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

Be still, and know that I am God.
               —Psalm 46:10

On June 19, 1865—nearly two and a half years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation—General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the slaves were free.

Today you can watch—in real time—the signing of an Executive Order in the Oval Office, a firefight in Syria, and a missile launch in North Korea.

This environment of media bombardment intensifies the need for times of quietness devoted to thinking and praying.

Psalm 46 reminds us that God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (v. 1); that we need not fear (v. 2); and that the Lord is with us (v. 7). Don’t let the blaring noise of instant news drown out the soft music of those reassuring truths.

“Be still and know that I am God” (v. 10).

Before you confront your day,
consult your Father.

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
               —Proverbs 17:1

Murder is a major offense. Moodiness, by comparison, is no offense at all. Murder can put the murderer away for life. Moodiness can be an everyday flurry with no reprisal.

Murder is mentioned only once in Proverbs (28:17). Moodiness, on the other hand, appears often.

“Better to live on the roof than share the house with a nagging wife” (21:9). Or if you don’t cotton to perching on the roof, there’s an alternate option: “Better to live alone in the desert than with a crabby, complaining wife” (21:19). “Restraining [a quarreling woman] is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand” (27:15–16).

“A quarrelsome man starts fights as easily as a match sets fire to paper” (26:21). “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins” (29:22).

Your mood is your master.

Boredom

Sep
2018
13

How long will you sleep?
When will you wake up?
   —Proverbs 6:9

You can be bored just about anywhere, by just about anything: a sunset, a spouse, a sermon.

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address lasted just over two minutes, but I bet that was long enough for a few to nod off. There were probably some who went glassy-eyed during Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

Sloth is in the list of the Seven Deadly Sins. The word sloth is a translation of the Latin term acedia, which means “without care.” It originally referred to monks who became bored with their religious routines.

If you’re bored, you can count on this: you’re boring.

If you can’t find something to get excited about, “Bored to tears,” is off the mark; requires too much energy. But “Bored to death” is spot on.

Boredom is a self-condemning admission that you
don’t have what it takes to make life interesting.

IF

Sep
2018
12

If you love me, you will obey my commands.
                                —John 14:15

“IF I had taken her to the doctor sooner . . .”
“IF I had been a better parent . . .”
“IF I had controlled my temper and tongue . . .”

There’s an IF in your résumé isn’t there? Don’t let it become a permanent excuse for failure. That slipup is water under the bridge. You can’t undo it; don’t let it undo you.

Here’s the best use of IF—“IF by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:13). “IF we died with him, we will also live with him. IF we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Tm 2:12). “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed IF you do them (Jn 13:17).

Instead of saying, “IF only I hadn’t,”
say, “Next time I won’t.”

Father, I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am.
      —John 17:24

Adam Scott was a bright, dynamic, loveable young man who had just completed law school when a senseless gunshot ended his life, just days before his twenty-seventh birthday. His father, Dr. Jack Scott, said he would gladly have died in his place. I’m sure he would have.

The apostle Paul’s heart was overwhelmed with grief because of his Jewish family and friends rejection of Jesus. “I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them,” he said (Rom 9:3). Eugene Peterson has Paul adding, “I’d do it in a minute.” I’m sure he would have.

Dr. Scott couldn’t die in place of his son. Paul couldn’t die in place of his people.

Jesus could—and did—die in your place.

Jesus chose to die for you
rather than live without you.

Delightful People

Sep
2018
10

As for the holy people . . .
my delight is in them.
   —Psalm 16:3

Each year, the Glide Foundation auctions a lunch date with renowned investor Warren Buffett. The winning bid in 2016 was $3,456,789.

If lunch with Buffett is beyond your reach, you may want to talk to San Francisco entrepreneur Trevor Traina. He set up lunch meetings with Mike Tyson before his last fight at $50,000 a pop. He’ll get you a meeting with singer Shakira for $15,000 or a thirty-second personalized video message from football legend Joe Montana for just $1,450.

I recently presided at the funeral of a man who was never pestered by paparazzi, and whose memorial service drew no reporters. And I’d rather have known him than any celebrity on the planet.

“How excellent are the Lord’s faithful people! My greatest pleasure is to be with them” (Ps 16:3).

Things should be used, not loved.
People should be loved, not used.

Lift Me Up

Sep
2018
07

Do not let your hearts be troubled
and do not be afraid.
    —John 14:27

The Texas Star Flyer on the Pleasure Pier in Galveston, Texas, is a gigantic cylinder, to which swings are attached by cable. The cylinder rotates, ascends, and accelerates until strapped-in riders are spinning at hair-raising speed 230 feet in the air.

My son Doug and I watched this beast as it reached maximum speed and we heard a man howl, “Get me down! Get me down!” The Flyer decelerated and started its descent. Midway, it paused and started ascending again. “Noooooo!” shrieked the terrified man. “Get me down! Get me down!”

Sometimes life takes us on a nightmarish ride: marital mess, financial trouble, health scare . . . fill in the blank. We want off.

That’s when we may look in the wrong direction: down, rather than up. Instead of praying “Get me down!” try “Lift me up!”

Faced with crisis favor faith over fear.

Let This Define You

Sep
2018
06

He chose us before the world was made.
                     —Ephesians 1:4

Has someone written you off as a failure? Insignificant; irrelevant; useless; a lost cause? Don’t listen to them. They’re wrong.

How about you? How do you see yourself? Have you written yourself off as a failure? Insignificant; irrelevant; useless; a lost cause? Don’t listen to that accusing inner voice either. It’s wrong.

You were conceived by God before you were conceived by your mother. He chose you before he made the world. You were known in heaven before you were known on earth.

Jesus “gave up his place with God” (Phil 2:7) and came to earth because he thought you were worth dying for. Let that define how you see yourself. Since he thought that much of you, you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by others—and by yourself.

Don’t make light of your value.
Jesus thought you were worth dying for.

You Did It to Me

Sep
2018
05

When you did it to . . . my brothers
and sisters, you were doing it to me.
               —Matthew 25:40

Our service to Jesus is judged by how we treat his little brothers and sisters. When we see their need and fill it, he says, “You did it to me.” His ruling?—“Take your inheritance—the kingdom reserved for you.”

When we ignore their need, he says, “You did not do it to me.” His ruling?—“Depart from me.” These were not condemned for doing something bad, but for failing to do something good. It wasn’t what they did but what they didn’t do that doomed them.

We won’t be judged by the knowledge we have acquired, the fame we have achieved, or the fortune we have amassed, but by the help we have given.

The greatest is not the celebrity but the servant.

The Verdict

Sep
2018
04

After a long time the master . . .
returned and settled accounts.
      —Matthew 25:19

In Jesus’ parable of the talents (Mt 25:14–30), he said gifts are given to “each according to their ability.”

The two-talent servant was not required to produce at the level of the five-talent servant—but he was expected to produce, and he did. The one-talent servant was not required to produce at the level of the two-talent servant—but he was expected to produce, and he didn’t. He had done no harm; neither had he done any good.

The master’s verdict for the five- and two-talent servants was, “good and faithful.” His verdict for the one-talent servant was, “wicked and lazy.”

The talent we’ve been given is a coin with two sides: on one side is written “endowment;” on the other side “responsibility.”

We are not equal in talent
but we should be equal in effort.