Knees Hit the Floor First

camel knees

Bill Hybels says that as he rolls out of bed in the morning, his knees hit the floor first.

I like that. What a great habit.

Prayer is as vital to us as oxygen and water. You cannot survive long without it. I fully believe in the power of prayer. So did James.

James devotes a lot time to prayer in his epistle. And James wasn’t all talk, no action either; Tradition tells us that because of his habit of kneeling in prayer, James’s knees became calloused like a camel’s. So much so, he became known as “The Man with Camel’s Knees.”


“pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” – James 5:16

How are your knees? Are they as smooth as silk or calloused from a lifetime of prayer?

Paul believed in prayer:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Phil. 4:6

Our ultimate example is Jesus. You might think, “The Savior of the universe surely didn’t need to pray, right? I mean, He is the Alpha & Omega; What’s He got to pray about?” Well, first of all: Yes, Jesus fully believed in prayer and secondly, don’t call me Shirley. (Ask your parents about that reference).

“So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” – Luke 5:16

You see that, “often.” Jesus frequently slipped away to pray. It was Jesus’s custom was to go off early in the morning to pray. He prayed all night long before drawing the twelve (now, that’s a long prayer!). He prayed before His betrayal. You better believe, Jesus believed in prayer.

If Jesus needed prayer, how much more do we?

You may say, “Well, I don’t know what to pray for.” No big deal; none of us do. The Bible is explicit on this. But, don’t worry the Holy Spirit picks up the slack:

“For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” – Rom. 8:26

Isn’t that just like God? He doesn’t leave us without help!

Look, if you want to pray and are unsure of how to start, look up Matt. 6:5-15. If that is too church-y for you, try these:

  • Thank you, Lord.
  • Or Help me, Lord.
  • Or I love You, Lord.
  • Then let Him take over.

As you roll out of bed in the morning, see how your day is different if your knees hit the floor first.

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  1. Bill Hybels, Just Walk Across the Room, Session 4.
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How Long Halt Ye?

bird on branch that forks

There’s no way the Old Testament is relevant to me. People from 3,000+ years ago and 6,000 miles away living in a culture radically different than mine could NEVER speak into my life! Oh really.

“And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.  – 1 Kings 18:21 (NKJV)

Is this not the same exact question we must answer today?

  • How long will you waver (NIV), hesitate (HOL), go limping (ESV) between?
  • How much longer will you try to have things both ways? (CEV)
  • Or my favorite: “How long halt ye?” (KJV)

The original Hebrew is really vivid. The literal translation is: ” ‘Till when are ye leaping on the two branches?” (YLT)

Here’s the word picture Elijah is painting: a bird is walking down a branch and it forks. Instead of choosing one branch or the other, the bird begins leaping between the two.


Is it going to be God or satan? There is no third branch.

A fork in the road splits the road. Now it runs in completely different directions; one goes North and one goes South. The further along you go, the further away from the other you get.

The word pacach; to halt or hesitate also has the idea of “dancing” between two.

Are you dancing between God and satan?

Try showing up to Prom with two dates and see how that ends up for you. No, both demand your affection & loyalty. But you can give it to only one.

Jesus said you cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24a). At least have some conviction; If the LORD is God, (which He is, of course), then give Him your 100%. If the Baal is God (which he is not, of course), then give him your 100%. This wishy-washy, back-and-forth nonsense is just annoying.

Notice the people’s reply. Crickets. What’s your reply?

You CANNOT be silent on this issue. Its the most important issue of your life! God has set before you life & death, blessings & curses; now choose life! (Deut. 30:15-20)

Hmmm, the OT’s seeming awfully relevant suddenly, isn’t it?

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Chew Your G.U.M.


Here’s your prayer. Its not fancy. Its not long. Its only 3 words:

  • G-od
  • U-se 
  • M-e

Chew on it. Repeat that a few times. GodUseMe, GodUseMe…

Make yourself available for whatever He may have.

Find where He is at work & see how you can join Him (Blackaby).

Can we say, like Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20)?


How can we be of service to You? Help us to get ourselves out of the way. Help us to see Your will more clearly. Help us to remove things in our life that don’t resemble You. Help us to remove distractions & the sins that so easily ensnare.

For me, personally, “ensnare” may be too weak a word: Sin in my life is more like a roundhouse kick from Bruce Lee. Its more like a straightjacket from which not even Harry Houdini could escape. It lays me out and holds me hostage. That’s when Jesus really shines. He showers Grace down like Niagra Falls with the precious Blood of the Lamb. He took my sin on His shoulders on that Cross so that I wouldn’t be smothered to death by it. That’s the LORD I serve.

To cower away on a Cruise Ship (an inwardly-focused church) rather than on an Air Craft Carrier (an outwardly-focused church) sending planes off and out, would be a tragic injustice and poor stewardship of God’s blessings.


Where can we be applied? Where can we operate best for your Kingdom? How can we encourage, strengthen, & minister? We are ready! We are willing! We are at Your beckon call.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, – Col. 3:2

We all have items in our house that are for “show” and not “use.” It may be special soap, fancy hand towels, or a whole room designated for “company.” Or, if you are a geek like me – there are certain (ahem!) toys, that are just to look at basically, and not “for play.” (Was that as embarrassing to read as it was for me to type?)

Anyhow, the point is – give Christ full access to your heart, life, and will. Be open to His Grace! Be open to being used by Him in a mighty way. Be open.

Save me, for I am yours. – Psa. 119:94

God use me.

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Living in a Musical

singing in the rain

Living in a Musical

It seems like the Apostle Paul wants us all to live in a musical.

