Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What Must I Do?

“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’  ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother."’ 

‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’  Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’  At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” (Mark 10:17-22 NIV)

The problem with asking the Lord a question is you may not get the answer you are expecting, which is exactly what happened to the rich young man.  It is always risky to ask the Lord what we need to do or how we should be living our lives.  For this young man, he came to the Lord with a desire to gain eternal life.  And I think he was elated when Jesus recited some of the Ten Commandments.  He declared with confidence, “All these I have kept since I was a boy.”  But his confidence quickly evaporated when Jesus told him what else he needed to do.  Giving away his wealth was more than he was willing to do.   But you have to admire him; at least he asked the question.  

I think many of us today are afraid to ask the Lord how we should be living.  We would rather assume we are doing just fine than to hear the truth, which we will always hear from Jesus because He loves us.  It is easier to continue in that relationship, to pursue a certain career track, or just to keep living the way we’ve always lived than to seek out the Lord’s direction.  The truth is He might tell us that in following Him we have to end the relationship, adjust the vision for our career, or change how we live our daily lives.  So we would just as soon not ask.  The answers are too scary and costly, just as they were to the rich young man.

But ask we must if we want to obey and follow Jesus.  How else are we going to know and go where He wants to lead us?  His answers may surprise and even frighten us, but we must trust that He loves us and has our best interests in mind.  

Today, it is likely there are things in your life that the Lord wants you to surrender to Him for your own benefit.  It may not be wealth, but something else that is holding you back from fully following Jesus.  Take the risk and ask this question:  Lord, what must I do?  You may not get the answer you want, but it will be the answer you need.

© Jim Musser 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

When the Waters Rise

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)

As the rain kept falling over this past weekend, my heart kept sinking. After months of work and thousands of dollars spent, the evidence mounted that everything we had done to eliminate water in our crawlspace had failed to make a difference. The water kept rising. The only solution left was the one we were trying to avoid and could not afford—sealing our crawlspace, an $8,000-$10,000 project.  

As one who has been in vocational ministry all his adult life, money has always been an issue.  Unlike, perhaps, some mega church pastors who can earn six figure salaries and be awarded large retirement packages, campus ministers, small church pastors, and missionaries never get financially rich doing what they do.  And, for most of us, there are times when we wonder how we are going to make it through a financially challenging time or how we are going to make it when the time comes to retire.  For me, this weekend was one of those times.  

I fretted. I worried. I snapped at my wife.  I saw our meager savings evaporating before my eyes.  I envisioned a future of owning two vehicles with a half a million miles between them and working until my last breath just to have enough income to survive.  In a few short hours I had conjured up in my mind the worst possible scenario for my life.  

Have you ever done that?  When things get extremely stressful and seemingly hopeless, it is easy for our minds to go into the depths where there is no light and no sense of escape.  Though I have never been suicidal, I am guessing that is what it feels like.

Fortunately, my distress was short-lived.  The Lord had been trying to comfort me, first with a seemingly miraculous rainbow that appeared on our drive to church on Sunday morning.  Out of nowhere this rainbow appeared, amidst the dark clouds and rain. “Remember my promises,” He seemed to be saying.  And then yesterday while exercising, part of this passage came to my mind: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  I knew that was true—in my mind.  The challenge was to embrace it in my heart.  To live it out in the midst of this financial crisis—both real and imagined!  

That is always the challenge—to take our faith from our head (where we acknowledge certain things to be true about God) to our heart (where the truths are the basis on which we live our lives).  And so for the past 24 hours, I have been in the process of doing that.  I have been crying out to the Lord in prayer; I have been remembering the times past when He has provided in similar situations; I have been looking for signs of His provision in my current situation, while embracing His promise never to forsake me.  It is intentional.  Faith rarely comes naturally.

Today, if you are in the midst of a crisis, consider it an opportunity to truly live out your faith.  God promises to never leave or forsake you.  If you believe that in your head, then press it into your heart by intentionally seeking Him, crying out to Him, and trusting Him to take care of whatever needs you have.  Faith is truly lived out in the trenches of life where the waters rise and threaten to overwhelm us, and where we live with the certainty that we have a Savior who will rescue us.

© Jim Musser 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

Striving for Greatness

“A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.’” (Luke 22:24-27 NIV)

These are interesting times in which we live where social media, rather than face to face encounters is the means by which we air our disagreements.  Having friends on Facebook, whom I believe to be followers of Jesus, of both “liberal” and “conservative” leanings, it is interesting to observe how often some of them post links to articles or videos to reinforce their opinions about how Christians should think about the issues of the day.  Perhaps due to the tone of the article/video, the message being conveyed seems to be, “my views are superior to yours and are the right ones to hold.  Of course, placed side by side, they are often totally opposite viewpoints.  From followers of Jesus who claim their allegiance to Him.  

If you remove the social media aspect, this is not much different than the spats the disciples had with one another.  They all followed Jesus, but they often didn’t agree with each other.  And, as Jesus pointedly revealed, at the heart of their disagreements was a desire for superiority.  They each wanted to be seen as better than those other guys.  “I am the greatest disciple!” “No, I am!”  

