Who Ya Gonna Call?

www.bible.com/1713/psa.46.1.csb

When this life stinks and your day’s on the brink, who ya gonna call?

When the bills are due and your wife hates you, who ya gonna call?

When your car won’t start and and your kids get smart, who ya gonna call?

Well, you get the idea. “In that day men began to call on the name of the Lord.” God is a very present help in hard times and in good. He is always found, even when you can’t see Him. He is never far from any of us.

On this day of worship, I want to encourage you to find a place of fellowship, where others of like mind and faith gather. If you don’t have one, try something new. I tried a new fellowship Wednesday night and the people there were welcoming and friendly. They invited me back next week. It felt good.

Be encouraged. God has not forsaken you. He loves you and wants you close. Would you give Him your time this morning?

God bless you today.

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Fall Flat

www.bible.com/1713/pro.16.18.csb

So I just had my tire fixed. Just had it fixed, drove around on it. It was wonderful. Just a few hours later, the tire is flat. Not just for me, but as me and my family are making our way to a family function. I’d been having a dour day anyway, trying to keep my mind busy while I was called off work again. And this thing, that I thought I had fixed, was broken. Again.

So I am back at the tire store again this morning. Maybe it’s something simple. Maybe it’s not. I just need it to work.

I used to feel like I had it all together. Had a good church, wife was in a good place to work, kids were happy at school. But life happens. We changed some things around. Now I am not in that church. They didn’t need me anymore. Wife is looking at job changes where she works. Our department in the hospital is cutting back non-essential hours. Kids are doing ok, but I know they feel something is going on. Yeah, pride sucks.

Pride may feel good for a time, it it’s about useless. It puffs you up, like air in a tire, but as soon as something pokes through your carefully curated world, the air goes out. You fall flat and you are stopped in your tracks.

Air is a good thing for your tires, but pride is bad for your life. If you try to fill your life with pride, instead of more solid work like love, grace and humility, then even the slightest puncture will put you down every time. Rather, work on filling your life with the Word, with the love of God, with prayer and grace for others. The Lord calls you to walk humbly before your God. He does that because He sees the road ahead of you. He knows what trials you will face. When you practice humility, life’s bumps will not hurt near so much.

Well, Now it looks like I need a new tire. Swell.

God bless and stay humble.

True Love

www.bible.com/1713/jhn.15.13.csb

What is true love for you? There is the romantic ideal of popular media that true love is the one who is your soul mate, the one who speaks your love language and is devoted completely to you and you to them. It includes the ideas of honesty, loyalty, passion and truth. This is often touted as the greatest kind of love. But, . . .

Jesus has something different to say. There is no greater love that one who lays down his life for his friends. I don’t want to disagree with the Lord on this one, it I also remember Romans 5:8, where the love of the Father was demonstrated in this: while we were still enemies, Christ died for us. I might argue that this kind of love is greater still. And perhaps in league with these is this from John 3:16, for God so loved the world (friends and enemies) that He sent His own uniquely-begotten Son, that whosever believes in Him does not perish, but have eternal life. Which is these is the truest love?

We find that true love, while experienced in the small scale between couples always involves sacrifice and exclusion. We exclude all other from this relationship. That’s what makes it true and faithful. We devote to one another our time, talk, listening and effort to make it work. That is sacrifice. And so it must be so in the greater love. We are exclusive in our relationship with God. We take time and effort, talk and listening, sacrificing as He did to make it work.

Do you have this true love with the Father? Do you love Jesus? I encourage you to make it a true love, not shadowed by devotion to other gods, but true alone to God. (Yes, loving your spouse and your family is included, and every other relationship that honors God) God loves you so much He have the Greatest Gift He possesses. What do you have to give?

God bless you today.

Right Between the Eyes

www.bible.com/1713/mic.6.8.csb

Have you ever earnestly prayed for something, begging God for an answer, not get an answer, before some more, get nothing, and then open up something innocuous like a Bible app, and suddenly, God is speaking to you? Yeah, well, you’ve pegged my day today.

What does God want from you? He hasn’t been silent. In fact, He told Micah centuries ago in another language what He wants. Act justly. Love faithfulness. Walk humbly with God. Can you handle that?

Act justly – be just and fair in your actions with others. Pay what you owe. Give according to service rendered. Even be generous if you can. Put in your hours as you have been paid for and agreed to. Be a good employee.

Love faithfulness – be loyal, don’t betray a confidence, enjoy faithfulness to your spouse, your friends, even to make new friends. Treat others well.

Walk humbly before God – Remember Who is running the universe. Remember who makes the rules and has the power to take you home at anytime. Respect His rules, His Word, and His time. Everything is the Lord’s. Every person is the Lord’s. Treat them accordingly.

