Monthly Archives: May 2016

May 31 – Seeking Wisdom

I Kings 3&4, 2 Chronicles 1, Psalm 72

Have you ever been duped? Someone shares a heart breaking story and you give generously to the cause only to find out later it was all a lie? Someone calls you claiming to be from Microsoft, and tells you they have detected an awful virus in your computer that needs to be addressed right this minute. So you give them your password. Then they put a virus into your computer and hold it captive until you pay the ransom.

If you are on Facebook you see causes and posts meant to get reactions, all the time. How do you know if it’s true before you jump on a bandwagon going nowhere?

Is wisdom something you are either born with or without? Or is it something you can acquire? I’m sure you’ve heard of the school of hard knocks. I’ve been a student there. God can be a pretty tough teacher.

Solomon prayed for wisdom – and God gave it to him in abundance.

Scripture tells us the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Sounds like wisdom is something we can get better at. As a woman who represents Jesus, I certainly don’t want to say and do foolish things. I want to demonstrate what being led by the Spirit looks like. And I don’t think jumping off a cliff because my neighbor did is an example of the Spirit’s leadership.

Solomon prayed for and received wisdom. That’s the example I want to follow.

Lord, make me wise. Give me the wisdom to recognize the lies, Satan’s attempts at twisting the Truth You have blessed us with in Your Word. Direct my path as I place my trust in You. May I be obedient, may I follow where You lead, may I learn from my mistakes, and may my life be an example of wisdom that comes from walking with the Savior.

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May 30 – The Testimony Of God’s Mouth

Psalm 119:1-88

Have you ever had an argument with someone over Scripture? Maybe with someone who doesn’t believe the Bible at all, or maybe someone with an opinion not consistent with God’s Word? Some people might enjoy debate. I don’t.

God tells us to be ready to give an answer for the hope we have in His Son. But I am thankful he doesn’t call us to engage in a war of words in order to win someone to the Lord. I have found that when I do, the other person isn’t as interested in what I say as to how I say it. It’s like they try to set a word trap for me to fall into so they can twist it to prove their point. I find myself wanting to shake the dust off my feet and keep moving.

The psalmist expresses how I feel about this. In verse 85 he says: The arrogant have dug pits for me, men who are not in accord with Your law.

He goes on to say it feels like persecution to the point of destruction. Then the psalmist says “Help me!”

What he says in the verses following is my prayer:

But as for me, I did not forsake your precepts. Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of YOUR mouth. (emphasis mine)

If you are one who came to know the Lord by losing a debate, I praise God with you. If you have led someone to the Lord by winning a debate, I thank God for you. You have a gift!

For the rest of us, let’s stand firm in the Word of God alone, and allow Him to speak through what He inspired men to write.

He can say it all so much better than I can, anyway.

May 29 – I Did It My Way

I Kings 1-2, Psalms 37, 71, 94

Several years ago I attended the funeral of a co-worker, a man who died of a heart attack two weeks before school started in August. He was only in his 40’s and left a wife, two daughters, and an entire school community devastated by his loss.

He and I had had a good working relationship, but I never really talked to him about where he stood with the Lord. As I sat at the funeral home before the service, my heart ached. I was struck by the choice of music playing in the background. He had been a country music fan, and all the songs were country. None of them had anything to do with God.

Then, when Frank Sinatra began singing “My Way” I could hardly hold back the tears. I am not judging this dear man on the basis of the songs played at his funeral. I don’t know what he said to God before he died. His heart’s condition is between him and the Lord. But I find it sad that, at the end of any life, the idea of living that life “my way” is even mentioned, much less sung about.

I read about Shimei this morning. He had taken sides against Solomon, and although Solomon spared his life, he put Shimei on house arrest for the rest of his life. Shimei agreed to the terms: stay within the walls of Jerusalem. Don’t leave for any reason. If you do, you will die.

Shimei was good with that, and obeyed the conditions of the agreement for three years. I don’t know, maybe he got too comfortable. But eventually Shimei took a quick trip to a neighboring town to retrieve some runaway slaves, most likely thinking his was a legitimate reason for breaking the agreement. And he was only gone for a short time. He went right back to Jerusalem with his slaves.

What’s the harm?

The harm was that he’d stepped outside the boundary. He did things his way, and it cost him his life. Solomon kept his end of the bargain.

God has given us boundaries, too. He has set out his demands, he even provided forgiveness for when we break the rules. But if we want that forgiveness, we must do it His way. We must repent, accept Jesus as our Savior, and allow Him to live in and through us. There is no other way, no other Name by which we must be saved. That’s not a popular concept for many. But God isn’t asking our approval of His plan.

We might pride ourselves on living this life our way, we might even fashion another way to the Father. But in the end, we will find that doing it our way leads to death. Solomon kept his end of the bargain.

So will God.

May 28 – I Love the Lord

Psalms 111-118

Sometimes I read a psalm and am surprised at how it reflects my own thoughts as though I had written it myself. These psalms I read today have me praising God.