When I read many Facebook posts, this is what I hear.  “I am the better follower of Jesus!”  “No, I am.”  And I admit, it is tempting to join the fray because my heart is prone to wander into the same territory of thinking I am right and everyone who disagrees with me is, at the very least, deceived, and, at worst, an idiot.  But then I am reminded of the words of my Lord, “But you are not to be like that.”

My calling and your calling as a follower of Jesus is not to pursue greatness in the eyes of others or your own, but is rather to serve others.  It is not to seek to be viewed as the one with the most stellar arguments or opinions.  As the writer of Ecclesiastes puts it, this is chasing after the wind.  

When the disciples became focused on who was the greatest, Jesus redirected them.  They were spending time and energy on things that held no importance in the Kingdom of God.  For greatness, He taught, is not found in power and acclaim, but in serving the King and one another.  

Today, if you are in the habit of airing your opinions on social media because you think they are superior to those of others who also follow the Lord, then remember the rebuke Jesus gave His disciples.  Instead of striving for greatness among each other, strive rather to serve one another.  This indeed is the example Jesus left us that we might follow in His steps.  

© Jim Musser 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Coming into the Light

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:20-21 NIV)

There is a latent trait in our human nature that leads us to do wrong even when we know there is a reasonable possibility we will be found out. So when we do, we live with the ever-present fear that our deeds will be discovered. When Eve and Adam disobeyed God’s command, they hid themselves from Him when they heard Him walking in the Garden of Eden.  Instinctively, they tried to cover up what they had done.

One can only imagine then the fear the clients of the Ashley Madison adulterous website lived with before and after their names were exposed publicly, or some of the employees of Volkswagen when, this week, the company was exposed to having used deceptive software to mimic clean emissions in their diesel cars. 

Fear and shame are the results of doing wrong.  That is why people try to hide or run.  This is why adulterers try to cover up their transgressions; why corrupt officials lie when first confronted with evidence of their misdeeds; and why sex traffickers stay in the shadows.  It is also why our first instinct when caught in a sin is to lie or to make an excuse in order to cover for ourselves.  We fear being exposed either because of shame, fear of punishment, or both.  

Jesus said the truth will set us free (John 8:32) and you see this in how He dealt with the woman at the well (John 4:1-42), the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), and Zacchaeus (Luke 19) By bringing their sins into the light, he gave them the path to freedom.  How?  By showing them mercy and forgiving their sins.

Mercy and forgiveness take away the shame and fear, two of the reasons we want to remain in darkness.  Once we experience this, we can come into the light and remain there.  But the cost always is bringing what we would prefer to remain hidden into the open.  As John says, if we are willing to confess our sins, he will forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).  If we are not, whether because we refuse to stop the sin or because we can’t overcome our fear or shame, then we will remain in the darkness.  

Today, what are you hiding out of fear and/or shame?  Are you weary of the heaviness you feel from the your burden of guilt?  Know that today you can be set free.  Bring your sin into the light of God’s mercy and grace.  Confess your sin to Him and to others (James 5:16) and experience the freedom coming into the light brings.

© Jim Musser 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Staying on God's Good Side

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1-2 NIV)

Yesterday, I had to go to the post office to put money into a postage due account that had been overdrawn.  As I handed the check to the clerk, I commented that I hoped this would get me back on the good side of the worker who had called me about the account.  The clerk laughed and said, “It’s always best to be stay on her good side.”  Obviously, he had had some experience with being on her bad side.  

Sometimes I think this is how we view God—there is a good and bad side to Him and that it’s always better to stay on His good side.  So we do our best to stay on the better side.  Yet what happens when we mess up, when we wind up on the bad side?  I really think it is a false dilemma.

We do not need to fear getting on his bad side because He doesn’t have one.  He is good, period.  And when we mess up?  Well, God is righteous and does punish sin.  Fortunately, for you and I, however, Jesus already took our punishment.  As a result, He stands ready to defend us before the Father.  And the Father readily accepts His intercession on our behalf because He loves us.  That is why He sent His Son to earth.

Perhaps you have relationships with people who have good and bad sides and you try hard to stay on their good side.  That may be advisable.  However, know that God is not like that.  You don’t have to worry that if you mess up you will be on His bad side.  Jesus took care of that for you a long time ago.   Besides, God doesn’t even have a bad side to get on.

Today, enjoy the freedom you have to be in a relationship with your Heavenly Father without having to worry about what happens when you mess up.

© Jim Musser 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wounds Healing Wounds

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  (Psalm 147:3 NIV)

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)

I meet wounded people almost every day; people wounded by friends, by family, or by circumstances.  Some of these wounds are fresh, such as the person who hears his parents are getting a divorce, or the person whose brother just died.  Other wounds have existed a long time and remain open, like the person who still deals with the effects from a traumatic event in his childhood or a person who remains bitter over a relationship that ended years ago.  

Wounds that don’t heal end up getting infected, and if the infection goes untreated, it will eventually affect our whole body.   But treatment of infections that are out of control is not usually painless.  I once knew a man who battled diabetes and was hospitalized several times with gangrene in his feet.  Each time the doctors would have to open incisions around the infected area and clean it out.  Eventually, he had much of both feet amputated.  

