One a Day Thursday, 9/17/15


number 1Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus  (Philippians 4:6-7).

This one falls squarely into the, “Easier said than done” category.  I mean, it sounds like an impossible command–

Don’t let your stomach growl.

Don’t think of the color blue.

Don’t breathe.

Don’t be anxious.

Frankly, it’s one of the only times in Scripture when I want to poke Paul in the eye.   And if I am anxious, please don’t throw this verse at me, because I might just poke you in the eye.  Because sometimes, after I’ve prayed and petitioned and thanksgivinged and presented…I’m still anxious.

And then I feel like a failure.

It is my sincere prayer that you have no idea what I’m talking about.

But I’ll bet you do.

So, what to make of this?  

I take this moment to remind you that I am not a Bible scholar, just a Michael.  But here’s what I think…

Worry is sin after a fashion, because it represents a lack of trust in God.  If I really, truly, nose-to-toes believed that God was in control and looking out for me, I wouldn’t worry.  

But, I’m not there yet.  I’m that work in progress we’ve talked about.  So, like Peter, I take my eyes off Jesus, and I look at the waves, and I sink.  

And, like with Peter, Christ stretches forth his hand and rescues me.  Though I worry, I don’t despair, I don’t give up, I don’t let go.

He guards my heart and my mind.  And even if I don’t always feel peace descend like a warm blanket to wrap me in cuddly rest, I know that it is there. Here’s a thought…maybe God’s peace is less like that aforementioned blanket and more like the cop who patrols the night, keeping dangers I’m not even aware of at bay so that I can rest in safety.  Guarding me.

After all, we call them peace officers, don’t we?

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

One a Day Wednesday, 9/16/15


number 1Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near (Philippians 4:5).

Not wimpiness

Not weakness

Not wishy-washy-namby-pamby-milquetoastiness


To have great strength and choose to restrain it.

To reach out a hand when you want to shake a fist.

To use a tack hammer when you could wield Mjolnir.

OK, that last one was over the top, but I hope you get the picture.

The God of all strength chooses to be gentle with you.

What do you choose, Beloved?

Today I will spend seven hours with seventh-graders.  I will have endless opportunities to practice gentleness. Will I take those opportunities?  

Will you?

Let’s pray for each other today, Beloved.

And, uh, put the hammer down.

One a Day Tuesday, 9/15/15


number 1Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your–

No..not like that.  Please.

Paul’s not talking about happy-clappy-fakey-smiley-insipid nonsense.  

Because sometimes life hurts.  


If ever a man knew that, it was Paul.  Beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, betrayal, imprisonment–not exactly moments of silliness and delight.

And yet he rejoiced.  How did he do that?

How can I?

It comes down to counting your blessings.  Look, I know how tired and worn out that phrase is, but the concept does work.  If I stop to enumerate all the ways God has shown his love for me, the list becomes quite long and my mood much improved.

Or, if you’re in a bit of a hurry, you can go for the shortcut list:

#1 The God of the Universe knows me completely, and loves me completely.

Uh…sorry…did you need a #2?

It’s Tuesday.  Rejoice, Beloved.

One a Day Monday, 9/14/15


number 1I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.  Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the Gospel… (Philippians 4:2-3)

“Blessed are the peacemakers…”

“By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another…”

“Hey!  Knock it off!  Cut the bickering, you pathetic lumps of flesh…”

Can you guess which of the above was not scripture?

Look, we all have disagreements from time to time.  Often those disagreements will be with brothers and sisters in Christ.  That just confirms our personhood, and reminds us of the fact that sometimes people are annoying.

Even you.

No offense.

Here’s the problem.  Folks are watching.  

Even non-believers.

No…especially non-believers.  

They’re looking to see how you handle interpersonal emotional yuck.  You see, even if they don’t believe, they’re still curious to see whether you live up to this love stuff we spout.

So…live up to it.  

What about it, Beloved?  Do you have someone with whom you need to make amends today?  Is there a quarrel you have the power to end?  Can you make peace in the name of the Lord?

What are you waiting for?

Happy Monday, Beloved.

One a Day Friday, 9/11/15

number 1…and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (Philippians 3:21).

My back aches.

My heart aches.

My soul aches.

My nation aches.

Amen.  Even so, come Lord Jesus.

One a Day Thursday, 9/10/15


number 1But our citizenship is in Heaven… (Philippians 3:20).

I did a bit of travelling in my pre-geezer days.  I remember the feeling of being all alone in a foreign country.  It was exciting, but unsettling.  I didn’t understand the language, the customs, the road signs–I was out of my element.  Wherever I went, I made it obvious in a thousand little ways that this was not my home, that I did not belong.  I kept my passport securely tucked in my fanny pack–no judging, please–and checked it frequently. That passport was my lifeline, my link to home, my protection should things go awry in this strange, sometimes unfriendly land.

That’s us, isn’t it?  

I mean, if you feel out of place, it’s because you are.  

You should feel different.  

You should be different.

You are not a citizen here.

Neither are you a tourist.

You are an ambassador.  

So grab your fanny pack and go…ambassad.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

One a Day Wednesday, 9/9/15


number 1Only let us live up to what we have already attained (Philippians 3:16).


There’s so much I don’t know.

It’s astonishing, really.

I mean, it could paralyze me if I focus on it.

I know, because sometimes I do.

And yet

There’s so much I do know.  

I wonder…if I were to just do the things I know…to live up to what I do understand…

What would that look like?

What would I look like?

What would my world look like?

Nah, it couldn’t be that simple.

Could it?

Happy Wednesday, Beloved.

One a Day Tuesday, 9/8/15


number 1…but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12).

He saved you for a purpose.

Don’t get me wrong.  He saved you because he loves you.  If you never did a single useful thing after accepting his grace, you would still be Heaven-bound.

But where’s the adventure in that?

The God of the Universe has a job for you.  He has taken hold of you for a reason.  

What reason?

Life.  Abundant, fulfilling, valuable, useful, tremendous life.

Before Christ, you existed.  Your heart beat, the breath came and went, your organs squelched and gushed and performed various internal activities.

But you weren’t alive.

Then Jesus took hold of you.  You died, and you rose.

And you live.  For him.

What will living for him look like today?  I have no idea–that’s between you and your Lord.  Some of you will live for him today by swinging a hammer, teaching a child, closing a deal, mopping a floor, driving a car, writing a blog, fighting disease from the inside. You will live for him in a supermarket, or a car dealership, or a theater, or a hospital bed.

But you will live for him.  And that life will matter.  That is why Christ Jesus took hold of you.

Press on, Beloved.

One a Day Monday, 9/7/15


number 1Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect… (Philippians 3:12).

You’re a work in progress.

Cliche?  Yes.

True?  Also, yes.

Hear the truth, Beloved.  Stop your racing and striving and running and tumbling for just a moment and let it sink in.  If the Apostle Paul–a fairly intense individual–could admit that God wasn’t finished with him, so can you.


Not a excuse…Beloved.  Not a loophole.  Just truth.

Here’s another truth.  One day he will be finished with you.  One day you will be made perfect.

Take that into your Monday.


One a Day Friday, 9/4/15


number 1I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:11).

I can’t understand it.

I certainly can’t explain it.

But I know it.

One day we will be…finished.




The chains will fall away

and we will rise.

I don’t know when.

I don’t know how.

But I know.

Walk in that knowledge, Beloved of God.