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

Hooray for Abigail


May you be blessed for your good judgment.
                       —1 Samuel 25:33

Abigail was on a mission of damage control.

Nabal, her rich, surly husband had hurled insults at David. Justifiably furious, David and 400 of his soldiers strapped on their swords and stormed toward Carmel to kill the ungrateful lowlife and his bootlickers.

Abigail rushed to meet David. She begged him to abort his mission so he would “not have on his conscience the staggering burden of . . . having avenged himself” (1 Sm 25:31).

David said, “May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day” (1 Sm 25:33).

David’s anger was legitimate, but Abigail’s advice kept him from making a mistake he would have regretted.

You may have a legitimate beef—but listen to your internal Abigail: Don’t say or do anything you might later regret.

Damage done can’t be undone.

Give ear, O Lord, and hear.
       —2 Kings 19:16

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, was on a map-altering campaign, savagely conquering kingdoms. In an arrogant letter to Hezekiah, king of Judah, he demanded unconditional surrender.

Hezekiah counterattacked with an unusual move: “He went up to the temple of the Lord and spread [the letter] out before the Lord,” and prayed over it. And the Lord said, “I have heard your prayer” (2 Kgs 19:14, 20).

Several times recently, I have followed Hezekiah’s example: writing down what concerns me, laying it before the Lord and praying over it. I’ve found that it helps me leave it with God, trusting him to deal with it according to his wisdom, will, and timing.

You can do it mentally, but there’s something reinforcing about writing it down and leaving it with God. You may want to try it.

Give God time. Don’t put a period
before the end of the sentence.

In Time of Trouble


My times are in your hands.
        —Psalm 31:15

In 1895, missionary Andrew Murray (1828–1917), suffering severe pain, wrote:

“In time of trouble, say:

First, God brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.

Next, He will keep me in His love and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.

Then, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.

Last, In His good time He can bring me out again—how and when, He knows.

“I am here, 1) By God’s appointment. 2) In His keeping. 3) Under His training. 4) For His time.”

You don’t know how God will help you.
Just trust that he will.

Look for the Lovely


Look at the lilies . . . Solomon in all his glory
was not dressed as beautifully as they are.
                        —Luke 12:27

I was miffed; someone littered my landscape with a discarded garbage bag.

Actually, it polluted no more than one percent of the view framed by my window. The other ninety-nine percent was kaleidoscopic artistry: hundreds of flowers displaying a burst of multicolored beauty; trees, grass, and shrubs painting the scenery in several shades of green. And all I saw was a miniscule patch of eye-blight.

Everyone liked your sermon; except one chronic critic. Everyone complimented your dress; except one sartorially-challenged carper. We tend to remember and fret over the one.

Even with God, our minds often drift to the negative: the one problem he hasn’t resolved, rather than the many he has.

Today have eyes only for the beauty he has created in your world and have thoughts only for the good he has done in your life.

Nothing can control your attitude
without your permission.

Don’t Keep Score


[Love] keeps no record of wrongs.
       —1 Corinthians 13:5

At the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, the father of the groom gave advice that would have made Dear Abby proud.

He told about a football coach who kept the score on the lighted scoreboard all week when his team lost, to remind his players of their failure. “That may be good football strategy, but it’s terrible strategy in marriage,” he told the soon-to-be-married couple. “When your spouse says or does something that upsets you, don’t keep it alive; turn off the scoreboard,” he advised.

That dad was spot on. Scoreboarding fails the most elementary definition of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. . . . It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor 13:4, 5).

Build up, don’t beat up.

Jubilee in Seattle


Love your neighbor as yourself.
          —Mark 12:31

For renters, a notice from the landlord slipped under the door is unsettling. But for tenants of the Lunde Apartments in Seattle, it was an unexpected gift.

Owners Kory Slastthaug and his wife Mickey decided to give everyone in the eleven-unit building a month’s free rent. No catch. Just skip the rent in November.

They were motivated by the scripture about the year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25, which ordered that slaves be freed and debts canceled every fifty years. November 2018, marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Lunde Apartments.

Kory said he thought it would be “a good way to honor both my heavenly father and my earthly father,” who originally built the apartments.

Do something nice for someone today. C’mon, you can think of something.

People aren’t helped by what you think
about doing; only by what you actually do.

An Admired Legacy


[Jesus] did not come
to be served, but to serve.
—Mark 10:45

I recently presided at the funeral of one of the best men I’ve known—a quiet, humble man of servant spirit. Many of those who gathered for the service had a feeling of severe loss: he had touched their lives with warm friendship and unselfish service.

As I drove away from the cemetery, I thought about a man who was a total contrast to my departed friend. King Jehoram’s wretched eight-year reign, recorded in 2 Chronicles 21 ends with the appalling epitaph: “He passed away, to no one’s regret” (v. 20).

Jehoram probably thought his position and power would define his legacy. It did. He is remembered as a ruthless, immoral, self-serving, despicable despot.

King Jesus left a legacy of serving and saving—a king we gratefully glorify, honor, and worship.

Useful or Useless is an individual choice.

Your faith is growing more and more.
           —2 Thessalonians 1:3

Stephen Curry, arguably the best shooter in NBA history, entered the 2018 season with a 67.5 percent probability of sinking a basket every time the ball left his hands. Stephen isn’t satisfied with that. He spent the summer working on his shot three hours a day, six days a week. He believes he can get better.

On November 1, 2018, gymnast Simone Biles, with her win in Doha, Qatar, became the first female in history to claim four world championship titles. It was good enough for gold, but not good enough for Simone. She’s the best there is. She isn’t satisfied with that. She believes she can get better.

You’re one of the best. “But continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pt 3:18). Believe you can get better.

Get a little better each day
and before long you’ll be a lot better.

The Great Equalizer


Even rich people do not live forever.
              —Psalm 49:12

Tom Benson, Richard Devos, Bruce Halle, H. Wayne Huizenga, George Lindemann, Peter Peterson, Imogene Powers Johnson, Leandro Rizzuto, Clemmie Spangler, Joan Tisch.

Do these names ring a bell? They appeared in a sidebar in Forbes magazine’s 2018 issue of The Forbes 400 Ranking of the Wealthiest Americans, under the heading “In Memoriam.” Each had previously made the lofty list, but not this time, because their earthly life had ended in the last year. The richest checked out with a net worth of $5.4 billion, the poorest with $2 billion. Each left life with the same amount as the down-and-out gal living in a refrigerator box under the Buffalo Bayou Bridge.

Death is the great equalizer: it treats rich and poor the same.

Wealth, accepted as stewardship, is a blessing. But earthly and eternal wealth aren’t comparable.

Your worth isn’t measured by what
belongs to you, but to whom you belong.

Kirby’s Prayer


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.