Homecoming One-a-Day Wednesday 5/29/19

A life worthy

But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

He came to be with us.

One day, at the end of all things, he will call us to be with him.

We will be…what we were always meant to be.

Complete

Whole

His

That’s the prize, Beloved.

You’ll get to be the real you.

Finally

Forever

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

The Prize One-a-Day Tuesday 5/28/19

A life worthy

But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize… (Philippians 3:14)

I want to win.

I hope that doesn’t offend you.

I know it’s not polite to say these days, but I wanna destroy my opponent, crushing him to powder as I race to the finish line.  I want the gold medal, blue ribbon, the big trophy, the attaboy certificate.

Over the years, I have won and I have lost, and lemme tell you: winning is eversomuchmorebetterer.

Oh, and here’s the great thing: in order to win, I don’t need to defeat anybody

except myself.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Remember One-a-Day Monday 5/27/19

A life worthy

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

We are called to remember.

So…remember.

Remember the One who died that you might live,

who was bound that you might be set free.

And remember those who have followed His example, leaving their homes behind to travel to foreign soil, where they give their lives that you and I might be free.

Right now, as I write this, some warrior shoulders a rifle, or climbs into a chopper, or races toward a bomb blast, knowing that today could be the day that they are called to give “the last full measure of devotion.”

They may be terrified.

They go anyway.

For you

and me.

Remember, Beloved.

Happy Monday

Goal!! One-a-Day Friday 5/24/19

A life worthy

But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…  (Philippians 3:14).

Pick your sports analogy…

Football

Baseball

Soccer

Hockey

Lacrosse…I guess.

Imagine the athlete dodging through his opponents, evading the outstretched glove or grasping hands, bobbing and weaving and twisting and diving headlong toward the goal. All distractions burned away, the entire world has condensed into the space separating him from the prize he seeks.  

That’s you.

At least, it oughta be.

Eyes on the prize, Beloved.

Happy Friday

Strain One-a-Day Thursday 5/23/19

A life worthy

But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead… (Philippians 3:13)

It doesn’t say drifting.

It doesn’t say wandering.

Straining

Yes, of course we serve a God of grace, and no, of course you are not saved by your own effort.

That doesn’t mean you don’t make an effort.

You didn’t have to try out for this team. You were picked. And, I’ll let you in on a little secret–we win, whether you’re in the action or on the sidelines pretending to check your shoelaces. But wouldn’t it be better to be in the middle of the fight? Wouldn’t it be better, when the whistle blows, to say that you left everything on the field?

Go get ‘em, Beloved.

Happy Thursday

Don’t Look Back One-a-Day Wednesday 5/22/19

A life worthy

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind… (Philippians 3:13)

Don’t look back.

That was one of the biggest rules my coach taught me.  About 700 years ago I was a cross country runner. I was pretty good, but I had a weakness that often got me into trouble on the race course.

I looked back.

I just couldn’t resist sneaking a peek at who was behind me, wondering if they were catching up or falling back or what. That was a problem, because it took my focus off of the challenges right in front of me, the things in my path that could slow me up of knock me down.  With my eyes to the rear, I couldn’t give my all to the race in front of me.

As an adult, sort of, I still struggle with the temptation to look back, to think about how I should have run that last mile when the next mile awaits. That’s silly, because the next mile has rocks and sand and thorns and I really oughta pay attention.

‘Course, we’re not talking about running anymore, are we?

Eyes front, Beloved.  Run hard.

Happy Wednesday

Press On One-a-Day Tuesday 5/21/19

A life worthy

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Philippians 3:12).

You, my friend, have a destiny.

Ooooooohhh! A destiny! So fancy!

You have been selected by the Lord of the Universe for a grand task.

Seriously

You may feel like your life leads nowhere, like you’re not making a difference, like what you do or even who you are doesn’t really matter.

I teach middle school–I feel your pain.

But–and it’s a big but–you do matter.

Jesus says so.

You have the honor of glorifying Christ Jesus, your king. You have the privilege of being conformed to his image. You have the goal of eternal life spent with the one who knows you best and loves you most.

That’s the prize, Beloved.

Press on

Take hold

Live

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Work in Progress One-a-Day Monday 5/20/19

A life worthy

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect…(Philippians 3:12)

Whew!

Thanks, Paul.

I tell you, I am so very far from being the man I want to be that it gets downright depressing.  I think that if Paul had said, “I’m so glad I’ve arrived. Perfection is just…perfect!” I would have crawled into the corner to suck my thumb and rock gently back and forth.

But he didn’t say that, did he?

Because Paul–even Paul–knew that the journey wouldn’t be over, that he wouldn’t be complete, until he stepped out of this body and into the arms of his Savior.  

The same goes for you, Beloved.

And me

Our time will come, we will be complete.

Until then, watch out for the potholes.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Life and Death Saturday 5/18/19

A life worthy

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes beheld my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:15-16).

Abortion

I’m totally, thoroughly, decidedly against it.  

You have two choices at this point.  You can write me off as a misogynist who wants to control women, or you can read on to see why I believe as I do.  Your call, and hey, no hard feelings.

Still here?  Sweet. So, here we go.

My thanks to Greg Koukl of the organization Stand to Reason for pointing out what I find to be a beautiful piece of common sense. It goes like this: When it comes to abortion, there is really only one question, and that question is…

What is it?

