Fearfully and Wonderfully One-a-Day Friday 10/25/19

A life worthy

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; all your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  (Psalm 139:13-14)

You were made by God, my friend.  Do you know that? Seriously…are you really realizing that the Lord of the entire universe, he who put the stars in their places, he who designed the atom, he who called it all into being just by the force of his will—he knit you together?  Every fiber of your youness was specifically designed by him. You didn’t come off an assembly line; you didn’t rise from the muck. You are no accident. You were custom made by God.

You are his work; you are wonderful.

You are Beloved.

Know that full well.

Happy Friday

Night Into Day One-a-Day Thursday 10/24/19

A life worthy

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; night will shine like day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:11-12)

Look, I hate to be redundant, but are you detecting a pattern here?

He sees you.

If we were talking about anyone but God, this would be creepy and you would have every right to make a tinfoil hat and hide in the basement.

Not that it would help.

But this is God we’re talking about.  You know, the One who loves you. You don’t need to be afraid of what he sees.  You don’t need to be ashamed of what his light reveals. He knew every sin, every dark thought, every wrong desire long before you were ever born.

He paid for it all before you before you even came to be.

So embrace the miracle, Beloved–not that he can see you, but that he sees you and chooses you anyway.

Happy Thursday

Flee One-a-Day Wednesday 10/23/19

A life worthy

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise up on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me; your right hand will hold me fast  (Psalm 139:7-10).

There is simply no place where God is not.  I love this image. Overwhelmed by God’s presence, I try to flee from him—but there is nowhere to go. Wherever I run, he is already there, waiting to guide and protect me.

Question for today: Where, and why, do you try to hide from God?

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Borders One-a-Day Tuesday 10/22/19

A life worthy

You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  (Psalm 139:5-6).

Continuing on yesterday’s theme, there are really two ways to see this verse.  If your heart isn’t right before God, you may picture a prisoner, bound and chained, surrounded by guards.

Been there.  Felt that. No Bueno.

If your heart is right with God, the picture is something like a squad of elite soldiers surrounding you, protecting you from whatever may attack.

Been there, too.  It’s way better.

That’s where David was when he wrote this psalm.  He felt God’s hand upon him, not to hold David down, but to lift him up.  The whole idea was, “Too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” Think about that for a minute.  You serve a God who loves you more than you can even fathom.

His angels surround you.

His hand is upon you.

He’s got your back.

Walk in that today, Beloved.

Happy Tuesday

He Knows One-a-Day Monday 10/21/19

A life worthy

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord (Psalm 139:1-4).

Every now and then you need to give yourself a spiritual systems check.  You know, make sure that everything is in working order, and that nothing is slipping in between you and God.  Psalm 139 is a great passage of Scripture for that. I find that most of us have one of the following three reactions when they read the above passage.  Reread it and think to yourself—which reaction is yours?

1. These lines give great comfort.  You love the idea that God knows everything about you, that he even knows your thoughts.

You, my friend, are in a great place with God.  Proceed to praise.

2.These lines creep you out.  There’s something Orwellian about God searching your inmost being.

Houston, we have a problem…  You’re not right with God, Beloved. What is it you don’t want him to see?  May I suggest that a self-examination and a long talk with your Father are in order.

3.These lines have no effect on you whatsoever.

Danger, Will Robinson!!  All joking aside, you are in a very dangerous place, my friend. Scripture is full of those whose hearts became numb to God’s Word.  It doesn’t end well. I’m praying for you today, that God would ravish your heart with his all-consuming love.

You are known, Beloved.  Head to toe. Inside and out.  Completely and utterly understood.  And that’s a very good thing.

Happy Monday.

It’s Not in My Contract One-a-Day Friday 10/18/19

A life worthy

Final thoughts before we leave Jonah son of Amittai…

Jonah wanted to serve God.

On Jonah’s terms.

Our relationship with Jesus Christ is portrayed in many ways in Scripture.

We are servant, disciple, ambassador, friend, brother, child, Bride.

Never—not once—contract employee.

A contract employee signs an agreement to do a specified job for a specified amount of pay.  Employer and employee negotiate over duties and payment, and the employee is not expected to perform any tasks not detailed in the negotiations.

“Sorry,” he can say, “That’s not in my contract.”

The Lord of the Universe doesn’t work that way.

He’s not interested in negotiation—only surrender.

Utter, complete obedience and submission, whether you understand what he’s doing or not.  Whether you like what he’s doing or not. It sounds harsh, and I wouldn’t recommend it with anyone else but the One who gave his only son, that if you trust him you shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

So once again, we find ourselves at the question: Do you trust him, Beloved?

Submit boldly today.  Kneel tall, and surrender at the top of your lungs.

Happy Friday, Beloved.

And Cattle, Too One-a-Day Thursday 10/17/19

A life worthy

The Lord said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow…but Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well.  Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

Ouch.

Sometimes, it’s just too much for me.

The heart of God, I mean.

My world is so small, the things that affect me so close, I forget that God cares about the whole world.

All of it.

Even the cows.

I am important to him, yes.

So very important.

But so are the others.

There are, quite literally, millions upon millions of people out there who are living without Christ, who don’t know right from wrong because they have never been introduced to Truth.

And my biggest worry today is how I’m going to get the latest stack of papers graded and still make it to my parent meeting on time.

I’ve always wondered what Jonah’s response to God’s question was.  Did getting a peek into the scope of God’s love change his perspective?

Does it change mine?

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Pretty Petty One-a-Day Wednesday 10/16/19

A life worthy

But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” 

“I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”  (Jonah 4:9)

Wow, Jonah

Childish, much?

Look, I’d love to say that I can’t identify with Jonah at all here, that I’ve never been whiny and self-righteous and small before the Lord.

But He knows better.

And, probably, so do you.

What amazes me at this point in the story is God’s reaction. He reasons with Jonah, talks him off the ledge. Frankly, after all of Jonah’s lip and disobedience I would likely say, “You got it, kid!” and reduce him to a pile of fish-smelling ashes.

Let’s call it Reason #8635 to be glad I’m not God, and give a loud Huzzah for mercy.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Lesson From Job One-a-Day Tuesday 10/15/19

A life worthy

But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” (Jonah 4:9). 

God has asked Jonah this before.

It’s a good question…and a good reminder.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. “

That would be Job, a man who knew a thing or three about suffering. 

Job understood.

Jonah, not so much.

And what of you, Beloved of Christ? Do you have a right to be angry over the wrongs, the slights, the misfortunes and mistreatments of life? Or do you recognize that everything–everything–has its place in God’s design? 

Trust and Obey–two of the toughest tasks we’ll ever encounter.

But the reward is pretty nifty.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Perspective One-a-Day Monday 10/14/19

A life worthy

Jonah wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:8).

Have you been there, Beloved?

Before we write Jonah off as overly dramatic, can you identify with him? Have you ever been in a place where your outward circumstances and your inward turmoil were just too much, and you wanted it all to be done? 

Well, then.

I don’t know what got you out of that place, or if you are out of that place. All I can point out is that the more Jonah focused on his circumstances, his desires, and what he saw as the proper outcome, the more frustrated and disappointed and angry he got. In fact, the only time in this narrative that Jonah seems truly at peace is when he abandons any sense of his own righteousness or understanding and focuses entirely on the mercy of God. 

And that happened, oddly enough, in the belly of the fish.

Go figure.

Happy Monday, Beloved.