See then that you walk circumspectly (NIV = carefully), not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (NIV = debauchery); but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” – Eph. 5:15-21 (NKJV)

Verse 19: speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

Singing songs (making music in your hearts) to the Lord with an attitude of thanksgiving. Is this not the very definition of joy? JOY primarily manifests itself by – Singing and thanksgiving! Paul is not saying we are all in Grease or West Side Story; he is saying to submit to each other by helping, encouraging, & bearing one another’s burdens – all with an attitude of… JOY!

Our Heavenly Summer Vacation & Our Heavenly Weekend is coming!

Let me put it this way: do you remember the last day before summer vacation? Everyone is happier, lighter, and easier to get along with. Its as if everyone has a song in their hearts.  They can’t wait; tomorrow’s the beginning of summer!

Or at the workplace; everyone is way happier on Fridays than on Mondays. The weekend is coming!

As believers, we have summer vacation coming; Our Heavenly Summer Break! As followers of The Way, we have our weekend coming; Our Heavenly weekend! We should live like tomorrow is that day of anticipation; because it is! Troubles don’t seem so bad. Trials don’t seem so hard. Things that usually get on your nerves, all of sudden don’t. That’s the spirit!

And if you break out in song, you can always blame Paul.

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You may not want to read this one. Skip it, that’s ok.

Pilate wasn’t stupid. He knew that Jesus was innocent (Matt. 27:23). He knew the Jews wanted Jesus dead. Pilate also knew something else about the Jews: their motive.

“For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.” – Matt. 27:18 (NIV)

Isn’t that the same reason He is rejected today; self-interest? Doesn’t self-interest often lead to violence, like in the case just mentioned?

“Self-interest” is sometimes translated “envy,” but in Greek its literally “decay, break-down, and corrupt” [Properly, it’s a strong feeling that sours due to the influence of sin. Figuratively, it’s being glad when someone else experiences misfortune. The German have a word for that: “schadenfreude.” Its like “farfegnugen” only with pain.

Ouch! Read that again and then remember that this is the same reason Jesus is rejected today! Strong feeling that sours due to sin – it spoils us like sour milk. Thayer calls it a “miserable trait.”

It’s the feeling of jealous ill-will that “negatively ‘energizes’ someone with an embittered mind” (Strongs). Yeah, been there. Who hasn’t been negatively energized with a spiteful mind? So much so, that you go out and try to even the score or pull that person down from their high horse.

Now, get this: it always carries the idea of “displeasure at another’s good without longing to raise oneself to the level of him whom he envies, but only to depress the envied to his own level” (R. Trench, 90).”

You want to drag them down, not pull yourself up!

Pilate knew that. He could see it. I mean literally; “a tumult was rising” (verse 24). So he washed his hands of the situation.

Self-interest is the bane of our society. It is a scourge, a curse, and a terror. It is the vice on which our throats are squeezed. Apathy is king. The spirit of envy & embitterment, self-entitlement & schadenfreude devours all who entertain it – from the inside out.

You know who else has self-interest? Can you think of someone else that, if they are going down, then they are going to drag every last person down with them? Ring any bells? How about the great accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10)? The devil is the original self-interested. Self-interest is his wheelhouse.

That’s the bad news, but thanks be to God that there is Good News as well.

There is only one antidote. There is only one solution. There is only one cure: Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Son of the Father of the heavenly lights (James 1:17).

  • Only Jesus can take that apathetic, cold, dead heart and resuscitate it.
  • Only Jesus can take that self-destructive self-interest and transform it, restore it, and renew it.
  • Only Jesus can unglue us from ourselves.
  • Only Jesus can turn us around from facing the mirror so we can serve & minister to the resident foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow (Jer. 22:3).
  • Only Jesus can exchange our soured souls.
  • Only Jesus.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

I told you, you might not want to read this one. But then again, aren’t you glad you did?

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God prefers love to Him & love to your neighbor above religious lip service. Worship with no heart disgusts Him.

Do you call the Sabbath a delight?

“If you turn away… From doing YOUR pleasure on MY holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight,… And honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD,”– Isa. 58:13-14 (Emphasis mine)

Where does God want the focus? On Him or your service? He desires you to actually WANT to worship, not HAVE to. If you want to worship God, then you will definitely find joy in the Sabbath!

God is not a means to an end – Serving God is satisfying in itself.

Far too often we have the incorrect response to God, myself included. Micah 6:8 is the correct response. He lays out what is required of God from His followers. This is is what’s expected:

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8

Micah 6:8 is the RECIPROCAL RESPONSE TO GOD’S GRACE. It is a lifestyle of justice, mercy, and humility. It is the by-product of loving Jesus.

Let us all strive to embody His lofty requirements!

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Historic Upset

There was an historic upset last night in the NCAA tournament when the University of Maryland Baltimore County became the first 16-seed to ever upset a 1-seed, Virginia.

In other words, the team ranked last, beat the team ranked first (in fact, UVA was favored to win it all). But UMBC didn’t let that Goliath intimidate them, did they?

That’s the beauty of March Madness and tourney time: the past season doesn’t matter, all that matters is the present game!

Is this not also a beautiful reminder of how all of our past sins have been forgiven through Christ and that we need to “keep our heads in the game” by focusing on the present!


The devil wants to run the tape of all your fouls and turnovers over & over in your mind’s eye. He wants to drudge up all those past mistakes &  transgressions because if he can, he can distract you. He plays dirty.

The Holy Spirit reminds us that those past missteps are just that: PAST! and that our Father remembers them no more. He reminds us that God loves us and that Jesus is our righteousness not anything we have done or not done!

So, forget last season’s losses, know that you are forgiven, and live in victory!

… and of course: Go Mounties!

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