Exactly

What is it that you are trying to kill?  You see, if that is not a human being in there, if it is not an actual living baby, then we have no argument with each other.  I mean, you don’t need a “right” to get a bunion removed, or a cyst or a tumor or a polyp or a goiter.

Do they remove goiters?  I’m not really sure, but you get my drift.

If that thing in your uterus is not a human life, then no one has the right to tell you what to do with it.  If it’s in your way, if it’s annoying, then by all means get rid of it.

But

if it’s a baby…

We don’t kill babies for the sake of convenience.  If we did, few people would make it out of the toddler stage.  I’ve helped raise two of the little creatures, and I can tell you–they can be really inconvenient at times.  Yet no one fights for the right to retroactively abort because their kid drew with crayon on the walls or their teen totaled the car or their “young adult” forgot to take out the trash before you left on vacation and now the house smells of rotting mysteries.  

But Michael, there’s a big difference between a fetus and a child.

Really?  And what difference would that be?  I mean, a fetus doesn’t look fully human, but neither do a lot of the baby pictures I see posted on Facebook. The fetus can’t survive on its own? Neither can an infant.  Or a three-year-old. Or most teenagers. The fetus is inside the body, the baby outside? That would mean that we can abort a full term fetus, but a child born prematurely is protected, even though it is younger.  I can’t see the sense in that.

But Michael,  is a fetus really human?

Um…yes.  I mean, what else could it be?  The DNA doesn’t magically change. From the time sperm hits egg and–SHAZAM–begins to divide, it is genetically identifiable as an itty bitty teeny human, separate and distinct from the parents, with the same genetic coding it will have when it is old and paunchy and bald.

But Michael,  is it really alive when it’s still in the womb?

If it’s growing and developing and changing and using energy and responding to stimuli…that’s alive by pretty much anyone’s standards.

OK Michael, but just being alive doesn’t make you a “person.” You have to be more than a bunch of cells to be a person.

You’re right.  There’s more to personhood than just a physical body.  But how do we define it? My grandma died of Alzheimer’s.  She was bedridden, unable to care for herself, completely unaware of her surroundings.  She had lost all of her personality, all of her ability to interact. Had she lost her personhood?  Sorry, my friend, but I think it is arrogant in the extreme to assume that we can decide what constitutes personhood.  I’m going to stick with life.

But Michael, what about a woman’s right to control her own body?  Her right to choose?

I believe a woman has the right to choose.  She has the right to choose whether or not she will have sex.  If she chooses to have sex, she does so knowing that pregnancy is a possibility.  Frankly, I think society is being disrespectful of women when we assume they aren’t capable of rational, cause-and-effect decision making.

But Michael, what about rape?

Rape is a horrible crime.  For what it’s worth, I’m wide open to giving the death penalty to rapists.  But not to the victims of his crime. A little girl conceived in rape–or incest for that matter–had no choice in her conception.  She is a victim, as is her mother. Honestly, I don’t think I could counsel a woman to keep and raise a child conceived in rape or incest. I can’t fathom the difficulty and pain involved in that.  If asked, I would counsel a woman in that situation to give the child up for adoption, where she has a chance to be raised by parents who can look at her and not be daily reminded of the darkest day of their lives.

Look, I’m not being frivolous about this.  I can’t imagine asking my daughter to spend nine months growing the baby of an evil man who viciously attacked her.  To endure the changes–some irreversible–to her body. To go through labor and childbirth just to bring a reminder of humiliation into the world.

But it’s not the baby’s fault.

She doesn’t deserve to die for the sins of her father.

But Michael, what if the life of the mother is in danger?

Here we have the one time that, in my worldview, abortion is a reasonable option.  When it is a question of one life or another, I believe that the mother makes that choice.  And yet I wonder what percentage of abortions endanger the life of the mother. A very small percentage, I would imagine.

Michael, you are a man. Who are you to dictate what happens to my body?

I’m not dictating what happens to your body.  If you want to get tattoos, shave your head, pierce your parts, that’s none of my business.  Go be you. I’m discussing what happens to that other body that is in your body. If a stranger attacks a pregnant woman and kills her baby, we call it murder.  If a doctor kills the child at her request, we call it choice. How is that rational or sensible or moral or good?

We live in a Me First world.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way.  It’s not what the Father designed, nor what his Son taught.  We see this attitude reflected throughout our culture, but nowhere more than in the area of abortion.  It is the height of selfishness to sentence an innocent person to death in order to avoid inconvenience.

Do my words condemn me as a misogynist?  I don’t think so, but I’d love to hear from you.  I know I haven’t covered all aspects of this debate–feel free to comment and tell me what I’ve missed, where I’ve gone wrong.  But I hope you see that my beliefs have come from careful consideration, and not from fear or hate or a need to control.

I don’t hate women…I just love babies.

Resurrection One-a-Day Friday 5/17/19

A life worthy

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead (Philippians 3:11).

You will sleep

and then

you will awake

and this…this will feel

like a dream.

You will laugh

and weep

and dance

and shout

all at the same time

all from the same bursting heart.

It will all be over

and

it will all be

Beginning.

Someday

Perhaps today?

Oh, Lord…perhaps today?

Happy Friday, Beloved.