The Narrow Gate One-a-Day Thursday 1/7/21

A life worthy

Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:13-14).

There is only one way to Heaven.

And it’s not a How; it’s a Who.

That’s not my opinion, my interpretation, or my rule. I didn’t make it up.

It’s reality, Beloved.

As you move through your Thursday, you’re going to meet people who honestly don’t understand this.  They think that Heaven is a myth, or maybe a state of mind, or perhaps a place for “good” people who try hard and are generally nice folk.

They’re wrong.

Pray for opportunity today, Beloved.  Pray for the chance to help someone understand who Jesus is and what he taught and why the road is so narrow.  And if God grants you that chance…

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Golden Rule One-a-Day Wednesday 2/6/21

A life worthy

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).

It’s really pretty simple.

If you want to be cheated, cheat.

If you want to be lied to, lie.

If you want to be hurt, hurt.

If you want to be humiliated, humiliate.

If you want to be stolen from, steal.

If you want to be mocked, mock.

If you want to be cursed, curse.

If you want to be bitten on the elbow,–but really, how likely is that?

If you want to be helped, help.

If you want to be blessed, bless.

If you want to be respected, respect.

If you want to be praised, praise.

If you want to be comforted, comfort.

If you want to be loved, love.

Yep…pretty simple.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Gifts One-a-Day Tuesday 1/5/21

A life worthy

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  (Matthew 7:9-11)

Do you believe that God wants you to have what is best for you?

Do you believe that God knows what’s best for you?

Really?

We parents can mess up from time to time.  We might be overprotective or underprotective or buy our kids the wrong clothes or pick the wrong school or choose the wrong place to live or feed them yams or let them play tennis barefoot or any one of a number of ill-advised oopses.

But

generally, our hearts are in the right place.  We, really, truly want the best for our children, even when we’re not sure what that looks like.

God knows exactly what best looks like.

and

God loves you even more than you love your kids.

Let that soak in for a minute.  That person whom you love beyond words, the one you would give anything, do anything, be anything for–God loves you more than that.

And, God knows what you need, 100% of the time.

So, Beloved of Christ, take a breath.

He’s got you, today and always.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Just Ask One-a-Day Monday 1/4/21

A life worthy

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened  (Matthew 7:7-8).

This passage gives my flesh fits.  After all, there are plenty of things that my flesh wants that it doesn’t get.   And I’m not just talking about stuff. The healing of a relationship, the salvation of a friend–sometimes we ask for good things, righteous things, and we don’t get them.  “Ask and it will be given to you,” doesn’t always seem to apply.

That’s annoying, and painful, and sometimes a little faith-rocking.

Perhaps, Beloved, the key to this verse lies in remembering God’s priorities.  This isn’t a cop-out or a rationalization–it’s truth. When he thinks of you, God’s biggest concern isn’t your finances or your career or even the other people in your life.  It’s your relationship with him. He wants to draw you in, bring you closer, make you more like his Son. In these things, the sky’s the limit. You don’t have to wonder if what you request would be best.  You don’t have to pray, “If it’s your will.”

You becoming more Christlike is always his will.

So…ask to draw nearer to him.  Seek a closer relationship. Knock at the door of his heart.  He’s waiting.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

New Year’s Day One-a-Day Friday 1/1/21

A life worthy

Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6)

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

Bright Morning Star

Wonderful Counselor

The Amen

Man of Sorrows

Lion of the Tribe of Judah

The Word

Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Bread of Life

Living Water

The Father calls him by another name.

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?

Something to chew on as you begin 2021.

Happy New Year, Beloved

Everlasting Father One-a-Day Thursday 12/31/20

A life worthy

Everlasting Father,  (Isaiah 9:6).

I hope you have a great dad.  

I do.

I hope he is loving and strong and gentle and a daily blessing to your life.  I hope this, not only to make those family dinners a little less awkward, but because it will give you a better picture of God. You see, God presents himself to us in many ways through Scripture, but the one that hangs most people up is the image of a father.  It can be difficult to see God as loving and caring if your earthly father is cold, distant, abusive, or absent altogether.

Look, I’m not gonna climb up into your psyche here, but I need to point something out.  Whatever your earthly dad does well, your heavenly dad does even better. Wherever your earthly dad messes up, your heavenly dad gets it right.  God will always be there to cheer you when you win, and comfort you when you lose. His advice will always be perfect, and his discipline will always be just. He will come to all your ball games, all your dance recitals, all your spelling bees. He will be there at the hospital bed and at the wedding altar.

