Righteous Wrath One-a-Day Friday  5/26/23

A life worthy

If only you would slay the wicked, O God!  Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.  Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.  (Psalm 139:19-22)

Wow.  Right in the middle of this psalm celebrating the wonder of God’s love and care for me, I get called to a holy war.  What’s that about? If you do a little study on this verse, you find that it echoes the ancient Near East covenant language between King and Vassal.  The vassal swears that any enemy of the king will be his enemy.

Are you impressed with my scholarliosity?  

Study Bible footnotes for the win!

But God is a God of love, right?  Aren’t we supposed to love everyone?

Show me where it says that in the Bible.

Well, Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”

Oh yeah, he did…huh.

I’ll admit—this is a toughie. It seems to me that, in light of the gospel, we should be pretty careful about hating people.  There is plenty for us to hate—the ways of the world, the devil and his schemes, our own flesh—plenty that rises up against God.  People seem pretty far down the list.

I think this passage is not so much a call to war as a call to total allegiance.  You have a God who knows every thought you have ever entertained and loves you anyway.  He surrounds you, literally, with his love and protection. Pledge your fealty to him again.  Go forth into your Friday as the sworn enemy of all that stands against him.

Serve the king who loves you, Beloved.

Happy Friday

The Thoughts of God One-a-Day Thursday  5/25/23

A life worthy

How precious to me are your thoughts, Oh God!  How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.  When I awake, I am still with you. (Psalm 139:17-18).

Can you imagine what goes on in the mind of God?

No, I don’t suppose you can.  Me neither.

It’s like the worm I dig up in the yard knowing my thoughts.

No…it’s more like the microbial parasite living in the worm that I dig up in the yard knowing my thoughts.

No…it’s more like the subatomic particles that make up the microbial parasite living in the worm that I dig up in the yard knowing my thoughts.

Which probably doesn’t happen.

And yet, God wants us to know at least a portion of his thoughts. That’s why he gave us his Word.  You can fall asleep with his thoughts in your mind and awake with his thoughts in your heart. You can move through this day meditating on his Word, and making his thoughts your thoughts.

Because he wants you to know him.

Because you are his Beloved.

Which is just one of the many reasons that it is better to be you than a worm.

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Freedestination One-a-Day Wednesday  5/24/23

A life worthy

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16).

Predestination…or free will?

Look, first thing on a Wednesday is not the time to get into a discussion that heavy.  Let me just say—it’s both.

No, really.

OK, here we go.  God created all things, ya? Therefore, he created time.  He is not bound by time, the way you and I are. God exists at all moments in history simultaneously.  Simply put, all time—past, present, and future—is now to God.

This brings up all sorts of cool thoughts, but let’s just focus on one: You know the moment you ache for, that moment when Christ returns and you get a glorified body and there will be no more night or pain or sorrow or sin or tears?  That blessed someday?

Well, Beloved, it isn’t someday to God.

It’s Today.  It’s Right Now.

When God looks at you, he sees you as you are today—pimples, gray hairs, and all.  (And, by the way, how is it that I can have both pimples and gray hair going on at the same time?)

But God also sees you as you will be—glorified, complete, utterly and thoroughly his.  That is as real and immediate to him as the blotchy mess you might be on this particular Wednesday morning.

There is only One who can actually see the finished product, and he says it’s perfect.

Chew on that today, Beloved.

Happy Wednesday.

All the Days One-a-Day Tuesday  5/23/23

A life worthy

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes beheld my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:15-16).

He knows you

and 

He has known you 

since before 

you 

were 

you. 

He has written your story…and you know what?

God just loves a happy ending.

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

Fearfully and Wonderfully One-a-Day Monday 5/22/23

A life worthy

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; all your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  (Psalm 139:13-14)

You were made by God, my friend.  Do you know that? Seriously…are you really realizing that the Lord of the entire universe, he who put the stars in their places, he who designed the atom, he who called it all into being just by the force of his will—he knit you together?  Every fiber of your youness was specifically designed by him. You didn’t come off an assembly line; you didn’t rise from the muck. You are no accident. You were custom made by God.

You are his work; you are wonderful.

You are Beloved.

Know that full well.

