One-a-Day Tuesday, 7/1/14

number 1Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Some mornings I look at a verse and I think, “This is so clear, so simple, that trying to ‘explain’ it would only complicate matters.”

Today would be one of those mornings.

Let’s not discuss this verse, Beloved.

Let’s not analyze it.

Let’s just embrace it.

Jesus is inviting you to take the worry, the stress, the anxiety that plagues you today and lay it all at his feet.

He’s waiting…

I’ll meet you there, Beloved.

One-a-Day Monday 6/30/14

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Lately I’ve noticed a lot of anxiety in the hearts around me.  Therefore, this week’s One-a-Days have a theme: Rest in Him.

The Lord your God is with you; he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.  (Zephaniah 3:17).

There’s a whole lot of great theology packed into this verse.  Walk through it with me, would you?

The Lord your God is with you The God of the Universe, he who created everything—by which I mean everything—with his spoken word, is on your side.  He wants you to succeed; he wants you to prosper.

He is mighty to save  This one who is on your side is the Lord of the Universe.  He has the power to protect you, to care for you.  Look, I love you, my friend, but what can I do?  God, on the other hand—when he says he’ll protect you, you know you’re protected.

He will take great delight in you  This same Lord of the Universe we’re talking about?  He doesn’t just love you.  He likes you.  He delights in you.  You, Beloved.  You make his heart sing.

He will quiet you with his love  God’s love has the power to calm that stressed out heart of yours.  I remember when my kids were little. Sometimes they would be upset, and I could scoop them up into my arms, hold them close, and feel their anxiety melt away.  God wants to do that with you, Beloved.

He will rejoice over you with singing   You.  Your Father is filled with joy over you.

Notice, nothing is said about how much you deserve all this—or don’t—so get the self-incrimination out of the way.  Just read the words—two or three or ten times—and let them sink deep.  Let him quiet you with his love this morning.

Happy Monday, Beloved.

Treasure

I crashed a funeral the other day.treasure chest

I know—color me creepy.

Really, I didn’t mean to do it.  My kids were helping with a Vacation Bible School in a park about thirty minutes from our house.  Rather than drive all the way there, then home, then back to get the kids, then home again, I went looking for a shady place to park and relax for a couple of hours.  I found such a place at a cemetery a few blocks from the park.  Plenty of shade, and plenty of quiet.

Yes, I was parked outside the gates.  What do you think of me, anyway? Continue reading

One-a-Day Friday, 6/27/14

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But the day of the Lord will come like a thief… (2 Peter 3:10a).

My bride encountered a thief recently.  She was loading groceries into the car, and as she turned back to the shopping cart she saw that two pizzas were missing.

I should point out, to preserve my Cathy’s reputation, that she is an excellent, creative cook who seldom resorts to frozen pizza.  But it was $5 Friday, and how do you pass that up?

Anyway, Cathy looked up to see the pizza thief wandering through the parking lot carrying our dinner.  To my pride and horror, the delicate flower of my heart went after him.  She chased the large, menacing man down, confronted him, and retrieved the pizzas.

No blood was spilled; that was sauce on her hands.

My point?  You mean, besides that my wife is awesome?

Here it is.  She never saw this guy coming.  She was minding her own business, doing her stuff, when suddenly the thief was there.  He was quick, and quiet, and had it not been for Xena, my Warrior Princess, he would have absconded with our food.

Christ’s return will be like that.  It won’t be published in the newspaper a week out.  You won’t get a calendar invite or a Facebook message.  You will be doing your stuff, and you will look up, and there he will be, riding on the clouds.

It could be any minute.

Are you ready, Beloved?  Is your heart right before him?  Oh, of course you don’t have it all together—that comes after.  But have you repented; did you drink deeply of his forgiveness today?  If so, you can go about your business—his business—knowing that if it is today, your heart is right and ready.

Oh, Beloved…what if it is today?

Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.

One-a-Day Thursday, 6/26/14

number 1

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Continuing yesterday’s theme, have you ever wondered why God seems to take so much time to do stuff?

Of course you have.

Peter, talking about Christ’s return, says that God is waiting out of mercy.  He wants everyone who has it in their heart to come to him to do so before the door is closed.  He knows what he wants—he has a plan—and he will move when the time is right.

I wonder if that principle applies to other aspects of our lives.

I wonder if I’m not wealthy because, in my current spiritual state, I couldn’t handle it.

I wonder if those who are waiting for jobs, or love, or children, or health, or finances, are not being forced to wait because God is slow, but because he is patient.

I wonder if, with regard to your life and mine, God knows what he wants—he has a plan—and he will move when the time is right.

I wonder…

No, I don’t.

Neither do you.

Again with the trust?

Yes, Beloved, again with the trust.

One-a-Day Wednesday, 6/25/14

number 1But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day (2 Peter 3:8).

