Walk the Walk One-a-Day Monday 6/29/20

A life worthy

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:3-4).

You are a child of the King of Kings, Beloved of Christ, chosen to bear witness of his glorious light to a dark and dying world. You are a walking, breathing testimony to his grace, his mercy, his life-changing love.

Act like it.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

A Life of Love One-a-Day Friday 6/26/20

A life worthy

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  (Ephesians 5:2)

This verse goes along with yesterday’s.  One of the most powerful features of God’s character is his unending, unstoppable love.  If we imitate him, as Ephesians 5:1 tells us to, we will live a life that mirrors that love.

And what an example we have to follow.  Jesus loved us, and he told us in a way that goes far beyond words.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  (John 15:13)

So how do we do that?  I mean, laying down your life is all well and good if you’re rushing into a burning building to rescue people, or if you dive into traffic to save a toddler.  But that opportunity doesn’t arise very often, and frankly, you can only do that trick once.

There is another way to lay down your life—but you probably don’t want to hear about it.  This is the daily act of dying to yourself, of putting other people first. It’s the little things—taking out the trash even though it isn’t your turn, letting someone else have the last doughnut even though you’ve been salivating over it all morning, letting the other car in front of you at the onramp even though it means you have to slow down and why should you have to slow down why can’t they just wait their turn like everybody else and it would serve them right if you just stayed the course and forced them off the side of the road—

Yeah, it’s that kind of stuff.  Not terribly dramatic; nothing to get you a mention in the paper, but loving nonetheless.  That’s your challenge.

So, Beloved, what will your fragrant offering be today?

Happy Friday.

Imitators One-a-Day Thursday 6/25/20

A life worthy

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children… (Ephesians 5:1).

Have you ever watched a son watch his father? The boy studies the man, soaking up the Dadness of it all.  Words, clothing, even mannerisms—the child models what he observes. Often, the child does not even realize what is going on.  He is simply watching, and becoming what he sees. This can be dangerous, because not all of Dad’s ways are worthy of imitation.  Thus the origin of the phrase, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

We have a Father who says, “Do as I say; do as I do; do as I am.”  All his ways are perfectly worthy of imitation. Study him closely today.  Look for him in his Word, in his world, and in his people. Then, do your best to be what you see.

Go ahead—be a copycat.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Forgive One-a-Day Wednesday 6/24/20

A life worthy

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you  (Eph. 4:32).

There’s an interesting thing about forgiveness.  It works for the forgiver as powerfully as for the forgivee.

Some of us—and by that I mean me—have trouble in the forgiveness department. Oh, we’re pretty good about forgiving those who apologize to us.  We can be gracious and charitable to folks who acknowledge their offense and want to make amends. But as you know, most people who offend you don’t apologize.

Because they’re jerks.

And yet we’re called to forgive them anyway.  The passage says, “Forgiving…just as in Christ God forgave you.”  He didn’t wait for us to apologize before acting to forgive us. If he had, he would have been waiting forever, which he could do, because he’s eternal, but what’s the point when we never would have taken the first step?  Romans 5:8 says that, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still hurting God, he was offering forgiveness.

Does this kind of forgiveness heal the relationship?  Not necessarily. The offender needs to acknowledge their sin and accept the gift of forgiveness in order for that to happen.  

Kind of exactly like it was with you and God.

But forgiveness does more than release the offender from guilt; it releases the offended from bitterness.  Forgive, as an act of obedience to God, and you are free to move on, regardless of what the other person does.

If you need to forgive someone today, I humbly suggest that you follow God’s command and forgive.  They hurt you once; don’t give them the power to hurt you over and over again.

What? There’s no one in your life you need to forgive?  Don’t worry; you’ll get your chance. It’s only a matter of time.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

It’s Personal One-a-Day Tuesday 6/23/20

A life worthy

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice (Ephesians 4:30-31).

Hmm…two pretty important things about God, here.

First, the Holy Spirit is a person.  For a lot of us, the Holy Spirit seems like some sort of ethereal God-mist, floating through the cosmos and entering people like a B-movie ghost. We see the Holy Spirit as kind of a manifestation of God’s power.

But ethereal God-mist manifestations of power don’t grieve.

Persons grieve.

Which brings the second point. The Holy Spirit can be grieved.  In Scripture we’ve seen the Father angry. We’ve seen the Son weep over a friend’s death and struggle at Gethsemane. Now we see that the Holy Spirit, too, knows emotion.

Beloved, our behavior has an impact, not only on those around us, but on the One within us. When we hold bitterness, rage, slander, and all the rest in our hearts, it saddens the One who knows us best and loves us most.

So, whatcha gonna do with that?

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Words One-a-Day Monday 6/22/20

A life worthy

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).

Beloved, you are in command of one of the most powerful forces in the history of history.


They can build or destroy,

wound or heal,

bring laughter or tears.

Never doubt their power, and never doubt that you are in command.

How will you use your words today, Beloved?

Happy Monday

Be Useful One-a-Day Friday 6/19/20

A life worthy

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands,that they may have something to share with those in need (Eph. 4:28).

There is deep, complex theological meaning in this text that requires a thorough knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic, and Dutch to understand, as well as close familiarity with the customs of the ancient Near East and Pacoima.

Well, actually, not really.

Be useful.

Earn your keep.

Help others.

Got it?

Happy Friday, Beloved.

Anger One-a-Day Thursday 6/18/20

A life worthy

“In your anger do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:26-27).

Uh oh.

So, yesterday you told the truth, and now they’re angry

Or you’re angry

Or both

Go figure.

I love that Paul doesn’t tell us not to get angry. Because, frankly, it’s gonna happen as long as you’re people and the people around you are people. You don’t have a choice, so don’t bother beating yourself up about it. But you do have a choice about how you handle the anger. Are you going to let it fester like an infected wound, growing ever more painful and swollen and nasty-smelling and filled with noxious, oozing pus?

Metaphorically speaking

Or are you going to cleanse the wound with forgiveness, and wrap it in mercy, and let grace heal you?

You know what your Enemy desires. He wants to use this anger as a wedge to drive you further from others, and further from God.

Don’t let him.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Speak the Truth One-a-Day Wednesday 6/17/20

A life worthy

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Eph. 4:25).

We are one body.

Therefore, lying to your neighbor is like lying to yourself.

Not that you’ve ever done that.

I like the phrase, “Put off falsehood.” It makes it sound like lying is a burden that weighs you down,

which it is.

As you walk through your Wednesday, make every effort to speak the truth,

even when it hurts,

even when it’s unpopular.

It’ll lighten your load.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved

New You One-a-Day Tuesday 6/16/20

A life worthy

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).

You probably give a lot of thought to what you wear each morning.  

Well, I mean, maybe not during the pandemic–right now, you may be living in your jammies.  But usually…

Question: How much thought goes into the “self” you put on?

One of my favorite stories is “Ragman,” by Walter Wangerin, Jr.  In this story Jesus appears as a peddler trading fresh, clean clothes for old, filthy ones. I’m sure you can see where this is going, because you are very perceptive.  As he travels, Jesus meets people broken in body, mind, and spirit. He takes the old, foul rags with which they cover themselves. As he does, he takes their infirmities as well.  In exchange, Jesus gives fresh, clean garments, and leaves healthy, whole people.

I love that story.  I love the truth in it.  

God has a fresh, clean you for you to wear this morning.  Take the time to put it on.

Oh, and if it doesn’t quite fit, don’t worry.  You’ll grow into it.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.