Many of us have wounds that may be fresh or have remained open for many years.  We are in need of healing.  And indeed we can be—by the wounds of Another.  By His death, Jesus made it possible for us to enter into a relationship with our God who is the Healer of wounds.  Yet our healing is not automatic.  The Great Physician does not force Himself upon us; He will not begin His work until we are ready.  And that is why many followers of Jesus are still among the walking wounded. They are just not ready to allow Him to begin His healing work because it often involves pain—pain of acknowledging hurt, weakness, and perhaps anger and bitterness and a cure that may involve forgiveness.  

Like people who hate to admit they are sick or ignore symptoms out of fear of what might happen if they go to the doctor, often we fear the pain we might experience in the process of being healed by the Lord.  So we avoid letting Him near that area of our lives, and we pay the price.  The untreated wound festers and begins to affect our whole life, though we may pretend otherwise.  

Today recognize the Lord, as a result of His wounds, is ready and willing to heal any wounds you may have, but you have to allow Him to do so.  While the healing might be painful, it will not be nearly as painful as allowing the wound to affect your whole life.  

© Jim Musser 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Father to the Abandoned

“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.  Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.  A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” (Psalm 68:3-6 NIV)

Abandonment seems to be a theme this year.  I have heard stories of students who were abandoned by their fathers, their mothers, or both when they were children.  And some others feel abandoned by unengaged parents or a parent who died too soon.  

God created us to be raised by two parents who love us, but, in a fallen world, sometimes that is not the reality we experience.  While growing up, I never heard my parents say to me, “I love you,” nor did I ever hear them say it to one another.  I wasn’t abandoned in the literal sense, but the feelings were there.  I longed to be valued and to be a part of a family unit whose members cared for one another---to hear it and to feel it.  

It wasn’t until my late teens, when I decided to follow Jesus, that I began to experience a sense of family.  And it didn’t come from my biological family, but rather my spiritual family—my brothers and sisters in the Lord.  I felt loved and valued in a way in which I had never before experienced.  God had placed this lonely young man into a family.  And the love I received was just what I needed.

I see the same thing happening today in our ministry.  Students whose home lives are dysfunctional, who have been or feel abandoned are finding love and acceptance from a new family with the Lord as its Head.  They have a sense of belonging that has been missing.  

This is how God is a father to the fatherless.  He places the lonely, the abandoned, in His family.  His sons and daughters then embrace their new siblings with the same love they themselves have experienced from their Father.  

Today, know that regardless of the state of your biological family, in the Lord you always have a Father and a family.  You never have to feel alone or unloved.  The door is open and your Father and siblings are welcoming you to come in.  

© Jim Musser 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

Life-Changing Conversations

“On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:13-15 NIV)

I find it interesting in this passage that Luke makes clear that his and Paul’s contact with Lydia was unintended.  They had gone looking for a place to pray.  Instead of praying, they began a conversation that had life-changing consequences.  

How often are we open to having our plans disrupted in order to have a life-changing conversation with someone?  It would have been rather easy for Luke and Paul to have passed by the women in order to look for another place they could pray in private.  They were intending to pray, right?  So they had a wonderful excuse to pass on by.  But they didn’t because they sensed the opportunity the Lord had given them.  

It is so easy to get so zoned in on our plans and agendas that we can miss the opportunities presented to us to be agents of transformation. Perhaps it is on an airplane, an encounter at the dining hall, or, like for me this weekend, sitting around a campfire. But we are always given a choice as to whether we will engage in this conversation or pass on it.  

They will not all end like the one the Apostles had with Lydia.  Many, perhaps most, will be more of the variety of “seed planting” or “seed watering” than seeing a harvest of faith as a result.  But the opportunity to learn people’s stories and to share our own are always ones worth taking.  I imagine Luke and Paul told Lydia and the other women of their encounter with Jesus and the impact it had on their lives, and I’m sure they inquired about the faith of the women.  I also imagine it was natural and not forced because they were just sharing about their lives.  

Often what makes these types of encounters so intimidating to us is we view them as artificial, akin to knocking on someone’s door and asking them, “If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain you would go to Heaven?”  But in reality, we, like Luke and Paul, need just to share our stories, or parts of them, of what the Lord did and is doing in our lives.  Peter sums it up nicely by saying, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (I Peter 3:15) 

Is that so difficult?  It shouldn’t be if we have an active and vibrant relationship with the Lord.  Think of it as telling the story of how you met your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, or about someone else whom you dearly love and respect.  It should be natural rather than awkward or intimidating.

Today, and every day, be on look out for those “divine appointments” where the Lord is giving you the opportunity to share the reason for the hope that you have with someone who may be in need of hearing about the love of Jesus.  You never know how important that conversation may eventually be to the other person.  It very well may be life-changing. 

© Jim Musser 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015


“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV)

If you type in “self-help books” on, over 425,000 entries come up.  Type in “self-improvement” and you get over 85,000 entries. Americans are big on becoming a “better you.”  

