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

Kirby’s Prayer

Nov
2018
26

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer.
 —Romans 12:12

In a recent sermon, my friend Allen Isbell told this chilling story about Kirby, who had been a law school classmate of his. Kirby and his adult son gave shelter to a homeless man, who killed the son, attempted to kill Kirby, and burned his house down.

On October 5, 2018, Kirby spoke at a criminal law seminar on what was helping him cope with his loss. His first point was Prayer. He said he prayed three times a day, and every prayer included three requests: 1) That God would keep him in his right mind; 2) That God would be with him through whatever he faced; 3) That God would let him sleep.

We underestimate—and therefore, underutilize—the power of prayer. Kirby’s story will tilt my prayers today toward thankfulness.

One of Satan’s most lethal weapons
is to get you to be too busy to pray.

Seasonal Thoughts

Nov
2018
23

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
                    —Psalm 107:1

Thanksgiving is a calendar-reminder of the blessings of God, the Great Giver. On the heels of Thanksgiving comes Christmas, when we are nudged to be givers. The season spurs us to be both grateful and generous.

Maybe we eat too much and spend too much. But I have a feeling that God enjoys the season. He isn’t a Sky Scrooge, bah-humbugging our thankful and generous impulses. I imagine he smiles as he receives our thanks and eavesdrops on the joy we receive from showing a little love to those who have shown us a lot of it.

May our feelings of thanks at Thanksgiving include gratitude for spiritual blessings, not just physical ones. And may our giving at Christmas include causes that make a difference.

Unexpressed gratitude is ingratitude.

Thanksgiving

Nov
2018
22

Let us come before him with thanksgiving.
                  —Psalm 95:2

On September 6, 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England, with 102 passengers. Sixty-six days later, it anchored at Cape Cod. “God sifted out a hundred and two seeds from the civilization of Europe to plant a new nation on these shores,” wrote Longfellow.

Forty-nine of those 102 Pilgrims died that first year—victims of malnutrition, disease, and brutal New England weather.

Even so, that autumn they celebrated their first harvest in the New World with a three-day festival of thanksgiving.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving, to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

We, the richly-blessed descendants of those immigrants, lift our voices in praise and our hearts in gratitude.

God bless America, Land that I love . . .
God bless America, My home sweet home.
—Irving Berlin

Today is a wonderful gift. Don’t take
the gift and leave out the gratitude.

Celebrating Harvest

Nov
2018
21

Celebrate the Feast of Harvest.
          —Exodus 23:16

Except for Noah’s family and his floating zoo, God wiped out the whole shebang. He said he would never do that again: “As long as the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night” (Gn 8:22).

In Moses’ day, God established three annual festivals the Israelites were to observe in his honor. Two of them were related to crops: the Festival of Harvest, when they were to bring him the first fruits of their harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the harvest season (Ex 23:16).

In the United State and Canada, we observe Thanksgiving. In Germany, it’s Erntedankfast. In Brazil, Dia de Ação de Graças.

Wherever and in whatever language, give thanks to God, for without his design and blessing there would be no harvest to celebrate.

You will have 86,400 seconds today.
Use one of them to say “Thank You, God.”

The joys to come will last forever.
—2 Corinthians 4:18

“Rejoice in the Lord always,” said Paul. And in case we were nodding off, he doubled down—“I will say it again: Rejoice” (Phil 4:4).

Now that we’re awake, he added, “Do not worry about anything” (Phil 4:6).

Unless you’re exceptionally good at multitasking, you can’t rejoice and worry at the same time.

In our fallen world, there are a lot of things that land on our worry list. But for God’s children, that list is stamped “Temporary.”

The rough patches and potholes are only annoying detours on the road to our final destination. “We don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever” (2 Cor 4:18).

At the end of the day
there will be no end of the day.

Give all your worries to him.
—1 Peter 5:7

Do you remember what you were worrying about twenty years ago?

How about ten years ago?

Those nail-biters that were keeping you awake back then are now past tense. Like a bad haircut, most of the pesky problems that plague us, given a little time, fix themselves.

But there’s always next season, where we let new worries fill the space that was occupied by the old ones. If the saying is true that we learn from our mistakes, it seems there would come a time when we put worry out to pasture.

Kenneth Taylor, in The Living Bible, paraphrased 1 Peter 5:7 this way: “Let [God] have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”

Fatigue is caused more by worry than by work.

Live a life worthy of the
calling you have received.
    —Ephesians 4:1

Micah chapter 6 opens with the prophet confronting Israel as the voice of God. I saved you from slavery and delivered you from danger. What have I ever done to cause you to turn from me? (vv. 3–5).

Convicted of their sin, they wanted to know what to do to make things right: “What can we bring to the Lord to make up for what we’ve done?” Will thousands of burnt offerings satisfy him? Or the sacrifice of our babies? (vv. 6–7).

No, none of that, said the prophet. What he wanted from them—and from us—is simply stated: he wants us “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with [our] God” (v. 8). Justice; Mercy; Humility.

God doesn’t want your goat.
He wants your heart.

I have loved you with an everlasting love.
                  —Jeremiah 31:3

God doesn’t always step in and stop suffering, but his love is assured in good times and bad. His love is unfailing and unshakable: “Though the mountains be shaken . . . yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken” (Is 54:10).

The apostle Paul declared that nothing—“neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future . . . nor anything else in all creation”—can separate us from God’s love (Rom 8:38–39).

You will never be where God’s love isn’t. You may not see it; you may not seek it; you may not believe it; you may not accept it. But you cannot escape it.

His is an everlasting love. It couldn’t be otherwise, for God is everlasting and “God is love” (1 Jn 4:16).

The measure of God’s love
is that he loves without measure.

Heavenly Shelter

Nov
2018
14

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
       —Psalm 46:1

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, leaving behind an estimated 2,975 dead.

Natural disasters are devastating.

So are personal disasters: a fatal accident, a harrowing health issue, a lonely crisis. Sooner or later, we’re all ambushed by adversity.

On the earthly calendar, it’s terrifying, but on the heavenly calendar, you are protected. Psalm 46 says, “we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” You are divinely protected, because “the city of God . . . where the Most High dwells . . . will not fall . . . The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Your safe shelter is eternal; impenetrable by earthly storms.

It’s only a step from
earthly chaos to heavenly calm.

A Trio of Promises

Nov
2018
13

Fear not, for I am with you. . . . I will strengthen you;
I will help you; I will uphold you.
      —Isaiah 41:10

Are you traveling into new territory? A new town? A new school? A new relationship? A new job? A new challenge?

Or tiptoeing through a painful passage in your life? A shattered romance? The death of a loved one? It hurts to be in the old familiar places without the old familiar faces.

Or maybe you’re adding a baby to the family, adjusting to life after divorce, migrating into retirement, or facing a demoralizing health issue.

Transitioning into unfamiliar territory can be terrifying and exhausting. But you’re not going there alone. God is going with you, with three fortifying promises: I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you.

Through life’s changes, hold tight
to your unchanging Father.