Are you miserable?

Missed expectations bring disappointment. I bought a new computer and it was not as fast as I thought it should be, so I returned it to the manufacturer. A lady confided in me that “the man I loved with all my heart is incapable of reciprocating my love because he is so emotionally immature.” She was considering divorce. Another man pulled me aside recently and angrily asked me about his own disappointment, carried for years. “God is not Who I thought He was. How could he let my son die at just four years of age?”

There is one way to avoid being disappointed. Wrap yourself in a tight little bundle of Self. I do not recommend it. If you withdraw from life, refuse to get involved with others, and avoid risk as much as possible, you will not experience nearly as much disappointment, but is that how you want to live, safely insulated from both joy and sorrow, hiding from life? People who are fully alive, working to make a difference in the world, and loving others will get hurt.  

Several choices we make in those moments that will let us go on, growing in grace.
Primary among them is the critical decision to anchor our hope in the Lord! Isaiah watched his nation crumble around him, invaders come and destroy the city and the Temple, friends carried off to slavery. He might have slid into despair, but he went to the Lord and re-affirmed his trust. He inspires us to greater faith with a promise. “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)

People who fail need our forgiveness! And, we need to forgive. Forgiveness is a greater blessings to the forgiver than it is to the forgiven. Forgiveness, in one sense, is releasing others from our demand that they act in ways we approve or like. Forgiveness is a choice to submit to a higher purpose and to surrender our pain to God. We do so because we know that He will bring all things to justice in His time. When we release that person who has disappointed us to God’s court, we find freedom from the anger, hatred, and bitterness that can follow disappointment. Jesus taught that unless we forgive, we cannot find forgiveness! “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:12)

Sometimes we must choose to adjust our expectations. It is possible to spend a huge amount of energy fighting to make everything fit into what we hoped for in life. That is actually a form of self-centeredness and it will always lead to a life of misery, bitterness, and loneliness. I love the opening lines of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Here’s a word from the Word. It is both a preventative and a cure for disappointment. If you’re struggling to make sense of the will of God, of the actions of others, or even of the mysteries of your own heart, start here.     
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do,
everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.”  

(Proverbs 3:5-6, The Message)

Stand for Something or Fall for Anything

Yesterday, thousands of Christian students across America participated in “See You At The Pole,” an event where they gather at their school’s flagpole before the start of the school day to pray for the community. I admire those who are willing to publicly identify themselves with Christ in this way. They will be watched, and when they do not live up to the expectations of their peers, they will hear about it.

Are you willing to let your world that you belong to Christ? It demands much more of us than wearing a cross necklace or putting a fish symbol on our car bumper. If we are His, then it follows that we will be holy, loving, and godly people.  Jesus said, “Stand up for me among the people you meet and the Son of Man will stand up for you before all God’s angels. But if you pretend you don’t know me, do you think I’ll defend you before God’s angels? “If you bad-mouth the Son of Man out of misunderstanding or ignorance, that can be overlooked. But if you’re knowingly attacking God himself, taking aim at the Holy Spirit, that won’t be overlooked.” (Luke 12:8-10, The Message)
Standing for Christ is so much more than words! It’s a way of life. Nothing is so beautiful as a person who walks in the Spirit, who has given himself totally to the service of Christ Jesus. There is a quality of character, a spiritual depth that is irrefutable proof of the reality of the Gospel’s power to transform. That man will never be perfectly sinless. There will be lapses, moments that are regrettable, choices that are inconsistent with his professed faith; but if he really belongs to Jesus, even in his failures, he will humbly acknowledge his hypocrisy because he knows the grace by which he stands.
I want to encourage you to some reflection today. If your friends wrote up a description of you, would they be required to note your love of Christ Jesus? Is your faith so intrinsic to your life that what you do cannot be understood without reference to the Lord’s Presence?

