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

Wasting Time

Mar
2019
22

Make the best use of your time.
        —Ephesians 5:16

I was young, undisciplined, and disorganized. Rick was young, disciplined and organized. He had a shelf of self-help and time-management books and a big day-planner that mapped his days to the minute—the epitome of productivity.

I confess to having morphed into a fanatic about time-management. We have a limited amount of time; wasting it is unconscionable.

Let me throw out two no-brainer time savers:

First, stop worrying. Your worries are attacking brick walls with feathers—devouring time you’ll never get back.

Second, stop comparing yourself with others. Such measuring sends you pinballing between arrogance and insignificance, keeps you from knowing who you are, and prevents you from using your time doing what you do best.

You’re going to use your time doing something.
You decide what that “something” is.

You received the Spirit of adoption.
               —Romans 8:15

Rummaging through records in the college Bursar’s office, Phil stumbled on to something he’d never known—he was adopted. He hopped in his car for the two-and-a-half hour drive to the house where he grew up.

Charging through the front door, he confronted his parents. “You adopted me!” he said accusingly—then, big smile and a bear hug. “Because of you,” he said, “I’ve had a wonderful life. I got here as soon as I could, to thank you and to tell you how much I love you.”

“What were you thinking on that drive home?” I asked.

“That I was wanted! They chose me, wanted me, and adopted me.”

Do you know the feeling? God chose you, wanted you, and adopted you. You are family, with full rights: a child of God; a joint heir with Christ (Rom 8:17).

God chose you, wanted you, adopted you
and promised you a forever home.

Heaven Torn Open

Mar
2019
20

If only you would tear open
the heavens and come down.
      —Isaiah 64:1

You’ve heard the question—maybe asked it yourself: “If God is all-powerful and all-loving, why does he sit on his hands when bad things happen?”

It’s an old question. The grumbling Israelites asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Ex 17:7).

When Babylon crushed Israel and torched Jerusalem, Isaiah prayed, “If only you would tear open the heavens and come down!” (Is 64:1).

Then one day God did just that—tore open heaven and came down to a cradle in a stable.

Deep down, Isaiah knew how things would play out: “[God] acts on behalf of those who wait for him,” he said (Is 64:4).

So we wait. And one of these days he will again tear open the heavens and come down: “I will come again and take you to be with me” (Jn 14:3).

The trip has some rough roads
but the destination is paradise.

He was lost and is found.
      —Luke 15:32

Morgan Nick, Colleen Nick’s six-year-old daughter, disappeared from an Arkansas ballpark on June 9, 1995. As I write these words—twenty-three years, nine months and ten days after her disappearance—Morgan is still missing.

Colleen has never given up and vows she never will. “I would never want to look her in the eye and tell her I didn’t believe enough,” she says. She keeps the porch light on every night as a beacon for Morgan. She still believes she will be found alive and will come home.

God will never look you in the eye and tell you he gave up on you. He will keep the porch light on until you’re safely home.

He won’t give up on you.
Don’t you give up on you.

On the Road

Mar
2019
18

He sees every step I take.
       —Job 31:4

When you came into the world, and for quite a few years after, you didn’t have a clue where life was taking you. You were on a journey with an unknown destination.

As you moved through adolescence into adulthood, you began to target a destination and started mapping your strategy to get there. You were on the road—but the journey was far from predictable: mountains and valleys; jammed freeways and lonely lanes; highs and lows; wins and losses; joys and sorrows. And lots of detours.

But while you may have endured some dark patches along the way, your God is all light, no darkness (Ps 139:12). You’re in safe hands: “God knows everything [you] do; he sees every step [you] take” (Jb 31:4).

God knows your journey’s end—
and will get you there safe and sound.

You Answer Me

Mar
2019
15

I call upon you, for you answer me.
                   —Psalm 86:7

In 2015, twelve-year-old Cade Pope was trying to decide which NFL team deserved his loyalty. He mailed handwritten letters to each of the thirty-two owners of National Football League teams, explaining that he wanted to pick a team he could support for a lifetime.

Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, responded with his own handwritten letter. “We would be honored to become your team,” he wrote. “We would make you proud.” It was the only response Cade received. No surprise that he is a loyal fan of the Carolina Panthers.

In Psalm 86, David wrote of his “undivided heart” (v. 11), and his pledge to “glorify [God’s] name forever” (v. 12). Why such loyalty? Simple: “In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me” (v. 7).

Keep going to the mailbox.
His answer will come.

A cheerful disposition
is good for your health.
  —Proverbs 17:22

I have no idea who Aunt Milda is, but someone forwarded me a copy of her blog where she said it takes twenty-six muscles to smile and sixty-two to frown. She also claimed researchers have proved that “when we smile it releases brain chemicals called endorphins which have an actual physiological relaxing effect.”

I’ll leave the accuracy of those claims to others. What you and I both know is that facial expressions transmit a packet of information that is received and read—and that recipients usually respond in kind. A smile needs no interpreter; it’s the same in every language and is viewed across cultural lines as a sign of friendliness.

“A cheerful disposition is good for your health,” and a sourpuss is a sorry ambassador for Christ. So turn that frown upside down.

You’re not well-dressed
until you put on a smile.

We will tell the next generation.
              —Psalm 78:4

Abilene Christian College’s track relay team—Bobby Morrow, Bill Woodhouse, James Segrest, and Waymond Griggs—set world records in 1957 and 1958. The moment the baton was passed from one runner to the next always had me on the edge of my seat—it only takes one botched pass to lose a race.

We are in a relay race of monumental importance: passing the baton of the faith from one generation to the next.

“Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Dt 4:9).

If our generation flubs the pass or if the next generation fumbles it . . .

Givers and receivers are equally responsible.

Unless you are born again, you can
never see the Kingdom of God.
                 —John 3:3

I presided at two funerals where several people smiled perceptively as they passed the caskets.

The first was for a man whose job had sent him flying the friendly skies most days of the week. Someone had placed an airline ticket folder in his hand.

The second was for a lady who had for years sneaked mints to her grandkids. One of them had slipped a roll of LifeSavers in her hand.

I can think of another item that would have been appropriate in their hands—a born-again birth certificate, for both celebrated salvation as their greatest gift.

Sir James Simpson became famous for his discovery of the anesthetic uses of chloroform. When asked, late in life, what he regarded as his greatest discovery, he answered, “That Jesus Christ is my Saviour.”

Frame it in your mind if not on your wall:
I’ve been born again. Hallelujah!

Timely and Timeless

Mar
2019
08

Whoever eats this bread will live forever.
                     —John 6:58

William Shakespeare, arguably the greatest English language playwright in history, has been dead over 400 years. One of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, Ben Jonson, wrote of him: “He was not of an age, but for all time.”

I frequently reach for Bible commentaries on my shelves whose authors have been dead for decades; elucidating texts likewise written long before their time.

When you read the words of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you are perusing truths imparted centuries before Shakespeare. The work and words of Jesus will endure for all time—and beyond time. He is “the bread of life,” and “whoever eats this bread will live forever,” for his are “the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:48, 58, 68).

Jesus’ words are timely and timeless.