Friday, January 29, 2010

The Bare Soul - God's Discipline - January 31, 2010

Proverbs 12:1 - Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

The word discipline can often create negative connotations. Children might think of strict parents while a young cadet may visualize his or her drill sergeant barking out commands. The implication of personal discipline generally means that an outward force has the intent of bringing our inward being into subjection toward its will and ultimately to a place we'd rather not go. (However, in most cases, we know that is where we should end up for our own good!) Take exercise for example. We know that exercise is good and that it produces a sought after result of good health. However, look at how many of us balk at submitting ourselves to the daily discipline to achieve this desired goal. We may do well for a while, but then for whatever reason, we tend to compromise our resolve and fall back into our former state. Why is this? Is it because we are unmotivated and lazy and we don't desire to be in shape? I don't believe that is the case although it may appear that way in some instances. Many people forgo exercise because other things crowd out their time, such as work or family or any number of life's activities. That is not to say that exercise is more important than work or family. One could use the same example toward striving to be a more disciplined parent or a worker, and one might "relapse" by going to the gym to escape it all! No, what I'm talking about is a disciplined lifestyle that is able to embrace all responsibilities, including familial, social, and personal. Not only to embrace, but to love discipline as that which powers the engine of life.

Solomon points out a diametric attitude regarding discipline to many in our present world. The wisest man to ever walk the earth (besides Jesus Christ) states that a love of knowledge will mean that a person is in love with discipline. The word knowledge that the ancient king speaks of is derived from the Hebrew word yada which has a much fuller and deeper meaning than it's English counterpart. In western civilization, we may take the word knowledge as meaning an understanding of any given subject. The Hebrews, however, used this word to describe not only understanding but also perception, experience, and recognition. Perception was not limited to man's perspective but was intertwined with God's, just as man's experience was not complete unless we experience God within the midst of our respective lives. These all led to a total understanding and recognition that God Himself is the author of all knowledge -- the very creator of wisdom and enlightenment. Just as one cannot separate true wisdom and knowledge from the Person of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, one cannot divorce themselves from God's discipline otherwise they are none of His (Hebrews 12:6). It is something all should seek because from it flow His knowledge and His life.

One might ask, "How then does one love discipline? Is loving God simply enough, for if we love God will we not want to keep His commandments?" If we all, when we gave our hearts to Christ, came into a place of joyous enlightenment and saw Him in His full revelation, then we would most certainly embrace His discipline (or discipleship, if you will) with a passionate surrender. However, we see dimly in our present state and need Him to reveal His true character to us through degrees (I Corinthians 13:12). Therefore, embracing discipline as we would embrace Jesus, can be a test of character in the beginning of our journey. (If we don't have the desire as Christians, we should ask the Lord who will grant us grace to begin.) Some will fail to see that the Jesus Christ they accepted into their hearts was not only love but He was also the embodiment of discipline. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, it can be uncomfortable in its initial stages but will reveal the character of our Risen Lord like no other practice: All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11). For example, many runners will tell you (this one included) ...that the only thing harder than running is not running! The knowledge and the understanding of what the run produces is not always enjoyed during the exercise but the thought of not doing it is unthinkable. When those who are disciplined by a daily routine, to break it means to somehow lose the "daily manna" that the discipline creates. The remorse of letting one's self down is more trying than the physical exertion of the run itself. It is the same way when one disciplines themselves to walk a balanced life with their Lord. To do anything more than the bare minimum, in the beginning, is hard and takes work. To do anything less, once a disciplined life is attained, is a betrayal of both one's self and the Lord.

We all seek balance in our hectic 21st century lifestyles. We would all like to claim that we live disciplined lives that are well-rounded. If we know the Lord Jesus Christ, then we stand a chance to find true balance. If we don't know Him, we may have some external things in order but the inner person of the heart will still be dead and unknowing. Solomon used the word yada to imply an all knowing and all understanding knowledge was possible through a love of discipline. However, this discipline cannot be divorced from a love for God and His dealings toward His beloved children. To love discipline is to love knowledge. To love knowledge is to love Christ. For only through a submission to His loving commandments will we find humble hearts and a joy to grow in His discipline as the Creator molds and shapes us for His will. May we all find that glorious place of loving His knowledge through the firmness of His counsel. May we all love God's discipline as it empowers us to be transformed into His image!

