Admirable One-a-Day Wednesday 6/26/19

A life worthy

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…(Philippians 4:8)

I like a lot of people.

I love some.

I respect a few.

Admire? Well, now you’re way down into single digits.

Today, I’m going to try to think about that handful of people, and the things they do that make me want to emulate them, that make me wish I were more like them. I’ll forget a lot, and I’ll get distracted, but I’ll get back to it. That’s just the way my brain works.

What about you, Beloved?  Who do you admire? Why? How can you incorporate those traits about them which are admirable into the rest of your life?

Or how about just into the rest of your Today?

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Lovely One-a-Day Tuesday 6/25/19

A life worthy

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…(Philippians 4:8)

My wife is lovely.

My daughter is lovely.

I get to think of them all day?  

Cool beans

The word “Lovely” means sweet, and beautiful, and gentle. When I think of “Lovely,” I think of something that quiets my spirit, that brings my soul rest and refreshment. Lovely things are evidence of God’s beauty and grace and peace in the world.  How can it be that the God of thunder and lightning and earthquake and hurricane and tsunami is also the God of snowflake and fern leaf and butterfly wing and dandelion fluff–

which I know are weed seeds, but don’t spoil the mood.

Lovely is an aspect of God’s glory that I don’t often take enough time to notice, much less appreciate.

Today I shall.

Care to join me, Beloved?

Happy Tuesday.

Pure One-a-Day Monday 6/24/19

A life worthy

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,whatever is pure…(Philippians 4:8).

Ivory soap bugs me.

Oh, the soap itself is fine–smells nice and lathers well.

It’s the advertizing.

They say that the stuff is 99.44 percent pure.

You can’t say that.  “Pure” is an absolute.  You can’t have partly pure.

You can’t even have mostly pure.

It’s either pure

or it isn’t.

Paul tells us to think about what is pure.   

Good luck with that.

I mean it.  Well, not the luck part.  Instead, I wish you grace as you plow through the sociocesspool that we call Monday.  Keep your eyes fixed on Christ and your thoughts centered on his glory, and try not to slip in the muck.

And if, by chance, you do, the One who calls you Beloved will clean you up–and he’s got something much better that Ivory soap.

Although I do like Ivory soap.  Please don’t sue me, Proctor and Gamble. I’m a poor and simple man.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Right One-a-Day Friday 6/21/19

A life worthy

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right…(Philippians 4:8).

“Right” is kind of like “Truth.”

The world will tell you that it is subjective, that what is right for you may not be right for me.

The world is wrong.  Enormously, abundantly, horrifically, dangerously wrong.

Wow, that sounds awfully narrow-minded of you.

Yep

“Narrow is the path…” and all that.

You see, it would be different if we had no objective reference point for right and wrong.  If we all had to make it up as we go along, you could see how we might wonder about the right and wrong of basic issues.

But we do have an objective reference point.

We just don’t like to look at it sometimes.

For all the things that are unclear in the Bible, there are a whole big hairy bunch of things that are crystal clear.

As you move through your Friday, focus on that which you know is right.  Hey, here’s a thought–if you have a moment, post a comment on one “right” thing we can ponder today.  I’ll start us off:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (Phil. 2:3).

That’s right.

Your turn!

Happy Friday, Beloved.

Noble One-a-Day Thursday 6/20/19

A life worthy

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble…(Philippians 4:8)

Noble

As in, “Worthy of or befitting nobility.”  That’s just my definition. I don’t know if Mr. Webster would approve, but it works for me.

You, Beloved, are nobility.  Better than that, you are royalty.  You are a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Don’t rush through that thought.  

Soak in it for a bit.  

Repeat it…roll it around your soul for a moment.

OK…good.

God has pulled you out of the muck and glop of this world.  He has cleansed you, clothed you, and called you his own. He has stood you before all the universe and said, “Hey!  This one’s mine. Back off!”

Or something like that.

So, why would you dive back into the muck?

Why do I?

Oh, Beloved.  Our thought life should befit our new station.  The sinful thoughts, the base, the petty, the immoral–they are not just wrong; they are beneath us. They are not worthy of who we have been called to be.

Lord, help me to be the man you see when you look beneath the muck.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

True One-a-Day Wednesday 6/19/19

A life worthy

Finally, brothers, whatever is true…(Philippians 4:8)

“True for you” isn’t.

Truth is not an opinion.

It does not waver or shift with the fashion.  It does not vary from situation to situation or person to person.

Today’s world tells us there is no absolute Truth, that truth is malleable and changes through the ages.  Today’s world tells you that you create your own truth.

