Refuge and Fortress One-a-Day Tuesday 4/5/16

A life worthy

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2)

My refuge.

My fortress.

My place of safety and strength, with strong walls to protect me from the world.

Face it, Beloved.  We all need a place to which we can retreat.  When our armor is dented and our sword arm is weary, we need to pull back and regroup, recharge, refresh.  God gives us that place; better yet, God is that place.  His love surrounds us like an unassailable wall, keeping us protected.

Keeping us safe.

You are safe, Beloved.  

Yes, you are.

Rest in that today.

Home   One-a-Day Monday 4/4/16  

A life worthy

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1).

Where do you live?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to show up at your door—I’m being metaphoricalish.  You see, this entire Psalm is God’s pledge of protection, but there is a caveat.  The promise only applies to those who “Dwell in the shelter of the Most High.”

So, again, where do you live?

Is your home in Christ?  Is he the one you trust, the one you turn to, the one you serve?  Do you, in fact, dwell in the shelter of the Most High?

Don’t answer too quickly.  Sure, you’re probably a believer—few who do not know Christ are interested in a daily devotional—but are you really dwelling in Christ, or in the world?

Do a little self-test today.  Flip to Psalm 139.  Read it, and pay close attention to how it makes you feel.  If you come away from lines like, “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar,” and “You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me,” feeling peaceful and comforted, then you are in a good place.  If those lines make you twitch…you’ve got some business to do with the Almighty.

Work it out, Beloved.  It’s gonna be a busy week.

Security One-a-Day Thursday 3/31/16

A life worthy

They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will  go down to the depths of the earth (Psalm 63:9).

OK, so Mafia death squads are probably not after you.

Or, maybe they are…what do I know?

Regardless of your position on somebody’s hit list, you can be sure of one thing.

You do have an Enemy.

That enemy is fierce

and implacable

and cunning

and really not very nice at all.

You also have a Protector, one whose strong hand holds you up, one who shelters you beneath his wings, one who is there when you call out to him in the depths of the night.

Fear not, Beloved.  Your enemy is vastly outmatched.

Happy Thursday

Life Grip One-a-Day Wednesday 3/30/16

A life worthy

My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me (Psalm 63:8).

You’re on the ice for the first time.  

Your ankles are all wobbley.

Your feet will not obey.

Your legs are made of store-brand gelatin dessert.

The world spins incorrectly.

Gravity is not your friend.

The evil skates shoot out from beneath you

and you are falling

flailing

gasping

grasping.

Your hand finds another hand

big

strong

safe.

You grab hold for dear life, sinking terrified nails into willing flesh.

The hand hold you up, steadies you, guides you forward.

You will not fall while you cling to the hand that loves you.

That’s this.

Happy Wednesday, Beloved

Daddy’s Wings One-a-Day Tuesday 3/29/16

A life worthy

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings(Psalm 63:7).

When I read this line, I think of penguins.

I know, right?

Seriously

Penguins

You know the picture I’m talking about.   You’ve seen it on nature shows.  The baby penguin sits on his daddy’s feet, while Dad tucks his wings and his belly over the kiddo to keep him warm.

Yeah, that image.  That is why dads have bellies.

I am aware that David probably never saw a penguin, so this is most likely not the image he was going for.

It is, however, the image that I take from this Scripture.  Yes, taking Scripture out of context puts one on a slippery theological slope, but I think if David were here, he’d back me 100%.

And yes, they sing.  How could they not?

Happy Tuesday, Beloved

Through the Night One-a-Day Monday 3/28/16  

A life worthy

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night (Psalm 63:6).

Many moons ago I had a friend named James.  James made it a practice to pray every night before he went to sleep.  Not just a quick, “Thanks, God–nighty-night” sort of prayer.  He would painstakingly examine the day he had just spent, looking for any way in which he might have disobeyed God and repenting. Sometimes he would arrive at work exhausted from a night short on sleep and long on soul searching.  While I think there may be a certain legalism mixed up in James’s approach that isn’t altogether healthy, I have always respected and admired his devotion.  He had a desire to connect with God that was, and often still is, lacking in my own life.