Heavenly Father, teach us to love your discipline. Though it may be uncomfortable and somewhat daunting in the beginning, give us the wisdom to embrace it as we pursue the knowledge and understanding of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Perfect us as children of the Most High and brothers of our Savior through the affirmation of disciplined love. We thank You and give You all the praise and glory! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Bare Soul - Jesus Likes Me, This I Know ... - January 24, 2010

The following Bare Soul is part two of a two part series on God's heart toward the believer. The attached audio recording is a sermon titled "Yes, Jesus Likes Me" delivered to the homeless at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on January 14, 2010. This recording is also included in part one of The Bare Soul - January 17, 2010 - "God's Pleasure".

Yes, Jesus Likes Me ... - January 14, 2010

John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Jesus likes me, this I know,
He is with me where I go,
Everyday, thru thick and thin,
Our friendship will never end.

Yes, Jesus likes me,
Yes, Jesus likes me,
Yes, Jesus likes me,
He’s with me where I go


Most people who believe in God, when asked the question, "Do you believe God loves you?" will invariably answer in the affirmative. However, if you pose that same question in a bit different way asking, "Do you believe God likes you?" then the answers will vary. Some might say haltingly, "I hope so" or "I guess He does", but in most instances there isn't that same conviction in their answer as when asked whether God loved them. The truth is, it is easier to believe that an all-loving God loves us all then to believe that He actually likes us and desires to be with us. I mean, you get the chance to pick your friends, but you're stuck with your relatives, right? Honestly, we may be sons and daughters of God but does He really want to "hang out" with us as friends? Not only does He desire our company, but He is committed to a friendship that is so perfectly loyal that such fidelity is beyond our mortal comprehension. In addition to God loving us is the fact that He likes us. And the reason He likes and loves us is because He first loved and liked His Son.

In so-called love there is oftentimes a sense of obligation and duty -- in liking someone, there is no sense of “having to” but “wanting to”. Liking someone is often times easier to understand than loving someone because when we love a person it usually involves a plethora of emotions, primarily because humankind does it so imperfectly. A person may be hurt when a loved one lets them down. Another may feel wronged because their wife or husband did not love them with the same earnestness that they first showed toward their spouse. People will always disappoint us in the arena of love because we all hold our own ideals toward this most perfect notion in our respective minds. However, "liking" someone is different. Liking a person often is divorced of pre-conceptions of how we should behave toward that other person -- it is merely a show of affection that is most often demonstrated by a desire to spend time with their "friend". God the Father demonstrated this most poignantly when Jesus was water baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. The Father stated first that Jesus was indeed His "beloved Son", but then He states His pleasure that His Son's relationship with Him invokes. The Oneness of the Father and the Son (John 10:30) pleased the heart of the former in ways that we can only speculate. When the Heavenly Father spoke the words, "You are my beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased" (Luke 3:22) it must have created a holy stir of rejoicing in heaven and a trembling of the demons on earth. This was a oneness of relationship that we all can hope to attain.

Beloved, God our Father in heaven has given us the same relationship to Himself through the blood of Jesus. Through His competed work on Calvary, we are not only loved by God (as much as He loves His Son Jesus) but we are also liked equally as much as sons and daughters of the Most High. If God loves and likes His Son, most assuredly He feels the same way about the "brothers of Christ". For Jesus said He was not ashamed to call us brothers (Hebrews 2:10-11) and God is overjoyed to call us His children, heirs with His Son (I John 3:1). Furthermore and in agreement with the Father, Jesus understood the importance of friendship. In the Old Testament, only those who were the "special" and set apart individuals could be "friends of God". Abraham had this distinction (Isaiah 41:8) as well as did Moses (Exodus 33:11). However, the new covenant by His blood allows ALL to draw near the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), allowing us all access to our God-friend! Even Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, calls us friends as stated in our opening verse. Let me pose a question: Do you make friends with people you don't like? Of course you don't and neither does Jesus! He is thrilled to be our friends as we should to be His, as we obey and walk with Him. Just because we're "spiritual relatives" doesn't mean that God is somehow obligated to be nice to us. Some may have memories of their earthly fathers or mothers in this regard -- that their parents felt obliged to spend time with them as children because that was what was expected. However, when it came down to it, there was just too much insecurity and dislike in many parents toward themselves that they couldn't effectively love nor even like their own children. This has never been the case with the Heavenly Father. While there will always be things that we do that He may not like (e.g. selfishness), He will never associate the behavior with our person. He only sees our mutual friend Jesus within us, living ever to make intercession and to come speedily to our defense (Hebrews 7:25).