From the end of the year to the end of all things

He will always love you.

Always, as in Everlasting.

Walk in his love today, Beloved.

Happy Thursday

Mighty One-a-Day Wednesday 12/30/20

A life worthy

…Mighty God,  (Isaiah 9:6)

We’re almost there.

The New Year.

New beginnings, new chances, new opportunities, new gym memberships…

So why am I stressed?

As we get closer to flipping the calendar, all sorts of tensions get stirred up in me.  I mean, I’d love to say I’m focused on what’s ahead, but there’s so much that was supposed to get done this year that still hasn’t been done. Goals I haven’t reached, projects I haven’t completed, promises I haven’t fulfilled, garages I haven’t cleaned.

Oy, you should see my garage.

Does that resonate with you? Even a little?

If it does, well, I feel pretty spiffy that you’ve taken the time to read this.  Since you have, make the most of the moment. Let the words soak in:

He is Mighty God.

Read it again.  Go on.

Now, say it out loud.

This King we serve, this Lord we love, this Savior we celebrate is fully capable of meeting the challenges of our day, be they mundane or monstrous.

And he will love us, no matter what our garages look like.

Because we are his beloved.

Because we are his, Beloved.

Happy Wednesday

Wonderful Counselor One-a-Day Tuesday 12/29/20

A life worthy

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, (Isaiah 9:6)

There can be a lot in a name.  My name is Michael, which means, “Who is like God?”  I like that—it’s a constant reminder of the answer…Nobody. When I begin to get a little too big for my proverbial britches, my very name brings me back to Earth.

Jesus is called Wonderful Counselor.  Think about it—what does a counselor do?  A good counselor does three things—listen deeply, see to the heart of the issue, and offer wisdom.   So, we serve a God who actually listens to us—listens deeply. He doesn’t just pretend to listen while he mentally plans out his day, the way I might.  He actually considers every word you speak—and those you don’t.

Jesus also sees to the heart of your issue—after all, he knows you better than you do—remember Psalm 139?  You couldn’t hide the truth from him if you tried, so knock it off already.

Wisdom?  Uh…do I need to point out that his words are the very words of God?  Literally? Yeah, worth listening to.

You, Beloved, have a Wonderful Counselor.  Walk in his wisdom today.

Happy Tuesday.

Kingdom One-a-Day Monday 12/28/20

A life worthy

…and the government will be on his shoulders. (Isaiah 9:6)

Here’s the thing with governments—they’re generally made up of people. And, well, I hate to tell you this, but people tend toward selfishness and greed.

I just heard a bubble burst out there…sorry.

The United States has a system of government known as a Representative Democracy, aka a republic. This is a strong, just, and efficient method of governance that works flawlessly, except when people are ignorant, selfish, and lazy.

Oh.

Same holds true for Communism, monarchies, aristocracies, feudal societies, even theocracies.  On paper, they look great. It’s when you add the people that things go winky-wonky.

Frankly, the best, strongest, most efficient form of government is a benevolent dictatorship.  The problem, of course, is that you can guarantee the dictator part, but not the benevolent bit.

Yet.

But guess what, Beloved?  The day will come when we will have an absolute monarch, a king of kings, who will rule with complete authority over all nations.  His reign will be perfect, unhampered by greed, unsullied by sin. He will know what’s best, want what’s best, do what’s best.

He will be what’s best.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Happy Monday, Beloved

The Baby One-a-Day Friday 12/25/20

A life worthy

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…  (Isaiah 9:6)

Babies are amazing.  Tiny noses and toeses and fingernails.  They even smell good.

Mostly.

The feeling of joy, of life, that you get from holding a newborn—it’s…wow.  It doesn’t even have to be your baby. It can be a nephew, or a cousin, or the child of a friend.  Hey, it could be a random kid from the mall that you grabbed just for the experience.

Not that you would ever do that because that would be very very wrong and earn you psychiatric evaluations and the serious threat of incarceration.

My point is this: Hope arrives with every baby.

How great is it that God chose to bring Christ to us in this way. Think about it—the Messiah could have appeared fully grown, striding out of the desert on a Tuesday morning.  He could have simply walked into the temple and started preaching. Instead, we get to see him as a baby—yes, so that his genealogy could be verified and so that prophecy would be fulfilled—but also so that we could see the Lord of the Universe willing to humble himself by birth, as he would one day humble himself by death.

Your God loves you so much that he sent a baby—the epitome of life—to call you to eternal life.

Heed the call.

Merry Christmas, Beloved.