And what of you, Beloved?  What are your thoughts as you drift off to Dreamland?  When you lie awake at night, are you praising your Savior, or are you stressing over your mortgage?

I think I’m going to go back to bed and practice this verse.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Resurrection   One-a-Day Sunday 3/27/16

A life worthy

For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave (Psalm 86:13).

Lost

Alone

Confused

Empty

These words describe how I imagine the disciples felt on that Sunday morning.  They must have figured that, after all, Jesus had failed.

Has anyone ever been more gloriously wrong?

On Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went with some of the other women to make sure that the body of Jesus was properly cared for.  Oh, the surprise they got!  The tomb was empty, the body was gone, and an angel announced, “He is not here; He has risen!”

Can you imagine?

Seriously, can you imagine it?  Imagine going with Mary and seeing the stone rolled away, hearing the angel’s words.  Imagine being with the disciples when she brings them the news.  Imagine running with Peter and John to see for yourself, and finding the tomb empty, the grave clothes neatly folded.  Imagine standing with Thomas, the doubter, as he touched the wounds on his living Lord.

Imagine.

His death satisfied the requirements of the old covenant—a perfect sacrifice to cover all sin always.

His resurrection broke the power of Death forever, and ushered in the New Covenant—a promise of grace and hope and peace.

His return will bring the fulfillment of history, as he gathers those who put their trust in him and takes them home forever.

He is risen, indeed!

Walk in joy today, Beloved.

Alone One-a-Day  Saturday 3/26/16

A life worthy

I hope these excerpts from my book Easter–Beyond the Bunny help you explore the wonder of the Passion.

Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones (Zechariah 13:7b).

Everybody loves you when you’re winning.

What happened to the crowds?  Was it just last Sunday that the people were lining the streets, cheering for Jesus?  Now where are they?

Gone.

When the soldiers came for Jesus, the disciples scattered.  John followed, but at a distance.  He needed to know what was happening, but he couldn’t bring himself to intervene.

Peter, like John, followed at a distance.  He mingled with the crowd, where he could blend in and, hopefully, go unnoticed.  While he was standing with a group, a servant girl recognized him.  Here was Peter’s chance to stand tall for Christ.  Here was his golden opportunity to proclaim his loyalty to Jesus and stand with him—die with him, if need be.  After all, that is what he had promised Jesus.

What did he do?  You know what he did.  He denied his Lord.  Big, strong Peter couldn’t stand up to the questions of the lowliest servant girl.

What of the rest?  All we know is that they ran for it.

Don’t be too hard on the disciples.  I’m convinced they genuinely believed that they were up to the challenge.  When Peter said he would never betray Jesus, I think he meant it down to the marrow of his bones.  He didn’t have the courage, because he was only human.  Like us.  We know that John, and Mary, and a few others came to the cross before Jesus died; Jesus even spoke to John from the cross. But in the end, Jesus had to fulfill his purpose himself.

In the end, Jesus went to the cross alone.

He went to the grave alone.

He rose from the dead alone.

Because he had to.  That was the point—if anyone else could have done it, if anyone else could have helped, we wouldn’t have needed the perfect Son of God.

Jesus stood alone so that you will never have to.

Because he loves you.

You.

Walk in thankfulness today, Beloved.

Betrayal and Sacrifice One-a-Day Friday 3/25/16

A life worthy

 

I hope these excerpts from my book Easter–Beyond the Bunny help you explore the wonder of the Passion.

Good Friday

Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me (Psalm 41:9).

Betrayal

It’s a bitter, ugly word for a bitter, ugly deed.

Perhaps the worst thing about betrayal is that, by its very nature, betrayal involves someone you trust.  In a sense, you have to give the betrayer the power to hurt you by making yourself vulnerable. Those who never make themselves vulnerable to others can never be betrayed.

But then, they can never really love, either.

The most powerful of all persons made himself vulnerable, let himself be betrayed, to rescue his beloved.

That would be you.

Good Friday, Beloved