Jesus told us that His wisdom is the foundation of every choice, the source of guidance to which we must turn. “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit-but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”
The Message (Mt 7:24-27)
Here’s a word from the Word. I hope that you can join the writer in making this offer to the people who are living life alongside of you. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV) What a wonderful life!
We’re pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road,
And those who’ve gone before us
Line the way.
Cheering on the faithful,
Encouraging the weary,
Their lives a stirring testament
To God’s sustaining grace.
Surrounded by so great
A cloud of witnesses,
Let us run the race
Not only for the prize,
But as those who’ve gone before us.
Let us leave to those behind us,
The heritage of faithfulness
Passed on thru godly lives.
O may all who come behind us
Find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion
Light their way.
May the footprints that we leave,
Lead them to believe,
And the lives we live
Inspire them to obey.
O may all who come behind us
Find us faithful.
Find Us Faithful
Mohr, Jon
EMI Christian Music Publishing
© 1987 Jonathan Mark Music ARR UBP of Gaither Copyright Management / Birdwing Music (a div. of EMI Christian Music Publishing)
CCLI License No. 810055

Clouded Vision

When I was a little kid, I remember visiting a fair where there was a house of mirrors. Each one was made to distort the reflection. One made me look short and wide, turning a skinny kid into a fat one! Another made me very tall and thin, a scarecrow. One made my head look twice its normal size. It was fascinating and disorienting.  What did I really look like?  Growing older, I learned that I needed to correct another image of myself, created from the feedback I absorbed from people around me. Navigating the teen years was tough because, just as in the house of distorted mirrors, I was picking up distorted reflections about my identity. Who was I really? Good, bad, smart, stupid, attractive, ugly? It was hard to figure out!
Who am I?
The question begs an answer if we hope to live as a holy and whole follower of Christ. The answer is often clouded by false guilt or bad teaching. Our own emotional state distorts self-image, too. When I am exhausted I don’t see myself clearly. Fear, anger, and sorrow can mess with my mind, too. That is why there is only one place to go for the Truth, where we learn the answers about ourselves that we can trust.
The first assessment is that, apart from God, I am a sinner! “There is no one righteous, not even one; … All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”(Romans 3:10-12)  I want to protest, to justify myself, to excuse or ignore my flaws and failures. That mirror’s reflection is one I would prefer to ignore, but I must not if I hope to come to the Truth.
The next fact is that I am loved! “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NIV) There is hope!
Then, comes this declaration. I am a unique child of God!But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)”(Ephesians 2:4-5, NLT)  “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”(Ephesians 2:8, NLT) “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT) I am a person of incredible worth to my Creator!
A person cannot function well in the world with a broken identity. Those who see themselves through deceptive or lying mirrors will respond to the image they see and their choices will be all wrong. Those who understand what is true, who are honest and authentic about themselves as God sees them, are on the way to wholeness and joy.
Here’s a word from the Word. May you read it and see with clear vision just who you are in Christ Jesus.
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:21-25, NIV)

Misplaced Trust?

Misplaced Trust?
Bev and I have an ongoing difference about the importance of securing our home. She is careful to lock doors. It makes her feel secure.  The reality is that our home, like most, could easily be entered in spite of the locked doors. But, setting those locks make her feel safe, so we do it. I find security in planning, anticipating what is on the calendar and making preparations for the upcoming day’s events. Nothing kicks up anxiety in me more than feeling ‘out of control.’  Yet, rationally I know that I cannot secure myself with planning anymore than Bev can secure our house with locks. I have only to look back over the last three years in my own experience to realize how quickly plans are obliterated by unforeseen developments. Even more than door locks and planning, we all tend to trust our money. Ask almost any American what they think would make them feel better about the future and the subject of money will be top of the list!
Under the inspiration of the Spirit, Paul wrote to young Timothy: “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17, NLT) Think about that directive. Have you a misplaced trust? Learning to use money and love the Lord brings great freedom. The Word goes on to instruct: “Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” (1 Timothy 6:18-19, NLT)
Disciple, prayerfully think about where you seek security.
Is your trust misplaced?
Do roller-coaster values of Wall Street keep you from rest?
Are you trusting in things which can never provide lasting security? 

