Because of Him   One-a-Day Friday 2/5/16

A life worthy

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us the wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

Repeat after me…

Because of him I am free.

Because of him I am clean.

Because of him I am joyful.

Because of him I am confident.

Because of him I am whole.

Because of him I am victorious.

Because of him I am righteous.

Because of him I am faithful.

Because of him I am important.

Because of him I am worthy.

Because of him I am his.

Because of him I am Beloved.

Happy Friday.

God Can Use…   One-a-Day Thursday 2/4/16

A life worthy

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by the world’s standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things–and things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

Remember the story of Baalam and his donkey?  

That would be you.

No…not Baalam.

And just as God used a lowly donkey to school a prophet, God can and will and does use you.  

Yes, you are weak.  

You’re right, you don’t know the Bible as well as you ought.

Your prayer life?  Well, I wasn’t going to use the word “pathetic,” but if you insist…

Doesn’t mean he won’t use you.

Of course, he may not use you in the way you lobbied for.  I keep pointing out to God how well he could use me as a multibillionaire writer/speaker/boogie dancer.  He has not yet seen fit to take my advice.

Go figure.

Still, I trust that he is using me, teaching in my little classroom, writing my little blog, loving my little family.

And he’s using you.  Trust me.

Better yet, trust Him.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Foolishness One-a-Day Wednesday 2/3/16

A life worthy

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength (1 Corinthians 1:25).

You know those people who are better on their worst day than you are on your best day?

You know who I’m talking about.  The person who looks better after sleeping on a bus for three hours than you look on your way to a wedding.  The guy at the gym who lifts more on his “easy” day than you do in a week.  The one who picked up an instrument a week ago and can play the piece you’ve been attempting–unsuccessfully–for years.

Yeah, I like to throw rocks at those people.

It’s like that with God, but in a good way.

Not the rock throwing part, the “better than you” part.

He’s just so far beyond us…there’s really no way to quantify him

or question him

or challenge him

and yet we just gotta try, don’t we?

Beloved, before you charge into your Wednesday, why don’t you soak for a minute in a few simple truths:

He really is all-wise.

He really is all-powerful.

He really does love you.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

The Power and the Wisdom  One-a-Day Tuesday 2/2/16

A life worthy

Jews demand miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:22-24).

He just refuses to be what you demand of him.

Instead, he is so much more.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Wisdom One-a-Day Monday 2/1/16

A life worthy

For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”  Where is the wise man?  Where is the scholar?  Where is the philosopher of this age?  For since in the wisdom of God the world in its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe  (1 Corinthians 1:19-21).

God doesn’t play tricks.

I don’t think he sat on his throne and thought, “Oh, this’ll be hilarious!  I’ll make redemption so illogical that most people will reject it as foolishness.  It’ll only make sense to utter morons!  I shall build my kingdom upon the backs of idiots!  WooHoo!!”

Man, I hope it wasn’t like that.

God is not saying that we have to abandon our brains in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  After all, he gave us our intellect, and we honor him when we use it for his glory.  But, like everything else in creation, our minds have been corrupted by sin, so that now we look at everything through the egocentric lens of Pride.  This distorts the wisdom of Almighty God and makes it look like foolishness.  That’s why, in his letter to the Romans, Paul says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”  You see, God’s plan makes sense only when we see it in the light of faith and not of flesh.

So as you move into your Monday, don’t expect the world to understand.  They can’t.  Instead, ask the father of all wisdom to renew your mind, so that you can use it for his glory.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Foolishness   One-a-Day Friday 1/29/16

A life worthy

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

What could possibly seem foolish about it?

“You see, there’s this All-Powerful Being who has full control over all space and time and matter and life–you know, ‘cause he made ‘em.   So, anyways, this God had everything just perfect, and then he made people, but he gave people the power to choose whether they would believe in him or not and whether they would follow his pretty simple rules or not.  He also gave them the spark of individuality, because he didn’t want automatons but interesting souls that he might call friends.  Well, you know, people chose not to follow him, because we have an Enemy who stoked people’s egos and gave them the idea that they could do a better job of running things than the One who made them. So we walked away from God–ran actually–and broke pretty much all his rules and messed things up so badly that we couldn’t have loved him properly even if we had wanted to.  God knew that there was only one way to fix this.  All the bad choices and evil things we had done would have to be washed away so that there could be a relationship between us.  Which, really, was what God wanted more than just about anything.  Of course, this would take a level of punishment that we could never endure, so God sent his Son–closer, more beloved, more part of himself that we can ever hope to understand–and let him take that punishment on our behalf.  The most powerful being ever chose to lay all his glory aside and become a man.  Then he chose to allow other men to hate him and torture him and nail him to a piece of wood and leave him to die in utter loneliness. He did all that to clear the slate, so that we could come back to God.  Then he broke Death itself into a million pieces by rising from the grave.  So, now we can have fellowship with God, and we are called to model our lives after His. We are his Beloved, and we will live forever with the One who loved us enough to die for us.  And live for us.”