The only problem is, applying many of the suggestions of these books may lead to a better you, but will not change the fact that a better you is still a dead you.  The fact is without Jesus, all people are dead. (Ephesians 2:1-2) There is not one self-improvement book, or a thousand, that can change that.  To believe otherwise is to believe a mortician’s work can actually make a dead person only a sleeping one. No matter how much he does, he can’t change the fact that the person in the casket is dead.  

When we go the way of the self-help culture, we chase a fantasy.  Our situation is too dire and too great for us to correct on our own, or even with the help of “experts” who are likely as dead as we are.  No, as Paul says, the radical change we need can only come from God.  What makes us dead is our sin, and Jesus is the only solution to that problem.  We can’t work our way out of it.  We can’t buy our way out of it.  We can’t become righteous by trying harder or doing better.  And even if we can improve ourselves, by what standard do we measure that improvement?  Other dead people?

Contrary to popular opinion, God does not seek to improve us, but rather to re-create us, to transform us from being dead in our sin to being dead to sin.  That is an achievement far beyond our capabilities.  

Today, recognize that you have a sin problem, which you cannot fix.  If you are dead in sin, no amount of trying will bring you back to life.  Only God can do that.  After all, He is an expert in raising the dead to life.  

© Jim Musser 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What to Do About All the Bad News

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4 NIV)

It is often just overwhelming—the news.  What we see in our morning newsfeeds, hear on the radio, or see on television.  The refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe.  The Planned Parenthood videos. Police shooting unarmed people and people shooting police.  Mass shootings. Child porn and human trafficking rings.  Sometimes it’s just too much and we want to stop paying attention and just focus on our own little worlds, until those, too, are invaded by bad news, like a parent suffering a massive heart attack, an aunt losing a battle with cancer, or mom and dad announcing they are divorcing.  

The reality is there is no escaping bad news in a fallen world.  It has always been that way.  It will always be that way until the Lord returns to set things right.  The question is, how do we cope?  Our instinct is that we should do something, but in most circumstances we feel powerless to effect any change, so we do nothing.  What can I do to help the refugees?  What can I do to help put an end to human trafficking?  For every problem in the world, that question can be asked.  And for some there are practical answers, but frankly there are just too many major problems in the world for any one of us to focus our attention on more than a very few.  But they are all urgent.  So what to do?

Paul supplies the answer in writing to his protégé, Timothy.  This young man was struggling with his new church and the problems of keeping it healthy and growing.  The culture was hostile, once-faithful followers were abandoning their faith, and Timothy was overwhelmed by his lack of experience and ability to handle the problems he faced.  He was being pummeled by bad news and didn’t know what to do.  

In facing the problems today, we hear a lot about using social media to draw attention to them—hashtag campaigns, etc.  We hear a lot about marches and protests.  We are urged to petition government officials. But how often are we urged to pray?  It seems most of the time we are urged to pray about personal problems, but for the social problems of our day or international issues, not so much.  Yet Paul is very clear to Timothy that prayer is a crucial response to what is happening in our midst as well as far away.  

The truth is we are easily overwhelmed by life’s difficulties, but God never is.  He is the only One who can handle all the crappy things that are taking place.  And He has given us an opportunity to “do something” about them—to lift them up in prayer.  Are you concerned about the refugees?  Then pray for them.  Are you concerned about the evils of the human traffickers?  Then go in prayer against their evil deeds.  Are you concerned about racism?  Then pray for unity among our people.  

You may think prayer is not doing anything, but the Scriptures are full of examples of the power of prayer and repeatedly emphasize its practice among those who follow the Lord, who always made prayer a priority in His life.  

Today, recognize you cannot take on all the world’s problems—there are just too many and you will be quickly overwhelmed if you try.  But we serve One who is not overwhelmed and who cares about all the people of the world.  Take the problems that are on your radar and pray to Him about them.  You will be doing something about the problems of the world without being overwhelmed by them. 

© Jim Musser 2015 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

God's Glory in Plain Sight

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."  The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:16-20 NIV)

Last night, from my front porch, I watched a red globe descend and then disappear beyond the horizon.  This morning, as I write, I am watching from a similar vantage point a pale yellow globe descend along the same path.  The sun and moon in all their beauty point to the glory of their Creator—at least they do to me.

For many, however, while acknowledging the beauty of creation, they will refuse to acknowledge the Creator.  They will instead use a scientific narrative to explain all that we see around us, assuming that narrative eliminates any competing narrative of a Creator.  So they will often scoff at people like me who worship the Creator rather than the created.  They will say we are delusional or emotionally needy, that we are the creators of the Creator because of our need to look to something beyond ourselves.  

But here Paul warns them they will be without excuse before the Creator whose existence they deny.  For the creation they believe they can explain he says clearly demonstrates the existence and power of the Creator.  In fact, he says the evidence is not hidden, but is in plain sight.  

