Needs One-a-Day Thursday  11/16/17

A life worthy

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

The key word here is needs.

And God.  God is always a key word.

And, you know, Christ Jesus.

But right now I’m talking about needs.

God will give me what I need, just like any loving father. Not every want or desire or whim of my flesh, but my every need. And what I need, more than anything…

is him.

This ties back into the idea of contentment. When I trust God I am satisfied with what I have, not stressed about what I don’t. This frees me to give. Giving to God’s people brings me closer to him, which deepens my reliance on him, causing me to trust him more, producing greater contentment with my situation, which frees me to give, drawing me closer…

Let the circle be unbroken.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

The Secret One-a-Day Tuesday  11/14/17

A life worthy

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).

The secret isn’t a what. It’s a who. Not the Seuss kinda who.

Jesus

The answer to human nature

The only thing we truly can never get enough of

Beloved, if you are in Christ, then what you have today is his provision for you. Rejoice in it–whatever it is. It is enough.

Beloved, if you are in Christ, then who you are today is the result of his work in you. Rejoice in it–whatever it is. You are enough.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Hunger One-a-Day Monday  11/13/17

A life worthy

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty (Philippians 4:12).

When I was 19 I lived alone in a little cabin in the mountains. I had just started a new job and didn’t know that paychecks often came a few weeks behind the actual work dates.

Surprise

At one point I was living off generic ramen noodles with the occasional egg tossed in. In the last day or two before payday, the eggs were long gone and the ramen ran out and I engaged in what I called a financial fast–code for no money with which to eat. I sat at an empty table and read my Bible during meal times, going for the whole spiritual food is more valuable than physical food deal.

It ranks as one of the best times of my life.

These days I never go hungry. At least, not physically.

Hmm.

Happy Monday, Beloved

Thank You One-a-Day Friday  11/10/17

A life worthy

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

Thank you, Veteran.

Thank you for leaving your home behind in order to protect it.

Thank you for setting aside your freedoms to help safeguard mine.

Thank you for fighting for my right to protest, even when my protest saddens or angers or disgusts you.

Thank you for shouldering a rifle, or climbing into a chopper, or racing toward a bomb blast, knowing that today could be the day that you are called to give “the last full measure of devotion.”

You must be terrified.

You go anyway.

For me.

Thank you.

Content One-a-Day Thursday  11/9/17

A life worthy

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11).

The word I hold on to here is learned.

Learned gives me hope. It tells me that Paul wasn’t always content, either. That word lets me know that Paul was once like me, looking forward and backward and all around instead of being content with where he was, who he was, what God was doing in the moment. And if Paul can learn…

When I was a little kid I thought that content was a verb. The only time I encountered the word was on aerosol cans–you know, contents under pressure. I thought that meant that the stuff inside the can would do something–would content–if you squeezed it. I’m not sure what I thought it would do, exactly. Explode or something, I guess. The concept was intriguing and vaguely unsettling.

But content is not a verb, is it? It’s not something you do.

And that’s the point.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Groceries and Grace  One-a-Day Wednesday    11/8/17

A life worthy

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. (Philippians 4:10).

I’m a schoolteacher.  Because of our schedule, there is one month during the summer when I get no paycheck. For many years I covered the gap by teaching summer school.  It was tight, but it worked.

Until the year they decided–at the last minute–not to offer summer school.

Uh, oh.

Cathy and I mentioned our tight situation as a prayer request in our Sunday School class. Together we prayed that God would provide, and he did.

Through them

Our brothers and sisters in Christ showed up the next week with trunks full of supplies for us. Love made manifest in produce. I gotta tell you, it was uncomfortable being on the receiving end of such a thing. It was humbling, and I’ve never enjoyed being humbled. I felt stupid and inadequate and distinctly loserly.

But the gift was given in joy, not judgement. One look told me that our friends were genuinely happy to have the chance and the ability to help. We were blessed. They were blessed. The Father was pleased.

Beloved, don’t miss out on your opportunity to give today.

Or your opportunity to receive.

Each can be a blessing.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

God of Peace  One-a-Day Tuesday    11/7/17

A life worthy

And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).

The struggle is real.

And…you’re not alone.

I am so thankful for this verse.  When I read about all I’m supposed to do and be, and realize how inadequate to the task I am…oy ve.  It can be so disheartening. And I must not be alone, because God takes a moment, just after this intense passage, just when I am most frustrated with myself and feeling like I’ll never ever no way no how ever be able to do this man of God thing, to remind me that He is with me.

The God of peace.

Not the God of strength, not in this moment, because he knows that what I need right now is a deep breath, a slowed pulse, and a reminder that He’s got me, and that He’s still at work in me.

I need peace.

And He is the source.

Be all that your Lord has called you to be today, Beloved.

And when you fail, remember that the God of peace is with you.

Happy Tuesday.

Copycat One-a-Day Monday    11/6/17

A life worthy

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice (Philippians 4:8).

I want this.

I want to be able to say to others, “Just follow my advice and my example, and you’ll be great.”

The first part wouldn’t be too bad–I can talk a good game.

But the second?

If people were to watch my life, and do what I do, what would the state of the Church be?

That’s an uncomfortable thought.

So, I am thankful for Paul, and even more thankful for grace.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Good Thinks  One-a-Day Friday  11/3/17

A life worthy

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things (Philippians 4:8).

You have the power of mind control.

Well, maybe not the power to control other people’s minds–that would be awesome for you and really unpleasant for them–but the power to control your own.

But Michael, you say, I can’t control all the thoughts that pop into my head!

True

But you can control which thoughts you encourage and dwell on. It’s like the annoying friend or relative or neighbor or coworker who pops by unannounced and uninvited. You can’t stop them from showing up, but you can control whether or not you invite them in for tasty snacks.

I just realized that I don’t have that kind of annoying friend, neighbor, etc–which means I probably am that annoying friend, neighbor, etc.

Sorry, personal circle

Point is, Beloved, you have more control than you care to admit over the thoughts you dwell on. Sorry, but there it is. You’re not a victim.

A piece of hopefully helpful advice: it’s not about pushing away bad thoughts. I used to misread 2 Corinthians 10:5 and think I was supposed to somehow remove bad thoughts and put them out of my head. Sort of bind them with mental zip ties and hand them over to Jesus. That doesn’t work. Want an example? Fine

Don’t think about wombats.

Go ahead, fight all you want–you’ll never think of anything but those giant hamster things ever again.

Like I said, it’s not about pushing out the bad. It’s about filling your mind so full of the true, the noble, the right, the pure, the lovely, the admirable, the excellent, the praiseworthy that there’s no room for anything else. It’s about letting God into  the negative thoughts so he can transform them, just like does with all the other yuck in your life. I’m telling you, it’s very hard to carry on a hateful death fantasy against the jerks in your life if you are also praying for their salvation.

I know…I’ve tried.

He falls 2000 feet from the top of the cliff to the canyon floor filled with boulders and sharp pointy things…and fully repents on the way down, accepting Christ in his final millimoments and moving on to glory!

I’m so pathetic.

Happy Friday, Beloved