Archive for the ‘Today’s Walk in the Word’ Category

Disappointment

Jan
2019
22

I have been with you
wherever you have gone.
   —1 Chronicles 17:8

What has been your greatest disappointment?

A business that didn’t gel?
A job that you didn’t get?
A promotion that didn’t come?
A marriage that didn’t work.
Something else?

King David resolved to build a temple for the Lord. God nixed the plan because David had been a man of war (1 Chr 22:8). He wanted the temple to be built by a man of peace in a time of peace—a suit that fit David’s son Solomon.

David didn’t sulk. He said: “I am not worthy of what you have already done for me, Lord God . . . there is none like you . . . you alone are God” (1 Chr 17:16, 20).

Temporal wins sometimes dead-end in spiritual loss. The setback that you’ve suffered may result in a better ending to your story.

Learning to trust God is better
than trying to be God.

Avoid and Evacuate

Jan
2019
21

Do what is good and run from evil.
              —Amos 5:14

When Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on August 26, 2017, officials ordered mandatory evacuation. Residents who refused to leave were asked by the mayor to write their name and Social Security number on their arm with a Sharpie, so first-responders could identify those who didn’t survive.

Meteorologists and government brass keep a sharp eye on the weather. When it turns treacherous, they issue warnings: advising to shelter in place or evacuate.

God warns us to avoid spiritual storms and to evacuate when we see one coming. “Don’t do as the wicked do. Avoid their haunts—turn away, go somewhere else” (Prv. 4:14–15). “Abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul” (1 Pt 2:11). “Run from evil” (Amos 5:14).

Don’t try to ride out a storm. Get as far away from it as possible as quickly as possible.

If you negotiate with sin, sin wins.

Look around me and see.
No one cares about me.
   —Psalm 142:4

The Sunday following Sarah’s funeral—acute myeloid leukemia—Jim, her young husband, perched on their usual pew. Miss Melissa, a grandmotherly saint, made her way down the aisle and sat next to him. She never said a word but held his hand for the next hour.

Same church. Alex’s son was off the rails. “I pray for you every day,” a church brother told him. “I’ve never had to deal with a prodigal child. My kids pretty much played by the rules, but it wasn’t because of anything I did. Kids make their own choices.” “His compassion,” said Alex, “was a gift from God.”

Look around this Sunday. Real people with real problems: cancer; wayward children; financial nightmares. Some you know about, some you don’t. Pray for both. If appropriate, do something or say something.

Knowing someone notices and cares
makes the burden lighter and the day brighter.

I have spoken to you again and again,
but you have not listened.
   —Jeremiah 25:3

This morning I wrote down the names of five ministers who have been with one church for fifty years or more. Each has experienced times of discouragement, considered moving, or resigning ministry altogether.

God said of Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jer 1:5).

Jeremiah, dubbed “the weeping prophet,” must have questioned that prenatal calling at times. He once said to his church: “For twenty-three years . . . I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened” (Jer 25:3).

His ministry spanned forty years, overlapping the reigns of five kings of Judah and the nation’s fall to Babylonian captivity. Despite a lifetime of discouragement and rejection, he refused to quit.

Whatever your calling as a Christian, don’t quit.

God doesn’t call you to success;
only to faithfulness.

Come to the Cross

Jan
2019
16

We have seen his glory, the glory
of the only Son of the Father.
       —John 1:14

The scenes on the mountain of transfiguration and at the hill of crucifixion are in stark contrast.

On the mountain, Jesus was revealed in glory; on the hill of crucifixion, he was held in contempt and killed.

On the mountain, his face shined like the sun; on the hill, his face was bruised and bloody.

On the mountain, he was flanked by Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest; on the hill, he was flanked by bandits, two of the worst.

On the mountain, a bright cloud enveloped them; on the hill, they were plunged into three hours of total darkness.

On the mountain, God’s voice declared his love for his Son; on the hill, God was silent.

We, too, will see his glory (Jn 17:24). But before we come to the glory, we must come to the Cross.

Jesus experienced the gore of the Cross
so we could experience the glory of heaven.

Turn away from these worthless things
and turn to the living God.
          —Acts 14:15

Paul urged his Lystra listeners to turn from idolatrous worship and turn to the living God, who “made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them” (Acts 14:15).

Here is the psalmist’s description of lifeless idols: “They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk” (Ps 115:3–7).

Isaiah poked a stick in the spokes of those who set their human-made god on a pedestal: “And there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Though one cries out to it, it does not answer” (Is 46:3–7).

Your life is committed to the living God or consumed by a lifeless god. Does it speak? Does it see? Does it hear? Does it answer?

The living God and lifeless gods campaign for
your commitment. You have the only vote.

The Time Will Come

Jan
2019
14

Every eye will see him.
   —Revelation 1:7

British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, an avowed atheist, said in an El Mundo interview in 2014: “Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation. [When I said] ‘we would know the mind of God,’ what I meant is we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t.”

I cite Hawking, not censoriously, but sadly.

Jesus lamented Jewish rejection. He wanted to save them, “but [they] were not willing” (Mt 23:37).

The Bible declares that the time will come when “every knee will bow . . . and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2: 10, 11).

When that time comes, all will acknowledge God—some willingly and happily; some unwillingly and sadly.

Don’t make an irreversible
mistake about God.

He brought him to Jesus.
        —John 1:42

The apostle Andrew is best-known for introducing his brother to Jesus: “The first thing Andrew did [after meeting Jesus] was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ . . . And he brought him to Jesus” (Jn 1:41–42).

“My old man was nothing but a barber,” he told me, “and here I am, president of this bank.” The remark infuriated me. I was tempted to ask who had housed him, clothed him, fed him, and paid for his education.

Abraham Lincoln had a more enlightened view: “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

I bet Simon Peter never forgot what his brother had done for him. I hope we have a grateful memory, for we all have an unpayable debt to someone.

Some of the most successful people are
unknowns who inspired others to achieve.

Thought Control

Jan
2019
10

Above all, be careful what you think.
              —Proverbs 4:23

Jesus rattled the Jewish dietary cage when he said their “kosher” regulations had things backward: it’s not what goes into your stomach that corrupts but what goes into your mind.

It is the thought-life that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within (Mk 7:20–23).

Spiritual contamination has nothing to do with what you spoon into your mouth, and everything to do with what you shovel into your mind.

“Above all,” wrote Solomon, “be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life” (Prv 4:23).

Today’s thoughts become tomorrow’s doings.

Told You So

Jan
2019
09

I am telling you now before it happens.
                     —John 13:19

Several times Jesus gave his disciples advance warning, then added, “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe” (Jn 13:19; 14:29; 16:4).

Is trouble invading your space? I can almost hear Jesus say, “Told you so.” He said, “In this world you will have trouble” (Jn 16:33). Not “In this world you may have trouble,” but “In this world you will have trouble.”

But he also promised that when trouble comes calling, you won’t be alone: “I am with you always.” Medical missionary David Livingstone called that promise “the word of a gentleman of the most strict and sacred honor.”

Hang tight to your faith that God is working behind the scenes in ways beyond your understanding.

Sometimes you feel alone.

You’re not.

The one thing more certain than the presence
of problems is the promise of his presence.