I have talked with many skeptics and atheists and it seems that one thing hangs them up: There is a scientific explanation for all of creation. For example, the sun and moon rise and set because science has revealed it is due to their orbits in combination with the orbit of the earth.  And their beautiful colors can be explained as well.  Yet, I don’t get it.  Does the fact that I can explain the techniques and processes an artist used to create his work diminish my appreciation for him as an artist or even lead me to deny he exists?  Do I cease to marvel at the work of Michelangelo or question his existence just because I can explain how the work was created?  That to me is delusional.  Regardless of the biological or geological processes that can explain the creation around us, isn’t it obvious that there is a Creator, a Divine Artist, behind all that we see?  Could what we see around us possibly be the sole result of random processes over billions of years?  Last night and this morning, I was again reminded the answer is in plain sight.

Today, take a good look around you.  God has made His glory evident in all that He has created.  It’s in plain sight.

© Jim Musser 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Changing the World

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 NIV)

“Go big or go home” is a saying of more recent vintage and reflects our culture’s predisposition with doing things that are recognized as significant.  Doing little things is not really worth the time.  Doing big things is what we need to aim for.  “You can change the world” is the mantra.  So we aim big.  Hashtag campaigns to end sex trafficking or a video about body image that will go viral.  Acquiring a job that will have significant world impact.  

Or, we do nothing, or next to nothing because what we can do, or think we can do, is not big or at the change-the-world level, so it’s not worth our time or effort.  As a result, we can walk through life believing we are failures because we should have done so much more.  

What we need to realize is the significance of our lives is not found in our accomplishments, but in our faithfulness to the Lord.  Apart from Him, nothing we do truly matters.  The only true world-changer is Jesus. And the only way we will really impact the world in a lasting way is by first being faithful to Him.  

But we often get suckered by the world to aim for its standard of accomplishment—doing something that is big and gains much attention, and doing it on our own.  Many have tried and many have succeeded in their own eyes, and perhaps even in the eyes of the world.  But Jesus says if it was done apart from Him, it was nothing of any true significance.  What He is interested in is our daily faithfulness to Him. The rest, He says, will happen naturally because He will be working through us. 

Today, if you want to be a part of changing the world, then spend more and more time getting to know the only true world-changer. The reality is, apart from Him there is no hope of truly changing anything.  

© Jim Musser 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Free Stuff

“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:22-24 NIV)

At one of our ministry’s events during the opening week of school, we were handing out free ice cream.  One group of freshmen women excitedly declared they were spending the week going around campus to eat or collect as much free stuff as they could find.  And there you have the main reason ministries and other organizations offer free stuff: People love things that are free!  To coin an old line from a famous movie: If you offer free stuff, they will come.

That is true to a point, but it is interesting to note that perhaps the greatest thing ever given away freely has few takers.  The grace of God given freely to us through Jesus Christ does not have vast numbers of people lining up to get their hands on it.  While students will scour campus looking for free stuff, and businesses will have lines of people gather to take advantage of a free promotional give-away, the vast majority of people take a pass on receiving the free grace of God through Jesus.

One reason, I think, is we have an internal need to earn our way.  We want to be accepted by God on our own merits.  “I’m a good person.”  “I avoid doing bad things.”  “I try to help people who need it.”  “I read my Bible and pray.”  Since the Fall of humanity, human beings have been trying to prove, according to their own codes, how good they are, so, I suppose, when they appear before God after their lives on earth have concluded, they can provide the reasons why they should be accepted into Eternity.  Of course, the problem with this thinking is it contrary to the truth of the Scriptures.  None of us can earn our way into Heaven.  

Secondly, I think people know that “free” may not always be truly free. Several students asked when coming up to our table, “Is it really free?” It was, but it came with a rationale behind it.  By giving away free stuff, we hoped to connect with the students, to get their attention, and perhaps start a conversation.  The end goal was to begin a journey with them to help them learn about and grow more intimate with Jesus.  

All free promotions have some motive behind them, usually to sell you something.  A credit card company may offer free t-shirts, but what they really want is your interest payments.  A cell phone company may give you a free phone, but what they are aiming for is your commitment to a contract.  Thus, “free” often isn’t truly free.

And if we examine the Scriptures, God’s grace is free in the sense that He gives it freely; He is under no obligation to extend it to us, but does so despite our sin.  But if we accept His offer, it will cost us—significantly.  As Paul writes elsewhere about the cost of accepting God’s offer: “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.” (Galatians 2:20) The cost is control of our lives.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  

Though God’s grace is costly, we can still refer to it as free because it is freely given and must be freely received.  God is not coerced and neither are we.  And once we choose to receive it, contrary to rational thought, it is not up to us to carry through with the bargain, but rather to get out of the way and let Him do the work through us.  Surrendering our wills to His is the price we pay for His freely given grace.  

Today, recognize God’s grace comes freely from Him and must be freely received by you.  He will not coerce you nor should you receive it under some type of coercion.  But once you freely decide to receive it, know it comes with a price—your will must be surrendered to His. That’s it.  If you are willing to pay that price, He will take care of the rest. It may not be totally free, but if you look at it closely, it is about as close to free as you are going to get because He does the work for you.

