How to: “Praying in God’s Word” by @Don95Merritt

Below are links to a couple blog posts by Don Merritt. I am thankful I stumbled upon them. The first post “Humility Exemplified” followed by a post answering someone’s “how to” question about the first post.

How to: “Praying in God’s Word”

“What I am really talking about here is our development of the spiritual discipline of praying in God’s Word.”

“To do so means that we spend quality time with our Lord in His Word, literally praying His Word and asking Him to fill our beings with the riches it contains. We ask Him to reveal to us it’s meaning and significance in our lives, and allow enough time to hear His reply so that if we were asked what God was saying to us in the passage we’d gone through that day, we could not only answer the question, but we could tell the other person what we were doing about what He said.”

These two blog posts are worth a complete read!

John 13:1-17 This is the beginning of the second section of John’s Gospel; there are no more scenes of Jesus teaching the crowds.  The pattern of chapters 2-12 where there is a miracle or sign foll…

Source: Humility Exemplified

The other day Russ P. asked a question in his comment on my post “Humility Exemplified”, and I thought I’d share it with you today, along with my thoughts on the matter. The post was about Jesus’ w…

Source: Random Ramblings: October 15, 2016


Pride: The Case of Nebuchadnezzar by @timkellernyc

Last week; while working through a challenge, someone kindly said to me they thought I may have an issue in the area of pride.  There was a pause, a deep breath and my affirmation.

Later that day, during a run, I listen to a Tim Keller sermon “Pride: The Case of Nebuchadnezzar.” It was perfect timing for me to hear this sermon. God, Please help me in the area of pride, help me continually developed humility.


Pride: The Case of Nebuchadnezzar

(Sermon by Timothy Keller, February 1995 from

Nebuchadnezzar’s pride began in contentment and prosperity,but he had no peace of mind. It caused him to take credit for everything he’d achieved. God dehumanized him in a reflection of what pride had done to his heart. Only when he recognized his debt to God – and that he was the object of God’s mercy – could he be humbled and healed of his pride.

September 6, A Place to Start, Grow Weary and Find Peace via @gotandem

The last three verses gotandem delivered to me today (9/6) where timed well for me as September 6th is a very important day spiritually for me. It’s the day God helped me turn a new direction. Its the day I started to increase God and decrease myself, a process only completed when I reach Heaven. Thank you, gotandem!

A place to start, prayer to the Lord (Daniel 9:4), grow weary with hope (2 Corinthians 5:2), find peace with Gods Word (Ephesians 6:15).


To improve your praying, start in the right place.

Prayer that is properly framed always begins with God. Daniel 9:4 says, “And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, ‘O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments.'”

Isn’t it true that in most of our prayers the third word is “me.” “Lord, help me; Lord, bless me; Lord….” Me, me, me, me, me–I’m the center of my prayers.

But prayer is not about us; prayer is about Him. We’re talking to God. And if you want to get through to God in your prayers, one of the early lessons you want to learn is this: start with God.

We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 2 Corinthians 5:2
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.Ephesians 6:15

God Grows Us One Step at a Time by Rick Warren

A friend forwarded me this devotional this morning, a great reminder indeed.



God Grows Us One Step at a Time
By Rick Warren — Aug 23, 2016

“So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy”(Ephesians 4:22-24 TEV).

Although God could instantly transform us, he has chosen to develop us slowly. Jesus was deliberate in developing his disciples, just as God allowed the Israelites to take over the Promised Land “little by little” so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed (Deuteronomy 7:22). He prefers to work in incremental steps in our lives.