Once we truly understand that God not only loves us but that He likes us and desires our company, then we in turn will grow in our desire to spend time with Him. If we know that there is a Loving Father in heaven and a "Friend that sticks closer than a brother" who dwells within us (Proverbs 18:24), then we will continue to grow in that knowledge that He desires us, above all things, to be our closest friend. There is no one who will pursue us, will need and love us and who will even like us as perfectly as the Triune God. He desires our company like no other. Let us all come at His beckon for He cares for us with a love and also a liking that no other can begin to attain. He is our Friend and we are His companions, a band of brothers and sisters that is bound together for eternity! Amen.

Lord God Almighty, thank you that your love is so complete that you care for us as friends. You like us, Lord, and You desire to spend eternity with us. Thank You for this incredible love which You have given all who call upon Your Name. We give You the glory for You are worthy! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Jesus likes me, this I know,
He is with me where I go,
Everyday, thru thick and thin,
Our friendship will never end.

Yes, Jesus likes me,
Yes, Jesus likes me,
Yes, Jesus likes me,
He’s with me where I go

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Bare Soul - God's Pleasure - January 17, 2010

The following Bare Soul is part one of a two part series on God's heart toward the believer. The attached audio recording is a sermon titled "Yes, Jesus Likes Me" delivered to the homeless at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on January 14, 2010. This recording is also included in part two of The Bare Soul - January 24, 2010 - "Jesus Likes Me, This I know ...".

Yes, Jesus Likes Me ... - January 14, 2010

Psalm 41:11 - By this I know that You are pleased with me, because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.

Next time you are at your local bookstore, take a moment to do a quick comparison. First, check out how many books are devoted to religion. There will undoubtedly be a section on Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and of course, Christianity. All these so-called "religious" books will probably take up a few shelves of retail space. Next, check out the psychology and "self-help" section. It is staggering how much space is devoted to self-diagnosis and cure! Shelf after shelf of titles ranging from self-realization to theories on Transactional Analysis and the latest Gestalt therapy boil down to a very simple yet naive assumption -- "I'm okay, and you're okay" if we simply "find" ourselves. The truth of the matter is this ... we're not "okay" otherwise the plethora of self-help titles provided by the secular book market would be providing solutions rather than merely cataloging more ISBN titles. The reality is that the vast majority of people have feelings of guilt and shame from lives devoid of anyone or anything that might successfully remove these gnawing realities from their respective souls. Their childhood religions often gave them feelings of shame as they tried to live a good, moral life, but in so doing, they most often failed miserably. They could not live the life they felt God required which in turn produced shame. Rather than seeking out a spiritual solution to their guilt and remorse, they chose instead to blame God for setting a standard so high that they nor anyone else could attain. They turned their back on God and all religion, not knowing that a Savior had already fulfilled the Law for them and had died to set them free. Rather than accepting this eternal relationship, they chose instead the road of "self-help" which is a broad highway consisting of merely the enlightenment that one blind man might provide for another.