© Jim Musser 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

Developing the Roots of Faith

"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'

"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:5-15 NIV)

I have seen this parable played out in the lives of students so many times.  There are those who at first seem open to pursuing the Lord, but then their doubts overwhelm them and they’re gone.  There are the ones that have a great experience with the Lord and are full of excitement.  They float along on the emotional high of a new way of life. But then the emotion dwindles, disappointments come, and their enthusiasm for the Lord runs dry.  I have also seen those who are fully committed to the Lord, but circumstances in life derail them.  It may be a new relationship, the demands of school or a job, or just the desire to enjoy the pleasures of this world.    

The scenarios may be different, but the cause is the same—the roots of faith were never developed.  Too often people seeking to follow the Lord tie their faith to their emotions and to circumstances.  For example, it is very easy to commit to a particular ministry or church because of how great you find the people and the activities.   But what happens when you have to leave that ministry, or when some of the people or activities begin to disappoint you?  What then?  

Participating in a church or ministry, or hanging out exclusively with people who follow Jesus is not the same as having an intimate relationship with the Lord.  Because people often confuse this is why the faith of so many withers away.  Their attention is focused on the people and the activities rather than on the Lord.  Thus, they have no root to sustain them long-term.  For while involvement with great and fun people doing great and fun activities can be a good and enjoyable thing, it is no substitute for a growing, active relationship with the Lord. This is the only way our spiritual lives will be sustained over a lifetime.  

Today, think about your spiritual roots.  How deep are they really?  Even if you are involved in a great Christian community, it can never be a substitute for a growing relationship with the Lord.  It is only through Him that your spiritual roots can grow deep enough to sustain faithfulness throughout your life.

© Jim Musser 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A New Self-Righteousness

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 

‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’” (Luke 18:9-14 NIV)

Several years ago, I attended a youth conference where two up and coming authors spoke.  They are both now well-known bloggers and have written several additional books.  Both recounted their “fundamentalist Christian” upbringings and how it affected them.  At the time, I thought what they had to say was an accurate critique of how many misread the Scriptures and have unrealistic expectations of a pagan world needing to live by Christian standards.  But I had one concern: In their presentations, there was a hint of arrogance.  The way in which they talked revealed they tended to think of themselves as enlightened Christians and better than the ones with whom they grew up.

What was a hint a few years ago has grown into full-blown self-righteousness.  These writers are now a part of a popular movement within the Church that prides itself in being a different type of Christian than those seen on TV—the ones portrayed as intolerant, unloving, bigoted, etc.  A current video put out by BuzzFeed that has gone viral is just the most recent example.  The people featured want people to know, in essence, they are not like “those other Christians” who judge, are homophobic, biased against women, against drinking alcohol, and so on who give Christianity a bad name.  

This new type of self-righteousness focuses its attention not on the sins of the world, but rather on the sins of the Church.  However, it sounds a lot like the Pharisee Jesus talks about: “God, I thank you I am not like other Christians—haters, judgers, homophobes.  I love people, am accepting and tolerant; I don’t condemn people who live different lifestyles and am open-minded about different views.”  And, like the Pharisee, they proudly proclaim it for all to hear.

But as was the case with the Pharisee, they are blind to their arrogance and pride.  It is not that their critique is completely without merit, but the example of Paul is a much better model to follow than the one of the Pharisee.  While critiquing the behavior of others, we should always have the attitude of the repentant tax collector who, like Paul, realized the depth of his own sin and his absolute need for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Today, recognize while it is legitimate to critique the Church and those in it, it is also very easy to fall into self-righteousness.  Know that it is always much better to humble yourself and then to later be exalted, than to exalt yourself above others and then be humbled by the revelation of the depth of your own sin.

© Jim Musser 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Accepting Us Where We Are

“Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.  They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’  ‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don't know where they have put him.’  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

‘Woman,’ he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ 
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’  Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’
   She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”   Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her.” (John 21:8-18 NIV)

It would seem more likely that Jesus would have appeared first to Peter and John, since, though not completely understanding, they had faith that Jesus indeed had risen from the dead.  Yet, He waited until they had left the tomb (and Mary) to show Himself, and to Mary nonetheless, a woman who, even with the tomb empty, could not grasp a risen Lord. She could only believe that His body had been moved.  

But isn’t this just like Jesus?  He accepts people where they are, not where they should be.  Like Thomas, who brazenly declared he would not believe Jesus was alive until He actually saw Him and examined His wounds (John 20:25), even after all the other disciples said they had seen Him.  So Jesus made a special appearance to show Himself to Thomas.

I think it is natural to believe that Jesus has certain expectations of us and we need to meet those for Him to be pleased with us. And when we don’t, the Lord seems further and further away.  Yet, He doesn’t wait for us to reach the point of bridging the gap. He comes to where we are.  

Today, recognize that regardless of how far you think you are from what Jesus expects of you, that He is willing to accept you where you are. He is willing to come to you and walk with you into even deeper and more obedient faith.

© Jim Musser 2015

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Money and Wisdom

“Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12 NIV)

This past summer, I was talking with an alumnus of our ministry who had made some discoveries about money.  While in school, he dreamed of making lots of money in his career of choice, and that dream came true a few years later.  But along with the dream came a nightmare: a debt, combined with that of his wife, of well over $100,000! Unlike many of their peers, this couple recognized the bondage of debt and has worked hard to pay theirs down to the point they will be debt-free within the next year.

