For Your Sake One-a-Day Friday 12/6/19

A life worthy

For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great (Psalm 25:11).

For the sake of your name.

Not mine.

Because my name, frankly, is not worth saving.

But my name is so loud in my own ears that

it drowns out your voice

your wisdom

your word.

Perhaps the only way I can serve you is to stand as the object of your mercy.

That will be enough

and more.

Happy Friday, Beloved

Instruction One-a-Day Thursday 12/5/19

A life worthy

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.  He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way (Psalm 25:8-9).

I’m a teacher.

I teach.

I teach the excellent students, whose eyes are bright with understanding and a deep desire to learn and grow and understand the things of life.

Aaaand I teach the other ones, the ones I lovingly call “pathetic lumps of flesh.”  

I offer what I have to both, because both need it.

Howeversomuchmoreso with God.  He offers his wisdom to saint and sinner, because both desperately need it.

Why does he do this?  I mean, I get teaching your followers, but why waste wisdom on the wicked?  Well, it’s right there at the beginning of the verse:

Because he is good.

Also, I think God remembers something that I tend to forget:

That sinner?

That humble man?

They are both me.  Just depends on when you catch me.

Happy Thursday, Beloved

Selective Memory One-a-Day Wednesday 12/4/19

A life worthy

Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.  Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord (Psalm 25:6-7).

Selective memory is a beautiful thing.  

David knows who he is.

More than that, he knows that God knows.

David’s asking God to conveniently forget the less savory aspects of his life, and to remember only that he loves David.  My grandma had that ability to pick and choose what she remembered. We thought it was dementia–perhaps it was a spiritual gift.

Anyway, here’s the amazing thing:  God does it. When God looks at David, he chooses not to remember the sin and rebellion and foolishness.  He sees only his Beloved.

He does the same when he looks at you and me.  

How do I know this?

Well, we’re here, aren’t we?

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

His Ways One-a-Day Tuesday 12/3/19

A life worthy

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long (Psalm 25:4-5).

This is a psalm asking for deliverance. David is in a world of hurt here–stressed out, ill, and under attack by slanderous enemies.  I would expect to find David asking for deliverance, healing, retribution, even forgiveness.

I didn’t expect this.

David asks God, in the midst of all this yuck (pardon the deep theological terminology) to teach him to be more like God.

Um…wow.

I wish I could tell you that, in the midst of deep physical and emotional crisis, I would ask God to make me more godly. Alas, I am far more likely to ask him to heal me and cause my enemies to explode.

If you decide to stop reading my blog now, I’ll understand.  But, there I am.

Beloved, I hope that God never allows great pain and sorrow into your life. I don’t care if it would make you more godly–I like you too much, and I’m just too selfish.  However, if the yuck of this sinful, broken world has to slop over into your life, I pray that God would use it to show you his ways, teach you his paths, and basically make you more like him.

Just don’t go looking for trouble, OK?

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Shame One-a-Day Monday 12/2/19

A life worthy

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.  No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame…(Psalm 25:1-3a).

Shame

Not embarrassment…not awkward self-consciousness, but full-blown shame.

Look, I’ve been embarrassed a time or two

or twelve.  

I’ve blown my lines in front of a large audience, I’ve driven my car over a curb amid a symphony of honks and jeers.  I’ve dropped the fly ball that should have been an easy out.

Hey, I once walked into a tether-ball pole in full view of the entire playground.  

I know embarrassment.

But shame, the way David is talking about it here–shame is different.  Shame strikes to the very core of your being. Shame isn’t about what you did.

It’s about who you are.

So…who are you?

If you are a child of God, you cannot be put to shame, because the very core of your being is Christ.

Because you are his Beloved.

So whether your enemy is some guy named Ted, or some disease named Cancer, or some life-wrecker named Self, you will not be put to shame, because your hope is in Him.

But, I gotta tell you, if you walk into a pole you’ll still feel like an idiot.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Free One-a-Day Friday 11/29/19

A life worthy

Give thanks with a grateful heart.

Give thanks to the Holy One.

Give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ, his son.

And now let the weak say, “I am strong…”

Let the poor say, “I am rich,”

Because of what the Lord has done for us.

And now let the sick say, “I am whole,”

Let the bound say, “I am free,”

Because of what the Lord has done for us.

(Give Thanks, Don Moen, 1986)

Do you feel free?

Sometimes I feel rather bound, actually.

I’m bound by time.

I’m bound by finances.

I’m bound by what others expect of me.

