Enjoying the Journey

My favorite book of the Bible is the little New Testament book of Philippians. I love it for many reasons, but most of all, because it is a book of joy. Repeatedly we are told to “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). God not only commands us to rejoice, He shows us the way. I believe the Lord intended for us to enjoy the journey. One of Christ’s favorite words was “blessed” or superlatively happy. In His closing words to His disciples He gave them instructions and said, “Happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17). How can you be happy in an unhappy world? Stop trying to be happy. Have you ever…

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Good things can get stale.  Even our prayer life.  One of the great challenges of using a prayer list is not allowing it to become mechanical.  How many days I have just gone through the motions!  God doesn’t need me to read Him what is on the paper; He wants me to tell Him what is on my heart. Recently the Lord led me to develop a prayer list that would simply remind me each day of needs for which I should pray.  They are really just prayer prompters but they have helped me to keep my prayer time fresh.  I share them with you in the hope that they may help you in some way. It is easy to…

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On a Thursday night in July of 1989 God made clear to me that He wanted me to be a preacher.  I was 12 years old and full of fear about the future.  Today I am more grateful to God than ever to be in the ministry. My first sermon behind a pulpit was given on Sunday, August 27, 1989.  Several young preachers were speaking in an afternoon youth rally.  My sermon was a simple one, taken no doubt from something that I had read or heard from someone else!  “I Have a Secret” was the title.  The Scripture I chose was the story of Paul pleading the case of Onesimus to Philemon.  It is the story of a man…

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My dad and I had the privilege to be part of training several Iraqi pastors a number of years ago.  For over a week we taught a group of men in Ammon, Jordan who were going back to Baghdad to start Baptist churches.  It was an exciting work in a needy place. Near the end of our trip, the Jordanian pastor who had hosted us announced that he wanted to show us a few things before leaving his country.  Driving his old Mercedes about 100 mph through the desert, he gave us the quick tour of some of Jordan’s biblical sites.  We saw bedouin people living in the same wilderness through which the children of Israel had passed. It was…

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In recent weeks the Lord has been dealing with me about so many weaknesses in my own prayer life.  One of the most glaring has been my failure in the matter of intercessory prayer.  Perhaps no where is our selfishness more on display than in our prayer life.  “Lord, bless my four, and no more” is not so far removed from the reality of most of our prayers. When we do pray for others by name it seems that it is often motivated by our sheer frustration with them!  We are much better at praying imprecatory prayers (praying against others) than we are intercessory prayers (praying for others).  The heart of Jesus is one of an intercessor.  Read John 17…

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