Waiting Patiently One-a-Day Thursday 1/7/16

A life worthy

Be patient then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.  You, too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near (James 5:7-8).

When I was a little kid my grandparents took me to see Zorba the Greek.

I don’t know why…maybe they couldn’t find a babysitter.

I didn’t understand most of it, which is probably for the best, but one song planted itself deep in my brain. It is called The Butterfly, and it tells of a man who finds a cocoon.  The man is so excited to free the butterfly within the cocoon that he warms it in his hands, breathing on it to speed things along.  

I don’t know if that would work in real life, but it does in the song.

The cocoon opens, but the butterfly is not yet fully developed.  Instead of a beautiful, graceful creature, the man holds a tattered, unfinished life that dies in his hands.  His lament,

All at once I discovered his delicate wings were all crumpled and torn,

When he still wasn’t ready I had made him be born

haunted my little kid self, and has stuck with me since.  

Beloved, your Lord has a plan.  A plan for your life, and a plan for this world.  He hasn’t forgotten you, and he hasn’t cast you aside, and he hasn’t put you on the back burner until he gets around to you.

He is thinking of you constantly, and he is asking you to be patient while his plan unfolds.

Trust him, Beloved.  He’s worth the wait.

Happy Thursday.

Warning to the Rich One-a-Day Wednesday 1/6/16

A life worthy

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.  Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire.  You have hoarded wealth in the last days…You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter…(James 5:1-6)

Wow…I’m kinda glad now that I didn’t win the lotto.

Look, money in and of itself is not the problem.  In fact, I’m thinking of setting up a crowdfunding account to prove the point.  You can help me demonstrate that, even with a few million dollars in my account, I will remain sweet and cuddly me.  Kind of a spiritual experiment. Whaddaya say?

Yes?

No?

OK…

The problem isn’t having money.

The problem is loving it

relying on it

living for it

worshipping it.

James makes it abundantly clear that those who invest their lives in physical wealth will find that investment wasted.  

So, Beloved…what’s your investment plan?

Happy Wednesday.

Sins of Omission  One-a-Day Tuesday 1/5/16

A life worthy

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins  (James 4:17).

There are sins of commission…and sins of omission.

Once upon a time, I had three friends.  I’ll call them Susan and Sally and Sam (names have been changed to protect the innocent…and the guilty).  Susan and Sally saw that the weather was getting very cold at night, and they knew that there was a large population of homeless in their community.  Susan and Sally wanted to collect some blankets, make some sandwiches and coffee, and go minister to people.  The girls did not feel entirely safe about going into this area alone at night, so they decided to ask Sam to come along.  Sam was a strapping young man fully capable of protecting his friends and lugging heavy loads of coffee and blankets and ministerial whatnot.  So, Susan and Sally asked Sam to come with them and minister to the poor, and Sam said…

I’ll pray about it.

As it turned out, “I’ll pray about it” was a handy euphemism for, “I have no intention of doing what you ask, but I wish to sound spiritual and avoid looking like a selfish ninny.  I shall now hide from you until this whole unpleasant situation goes away.”

God will bring you an opportunity to glorify him today.  What will you do with it?

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

God’s Plan or Yours? One-a-Day Monday 1/4/16

A life worthy

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this of that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you don’t even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  As it is, you boast and brag.  All such boasting is evil  (James 4:16).

OK…back to James.

How is it boasting and bragging to make plans?  I mean, we’re supposed to be intentional with our lives, are we not?  We shouldn’t just drift. Doesn’t God honor the go-getter, the goal-setter, the man-with-a-dream?

Yes…and yet not so much.

See, it’s the Tower of Babel all over again.  If you read Genesis Chapter 11, you might get the idea that God punished humanity unfairly.  I mean, folks were building a great city, and a mighty tower to go with it, and God brought it crashing down.  What, is God anti-technology?  Or is it that the Mighty One feels threatened by Man’s achievements?

You’re getting close.

Look, there is nothing we can do to threaten God, but much that we can do to threaten our relationship with God.  The people in Genesis were building their tower, not God’s.  They were looking for their glory, not his.  Humanity had a plan, but it was a plan that excluded God, and he wasn’t about to let that stand.

So, what of your plans, Beloved?

Do they originate in a desire to glorify God…or you?

Do they take into account God’s sovereignty…or seek to establish your own?

Will these plans, if successful, bring you closer to God, or push you away?

Think about it.  I’ll see you tomorrow…if it’s the Lord’s will.

Happy Monday, Beloved

God of Second Chances – One-a-Day Friday 1/1/16

number 1If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new!  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

New day

New year

New you

We serve a God of second chances and new beginnings.  No matter what 2015 looked like, it is gone.  Today you begin again. If last year was one of triumph, great—remember and rejoice, but don’t live there. Press on. If last year was one of failure, or pain, or loss—praise God for this new beginning.

The image in my head this morning is of the land after a snowfall, when nothing has yet touched the surface of the snow.  It is fresh, clean, and waiting.

So…go make snow angels.

Happy 2016, Beloved of Christ.

One-a-Day Thursday 12/31/15

number 1One thing I ask of the Lord; this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple (Psalm 27:4).

Just to be with God.  Do you ever want that?  Do you ever have those moments when you get past wanting from God and just want God?

I have to admit; for me, those moments are too few and too far between.

But then, the New Year is about fresh starts and making changes, isn’t it?

How many things are you asking God for in 2016, Beloved?

How about just one?

This one.

One-a-Day Wednesday 12/30/15

number 1Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this of that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you don’t even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  (James 4:13-14)

“The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.”–Robert Burns

I guess we’ve all had “agley” days, days when Life intrudes on our plans.  It’s annoying, and frustrating, and sometimes painful.

And sometimes worse

I have a friend who is, quite literally, on his deathbed.  He is a young man, a good man, a man of God.  He had big plans for his future which did not in any way include cancer.

God’s plan did.  

So what, then?  Should we refuse to make plans, since they can all go “Poof” in a heartbeat?  Should we life for the moment, wild and free and heedless of the future?

Uh, no.  ‘Cause I have a mortgage and kids that really like regular meals.

That’s not where James is going here.  He’s just reminding us that our plans, like every other aspect of our lives, belong to God.  If we are his , we must acknowledge and welcome his power to shape our days as he sees fit. If we get caught up in working for the future, we gamble on a tomorrow that we may not get.

You have today, Beloved.  

You have now.

Spend it well.

One-a-Day Tuesday 12/29/15

number 1There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.    But you–who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:12)

This is another one of those passages that serves as a mirror of my relationship with Christ.  When I am in a good place, when I am in submission to his will and trusting in his love for me, I can grant a hearty “Amen!” to this verse.  When I am out of sorts, getting a little fleshy–well, this one gets under my skin.  I mean, to admit that God is God and I am not?  Grrrr…..

‘Cause I’m excellent at judging and I know stuff and I’m in pretty good shape to judge if you look past a few flaws in my character and why are you looking at flaws in my character anyway what are you judging me who are you to judge only God can judge and…

Oh, yeah.

Take a good look in the mirror this morning, Beloved.

Happy Tuesday.

One-a-Day Monday 12/28/15

number 1Brothers, do not slander one another.  Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it  (James 4:11).

So, now that the extended family is gone…tell me.

How many snide remarks were there?

How often did you mock Weird Uncle Dave because, well, look at him with that silly comb-over and that “girlfriend” who is, what, half his age and is obviously only after him for his money and is totally playing him for a fool so of course we gotta laugh…  

Yeah…

Christmas is over.  

Christ isn’t.

Have grace, Beloved.