As the Teacher points out, money can provide some security, but the pursuit of it is a double-edged sword.  It can also lead you into a trap of debt from which you could be trying to extract yourself for decades. And, even more importantly, as is evidenced by so many wealthy celebrities, money cannot preserve the integrity or contentment of your life.  It is not, as is often believed, the panacea to a fulfilled existence.

Yet, like this couple, many will pursue wealth at great cost, whether it be through taking out enormous student loans, gambling, or falling for the latest “get rich quick” scheme, all with the same belief—money is the answer to life’s problems and difficulties and will provide all the security they need.  

But unlike most, this couple learned quickly the downside of pursuing money and debt.  As a result, they began pursuing wisdom and learned how to prioritize between needs and wants.  Rather than trusting in money for their security, they instead began trusting in the Lord.  Even as they began paying down their debt, they also began tithing and blessing others financially.  What they have found is generosity brings far more joy than spending money on themselves.  In other words, they have embraced the Lord’s wisdom that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Today, recognize that while money may provide you with some security in life, it cannot fulfill the oft-made promise of full security and contentment in life, and often leads us into bondage.  Rather, contentment and freedom can only come through pursuing the wisdom of knowing and trusting the Lord.  It is this pursuit that provides the ultimate security in life. 

© Jim Musser 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015


“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:31-40 NIV)

Many international students have never been in an American home. Though they study in America and even have American friends, their experience in our country often does not include being invited into a family home.  So when my wife and I were blessed last year to be able to purchase a large home, we knew the Lord was giving us the opportunity to fulfill one of our mutual gifts—hospitality.  

So, we didn’t think twice when a Korean student let us know she needed a larger place to host fellow international students for a Korean/Thai dinner this weekend and wondered if we would be willing to open our home for them.  "Of course!" we said. Nations represented were South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Spain. We knew two of the students, but the rest were strangers.  

Since they usually have not been inside an American home, we give them a tour of ours.  Last night, as I was showing them the guest room, the Japanese student asked if we allowed foreigners to stay there.  He went on to say his father would be visiting him next month.  When I told him his father would be welcome to stay with us, his eyes lit up and a smile spread across his face.   “Thank you!  Thank you so much!” he exclaimed.

Whether or not his father ends up staying with us, I don’t know, but this student’s reaction spoke volumes about the value of hospitality.  A stranger being warmly received into a home is a powerful expression of kindness, one that in our busyness of life we often ignore.  We barely have time for those closest to us, let alone showing hospitality to strangers.  Yet, Jesus makes a point that hospitality is one of the marks of those who follow Him.  “I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

The current refugee crisis in Europe is an example of the power of hospitality.  While experiencing hostility and rejection in Hungary, the refugees received a warm welcome from Germany, bringing many to tears and putting smiles on their faces.

Strangers in the context of this passage are ones in need.  The international students we invite into our home are away from their families and friends, many for the first time, staying in a country whose culture and language are very unfamiliar to them.  Much like the refugees coming to Europe, a warm welcome brings much needed encouragement and security.  Each one of the students last night thanked us multiple times for inviting them into our home.  In that brief time, I think some needs were met and, according to Jesus, we served Him at the same time.

Today, think about the strangers in your life—the neighbors you’ve never truly met, the classmates who sit around you, and those from other countries who cross your path.  Consider how you might show them hospitality.  For showing kindness to strangers is the same as doing it to Jesus.  

© Jim Musser 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

Remembering God

"Will the Lord reject forever? 
Will he never show his favor again?  Has his unfailing love vanished forever? 
Has his promise failed for all time?  Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?" 
Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: 
the years of the right hand of the Most High.’  I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.  Your ways, O God, are holy. 
What god is so great as our God?” (Psalm 77:7-13 NIV)

It seems to be a fact of our human nature—we easily forget God.  We forget His power, His faithfulness, His love, and sometimes, even His very existence.  Perhaps this is why the most oft repeated command in the Bible is, “Remember.”  

I am not sure why we are so forgetful, but I know from my own experience, and in observing others, that it is true.  Just yesterday as I was preparing for a Bible study, I realized how long it had been since I had thought about the awesomeness of God and His creation.  Though I live in the midst of it constantly, my thoughts had been elsewhere.  

When life is hard, we can forget the love and mercy of God.  Even though we may have experienced it many times before, in the midst of difficulties we tend to forget.  And when we are stressed, we seem to forget how faithful the Lord has been in the past to get us through those times, whether it be a heavy course load, relationship difficulties, or when money is very tight.  And sometimes we become so busy or distracted, we don’t even think about God at all, for hours or even days!

So it seems remembering has to be a very intentional act; it is not something that will ever come to us naturally.  The Psalmist says, “ I WILL remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I WILL remember your miracles of long ago.”  And it seems the key to remembering is found in his next statement: “I WILL meditate on all of your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”  We must take the time to think about the Lord and His works and deeds in our lives and in the world.