If I ever fall into a vat of radioactive goo and develop superhero powers, I hope my power is time control.  The possibilities are mind boggling.  At the very least, I could stop time whenever I wanted sleep, snooze to my heart’s delight, and then wake up with no time having passed.  Think of all the stuff I could get done.

I mean, I could save lives and fight evil and all that too, but let’s not dismiss the power of the unlimited nap.

God is, may I remind you, different from us.  He does not just control time (nor does he nap, I understand).  He is outside of time.  Time, literally, has no effect on him, any more than you might be compelled to follow the rules in a story you have written.

So…

We need to be careful when we start expecting God to work according to our time frame.  He’s too big for that.  He’s too much for that.  He’s too…God for that, and he will blow right out of any box you try to stuff him into.

But what about my plans?  Time may not affect God, but it sure is passing for me!

I know, Beloved.  And I understand that “Trust him” can sound cliché when the clock is ticking and you are not where, or who, you think you should be.

And yet, “Trust him” is all I have to offer you.

And it is enough.

Because you can.

One-a-Day Tuesday, 6/24/14

number 1

So, I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have (2 Peter 1:12).

“Did you put on sunscreen?”

“Don’t forget your water bottle.”

“Remember your jacket.”

“Did you bring something to eat?”

My bride is big into reminders.  She’s a mom, after all, and she takes her job very seriously.  It’s kind of funny to watch our kids bristle under her admonishments.  It’s absolutely hilarious when they ignore her reminders and end up sunburned or thirsty or cold or “starving to death.”  You see, I learned long ago that my Cathy is a “think it through” kind of woman, and her recommendations are well worth heeding.

We need to be reminded of the things that are important.  My kids know what they need to survive a day out in the world, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to take those things.  Why?  Because they’re fifteen years old, and they still live in the magical world of “Somehow it’ll all just work out.”

Sometimes I live in that same world when it comes to my spiritual life.  I would say that I am “Firmly established in the truth.”  That, however, is no guarantee that I’m going to do the things I know I need to do.  I need people to come alongside me with reminders to pray, and trust God, and love my annoying neighbor as my annoying self.  I people to point out that God is so very powerful, and I am so very not.  That is one very important role of the Body of Christ in our lives.

So, Beloved…

Have you prayed today?

Did you remember to repent and ask God’s forgiveness?

Did you pack your trust?

Don’t forget to love.

 

Happy Tuesday, Beloved.

One-a-Day Monday 6/23/14

number 1

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:8).

There are these two rose bushes in my front yard.  They are planted about fifteen feet apart, and they grow up and across this lattice to meet over my front door.  In theory, they produce beautiful white blossoms that grace the entrance to our home and delight the eye of all who visit.

In theory.

In actual practice, the plants have been sickly for years, producing anemic little brownish blobs that serve well to scare away salesmen, missionaries, and the “If you buy ten magazines, I can win a trip to Nebraska” crew.  I’ve watered, fed, sprayed, snipped, talked to and threatened these plants, but to no avail.  Soon, these plants are headed for the green waste bin, because they are wasting my time.

I hate wasting time.  You see, I’m inherently lazy, so if I’m going to get off my backside and do something, I want it to count.  That goes for my garden.

That goes for my spiritual life.

Serving God isn’t easy.  Prayer, study, service—they all take time and energy.  If I’m going to do this, I certainly don’t want to find that I have been “ineffective and unproductive.”  So I’m going to take Peter’s advice and continue to develop, as best as I can, the qualities we talked about last week—faith, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and the rest.  I want the spiritual fruit—or flowers, to keep the analogy straight—that I produce to draw people in, not scare them away.

Grab your shovel and gloves, friend—it’s time to get to work.

Peacemaker

I do this every year.Peace

Summer comes, and I have great masses of time.  I also have a goal—usually grand and life-changing—that I will accomplish with the aforementioned masses of time.  I make my list, get my priorities in order, and then proceed to fill my masses of time with items completely unrelated to my goal.  The end of summer approaches, and I find that I have done much, but accomplished little.  And my big goal?  Usually untouched.

And then I get stressed.

And then the people I love get stressed.

Not my favorite pattern, but at least it’s predictable. Continue reading

One-a-Day Friday, 6/20/14

number 1For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love (2 Peter 1:6-7).

There it is again.

Love.

You know, no matter what we start looking at in the Word, it seems we always end up back at love.

I’m not complaining…just sayin’.

I suppose it goes without saying that love is a pretty important topic to the Lord of the Universe.  It heads the list of spiritual fruits in Galatians, and gets its own chapter in 1 Corinthians.  And John doesn’t say that God so liked us or felt warmly toward us or needed us or respected us or pitied us or feared us…

He said

For God so loved the world…

And love is the culmination of this passage.  All that we become through faith and goodness and knowledge and self-control and perseverance and godliness and brotherly kindness expresses itself in love.

Love for God.

Love for each other.

Strangely, at this level, the two are hard to distinguish and impossible to separate.

God’s love is the root of it all.  Your love is the fruit of it all.

Walk in love today, Beloved.