Thursday, January 29, 2009

This is Getting Old

Which is more important? Living large or living long? Your answer may depend on which end of the lifespan continuum you are currently standing on.

The younger generations like to live large with no concern about living long. They drive fast, eat junk food, and treat their body like it comes from a disposable machine -- when one is used up, a fresh one pops in it's place.

The older generations just want to hang on and live long. They drive slow, eat only that which has no taste, and constantly take their bodies to the body shop for repairs.

As I get closer to 40...I mean, 50...I find that living long is taking on a new appeal. Don't get me wrong, I still like to live large, but with caution. I buckle my seatbelt a little tighter, wear my pants a little higher, and keep bran cereal on standby. I still live life on the edge as long as the edge isn't any higher than a street curb.

Folks older than me take on a new attitude somewhere after 50. They seem to think that living long IS living large. They see themselves as being on TOP of the hill, not over it. They brag about their age and take pride in being the last one standing.

Job asked some good questions, "Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?" (Job 12:12, NIV).

If age brings wisdom and long life brings understanding, then shouldn't the younger among us value and respect the thoughts and advice of the older?

Murphy's law seems to sprinkle a little dust on this topic. The wisdom we need to make the most important decisions of our lives won't enter our brains for at least another ten years when we're young.

Ah, but there's hope no matter how old or young you are. The Bible is the greatest source of wisdom anywhere in the world because it's Author has been around longer than anyone or anything. Seek His wisdom in His Word. He will see to it that you get the answers you need (even if it isn't the answers you want).

You'd be surprised how blessed you will be if you also seek wisdom from someone ahead of you in the calendar of life. Seek the counsel of older believers. Increase your wisdom by plugging into theirs. After all, they've survived and thrived without a lot of the stuff you and I can't seem to live without. Maybe we should find out how.

Wisdom and understanding can also be found in another resource...a four-letter word despised by most of us, especially the younger amongst us: WAIT. Sometimes, the greatest solution to a problem is to wait it out. Time can be a great teacher and a handy problem-solver.

You don't need an owl to tell you how many licks there are in the lollipop of life. Just ask the Ancient of Days and a brother or sister in Christ who has walked the trail ahead of you with joy...and learn to wait for the answers and solutions you seek.

Gotta's time for my Metamucil,
Perry Crisp

Monday, January 26, 2009

Work of Art

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb" (Psalm 139:13 NIV).

Womb memories are hard to come by. Try as I may, I cannot remember anything of those nine months in my mother's womb. Am I alone or does everyone suffer from amniotic amnesia?

There is One who remembers. God remembers. He has never forgotten our nine-month incubation process. He remembers piecing us together, bit by bit. It's quite a remarkable thing God did when He created you and me. He weaved sinews and nerves, organs and arteries, flesh and bones into a masterful creation.

You probably already receive more compliments than you know what to do with, but may I add one more? You are a masterpiece! Even those of you whom I have never seen -- I know it's true.

How do I know? Because God is a magnificent creator. You and I are His handiwork. We are something to behold. Not because of who we are, but because of who God is.

The Psalmist recognized the involvement of God in the invention of people. He described God as a master weaver whose knitting needles work miracles.

God is quite familiar with you. He created you with purpose and design and has a specific purpose and design for your life. What it may be, I do not know. But I know you are an original, created for something special. And I know God wouldn't go to so much trouble to create such a masterpiece as you -- and then hide His purpose from you. Ask Him. Keep asking Him. Keep believing that He will show you.

The more you realize the significance of your identity, the more caution you will use in the conduct of your life.

Would you hang a famous work of art over a pig pen? No. Would you drive a $100,000 sportscar in a demolition derby? Never.

Then be careful with the masterpiece that is YOU. Keep it away from slop and destruction. Originals are hard to come by.

The One and Only, (did I hear you say, "Thank God!"?)
Perry Crisp

*This Morning With God devotional books are still available. We have about 25 left. You can click on the following link to order your copy ($30 plus shipping):

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Internal Combustion

Some Christians seem to have an internal combustion system. Their spiritual cylinders are always pumping. They have the smile, the joy and the bounce that sets them apart from others. They always seem to be on fire for God.

Then there are the rest of us. Far from internal combustion, we can never seem to get rid of our infernal congestion. We are always choking and coughing, spitting and sputtering. We can manage an occasional smile and a few milliseconds of joy, but forget the bounce. And if we're ever on fire, it's because we mistook the jalapeno for okra.

What makes the difference? As a member of the Infernal Congestion Society, I am happy to announce that I have infiltrated the ranks of the Internal Combustion Society and discovered the secret of those bouncy brothers and smiling sisters in Christ.

"Now to HIM who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to HIS power that is at work WITHIN US, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV, emphasis mine).

Do you see it? The source and secret of the joy and power found in our perky partners in Christ IS Christ! The secret is not who THEY are. The secret is who GOD is -- IN them.

