Saturday, October 25, 2014

Have you been there in prayer? Have you seen it in worship? Eyes closed but not so tight to hold in the joyful tears, hands raised, or maybe kneeling or even prostrate on the ground? The music really doesn’t matter. I have heard worship with the latest praise and the oldest hymns. I’ve seen worship in African dance, in Gaelic melodies, by youngest children to oldest saints.

I’ve opened my eyes after silent prayers, only to be disappointed that I was not in the throne room of heaven. I’ve even been so overwhelmed by God’s presence that I’ve literally fallen backwards in a brother’s house in Laguna Vista, Texas, and fallen on my knees in snowy drifts of Glorieta, New Mexico. I have danced at three in the morning, cried streams at the altar wondering what others must have thought, sat soberly and silently, meditating on a skilled pastor preaching his heart out, knowing that I would be forever changed by his words. I’ve laughed beside my grandmother’s casket, and wished my wife’s mother goodbye, envious of the face of my Savior I knew she would soon see.

All is worship. All is awesome. And I am awestruck.

     I am now sitting in solitude in the quietness of a hospital room with an I.V. in my arm, happily and humbly praising God in worship at His awesomeness, thankful for life, past, present, future and eternal.

I am wondering what Isaiah must have felt, being in the temple, mourning the death of a famed, faithful national leader yet suddenly surrounded by a living portrait of God so awesome that no Rembrandt could ever render, no Michelangelo could master, no. . . (well you get the idea).

Join me this week at and consider the awesome portrait in prayer of Isaiah, sitting in the temple, seeing the glory of God.

To start from the first portrait, click here

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
9 And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ 10 “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.” 11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, 12The Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. 13 But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, as a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump.”

Isaiah 6

Monday, October 20, 2014

Redirecting to Joiningheartsdevotionals

I am temporarily vacating this blog as I concentrate on my latest project on "Portraits in Prayer."

For the latest Portrait in Prayer, click here or go to

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Journaling and other Disciplines

     I sat in on our pastor’s new members class Sunday, and Pastor Randy mentioned several disciplines that growing Christians should have. They include “Prayer, Faithfulness in Church, Scripture Reading and Memorization, Journaling, Fasting and Tithing.” It put me in mind of the many who have listed various characteristics or “disciplines” of growing Christians.
     J.I. Packer’s book Rediscovering Holinesss (2000) summarizes various authors’ lists of disciplines, beginning with Richard Foster who popularized such lists in his book Celebration of Discipline (1978). In addition to the ones Randy listed, Foster included the disciplines of “Solitude, Submission, Service, Confession and Guidance”. Elisabeth Elliot’s list in Discipline: The Glad Surrender (1982) included “Body, Mind, Place (honoring others), Time, Possessions, Work, and Feelings.” R. Kent Hughes wrote Disciplines of a Godly Man (1991) added “Purity, Marriage, Fatherhood, Friendship, Mind, Devotion, Integrity, Tongue, Work, Perseverance, Leadership, Witness, and Ministry”. Donald Whitney in Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (1991) added “Scripture Meditation, Application, Evangelism, Stewardship, and Learning.”
     No list is definitive. Several added to, left off or duplicated disciplines of other authors. Pastor Randy invited the class to list other disciplines to add to their own list. On my Discipleship Card, my essentials are “Daily in the Bible, Pray for Partners, Honored Family, Moral Purity, Witnessing, Physical Fitness, Tithe on Increase.”
     What about you? Do you have a list of “essential disciplines” for yourself?  Now, of course we are saved by grace and not by works, so don’t be legalistic. But we are saved for good works (Eph. 2:10), so as disciples, we should discipline ourselves.