Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Psalm 92:1-2: It is good to praise the Lord and make music to Your name O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.
This Sunday I attended a seminar on teen anxiety. A local therapist led the seminar and made an insightful statement. She explained that pain in our lives can come from two directions: a violation of love (identity pain) or a violation of trust (safety pain). While there is much more that could be unpacked about that statement, I was struck by the connection I saw to this insight in God's word.
The psalmist invites us to proclaim God's steadfast love and faithfulness daily. While we live in a world that will never love us or care for us perfectly, God's messages of love and faithfulness is the truth that we can proclaim and balm that we can receive every day.
At the end of the psalm we are told the righteous will flourish, grow, bear fruit in old age and stay fresh and green. It seems that thriving is connected to the psalmists following declaration: "The Lord is upright, He is my rock, and there is no wickedness in Him."
God, would You root us in Your love and faithfulness today, that we would rest in the truths about Your character and care for us even in a world full of uncertainty and pain. Let us be expressions of Your love and faithfulness to everyone we meet today. Amen.
Monday, April 23, 2018
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Friday, April 20, 2018
"I will also ask you a question. Tell me, John's baptism - was it from heaven, or from men?" Luke 20:3
Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus was not the answer man; he was much more the question man. Do you know how many questions Jesus asked in his ministry? 307! Asking questions was central to Jesus' strategy to reach people. By asking questions you become involved in a dialogue, not a monologue. It is a brilliant way to connect with people today because it forces the hearer to interact with their beliefs and how they arrived at them.
Here is a list of questions to use to engage people:
1. Who, in your opinion, is Jesus?
2. How did you arrive at this conclusion?
3. Is there good and evil in the universe?
4. How does one know what is good and what is evil?
5. How would you define what truth is?
6. Where does morality come from?
7. Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so, what is it?
8. What do you believe about the Bible?
9. How did you come to this conclusion?
10. Is there more to this universe than what meets the eye?
11. Do you believe in the existence of God?
12. What would constitute sufficient evidence for God's existence?
13. Why are you alive?
14. Does your life matter?
15. Does your life have purpose?
16. How do you view yourself?
17. What place does the cross have in your life?
18. What do you count as significant?
19. What are the three top priorities in your life?
20. What legacy will you leave in life?
Thursday, April 19, 2018
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12)
This verse carries tremendous meaning with just a few short words. To me, it speaks of several key realities:
(1) Expectations often determine our thoughts on outcome. When we set expectations correctly, we gain a realistic perspective on life. We tend to overestimate the satisfaction that worldly pleasures may provide, what we may accomplish in a single day, and our strength apart from God. We tend to underestimate the depth of God's love and the joy from being in His presence, what we may accomplish in a year, and our strength under God's authority. If our "hope deferred" comes from faulty expectations, it will indeed make our heart sick.
(2) Each person's hopes differ, and we need to consider that as we love others. When we think about others, we may impose our hopes for them (or even our hopes for ourselves) when hearing their reflections on hopes deferred. True love involves getting to know each person individually and seeking to understand from his or her perspective. Without that exercise, we may fall short of the compassionate love to which God has called us. (cf. Matthew 9:35-38)
(3) God's tremendous promises -- and their sure fulfillment -- lead to figurative and literal trees of life. When we trust in God's promises, our longings will be fulfilled. Psalm 34:7 explains that, as we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. Clinging to God and His promises ensures that we have realistic expectations and that we will find ultimate joy in seeing "trees of life" in this life and in our eternal home.
Lord God, thank You for bringing our longings to fulfillment by Your precious promises. Help us to trust You more solidly, and give us compassion for those who are hurting around us. Open doors for us to testify to Your goodness and kindness to us. We love You and honor You today. In Jesus's Name, amen.
"I Will Exalt You" by Hillsong (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kigbo_Z10Hg)
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