Thursday, November 29, 2007


In Matthew 4:5-6 we read:Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you,and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'

This picture is one of the two possible sites of this event. The temple would have been built above the top of this wall and much of what is below is modern development. Therefore, it would have been several hundred feet from temple top to valley floor.

We often face the same temptation that Jesus faced: to misappropriate God's Word. Satan's knowledge of Scripture should motivate us to know it better for our own defense and obedience.

Remember, before we can claim a promise we usually have to obey a command. Here are some Scriptures to ponder:

Proverbs 3:5-6
Proverbs 22:6
John 3:3
John 6:29
Matthew 28:18-20
Romans 12:3-8

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jesus Tempted

Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

Hebrews 4:15 is a text of great grace for all of us when it states that Jesus was tempted in every way, yet he was without sin.

The third temptation that satan hit Jesus with was the glamor of this world. This temptation took Jesus to the top of a mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world at one time. Satan then said, "All this I'll give you if you bow down and worship me." What did Jesus see? Here are just a few...



New York City


Mexico City


Jesus replies, "Get away from me satan - the Word says you shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only." He stuck to the Torah for it's words are life. All the great kingdoms of man are temporary where as God's city is eternal. No remodeling ever. God is there and sin and temptation are not. The supreme architect and builder has erected the heavenly city for us.


1. If satan has this power, what does God have?
2. God might let us see all of history in eternity - cool!
3. Heaven must be beyond description for Jesus to see all of the kingdoms of man and walk away.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


On our recent trip to the Holy Land, my little mind got filled up with so much truth that I thought I would explode. In a good way. Then my concern became how can I share what I've learned without drowning everyone in a flood of facts. I've decided that I would just let a little leak out every so often. Here we go:

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
-Genesis 1:3

We read through this without a lot of thought and yet this is the foundation of the world and the Word.

We have our Roman calendar where the days are named after Roman gods. Yet 6,000 years after Creation, God's holy people still use a different calendar. The only day with a name is the Sabbath. The rest are day 1,2,3,4,5,6. A great way to remember Creation every day. Yet our culture has gone from B.C. (Before Christ) to B.C.E. (Before Commom Era) and A.D. (Anno Domini - birth of Jesus Christ) to C.E. (Common Era). Oddly, however, the current era still starts with the birth of Jesus.

Here are a few Scriptures to help us remember Creation:

Genesis 1
Genesis 14:19
Isaiah 40:26
Matthew 13:35
Mark 4:11; 13:19
Romans 1:20

Monday, November 19, 2007

Weave In Me A Tapestry

Here is a creative writing from a new, long-distance member of Tomoka Christian, Linda Dollar. I have corresponded with Linda over the last few months while she is in state prison.

Weave in me a sweet tapestry
Let me be a self portrait of You
Wedge me with Your protective hedge
Never let go of the edge
Reveal in full my calling, my purpose, my destiny
So with You I can spend eternity
I see the glory in Your firmament
I see the handiwork of Your heavens in my testament
Let me marvel in Your glory so I can tell the old, old story
Of all the love You have for me
How you died on the cross of Calvary
So that I could go free You paid my penalty
Weave in me a tapestry of Your love
Let me always abide in You
You said if I abide in You, You would abide in me
And I would be with You in eternity
Spin for me a web of prosperity
One where Your wealth always dwells
For in Your wealth I am a millionaire
Nothing with You can compare
Let me always be in pursuit of Your presence
Clothe me in Your strength and honor
You washed my garments and my inner being white as snow
Now for You I have a constant glow
A glow that will spread Your light
You are the Way, the Truth, the Life
In my life You provide great joy, peace, and rife
You enhance my life, You entice, You entwine like a vine
Like a circle that never ends
Always encompassing, engulfing my life
You broke the mold and remolded me
I now glisten, to You I do listen
You are the filter of my life
Your calmness penetrates the inner core of my inner being
My pores
It provides comfort amidst life's storms
You are immeasurable
You are treasurable
You are the love of my life
Thanks for remaking me and weaving in me a beautiful tapestry!
Let me always marvel in Your glory!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Not In Kansas Anymore

No one likes to think about, let alone discuss the reality of, the little island of Haiti. Haiti is only 600 nautical miles from the United States mainland, yet it might as well be across the universe.

