Archive for the ‘Today’s Walk in the Word’ Category
Faith means being sure
of the things we hope for.
A line is drawn in the sand; it’s called “Faith.” You can’t straddle it; you have to plant your feet on one side or the other. Inflexible faith is not easily achieved; in life’s stormy seasons it’s challenged.
You’ve turned a crucial corner when you trust God so completely that you believe he is up to something good, even when everything looks bad.
Trouble comes . . . but you believe God’s promise, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9).
Guilt torments . . . but you believe God’s promise, “I will remember your sins no more” (Heb 10:17).
O for a faith that will not shrink,
Tho’ pressed by ev’ry foe,
That will not tremble on the brink
Of any earthly woe.
Feed your faith on his promises
and your doubts will starve.
Be strong and courageous.
When Joshua was named the successor to Moses as Israel’s leader, he received four words of advice from three sources. The four words were: “Be strong and courageous.” The three sources were: Moses (Dt 31:7); God (Josh. 1:6, 7, 9); the people he would be leading (Josh. 1:18).
You have good days and bad days; successes and failures; times when you feel good and times when you don’t. But you refuse to give up. You stumble; fall; get up; move on. You have courage.
Courage isn’t always dramatic. As best-selling author, Mary Anne Radmacher wrote, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
What sets you apart is that you have the courage to get up one more time than you fall down.
Everyone has talent. What’s rare is
the courage to make the most of it.
Be careful not to
forget the Lord your God.
We all know someone who has it. We’ve seen its devastation. It has us on edge: when we have a memory lapse, it triggers a haunting feeling that we may be heading into the twilight zone of the dreaded “A.”
Mindless forgetfulness is an entirely different animal. Mindless forgetfulness is a spiritual disease activated by ingratitude. Its primary symptom is whining about present problems while ignoring a favor-filled past.
Count your blessings,
name them one by one;
Count your blessings,
see what God hath done.
Alzheimer’s can be physically fatal. Mindless forgetfulness is spiritually fatal.
Don’t forget what you should remember
or remember what you should forget.
All things work together for the
good of those who love God.
Joseph got a bunch of bad breaks: sold into slavery by jealous brothers; sent to the slammer by the false accusation of a lying woman.
Years later, hindsight revealed that God had crafted rewarding results from excruciating experiences. When his brothers came to Egypt for food and found Joseph alive, and at the apex of power, they were terrified. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Gn 50: 19, 20).
What is seen as tragedy today may be seen as triumph when ripened by time. The bumps and bruises in this life may be reclassified as gifts of grace in the next one. With heavenly hindsight, you will see blessings in what you thought were catastrophes.
Give thanks for the sharp tools
God is using to shape you.
In God I trust;
I will not be afraid.
“The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield’” (Gn 15:1).
It’s a hostile world; fear is chronic. Not only to Abram, but also to Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, Mary, Paul, and John God said, “Don’t be afraid.” He knew their names and their fears.
He also knows your name and your fears.
Psalm 56 has twin back-to-back verses: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (v. 3); “In God I trust; I will not be afraid” (v. 4). But they aren’t identical twins—notice the difference: in verse 3, fear comes first, then trust; in verse 4, trust comes first, eliminating fear before it appears.
Fear ends where trust begins.
Forget not all his benefits.
Turn pouting into praise by focusing on what you have, instead of fixating on what you don’t have.
Psalm 103 hands you twenty-two verses of what’s already in your bucket. Verse two says, “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”—and proceeds to name some of those benefits:
He forgives all your sins (v. 3), redeems you and crowns you with love and compassion (v. 4), does not treat you as your sins deserve (v. 10), loves you as high as the heavens are above the earth (v. 11), has removed your transgressions from you as far as the east is from the west (v. 12).
Thumb over to Psalm 103 and read it for yourself. It will make your day.
“Praise the Lord, O my soul” (v. 22).
What you have far outweighs what you don’t have.
You should want praise from
God and not from humans.
Are you sensitive to what others think of you? Aren’t we all?
Dr. Raj Raghunathan, a professor at the University of Texas, teaches a course about happiness. At the beginning of the semester, he asks his students to tell him what they hope to get out of the class. Dr. Raghunathan says one answer—variously worded—consistently tops all others: “I would like to learn how to stop being bothered by what others are thinking of me.”
The apostle Paul was going against the grain of our sensitive psyche when he told the Corinthians, “I care very little if I am judged by you” (1 Cor 4:3).
Vox populi vox Dei—the voice of the people is the voice of God—is dead wrong. Hear and heed the voice of God.
Refuse to be imprisoned
by the judgment of critics.
Because you say so,
I will let down the nets.
Jesus, the carpenter, told Simon, the fisherman: “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (Lk 5:4).
There were two things off base with this charge: 1) Nighttime was the right time to fish; it was now noontime—the wrong time; 2) Jesus ordered Simon to go where the water was deep—the wrong place.
Simon had lots of reasons not to do what Jesus told him to do: experience said don’t do it; exhaustion said don’t do it; common sense said don’t do it.
But he did it anyway: “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything,” he said. “BUT BECAUSE YOU SAY SO, I will let down the nets.”
You only need one reason to do what the Lord tells you to do: “BECAUSE YOU SAY SO.”
If the Lord says do it, just do it.
Grace be with you.
—2 Timothy 4:22
I get misty-eyed reading 2 Timothy, Paul’s last letter.
He was terribly lonely. “Everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me,” he wrote (1:15). “At my first defense, no one stood with me . . . all forsook me” (4:16). “Only Luke is with me” (4:11).
He wanted to see Timothy: “I long to see you . . . Do your best to come to me soon . . . come before winter” (1:4; 4:9, 21).
This letter was written in a dungeon, where he was “chained like a criminal” (2:9). It was his last berth on earth. “The time has come for me to leave this life,” he wrote (4:6)—from this cell, he went to his execution.
Then he stepped up to receive his reward (4:8).
In his memory, reach out today to someone who is lonely.
Be someone to someone who needs someone.
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.