I often speculate how differently people's perspective would be of God if they truly understood His Nature. Then again, most folks would need to read the Word of God with "eyes to see and ears to hear" rather than seeking out the worldly pontifications of puffed up professors. If these "seekers" would but read God's Word with an open heart, they would find out that God is ecstatically in love with the human race. In our opening scripture, David uses the Hebrew word chaphets (khaw-fates') to describe God's pleasure with those who call upon His Name. The implication of its origin and meaning is to have "intense pleasure or strong desire toward". David's epiphany as a warrior-king was knowing the intense pleasure the Father has for those whose ... enemy does not shout in triumph over [them]. This was a situational reality (one battle to the next) in David's day because Christ had not yet come to bring the total victory to believers. Of course today, believers in Jesus Christ can be in a place of constant victory because of the finished work of the cross. The sad reality is that the vast majority of people who have disdained God for being too judgmental and demanding have not been listening to God. They have mistaken the voice of their Heavenly Father for that of the father of lies. Satan, through his continual bombardment of the human soul, seeks to convince mankind they will always be defeated and there is no use coming to God. He continues his lie, telling God's greatest treasure that they are doomed because God has forsaken them. Therefore, they must seek out their own salvation because the God they seek (he tells them deceitfully) will never be there to provide for those He has "orphaned". This could not be more untrue. In reality, the scripture is quite clear that our Heavenly Father loved the world SO much that He chose to crush His own Son on our behalf (Isaiah 53:10; John 3:16). Unfortunately, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the those who will not believe (II Corinthians 4:4), stating there is no victory over shame and guilt but only through one's own self-discovery. The only remedy for this deception is to understand our victory in Jesus Christ and our standing in God's pleasure as sons and daughters of the Most High.

Like David in this psalm, we must understand the lie of the devil regarding his supposed victory and triumph over us. Only then will we understand our position in Christ to fully acknowledge the Father's pleasure in our individual lives. As mentioned, David understood that God was there to save when He cried out to Him. Many times in the Psalms we see King David pouring out his heart for God's deliverance. As with all Old Testament saints, there was a continual need to invoke God's deliverance through faith while they looked forward to the promise of the coming Savior who would give all mankind the total victory (Hebrews 11:13). Even as the Law could not justify any Old Testament believers such as Abraham, Moses, or David they all looked forward to the day when the Law would be fulfilled in the Person of the Messiah. Those who believed God in faith (read Hebrews chapter 11) knew that one day constant victory would be the heritage of everyone who believed in God. Whether they truly understood the full implications or not, they were all looking forward to life either in this world or the one to come of life victorious. That's why it is so important to transpose David's words in Psalm 41:11 for our lives today. If one has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior then they have come into agreement with His victory on the cross over Satan and all evil that would ever seek to beset us (Colossians 2:15). This agreement affords us, most importantly, a positional understanding that we truly are ... more than conquerors through Him who loves us (Romans 8:37). This is true whether we believe it or not and will be for eternity. That is why God is pleased with us! Those of us who know Christ and have accepted Him have come into a place of continual victory and God knows it, and the devil knows it, and we should know it. When we don't believe it in particular instances and we allow Satan to tell us otherwise, it does not belie the fact that God still loves us and is pleased with us because His Son dwells within us. How can God not love us and be pleased with us if His very Son lives within? He rejoiced over His chosen with joy and gladness in the Old Testament (Zephaniah 3:17). How much more does He love us now since we are victorious in His Son (Romans 8:37-39).

Beloved, God has taken away all shame and guilt by placing the sin of the world on His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. As the Savior of mankind bled, died, and was raised into newness of life, those also of us who have accepted His life have likewise embraced His victory. No longer do we need to live life on our own; there is no need to self-diagnose or self-actualize our inner healing or our state of well-being. In order for us to be pleased with ourselves we must first recognize that He is pleased beyond measure with all those who know Him as Father. He has truly defeated ALL our enemies, both real and imagined whether we acknowledge this reality or not. His pleasure for us will never cease even if we sometimes fail to recognize it, for He cannot deny Himself who so faithfully dwells within (II Timothy 2:13). However, once we truly know Him who forever triumphed over Satan, that is when we begin to walk in our true inheritance. May we all understand that we have not merely won a battle that will make us feel good about ourselves for a while, but we have won the war through the Eternal Son of David who will rule and reign forever.

Heavenly Father, may we know that You are pleased with your sons and daughters, because Your Son dwells within us. Through His abiding in our earthly vessels, we know that we have the victory everyday until eternity. Help us never to look beyond your passionate love and pleasure for us all to feel complete. For only in You is life and life abundantly. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Bare Soul - Fullness of Joy - January 10, 2010

