Category: <span>thoughts by Thomas Pujol</span>


Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

On our first Christmas after my parents got divorced, the hope of experiencing all the “comfort and joy” of the holidays seemed to fall on my shoulders. I am the oldest of four children, and I was about 23 at the time. It was in the midst of my duplicitous act of helping my mom with some Christmas baking — which would justify taking some for my domestically challenged father — that I broke. I couldn’t bear this burden alone, and yet there didn’t seem to be anyone I could turn to.

After a choked up confession to my mom, I went out into the winter night, and ended up weeping on the stoop of a darkened office building. It was at that point where I heard the inaudible voice of God: “Thomas, I see all of this, I care, and I am angry.” It meant so much to me that my heavenly Father was angry at all the destruction that sin had done in my family.

Although it may seem as though God is indifferent to the pain in my life, I can be comforted that His apparent indifference is but an illusion. At the cross, everyone believed the God had abandoned His Son. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Jesus had to die in order to accomplish something far more beautiful: the redemption of the whole of humanity.

As I gaze upon the cross, I can know that He is near, He cares, and He is powerful enough to do anything.

Father, help me to recognize when I am examining the world in order to understand who You are, rather than looking to Your word and more specifically, at Christ. Please open my heart to the depths of who He is and what He has done for me.

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By Thomas Pujol
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Further Reading

•  This Place of Love
•  There is Nothing Beyond Your Reach – by Mark Doyle
•  Salvation Explained

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“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” 1 Peter 1:13

I love happy endings.

I enjoy watching artsy movies that leave me with unanswered questions and issues to ponder. But, at the end of the day, I honestly prefer seeing everyone get their “happy ending” – whatever that may look like: finding true love, financial security, a dream career, etc.

Scripture teaches us that that if you trust Christ, we ALL get a happy ending; even more, a permanent happy ending than could never be described in a movie or book. Scripture tells us (1 Corinthians 2:9) that we can’t even conceive what it would be like!

On the other hand, how many Christians have been severely wounded because they expected their happy ending to come on this side of eternity? I confess that I am one of the worst. I seem to have this deep seeded sense of entitlement that tells me, because of certain struggles and disappointments, that my “happy ending” is just around the corner.

But God never promises that in this life.

1 Peter 1:13 warns us that to have our hope set on the things of this world is to be lethargic and inebriated in the boxing ring. In other words, foolishly and unnecessarily vulnerable to being wounded or taken out.

So for those of us who are sick of getting sucker punched, let’s get our hands up, and our heads down by adjusting our hopes and expectations away from the happy ending that our culture guarantees, and on to the happy ending that Our Lord promises.

Father, please ignite my imagination with images and visions of being with You forever in heaven. Enable me to emotionally hold on to the promise of heaven in the face of any and all disappointments, while continuing to love and serve You and the people around me. Thank You!

Question: When you’re facing a stumbling block, and you’re struggling to keep Heaven in focus, which Scripture verses do you turn to?

By Thomas Pujol
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As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins… Ephesians 2:1

A man decided to go on a two-month vacation to the Amazon jungle. While he was away, some of his shady business practices came to light. His benevolent brother caught wind of it and worked tirelessly to acquit him, spending thousands in the process. By the time the man returned to civilization, his troubles had been resolved. His brother told him everything that had happened, but he didn’t grasp the gravity of his situation. His life went on as if nothing had happened.

His experience of these events kept him from any joy or gratitude because he was unwilling to stop and meditate on what he had been saved from.

Just as the man in the story neglected to express his gratefulness to his brother, we often do too. We constantly miss out on opportunities to be thankful for what God has done for us. We take Him for granted.

How often do we think,What if Christ left me in my sins, which is what I fully deserve? What if there was no grace, no mercy, no redemption?

The authors of the New Testament urge us to slow down and think about these things. If we speak only of where God has brought us and don’t talk about where we have been saved from, we diminish the scope of Jesus’ sacrifice and the love that God has for us.

May we draw joy and gratitude today as we hold in our imaginations the stark juxtaposition of what we have and what we deserve.

Father, You have saved us from a terrible fate, even though we don’t deserve it. Please empower us to see that all of life is grace. Amen.

