Tell the Story One-a-Day Wednesday 2/20/19

A life worthy

My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion (Psalm 71:24).

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love;

I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true,

It satisfies my longings as nothing else would do.

Refrain:

I love to tell the story,

’Twill be my theme in glory,

To tell the old, old story

Of Jesus and His love.

Thank you, Arabella Hankey!

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Praise! One-a-Day Tuesday 2/19/19

A life worthy

I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you–I whom you have delivered (Psalm 71:22-23).

Is your praise unfettered?

Are you able to throw your hands up, throw your head back, and dance and sing and shout your praise to God with all your heart and absolutely no reservations?

Me neither.

I go to church, and the music starts, and people around me begin to stand up and  I start to stand up too but then I think that maybe I’m only standing because other people are standing and I want to look as spiritual as they are and not like some pagan who doesn’t stand during the happy clappy song and then I see a guy three rows up on the aisle who isn’t standing either and I think “Good! Someone else isn’t standing” but then I realize he’s in a wheelchair so I really can’t count him and now I feel guilty because I was happy about a guy being in a wheelchair and I still feel like a pagan for not standing but I also feel resentful that I’m supposed to stand like somehow you’re not connecting with God if you don’t stand and people are going to see me and think I’m deeply disturbed or thoroughly backslidden because I’m not standing and now it’s the power chorus and people are raising their hands but I’m still sitting and I can’t raise my hands even if I want to because I’m sitting and I might accidentally smack somebody on the bottom and that would be significantly uncool and besides if I raise my hands while I’m sitting people will think I’m having a cardiac incident and waving for help or worse yet that I’m mocking the guy in a wheelchair because he’s raising his hands and finally the song is over and I have the announcements and the say howdy to your neighbor time to get a grip before it starts again…

But One Day, Beloved.  One Glorious Day…

Happy Tuesday.

Comfort Me One-a-Day Monday 2/18/19

A life worthy

You will increase my honor and comfort me once more (Psalm 71:21).

It won’t always be so hard.

Sometimes, you look at circumstances and you think, “This is lousy, and it’s always gonna be lousy, and it’s never gonna stop being lousy, and there’s nothing I can do to delouse it.”

But it’s not forever.

It’s just for now.

If you belong to Him, then you have a future that includes honor and comfort and joy and love and peace and contentment and joy and exhilaration and delight and joy and fulfillment and reward and joy.

Did I mention joy?

Maybe today

Maybe tomorrow

Definitely One Day.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Up From the Depths One-a-Day Friday 2/15/19

A life worthy

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. (Psalm 71:20).

Sometimes life is hard.

In case you hadn’t noticed.

I’ve noticed recently that several people in my life are going through brutally difficult times.

And I have a fairly small life.

So much pain.  So much sorrow.  So much fear. Sometimes I’m even afraid to pray for these people because I get caught up in it, swept up in it, and I feel like their pain will pick me up and carry me away.  And I want to help, but I know that there’s nothing I can do because I’m just Michael, and that’s really not so very much.

But then I read this verse.  I think back on yesterday’s verse.  I remember the troubles, many and bitter, that God has brought me through.  I remember that I am restored.

Redeemed.

And I know that, as painful as these times are, they are not eternal.

They may feel eternal…but that is a lie.

What is eternal, Beloved of Christ, is you.

And God.

And you and God.

So remember that you are a child of promise.  And that promise is as strong and sure and certain as the One who made it.

He will lift you up.  Believe it.

If it helps…I’ll believe it with you.

Or for you.

Happy Friday, Beloved.

Love One-a-Day Thursday 2/14/19

A life worthy

…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

It’s Valentine’s Day, right?

OK, so let’s talk love.

Forget the hearts and flowers.  Forget the candy.

OK, remember candy.  Candy is good. But set it aside for the moment.

Real love sacrifices.  Real love gives, even when there is no reasonable expectation of a return on the investment.  Real love sees you at your worst, and does not turn away.

While we were still sinners.  While we were totally unworthy and unlovable.  Beyond pot bellies and vanishing hairlines. Beyond bad hair and no makeup.  While we were steeped in darkness, inside and out, Jesus died for us.

For you.

Want him to prove his love?

He did.  We call it the Cross.

When I write these One-a-Days, I often call you “Beloved.”  I’m not putting the moves on you, nor am I trying to be J. Vernon McGee. I’m praying, along with Paul, that you, “May…grasp how high and long and wide and deep is the love of Christ.”