Why does it take so long to change and grow up? There are several reasons:

  • We are slow learners. We often have to relearn a lesson 40 or 50 times to really get it. The problems keep recurring, and we think, “Not again! I’ve already learned that!” But God knows better. The history of Israel illustrates how quickly we forget the lessons God teaches us and how soon we revert to our old patterns of behavior. We need repeated exposure.
  • We have a lot to unlearn. Since most of our problems — and all of our bad habits — didn’t develop overnight, it’s unrealistic to expect them go away immediately. There is no pill, prayer, or principle that will instantly undo the damage of many years. It requires the hard work of removal and replacement. The Bible calls it “taking off the old self” and “putting on the new self” (Romans 13:12; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:7-10, 14).
  • Growth is often painful and scary. There is no growth without change; there is no change without fear or loss; and there is no loss without pain. Every change involves a loss of some kind. We fear these losses, even if our old ways were self-defeating, because, like a worn-out pair of shoes, they were at least comfortable and familiar.
  • Good habits take time to develop. Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits. You can’t claim to be kind unless you are habitually kind. Your habits define your character.

There is only one way to develop the habits of Christ-like character: You must practice them — and that takes time! There are no instant habits. Paul urged Timothy, “Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15 GW).

PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

  • Why do you think God allows us to go through pain and loss while we are growing spiritually?
  • What is the bad habit that you’ve had trouble changing in your life?
  • What one thing do you need to practice doing every day so that you are developing Christ-like character?

Rejecting the Real Jesus, Excellent sermon by @timkellernyc

Great sermon by Timothy Keller, its worth a listen, “The Real Jesus.”


Rejecting the Real Jesus

Why do so many people disbelieve Christianity and reject the message of Jesus Christ? The underlying problem is that we do not want to give up control over our lives and have God be our ultimate authority. To overcome unbelief we must see our need for a Savior and look to Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God, who died for us on the cross. This sermon was preached by Rev. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on September 22, 1996. Series “The Real Jesus Part 1; His Teaching”. Scripture: Matthew 11:16-24

Favorite Biblical Name of God

The church I attend has been doing a sermon series “Wonderful Name.”  The first sermon of the series was about my favorite name “I Am.”  There are many reasons I like “I Am” and these are in now particular ranking.

  • Friend Andy’s story about the names of God during Children’s story at a service a long time ago.
    • Exodus 3:14 (NIV14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
    • John 8:58 (NIV) 58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!
  • “I AM” song by Mark Shultz 
  • “I Am” sermon from Pastor Steve from series mentioned above.


I’ve also been challenged recently to learn /memorize more names of God. There are many wonderful lists of God. Here’s a few.
  • 216 Names of God by Isikabla Ministries
    • El Emunah:  The Faithful GOD: Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9
    • The Lamb: In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:12
    • Light Of The World: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
    • Servant: Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. Acts 4:27

I could go on but to finish this post, I’m reminded of Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God.

“How happy we would be if we could find the treasure of which the Gospel speaks; all else would be as nothing. As it is boundless, the more you search for it the greater the riches you will find; let us search unceasingly and let us not stop until we have found it.”
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God


Empathy and Sympathy

This morning at church, I met a man, he asked me what the difference between empathy and sympathy is. Before I could answer, we were interrupted, the man said think about it, we’ll talk again.

I’ve sense read’s answer (below including link) and am thankful I didn’t have time to answer as I don’t think I’d had the best answer. A search of bible verses turned up very different verses for empathy vs. sympathy.

Bible verses about empathy from

  • Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
  • Peter 4:10  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
  • Romans 12:15  Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
  • Galatians 6:2-3  Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Bible verses about Sympathy from

  • Lamentations 3:31-32 – For the Lord will not cast off forever, but. . . he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.
  • Isaiah 49:13 – For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
  • Psalms 9:9 – The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
  • Psalms 30:2 – O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.
  • Psalms 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
  • Psalms 62:1 – My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.
  • Psalms 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
  • Luke 6:21 – Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
  • John 16:22 – So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father. . .who comforts us in all our affliction. . .

Empathy vs. Sympathy by (Click for full article)

The terms empathy and sympathy are often confused, and with good reason. Both of the words deal with the relationship one has to the feelings and experiences of another. Today we explore the differences between these terms and how they are most commonly used.

empathy_sympathyBoth sympathy and empathy have roots in the Greek term páthos meaning “suffering, feeling.” The prefixsym- comes from the Greek sýn meaning “with, together with” and the prefix em- derives from the Greek en- meaning “within, in.”