By Thomas Pujol
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Devotional on Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?Romans 8:32

Have you ever felt like you are getting the short end of the stick?

God is holding out on me.

I don’t think many of us would say it this way, but I think that this is the attitude of our heart sometimes.

Imagine a small boy who receives dinner from his mother and lets out an exasperated cry. His mother immediately turns around and asks her son to explain the source of his frustration. The boy sincerely explains that his disappointment is with the broccoli on his plate, not with her.

What mother would return to her dinner with relief that she is not source of her son’s aggravation? Very few. Why? Because she knows that although the broccoli may be the point of contention, ultimately the dissatisfaction of her son is aimed at her.

Think about the boss that may have overlooked you for promotion, or the boyfriend/girlfriend that may have dumped you. If you maintained your indignation, you may slowly start to believe that God is holding out on you. Have you experienced this?

We see in today’s verse that although our circumstances may at times veil the generosity of God, the truth is that He gave us that which is of greatest value to Him: His Son! We rest assured that God is not holding out on us; in fact, he is generous and good!

Today, let us fight our thoughts of entitlement and discontent and enjoy God’s generosity.

Father, I thank You that in Your perfect love, you give and take exactly what I need for joy, growth and holiness. Please help me to walk by faith, not by sight; faith that you are not holding out on me but are exceedingly generous in every way. Help me to trust You in the face of paralyzing disappointment and discontent. Amen.

By Thomas Pujol

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The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15

Tell me if you’ve heard this one:

A college level athlete is deeply dissatisfied relationally, even though he has peers, fans, women, and universities groveling for his attention. All because a single seat in the stands remains empty: his father isn’t there. He’s never been there.

If you have watched a family movie lately, chances are you have had the director attempt to pull you in with a story like this woven into the plot. Chances are it was not done well.

Yet, being attentive to popular movies that are cliché and poorly executed is sometimes worthwhile because they may reveal something profound about the human experience.

The human heart is hardwired to long for the affections and attentions of a single, deeply admired person above and beyond the adulation of the crowd, whether they are Christian or not.

Our endless need for affection, for attention, for help, and for wisdom requires no less than an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly loving Father. Our disdain for approval that is fickle or unpredictable requires a Father with whom there is, “no variation nor shadow due to change” (James 1:17). Our need to have a consistent and secure relationship, despite our less than consistent performance, requires a relationship based not on our performance, but on that of Christ.

Let us run to the only One who can fill the vast needs of our finite and dependent hearts.

Father, please help me to see that when I am filled with angst or worry over human approval and attention, it’s really my heart’s cry for You. Show me how to draw closer to You every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Do you have someone in your life you’re constantly trying to please? Confess to your heavenly Father today, and ask Him how to seek His approval alone.

By Thomas Pujol

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The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15

Throughout history, humans have declared their ownership of a place by erecting an image of themselves. It may be a symbol, a picture, or even a statue. Everyone passing by this image would know that someone powerful owns the land they are walking on.

When we look at our text today, we see that God put a man in the garden, a man who was made in His image. Yes, of course the man’s mandate was to work the garden and to take care of it, but it is also clear that God, by doing this, made an unprecedented declaration: all this belongs to Me.

Does God’s original declaration still stand in a fallen world? Does the presence of men and women still declare, “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1)?

In our sin, we try to take credit for the earth. We propagate the lie that “the earth is ours, and everything in it.” We couldn’t be more wrong.

Yet, out of unimaginable love, God sent His son to pay the price for our rebellion. Now, those who call themselves Christians can once again declare, through faith, that God is the all-sufficient ruler of everything. Every time we act like God, every time we obey His word by faith, there is an echo of an unbroken world, a world as it was created to be, and a world that will one day be made new.

Let us walk by faith, and not by sight.

Father, thank You for not only letting us walk in Your beautiful world, but paying the price for all the times when we walk in it, and in the bodies You created, as if we own them. Please help us to reflect Your perfection as much as possible, through our faith-fueled obedience. Amen.

Thought:  Have you been acting like God, or acting as if you are God? There’s a big difference! Think about how you’ve been taking God’s credit, and confess it to Him. Then, ask Him to show you how you can be more like Him today.

By Thomas Pujol

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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Sometimes in life, it’s the smallest jobs that are hardest to get done.

