Strong and Blameless   One-a-Day Friday 1/22/16

A life worthy

He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:8).

Sometimes I wonder if the Bible even applies to me.

Because I don’t feel strong, and I know I’m not blameless.

Peek into my heart and you will see.

Yeah, on second thought…don’t.

Those are the times when I have to remind myself that this passage really isn’t about me at all.

It’s about him.

It’s about the power of his grace to be strong in my weakness, to take my overwhelming blame and make it his, then make it gone.  It’s about God’s unfathomable ability and promise to create in me the man he has called me to be, so that I will–no might, no should–be ready when he returns for me.

So, this passage rings false if I make it about me, but makes complete sense if I make it about him.

Kinda like life.

Happy Friday, Beloved.

Nothing Lacking One-a-Day Thursday 1/21/16

A life worthy

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed (1 Corinthians 1:7).

You have all that you need to live the life Christ has called you to until his return.

Stop and soak in that for a moment.

All the wisdom

All the vision

All the faith

If you are living in his grace, you already have the whole package; there’s nothing to hold you back.

Except you

That’s so comforting

and challenging

and terrifying

and true.

Go get ‘em, Beloved.

Thank God for You! One-a-Day Wednesday 1/20/16

A life worthy

I always thank God for you, because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.  For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge–because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you (1 Corinthians 1:4-6).

Do you see what Paul is telling the Corinthians here?  He says, essentially, “You people are proof that all that stuff I’ve been teaching about Jesus and grace and forgiveness and transformed lives is true!  God’s grace has made you awesome!”

I mean, you know, that’s a paraphrase, but I think it’s kind of his point.

The same is true of you, Beloved.  God’s grace is at work in you, proving the power of his love and redemption.  You are a living example of the truth of Christ’s death and resurrection and saving grace.

I know, right?

What?  You don’t feel like an example of grace?  You feel more like a pathetic lump of flesh and hair and sloth and sin?  Yeah, I know those feelings.

Feelings lie.

Do you belong to Jesus?  Have you knelt before him and confessed your sin and accepted him as lord of your life and savior of your soul?  Then his Holy Spirit is at work in you, and the results are there for the world to see.

No matter what your feelings say.

Hey, look!  It’s that grace again.

Walk in it.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Grace and Peace   One-a-Day Tuesday 1/19/16

A life worthy

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:3).

Paul begins each of his epistles with these words.

And always in this order.  

Grace and Peace

Go ahead and check for yourself.  I’ll wait…

See what I mean?

Grace comes first, because without grace there can be no peace.

No peace with God

No peace with family

No peace in your own heart

None of it happens without the grace of God.  And why would it?  Without grace, you are judged solely on your own merit.

And you know how far that gets you.

Nope, peace is not something you can earn or deserve or accomplish.

Only receive.

You can’t get there, but you can be there.

Oh, of course you know all that already, you being so spiritual and all.

But Paul seems to think it’s worth the reminder, and who am I to argue?

Walk in grace, Beloved.  And know peace.

Happy Tuesday

The Church of God One-a-Day Monday 1/18/16

A life worthy

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours:  (1 Corinthians 1:2)

That’s you.

That’s me.

That’s us.

Oh, I know that Paul wrote to a specific group of people, and I know that you and I weren’t even twinkles in the eye at the time this was penned.


It’s still to us.

We are the Church–God’s people here on the earth.

We are the sanctified, cleansed by the blood of Christ and set apart from this world for God’s purpose.

We are the ones called to be holy.

We are those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As you begin your week, remember who you are.  Square your shoulders, lift your head high, and walk into this day as a Child of Almighty God.

In…you know…utter humility.

Happy Monday, Beloved

Rescue Hero   One-a-Day Friday 1/15/16

A life worthy

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and then someone should bring him back, remember this: whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.  (James 5:19-20)

You’re a rescue hero.  Didya know that?

You have the power to save someone from death.  Woo Hooo!

But of course, with great power comes great…


My wife’s family used to have a dog named Cabo.  Fantastic, strong, loyal Labrador Retriever.  Dogs just don’t get any better than that.  Cabo used to do a funny thing that quickly became annoying when he wouldn’t stop (man, do I identify with that dog).  Anyway, when people were swimming in the pool, Cabo would dive in, grab them by the arm, and drag them to safety.

Except they weren’t in danger.

They were just swimming.

Until the massive, hairy beast clamped his jaws ever so gently on an appendage and bodily removed them from the pool.

Cabo thought he was a hero.

He was just annoying.

On the flip side, when I was a kid my friend’s toddler-aged brother decided to teach himself to swim.  He wasn’t very good at it.  