Sympathy is the older of the two terms. It entered English in the mid-1500s with a very broad meaning of “agreement or harmony in qualities between things or people.” Since then, the term has come to be used in a more specific way. Nowadays sympathy is largely used to convey commiseration, pity, or feelings of sorrow for someone who is experiencing misfortune. This prevailing sense is epitomized in the category of greeting card most often labeled “sympathy” that specializes in messages of support and sorrow for those in a time of need.

Consider the following examples:

“There was little sympathy in England for David Beckham … when he received a red card in a 1998 World Cup loss to Argentina.” –New York Times,  July 2, 2015

“…the new [Facebook] feature would automatically replace the existing ‘like’ button with a ‘sympathize’ one when users tag their statuses with a negative emotion, like ‘sad’ or ‘depressed.’” –New York, December 6, 2013

Empathy entered English a few centuries after sympathy—in the late 1800s—with a somewhat technical and now obsolete meaning from the field of psychology, which referred to the physiological manifestation of feelings. Unlike sympathy, empathy has come to be used in a more broad way than it was when it was first introduced into the lexicon; the term is now most often used to refer to the capacity or ability to imagine oneself in the situation of another, thereby vicariously experiencing the emotions, ideas, or opinions of that person.

Consider the following examples:

“…many of us believe that if more lives are at stake, we will — and should — feel more empathy (i.e., vicariously share others’ experiences) and do more to help.” –New York Times, July 10, 2015

“I think that’s almost what it is sometimes if you sum up what acting is. It’s just the ultimate expression of empathy.” –Emily Blunt, Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2014

To sum up the differences between the most commonly used meanings of these two terms: sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters, while empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another.

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Suffering for Doing Good 1 Peter 3:8-22

Made a new friend today, he mentioned these verses from 1 Peter. Good reminders.


1 Peter 3:8-22 (NIV)

Suffering for Doing Good

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,

“Whoever would love life
    and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
    and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good;
    they must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
    and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a]

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive,[d] he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[e] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

1 Peter 2:18-25 (NIV)

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[a]

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[b] but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1 Peter 2:18-25 (MSG)

The Kind of Life He Lived

18-20 You who are servants, be good servants to your masters—not just to good masters, but also to bad ones. What counts is that you put up with it for God’s sake when you’re treated badly for no good reason. There’s no particular virtue in accepting punishment that you well deserve. But if you’re treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God.

21-25 This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.

He never did one thing wrong,
Not once said anything amiss.

They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.

Spiritual Obesity

Last Sunday, the pastor at the church I attend introduced a concept/notion/idea that I had not heard before, “spiritual obesity.” I had not considered that the act of going to church each Sunday, reading the bible, praying, etc and not putting the learnings into action could lead to “spiritual obesity.”

Here is a link to his sermon, its the sermon by Pastor Kevin on May 8th.

Here’s also a plethora of other sermon’s on “Spiritual Obesity.” Spiritual Obesity Sermons

I’m reminded of a bible verse read at my fathers funeral. Dad wasn’t “spiritual obese”, he worked on being “spiritually fit” every day by being the best husband, father and friend he could be, helping others, being bold with his faith, etc, I need to do the same every day.

2 Timothy 4:7 (ERV)

I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have served the Lord faithfully.


Surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses

A friend mentioned to me this morning how he had been encouraged by someones vigilance in being accountable to others. He said Hebrews 12 is being worked out in that persons life. What great verses these are. I am so thankful!

-Surrounded by the Body of Christ

-Turn over the Sin that troubles us to Jesus

-Run the race Jesus has planned for us

-By fixing our our eyes on Jesus

-Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith

-For the joy Jesus has now, he endured death on a Cross for us.

-So that we do not grow weary and lose heart.

What power verses!


Hebrews 12 (NIV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.