One-a-Day Wednesday, 2/5/14

number 1…that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in Heaven, on Earth, and under the earth… (Philippians 2:10)

We’re not real big on kings here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Bowing the knee to anyone sort of sticks in our collective craw.  After all, we fought a revolution to chuck the King of England over the side of the boat, and we haven’t missed him much.  We’re an independent, self-sufficient, stand-on-your-own-two-feet kind of people.

But we’re gonna bow—all of us.

Californians will bow.

New Yorkers will bow.

Republicans will bow.

Democrats will bow.

Angels will bow.

Demons will bow.

Your neighbor will bow.

You, my friend, will bow.

The question of the day is this: How does that make you feel?  Do you (A) shift uncomfortably at the thought of giving up the last wisps of the illusion of independence, (B) tremble with joy at the thought of finally kneeling before the king of the universe, or (C) offer a halfhearted “meh” and go about your business?

Far be it from me to intrude, but may I suggest that if your answer is anything other than (B) you spend some time in conversation with the One to whom you will one day bow?  It might make the whole experience more pleasant.

Just a thought.

One-a-Day Tuesday, 2/4/14

number 1…and gave him the name that is above all names…  (Philippians 2:9b)

We know him by many names.

Jesus Christ

Alpha

Omega

Emmanuel

I Am

Lamb of God

Prince of Peace

Mighty God

Light of the World

The Bright Morning Star

Wonderful Counselor

The Amen

Man of Sorrows

Lion of the Tribe of Judah

The Word

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Bread of Life

Living Water

God calls him by another name, the name which is above all names.

Son.

And here’s something really crazy.  Because of Christ’s sacrifice, do you know what God now calls us?

Yes, you do.

How can that be?  What can that mean?

Chew on that today.

One-a-Day Monday, 2/3/14

number 1Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…  (Philippians 2:9a)

This is profound and utterly beyond me.

The word “Therefore” indicates to me that Jesus was exalted as a result of his obedience to the Father.  Yet he was raised to the position that was already his—the position he gave up when he came to us as a man.  Why could he not simply claim by right that which was his from eternity?  I am continually amazed, not only by Christ’s power, but by his willingness to restrain that power.  I have no doubt that, if I were in his place, I would not have waited for the Father to exalt me.  I would have exalted myself.

Reason #42 to be glad I’m not God.

Waiting Room

Last week my mother-in-law went in for a CAT scan to find out if months of chemotherapy and radiation did the trick.

 

clockI want to do this.

I don’t want to do this.

The parking lot is full—can we go home?

The waiting room is full—perhaps they won’t have time for me today.

Maybe the machine will break…maybe the lab tech will get violently ill from eating bad sushi and they’ll have to reschedule.

I want to know.

I don’t want to know.

I need to know.

When will I know?

I sort through magazines, looking for something

to divert

to distract

to entertain

as if anything could possibly hold my attention

except…it.

I’m surrounded by people.

I’m all alone.

Other people

not people

other patients

each wrapped in a cocoon

of symptoms

of sickness

of hope

of fear

What will they find with their

looking

and scanning

and probing?

If it’s gone, do I get my life back?

If it’s not, do I have the strength

to fight

again?

Everyone sympathizes.

No one understands.

and I am so cold

God, you have never seemed so close.

Or so far away.

One-a-Day Friday, 1/31/14

number 1And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!  (Philippians 2:8)

He didn’t have to die—you know that.

He chose to die, for reasons I still can’t fully grasp.  I mean, I understand the basic theological concept of redemption.  He who knew no sin, taking the burden of my sin upon himself, dying in my place to pay the price for that sin and restore my relationship to the Father.  He took the punishment because—and here’s where my brain locks up—he thinks I’m worth it.

I hope he’s right.

I can’t wrap my head around the concept, but I can wrap my heart around it.

That’s enough.

Still, the whole thing is just so very not the way I would have done it.

And there you go, folks—reason #37 to be glad I am not God.

Thank you, Lord, that you were willing to pay the price I could never pay.

Thank you, Father, that it did not end with the cross.

One-a-Day Thursday, 1/30/14

number 1Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  (Philippians 2:6-7)  

He was perfect.

Complete.

He knew everything

Had everything

Was everything

Everything that has ever been was made with the thought of his heart and the breath of his mouth.

But he stepped down from all that into a broken world.  A world of

Dirt

And pain

And tears

And blood

And death

For you

For me.

That is the attitude to which we are called, Beloved.  We step into that same world today.  We may know

Dirt

And pain

And tears

And blood

And death

For them

For Him.

Are you up to the challenge?

Me neither.

Let’s pray for each other today, Beloved.

One-a-Day Wednesday, 1/29/14

number 1Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5)

No pressure here—just have the same attitude as the Lord of the Universe.  Tomorrow we will look at what Paul means by an attitude, “The same as that of Christ Jesus.”  For today, just consider this: God has called you—commanded you—to be like him.

Chew on that today.

One-a-Day Tuesday, 1/28/14

number 1Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  (Philippians 2:3)

But they’re not.

Better than you, that is.

Seriously, isn’t it hard to consider others better than yourself when you know the way they live? When you hear the way they speak and see how they act?  Does God really expect you to put…them before your own needs and wants?

Yep

One-a-Day Monday, 1/27/14

number 1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.  (Philippians 2:1-2)

Does it show?

Does your relationship with Christ have a visible effect on who you are in the world?

Does your fellowship with other believers reflect the fellowship you have with the Holy Spirit?

It should, you know.

Let that be the focus of your prayers this morning, as you head out into a week filled with people who are not as easy to love as Jesus is.

Go and love, Beloved of Christ.

A Real Grind

DisposalOur garbage disposal died.

To fully grasp my sadness, you must understand that the garbage disposal is one of my all-time favorite household appliances.  It has one, simple purpose—to eat—and it does that exceedingly well.  It does not seek to glorify itself—no, it stays out of sight under the sink, bothering no one and taking up no precious counter space.  It doesn’t need bright colors or fancy names or hand embroidered covers.  It just wants to make my life better by consuming everything in the kitchen that annoys or disgusts me. Continue reading