Category Archives: Devotionals & Meditations

(A) Musing: Psychotherapy vs. Christian Discipleship

I found several chapter headings using language applicable to Christian discipleship in the table of contents of Psychotherapy Relationships that Work (Norcross, 2011). The whole world is desperate for Truth! (Chapter titles are italicized and in bold.)

Alliance ­– God coming along side us in our journey of faith. “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23).

Cohesion in Group Therapy – Healing amidst fellowship. “Jesus was going about…healing (therapeuo) every kind of disease and sickness…” (Matthew 4:23).

Empathy – Jesus “emptied himself…being born in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7). He faced our same temptations (Luke 4:13).

Goal Consensus and Collaboration – In John 17, Jesus asked His Father to make the Church of one mind, as He was with His Heavenly Father (v. 21), that unity would bear witness to the world of God’s love (v. 23).

Positive Regard and Affirmation – Paul calls Christ-followers saints (hagios) which means a most holy thing (Ephesians 1:1). That’s you and me in Christ!

States of Change – “We…are being transformed into the image [of Christ] from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Preferences – It is all about choices: “choose…whom you will serve…we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

Culture“You are the salt of the earth [and] the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). We are a counter-culture movement.

Coping Style “Be anxious for nothing, but…by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Sadly, the godless do not have a prayer.

Expectations“‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘…to prosper you… not to harm you, [but] to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).


‘Nuff said.

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Praying for Our Nation(s)

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and [if] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now My eyes shall be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.” – 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (emphases mine)

How often do we pray for our nation(s) without first humbling ourselves, without seeking God’s face, and without turning from our own wicked ways? It appears from this passage that the reason our land is not healed and remains ungodly is because God’s own people are not humble, not seeking His face, and not turning from their own wicked ways.

How often do we pray against someone else whom we have judged? Perhaps we believe our leaders (in government or at work) are ungodly and pray that God’s righteousness would come upon them. But we are commanded – “Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7: 1–2).

Lord, heal me first before I ask you to heal others. Let the pride of my heart be revealed to me to compel my own repentance such that I, like Christ, can intercede in righteousness according to your Holy Spirit. Father, our land does need your healing touch. Convict Your people today that we are humbled and become the salt and light of the world. In Jesus name, Amen.

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The Mystery of Walking in the Spirit

We tend to fixate on material reality: where will I live, what will I eat, where will I work? But even when we are unaware, our walk on earth is simultaneously a walk in the heavenlies.

God has equipped us with His Spirit. That has far deeper meaning than we can understand. Jesus performed miracles and we often think “Yeah, but He was God.” But Peter and Paul and others performed miracles. Do we see miracles in our own lives?

Our walk with God is shrouded in mystery and the busyness of life is noisy, overwhelming God’s “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). We have to quiet our spirit to hear His Spirit. That is why Jesus went to the desert and into the Garden at Gethsemane to pray, alone, in a quiet place.

It is a challenge to find that space amidst the scurry of our world but God is speaking to each of us every day. Can you hear Him? What is He saying? Many times it may be nothing more than “I love you” but all His words are eternal. Everything He has ever said to us, He is still saying and will always say.

God is always speaking, leading, comforting, reassuring, healing: “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21b). Galatians 5:25 says that “if we live by the Spirit,” focusing on God and drawing direction from Him, “let us walk by the Spirit,” motivated by divine character.

When spiritual and earthly realities align, we see the glory of God, even if the miraculous is only in the fundamentals: the changing of our perspectives, values, and actions.


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We live in a culture that most mornings would prefer to microwave its instant coffee. We want everything done at least by right now and preferably the day before. We rush to complete projects, race to meetings and activities, and exhaust ourselves choosing between too many priorities. This flies in the face of “entering into rest” (Matthew 11:28–29) and creates undue anxiety (Matthew 6:25–34). God was explicit: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).

But taking life step-by-step is designed into creation and evident in God’s pattern in His mission in the world. We race right past God when we try to take too much control over a process now more than 4,000 years old. Abram became Abraham and through him the Christ would come. Many generations have passed and the world has inched its way toward God’s ultimate goal of the redemption of all creation.

The “stepping” process is also characteristic of our growth in Christ. We get anxious when we stumble, not living up to the holy standard. We strive after acceptance by our performance. But our flesh fights us along the way. “But we all . . . are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18, emphasis mine).

And perhaps a bit at a time we come to understand the depth and breadth and the width of God’s love for us as He forgives and encourages us onward. Take a time-out today . . . just to rest, commune with God, or hang out with friends or family. We are all on the way. God will get us to where we are going (Philippians 2:13) in His way and in His time, step-by-step.


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A Prayer Poem: The Eyes of God

When I gaze into Your eyes,

I see the calm depths of the deepest oceans and to the heights of the glorious stars above.

Your eyes, the window to the very soul of God . . .

I search to see You into the depth of your heart.

The joy of being with You, Lord,

A friend to walk and laugh, to talk and cry, to care beyond all others.

Thank you, Immanuel, God with us,

Just to be together, a Friend, hearts-bound for all eternity.

Jesus, let me look into Your eyes. Amen.


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