Stealing One-a-Day Friday  6/22/18

A life worthy

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands,that they may have something to share with those in need (Eph. 4:28).

There is deep, complex theological meaning in this text that requires a thorough knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic, and Dutch to understand, as well as close familiarity with the customs of the ancient Near East and Pacoima.

Well, actually, not really.

Be useful.

Earn your keep.

Got it?

Happy Friday, Beloved.

Anger One-a-Day Thursday  6/21/18

A life worthy

“In your anger do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:26-27).

Uh oh.

So, yesterday you told the truth, and now everyone is angry.

Go figure.

So, you’re angry. Or they’re angry. Or both.

You don’t have a choice about that, so don’t bother beating yourself up about it. But you do have a choice about how you handle the anger. Are you going to let it fester like an infected wound, growing ever more painful and swollen and nasty-smelling and filled with noxious, oozing pus?

Well, are you?

Or are you going to cleanse the wound with forgiveness, and wrap it in mercy, and let grace heal you?

You know what your Enemy desires. He wants to use this anger as a wedge to drive you further from others, and further from God.

Don’t let him.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Speak the Truth One-a-Day Wednesday  6/20/18

A life worthy

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Eph. 4:25).

We are one body.

Therefore, lying to your neighbor is like lying to yourself.

Not that you’ve ever done that.

I like the phrase, “Put off falsehood.” It makes it sound like lying is a burden that weighs you down,

which it is.

As you walk through your Wednesday, make every effort to speak the truth,

even when it hurts,

even when it’s unpopular.

It’ll lighten your load.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved

New You Tuesday  6/19/18

A life worthy

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).

You probably give a lot of thought to what you wear each morning.  

Question: How much thought goes into the “self” you put on?

One of my favorite stories is “Ragman,” by Walter Wangerin, Jr.  In this story Jesus appears as a peddler trading fresh, clean clothes for old, filthy ones. I’m sure you can see where this is going, because you are very perceptive.  As he travels, Jesus meets people broken in body, mind, and spirit. He takes the old, foul rags with which they cover themselves. As he does, he takes their infirmities as well.  In exchange, Jesus gives fresh, clean garments, and leaves healthy, whole people.

I love that story.  I love the truth in it.  

God has a fresh, clean you for you to wear this morning.  Take the time to put it on.

Oh, and if it doesn’t quite fit, don’t worry.  You’ll grow into it.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Remember Monday 6/18/18

A life worthy

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus (Ephesians 4:20-21).

Do you remember how you came to know Christ?

Of course you do.

I was nineteen years old, living alone in a cabin in the woods. I had heard about Jesus, read about Jesus, even prayed to Jesus, but I didn’t know him, until one morning I was cutting up a fallen pine tree and a man strode out of the forest.

No, the man wasn’t Jesus–although that would have been a really cool story.

The man was a neighbor who had heard the chainsaw and come by to investigate. As we chatted, he asked me, point blank, if I knew Jesus. I stuttered and stumbled and muttered something about having read some of the Bible, but not having one right now…Later that evening, a knock at my door revealed another young man, also a neighbor, also not Jesus, holding a Bible.

“I heard you needed one of these. You should start with the book of John.”

So I did.

Remember how you first came to know him, Beloved. Remember the moment that you were drawn from this world into his. Let that memory color your perspective as you step out into the chaos that is Monday.

And I pray it’s a happy Monday, Beloved.

Never Enough One-a-Day Friday  6/15/18

A life worthy

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more (Eph. 4:19).

It starts with a little experiment…

Just…you know… to see what it’s like.

You won’t go too far, because you know your boundaries.

Besides, you’re tough enough and smart enough to play a little and not get burned.

But sin is an addiction, Beloved.

It’s worse than heroin or crack or any other chemical that can enslave the body and the mind and the spirit.

Day by day it gives less and takes more, until it owns your very soul.

You, by the blood of Christ, have been released from the addiction.

You, through the Cross, have been freed from the curse.

You, by the grace of Almighty God, are no longer a slave to sin.

So act like it.

Happy Friday, Beloved.

A Different Life One-a-Day Thursday  6/14/18

A life worthy

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts (Ephesians 4:17-18).

It’s amazing how often I catch myself thinking, acting, believing, “As the Gentiles do.”  Remember, Beloved of God, that you have been freed from all that. You have been given a whole new frame of reference for living.

So, let’s work this verse backwards…

He has given you a new heart,

so you are free of the ignorance which separated you from God.

God has enlightened you and made your plans and thoughts fruitful.

Go and live your day—in the world, yet free from it.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Do Your Job One-a-Day Wednesday  6/13/18

A life worthy

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Eph. 4:16).

Are you a spleen?

Then be a good spleen.

Don’t complain because you’re not an eye

or weep because you’re not a heart

or feel inadequate because you’re not hands and feet.

When you do, you stop spleening, and the body weakens.

Frankly, I don’t know exactly what a spleen does, but you do, if you’re a spleen.

So do it, and do it to the glory of God.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Truth Tuesday  6/12/18

A life worthy

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ (Ephesians 4:15).

Speaking the truth in anger is satisfying.

Speaking the truth in bitterness is richly fulfilling.

Speaking the truth in mockery will make you popular.

Speaking the truth in love will make you more like Christ.

Choose this day, Beloved.

Happy Tuesday

Back and Forth Monday 6/11/18

A life worthy

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14).

When exactly is, “Then?”  As in, “Then we will no longer be infants..?”  Scripture tells us it is when we become mature in Christ.

Ah.

And when will that be?

Could it please be today? Hmmm?

How many times have you felt like you were being blown hither, thither, and yon by people claiming to know what’s what?  I remember, as a baby Christian, being caught up in a group of people who taught that the Rapture was imminent—like, right now imminent.  One woman came into work and told me, with great excitement, that she had heard the trumpets begin to sound that very morning.

Thirty years later, it would appear that she just had tinnitus.  But what did I know? I was an infant, maybe two or three months old in Christ.  I was tossed about quite a lot in those days. God, however, is faithful, and over the years he’s taught me to surf a bit.

Here’s a promise, Beloved—you will grow.  You are growing, right now, even as you think about and chew on his Word.  Every day, moment by moment by moment, God is conforming you to the image of his Son.  Your words are growing richer in wisdom and fuller of love. Not always, but often, and more so as the days go by.  You will grow, by his grace and in his time, into the person he has called you to be.

In the meantime, hold on tight–the sea can get pretty rough.

Happy Monday, Beloved