What Fear? One-a-Day Tuesday 12/31/19

A life worthy

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?  (Psalm 27:1)

We are coming up on the New Year.  When you think about it, it’s just an arbitrary date on an imaginary calendar.  I mean, it’s not like tomorrow is going to look different from today.  Sky will still be blue, grass will still be green, gravity should remain fairly constant.

Still…

We look at the New Year as a time to start fresh, to begin (or re-begin) new things.  We wonder about the future and what it will hold for us. What opportunities await us in the coming year? What challenges?  What treasures lie in our paths, and what monsters lie in wait? It can be an exciting time—and a scary time.

As you gird your loins for January 1, ask yourself the same question David asks: With God as my light, my life, my protector, what can possibly frighten me?

Happy endof2019, Beloved.

Big Government One-a-Day Monday 12/30/19

A life worthy

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:7)  

I’m not really a fan of big government.  More of a low taxes, leavemealoneandlletmelivemylifewithoutyouconstantlytellingmewhattodoandtryingtoprotectmefrommyself kind of guy.

But His government?  Let it grow, baby.

You know, the best form of government would be a truly benevolent dictatorship.  We get someone in power who knows what’s best, wants what’s best, and is willing and able to do what’s best without regard for lining their own pockets.  

The problem, of course, is that people are people.

Because even the best of men and women tend to be sin-encrusted narcissists, that kind of rule is just not possible.

Outside of Christ.

One day Jesus will rule here on Earth, in the flesh.  We will get someone in power who knows what’s best, wants what’s best, and is willing and able to do what’s best without regard for lining his own pockets. His reign will go on and on and just get better and better.

Until that day, we can know his government in our hearts and lives.

If you belong to Jesus, his peace and power and rule in your life are growing each day.  Oh, you may not feel it all the time, but it’s happening.

Chew on this today: are you allowing Christ to govern your life, or are you getting in his way?

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Prince of Peace One-a-Day Friday 12/27/19

A life worthy

Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6)

We know him by many names.

Jesus Christ

Alpha

Omega

Emmanuel

Lamb of God

Mighty God

Light of the World

The Bright Morning Star

Wonderful Counselor

The Amen

Man of Sorrows

Lion of the Tribe of Judah

The Word

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Bread of Life

Living Water

Prince of Peace

I Am

God calls him by another name, the name which is above all names.

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?

Chew on that today.

Happy Friday, Beloved

The Dad Factor One-a-Day Thursday 12/26/19

A life worthy

Everlasting Father,  (Isaiah 9:6).

I hope you have a great dad.  

Really

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 Christmas 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 I think 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 was cold, distant, abusive, or absent altogether.

Look, I’m not gonna get all psychoanalytical here, but I need to point something out.  Whatever your earthly dad does well, your heavenly father does even better. Wherever your earthly dad messes up, your heavenly father gets it right.  He is the perfection we all fall short of. He is the goal we can never quite attain. He 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.

He will always love you.

Always, as in Everlasting.

Walk in his love today, Beloved.

Happy Thursday

Mighty One-a-Day Wednesday 12/25/19

A life worthy

…Mighty God,  (Isaiah 9:6)

We’re almost there. The “Sleep in Heavenly Peace” part.

So why are you stressed?

As we home in on Christmas, all sorts of emotions get stirred up.  Yeah, we’d like to say we are focused strictly on the birth of our Savior, but the fact is this can be a really crazy day.  Perhaps you are rushing to wrap—or get—or think of—those last gifts. Maybe you are frantically trying to get ready to travel—tickets, luggage, ohnowhatdowedowiththedogwhilewe’regone.  Could be you’re receiving guests into your nightmare of a house—good luck with that.

Or you have to work.

Or someone you love is sick.

Or you’re broke.

Or things are just falling apart.

Given all that, 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 your day, be they mundane or monstrous.

And he will.

Because you are his beloved.

Because you are his, Beloved.

Merry Christmas

Wise Counsel One-a-Day Tuesday 12/24/19

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 named Wonderful Counselor.  Think about it—what does a counselor do?  I figure that a good counselor does three things—listens deeply, sees to the heart of the issue, and offers wisdom.   So, we serve a God who actually listens to us—and listens deeply. He doesn’t just pretend to listen to you while he is mentally planning out his day, the way I might.  He actually considers every word you speak—and every word 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, my friend, have a Wonderful Counselor.  Walk in his wisdom today.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Kingdom Come One-a-Day Monday 12/23/19

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 think 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 work flawlessly, except when people are ignorant, selfish, and lazy.

Uh oh.

Same holds true for Communism, aristocracies, feudal societies, even theocracies.  On paper, they look great. It’s when you add the people that things go all 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 and lord of lords, 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

All About that Baby One-a-Day Friday 12/20/19

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 and life that you get from holding a newborn—it’s…wow. 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 Thursday 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.

Happy Friday, Beloved.

Guardian One-a-Day Wednesday 12/18/19

A life worthy

Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you (Psalm 25:20).

Why?

Because I work so hard?

nope

Because I know so much?

huh uh

Because I give my 10%?

um…no

Because I offer wise advice?

not so much

Because I have the Jumbo Study Bible with built in concordance?

Ooooohhh…swingandamiss

Because, in the end, I’m such a groovy guy?

seriously

Because I’m his.  Hear that, Beloved. Because I’m his, I have the right to claim refuge in him, the right to run to him when I am in distress. Because I’m his I have confidence that the yuck will never get too deep, the mountains never too high, the stress never too much. You have a whole Wednesday full of stuff to deal with today. Don’t be afraid to run to your Father and claim the shelter that is rightfully yours.

Because you are the Beloved of Christ.

Happy Wednesday