In the Song of Songs, God gives us a picture of the love between a man and a woman.  Beyond that, though, he paints a picture of Christ’s love for his Church.

He calls the Church his Beloved.

He calls you his Beloved.

And so you are.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Beloved.

Name One-a-Day Wednesday 2/13/19

A life worthy

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like you? (Psalm 71:19).

My name is Michael, in case you didn’t know.

The name Michael means, “Who is like God?”

Yeah, so, when I was a kid I thought the name was a statement, “The one who is like God.”  It did wonders for my ego. When I found out it was actually a question, it took me down a peg or two or twenty.

But really—how cool is that? Every day, all the time, my own name reminds me that there is no one greater, no one stronger, no one with more authority over this universe than the One who loves me.

The One, by the way, who loves you.

Remember that as you head into your Wednesday.

Walk in confidence, Beloved.

Through the Years One-a-Day Tuesday 2/12/19

A life worthy

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.  Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come (Psalm 71:17-18).

A life spent with him.

Do you remember when you first came to Christ?  I was nineteen years old, living all alone in a cabin in the woods.

Seriously

For the first time everything made sense.  I read my Bible cover to cover within the first month of being saved. I felt a freedom and a strength I had never known.  I was off on an adventure, and I was coming home—all at the same time.

Thirty-many years later, I see the power of his love working in and through me.  I’m not yet the man I want to be, but I have learned the wisdom of Popeye—I yam what I yam, and his grace has not been without effect.

The day is coming when the salt will outweigh the pepper.  My body will be old, though I will probably still act like a six-year-old and make my daughter roll her eyes.  I trust that God will hold me tight even then. I will get to look back on a life lived with him, and I will pass the torch to my children and theirs knowing that the One who has been faithful to me will continue to work long after he has taken me home.

Kinda cool, when you think about it.  Sorta gives perspective.

It’s Tuesday, Beloved.

Enjoy the journey.

Chatterbox One-a-Day Monday 2/11/19

A life worthy

My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure.  I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. (Psalm 71:15-16).

Do you talk about him?

I know that you love him, you trust him, you worship him.

But do you talk about him?

Considering all that he has done for me—you know, forming me in the womb, providing my every breath, saving my soul—it would make sense that I talk about him every day, all the time, to everyone I meet.

But I don’t.

Oh, I talk about him to other Christians, telling them, “How God is working in my life,” because that is safe and expected and makes me look good.  But with the nonbeliever, the one who desperately needs to know that there is a God who is real and true and faithful and at work in everyday schmoes like me?

I am often remarkably silent.

Why?  No good reason.

Plenty of reasons…just no good one.

Partly I don’t want to make them uncomfortable, which is silly. After all, if they don’t know Christ, they need to be uncomfortable.

Partly I don’t want them to think I’m a fool, which is just too pathetic to talk about on a Monday morning.

Partly—and this scares me the most—sometimes God simply does not come to mind.  I am so wrapped up in my own stuff that…

Yeah.

I really hope I’m alone in this.  I hope you have no idea what I’m talking about, because you’re out there proclaiming Christ every day, all the time.  I hope you never let your foolish flesh get in the way of God’s work through you.

That is my hope for you today, Beloved.

And my prayer.

Happy Monday

Hope One-a-Day Friday 2/8/19

A life worthy

For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth (Psalm 71:5).

Think about it.

It doesn’t say, “You have given me hope.”

Or “You give me reason to hope.”

It says, “You have been my hope.”

God himself is our hope.  He is our confidence.

I gotta tell you…I’m not even sure what that means–it’s kind of hard to wrap my English teacher brain around it– but this passage seems to be talking not about what God does, but about who he is.

I’ve been walking, stumbling, slipping, and striding with Christ for thirty-one years now.  I can’t count the number of times he has been hope and confidence and joy and strength and peace for me, when there was no earthly reason I should have any of those things.

I can’t count the number of times…but it’s fun to try.

As you head into your day, consider the times that God has supported you, not just with his gifts, but by his very nature.  And praise him, not just for what he does, but for who he is.

Happy Friday, Beloved.

Rock One-a-Day Thursday 2/7/19

A life worthy

Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress (Psalm 71:3).

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ love and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand.

All other ground is sinking sand.

All other ground is sinking sand.

Yep.  Stole that one.  But hey, why reinvent the wheel?

Or the Rock?

It’s Thursday, Beloved.  Stand firm.