Refuge One-a-Day Wednesday 2/6/19

A life worthy

I’m feeling Psalmy. Who else is feeling Psalmy?

In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me (Psalm 71:1-2).

Some days he calls me to stand firm, armor gleaming and sword sharp, and do battle in his name.

Some days he calls me to hide myself in him, to pull his protection over me like a child hiding under the blankets, and let him do all the fighting.

Why the difference?  I don’t know for sure.

I do know that if I could stand tall all the time, I would probably start thinking that I was doing it on my own.

I’m foolish that way.

So, today I am reminded that there are things out there, both physical and spiritual, that are too big, too strong, too much for me.

But not for the One who loves me.  Not for the One who rescues me.

Beloved, you can’t be strong every day.

And that’s OK.  He doesn’t call you to be strong every day.

He just calls you to be his every day.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Authority One-a-Day Tuesday 2/5/19

A life worthy

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law (Matthew 7:28-29).

It’s like taking a lecture from the guy who wrote the book.

No…

It’s like taking a lecture from the guy who wrote the book, developed the concept upon which the book was written, grew the tree from which the paper was made on which the book was written, developed the language in which the ideas for the book were communicated, and created the universe in which ideas, communication, trees, books, and people exist.

Yeah… I think he’s worth listening to.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

And so at long last we come to the end of the Sermon on the Mount. I pray that you found this devotion useful. Let me know what you think.

Advice One-a-Day Friday  2/1/19

A life worthy

But everyone who hears these words of mine but does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand (Matthew 7:26).

…but does not put them into practice…

Wouldn’t wanna let that slip by, would we?

It’s the end of the semester.  A twelve-year-old student stands in front of me, eyes rimmed with panic, and asks, “What can I, like, do to, like, you know, like, raise my grade?”

“Easy,” I respond.  “Build a time machine, travel back a few months, and do the things I told you to do then.”

I have a tendency toward sarcasm.  It’s not always helpful.

As a teacher and a father and a brother and a friend I’ve dispensed a load of advice over the years.  Most of it solid. Much of it ignored. There are few things as frustrating as handing someone the solution to their problem, wrapped up with a metaphorical bow, and then see them walk away and toss it in the metaphorical trash can.  You know the feeling, because you’ve been there yourself.

I’ve also received plenty of excellent advice over the years, much of which I’ve ignored.  That’s not nearly as satisfying to talk about, however, so I’m not going to.

Good, godly advice is a treasure not to be wasted.  And there is no gooder, godlier advice than that which comes from our good God. His words are life; what say we live them today, ya?

Happy Friday, Beloved.

Windstorm One-a-Day Thursday  1/31/10

A life worthy

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock (Matthew 7:25).

Family and I went camping once upon a time.

Oh yeah, we’re great campers.

God, in his wisdom, decided to impress the above Scripture upon us in a delightfully graphic way.  He sent wind. Really windy wind. All night our tent sagged and swayed and slipped and smooshed and threatened to take us to Munchkin Land.  Not restful, and decidedly not peaceful, and mildly terrifying.

We’ve spent numerous windy nights in our house over the years. Nothing much to report.  It’s actually kinda fun sometimes, if we notice it at all.

Because our house is built on a solid foundation.

And…you know…it’s not made of fabric.

Every life has storms, Beloved.  Where will you spend yours?

Happy Thursday.

Rock Solid One-a-Day Wednesday  1/30/19

A life worthy

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on a rock (Matthew 7:24).

I haven’t built a house, but I have built a shed.

Before you get the wrong impression and think I’m handy or something, you might wanna read this post from long ago.  Then you’ll understand that when I say that I built a shed, I mean that I squinted and made man sounds while friends who actually knew what they were doing designed and laid out the structure and showed me which end of the hammer to swing.

I did most of the roofing myself though…course I fell off the ladder.

Another story for another time.

The point is, we poured a concrete foundation. I wanted this structure to last, and I was told that stability begins at the bottom. If your foundation isn’t solid, it doesn’t really matter what you build on it, you’re gonna wobble.

Sheds

Life

Same

Build well today, Beloved.

Happy Wednesday

Known One-a-Day Tuesday  1/29/19

A life worthy

Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?”  Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:22-23)

Am I the only one who finds this terrifying?

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not like I’m out there prophesying and performing miracles…although I do teach middle school, so the driving out demons part…

No, I get terrified by the thought that Jesus might one day say to me, “Hey!  I don’t know you! Back off, Pal!” I think that maybe I haven’t prayed enough, or studied enough, or meditated enough, or been enough for him to know me, to accept me, to–

–and then I realize–

Once again, I’m worried about earning what I already have.

What was I thinking?  Of course he knows me!  He’s been with me every moment of every hour since I surrendered my heart and my throne to him.  He’s seen me at my very best–which is none too great–and my very worst. He’s heard the thoughts that I share with no one else.

He’s been in the car with me when some idiot cuts me off.

Beloved, if you’ve opened the door, if you’ve asked Jesus to come into your heart and life and to forgive you and make you whole…he has.  It’s an invitation he has promised never to turn down. The miracle isn’t that he knows us; it’s that he knows us to the core–and loves us still.

Which he does.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Talker One-a-Day Monday 1/28/19

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21).

Remember Middle School?

Yeah, I know it’s painful, but bear with me…

Whenever the teacher assigned you to groups, there was the one guy who talked a good game, and looked really busy, but actually didn’t accomplish anything.

Remember how annoying that guy was?

God agrees.

Yeah, so…don’t be that guy.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Bonfire One-a-Day Friday  1/25/19

A life worthy

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus by their fruit you will recognize them (Matthew 7:18-20).

Notice that Jesus says cannot instead of does not.  A tree is simply incapable of producing fruit that is against its nature.  Jesus is talking about teachers here, and reminding us to judge the message by the fruit it produces.  Now I know some of you will extrapolate here. You will wig out over this, thinking “I sin sometimes. Sin is bad fruit.  Therefore, I must be evil.”

Remember, Beloved.  We are still in process.  I have a rose bush in my yard that produces two kinds of roses.  There are scraggly, grungy little reddish flowers that come from the wild root, and there are beautiful, healthy white blossoms that come from the bush that has been grafted in.  When I take care of the plant and keep it well trimmed, the beautiful blossoms are evident. When I neglect it, the grungies take over. But that isn’t one tree bearing two kinds of fruit; it’s two trees vying for dominance.  As it is with you, Beloved.

As it is with me.

Do a little gardening this morning.  Prune your roses.

Happy Friday, Beloved

Fruit One-a-Day Thursday  1/24/10

A life worthy

By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (Matthew 7:16-17).

The fruit of the Spirit is love.

Is this person loving?

The fruit of the Spirit is joy.

Does this person bring joy?

The fruit of the Spirit is peace.

Is this person a peacemaker?

And patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control?  You know what to look for. If you don’t see the fruit, you gotta wonder about the tree.

Judge wisely, Beloved.

Happy Thursday