One-a-Day Wednesday 3/26/14

number 1He 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?  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, you are worth more than many penguins.

One-a-Day Tuesday 3/25/14

number 1I 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.  Rest in that today.

One-a-Day Monday 3/24/14

number 1When Cathy and I were married, a dear friend turned this amazing Psalm into an amazing song for our wedding.  I hear the music whenever I read this bit of Scripture.

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 metphoricalish.  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.

The Accidental Witness, Part Two

Last time, I discussed the idea of witnessing by accident.  If you missed my last post, you would be best off to go and read it, then come back to this one.  Otherwise, this current story will have a less profound impact on your life, and we wouldn’t want that, now would we?

Ready? Let’s go…

Flag of Romania, (21 August 1965 - 22 December...

Romania, many moons ago.  I was on a mission trip, and had the opportunity to preach.  It was a brutally humbling experience, during which I learned that the word “gypsy,” while innocuous in the West, is a full-blown racial slur in Romania.


In any case, after the service a young man about my age came up to me and introduced himself as Ovidiu.  He spoke creditable English, and asked if he could show me around the city.  Anxious to escape the whispers and stares caused by my inadvertent racial epithet, I jumped at the chance.  Off we went.

The two of us spent several hours sightseeing and conversing.  Ovidiu told me about life in Romania, and how it had changed since the fall of the dictator Nicolai Ceausescu (which had occurred just three months before my visit).  I told my new friend about my life in America, and how God was at work, not only in my country, but in me.

That evening, we returned for the evening church service, where I managed to bring greetings without causing an international incident.  After I finished, the pastor took over.  At the end of his message, the pastor gave an altar call, and my new friend came forward to accept Christ.

My new friend who I thought was already a believer.

I had assumed I was fellowshipping; it seems I was witnessing.

Later, we talked, and Ovidiu explained the situation.  His mother was a member of this church, and was constantly trying to get her son “saved.”  He had no interest in such things.  She had finally persuaded him to come to church that morning to see the American speak (and, as it happened, humiliate himself).  Ovidiu had invited me to go sightseeing, not for fellowship, but simply to practice his English.  During our time together, Ovidiu had listened to me talk of Christ.  “You made it sound so normal, so natural,” he said to me.  “You made me think that it might really be true.”

Praise God that I didn’t know I was witnessing to Ovidiu.  If I had, I probably would have driven him miles away from God with Christianese and lofty blather.

Because I’ve done that too, you know.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t witness on purpose.  I’m just saying that we should speak normally to people about our life with Jesus.  Witnessing is not an isolated action; it’s the overflow of our lives.  If my vocabulary changes because I am suddenly “witnessing,” then there’s something seriously wrong with either how I speak about Christ, or how I speak in my everyday life.  In the end, the way we live–our day in, day out approach to the challenges and the people around us–says more about our faith than any words we speak.

Especially when we use the wrong words completely, like, oh, “Gypsy.”

Lest you think I am being a bit heavy today, let me finish with a story about how my wife inadvertently started a cult.  Once upon a time, she who would someday be the Wife of My Heart was a new Christian on a missions trip to Mexico.  She was talking to a little boy, trying to tell him about the love of Christ.  My bride’s love for God is boundless; her command of Spanish, less so.  She told the boy that Jesus died for his sins, but the boy seemed puzzled.  She repeated her message; he looked at her strangely, but listened intently.

In Spanish, “Pecado” means, “sin.”

In Spanish, “Pescado” means, “fish.”

English: Simple drawing of a fish that represe...

I picture this little boy going home and telling his family about the angel who appeared to him to tell him of Christ’s love for the family goldfish.  I see the word spreading through the land, and a whole new understanding of bumper sticker fishes coming to light.

O.K., so I guess words are important, too.


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One-a-Day Friday 3/21/14

…and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).

This love that surpasses knowledge…a love that is more than my brain can contain…frankly, that he loves us at all is mind-blowing—wouldn’t you agree?

To be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…to be so full of God that there’s no room for anything else.  You know what that makes me think of?  It makes me think of the scene in It’s a Wonderful Life when Jimmy Stewart is wooing Donna Reed.  He talks about lassoing the moon, and bringing it down for her. She could then swallow the moon, and the moonbeams would shoot out from her fingertips and the ends of her hair.  That’s what this verse makes me think of.  Paul wants us to be so full of God’s love that it pours out of us—shoots out of us in all directions.

He seems to say that, if we could just grasp the giganticatiousness of God’s love, we would be filled to capacity with his…well, with him.

Chew on that as you move through your Friday.  Pray that God would help you to know his love, that you might be filled to the brim, and pour out into the lives all around you.

God runs a full-service station.  Fill ‘er up, Beloved.

One-a-Day Thursday 3/20/14

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ… (Ephesians 3:17b-18).

If you only knew.

We can’t understand God’s love.  It is totally beyond our brains.  We can use metaphors—parent and child, husband and wife—but ultimately, they fall short.  Can you imagine a trillion of something?  I’ll give you a hand.  One trillion seconds equates to about 31,000 years.  Which you also can’t imagine, since you’ve been around less than a hundred years.

Most of you.

The problem is, we’re so stinking finite.  How do we grasp the idea of an infinite God, and his infinite love?

It’s a good problem.

I think that, the more we can understand of the sheer magnitude of God’s love for us, the more our problems will shrink in comparison.

Is God’s love big enough to cover…?

Does God love me even though I…?

Can God’s love handle all the…?

If you only knew, Beloved.

One-a-Day Wednesday 3/19/14

For he (God) chose us in him (Jesus) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight (Ephesians 1:4).

You are the chosen one.

Well, maybe not the chosen one, but certainly a chosen one.

Before he made the world, God had you in mind.  He knew who you would be, how you would be, your many sins, your epic, endless failures.

And he loved you.

And he chose you.

Consider this: God is not bound by time, right?  Past, present, future—it’s all kind of now to him.  So, when he looks at you he sees you not only as you are, but as you will be.



Now, if only you could learn to see yourself as he sees you.

Do me a favor—try, Beloved.

One-a-Day Tuesday 3/18/14

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

Think you aren’t strong enough?

Think you aren’t smart enough?

Think you aren’t rich enough?

Think you aren’t…enough?

You have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.  Not some…not even most.



I can’t even imagine what all that means, but I’ll bet it means this much: everything you need to live the life God has called you to, He has already given you.

So what are you waiting for, Beloved?

One-a-Day Monday 3/17/14

Beloved, if you knew the week I just had and the one I’m about to have, you would understand why I’m “revisiting” these One-a-Days from last year.  Strangely, God’s Word has not gotten any less powerful or any less timely.  As to my commentary, well, that remains to be seen.

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:2).

Have you ever considered the causative relationship between the words grace and peace? The second depends upon the first.  It is only through God’s grace that we can have peace.

Think about it—apart from God’s grace, why should you have peace?  You are a hopeless, pathetic lump, destined for destruction—me too, for that matter.

Ahh, but you are not apart from God’s grace.  If you belong to Him, you have his grace, sufficient to all your needs.  Your pathetic lumpiness has been forgiven, atoned for.

Embrace his grace, beloved of the Father.  Know his peace today.

The Accidental Witness

Grocery bag“You know, a couple of weeks ago I really hated your guts!”


Several questions hit my mind all at once.

“Why did this person hate my guts a couple of weeks ago?”

“Why does this person no longer hate my guts?”

“Why does this person feel the need to tell me this in line at the supermarket?” Continue reading