In Him I Live and Breathe

In Him I Live and Breathe

© BSMc March 22, 2011


The fog of winter lifts.

The sky begins to clear.

The grass grows.

The flowers bloom.

The trees bud.

A family plants a garden.

The birds sing.

Puppy plays in the lawn.

Children swing, run, and bounce.

Mom sweeps off the porch.

Dad cleans the car and the yard.


God, dear Father, Your creative handiwork is visible today.

Thank You!

Matthew and the Messiah – 8

The Messiah is Busy: Matthew 8

Matthew and the Messiah - 8In this chapter Jesus is busy in the lives of people. Matthew shares how the King has compassion for all, especially the least, the rejected, the endangered, and the hurting.

First we observe Jesus healing a leprous man who asks to be healed. To have leprosy in Jesus’ day meant separation from friends, family, and the community at large. A leper had to announce his leprosy to those around him, so that others would not come in contact with the communicable disease. A leper might as well as hung a scarlet “L” around their neck. Jesus heals the leper by TOUCHING him. To those around, Jesus risked getting the disease as well as being ceremonially (religiously) unclean.

Next a Centurion – an officer of the occupying Roman force – seeks Jesus’ help. This man was an enemy of the Jews, surely Jesus would not help him. Yet, the Centurion’s faith was strong enough to know that Jesus did not need to travel to see the sick servant, but could speak and the disease would be gone. Jesus, remarks about the faith this Roman displayed and how such faith shamed Jesus’ own countrymen. The servant received healing the moment Jesus spoke “Go, let it be done for you as you have believed.” (Matt 8:13). Matthew next shares that Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law along with others oppressed by demons and those who were sick. Jesus is busy.

In the later half of this chapter, Matthew shares an event with a storm at sea that made the disciples afraid. Jesus calms the storm and the disciples express amazement at what Jesus is capable of and who Jesus must be. Matthew also narrates events surrounding two other demon possessed men whose demons cry out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have You come to torment us before the time?” Jesus casts these demons into a herd of pigs that then drowned themselves.

Jesus is busy. Jesus is amazing. Jesus is one to follow. But following Jesus is not as simple as one might think. Take note of what Matthew tells his readers in the middle section of this chapter: Matthew 8:18-22

“Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

Jesus says following Him is an “all or none” deal. You follow Him with all that you are and all that you have or you are not really following.

What does that look like in 2018?


Good Friends

good friends 3We are social beings; we need good friends. We need friends who will comfort us, and who will love us unconditionally. We need friends who will correct us and challenge us to grow. The wise man says there is a friend who is closer than a brother (Prov 18:24). In many ways Jesus is that friend. But we all want a friend or five who we can see.

The apostle Paul warns us that a poor choice in companions can ruin our morals (1 Cor 15:33), so how can we choose good friends?

Prov 13:20, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Start by choosing friends who display prudence (wisdom / discernment) in their life.

Choose friends who seek after righteousness and who will help you (as you help them) draw closer to God.

How Can I Choose Good Friends?

Here is my list of 10 things to look for in a friend (a.k.a. Ten Ways to be a True Friend):

  1. Controls their tongue
  2. Keeps their promises
  3. Chooses kindness
  4. Shows interest / empathy
  5. Is cheerful
  6. Lives in purity (with virtue)
  7. Is open minded, can disagree cordially
  8. Is aware or and careful of others feelings
  9. Does not let criticism offend them, but instead uses criticism for self=improvement
  10. Deflects praise, does not take all the credit all the time.

Be the friend your friends need!



As I was sitting down to write this morning I thought about all that today would bring. Then I considered the importance of just one day and recalled this poem I wrote a few years ago.

The Morning Drive

Today is the day of decision.

Now is the time to choose.

There may be a tomorrow.

But why wait and chance to lose?

What you decide this moment.

Will impact the rest of your days.

Focus on what is eternal.

God is the one you should praise.

Many think too much of this life.