Here’s a word from the Word. It is a comfort and a challenge at the same time. “You say, “We’ve taken out good life insurance. We’ve hedged all our bets, covered all our bases. No disaster can touch us. We’ve thought of everything. We’re advised by the experts. We’re set.” But the Master, God, has something to say to this: “Watch closely. I’m laying a foundation in Zion, a solid granite foundation, squared and true. And this is the meaning of the stone: a trusting life won’t topple.” (Isaiah 28:15-16, The Message) Jesus is that foundation! “Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:20-21, NIV)

My hope is built on
Nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood
And righteousness.
I dare not trust
The sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on
Jesus’ Name.
On Christ, the Solid Rock,
I stand,
All other ground is
Sinking sand!

Wannabe

Do you know what a ‘wannabe’ is? No, it’s not an exotic animal. It’s a common human form, a person who desperately ‘wants to be’ somebody, who desires attention. Years ago, I read a book, The Great Imposter, that told the story of Ferdinand Waldo DeMara, a man of great intelligence who passed himself off at various times as a surgeon on a Canadian Naval Ship, a a Trappist monk, and a teacher at a New England Prep school. For a while, he was so good at his game that he was indistinguishable from the authentic, even winning accolades for his work! But, eventually his lack of credentials and qualifications would become obvious and he would run, only to take on yet another identity. Demara could not stand just being himself and would not put in the work to gain the real skills that would have given him a role in the world that he craved. So, he was a wannabe.

Being a wannabe is self-destructive because it requires a person to live a lie. It poisons everything; relationships, accomplishments, and even the sense of self-worth the imposter is pursuing! The wannabe life produces yet another tragic result often unknown to the one living as a pretender: he never finds out who he really is or what God wants from his life. By focusing on trying to be somebody else, he misses the joy of being who he was made to be, joyfully filling the place in this world his gifts, experiences, and opportunities create for him.

Some disciples adopt a wannbe discipleship. Instead of ‘working out their salvation’ by digging into the Scripture, dealing with the real issues of their lives, and letting the character of Christ Jesus be uniquely created in them, they choose to become a copy of a preacher they know, or a celebrity Christian, or someone in their church that they admire. They start to dress like, talk like, and mimic the mannerisms of their model. And, they never discover who God wants them to be. The Bible says that in Christ, we are “God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

Here’s the direct question – are you letting God lead you through life, creating a masterpiece, or are you settling for a ‘wannabe’ life? Have you submitted your life to Christ in full surrender, allowing for a complete transformation of heart and mind OR are you just trying to imitate the lifestyle of a disciple you admire? The Bible says – “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:2-3, NLT)

God loves YOU, friend. Yes, it is absolutely true. He won’t love you more if you learn to imitate Joyce Meyers, Mother Theresa, or Franklin Graham. If you take that route, you will offend Him! He wants you to be you, a unique person with unique preparations to fill a unique place in this world.

Self-acceptance can be difficult. Looking in the mirror- physically and spiritually – reveals reality which isn’t always pretty. But, we are worthless to God and ourselves until we face the facts. That doesn’t mean we are stuck with what we see! We can take the imperfections and sins to God and He will work on us, transforming us by giving us the Holy Spirit to work in us. God doesn’t do ‘make-overs.’ He does transformations. That’s right – you can be an authentic saint! God can take the raw material that is you and do amazing things to create a person full of love, of the beauty of Jesus Christ.

Why not start the transformation process right now? It is called sanctification. That just a big word for ‘becoming Christ-like.’ There are spiritual disciplines to learn that help the process along. There are mentors and teachers that help us in our understanding. There will be blunders along the way, but – if we are committed to Him and to being authentic- we can be sure that His promise – “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV)- will be true!

Live authentically today!