Today’s world lies.  

And you know it.

Because truth is not an opinion.

Truth is a person.  A glorious, personal person.

Jesus said he is the way, and the truth, and the life.  He said that we would know him–the truth–and he would set us free.  So, that which is consistent with the person of Jesus Christ, that which lines up with who he is…that is true.

That which does not…is not.

Walk in truth today, Beloved.

Happy Wednesday.

Peace One-a-Day Tuesday 6/18/19

A life worthy

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

This one falls squarely into the, “Easier said than done” category.  I mean, it sounds like an impossible command–

Don’t let your stomach growl.

Don’t think of the color blue.

Don’t breathe.

Don’t be anxious.

Frankly, it’s one of the only times in Scripture when I want to poke Paul in the eye.   And if I am anxious, please don’t throw this verse at me, because I might just poke you in the eye.  Because sometimes, after I’ve prayed and petitioned and thanksgivinged and presented…I’m still anxious.

And then I feel like a failure.

It is my sincere prayer that you have no idea what I’m talking about.

But I’ll bet you do.

So, what to make of this?  

I take this moment to remind you that I am not a Bible scholar, just a Michael.  But here’s what I think…

Worry is sin after a fashion, because it represents a lack of trust in God.  If I really, truly, nose-to-toes believed that God was in control and looking out for me, I wouldn’t worry.  

But, I’m not there yet.  I’m that work in progress we’ve talked about before.  So, like Peter, I take my eyes off Jesus, and I look at the waves, and I sink.  

And, like he did with Peter, Christ stretches forth his hand and rescues me.  Though I worry, I don’t despair, I don’t give up, I don’t let go.

He guards my heart and my mind.  And even if I don’t always feel peace descend like a warm blanket to wrap me in cuddliosity, I know that it is there.

Here’s a thought…maybe God’s peace is less like that aforementioned blanket and more like the cop who patrols the night, keeping dangers I’m not even aware of at bay so that I can rest in safety.  Guarding me.

After all, we call them peace officers, don’t we?

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Gentleness One-a-Day Monday 6/17/19

A life worthy

Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near (Philippians 4:5).

Not wimpiness

Not weakness

Not wishy-washy-namby-pamby-milquetoastiness

Gentleness

To have great strength and choose to restrain it.

To reach out a hand when you want to shake a fist.

To use a tack hammer when you could wield Mjolnir.

You see where I’m going.

The God of all strength chooses to be gentle with you.

What do you choose, Beloved?

Today I will walk among…people.  I will have endless opportunities to practice gentleness. Will I take those opportunities?  

Will you?

Let’s pray for each other today, Beloved.

And, uh, put the hammer down.

Rejoice One-a-Day Friday 6/14/19

A life worthy

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your–

No..not like that.  Please.

Paul’s not talking about happy-clappy-fakey-smiley-insipid nonsense.  

Because sometimes life hurts.  

A lot

If ever a man knew that, it was Paul.  Beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, betrayal, imprisonment–not exactly a life of fluff and delight.

And yet he rejoiced.  How did he do that?

How can we?

It comes down to counting your blessings.  Look, I know how tired and worn out that phrase is, but the concept works.  If I stop to enumerate all the ways God has shown his love for me, the list becomes quite long and my mood much improved.

Or, if I’m in a bit of a hurry, I can go for the shortcut list:

#1 The God of the Universe knows me completely, and loves me anyway.

#2 Seriously?  You need a #2?

It’s Friday.  Rejoice, Beloved.

Together One-a-Day Thursday 6/13/19

A life worthy

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.  Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the Gospel… (Philippians 4:2-3)

“Blessed are the peacemakers…”

“By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another…”

“Hey!  Knock it off!  Cut the bickering, you pathetic lumps of flesh…”

Can you guess which of the above was not scripture?

Look, we all have disagreements from time to time.  Often those disagreements will be with brothers and sisters in Christ.  That just confirms our personhood, and reminds us of the fact that sometimes people are annoying.

Even you.

No offense.

Here’s the problem.  Folks are watching.

Even non-believers.

No…especially non-believers.  

They’re looking to see how we handle interpersonal emotional yuck.  You see, even if they don’t believe, they’re still curious to see whether we live up to this love stuff we spout.

So…live up to it.  

What about it, Beloved?  Do you have someone with whom you need to make amends today?  Is there a quarrel you have the power to end? Can you help others make peace in the name of the Lord?

What are you waiting for?

Happy Thursday, Beloved.