First Things First One-a-Day Wednesday  1/9/19

A life worthy

But seek first his kingdom, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well  (Matthew 6:33).

There’s just so much.

Everywhere I turn there’s…stuff I need to do.

Obligations

Responsibilities

Duties

It’s overwhelming.

At least, I know it is for me.

Look, Beloved, Jesus isn’t saying that you should ignore the rent, the car insurance, the homework, the family responsibilities.  He’s saying that you shouldn’t let them be first in your heart. It’s a forest and trees kinda thing. Don’t become so fixated on the details of life that you forget your reason for living.

Before you dive into the day, with all its attending stresses and fears and lists, take a moment

maybe this moment

to stop, and to pray, and to connect with the One who made you

the One who chose you

the One who loves you

and see if the rest doesn’t sort itself out.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

He Knows What You Need One-a-Day Tuesday  1/8/19

A life worthy

So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them (Matthew 6:31-32).

Vegan

Paleo

Whole Foods

Gluten-Free

Intermittent Fasting

The Ice Cream Diet

OK, so there isn’t an ice-cream diet, but there should be.

Skinny jeans

Spandex

Jeggings

Low Cut

High Cut

Mumus

Beloved, we spend so much of our time and energy on things that are really peripheral. Of course we need to eat, and being healthy is a way to honor God with our bodies. Yes, you need to wear clothing–please–and the way you dress can affect how others see you and your witness for Christ.

But really, Beloved, how much of that time and energy is for the glory of God, and how much is for the glory of…

Yeah, well, that’s the problem, isn’t it.

Focus on the Bread of Life

The Living Water

And being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

The rest will sort itself out.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Flower Power One-a-Day Monday 1/7/19

A life worthy

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his splendor was not dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30)

Last spring , my family went on a wildflower hike.  It was, in a word, wowifying. The sight of all those beautiful flowers–some of them no bigger than a dime–brought this verse to mind.

Wildflower time is short in SoCal. After a few weeks, the blooms are spent, the flowers dead, the hills returned to their normal shade of California Gold

which always reminds me of brown.

Still, God chose to make the flowers beautiful. He made them more beautiful and delicate and intricate and lovely and spectacular than I can describe with words like beautiful and delicate and intricate and lovely and spectacular.

God did not make flowers in his image.  He did not send his Son to redeem flowers.  Flowers are not the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Flowers are not his Beloved.

That would be you.

So, if God gave that much attention to glorified grass…

Yeah–I think he’s got you covered.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

One Hour One-a-Day Friday  1/4/19

A life worthy

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)

Beloved, it’s out of your hands.

All of it.

And that really is a good thing.

Isn’t it sad that something God intended for our freedom has become a source of bondage? Realizing that He is in control should bring peace and rest, but my pride panics at the lack of control. It just refuses to admit that I am not Captain of my soul.

But I am most firmly not.

The sooner we come to grips with that painful fact, Beloved, the sooner we will be free.

Happy Friday, Beloved

Bird Life One-a-Day Thursday  1/3/10

A life worthy

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26)

The answer, for the record, is…

Yes

Regardless of what PETA says, you are much more valuable than a bird. You are God’s Beloved, and your Father has got you covered. That’s not saying you won’t have to work. Birds need to hustle to keep their little gullets filled. But they don’t seem to stress about where next week’s worm is coming from.  They simply do the work in front of them, and reap the reward. That’s the lesson here: do the digging God has set before you, and trust Him to provide the worm.

Or, you know, something even better.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Worry One-a-Day Wednesday  1/2/19

A life worthy

Aaaaaand we’re back to Matthew…

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? (Matthew 6:25)

This may be the hardest command Jesus ever gave us.

I mean, think about it: most of us aren’t murderers, don’t do much in the way of thievery, and tend to avoid fomenting nuclear holocaust.

But worry?  Oy.

Worry is a silly, useless, bothersome thing.  It’s also really dangerous. In essence, when we worry we tell God, “I trust you with the creation and sustenance of the universe, with defeating darkness and beating back the forces of evil, with the rescue and reclamation of my very self.  But the car insurance? Lord, I’m really not sure how that’s gonna get paid.”

Silly

Dangerous

Prideful

Yes, prideful.  Worry is a combination of underestimating God’s power and overestimating ours.

Look, Beloved, I don’t want to add guilt over worry to your worry. I just want to remind you…us…that God is God.

He is able.

He loves you.

He has chosen you–yes, you–out of this world of sin and pain to be his Beloved.

You are utterly safe in him.

Try to keep those thoughts in your head as you move into your day.  And if you forget, don’t worry. He is totally able to remind you.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

New Year’s  Day One-a-Day Tuesday  1/1/19

A life worthy

Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6)

We know him by many names.

Jesus Christ

Alpha

Omega

Emmanuel

I Am

Lamb of God

Prince of Peace

Mighty God

Light of the World

Bright Morning Star

Wonderful Counselor

The Amen

Man of Sorrows

Lion of the Tribe of Judah

The Word

Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Bread of Life

Living Water

The Father calls him by another name.

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?

Something to chew on as you begin 2019.

Happy New Year, Beloved

Everlasting Father One-a-Day Monday 12/31/18

A life worthy

Everlasting Father,  (Isaiah 9:6).

I hope you have a great dad.  

I do.

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 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 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 is cold, distant, or absent altogether.

Look, I’m not gonna climb up into your psyche here, but I need to point something out.  Whatever your earthly dad does well, your heavenly dad does even better. Wherever your earthly dad messes up, your heavenly dad gets right.  God 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.

From the end of the year to the end of all things

He will always love you.

Always, as in Everlasting.

Walk in his love today, Beloved.

Happy Monday

Mighty One-a-Day Friday  12/28/18

A life worthy

…Mighty God,  (Isaiah 9:6)

We’re almost there.

The New Year.

New beginnings, new chances, new opportunities, new gym memberships…

So why am I stressed?

As we get closer to flipping the calendar, all sorts of tensions get stirred up in me.  I mean, I’d love to say I’m focused on what’s ahead, but there’s so much that was supposed to get done this year that still hasn’t been done. Goals I haven’t reached, projects I haven’t completed, promises I haven’t fulfilled, garages I haven’t cleaned.

Oy, you should see my garage.

Does that resonate with you? Even a little?

If it does, well, 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 our day, be they mundane or monstrous.

And he will love us, no matter what our garages look like.

Because we are his beloved.

Because we are his, Beloved.

Happy Friday

Wonderful Counselor One-a-Day Thursday  12/27/18

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 called Wonderful Counselor.  Think about it—what does a counselor do?  A good counselor does three things—listen deeply, see to the heart of the issue, and offer wisdom.   So, we serve a God who actually listens to us—listens deeply. He doesn’t just pretend to listen while he mentally plans out his day, the way I might.  He actually considers every word you speak—and those 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, Beloved, have a Wonderful Counselor.  Walk in his wisdom today.

Happy Thursday.