Today, take some time to think about what the Lord has done in your life.  Remember how truly great He is, lest you forget.

© Jim Musser 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Self-Control: A Wall of Protection

“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” (Proverbs 25:28 NIV)

Last spring I heard a commotion as I was leaving a discipleship group with some of our guys at an apartment complex next to campus. I couldn’t tell what it was at first, but then the source of the noise came into view.  A group of 20+ young women in their underwear was marching along the street chanting about the right to dress the way they wanted without fear of being raped or harassed.  It was quite the sight, particularly, as word spread, the men coming out of the their apartments to get a look. They seemed to enjoy it!

As I thought about this incident, this proverb came to mind.  Walls in the ancient world were vital to protect a city from being attacked by enemies, and were a symbol of strength.  This is why Nehemiah reacted so strongly at the news the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins

For many today, like those women marching in their underwear, self-control is seen as weakness rather than strength.  To be strong is to do what you want when you want without consequences.  To show self-control is to be a prude or “holier than thou.”

Yet, as I look back on my life and view the many troubles others get into, it is so often the lack of self-control that is the culprit.  Most rapes and violence on campus involve drunkenness.  Road rage always results from seething anger that is allowed to flare.  Incidences of child molestation have their roots in the inability to control thoughts and actions.  And the unabashed desire to wear what one wants, regardless of how provocative, tempts the one whose urges are unrestrained.

Like an ancient city under threat needed walls for protection, so do we need self-control to protect ourselves in a fallen world.  It is not “blaming the victim” to recognize the need for wisdom and restraint in our lives. Self-control is a necessity in the face of so many threats to our well-being.  It is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)

The enemy seeks to wreak havoc through the lack of self-control and a half-hour reading the news on the Internet will reveal the success of that strategy.  For the follower of Jesus, self-control is a necessary protection against the devil’s schemes.  

Today, while the culture may be telling you to do whatever feels good or to insist on your right to do whatever you want, know that danger lurks within that premise.  Instead of being a hindrance on your freedom, self-control is a necessary protection from all that would seek to harm you. Therefore, you would be wise to have it, or, if you lack it, to seek it.

© Jim Musser 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Willing and Available

“When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’  Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’" (Esther 4:12-16 NIV)

It’s not unusual for me to occasionally receive messages from readers saying that something I wrote spoke to them.  However, last week I received two messages on consecutive days from readers saying the Lord used my devotions to speak directly to their hearts.  I found it interesting because, honestly, it was a week where I really struggled with what to write.  Generally, ideas flow fairly easily, but last week it was not that way.  Most of the time, I found myself digging into my archives looking for something to post.  And, probably because I enjoy writing from fresh thoughts, I was a little disappointed in myself.  

Those messages I received, however, were strong reminders that the Lord can use me even if I am having an off week because it is not really my efforts but His power that is the key.  All that is needed on my part is a willingness to be available for His use.  As Mordecai told Esther, God’s will would be fulfilled with or without her help, but He had chosen to use her if she were willing.  

God used me last week in the lives of two people merely because I was willing to be available.  He doesn’t necessarily need us to bring our “A game” to a given situation, or even have a clue about what we are doing.  He just needs our willingness to be available to Him.  

Today, know the Lord wants to use you in advancing the work of His Kingdom.  You may not feel at all qualified, but know that does not matter.  He’s not looking for experts or people who are living perfect lives, just those who are willing to be available to Him. 

© Jim Musser 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Keeping Promises

“Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts of gifts never given.” (Proverbs 25:14 NIV)

One warning I give to any of our new staff or interns is that in the life of self-supported ministry, there will always be a few people who say they are going to support you but never do.  I am not sure why this is, but it happens. And it is always disappointing because you want to accept the word of people, particularly when you likely are to know them. 

It is so easy to offer up a promise, but it is also easy to fail to fulfill it, particularly if we are more interested in how we are perceived than committed to the promise we’ve made.  If someone tells me of difficulties they are having, I may be tempted to tell them I’ll pray for them because I don’t want to appear uncaring, but the reality may be I am not committed to following through.  The same is true with commitments of financial support to missionaries.  I know the need because someone I know has presented it to me.  I may feel the compulsion to commit to give, but my heart is not really in it.  If so, then it is more likely to become an empty promise.

When I was a child, I desperately wanted to take vacations around the country and so I pleaded with my dad to take me.  His standard response was “next year.”  I realized much later that he had no intention of taking me, but he didn’t want to disappoint me, so he opted to make a promise he had no intention of fulfilling.  

James warns us of the dangers of being loose with our promises (5:12). As followers of the Lord, we follow One who is faithful in keeping His promises; thus, we should be faithful in doing the same.  Whatever we promise, we should do, or else humbly confess and seek forgiveness when we fail to follow through on a commitment.  And before making promises, we should consider the responsibility we have in Christ to fulfill them. We should not quickly promise something without thinking through our commitment to doing it.  

Today, remember that if you are follower of Jesus, you represent Him who is faithful in all He promised.  So consider carefully the promises you make.  A promise made should be one that you keep.  

© Jim Musser 2015