Political instability, war lords, poverty, and pollution are all leading to a spirit of hopelessness and despair. This is a nation whose leaders for centuries have dedicated themselves and their nation to Satan.

Jesus said of Satan, in John 8:44, that he was a liar and a murderer from the beginning. He truly has done a number on this once pristine island of paradise.

Starvation, prostitution, and death are a daily way of life. Orphans who are begging, abused, and neglected are learning to work on the streets. These things are painful and unimaginable for our lives of plenty and abundance. How could things be so bad? Perhaps God is bringing judgment upon the nation of Haiti. Why doesn’t God do something for this nation?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Victory Through the Valley - More thoughts from Israel

This is the "siq" or the valley that leads into the famed red city of Petra. You probably know this sight from seeing Indiana Jones ride through it to rescue the Holy Grail. This incredible wonder of the world is tucked away in the Jordanian desert and yet it inspires millions to travel (Psalm 84:5).

As you walk down this beautiful valley, one is captured by what you know is coming. Then you turn a corner and there is the fabled treasury carved into the rock cliff.

I am driven back to Psalm 23 where we are reminded that God leads us through the valley. Our minds can not imagine what is at the end of our life's valley. I do know that we will not be greeted by dead rocks, but by the living God!

Maybe today you need to reflect on the words of the prophet in Isaiah 64:3-4. The day of victory is at hand! The Kingdom of God is here!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.” - Hebrews 11:17-19

Daddy, as a dad this story is almost more than I can comprehend. May my faith be like Abraham’s. I can not imagine killing my child out of obedience, and yet Abraham’s relationship with you was so strong that he “reasoned that God could raise the dead.” Oh God, I surrender my five children to you and through your transforming work I will receive them back, figuratively, risen from the dead. I ask that you would use my children to bring millions to Jesus all around the world.

Lord, may I model faith for my children as Abraham did for Isaac. Help me learn to be obedient and not to second guess Your plans and ways. Help me to trust Your heart when I don’t understand Your thoughts. Help me to be faithful during times of testing that I might be found faithful. Jesus, I desire to have my children call me “The father of the faithful.”

Lord, may our children have a model of bold, vibrant faith to follow and let it come from my life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fall In Love - Thoughts From Israel

As I stood looking into this cave in Qumran, Israel I was overwhelmed at the Essenes commitment to the Word of God. They knew that the Romans in 70 AD were going to destroy everything, so they copied the Word onto scrolls, stored the sacred text in jars, and hid them in caves like this one.

When the scrolls were found nearly 2,000 years later, they were hailed as the archaeological find of the century. The astounding fact is that the text (Bible) that you hold in your hand is an identical translation of the Hebrew texts that were found.

It is my desire personally, and as a pastor, for all of us to love the Word the way these ancient Jewish scribes did in their day. Here are a few verses to meditate on. May we leave a legacy of God's Word for future generations.

Isaiah 40:8
Psalm 89:7-8
Psalm 102:18
Psalm 119:1, 9, 17, 33, 41, 66, 81, 89, 105, 129, 137, 146

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Mayan Thoughts

Months ago, I had the opportunity to go to Guatemala. Spending just a few days there reignited my passion for the Mayan people and their ancestors. Give me an old archeology site and I'm as happy as I can be. Yet I know how desperately the modern Mayan people need Jesus. Centuries ago the Mayans were the master of the calendar and according to their calendar the world will end suddenly on December 22, 2012. Obviously, I have no way of knowing if this is true. I am, however, confronted with a few nagging thoughts and questions. If there are only 5 years left until eternity... should I live? should I pray? should I love? should I forgive? should I give? should I serve? should I believe? should I change? should I reach? should I share Jesus?

How many will not make it to 2012? Is there even more of an urgency to think on these things? Time races by for all of us as James reminds us that our lives are but a mist, here for a moment and gone. Jesus did say that no one knows the day or the hour of His return, but we should recognize the time. "Does anybody really know what time it is?" - Chicago