Forgetting the eternity waits.

Do not lose focus on salvation,

Live to enter Heavenly Gates.

© Scott McCown, November 10, 2010

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Matthew and the Messiah – 7

A Sermon from the Messiah Pt 3 – Matthew 7


In this last chapter of the Sermon on the Mount there is so much that Jesus teaches that I find it difficult to focus on just one.  I could use six posts expounding each section. We could spend a day on:

  1. What the Messiah really says about judging (Mat 7:1-6)
  2. The promise that God will do what is best for His children. (Mat 7:7-11)
  3. The Golden Rule. (Mat 7:12-14)
  4. False prophets and the fruit of there messages. (Mat 7:15-20)
  5. That verbal and mental acceptance that Jesus is Messiah and Lord is not enough. (Mat 7:21-23)
  6. The importance of a strong foundation of faith. (Mat 7:24-27)

Take time to read through these sections again. You may realize that Jesus does not necessarily say what many claim He does. He does not say to never judge, He says that judgement starts at home (with yourself) and He also says to inspect (judge) the fruit of those that claim to speak for God. You may also realize that the Golden Rule when consistently applied will make every relationship you have (family, work, romantic, school, church, political, or social media) better. Think about how you would like others to treat you and treat them that way. Do you want others to be considerate of your opinion? Be considerate of theirs. Do you want others to be patient with you as you grow and mature? Then give others the same.

Go back and read the chapter again. I’ll wait . . . . . . . . .

No wonder Matthew closes this sermon with a comment about the people’s reaction. No wonder the crowds were astonished at His teaching. The crowds still are, when we really pay attention. His message is life changing.

Take the Messiah’s words to heart and follow His message and His example.


SQL – Spiritual Quality of Life

I recently watched a new report on the best and worst states for quality of life based on a release by US News. Their quality of life index considered both Natural Environment (air quality, parks and recreation areas, etc.) and Social Environment (cost of living, health care, community support, and more). According to US News the state with the highest quality of life is North Dakota and the state with the lowest quality of life is California. You can see where your state falls HERE.

sqlThe more I thought about my quality of life in Alabama (#35 on their list) I began to wonder about my Spiritual Quality of Life (SQL).

How is my SQL? How is your SQL? 

In order to evaluate my SQL, I read from the apostle Paul as he prays for the Spiritual Quality of Life for the Colossians. Then I asked myself few questions:

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14) 

SQL Questions:

  1. What is my level of spiritual knowledge?
  2. What is my level of spiritual wisdom? Am I applying that knowledge?
  3. How is my walk with God?
  4. Am I fruitful in good works?
  5. How well do I endure the trials of life with patience?
  6. Am I full of joy in Christ?
  7. How much (often) do I express gratitude for what God has done and is doing?
  8. Am I in the Kingdom of His Son – the church?

In Christ we have redemption and forgiveness. In Christ we begin and increase our Spiritual Quality of Life. Let’s get to work on improving our SQL.



Matthew and the Messiah – 6

A Sermon from the Messiah: Pt 2 – Matthew 6

Matthew andthe MessiahChapter 6The Messiah’s sermon continues as He instructs about our motivation to be benevolent; We are to give, to help the needy, not to build ourselves up. He teaches about prayer and reliance upon God. He talks about fasting and not demanding others know about your fast. He reminds about what is truly valuable and where we should place our hope. Then He speaks more about reliance on God and not to worry about the basics of life.

A Deeper Look at Prayer

In Jesus’ model prayer there are three areas of need He mentions. The same three areas we continue to have need to address.