God is the one who has the ability, not the believer. And when His ability is welcomed into our availability, He has freedom to work within us. And when God has freedom to work within us without any interference from us, it's like having an internal combustion system.

We can all belong to the Internal Combustion Society. All we have to do is trust God to release His joy and power in and through our lives.

About to Bust,
Perry Crisp

Monday, January 19, 2009

Who's the Boss?

"The boss wants to see you." Those six words can inflame an ulcer quicker than a chili-cheese dog with onions. "The boss wants to see you" could mean anything from a boost in salary to -- well, a boost! Why are people so afraid of the big bad boss?

Some see the boss as someone who holds the reigns on their career. Others try to win the boss' approval with kind words, insincere compliments, and fake smiles. Even if they don't particularly like their boss, they are afraid of losing a job, a raise, or a promotion, so they either cater to a boss they don't respect or change jobs.

For the believer in Christ, there is a better way to live while on the clock. Change bosses. Isn't that the same as changing jobs? Nope. You can change bosses without having to change jobs. Don't consult your employee policy manual. It's not in there. It IS, however, in your Book of Instructions and Beliefs for Life on Earth (B-I-B-L-E).

On any job for any company in any country, you can still work for the same boss. You can work for this boss at home, at school, in a factory, in a store, on an assembly line or in an executive office. As a committed Christian, your true boss, no matter who signs your check, is Jesus Christ.

Don't be surprised. Jesus is who you truly work for. Every time the Bible refers to Jesus as "Lord" it is implying that He is the boss. We should live our lives and do our jobs as unto a way that pleases our ultimate Boss.

"Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God" (Ephesians 6:5-7, The Message).

Before I go, I have good news for you. The Boss wants to see you.

Nobody gives "raises" like our Boss -- Just ask Lazarus!
Perry Crisp

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oh Brother

Dad and I searched for quite a while before we found the tiny marker on my uncle's grave. Dad's brother died an infant and was buried near many of my ancestors. While at the cemetery, we wrote down names and dates of those who bore our name and lived before us.

Genealogy is a search for relatives of the past. Christianity is a search for relatives of the future. Let me explain. When you introduce people to Jesus and they accept Him as savior, they become children of our heavenly Father. They also become your siblings in Christ.

Once Andrew found Jesus, he went looking for his brother, Simon Peter. He wanted his brother to meet his savior. When Peter met Jesus, Andrew's brother became Andrew's brother on a whole new and eternal level.

I wanted the same thing for my brother. I was fifteen when I met Jesus. I began praying for my brother to find what I had found in Christ. Eight years later, I received a phone call. Through tears of joy, my brother told me that he gave his heart and life to Jesus.

My brother became my brother all over again in a new and incredible way.

God wants to do the same for your relationships. He wants you, but He also wants your whole family and the entire circle of your friends to know Him as your forever Father.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Double Take

Mike and Mark are identical twins. My first time to meet them was a lot of fun - for them! It was my sophomore year in high school and I was new in town. I met Mark in the hallway. He was friendly and said he would see me at lunch.

Later, in the cafeteria, I took my tray and sat down next to my new friend, Mark. Only it wasn't Mark. It was Mike. But I didn't know that.

"Hey, Mark. Mind if I sit here?" I asked. He hesitated a second, then smiled, and said, "Not at all. Have a seat." We carried on a conversation for a few minutes without him ever giving his true identity away.

Within ten minutes, someone sat on the other side of me. You guessed it. Mark. I looked from left to right and left again. I was seeing two Marks! The real Mark smiled and said, "I see you've met my brother, Mike." Identical twins with identical grins.

I haven't seen the twins in nearly twenty years, so I don't know how much they still resemble one another. But in high school, Mark and Mike looked exactly alike. They were the physical image of each other, though not the perfect image of each other. They each had their own unique personalities and tastes. When you saw Mark, you saw what Mike looked like. But you could not get to know Mike by being with Mark.

Jesus, however, is the image of God perfectly. When you see Jesus, you see God! And when you get to know Jesus, you truly get to know God. Why? Jesus is the exact representation of God. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation" (Colossians 1:15, NIV).

In Genesis 1:26, God said, "Let us make man in our image." The closest we come to seeing God's statement fulfilled is when we allow Jesus, the perfect image of God, to live through us.

Too many of us are worried about our own image. Like a little girl playing with a doll, we pamper our image, dress it up, and prop it up. But in reality, it's just as fake as the doll.

You have a choice today. You can baby-sit your own image or you can yield your life to Jesus and show others His reflection in you.

My Twin Lives Inside Me,
Perry Crisp

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Twenty-Eleven Times

Dale and Jimmy were playing in the back yard. It was Dale against Jimmy in a battle to the finish. They were only five-year-olds, but they both had high expectations of winning this war.

They hid behind trees and trash cans, fired make-believe bullets, missiles, and rocket launchers at each other and threw pretend hand grenades, but neither of them suffered an injury.