Psalm 112 says we who fear the Lord are blessed. We who love to obey Him are blessed. To the world, that seems backwards. Fear God? What’s to fear in our heavenly Santa Claus who wags his tail like a puppy when we call him, and wants only to please us? Obey Him? Doesn’t God want me to be happy and strong and follow my heart? It’s my life. What’s right for me doesn’t have to be right for you. Right?

I am reminded that what the world has to offer in its definition of happiness is shallow and an imitation of that which God gives through His Son. This Holy God and Judge is to be feared. He demands perfect obedience.

Yet this Holy God wants to and will bless us with heavenly blessings when we obey Him, by accepting His Son as our Savior. It’s a blessing and joy the world can’t understand or manufacture.

I am blessed by God Himself. Let it be known that I love the Lord!

May 27 – Don’t Play In The Dirt

I Chronicles 26-29, Psalm 127

I went to my great-nephew Colton’s t-ball game last night. (can you say adorable?) I really like the coach. He’s patient as he teaches the fundamentals of the game. The five-year-olds wait eagerly for him to give them their positions. Then, once he tells them where to stand, they run to their place on the field. When he yells, “Baseball ready,” they bend their knees and put their gloves in front of them. Well, most of the time.

At one point Colton sat down and threw dirt on his white baseball pants. Another boy drew lines in the dirt with his foot. Several kids just liked to see the dust fly when they kicked the dirt.

Occasionally, a ball would roll right past an infielder who happened to be playing in the dirt at the time. But, when they are paying attention, every kid wants to be the one to get the ball and throw it to first. It’s not unusual to see five or six of them converge on the ball, grabbing and pushing to be the one to field it.

Coach is working on the concept of playing your position. “You’re on the same team,” he tells them. Then he says, “But good hustle.”

After the game Coach gathered the team together in a huddle. He patted a few heads, gave some high fives. “Good game,” he told them. “Good hitting. I like your hustle.” Then he told them he wanted to work on helping them to play their positions better.

“You’ve got to pay attention to the game,” he said. “Don’t play in the dirt.”

The last chapters of I Chronicles gives the names of people who had positions to fill. Each had an assignment for which they were responsible. And their jobs were integral in the smooth running of the temple’s services.

I thought about that today. Each of us have a position to fill in the smooth running of our churches. Sometimes we might want to step in front of someone who has a different position because we want to be the one to “field” that ball. Sometimes we might get distracted by something or someone and neglect that which we need to be doing.  That ball might just roll right past us.

May we all obey God’s calling and fill the positions He places on our hearts, and as we have opportunity to serve. May we pay attention to our responsibilities. And may we never get caught playing in the dirt when that opportunity to serve is hit our way.

May 26 – For Luke: Psalm 139

Psalms 131, 138-139, 143-145

The newest member of our family, baby Luke, is scheduled to make his appearance in August. Right now he is an adorable bulge in his mommy’s tummy. A sometimes wiggly bump that stretches and turns and kicks so that those of us outside his world can see and feel that precious life, growing and developing fearfully and wonderfully.

So it’s no surprise that I thought of Luke this morning as I read the 139th psalm. “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast the sum of them!” God is thinking about Luke right this minute.

Psalm 139 is so personal and it expresses how intimate a relationship with God can be. It’s how God wants our relationship with Him to be. I hope you take time to read this Scripture today and let it speak to your heart.

For Luke, I pray he will accept Jesus as his Savior as soon as he understands what sin is and what Jesus did for him. I pray he will enjoy a close relationship with God his whole life. I pray Luke will be confident in the fact that God has searched him and knows him, that God encloses him behind and before, that God’s presence is with him even in the darkest times.

I pray Luke will allow God to defeat Satan in his life, that he will hate evil as God hates it, that he will follow God’s lead each and every day.

God knows the number of Luke’s days on this earth. I pray they will be days of blessing, and days that God is pleased to use for His glory because Luke is faithful.

 

May 25 – Mow The Lawn

1 Chronicles 23-25

Everyone had a job to do. These chapters tell of the division of responsibilities for the Levites. Some were purifiers, some bakers, some were assigned to offer burnt sacrifices, and 288 of them were assigned to the praise team.

Often in Scripture we read about the division of labor: God’s people coming together to use their gifts and abilities in service to the Lord. I believe it’s a theme we in the 21st Century still need to apply to our church fellowships.

Has God laid on your heart to volunteer in the nursery? Do it. Maybe the person who is filling that position now is being called to teach a Sunday School class. Maybe in that Sunday School class there is a little girl who needs to hear the Gospel from this person.

Have you thought about mowing the church’s lawn on a regular basis? Maybe that’s God nudging you to serve in that way so the pastor can spend more time visiting people than sitting on the mower. Mowing the lawn is an important service. Should you be the one doing it?

There is something for you to do within your church fellowship. Being an elder, serving on the bereavement committee, updating the webpage, helping with VBS, putting flowers on the altar, pulling weeds, being a greeter, singing in the choir, washing dishes… In fact, your church will not be as effective without your obedience to God to use the gifts and abilities He blessed you with.

We need healthy churches. I pray your church is one because you are faithful.