Wolves One-a-Day Wednesday  1/23/19

A life worthy

Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but  inwardly they are ferocious wolves (Matthew 7:15).

So that’s where that came from!

You would think that sheep would not be fooled by a fake sheep. You would think that sheep would instantly recognize all the subtle differences between themselves and this newcomer. You would think that sheep would be able to discern that these differences are not merely small variations in preference or style, but fundamental, essential, core differences.  You would think that sheep would know the truth well enough to spot the lie.

But then…sheep aren’t very smart.

Be smart, Beloved.

Happy Wednesday

Gate   One-a-Day Tuesday  1/22/19

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 Tuesday, 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 Tuesday, Beloved.

Brothers and Sisters One-a-Day Monday 1/21/19

A life worthy

How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore (Psalm 133).

When I was little, my mom used to sing to me at bedtime. One of my favorites went like this:

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world

Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight

Jesus loves the little children of the world.

In today’s climate, some will consider that song wildly inappropriate. “Red children? Yellow? How racist!” Others will ask, “What about brown children? Why are they left out?” None of those questions ever came into my little-kid brain.  All I heard was that Jesus loved us all; all children were precious to him.

Today we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. The best way to do that? Dwell together in unity, brothers and sisters of the One who loves us all.

The oil is entirely optional.

Happy Monday, Beloved

Golden Rule One-a-Day Friday  1/18/19

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 Friday, Beloved.

Gifts One-a-Day Thursday  1/17/19

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 Thursday, Beloved.

Ask One-a-Day Wednesday  1/16/19

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 it comes to 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 Wednesday, Beloved.

Pearls One-a-Day Tuesday  1/15/19

A life worthy

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.  If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces (Matthew 7:6).

Well, there go my plans for the weekend.

So, the basic interpretation of this metaphor is: Don’t give the Gospel to those who aren’t in a position to receive it.

Wowzers.  Jesus just got finished warning us about judging people, and yet this sounds pretty judgmental.  Are we really supposed to decide who deserves the Word and who doesn’t?

Perhaps it’s less a question of judgement and condemnation than of stewardship.  God has entrusted us with the priceless treasure of his truth, and while that truth may be unlimited, our time, our energy, our strength is not.  We can’t preach the Word every hour of every day. So, we need to perform a little spiritual triage. We must use the wisdom and discernment God has given us to determine who is in a place to receive the Gospel and who is not. If someone is being openly hostile and argumentative, it is probably not the best time to hit them with the Four Spiritual Laws.  Maybe you hit them with a chair first; then when they’re calm you hit them with the Gospel.

OK, I know Jesus never said to hit anyone with a chair; I’m just…expounding.

Spread the Word today, Beloved.  But spread it wisely.

Happy Tuesday

Sawdust One-a-Day Monday 1/14/19

A life worthy

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5).

Sometimes Jesus just makes way too much sense.

It kinda cramps my style.

You don’t have to be a carpenter to understand the metaphor here; in fact the image of a plank jutting out of my eye is enough to keep me awake at night.

It’s awfully close to reality.

As I have pointed out on occasion, people bug me.  I have a tendency to translate their personality quirks into character flaws, and use my spiritual microscope to detect and identify all their issues.

In reality, I don’t need a microscope.  I need a mirror.

And, you know, a pair of tweezers the size of my arm.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

One Hour One-a-Day Friday  1/11/19

A life worthy

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you  (Matthew 7:1-2).

I don’t want to be judged.

Seriously, I really don’t want to be judged.

I actually can’t quantify for you just how very much I don’t want to be judged.

But it’s a lot.

So…mercy.

Look, I know that sometimes we are required to judge.  If someone is spreading a false gospel and leading folks away from Christ, it is our duty to speak out and defend the truth.

But

you and I both know that the vast majority of judgement has less to do with truth than it does with opinion

or preference

or comfort.

So whaddaya say we reserve our judgement for those who deserve it most?

You know who I mean–lousy drivers.

Happy Friday, Beloved.

Now One-a-Day Thursday  1/10/10

A life worthy

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).

God is not bound by time.

He is outside of time. Past, present, and future are all Now to him.

I can’t really wrap my brain around that, but there it is.

You and I, Beloved, are bound by time.  

Past? Can’t touch it.

Future? Don’t know it.

If we want to act, to move, to do, to be, to spend time with the One who loves us, it can only happen Now.

So, live your Now, Beloved.  Live it fully.

Happy Thursday