Happy Monday

Night Into Day One-a-Day Friday  5/19/23

A life worthy

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; night will shine like day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:11-12)

Look, I hate to be redundant, but are you detecting a pattern here?

He sees you.

If we were talking about anyone but God, this would be creepy and you would have every right to make a tinfoil hat and hide in the basement.

Not that it would help.

But this is God we’re talking about.  You know, the One who loves you. You don’t need to be afraid of what he sees.  You don’t need to be ashamed of what his light reveals. He knew every sin, every dark thought, every wrong desire long before you were ever born.

He paid for it all before you before you even came to be.

So embrace the miracle, Beloved–not that he can see you, but that he sees you and chooses you anyway.

Happy Friday

Flee One-a-Day Thursday  5/18/23

A life worthy

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise up on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me; your right hand will hold me fast  (Psalm 139:7-10).

There is simply no place where God is not.  I love this image. Overwhelmed by God’s presence, I try to flee from him—but there is nowhere to go. Wherever I run, he is already there, waiting to guide and protect me.

Question for today: Where, and why, do you try to hide from God?

Happy Thursday, Beloved.

Boundaries One-a-Day Wednesday  5/17/23

A life worthy

You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  (Psalm 139:5-6).

Continuing on yesterday’s theme, there are really two ways to see this verse.  If your heart isn’t right before God, you may picture a prisoner, bound and chained, surrounded by guards.

Been there.  Felt that. No Bueno.

If your heart is right with God, the picture is something like a squad of elite soldiers surrounding you, protecting you from whatever may attack.

Been there, too.  It’s way better.

That’s where David was when he wrote this psalm.  He felt God’s hand upon him, not to hold David down, but to lift him up.  The whole idea was, “Too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” Think about that for a minute.  You serve a God who loves you more than you can even fathom.

His angels surround you.

His hand is upon you.

He’s got your back.

Walk in that today, Beloved.

Happy Wednesday

He Knows One-a-Day Tuesday  5/16/23

A life worthy

Psalm 139, anyone?

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord (Psalm 139:1-4).

Every now and then you need to give yourself a spiritual systems check.  You know, make sure that everything is in working order, and that nothing is slipping in between you and God.  Psalm 139 is a great passage of Scripture for that. I find that most of us have one of the following three reactions when they read the above passage.  Reread it and think to yourself—which reaction is yours?

1. These lines give great comfort.  You love the idea that God knows everything about you, that he even knows your thoughts.

You, my friend, are in a great place with God.  Proceed to praise.

2.These lines creep you out.  There’s something Orwellian about God searching your inmost being.

Houston, we have a problem…  You’re not right with God, Beloved. What is it you don’t want him to see?  May I suggest that a self-examination and a long talk with your Father are in order.

3.These lines have no effect on you whatsoever.

Danger, Will Robinson!!  All joking aside, you are in a very dangerous place, my friend. Scripture is full of those whose hearts became numb to God’s Word.  It doesn’t end well. I’m praying for you today, that God would ravish your heart with his all-consuming love.

You are known, Beloved.  Head to toe. Inside and out.  Completely and utterly understood.  And that’s a very good thing.

Happy Tuesday.

It’s Not in My Contract One-a-Day Monday    5/15/23

A life worthy

Final thoughts before we leave Jonah son of Amittai…

Jonah wanted to serve God.

On Jonah’s terms.

Our relationship with Jesus Christ is portrayed in many ways in Scripture.

We are servant, disciple, ambassador, friend, brother, child, Bride.

Never—not once—contract employee.

A contract employee signs an agreement to do a specified job for a specified amount of pay.  Employer and employee negotiate over duties and payment, and the employee is not expected to perform any tasks not detailed in the negotiations.

“Sorry,” he can say, “That’s not in my contract.”

The Lord of the Universe doesn’t work that way.

He’s not interested in negotiation—only surrender.

Utter, complete obedience and submission, whether you understand what he’s doing or not.  Whether you like what he’s doing or not.  It sounds harsh, and I wouldn’t recommend it with anyone else but the One who gave his only son, that if you trust him you shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

So once again, we find ourselves at the question: Do you trust him, Beloved?

Submit boldly today.  Kneel tall, and surrender at the top of your lungs.

Happy Monday, Beloved.