With that much pretend firepower it was amazing that either of them could survive. They were as invincible as Walker, Texas Ranger. After an hour of intense bombardment, Dale peeked around a tree and shouted,
"Aren't you dead yet?"

"No way," countered Jimmy.
"You haven't even come close. But I know I hit you twenty-eleven times."

"Did not!"

"Did too!"

Just before Jimmy and Dale engaged in hand-to-hand combat, the hop of a frog caught their attention and the war was over.

The backyard battle of five-year-old buddies raises an interesting point. Neither boy was willing to let the other win. No one wanted to surrender. Nor do we.

Let someone else win? Admit defeat? Yield? Give in? NEVER! That same spirit of self-dependence and self-preservation is often carried into our relationship with God.

To surrender is to let someone else have control. That is a difficult chore for most of us. We spend most of our lives struggling to gain more and more control of our lives. The last thing we want to hear is that we should surrender.

But we should. I should. You should. To give God control of your life is a sign of strength, not weakness. It is victory, not defeat.

"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:10-11, NIV).

Everyone will surrender sooner or later. Jesus is already Lord. The sooner you surrender your heart and the controls of your life to Him, the greater the victory will be in your life.

Hands Lifted...Defenses Down,
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


"Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases" - Psalm 103:2-3 (NIV).

Hold your thumb over your pinky so that your three remaining fingers form a "W." Do the same with your other hand. Put one hand on each side of your mouth and open your mouth wide. Stay frozen like that until you can see yourself in a mirror.

Do you see it? According to the book, "Sign Language for Dumb Blondes," it is the sign for the word, "WOW!"

That's how I feel about God's forgiveness and healing (both of which I will probably need if any blondes are offended by this devotional).*

For God to forgive all sin is beyond comprehension. For God to forgive MY sins alone is incredible. But to add yours and multiply those of millions of others -- my mind cannot even go anywhere near there.

And that's not all. Not only does God forgive; He heals! God heals spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and physically. The same God who molded us into being can certainly mend us when we're broken.

God forgives. Wow! God heals. Double wow! Put them together and you have a thing called "justification." To be justified is to be "just-as-if-I'd" never sinned. It means that we have the same position with God that we had before we sinned. We are right where we would have been if we had never sinned. Amazing, isn't it?

Cindy played with a bell from her mother's bell collection and broke the handle. Afraid to tell her mom, the four-year-old hid the broken pieces under her bed. It wasn't long before her mom found it.

"Cindy, look what I found," said her mom. Cindy's mom had the bell and was holding it by the handle. She had glued the handle back in place!

Cindy exclaimed, "Wow! It's like brand new!"

After Cindy's tearful apology, her mom hugged her and assured her that she was forgiven. Cindy's relationship to her mom was repaired "like brand new," too.

Forgiveness plus healing equals justification. God forgives our sin and heals our soul. With our sins removed and our soul restored, we too, are like brand new.

Feel free to have someone take your picture while you are making the "WOW" pose, and PLEASE send me a copy. I need a good laugh. THANKS JIM BARRETT...I'M STILL LAUGHING!!!

Just-as-if-I'd Never Told a Dumb Blonde Joke,*
Perry Crisp

*Disclaimer: The author of this devotional in no way implies that all who have blonde hair are dumb blondes. "Dumb blonde" is a cultural colloquialism applied to all societal dingbats,** regardless of hair color or the existence of hair.

**Disclaimer: The author of this devotional in no way intends to insult the bat population of the animal kingdom. "Dingbat" is a commonly used colloquialism originating in printing press factories as an onomatopoeia...for heaven's sakes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Not the Plumb You Eat

"The Lord said, 'Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer'" (Amos 7:8, NIV).

Tie a fishing line to a heavy weight and hold the line so that the weight dangles below. When the weight stops moving, the vertical line that the fishing line makes is a plumb line. Builders use plumb lines to build straight walls. Or at least - they should! A plumb line is a standard of straightness.

When God held a plumb line to Israel, He was showing them how He expected them to live. God wanted Israel to live true to His standards.

There is strong resistance to the idea of a standard these days. Have you noticed? People refuse to accept an absolute code of ethics by which all conduct is measured.

But there is a standard. Refusing to accept it doesn't make it go away. You can refuse to accept a parking ticket, but you're still going to hear from the judge.

God provided written standards long ago for all to obey when He carved the Ten Commandments into stone tablets. (Key word: Commandments. Not consultations. Not suggestions. Not recommendations. Not concessions. Commandments...everybody clear on that? Good.)

God has also provided a living standard in the person of Jesus Christ for all to imitate.

Despite popular opinion, right and wrong are not determined by popular opinion. Right and wrong are determined by God's plumb line.

So we have a choice. When God holds His plumb line up to us, we can either get plumb or prepare to get plumb out of the picture.

The best way to get plumb is to stand behind the cross. All sinners are set straight when they get behind the cross and surrender to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, our Savior.

"Father, line us up with your standard today."

Hidden in Him,
Perry Crisp