One-a-Day Tuesday 5/27/14

number 1Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence (Psalm 73:13).

Did I mention that I really identify with the Psalmist on this one?

When I’m in the kind of mood we talked about yesterday, I inevitably fall into what can only be described as a pity party.  My thoughts run to, “Oh, God, I work so hard for you; I do so much.  Why don’t you honor my amazingosity?”

I could count all the things wrong with that question, but I only have so many fingers and toes, and I’m trying to type.  Suffice to say that, like Isaiah said, all my righteous acts are like filthy rags.

God knows it.

I know it.

No one’s fooling anyone here.

So, Beloved, since you’re humoring me this week and going through exercises you obviously don’t need, follow me on this one.  Check your heart.  Do you find yourself feeling/thinking/acting like you have earned anything from God?  Do you feel a little put out that the Almighty has not deigned to recognize your excellent work on his behalf?

Probably not.

But just on the off chance that you do, may I suggest that you, how do I say this, knock it off?  Because, frankly, your righteousness is only slightly less filthy than mine.

God bless your Tuesday, Beloved.  Keep your head straight.

One-a-Day Monday 5/26/14

number 1Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.  For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73:1-3).

Sometimes sinners seem to have all the fun.

I totally identify with the Psalmist on this one.  Although I know better, there are days when I feel like the worldly people around me just seem to have a better life.  Better cars, better jobs, better bank accounts—just…better.  It’s a dangerous place to find myself, as the Psalmist points out.  When I get in that mode, I focus way ever so much too much on what the world values, and I forget what my Lord considers important.  Frankly, I get kinda pathetic.

Look, I know you’re far too spiritually mature to fall into such moods.


Just to humor me, take a moment this morning to step back and evaluate how you look at the world around you.  Do you, by chance, find yourself envying those who do not follow God?  Do you find yourself thinking, even for a moment, that they have a better life than you do?  That they have a freedom you do not?

Father, I pray for clear vision to start the week.  Help us to see this world, and its people, as you do.  Help us to focus on you, and on the abundant, amazing life you offer us.  



Monday’s waiting, Beloved. Go get it.

One-a-Day Friday 5/23/14

number 1Today is a day to sing.

Sing this hymn we’ve been talking about all week.  If you don’t know the tune, just say the words.  Make it your prayer today, Beloved.


Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art

Thou, my best thought by day or by night

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light


Be Thou my wisdom and Thou my true word

I ever with Thee, and Thou with me, Lord

Thou my great Father; I thy true son

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one


Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise

Thou mine inheritance, now and always

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart

High King of Heaven my treasure Thou art


High King of Heaven my victory won

May I reach Heaven’s joy, O Bright Heaven’s Sun

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall

Still be my vision, O Ruler of all


One-a-Day Thursday 5/22/14

number 1High King of Heaven my victory won

May I reach Heaven’s joy, O Bright Heaven’s Sun

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall

Still be my vision, O Ruler of all


Someday this will all be over.

A memory.

A blur.

Someday the promises will be fulfilled and you will stand in the presence of the one who has always loved you.

You will laugh

and sing

and weep

and dance.

Even I will dance, and nobody will laugh at me.

Not even my kids.

Until that day, we walk in the promise of what is to come.  Your Thursday may not look like glory, but the Lord of Glory is in it, waiting for you.

Walk in the promise today, Beloved.

One-a-Day Wednesday 5/21/14

number 1Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise

Thou mine inheritance, now and always

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart

High King of Heaven my treasure Thou art

I wish this were true of me.

Oh, I don’t think I worship money—if you saw my car, you would know the truth of that.  But I must say I care a sight too much about, “Man’s empty praise.”

I wish I didn’t.

But I do.

Now, you probably don’t have an unhealthy focus on money or peoples’ opinions of you.  You seem pretty put-together to me.  But just in case, it’s worth noting that this song gives us an answer to our dilemma.  See, it’s not enough to try not to think about money, or popularity, or whatever worldly thing you obsess over.  Look, I’ll prove it to you.  On the count of three, don’t think about money. Ready?  1…2…3…Go.

See what I mean?

We need to focus on what we do have, the amazing treasure we possess.  If you belong to Christ, you are heir to a colossal inheritance.  You are a child of the King of the Universe.  You have eternal life.  Best of all, you have a relationship with the One who hand-crafted you, who created and chose and loved you before you even knew his name.  Remind yourself of that, today and every day.  That just might help you keep your mind off the so-called riches of this lost world.

He is your treasure.

You are his.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

One-a-Day Tuesday 5/20/14

number 1Be Thou my wisdom and Thou my true word

I ever with Thee, and Thou with me, Lord

Thou my great Father; I thy true son

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one

Whence cometh thy wisdom, Beloved?

Sorry…I got a little caught up in the whole Thee and Thou business.

The question, however, is still valid—where do you get your wisdom?  Do you look to the world, with its political leaders and life coaches and self-help gurus?  Do you watch T.V., and adopt the attitudes and mores of the celebrity set?  Do you listen to the prevailing opinion of society, and claim it as wisdom?

Because you know that the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God, right?

Like the first verse of this hymn, this one asks God to do more than provide.  It asks him to be.  Be wisdom in me.  Be truth in me.  You see, wisdom and truth aren’t just tools that you can get from God and go off and use on your own, like some sort of spiritual ratchet set.

