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

Come to me, all of you who
are weary and overburdened.
    —Matthew 11:28

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, he went straight to the temple and created chaos: overturned tables and benches, ousted commercial culprits and laid into them for making the house of prayer a den of robbers (Mt 21:12–13).

The next sentence says, “The blind and the lame came to him at the temple . . .” (Mt 21:14).

“Don’t bother me!” he said. “I’m mad as a hornet and in no mood to heal.”

No. His eyes, which a minute ago were flashing with indignation, are now filled with tenderness. Standing in the litter of toppled tables, smashed benches, and scattered coins, he sympathizes with the suffering, “and he healed them.”

He may be steamed about what’s going on in our world, but when you turn to him to heal your hurting heart, you have his attention.

The compassion of Jesus is astounding,
but it’s not too good to be true.

Like the clay in the potter’s hand,
so are you in my hand.
  —Jeremiah 18:6

Carpenters do two things: they make things and fix things.

Jesus was a carpenter.

He made us: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (Jn 1:3).

But we stumble, fall, get broken. We need to be fixed.

Jesus can fix us but waits for our permission before opening his toolbox. As a line from a Leroy Blankenship song has it: “He waits for us to bring him broken things to mend.”

When you bring him your broken heart, your shattered dream, your fractured spirit, he’s ready to go to work.

You enter the Carpenter’s shop broken and leave fixed.

The sign on the Carpenter’s door
says “Open 24/7/365”

What do you have that God hasn’t given you?
                          —1 Corinthians 4:7

“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Cor 4:7). Augustine said the entire doctrine of grace was in this single verse; that absolutely everything we have is a gift of grace.

Our existence is a gift of grace: “In him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28).

Our uniqueness is a gift of grace: “God’s grace has made me what I am” (1 Cor 15:10).

Our talents are a gift of grace: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Rom 12:6).

Our salvation is a gift of grace: “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith . . . it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).

When earth is done and heaven begun,
we will praise God for the grace given us.

Teach us how short our lives really
are so that we may be wise.
      —Psalm 90:12

A couple of hundred years from now historians will look back at this year with as much fascination as we look back on the world of George Washington or Bonnie and Clyde.

They’ll try to picture the world as it was to those of us who witnessed the assassination of John F. Kennedy, heard Elvis Presley sing, and saw Jackie Robinson play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

They’ll wonder what it was like to ride in a car that required a human driver, and what life was like before outer space was colonized.

Narrow the time-frame: if you’re still around ten years from now, what will seem antiquated about this year? How will you have changed? Will you have grown spiritually?

It’s a brand new year.

But it won’t be new very long.

It’s too late to change the past,
but it’s not too late to change the future.

Powerful is your arm!
Strong is your hand!
  —Psalm 89:13

On Christmas Eve 1939, four months into the havoc of World War II, King George VI reached out to the ears of British citizens in a BBC radio broadcast. He closed his speech with the preamble to Minnie Louise Haskins’ The Gate of the Year:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

As the old year dies and a new one is born, put your hand into the hand of God: “That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

365 blank pages—each to be
scripted by you and God.

Be Ready

Dec
2018
28

Be ready! You don’t know
when the time will come.
    —Mark 13:33

Every generation has had a few noisy, self-declared prophets who have screeched that they have nailed down the exact date of the world’s end.

They’ve all been wrong.

No surprise there, for Jesus said: “No one knows the day or the time. The angels in heaven don’t know, and the Son himself doesn’t know. Only the Father knows” (Mk 13:32).

But he did give fair warning that when that day dawns, it will be a day of business-as-usual: people will be eating, drinking, marrying, working. “So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Mt 24:44).

It could be a million years from now.

Or today.

Don’t get so busy you fail to get ready.

Hold on to Hope

Dec
2018
27

Put your hope in God.
     —Psalm 42:5

Simeon, a devout old man, had seen his world descend into depressing disaster: his homeland had fallen to foreign rule; political corruption, immorality, and religious decay had decimated decency.

But he held on to hope. “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” When Mary came into the temple with a baby on her hip, Simeon knew who the child was. He took baby Jesus in his arms, saying, “Now my eyes have seen your salvation.” Messiah was here; the future secure.

However hopeless your world seems, it’s not. God will have the last word. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God” (Ps 42:5).

When discouragement says, “Give up,”
hope says, “Never!”

Peace on Earth

Dec
2018
26

On earth peace, goodwill toward men.
                      —Luke 2:14

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s wife had recently died; his soldier son had been severely wounded; and he was grieving over Civil War deaths.

On December 25, 1804, seeking to distance himself from depression, he wrote the words to I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said.
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.

Inner peace comes from commitment
to the Prince of Peace.

 

Today . . . a Savior has been
born . . . he is Christ the Lord.
               —Luke 2:11

Angel Gabriel showed up at Mary’s door: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! . . . You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus” (Lk 1:28, 31).

In a song of praise, Mary chanted: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . . the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name” (Lk 1:46–49).

Nine months later, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. An angel said to wide-eyed shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy . . . Today in the town of David a Savior has been born . . . he is Christ the Lord (Lk 2:10–11).

The Mighty One has done great things for us all—holy is his name.

Things would be dreadfully different
for us if Bethlehem hadn’t happened.

Joy to the World

Dec
2018
24

When the right time came,
God sent his Son.
 —Galatians 4:4

When the Old Testament ended, God turned off the lights, closed and locked the door and walked away. Or so it seemed.

For the next 400 years, God was silent, while the Jewish world waited and wondered about the promise of a Messiah.

Then something big happened: a baby was born to a virgin in Bethlehem.

The 400-year silence ended. God unlocked and opened the door and turned on the Light. The Messiah was here.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,
And heav’n and nature sing.
—Isaac Watts

The Son of God became human
so humans could become children of God.