I hope you needed that. I sure did. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I don’t need a special message from God. He’s already sent it.

God bless you today.

Sacrificial Love

www.bible.com/1713/eph.5.1-2.csb

Many talk about love, but fewer experience it. Men are often mocked for refusing to say “I love you” to their ladies because that leads to marriage. The idea goes that women are more likely to tell their significant others that they love them, while their male counterparts hesitate. There is truth here, for love is a powerful word with powerful implications. To love, as a man would understand it, is commitment. Commitment is sacrifice. For a man who isn’t ready to “settle down” commitment carries a great deal more weight.

Our text today brings with it that same weighty commitment, for to love as God’s child is to love as Christ loved. Jesus loves everyone. How do we know this? He died so that everyone might live. He gave His most precious commodity, His own blood, for the benefit of those He loved. This was not a flippant “love you!” cast at someone’s back. This was a fully committed “till death do us part” kind of love.

So the command is clear. If we are to be children of love, walking in love, serving the One who loved us, then our love must imitate His. Our love must be real, not fake. If we show this love to one another, it matters what we say to each other. It matters how we treat each other. If we love, it must cost us something: our time, our effort, and our right to be right among other things.

If you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places, and coming up empty, don’t give up. Jesus loves you like this. His people do too. I encourage you to keep looking until you find it.

God bless you today.

Hiding

www.bible.com/1713/psa.119.11.csb

Need a minute? I know I’m busy. And I am sure this note finds you in the middle of something. It’s been a busy morning already. Had to go out of town this morning as a favor. Now I am on my way back and stopped for breakfast. My oldest turned 21 yesterday, so now I feel older. 😊

We are working on a get together for the family next week, so the plan is to go to Colorado and visit with family I’ve not seen for decades. Because of that, I’ve also been working on compiling family history data, and I’ve got that to finish up.

Ugh.

Add that to work and marriage and kids.

No, I am not especially busy. There’s always a lot to do. But when I sit down and think about it, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

So I am sitting here sipping coffee and contemplating the verse above. In one sense, I am hiding for He moment from my responsibilities today. But I am also thinking this word seems odd. Why would I hide God’s Word in my heart? Would I not want to share it?

But hiding the Word in the heart is more about the appearance than the intent. You are not hiding to keep it from others. You are hiding it to store it, like a squirrel does nuts for winter, to be able to draw from when times are lean, or when you need a ready verse at hand for counseling and advice. This takes time reading and studying. And as you do, your internal, hidden library will grow with good stuff. You already have baseball stats and movies in there. Put some useful stuff in there too.

And when your verses are well hidden, you will have a supply spilling out of you in your speech and your writing. The beauty of it is, the word of God will not stay hidden, but as Jeremiah once said, it is a fire burning within him. It will burn within you, and burn away the junk.

May God’s Word bless you today.

Drop the Yoke

www.bible.com/1713/gal.5.1.csb

Yokes are comfortable things. Many would rather choose the yoke than be free. Why? Because freedom is dangerous and unpredictable. People like their lives to be predictable. They like order, like to be able to plan things out. A yoke, or a set of rules, helps them to do that. Decisions are easier when there are fewer of them. For example, when you are looking for a place to eat as a diabetic or a person with kidney disease, it is far easier to pick out places to eat because few places cater to those needs. You don’t have the freedom to eat anywhere, because you must abide by a set of rules if you want to live.

A work schedule helps you plan your day. You know where you will be at a certain time. It is a yoke from which others benefit from your labor. We have gotten so used to yokes that we wouldn’t want to live life without them.

And that’s how we feel about our religion too. We are far more comfortable with a religion as a set of rules that limit your choices and can be rigidly adhered to than a faith with few rules and greater responsibility. Yet that is what Jesus presents is with. He takes away the yoke of the Law and replaces it with grace, forgiveness and love. What is the first thing we did with it? We systematized it and overlaid with with rules. You must do this and you must go here. Actually, the more rules your religion has, the more you know it’s off the mark.

This is not to say hat Christianity is anarchy. It certainly is not. It has a Ruler and His Name is Jesus. And He has laid out what He expects from us. He expects us to tell others about this freedom we’ve experienced. He expects us to live righteously as He did. He expects us to be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others. He expects us to give as we have received, with liberality and generosity. He expects a relationship with us, through prayer and Bible Study. He expects us to be in His presence. That’s a lot of expectation for an anarchy.

Christ came to proclaim freedom to the captives, those caught and enmeshed in a web of laws and rules made by men. He wants us free from tyrants to live under His rule, a rule to grow us and perfect us for His eternal Kingdom. He has called you to be His.

Will you come and be free?