Though I do find that concept intriguing…

Wisdom and truth come from, and are used in, relationship with the Father.  As we grow closer to him, we grow closer to the source of all wisdom and all truth.  They sorta seep into us, like vitamin D when you’re out in the sun.  They become part of us.  Walking in wisdom and truth then becomes as natural as, well, as walking.

I must admit, I still walk with two left feet and a bit of a stutter step, but I’m working on it.

What about you, Beloved?  Are you spending enough time with your Father to soak in his wisdom, his truth?

Make the time today.  I know you’re busy, but he’s worth it.

So are you.

One-a-Day Monday 5/19/14

number 1*note: This is a bit different from my normal One-a-Days.  For this week, I have chosen to focus on a hymn that has special meaning for me.  It may not be Scripture, but I think it has much to teach us about loving Christ.

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art

Thou, my best thought by day or by night

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light

I love that it doesn’t say, “Validate the vision that I have for my own life.”

Although that would be catchy.

It doesn’t even say “Lord, grant me a vision for my life,” which is, frankly, about as good as I ever get.

The song says, “Be my vision.”  I gotta admit, I’m not even entirely sure what that means, except that it speaks of total commitment.  The following lines press the thought:

Nothing matters without you.

Be the focus of my thoughts every day.

Being with you is my reason for living.

Oh, Beloved, can we ever reach that level of devotion this side of glory?

I don’t know…but it’s what I want to want.

It will be the song of my heart today.

Will you sing with me?


failure“Failure is not an option!”

Yawanna bet?

The current philosophy in education is that students should not be “allowed” to fail.  Somehow as a teacher it is my job to ensure that kids are poked and prodded and nudged and cajoled into doing the basic work that is expected of them as students.  If they say the work is too hard, I should make it easier; if it is too much, I should make it less.  If they failed a test that they chose not to study for, I should consider what interventions I might employ to help this “struggling student”—a misnomer if ever there was one—reach his or her goal of being a nuclear physicist.  Because, in the end, if the student gets an “F,” it is really the teacher who failed.

May I tell you why that is such a dangerous and flawed philosophy? Continue reading

One-a-Day Friday 5/16/14

number 1Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2).

I want a running Director’s Commentary on my life.  You know, like when you buy a DVD, you can look in the “bonus features” section and watch the movie with the director talking over the action. He explains the back story, provides behind-the-scenes tidbits, and gives insight into why certain production decisions were made.

I want the Holy Spirit to provide running commentary for me.  As I go through my day he can whisper in my ear—better yet, he can have an angel appear from time to time with a little scroll.  You know, something tangible, ‘cause I don’t always trust voices in my head.  Anyway, he can point out the Father’s will in every situation, and explain why things happen the way they do.  That would be good.

While we’re at it, I want a pony.

OK, this is odd.  I was composing the above in my head while driving home from work.  As I got to the part about the pony, I glanced to my right and saw…

A pony.

It was just standing there, by the side of the road, munching on some random flora.  I have driven this road twice a day every workday for eight years.  Never once have I seen a pony.  I attach no spiritual significance to this, other than proof that God has a sense of humor.

And yet…

I did not stop and collect the pony, partly because I don’t want a felony on my record, and partly because I really do not want a pony.  I was only pretending I wanted a pony.

Which makes me wonder…do I really want the Holy Spirit speaking directly to me, passing me notes, or am I just pretending I do?  Do I really want to be responsible for knowing God’s will?  Because, frankly, not being sure of his will gives me a certain amount of wiggle room that I often exploit.

This passage suggests to me that, as we allow God to put our minds back in whack through his Word and his Holy Spirit, we actually do get something akin to Director’s Commentary.  But as with any gift, we are responsible for how we use it.

What do you say, Beloved?  Are you willing to accept the gift God offers?  Are you willing to be transformed and renewed, to be able to, “test and approve what God’s will is…”?  Because what he gives, you must use.

Unless he gives you a pony.  A pony you may leave by the side of the road.

One-a-Day Thursday 5/15/14

number 1Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

Not your heart?


Your mind.

Sure, God works in your heart too, but the transformation Paul is talking about here comes through your mind.

What you think about.

How you think about it.

How you make your decisions.

How you look at the world.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we live in a sinful, broken world.  Growing up in it, surrounded by the messages that society puts out, well, it warps our minds.

There it is, Beloved.  You have a warped mind.

It’s kinda like putting on your friend’s eyeglasses.  Everything looks wrong, distorted, and out of whack.

God wants to put you back in whack.  He wants to renew your mind.

Some parts of the renewal are immediate, like taking off your friend’s glasses and putting on your own.  When you came to Christ, the Holy Spirit came to live within you, and certain things changed immediately.  You saw sin as bondage, for example, and wondered how you could ever have thought it was freedom.

Other parts of the transformation take more time.  They’re like the caterpillar, quietly waiting in its cocoon, allowing God to work his will in his own way, in his own time.  God uses his word, day by day, little by little, to transform the way you think, the way you see the world around you.  He is gentle and patient, because your brain is a fragile little thing, and you’re of little use to him in a catatonic state.  But if you remain in the word, he will continue to work in you, until the butterfly is released.

That’s an awful lot of metaphor for a Thursday.

Rest today, Beloved.  Rest in the knowledge that he is a work in you, even now.