Jesus’ Generals

Years ago I attended a Pastor’s Conference which featured a minister then in great prominence. I was standing outside of the mega-church where the meetings were held just as Rev. Smith (not his real name) arrived in a chauffeur driven Lincoln. As it pulled up, a man sprang from the front door and retrieved a top coat and briefcase from the trunk. He went to the back door of the car and after opening it for our dear brother, lovingly put the coat around the man’s shoulders. I waited for Bro. Smith to acknowledge the man’s kindness, but did not see even so much as a courteous nod. Rev. Smith stood until his servant led the way, carrying his material. Later, during a presentation, Bro. Smith coughed and another man raced to the podium and placed a cough drop in his mouth! Needless to say, I never listened to another word that man spoke. He was in love with himself! Not too long after that day, his lack of moral integrity, infighting with other preachers, and sexual sins became known and he disappeared into anonymity.
Jesus turned greatness upside down. On the worst night of His life, just hours from the Cross where He would carry the weight of sin for the world, where He would be subjected to humiliation and suffering beyond my comprehension, He saw his friends fighting over position. Did He scream, “What’s the matter with you idiots? Can’t you give me a minute’s peace?”  No, instead, He got up from the table, took off his shirt, and picked up the towel. He moved from man to man, washing feet! It was a job usually given to the household servant with the least seniority, one of the most menial tasks. When He finished this living lesson, “he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table. Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do.” (John 13:12-15, The Message)  Before reading on, take time to reflect on this profound moment!
Jesus’ generals don’t seek limousines and servants as symbols of their importance. They serve. Is your ego in check? Do you love to be served, fawned over, and pampered? Do you wait for recognition, positioning yourself to be noticed? That’s the picture of ‘greatness’ we see every day. Celebrities live for notice. The powerful demand perks and privilege.

We’re tempted, in our own small world, to make the same thing happen. How do you treat the clerk at the coffee shop? Is she a non-person, just someone to pour your cup, or a person you can serve with kindness? That person who fails to hit the gas pedal within a nano-second of the light change, is he just a ‘driver’ to you, or a person you can serve with a quick prayer of blessing? How did you treat your spouse this morning? Did you tenderly serve with love?
Here’s a word from the Word. Here is wisdom to live by, a way of greatness hidden from those without a heart full of the Spirit of Christ Jesus. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28, NIV)

“Go ahead, divorce your wife with Alzhiemer’s Disease.”

On Tuesday, Pat Robertson (TV’s host of the 700 Club) shocked a lot of us with his comments about the justification for a man divorcing his wife if she develops full-blown Alzheimer’s disease. Robertson reasoned that since she is ‘no longer there,’ and as good as dead, the marriage covenant is no longer in force.  I have not taken Robertson seriously for a long time. His theology, if one could call it that, appears to be formed ad hoc, without any anchor in the Truth of Scripture, more for the appeal to the audience than from a commitment to Christ’s truth.  But since so many still think he’s some kind of prophet, I felt the need to address his foolishness.
Marriage is a living lesson in Christianity. The Bible says that it is the foundational way we learn about God’s total commitment to us and His desire for our unwavering love for Him. There is no way that anyone who understands the covenantal basis of marriage (an agreement between God, husband, and wife) can accept the utilitarian idea of ‘loving until your mind fades with age.’  In an editorial in Christianity Today, Russell Moore writes:  “It’s easy to teach couples to put the “spark” back in their marriages, to put the “sizzle” back in their sex lives. You can still worship the self and want all that. But that’s not what love is. Love is fidelity with a cross on your back. Love is drowning in your own blood. Love is screaming, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”  God didn’t love me when I was attractive to him. He loved me when I was ignoring Him, caught up in my Self, thinking that I was ‘it.’ He died for me when I cared nothing for Him.  And, He calls me to love others, including my wife, in the same way.  He says that that kind of love, which His Spirit makes possible, tells the world that His Gospel is real and true.  So, if Bev someday is afflicted with the dementia of Alzheimer’s Disease, if she is afraid of me because she no longer knows who I am, if she is ‘no longer there,’ I will still love her. That’s no romantic proclamation. It’s way, way deeper. I will do it, God helping me, for the glory of my Savior.
That kind of Christianity just isn’t all that popular in our Self-serving culture. Robertson finds a ready audience because so many American Christians practice a kind of ‘discipleship’ (and I use the word loosely) that is more of a hobby for those weekends when nothing else is on the calendar. It basically boils down to going to church, and then only if the program is ‘relevant,’ the music entertaining, and the preacher not too heavy – you know – more like an after dinner motivational speaker. He should say some things that cause vague discomfort so it seems that he is being ‘prophetic,’ but he should know when to back away from anything that might stick around long enough to make a person reflective over Sunday dinner! God is not allowed to make a prior claim on our time, our affections, our kids, or our money. And therefore, He is not really God at all. He is just a god of convenience.
Here’s the Truth. I hope it is comforting and challenging for each one of us.
“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:31-32, NIV)
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, NIV)