I’m bound by what I expect of myself.

I’m bound by my failures

and my successes

and my fear of failure

or success.

And yet, I know the Truth.

I know him personally…and he has set me free.

Beloved, when will I finally get it through my thick head that my feelings are a very poor gauge of reality?

Maybe today?

Sing the song, Beloved.  

Believe the song, Beloved.

Happy Friday, Beloved.

Thanks One-a-Day Thursday 11/28/19

A life worthy

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16: 34).

Busy day today.

You’ve got a turkey to burn, cranberries to sauce, potatoes to mash, tables to set, dishes to break, shards to sweep up, relatives to endure/enjoy/escape…

Beloved, take a moment, right now, before the craziness descends.  Offer your heart and your mind and your day and your life to Him in thanksgiving.  If you don’t do it now…

Breathe deep, and thank him that he chooses to be good

That he chooses to love you

That he chooses to love you forever, not until he gets bored with you or until you mess up in some way and displease him

Because…no offense…but I’m sure that’s already happened.

He could choose to stop loving you, but he won’t.

It’s in his power, but it’s not in his nature.

His love endures forever.

You are his Beloved.  

Forever

Happy Thanksgiving, Beloved.

Whole One-a-Day Wednesday 11/27/19

A life worthy

Give thanks with a grateful heart.

Give thanks to the Holy One.

Give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ, his son.

And now let the weak say, “I am strong…”

Let the poor say, “I am rich,”

Because of what the Lord has done for us.

And now let the sick say, “I am whole…”

(Give Thanks, Don Moen, 1986)

God is not bound by time.

Stay with me here.

God created time.  He exists outside of it.  He is simultaneously present at all moments of eternity.

So…..?

So, my body may ache, my soul may weep, my society may be wracked with sin and pain and loss

but

God sees more.  He sees me as I am, but also as I will be.  He sees the aching, but also the relief. He hears the weeping, but also the rejoicing.  He knows the sin, but also the redemption.

Singing this line is not a denial or what is.  It is a celebration of what also is.

Not just someday, but right now.  Because for God, it’s all right now.

When God looks at you…what does he see?

Wow

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Rich One-a-Day Tuesday 11/26/19

A life worthy

Give thanks with a grateful heart.

Give thanks to the Holy One.

Give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ, his son.

And now, let the weak say, “I am strong…”

Let the poor say, “I am rich,”

Because of what the Lord has done for us.

(Give Thanks, Don Moen, 1986)

Yes you are.

Rich

Oh, your car may be falling apart and your dishwasher may be dying and you may be checking the sofa for enough change to make a Del Taco run, but you are rich.

First, in this world you are rich. Beloved, there are people out there who pray for shoes so they won’t have to walk barefoot

who pray for clean water to wash the dishes with

who pray for dishes…and food to put on them.

And in the spiritual world…are you kidding?  You’re the beloved child of the King of, you know, Everything.

You are in possession of the greatest treasure the universe has ever known:

the love of God.

Baby, you are rolling in it.

Bask in your wealth today, Beloved.

Happy Tuesday.

Strong One-a-Day Monday 11/25/19

A life worthy

Give thanks with a grateful heart.

Give thanks to the Holy One.

Give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ, his son.

And now, let the weak say, “I am strong…”

(Give Thanks, Don Moen, 1986)

Context is really important.

This line from Don Moen’s song is found in the Bible in Joel 3:10.  Of course, those of you who look it up will find that the Lord is actually speaking to the enemies of Israel, the nations who have plundered and destroyed his people.  God is essentially telling them to “Bring it on,” to prepare to fight, because God is going to turn them to powder.

Not exactly the same feeling Mr. Moen was looking to engender in his song.

Why am I telling you this, and spoiling the moment?  Well, for one thing, I want you to be Biblically literate.  If we’re going to use Scripture, we should at least know what it really says.  

Also, even with the contextual confusion, this remains one of my all-time favorite worship songs.  And the message is true, even if the reference is a bit askew. The Bible is full of the truth that God gives strength to the weak.  He offers–may I be so bold as to say that he longs–to show his strength in our feeblieosity.

Do you feel weak?  

Well, you are…you know… in and of yourself.

But in Christ…oh, Baby!

In Christ you are mighty.  In Christ, you have the power to do battle with whatever comes against you today.  In Christ, your weakness is transformed into his great strength.

So now, though you are weak, say, “I am strong!”

Go ahead, say it.

Happy Monday, Beloved.