The World calls you a fool for believing this.

Let ‘em.

Happy Friday, Beloved.

The Power of the Cross One-a-Day Thursday 1/28/16

A life worthy

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross be emptied of its power (1 Corinthians 1:17).

See, this is why Paul is Paul and I am just Michael.

Paul gets it.  He totally understands, right from the get-go, that you can’t convince someone into Heaven.

You can’t argue them in.  

You can’t debate them in.

You can’t meme them in.

It’s gotta be the cross.

There’s power in sacrificial love, and the greater the sacrifice, the greater the power.

Hence the cross.

The gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, mind-numbing, veil-tearing power of love that infinitely transcends my feeble words and useless arguments.

Oh, Father, how could you do it?  How could you give your Son over to such pain, such disgrace, such emptiness?  How could I possibly be worth that, when you and I both know what goes on inside this pathetic excuse for a heart?

You see, Beloved?  That there’s the power that will change a life and save a soul.

Spend a little time at the foot of the Cross this morning, will you?

Happy Thursday.

To Follow One-a-Day Wednesday 1/27/16

A life worthy

My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.  What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul;” another, “I follow Apollos;” another, “I follow Cephas;” still another, “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?  Were you baptised into the name of Paul?  I am thankful that I did not baptise any of you…  (1 Corinthians 1:11-14)

How many times have we seen it?  A shepherd falls, and the sheep are left confused and angry and bitter and disillusioned. Some walk away from the faith, saying that they have been “burned” by the Church.  They complain about the hypocrisy of Christians.  The damage can take years to heal, if it ever does.

How many times?

Way more than four.

Hey, there are wonderful church leaders out there, godly people who minister in the name of Jesus and who spend their lives bringing others closer to God.  We should respect them, honor them, admire them.

But we follow Christ.

Who do you follow, Beloved?  Don’t answer too quickly.  This is important.  Think twice and take three deep breaths before you answer.

Now…who do you follow?

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Agree With Me One-a-Day Tuesday 1/26/16

A life worthy

 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought (1 Corinthians 1:10).

I know.

I know.

Some people are just so wrong about so many things.  I mean, just because they’re believers doesn’t mean they aren’t wacked out when it comes to points of doctrine, or social issues, or political parties.

‘Course, if they’re believers, I guess they got the most important thing right.

You see, Beloved, that’s Paul’s point.  If they’re believers, then nothing else really matters.  If we allow any peripheral fluff to cause division, to ruin our fellowship, then the world says, “Look, they’re no different” and the enemy wins.

And you know they’re watching.

So maybe you don’t agree on that point of doctrine, or that social issue, or that political party.  God’s not calling you to abandon your brain.  But we can agree that we are one in Christ, we can stand together, and we can let our love for each other demonstrate the power of God’s grace in our lives.

Besides, you may be the one who’s wrong.

Or, worse yet…

I may.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Fellowship with God One-a-Day Monday 1/25/16

A life worthy

God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9).

Yeah, I remember when I decided to go searching for God.  I figured, you know, if there’s a God out there, I’d better find him and figure out some way to have a relationship with him.  Seemed like the least I could do, what with him being so busy running the universe and all…

What?  That’s not the way it happened?

Oh, yeah…right.

Beloved, this fellowship with God thing was his idea, not ours.  He called you, not the other way around.  God knows how to make it work.  He doesn’t need us to instruct him or advise him.

Just to trust him.

God is not like that friend who calls you to come over, and then when you get there says, “I dunno; whadda you wanna do?”

He knows what he wants to do, and he has called you to be part of it.

Because he loves you.

Happy Monday, Beloved.