Bitter or Broken?


I stood on the deck looking out at the shadows of the trees. The stars glimmered overhead, the crickets sang, the night mist brushed my face. Usually, it would be a peaceful moment of reflection at the end of the day. Last night, frustration and disappointment so overwhelmed me that I wondered where God was.  My only prayer was a complaint! “Where are You, Lord? What do you want from me?”  As I lay my head down later to sleep, this thought brought a measure of comfort. I am not secured by my grip on His hand, but rather by His grasp of my hand. In the Scripture, I read: “I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. … Yet I still belong to You; You hold my right hand.” (Psalm 73:21, 23, NLT)

When John, the disciple that Jesus loved, was an old man, he was sent to exile on the rocky island called Patmos. Do you think he wondered if God had forsaken him? There he was in a cave, alone.  But, the old disciple got up on the Lord’s Day and the Bible says, he was ‘in the Spirit. He was given the visions of the Revelation, wild and wonderful pictures of God’s ultimate triumph over Evil!  Jesus came to John there and we read this line from the first chapter. “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” (Revelation 1:17, NIV)  His submission in heart and mind, his willingness to let God be God, allowed him to experience the touch of the hand of Jesus. I wonder if he would have received the same glorious visions if he had stood on that rocky shore screaming at the heavens about the injustice of it all?  Could he have known the comfort of the touch of the Lord if he wrapped himself in a stinking blanket of bitterness stained with his disappointment with God? I think not!
I find no place in the Bible that tells me that I cannot weep, that a man of faith will live above disappointment. When those days come when tomorrow is hidden by the fog of frustration, when the ache in our soul is too deep to express beyond a groan, we have two choices. We can become embittered or we can become broken. A bitter man blames God and cuts himself off from the touch of the Father’s hand. A broken man kneels in humble worship. There God finds and renews him. David’s song reminds us that broken hearts are open to God’s healing. “I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.” (Psalm 51:17, The Message)
Are you feeling the pressures of life today?  Does it seem that God has turned away?
Choose to wait, humbly, for Him. When tempted by bitterness, reject it. Instead, let your heart break. And, my prayer is that you will feel the tender, comforting touch of the hand of your Father.
_____________________
Often you’ve wondered why
Tears come into your eyes,
And burdens seem to be
Much more than you can stand.
But God is standing near
He sees your falling tears.
Tears are a language God understands.
God sees the tears
Of a broken hearted soul.
He sees your tears
And hears them when they fall.
God weeps along with man
And takes Him by the hand,
Tears are a language
God understands.
Tears Are A Language
Jensen, Gordon
© 1971 Jensen Music (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc., 741 Coolsprings Blvd., Franklin TN 37067)
CCLI License No. 810055