  1. Physical Needs. Give us this day our daily bread. Our daily concerns are important to the Father. Nothing is too common to share with God. Jesus says to pray for our daily bread not tomorrow’s bread. Maybe he does this to remind us of our constant dependence on God. I should mention He says to pray for bread not cake or steak. Maybe, just maybe we should not be focused on getting ahead in this life and instead have a greater focus on the things of God.
  2. Relationship Needs. Specifically Jesus talks about forgiveness. He speaks of our forgiveness from God and connects it to our forgiveness of our fellow man. There are those around us that need our forgiveness. Maybe they hurt you unintentionally – forgive them. Maybe they acted on purpose – have a forgiving spirit. Your relationships are more important than the hurt. Their relationship with God is more important than the hurt. Your relationship with God is more important than the hurt. Forgiveness helps heal relationships that are the human connections we need to be a whole person. I find it an interesting side question that if we need daily bread do we also need daily forgiveness?
  3. Spiritual Needs. We need forgiveness from God. We need that relationship to be strong. We need to be a part of His kingdom (the church) that will be His eternal kingdom (heaven). We need God as our Father.

Take time to talk to your Father in heaven today.




Starting Today

Start todayStarting today there is something I am going to do. Starting today there is a challenge I have for you. There at four things I want us to practice. Four things that I believe will change the way we are thinking, help us take our thoughts captive, and to have a better life.

  1. Replace Worry with Faith – Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  2. Replace Despair with Hope – Psalms 33:18-19 “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.”
  3. Replace Anger with Love – Jonah 4:2 ” . . . . for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.”
  4. Replace Doubt with Trust – Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Have a great week!



King of the Mountain (or Sand Dune)

typorama (8)Growing up near Pensacola Beach, Florida the sand dunes like the one in this picture were a great place to play king of the mountain.  If you were a child, you know the game.  You climb the hill and defend your territory from all contenders.  The only rule:  do what ever it takes to stay on the top of the hill.  As the middle child of three boys — I played this game a lot.

Notice the word “resist” in Jas 4:7, “Submit to God, RESIST the devil and he will flee from you . . .” The word resist is a military term that means to hold you ground.  To play king of the mountain with Satan.  He will do all within his power and resources to gain the upper-hand, but you cannot let him.  This is an eternal life and death struggle and you must stand strong.  Paul uses similar language in Eph 6:10-14, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness . . .” “Stand firm, stand, withstand” — Do you get the idea we are to resist?!

One more passage.  A passage that gives me assurance that I can successfully (victoriously) hold my ground.  “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1Cor 15:57-58).”

Keep fighting!


Help, Please

I want, no I need your help.


I need your help to make changes on social media. I am tired of all the bickering. I am tired of people taking sides and using mems, gifs, spurious new sources, out of context quotes, quibs, and jabs instead of well thought out reasons. All sides of every discussion are guilty.

Changing social media, changing the world starts with you. Christian, let me talk to you specifically. Some of the things we post are lies or at best are misleading. Some are offensive. I need your help to stop these posts.

One quote many Christians post every time there is a school shooting says something like this, “God where were you when these children were being shot?” God answers, “I’m not allowed in school.” Friends, that is a lie. God is in school as long as there are Christians there. God is in school when students and faculty read their Bibles in free time. God is in school when one or two Christians pray. God is bigger than that. God will not be – can not be – removed by any government order.

The other lie in that post is the message that if bad things happen, if people die, then God was not there. God was there! He was there in the classrooms and closets as those taking cover prayed. He was with the injured and dying. His angels carried His children to Paradise. Their pain and suffering ended. God will continue to be with the families of the victims and with those around them providing comfort. A parent will not stop every pain or every heartbreak in a child’s life, but that does not mean they do not love and care, or are not there to help carry the child through. God is The Loving Father. He is there to comfort our pain (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).

In the words of Michael Jackson, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a thinklook at yourself and then make a change” (Man in the Mirror). I need your help to make changes. There are things that I need to change in my life. I need encouragement to be a greater encourager. I need help remembering to listen more and talk less. I need be better at asking others about their lives. I need to improve my time management skills. I need to remember to stop and think before I speak and before I select “post” on social media.

I am asking you to help me change the world, one person at a time. I’ll start with me. Will you start with you?