At all

We looked over and saw him thrashing around under water.  Had someone not immediately jumped to the rescue, we would have lost him.  The kid was annoying, but still…

My point?

Before you dive into the pool, make sure the person is really drowning.  Maybe their swimming technique is just a little different.

But if they are drowning, don’t stand and yell at them to get out of the water.  Dive in.

Be a rescue hero.

Um…you know this is a metaphor, right?


Happy Friday, Beloved.

Faith Hurts One-a-Day Thursday 1/14/16

A life worthy

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.  If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:15-16).

My friend died.

The one fighting cancer–I’ve mentioned him a time or two.  He battled like a champ for five months.  People prayed for him–lots of people.  Prayers offered in faith that the God of the universe was fully capable of raising John from his bed of pain and restoring him to light and life.  Prayers offered by men and women clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

I know…some of those prayers were mine.

And yet, last night I was at a meeting of people preparing his funeral.

This morning, I look at this Scripture and I…


Is God a liar?  No, I can’t buy that.  He is the very nature of Truth.  His word declares it.  His Spirit confirms it.  If God is not truth, well then pack it in boys and girls, because it’s all dust.

Is God too weak to heal? See above.

So what am I not getting?  I understand that there are layers of meaning here, that James is talking about spiritual healing as well as physical healing.  Hence the discussion about confession and forgiveness.  But, ugh, that just feels kinda like a cop-out, you know–like the kind of thing you tell an unbeliever who points out that people die all the time and prayers don’t help them.   I also get that prayers aren’t magic incantations.  We don’t manipulate God; what we pray must be in accordance with his will if he is to honor it.  But that brings up the whole “Why do we pray if God is just going to do what he wants anyway?” discussion, and…oy.

I read the commentary of one scholar who stated that while these verses are written as unconditional promises, they aren’t meant to be unconditional promises.

That didn’t help.

Beloved, I’m not trying to sour your orange juice this morning.  But these verses are tough for me.  Especially today.  Mornings like this are when I have to step back and remind myself that God is very big, and I am very small.  My friend John is providing “evidence of things unseen,” even at this moment.  In every way that truly matters, John is well and whole and has been restored to Light and Life.

But sometimes faith hurts

and trust is hard.

Someday, Beloved, it will all make sense.

Pray Always One-a-Day Wednesday 1/13/16

A life worthy

Is any one of you in trouble?  He should pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let him sings songs of praise.  Is any one of you sick?  He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:13-14).

Is anyone else detecting a pattern here?

Look, I know you pray.

I pray, too.  I’m a prayer-guy from way back.


What James is talking about here is a level of prayer that, I gotta confess, is sometimes beyond me.  He’s not just giving a check-off list for when it is appropriate to pray.  James is talking about prayer as the go-to attitude for any situation.  

It’s a habit.

It’s a lifestyle.

As you head into your Wednesday, take a moment for a little spiritual self-check. Ask yourself this question:

Is prayer something I have to think about doing


is it something I’m already doing?

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Yes and No  One-a-Day Tuesday 1/12/16

A life worthy

Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else.  Let your “Yes” be yes and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned (James 5:12).

James is reminding us here of something that Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount.  In Matthew 5, Jesus explained, “Do not swear…by heaven, for it is God’s throne, nor by earth, because it is his footstool…or by your head, for you can not even make one hair white or black…”

The point here is that when you swear by something you are using that thing as a guarantee of your actions or your veracity.  And…well…you don’t have that right.  It’s all God’s.  And by all I mean…well…


None of it is yours to control or dictate.  Swearing by any of these things is like using someone else’s property to secure a loan, without their permission.

Not a good idea.

So, Beloved, have I succeeded in making you feel totally powerless in the face of an overwhelming God?

Cool Beans.  My job is done.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Patience in Suffering One-a-Day Monday 1/11/16

A life worthy

Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.  You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.  The Lord is full of compassion and mercy   (James 5:10-11).

Oh, fine, James–bring the prophets into this!  

I was just working up a good pity party–I mean, I can’t afford new carpet for my house, and my optometrist just said I need stronger reading glasses, and vacation is over so I have to go back to work today.  I’m feeling the suffering of the ages pressing down upon me, and you bring up Job?


Beloved, we all suffer.  Sometimes it’s a fluffy sort of suffering, what we’ve taken to calling First World Problems.

Sometimes it’s the real deal.

Regardless of what you’re faced with today, remember that the same God who carried those Old Testament guys through now carries you.  You can bank on that.

Because, well, you’re his Beloved.

Now, go do Monday.  

By His grace…for His glory.