Sweetness and Light


Even after a great dinner, I want something sweet. A small serving of ice cream is just right! It’s amazing to me the wide variety of things our tastes desire. The satisfaction of a well-prepared meal is one of life’s great pleasures – be it a simple bowl soup or a five course meal. Life gets so full of activities occasionally that I catch a meal ‘on the run.’  After a dash to the deli counter, I wolf down a sandwich. As tasty as a slice of pizza may be, it does not compare with a full meal! Eating that way does not provide anything like the satisfaction of sitting down to dinner with family.  Some people live on fast food and begin to believe that tacos, cheeseburgers, and pizza are rich fare.
My appetite for spiritual food is as real as my physical hunger. Like the Psalmist, I find myself saying, “I’m thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, “Will I ever make it— arrive and drink in God’s presence?”  (Psalm 42:2, The Message)  A time of contemplative prayer, quietly waiting before Him, is so sweet.  An experience of worship with the church, singing songs of praise and hope, praying together, renews me like nothing else. Moments spent reading the Scripture bring new strength to my heart. Sometimes I grab a quick spiritual snack; something from a book of devotions, or a few lines of a song, or a moment of hurried petition in prayer.  But, I know that real satisfaction can only come when I take time to sit down at the Lord’s table!
Are you trying to satisfy your spiritual hunger without consuming the Word, lingering for a time in His Presence?  You might not even know what you’re missing. I encourage you to carve time into your schedule for regular times for dinner with the Father. Here’s His invitation. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:1-2, NIV)  We willattempt to satisfy the hunger of our soul. May we have the wisdom to pursue the One who truly meets our need.
God’s children need not experience malnutrition, need not go through the day weak from hunger. There is fullness in Him. “Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35, NIV)  
Here’s the word from the Word. I pray it draws you to seek sweetness and light in the Presence of God today.
How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.” (Psalm 119:103, NLT)
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105, NLT)

A Broken Camera

Parenting a 12 year old is an adventure. He thinks he knows better than I about just about everything. Ed recently received a camera for his birthday. I put the wrist strap on it with an explanation that if it slipped out of his hands, the strap was there to keep it from falling. Almost immediately, he went to his room and took the strap off of the camera. You can guess what happened the next day. As he ran down the steps the camera flew out of his hands. Now he owns a non-functional camera.
Are you obedient to your Father or are you a willful child, full of your own ‘wisdom?’ Jesus says, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.”(Matthew 7:24, NLT)  He really does know best!  When our will collides with His instruction, there is the temptation to discard what He says as belonging to another age or as impractical in our time.  His wisdom is timeless and flows from the mind of God. Submitting ourselves to Him can be a difficult and costly thing. But, like our Ed found out when he choose to ignore my instruction, when we ignore Him we are short-sighted and do so only to find that we have caused ourselves great pain!
At one point in His ministry, Jesus told the crowds that they had to ‘eat his flesh and drink his blood.’  He compared himself to the manna that God had provided to the Israelites during their wilderness wandering. He said that He was as important as food and water, that the only way to find the favor of God was to consume His wisdom. Many found this too much and left Him! I love Peter’s profession of faith that day. When asked if he too would leave, “Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” (John 6:68, NLT)
Where are you finding Jesus’ words hard to obey?
Are you struggling with forgiveness?
Are you avoiding loving someone in your family that you find irritating?
Are you protecting yourself from humble, selfless service?
Are you resisting investing your time and treasure in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Here’s a word from the Word. May it be our prayer, one that embraces the wisdom of God. Read it prayerfully, asking the Spirit of God to help you see past this moment to the reward that comes to those who maturely say, “I will obey your Word!”
Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
I will put them into practice with all my heart.

Make me walk along the path of your commands,
for that is where my happiness is found.
Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!
Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.
Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you.

Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good.”
(Psalm 119:33-39, NLT)
___________________
I’ll say,”Yes, Lord, yes,”
To Your will and to Your way.
I’ll say,”Yes, Lord, yes.”
I will trust You and obey.
When the Spirit speaks to me,
With my whole heart I’ll agree.
And my answer will be,
“Yes, Lord, yes.”
Yes Lord Yes
Keesecker, Lynn
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