to stand through the storms of life God insists we be sexually pure.

     We live in an oversexed culture and God calls us to come away from it. It’s time to shut off the bedroom scenes on the television, it’s time to stop listening to and telling off-color jokes. It’s time to shut down the internet porn. It’s time to make a covenant with our eyes that we will stop looking with lust at other people. It’s time to leave off sex outside of marriage.

        Paul wrote to the Corinthians “every other sin a man sins is done outside himself but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” I Cor. Chapter 6.

     When we sin sexually we weaken ourselves and our ability to stand through the storms.

      I will tell you, victory is not going to be had in resisting temptation; Victory will only come when we learn to flee it! Too many of us end up trapped by sin because we try to resist sinful urges. The Bible tells us the key to overcoming sexual temptation is not fight but flight into the arms of Jesus; So when tempted don’t resist Praise!

      “Sing songs hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves and make music in your heart to the Lord and give thanks for everything to God.” Eph.5:20 

Praise is powerful! We’ve Gotta stand!

Gotta Stand Pt.4

      Angela from Meetingintheclouds.wordpress.com had this to say in response to one of the posts in this series. “When I became a Christian my life changed COMPLETELY – (thankfully!)
_I_ didn’t change. I had no part in it. HE changed me: His life IN me changed me.”

     She brings out a powerful truth about life with her comment. We can all acknowledge the need to change certain things about our lives. But without Jesus actively working in our lives, lasting change is not possible. In the end what I will achieve in this life will be a reflection of His work in me not an evaluation of my work (Eph. 2:10). In short, I achieve more when I trust than when I strive.

     That said Paul gives us benchmarks to trust for in Ephesians chapter 4.

“don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil….. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:26,27,29-32 NLT

             Paul encourages us to stop letting anger control our lives.  Specifically he lets us know that God would have us: stop swearing, stop being hard or cruel in our dealings, and stop complaining about people behind their backs even if what we have to say is true!  Instead we are to pray for the spirit of love, joy and kindness to reign over us.

     I am always amazed at how practical God can get with our lives.  Christianity is not some nebulous philosophy that leaves people doing whatever seems good to them. It’s a relationship with a Father who runs His household after a fashion He has established. He wants His world to be a certain way. He wants His people to live in harmony with that way even though it is not the current “way of the world”.

     With the whole world stacked against us, living Christian is not only difficult it’s impossible; That’s why Christ died. His death not only purchases us forgiveness but releases into us a new life that overcomes the world. John 16:33

    Going back to the anger thing, we live in an angry society that is constantly pushing us to react in rage. Our only ability to hold  peace comes from the fact that Jesus in us calms the storm when we turn our attentions away from this exacerbating world and look to Him who has overcome it.

Have you overcome anger? How did Jesus help you?

Gotta Stand Pt. 3

     As a gardener I am often called to take a plant from one location and move it to another. The task of transplanting is a necessary and painstaking ritual for the husbandman who wants to bring about a rich harvest.

     Simply put transplanting means taking a plant rooted in one place and causing it to take root in another. The danger of course is that in the process of transplanting the gardener runs the risk of harming the exposed root and losing his fruit or perhaps even the entire plant.    

     Paul paints us a picture of the Christian being transplanted and what the soil of our new life should produce in Ephesians Chapter 4.

“throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.  Ephesians 4:22-25NLT

     Paul says throwing off our old way of life means to stop being a deceiver.  Now we made the point yesterday that throwing off the old self or transplanting the roots of our lives starts with attitude and then leads to action. A problem with lying is rooted in a problem with fear. When we lie what we actually communicate is that we are afraid, if we tell the truth we will be hurt. The truth is, of course, sometimes we will be. But that doesn’t excuse lying. What God requires is that we address the world out of perfect love. As the Word says: ” There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18 KJV

     I saw an episode of “Bones” the other night. The characters were involved in a group that espoused “radical honesty”which is, “a tell the truth no matter what it does to the other person” policy. throughout the episode, people cavorted across the screen insulting and denigrating others in the name of “truth”. This is not what Paul was talking about.

     The Christian who seeks to come out of the soil of falsehood needs to be transplanted first in the soil of love not the soil of confession. If a Christian struggles with lying his first step is not to become a radical confessor but a radical lover of God and man. When love is established trust will bloom, fear will wither and lying will stop. Confession in this atmosphere becomes safe, wholesome and redeeming.

    If we are going to stand through the upcoming storms we must be transplanted in truth surrounded by the soil of love. Then we will bring forth a great harvest!

 Ask Jesus to transplant you in the soil of perfect love.

Gotta Stand Pt. 1

      As the Earth trembles, as the heavens convulse, as nations shudder the kingdom of God stands firm. God has given His people a method for standing when all around is falling apart. I would like to take a little bit of time this week to talk about how we as Christians can practically keep standing through the storms of life. We are going to be dealing with a passage from the Word of God starting in  Ephesians chapter 4:17 and going on until we reach  chapter 6:18. Along the way as we read I am going to stop and make some comments as we let the Scripture just speak to us. Let’s begin:

“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.” Ephesians 4:17-19 NLT

    Here Paul begins by saying that when we become  Christian there has to be a change in the way we live. If we have given our lives to Jesus there should be a change in our behavior. As  Christians if we want to stand through life’s storms we have to begin to live for God and stop living for lustful pleasure and impurity. In a culture that highly values the pleasing of self, this idea of walking away from the things we desire becomes problematic for all of us; But as the Earth groans louder and louder the need for us to change in order to stand is going to become increasingly important. Let’s get a little more specific with this….

Check in on Friday for the sequel

Tomorrow is Pastor Wrinkles! 🙂


Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt.11

     So the decision has been made! Pastor Wrinkles is coming out of retirement and is going to teach a fall session of the Pentateuch! these chapter charts have given me some good material to start bringing the story together into a unit. Let’s have some fun and see what these next chapters bring about. Send me your sermon topics and ideas!

Genesis chapter 21 sermon topics/ titles:

1. The Joy Comes Late Ge. 21:1-7

2. When God Doesn’t Seem To Care Ge. 21:8-21

3. You Will Stand Before Kings Ge. 21: 22-33

Genesis chapter 22 sermon topics/ titles:

1. God Will Provide Ge. 22: 8

2. The Rewards Of Holding Nothing Back Ge. 22: 1-19

3. God Provides For the Future: Ge. 22: 20-24

Tell me what you see!




     So I know today the next installment of “Pastor Wrinkle’s Chapter Charts” is due. But I just had to take a post to celebrate breaking the 1,000 comment barrier.

     When I started “Reinventing the We’ll” I was a much different person. I hardly recognize the guy writing this blog today. So much has changed. Yet I can honestly say, I have learned that no change (even a negative change) spells the end for a follower of Christ. For those of us who walk the way of immortality each situation of reinvention becomes a new beginning drawing us closer to that ultimate beginning!

    Thank you to all of you who have been so kind with your thoughts and words over these last two years. I remind you, “When God is in it, there are no limits. When God is in it, it’s not over!”