Foundation   One-a-Day Tuesday 4/19/16

A life worthy

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it.  But each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-11).

I have built exactly one building in my lifetime.

It was a shed.  

Maybe 75 square feet.

I had lots of help.

So, as a construction expert, I can say with perfect confidence that the foundation is a crucial aspect to the project.  It provides the stability needed to keep the entire building intact.  In fact, the structural integrity of the entire building is dependant upon a firm foundation.

If you want a solid shed, you build on a concrete slab.

If you want a solid life…

Well, you know.

What Paul said.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Dirt One-a-Day Monday 4/18/16  

A life worthy

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:9).

Yep, we’re back in 1 Corinthians.  I know, it’s been a while, but then that’s what you get with me.  I wander off from time to time, but I do generally come back.  In any case, when we left our intrepid hero Paul, he was chastising the folks of Corinth for choosing apostle teams–”Team Paul,” “Team Apollos”–that sort of thing. Paul was pointing out that the apostles were just the workers, like farmers who work the land.  God is the one who makes things grow.

You and I, Beloved?  Well, I guess that makes us dirt.

But in a good way.

You have great value in the eyes of God.  Not because of what you do, but because of what he can do through you.

Hear that again.  

Not because of what you do, but because of what he can do through you.  Farmland doesn’t have to do anything.  It just has to be what it is and let the farmer do his work.  Sun, rain, plow, harrow and pruning shears all play their part. Then, in time, the land will produce fruit.

So don’t fret, Beloved.  The fruit will come.  Just keep being good dirt.

Happy Monday.

Do You Believe? One-a-Day Thursday 4/14/16

A life worthy

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?(John 11:26)

That there’s the question, idn it?

I know you agree with the sentiment, you accept the theology, you assent to the philosophical principles involved.

But do you believe it?  

Down deep, where the world cannot reach, where your own heart treads but carefully, do you believe that Jesus Christ really truly died and was buried and rose from the grave and broke sin and death and Hell forever?

There’s a whole lot riding on the answer to that.

It was God’s question to Martha

and  God’s question to you

and to me.

How do you answer, Beloved?

Happy Thursday.

 

 

Never One-a-Day Wednesday 4/13/16

A life worthy

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.(John 11:26)

Wait a minute.

Didn’t Jesus just say we live even if we die?

But now, in the next line, he says we won’t die.

This is why I get confused.

The Wife of my Youth points out that Hebrew poetry often involved repeating the same idea, but with different words.  Perhaps that’s what Jesus is doing here…

or

maybe this is a veiled reference to his second coming.  You know, those who are alive when he returns will never taste death…

or

could be that Jesus is doubling down on his first statement.  Kind of, “You’ll live even after you die.  No, wait–even better.  You’ll never die in the first place!”

or

did he mean that, “He who lives (in me) and believes in me will never die”?  In other words, those who make their life and hope in Jesus will be with him forever?

or

Was this another way of pointing out he was about to defeat death by his resurrection?

Hmm…yeah, I don’t know.

‘Cause remember, I’m not a Bible scholar.  I’m just a guy who wonders about stuff and–to quote my grandpa– “goes off at the mouth a lot.”

As you can certainly tell on a morning like this.

But this I can tell you, Beloved of Christ:  Whatever the exact meaning of his words, it’s all really, really good for you and me.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

Life and Death One-a-Day Tuesday 4/12/16

A life worthy

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…(John 11:25).

Over

Finished

Ended

Done

Gone

I mean, that’s what “dead” means, isn’t it?

No, Beloved.

Not even close.

Not for the believer.

“He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”

The adventure isn’t over; it’s just beginning.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Resurrection   One-a-Day Monday 4/11/16  

A life worthy

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life…”(John 11:25).

We lost a member of our family yesterday.  Suddenly, unexpectedly, he was gone, and there was only confusion and pain and emptiness for those who loved him. As is so often the case when someone dies, I find myself at this passage.  Trying to figure out the “why” and the “how,” just as Mary and Martha tried to understand why their brother Lazarus was gone.

And, as always, something strikes me.

Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Not, “I bring you resurrection and life.”

Not, “I know where you can get resurrection and life.”

I am.

Jesus is more than the source of of life.

He is life.

In him we live, and move, and have our being.

He is not bound by the grave,

and so

neither are we.

I can’t understand it, Beloved.

But I can embrace it.

I Will   One-a-Day Friday 4/8/16

A life worthy

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him.  I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Psalm 91:14-16).

Look, I went on way too long yesterday.  You really should have stopped me.  Please pardon the sleep-deprived ramblings of a man struggling with a theological concept that he can’t fully grasp.

But this I get—I get it well enough to get out of the way and let the words speak for themselves.

Do us both a favor, Beloved.  Read these verses two, maybe three times.  Breathe it deep into your mind, your heart, your spirit. Ladies, feel free to substitute the feminine pronouns so that nothing gets in the way of your understanding that this is for you.

I will point out one thing—I just can’t resist.  Notice the use of the verb will.

Not might.

Not may.

Will.

Wrap your heart around that and take it into your weekend, Beloved.

No Fear One-a-Day Thursday 4/7/16

A life worthy

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you (Psalm 91: 5-7).

These verses used to give me fits, because they seemed…well…untrue.  I mean, believers get sick, get robbed, get hurt, and die just like unbelievers, don’t they?

No, they don’t.

Hear me out—yes, believers get sick, get robbed, get hurt, and die, but not like unbelievers.

Psalm 73 gives us some clarification here.  The Psalmist expresses his frustration and anger at the fact that the godly suffer while the ungodly seem to have it made.  He continues in this attitude until, “I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (Ps 73:17).  He suddenly catches a glimpse of life from God’s perspective, and he realizes that the ups and downs of this life are not God’s first concern.  God’s first concern is our relationship with him; his first concern is our spiritual eternity.

So, back to Psalm 91.  Notice that the verse doesn’t say that arrows won’t fly at you, or pestilence or plague.  It says that you don’t need to fear these things.

And you don’t.  Because whatever may happen to you in this physical world, you can know that you are eternally his, eternally secure.  And the real dangers—the arrows of the evil one, the plague of sin—from those you are protected.  A thousand may fall to the wickedness of this world, ten thousand to the deceiver of men, but it will not come near you.

You are his.

Under his wings, remember?

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Under His Wings One-a-Day Wednesday 4/6/16

A life worthy

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge… (Psalm 91:4a).

I’m not really what you might call a “bird person.”  Sure, some of them are pretty and some of them make music and some of them are quite tasty, but in general they eat things from my garden that I had planned to eat, leave undesired presents on my car, and wake me up on the rare day that I could have slept in.

Still, there’s something about this image.

You’ve seen it on nature shows, the shot of a Mama bird spreading her wings out over her babies to hide them and guard them.  The message is, “If you want these little ones, you’ll have to come through me!”  Or what about the penguins?  Yes, I know I wrote about the penguins last week, but the image is sticking with me.  You see the footage of Daddy Penguin with his baby sitting right on his feet, Dad’s wings protecting the chick.  I kind of like that image of the Father.  He holds us on his lap (penguins don’t have laps, per se, but they do the best they can) with his arms around us, keeping us safe as we take in this world of his.

Beloved, do not be afraid.

You are worth more than many penguins.