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

To Timothy, my dear son.
2 Timothy 1:2

Today my scheduled daily Bible reading put me in the pages of 2 Timothy. When I visit here, it’s always with a sense of sadness, because it was Paul’s last letter. His writings have been transformative in my life; so when he signs off and lays aside his pen, I have a lump in my throat.

When the Ephesian elders went to Miletus to meet with Paul, he told them this was “goodbye”—that they wouldn’t see him again. They prayed with him, embraced him, and wept. “What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again” (Acts 20:38). That’s the feeling I have when I read this, his last letter. I don’t want him to go.

His final words: “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you” (2 Tm 4:22).

When it’s your time to go, leave
something behind that’s unforgettable.

Knowing Your Bible


On his law he meditates day and night.
                          —Psalm 1:2

I got a belly laugh out of a publicist’s defense of a politician whose knowledge of Scripture was dubious. “He knows his Bible,” he said. “He’s read it all the way through. Twice.”

“The more you read the Bible,” said Spurgeon, “the more you will be astonished with it.”

You may occasionally encounter a professor or preacher who displays an all-knowing snobbishness. But most Bible scholars are of humble spirit, in awe of the opening of trails they’ve yet to travel; principles they’ve yet to perceive; concepts they’ve yet to comprehend; truths they’ve yet to tap; grace they’ve yet to grasp. They bow in respectful recognition of how much they have yet to learn.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! . . . To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Rom 11:33, 36).

It’s good to know a lot—and good
to know how little you know.

To Tell the Truth


Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.
                 —Leviticus 19:11

Ken Stegall, an admired preacher friend, wrote about a man who had a small grocery store in Sheridan, Arkansas in the 1940s.

A customer told him she needed a large chicken. He reached into the ice bin, pulled out a chicken and put it on the scale. The lady said she needed a bigger one; company was coming.

He returned it to the bin—and since it was the only chicken he had—pulled it back out, put it on the scale and added a few ounces by pressing his thumb on the back of the scale.

The lady said, “I’ll take them both.”

Stegall writes: “A lie takes control of your life. Deception requires constant cover-up. It destroys relationships. . . . Friendships and marriages are destroyed.”

He’s right, you know.

If you always tell the truth, you never
have to remember what you said.

The Wonders of God


In his hand is the life of every creature.
—Job 12:10

Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures. They weigh less than one ounce; consume one-half of their weight in sugar daily; have a heart rate of more than 1,200 beats per minute; take 250 breaths per minute. Then there’s this fact that I’m struggling to wrap my mind around: their wings beat from fifty to 200 flaps per second.

Don’t let this day pass without considering the wonders of creation.

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish of the sea speak to you. They all know that the Lord has done this. For the life of every living thing is in his hand” (Job 12:7-10).

There is no lack of wonders;
only a lack of wonder.

How Long, O Lord?


Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
                  —Proverbs 3:5

Habakkuk was frustrated. “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Hb 1:2).

The prophet gives voice to our disappointment with God’s silence. It’s hard to harmonize our heartache with our faith in a loving God who seems silent. How long, O Lord?

Habakkuk wisely decided, “I will wait to learn how God will answer [me]” (2:1).  God answered: “It may seem like a long time, but be patient and wait for it, because it will surely come” (2:3).

Praying and patiently waiting brought Habakkuk to the conclusion that whatever happens, “I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength” (3:18–19).

It will do the same for you: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Prv 3:5).

Take the leap: from fractured faith
to tenacious trust.

Great is his love toward us.
      —Psalm 117:2

Here’s a bit of trivia for you.

The shortest chapter in the Bible is separated by only one chapter from the longest.

The longest chapter is Psalm 119, which has 176 verses; 2,426 words. The shortest chapter is Psalm 117, which has only two verses; thirty-three words (King James Version).

Psalm 117 is not only the Bible’s shortest chapter; it’s also its middle chapter. It is a part of the Hallel, which consists of six psalms (113–118) that the Hebrews sang at Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. It bids all nations and all people to praise the Lord for his unfailing love and everlasting faithfulness.

Jesus and his disciples sang these words the night he was betrayed and arrested. Can you picture that without having goose bumps?

Praise the Lord.

Resist reliving the past, unless it’s to
praise God for what he has done.

Always be humble, gentle, and patient.
               —Ephesians 4:2

Do you remember the tale about the guy who came to work out of sorts? His secretary asked, “Did you wake up grouchy this morning?” He said, “No, I let her sleep.”

Consider these two lists:

Cranky                            Pleasant
Critical                            Gentle
Cruel                               Kind
Unpleasant                     Patient

Which list comes closest to matching your profile? If family members were to pick the one that best describes you, which would it be? Your co-workers? The people where you shop?

Paul counsels us to “clothe [ourselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col 3:12). We’ll either dress in those glad rags or slip into the grungy duds of the opposite: hostility rather than compassion, meanness rather than kindness, arrogance rather than humility, harshness rather than gentleness, agitation rather than patience.

 “Me first” eliminates all others . . . and God.

Let the little children come to me.
           —Mark 10:14

Vince Gerhardy tells about a Sunday school teacher who introduced her little ankle biters to Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. . . .” The following week she asked if anyone could quote Psalm 23. A four-and-a-half-year-old raised her hand. She faced the class, curtsied, and said, “The Lord is my shepherd, that’s all I want,” and returned to her seat.

Little Michelle’s favorite Sunday school song is, “Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so.” But she gives it a little spin—singing at the top of her voice: “Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells Michelle.”

Learn from these children. We miss the boat when we fail to apply the Bible personally.

We teach our children about life.
Our children teach us what life is about.

Comfort One Another


Comfort, comfort my people.
           —Isaiah 40:1

I received word recently that a Christian brother has stage four pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to his liver and stomach. I sent his grieving wife a note; then fired off another to a dear lady who had experienced a similar ordeal a few years ago, asking her to reach out to this suffering sister.

Those are best equipped to minister to others who have felt the sting of the same pain.

Paul wrote that “[God] gives us comfort in our trials so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in theirs” (2 Cor 1:4).

Every trial you experience helps equip you to comfort others who are suffering similar anguish.

Everything that happens to you today can be used
by God to prepare you to minister to someone tomorrow.

The Main Story


I am making everything new.
     —Revelation 21:5

Non-fiction books often begin with a prologue and end with an epilogue.

A prologue is an opening section that introduces the main story, usually giving backstory information about the primary characters that connects them to the main story.

You’re living a non-fiction life, with its ups-and-downs, its pleasures and pains; living the prologue to the main story. As Paul Harvey was fond of saying, “We earn the sweet by-and-by, by how we deal with the messy here-and-now.”

The main story is an eternal happily-ever-after: “No more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rv 21:4).

An epilogue is a final segment where the author wraps up the loose ends of the main story.

There is no epilogue to our main story, for it’s a story—a life—that never ends.

Life is prologue. The main event comes next.