I know in university, I would often forget small assignments because they seemed so insignificant. The teachers needed to make sure they were worth a good percentage of our grade; otherwise no one would have ever done them. Some students didn’t do them either way. As for me, I wouldn’t have completed smaller assignments unless they contributed to my grade.

I’m so glad God is not like me in that way.

Think of the “big assignments” God has — like taking the pains, sorrows, joys, and tragedies of all human history and weaving them into a great tapestry that will bring ultimate glory to His name forever. These huge concerns might excuse indifference towards the smaller things: us.

But instead, He goes far beyond indifference towards His creation. He loves people unconditionally, radically. He is able to hold together all of reality, moving it toward a glorious end, while promising good for each and every one of His children.

God doesn’t need our praise, He doesn’t need our good works, and He doesn’t need to be validated for a job well done. He is glorious, gracious, powerful, and just — whether or not we acknowledge Him or not. And yet, He cares. God pays attention to us, even though in many ways, it doesn’t make sense why.

May the beauty we see in God’s character ignite our desire to reflect His glory.

Father, please help me to see how all acts of love — big or small — are a reflection of who You are. Please remind me of this whenever I feel reluctant to show love to others. Amen.

Thought:  Do you make a habit of only loving others when you can see the significance of that action? Ask God where you can show love today, in big and in small ways.

By Thomas Pujol

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Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? … [The one] who keeps an oath even when it hurts…Psalm 15:1,4

One of the biggest challenges of being a Christian in modern, western culture is that there are 100 seemingly innocuous choices every day in which we can express faith in the true God, or a counterfeit.

Some of these decisions are complicated, and involve mining the depths of our motivations and sinful tendencies. Some are much easier, or at least simpler. I have seen many young adults humming and hawing over a decision of whether to follow through on a commitment or not, because of its cost. Perhaps we see our commitment as negligible since we over looked certain details, or we forgot how things would precisely look when it came time to follow through.

As Christians, we are to reflect Christ, and one of the things that God emphasizes about Himself more than anything is that He is a God who keeps His promises. And don’t think that it was easy for Christ to keep His promise because He knew what it would cost Him. Remember the drops of blood in the garden? Remember that carrying through in a commitment that had unforeseen challenges in it demonstrates your trust in God seeing you through these challenges. There are times to apologize and admit your failure when you committed to something unhealthy or damaging in some way. However, we need to consider the beauty of Christ’s faithfulness in keeping His promises, what it would have meant for us if He backed out because it became too hard, and seek to follow in His footsteps.

…After all, isn’t that what a disciple does?

Father, Thank You for being 100% faithful in all of Your promises, so that we can trust all Your breathtaking promises for the future. Please help us to image You in our commitments to each other, whether big or small.

By Thomas Pujol

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feature spring pine conesGod made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God2 Corinthians 5:21

Have you ever been blamed for something that wasn’t your fault?

I notice in myself, and others, that we are very quick to escape any kind of guilt or shame if we perceive someone else to bear the blame for our wrong.

I’m sorry I’m late, but Susan said 8:30…”

Were you really apologizing?

It becomes especially difficult when we have made sacrifices to avoid doing something wrong. Maybe you skipped out on a fun activity the night before. Maybe you’ve tried your mighty hardest and for the first time in months, did not hit the snooze button. You’ve done all you can to make sure you would be on time. Then you get no credit for it because you were misinformed. How frustrated would you be?

We need to see this urge to escape blame as what it is: a lack of understanding of the righteousness we have in Christ. There may be a time to set the record straight, but most of the time it is simply the fact that we value man’s opinion higher than God’s. We are not content in our righteousness before God; we want – we need – to be righteous before men as well.

When you’re facing a situation where you’ve done all you can and still have fallen short, remember Christ. What an amazing opportunity it is to get a shadow of a glimpse of Jesus must have when He lived an entire life of sinless perfection, only to be condemned for all the sins we have done.

What a beautiful Savior!

Father, Thank You for sending Your Son to take on the sin that I have accumulated through my rebellion and hatred toward You. Help me to treasure the righteousness I have in Christ so highly, that I could care less what people think of me and more of Your love for me.

By Thomas Pujol

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