Psalm 16:11 - You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

King Solomon states in Ecclesiastes 7:8 that the end of a matter is better than its beginning. The implication is that there are many unknowns in the beginning but all is revealed at closure. For example, when a woman learns of her pregnancy (especially if it is her first), she may feel a mixed bag of emotions. While there is excitement there is also trepidation regarding all the particulars of her pregnancy. She will often carry these emotions up until her delivery day. However, with proper medical advice and pre-natal care, she patiently progresses through each trimester until the end of her pregnancy is at hand. Unfortunately, many women throughout the world will not have the opportunity of proper nourishment and medical care during this critical time of their baby's development. Some will be born sickly while some mothers will tragically miscarry before that expected day. However, for many who are blessed with healthy pregnancies, the big day will one day finally arrive! Through the birthing of her child, she is able to see and hold the treasure she has so faithfully carried for nine months. As a father, I've experienced and shared in that joy that a mother most certainly experiences. (However, even as a joyous father, I'm sure I can't truly comprehend the joy of a mother as she brings forth this incredible gift!)

The unbridled happiness of bringing this new human being into the world produces a joy that is not uncharacteristic to that which we experience when we are brought into God's presence by our drawing near unto Him. Every believer that calls upon the Name of the Lord should desire His fullness of joy. In Psalm 16:11, David explains how we too must allow the Holy Spirit to "mother" us from the point of conception in the womb of regeneration (e.g. to be born again), to a place of living a joyous, Spirit-filled life that bears fruit for the Father. The first of three steps as outlined in this verse is to acknowledge that God has made known to all who call upon His name "the path of life". Without knowing, understanding, and walking this path we will never know what it means to experience true joy. Solomon states also in Proverbs 10:17 that ... He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, but he who ignores reproof goes astray. This upward journey for the upright of heart (Proverbs 15:24) comes by giving ourselves to God's wisdom through humble acceptance of His commandments. Jesus stated if any wished to follow Him they must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). It is a simple plan but not always an easy path to follow, for Christ states earlier in Matthew 7:14 that the path is narrow to Life and there are few who find it. However, if we are diligent to keep His commands then we will experience His friendship as we walk this upward path (John 15:4). And, it should not be an arduous journey, beloved. Along the road with Jesus there will be joy as we obey His command of taking up our cross. I venture to say if there is not, then we have taken up the burden of legalism and the Law which has never and will never perfect anyone. We must experience His joy along the way or we have certainly strayed from HIS path.

As we experience the joy of walking this path of life with our Savior, we must be careful to grieve not the Holy Spirit along the way by succumbing to worldly pleasures. Jesus has promised us that in God's right hand ... there are pleasures forever. Daniel and his young Jewish counterpart denied themselves the delicacies of this world (Daniel 1:8-21) for the delicacies of God -- His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. In doing so, they experienced the fullness of God by keeping their spirits and souls in tune with the purposes of God. The Heavenly Father was delighted to reveal His wisdom to these young men because they had given themselves to God and denied their flesh. Would Jehovah have revealed His wisdom to Daniel to interpret dreams if he hadn't denied himself? Most certainly God would have spoken to him (for God cannot deny Himself [II Timothy 2:13]), however, the young man's spiritual senses might not have had the sharpness to understand and receive with the same clarity (Daniel 2:19-45). It's not by works, but by faith working through our submitted actions that God will do for us just as He did for Daniel if we will but pursue Him passionately in faith.

If we do not desire a life that is given to the pursuit of living in His presence and longing for His unspeakable joy, then possibly we have somehow experienced a miscarriage of faith along the way. If our hearts as believers are not turned toward Him in all out love, then we may need to test ourselves to see if we have truly been brought through the womb of the new birth (II Corinthians 13:5; John 3:3). Are we experiencing His joy? Are we living for His pleasures that He so freely gives instead of those of the world? To live constantly in His presence on this side of eternity is very possible if we hunger enough for Him (for one example, see the online book The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence). It will take a passion and desire to remain on the path of life, experiencing His joy while indulging only in the pleasures and delicacies that He offers. While this path may look arduous and daunting in the beginning, we soon experience the words of Jesus if we will but diligently keep to the narrow road before us ... that truly His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Beloved, that we would all find Him on this path called "Life" and that we would find seasons of joy and pleasure in Him that would turn into a constant abiding in His presence. Oh, what a God we serve!

Heavenly Father, a glorious path is laid out for all who would call upon Your Name -- a path of life that is adorned with joy and pleasures from Your right hand. Help us to walk this joyous road with Jesus our Savior. For only in Him, will we find our way. In Jesus' Name, the Name above all others, Amen!


Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Bare Soul - Peace Beyond Comprehension - January 3, 2010

Philippians 4:7 - And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever been in the midst of a turbulent or tumultuous situation and the Spirit of the Lord seemed to brood over your heart and life with the care of a loving mother? Circumstances may be screaming at you to react in a carnal, worldly manner yet there is such a placidness within your being that you feel that Jesus has lifted His holy hand and spoken, "Peace, be still" to the storm raging all around. This is the peace that Paul describes in this passage. It is a peace that defies any logical natural explanation, but is so simple in its spiritual definition that many often overlook how to enter into this glorious abiding. The peace given by God is born out of a position of death to self which ultimately results in the peaceful fruit of righteousness. The apostle gives us a direct path to this place of peace through the preceding verses. The key to perfect peace is indeed a life given to worship -- a three-legged stool of praise, humility, and trust which allows us to be seated with Him through all aspects of this earthly life. While some might relate worship to an act of adoration and praise toward the Creator, it is much more as Paul relates both in his letter to Philippians and also to the church at Rome.

Paul urges the believers at Rome in the twelfth chapter and first verse of the book of Romans ... to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1). According to this scripture, the apostle implies that a life of worship entails a surrendering of one's self on God's altar -- a living sacrifice that He can use to glorify Himself through on this earth. In the book of Philippians, Paul defines a yielded life of a believer that has presented their entire being to God as a worshiper. In verse 4, Paul states: Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4). His emphasis by repeating himself is God's way of telling us that this is EXTREMELY important in order to live a life as men and women of peace. This is the defining catalyst of a worship-filled believer that is living to serve the Father. Without thanksgiving and praise, the Holy Spirit within is hamstrung to fulfill His ministry through us. He delights to rejoice in the Father and the Son and is functioning in His God-vocation in the heart of a believer when we allow Him to do so (John 15:26). Therefore, we empower the Holy Spirit to equip us through praise and adoration to fulfill Paul's additional admonitions that will complete us as spirit-filled worshippers.

In Philippians 4:5, Paul tells us to let our gentleness or meekness be known to all men. A gentle, humble spirit is molded and crafted by a heart of thanksgiving and an understanding of what the Lord has done on our behalf. By consecrating ourselves as a living sacrifice to continually offer up thanksgiving to Him, we find that the alabaster box of ointment within us all as believers (Luke 7:37) begins to exude the very fragrance of Christ to others (II Corinthians 2:14-16). No more are we decaying from within by the putrefaction of sin but we are allowing the aroma of Christ -- His gentleness and humility -- to waft out His life-giving breath to those desirous of His Person. Finally, a life given to praise and thanksgiving and to humility and meekness must be adorned with complete trust of God and His ability to meet all our needs. Paul states in verse 6: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6). This "three-legged stool" that Paul has constructed of praise and humility is incomplete without the trust or faith that God will meet us in every area of our lives. As we trust Him with hearts of prayer birthed in thanksgiving, He meets us in every circumstance causing us to be well-seated on this seat of worship that we have allowed Him to create in our lives.

As we are seated securely on our "three-legged stool of worship", God does a remarkable thing. He gives us a peace that is both immeasurable and incomprehensible. Peace is the very fruit or direct product of a life of worship. It is the absence of complaint, murmuring, anxiety, or turmoil of any type. It is a life that is seated in worship and alive on God's altar of sacrifice and yet is never consumed for God continues to restore and resurrect His life within us continually. It is a life filled with an eternal knowing that He is to be adored, He is to be imitated in His humility, and He is to be trusted in all things. This ultimately gives us a God-given position in this turbulent, chaotic world that is unexplainable to those who know not the Risen Lord or the power of worship. Oh, that we would all find that place of praise, humility, and trust that would bring us into that perfect peace that defies all comprehension. Only then will a peace-starved world find a true and lasting peace to be secured only in the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

Holy Father, we invite you to build within us a seat of worship, a three-legged stool of praise, humility, and trust that will bring us to that perfect place of peace. Cause us to find this resting place in You so that we can invite others to find this place of restful abiding. Thank You Lord, for enabling and helping us. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick