Friday, August 31, 2012

Aug 31 - Psalm 15:1

Who may worship
in your sanctuary, LORD?
Who may enter your presence
on your holy hill?
Psalm 15:1

I was the eldest of three brothers. I picked on them, of course. But I gave Bob a much harder time than Andy.

Bobby was just two years younger and nearly my size. Therefore, it would have made more sense to pick on my youngest brother, but little Andy was a little bit crazy!

Picking on him was like poking an animal with a stick. Sometimes he’d snap … and you never wanted to mess with him again!

My dad constantly tried to teach Bobby that principle, “Bobby, pop him in the nose just once, and he’ll never mess with you again.”

“But he’ll just hit me back harder!” cried my poor little brother.

We didn’t know it, but we were playing King-of-the-Hill. Though no hill was involved in this case, the principle was the same: The biggest, the toughest, and the most-determined reigned from on top. Pretenders to the throne occasionally push back, but the biggest bully usually wins.

Psalm 15 is King-of-the-Hill. God, of course, is eternally King. But our Lord is a different kind of King. Instead of pushing his subjects away from his presence, God invites us to “dwell [with him] on [his] holy hill” (PS 12:1 NRSV).

He invites us up the mountain.

He invites us to live in love and peace and glory.

And yet, too often we’re toppled. It’s not by the King, though. Rather, we topple ourselves.

The rest of this Psalm tells us that insincerity and sin lead us away from the mountain (v. 2). Similarly, slander – which tries to bury a neighbor under the weight of lies – is really burying us ourselves in a deeper muck. The mire of a swamp is obviously far from the top of God’s holy hill (v. 3).

Wait. Let’s turn that around. Instead of worrying about what knocks us down, let’s focus on what draws us higher.
  •      Honoring those who are truly faithful (v. 4)
  •      Keeping our promises, even when it costs us (v. 4)
  •      Being generous, even in lending (v. 5)
  •      Speaking the truth (v. 2,5)
  •      Doing what is right (v. 2)
  •      Leading a blameless life (v. 2)
  •      Speaking the truth (v. 2)
  •      Despising persistent sin (v. 4)
  •      Refusing to hurt, harm, or slander (v. 3)
  •      Having a sincere heart (v. 2)

What draws us higher? My summary is “persistently practicing integrity.” And what is integrity? It’s who you are when nobody else is looking.

I love that definition. But it misses one important truth: The King-of-the-Hill is always looking – looking on with love, yes, but still looking.

“Lord … who may enter your presence on your holy hill?” The answer is everyone. That’s the invitation.

The problem is that we play king-of-the-hill with ourselves. When we pretend that we’re kings in charge of our own destiny, we accidentally yet repeatedly toss ourselves into the valley of futility. When we humble ourselves and follow the commands of the true King, he lifts us up.

That’s the principle of Luke 14:10. The king, the host, yearns to say, “Friend, move up higher.”.

In Christ’s Love,
a recovering bully
(who needs to apologize
for trying to be a king)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Aug 30 - Psalm 14:1

Only fools say in their hearts,
"There is no God."
Psalm 14:1

Today’s verse prompts two important questions: What do fools say? And why does it seem like there are more fools than ever?

In the first chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul described why it’s foolish to say there’s no God. He says …

What can be known about God is plain to [all], because God has shown it to [us].

Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So [those who don’t know him] are without excuse.

For though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him. [Rather] they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.

Claiming to be wise, they became fools.

Romans 1:19-22 NRSV

How does Paul say that God should be known? Through creation.

But what’s the dominant creation story in our culture? It’s a story that involves only atoms and molecules, and requires of lots of time and chance. And what it doesn’t require is God.

It’s been said that whoever controls creation, controls culture. Our world’s dominant creation story is naturalistic. We apparently don’t need God. And without God, we’re getting more and more naturalistic – should I say, carnal – results.

Think about this …

     If everything must has a purely naturalistic explanation, then miracles can’t exist.
     If miracles don’t exist, then the Bible is unreliable.
     If the Bible is unreliable, then we don’t need to follow the Law, because that’s an unreliable component of an unreliable book.
     When we have no God or Bible or Law, there is no Ultimate Truth.
     When there is no transcendent standard, there is no ultimate right or wrong. Everything is relative. You can pick and choose what seems right to you. In other words, you can become your own god.

But what if God is real? What if his eternal power, invisible though it is, really should be plain to us all? What if God’s divine nature can be understood through the things he has made? What happens if we reject a God who is really real?

The Apostle Paul suggests that our world will become futile in its thinking. Are you seeing increasing futility in our world?

And what happens to a culture when minds are progressively darkened? Behaviors are increasingly coarse, and I know I’ve been tempted by habits that thrive in the dark. How about you?

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to shuck a lot of the things that are being called wise. And I’m ready to go back to some of old truths even if some people label them foolish and outdated.


Because God is timeless and changeless and gracious and true. I want his “best,” rather than the world’s “good.”

In Christ’s Love,
a fool … for Christ

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Aug 29 - Psalm 13:1

How long, O Lord?
Will you forget me forever?
Psalm 13:1

Have you ever had a day like Alexander?

Alexander says, “I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair … and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

That’s the introductory line from Judith Viorst’s classic children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Have you ever had a day like Alexander?

A second – and more important – question is: Have you ever had a day like David?

David was anointed the future king over Israel, but it surely didn’t feel like it. David spent half a book of the Bible being chased around the Middle East by the current king of Israel. Those were some terrible, horrible, no good, very bad years.

Have you ever had decades like that?

I have too many friends who’ve been swallowed – for years – by grief, guilt, and anger, by abuse and illness, addiction and pain.  Like David …
  •     Have you ever felt forgotten? David cries, “1 O LORD, how long will you forget me?”
  •     Have you ever felt worthless and invisible? David pleads, “1 How long will you look the other way?”
  •     Have you ever felt like your faith was drowning? David questions? “2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
  •     Have you ever felt like grief was going to swallow you? David worries about the “2 sorrow in [his] heart every day.”
  •     Have you ever been stabbed in the back or felt like someone was out to get you? And have you ever felt like the bad guys were winning? David did. He cried, “2 How long will my enemy have the upper hand?”

What do we do in situations like this?

The world has some good – and not so good – advice:
  •     Some say treat yourself. You deserve it.
  •     Others says don’t treat yourself, because what your treating yourself with is probably bad for you. (Spoil sports!)
  •     Some say go to bed early because things will look brighter in the morning. (Except if you have my problem, the bad stuff often happens first thing in the morning. Maybe I should just spend the rest of the day in bed!)
  •     Others say distract yourself (because apparently TV is so good for you).
  •     Some urge perspective.
  •     Others suggest exercise – which actually is a very good release.

Probably the best worldly advice is not bad Christian advice either:
  •     Help others. (Not only is there joy in blessing others, but it takes your focus off of yourself.)

I think I’ll stick, however, with David’s advice …

      Look up. David cries, “3 Restore the light to my eyes.” When we look down, the situation often looks dark and hopeless. When we look up, we’re looking to the source of light to restore our light.

      Remember: I like to remind people that when problems are rushing at you at sixty miles per hour (like bugs flying at the windshield), remember the rearview mirror. When we look back at all the times God has blessed us in the past, it’s easier to be confident as present and future problems rush at us. That’s what David says in verse 6. I’ll add a few words so it’s easier to see: “Because he has been so good to me [in the past] … I will sing to the LORD [in the present and in spite of my current circumstances].

      Pray: Whenever you begin to think, “3 turn and answer me, O LORD my God,” you’re remembering that your first and greatest need to turn and pray to him. God often and intentionally waits for us to ask before he answers. It’s not because he doesn’t care; it’s that he cares more about the permanent relationship than the temporary problem.

      Trust … before the answer comes: Some people wait until the answer comes to begin giving thanks. That’s natural. And that’s thanksgiving. Trust is giving thanks before the answer comes. Trust is knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God heard and that God will somehow, in the end, use this circumstance to bless our eternal existence … if we let him. Some circumstances turn people away from God – for a short while or permanently. But David gives us a model of faith. “But,” says David, “[in spite of circumstances,] I trust in your unfailing love.”

      Give thanks: Notice the verb tense in this next phrase. David says, “I will rejoice because you have rescued me.” To the rest of the world it looks like the enemy is winning. David knows that with God, the victory’s already been won.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who doesn’t have
(I’m not afraid of number 13
or the enemies in Psalm 13,
I’m trusting in God

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Aug 28 - Psalm 12:1

Help, O LORD,
for the godly are fast disappearing!
The faithful have vanished from the earth!
Psalm 12:1

According to a story from a few decades ago, a traveling salesman was driving through the forest and spotted a group of lumberjacks. He crawled out of his car and proceeded to tell them about the wonders of a brand new tool – the chain saw. “Instead of cutting down two big trees a day, you can cut down twenty.” They bought ten chainsaws.

A month later, the same salesman was driving along the same road. “How are new saws working?” he called out, as he crawled out of the car.

The men were furious. You promised we’d cut down twenty trees a day with these saws,” they said, “but with these newfangled saws we can only cut down two trees a week.”

Afraid for his life, the salesman gently persuade them to let him inspect the chainsaws to see why they weren’t working. He pulled the cord on a gas motor, and the chainsaw immediately roared to life.

The lumberjacks jumped back and shouted, “What’s that noise?!”

There is a rumor in many churches that the Christian life is filled with power. Have you ever heard that? More importantly, have you ever experienced much of that? Maybe you’re like these old lumberjacks. You’ve been told tall tales about the gift of faith, but it hasn’t really roared to life in the ways you hoped. Sound familiar?

A few years back, a researcher was shocked by a series of headlines. Things like, “Christians Divorce Just as Much as the Rest of Society,” “Drink Just as Much,” “Are Alcoholic Just as Much,” “Lie and Cheat Just as Much.” If there was such a thing as the power of faith, this researcher wanted to know why – as our verse for today says – “the godly [seemed to be] fast disappearing.”

The answer came as he applied the data from another project he was working on. He was trying to come up with a working definition for – essentially – “a faithful, active Christian.” Instead of asking how many times people went to church, he started asking what they really believed. Listing a few timeless Christian principles, he started asking, “do you believe in all six or seven of these traditional doctrines of Christianity?” His basic principles were things like …
  •     Do you believe God actually created the heavens and the earth?
  •     Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God, born of Mary?
  •     Do you believe Jesus was crucified and literally rose from the dead?
  •     Do you believe that Satan and evil are real?

What he found shocked him.

While most Christians believed SOME of these basic foundational principles, only one in eleven Christians believed them ALL.
  •     One in eleven!
  •     In other words, just 9% of Christians are “all in.”
  •     Most believers pick and choose.
  •     Most people who go to church every Sunday still say, “I like this part, but I don’t agree with that part”?
  •     Ten out of eleven of us raise our own logic above the timeless doctrines of the faith.
  •     Ninety-one percent of us tend to follow the whims of culture (or the lyrics of secular professors), rather than the unchanging Word of God.
  •     We eventually make ourselves the arbiters of own truth, and then we’re surprised that we don’t live lives that are much different than the rest of the world.

Those are staggering results. But I know they are true. Why? Because that was my experience.

While I grew up in the church, I bought into the lie that I could decide right and wrong for myself. That changed one day when my attempts at life knocked me to my knees. I was unemployed, profoundly depressed, and utterly humbled. I had no hope except to admit that I couldn’t do it on my own. I submitted myself to God. I submitted myself to his whole Word and to the basic, traditional doctrines. And suddenly here was power, hope, and light. My outward circumstances hadn’t changed, but now I had a loud and powerful chainsaw. With God’s help, I could cut away successfully at life’s obstacles.

This researcher found that the-submitted-9% are two- … three- … five- … even eleven-times less likely to engage in the same sinful behaviors as the rest of the world. Submission doesn’t mean that we’re immune to the temptations in life! All it means that we’ll have a chainsaw rather than a butter knife as we try to cut through the weeds of sin and the jungle of lies.

By yielding our hearts to God fully and trusting in his Word, we can discover a power for living.

Are you all in? If not, what keeps you from it?

In Christ’s Love,
the tin-man
(a guy who traded in
his rusty axe for a chainsaw …
and as a result discovered
a bigger heart too)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Aug 26 - Psalm 5:9

For there is
nothing reliable in what they say;
destruction is within them;
their throat is an open grave
Psalm 5:9

“Their throat is an open grave.” Isn’t that a powerful image?

An open grave provokes several thoughts …
  •  The first is death. That’s the inevitable destination to our journey on earth.
  •  The second is grief. I won’t ever stand beside my own grave, but I stand – all too often -- beside the graves of people I love. An open grave is a symbol of raw and open grief.
  •  The third is hazard. An open grave is a trap. If I’m walking through life blindly, I’m likely to fall into my own destruction.

Today’s verse says that some speech is like a trap. Some people’s words may sound wise or flattering, but they ultimately lead to grief, destruction, and death.

Have you ever fallen for that?

We want what we want, and so we often hear what we want to hear. We’re insecure, and so we’re vulnerable to anyone who strokes us. We want a free lunch, and ignore the real costs.

If you don’t want to fall into an open grave, it pays to evaluate people’s fluctuating opinions against God’s unchanging Word. If we want to discover life, we need follow God’s purposes rather people’s agendas.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s staying away
from grave diggers

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Aug 25 - Psalm 11:1-2

I have taken refuge in the Lord.
How can you say to me,
"Escape to the mountain like a bird!
For look, the wicked string the bow;
they put the arrow on the bowstring
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.”
Psalm 11:1-2

Life is hard. Our neighbors are often unthinking and occasionally unjust. Our enemies are worse. As the Psalmist says, “they put the arrow on the bowstring.”

Have you been shot at lately? Have you been gossiped about? Do you know people who are the victims of injustice?

In your life, who would you define as your enemy?

When I was a kid, it was the Russians. Nowadays, however, the enemy isn’t just foreign nations. Often the enemy is among us.

In our world today, it seems like the people of God are increasingly devalued, demeaned, and defamed. Has it ever felt to you that the enemies-among-us “shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart”?

It’s nothing new. Three thousand years ago and in today’s verse, David was obviously lamenting his persecution. Seventeen hundred years ago, Christians were being fed to the lions. In our supposedly advanced world, there are more martyrs every year now than there ever were in Bible times.

What can we do about it?

Today’s Psalm provides two options. The first is to “escape to the mountain like a bird.”

Running is some people’s choice. Hiding is some people’s preference. Isolation does allow us, however, to fulfill Christ’s calls and commissions. How can we make disciples of all nations if we’re flighty and fleeing.

David chooses a more confident option. When he says, “I have taken refuge in the Lord,” he’s proclaiming, “Me plus God are an overwhelming majority.”

A thousand years before the birth of the Messiah, David was essentially prefiguring the words of Jesus: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul …” (Mt 10:28). Indeed, do not fear the bow-stringers and gun-slingers, rather take refuge in the one who guards your soul for eternity.

Or as The Message renders this verse: "Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life - body and soul - in his hands” (Mt 10:28).

In Christ’s Love,
a penguin
(since I can’t fly away,
I’ll stand my ground!)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Aug 24 - Psalm 10:1

O LORD ...
why do you hide
when I need you the most?
Psalm 10:1

Who can you be totally and truly honest with in your life?

It’s someone you trust. Totally and truly.
  •      It’s someone who’ll forgive you when you slip and fall.
  •      It’s someone who believes in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself.
  •      It’s someone who cares more about your potential than your faults.
  •      It’s someone who keeps being generous, even when we’re not always thankful.
  •      It’s someone who loves you even on a really bad day.
  •      It’s someone who cares enough to tell you the truth – even when the truth is hard to hear – but that’s only true if that same person cares enough to keep coming back, even after you’ve argued and bristled and thrown them out.
  •       It’s someone from whom you don’t need to hide your hopes and dreams and fears and failures, because they like you no matter what.

Do you have someone like that?

For most of us, our parents fit that bill … assuming, of course, that they were good parents. Good parents are generous and forgiving, even when we’re rebellious and ungrateful. Good parents tell us the hard truths, and then stick around, even after we whine, yell, and pout. They love us on good days and bad days, and they invite us to crawl in their laps whenever our dreams are crushed.

That’s why Jesus invited us to call God, Father – “Abba” actually. Daddy. Jesus was saying, if you don’t have someone like that list above; you still have someONE like that.

The Psalms are prayers.

The Psalms are honest.

On a bad day, you can yell at God, “why do you hide when I need you the most?” He’s not hiding, of course. But we live in a broken, sinful, hurtful, painful world. It continually breaks us and begs for us to look down.

When we look down, it seems like God is hiding. But even when we yell, our loving Father is patient and loving. We waits for us to look up and then crawl in his lap.

The Psalmist can yell at God – be totally truthful with him – because … why? Because he trusts God completely! He knows that God will never leave him or forsake him. He knows – as he rounds the horn, away from his pain and back to the truth – that “LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless” (Psalm 10:17). When he feels helpless, the Psalmist knows, indeed, that God is his only hope.

Do you have someone that you can trust completely? Humans will always, occasionally, and inevitably let us down – even good Christians, good parents, and good pastors. But God never will. It may seem like he’s hiding, but it’s only because we’re looking down. Look up!

And make an experiment of being as honest as the Psalms.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s neck is sore
… because I love looking up

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Aug 23 - Psalm 5:7

because of your great love
I can come into your house;
I can worship in your holy Temple
and bow down to you in reverence.
Psalm 5:7

I sometimes like to point people to the room they’re sitting in and say, “Imagine that this room is earth.” Then I point upward and say, “Imagine that the floor above us is heaven.”

“You can’t see heaven,” I say, “but it’s real. It’s there.”

Have you ever felt, however, that the barrier between heaven and earth was twenty feet thick? Have you ever felt like you’ve prayed and prayed, and all your prayers did was bounce off the ceiling and fall back down helplessly?

On the other hand, have you ever experienced moments when the barrier between heaven and earth has grown thin? Have you felt that God was very close?

One of the times I see this most clearly is when people are on their death bed. Rather than death being a moment of defeat, all who gather can sometimes feel the gentle embrace of God and his holy angels. Have you ever felt that?

In Isaiah 6, the prophet walks into the temple in Jerusalem. In this majestic room, he didn’t see the gold. He didn’t see the stone. He didn’t see the clamor of a thousand worshippers. He simply saw God.

The Lord was sitting high and lofty upon his throne. Just the stitching along the hem of God’s robe filled the entire temple. “Holy, Holy, Holy!” sang the seraphim, and as they flew, the pillars of the temple shook. The house of God filled with smoke, and in that moment, the barrier between heaven and earth was infinitesimally thin. Have you ever felt that?

Isaiah fell on his face and said, “Oops.”

That’s my translation. But isn’t that what you’d say if you met God? In my best moments, I’m an ant crawling on the hem of his garment. And then there are my other moments. I constantly need to fall on my face like Isaiah, and cry, “Woe is me” (Isa 6:5 NRSV).

With a live coal taken from the altar, God purified the prophet’s lips and life. God purifies you and me in a different way – with drops of blood, fallen from the cross.

I’m not worthy to enter God’s presence, and yet “because of [his] great love, I can come into [his] house.”

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s been given a key
to the house of the Lord

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Aug 22 - Psalm 9:1

I will give thanks to the Lord
with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1

Several years ago someone gave me a book by some famous self-help guru. It was called something like “The Secret of Happiness.” Since I counsel a lot of people with depression – and since I’ve occasionally dabbled in a little depression myself – I was curious to see what they said the secret was.

It was a big fat book. I skimmed for a whole hour. Finally I found “the secret of happiness.” What was it?

Psalm 9:1

Thanksgiving is the key to happiness.

Most of us are naturally selfish. We want what we want. And when we get it, we usually want more. We’re never really satisfied. Thanksgiving is the simple, wonderful antidote. It is, indeed, the simple, wonderful secret to a good life.

Instead of saying, “I want.” The secret to happiness is looking at our life, and saying thank you for whatever we do have.

My favorite story about thanksgiving is from Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. Two elderly sisters hid Jews from the Nazi’s. When they were found out, they were sent to a Nazi Concentration Camp. Through a series of miracles, God enabled Corrie and her sister, Betsy, to keep their Bible and teach other prisoners.

One day, in the midst of deplorable conditions, they were reading 1 Thessalonians 5:18, and Betsy said, “It says to ‘give thanks in all circumstances.’ Therefore, we need to give thanks for the lice.”

Corrie screamed, “I will not give thanks for the lice.”

Betsy was insistent. Finally, Corrie complied – very grudgingly and very angrily. But the lice were a gift. The lice kept the Nazi guards out of their barracks and allowed these two sisters to proclaim light in the midst of darkness.

As you learn the art of thanksgiving, I won’t ask you to start by saying thanks for the lice in your life. (That takes an advanced degree in Gratitude.) Nevertheless, I will absolutely encourage you to quit saying “I want” and “I don’t have,” and start saying, “Thank you for all I do have.”

Think of it this way: In your life, have you grown more from the hard times or the easy times? Well … did you give God lavish praise for the trials? After all, they led to greater growth!

The Apostle Paul says, “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thes 5:18). The Psalmist says, “… give thanks to the Lord with [your] whole heart” (Ps 9:1).

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s learning to
spell “happiness”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aug 21 - Ps 8:3-4

When I look at your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars
that you have established;
what are  … mortals
that you care for them?
Psalm 8:3-4

I want to give you an assignment:
  •     go to the beach (or to the nearest sand box),
  •     fill a pail with sand,
  •     and count all the grains.

No, thanks?!

How many grains of sand to a bucket? How many grains to a beach? How many grains to the great Sahara?

When God spoke to Abraham, he said, “I will make your offspring as numerous … as the sand …” (Gen 22:17).

It probably seemed like hyperbole, especially since God had also said, “I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven” (Gen 22:17).

I don’t know about you, but if I were Abraham, I’d rather count stars than sand. For most of human history, humans looked up and believed that there were only about a thousand stars in the sky. (And if I were counting, it’d seem like less than that since I’d choose a cloudy night to count.)

Our most recent and most powerful telescopes tell a different story, however. I’ve heard that nowadays scientists believe that there are literally as many stars in the heavens as there are grains of sand on earth. Wow!


That’s why today’s question in Psalm 8 reverberates so powerfully in my heart? “[Lord,] when I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are  … mortals that you care for them?”

As Casting Crowns sings, “Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt, … would choose to light the way for my ever wandering heart.”

The great truth – and greatest wonder – of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, you, and me is that he cares for us personally:

     He “knit [us] together in [our] mother’s womb” (Ps 139:13).
     He numbers “the hairs of your head” (Lk 12:7).
     “He hears [your] prayers” (Prov 15:29).
     He “rescues the weak and helpless” (Ps 35:10).
     God chooses us (Eph 1:4), forgives us (1 Jn 1:9), guides us (Ps 37:23), and protects us (Ps 95:1); and it’s all because he loves us (Rom 5:5)!

God sent his Son to die for you and me (Jn 3:16). Indeed, Jesus “took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross” (Phil 2:7-8).

“How great is our Lord!” (Psalm 147:5)

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who hasn’t counted all the stars
or all the grains of sand,
but is making God’s job easier each year
by losing more hairs on his head

Monday, August 20, 2012

Aug 20 - Ps 7:14-15

The wicked … are …
pregnant with trouble
and give birth to lies.
They dig a pit to trap others
and then fall into it themselves.
Psalm 7:14-15

Men, let me save you a lot of grief. The most important question to NEVER ask a woman is …

Are you pregnant?

Even if the woman appears to be thirty-nine and a half weeks along, you’re better off talking about the weather until she’s holding the baby or she says something about it to you.

Good advice … nevertheless, I think it would be wise if we in society talked a little more about pregnancy – the Psalm 7 kind of pregnancy.

Too many people in our world are “pregnant with trouble.” Unfortunately, it’s politically incorrect to talk about wickedness nowadays. Only tolerance is tolerated.

As Christians, we are called to be loving. It should be our absolute calling card. But is tolerance really love?

Let me tell you a story: A friend of mine was recently trying to take a picture. To get the whole scene in the frame, she backed up … and backed up … and backed up … until she tripped. Falling, she broke both writes.

If we see someone backing up blindly toward the edge of a cliff, shouldn’t we warn them? Isn’t that the loving thing to do?

Wickedness is a cliff.

In just one book of the Bible – Proverbs – look at all the things that wickedness is associated with …

  •     treachery and injustice (2:22, 19:28),
  •     compromises and lies (25:26, 6:12),
  •     hurt and harm (9:7),
  •     danger and fear (28:15, 28:28),
  •     cravings and addiction (10:3),
  •     “shame and disgrace” (13:5),
  •     worry and moaning (24:19, 29:2)
  •     hatred and tyranny (29:27, 29:16),
  •     darkness and trouble (4:19, 15:6),
  •     alienation and evil (15:29, 15:28),
  •     crushing, hatred and punishment (20:26,29:27, 21:18),
  •     ravages and abomination (3:32, 11:11),
  •     “contempt, shame, and disgrace” (18:3),
  •     perversion and violence (17:23, 21:7),
  •     futility and corruption (10:28, 10:32),
  •     desolation and the weight of sin (10:30, 11:5),
  •     “murderous ambush” and ensnaring traps (12:6, 12:13),
  •     great wrath and “the curse of the Lord” (11:23, 3:33),
  •     death and destruction (10:27, 3:25).

Look at that list! Tolerance is not loving. People we love are backing up blindly toward the edge of a cliff.

Wait! Read that last line again. Who’s backing up toward the edge of a cliff? “People we love.” Yes, we should absolutely love all people, but should we be yelling at people we don’t know?

People and churches that are great at evangelism are guided by a simple truth: You can’t expect non-Christians to act like Christians. In other words, we shouldn’t yell at non-Christians, even when we worry that they’re pregnant with trouble.

Instead, we should love them … and love them … and love them … and love them. And finally, when the time is right, then we should point out the cliff. Actually, we should point them to the one who bridges the cliffs and chasms with a cross.

There is a canyon between heaven and hell, life and death, hope and destruction. That canyon was carved by sin. But Jesus crossed it with a cross. His love brings forgiveness. Our love of unbelievers brings hope.

Yes, this world is pregnant with trouble. But love people and learn their story before you ask if they’re pregnant! In time, you can introduce them to the Father of Truth. With love, you can draw them from the father of lies.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s pregnant
… with hope

(Go Ahead: Ask me about it)

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