Known One-a-Day Tuesday  1/29/19

A life worthy

Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?”  Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:22-23)

Am I the only one who finds this terrifying?

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not like I’m out there prophesying and performing miracles…although I do teach middle school, so the driving out demons part…

No, I get terrified by the thought that Jesus might one day say to me, “Hey!  I don’t know you! Back off, Pal!” I think that maybe I haven’t prayed enough, or studied enough, or meditated enough, or been enough for him to know me, to accept me, to–

–and then I realize–

Once again, I’m worried about earning what I already have.

What was I thinking?  Of course he knows me!  He’s been with me every moment of every hour since I surrendered my heart and my throne to him.  He’s seen me at my very best–which is none too great–and my very worst. He’s heard the thoughts that I share with no one else.

He’s been in the car with me when some idiot cuts me off.

Beloved, if you’ve opened the door, if you’ve asked Jesus to come into your heart and life and to forgive you and make you whole…he has.  It’s an invitation he has promised never to turn down. The miracle isn’t that he knows us; it’s that he knows us to the core–and loves us still.

Which he does.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Talker One-a-Day Monday 1/28/19

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21).

Remember Middle School?

Yeah, I know it’s painful, but bear with me…

Whenever the teacher assigned you to groups, there was the one guy who talked a good game, and looked really busy, but actually didn’t accomplish anything.

Remember how annoying that guy was?

God agrees.

Yeah, so…don’t be that guy.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Bonfire One-a-Day Friday  1/25/19

A life worthy

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus by their fruit you will recognize them (Matthew 7:18-20).

Notice that Jesus says cannot instead of does not.  A tree is simply incapable of producing fruit that is against its nature.  Jesus is talking about teachers here, and reminding us to judge the message by the fruit it produces.  Now I know some of you will extrapolate here. You will wig out over this, thinking “I sin sometimes. Sin is bad fruit.  Therefore, I must be evil.”

Remember, Beloved.  We are still in process.  I have a rose bush in my yard that produces two kinds of roses.  There are scraggly, grungy little reddish flowers that come from the wild root, and there are beautiful, healthy white blossoms that come from the bush that has been grafted in.  When I take care of the plant and keep it well trimmed, the beautiful blossoms are evident. When I neglect it, the grungies take over. But that isn’t one tree bearing two kinds of fruit; it’s two trees vying for dominance.  As it is with you, Beloved.

As it is with me.

Do a little gardening this morning.  Prune your roses.

Happy Friday, Beloved

Fruit One-a-Day Thursday  1/24/10

A life worthy

By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (Matthew 7:16-17).

The fruit of the Spirit is love.

Is this person loving?

The fruit of the Spirit is joy.

Does this person bring joy?

The fruit of the Spirit is peace.

Is this person a peacemaker?

And patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control?  You know what to look for. If you don’t see the fruit, you gotta wonder about the tree.

Judge wisely, Beloved.

Happy Thursday

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.