Tag Archives: daily walk

A Brave Face

Job 1-7

Job asks, “Don’t I have a right to complain?” (6:5)

One of my favorite movies and in my opinion one of funniest, is The Great Race starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. There is a scene that cracks me up every time. Several people are stranded on an iceberg in the middle of the ocean. Curtis’ character notices the iceberg is slowly melting. Lemmon’s character sees him measuring the iceberg and asks what’s going on.

Curtis whispers to Lemmon that the iceberg is melting. “But don’t tell anyone,” he says. “We wouldn’t want to worry them.” Then Lemmon (and you have to see his delivery of this line) says, “Ok. But when the water is up to my chin, I’m going to mention it to someone!”

Sometimes we think Christians should suffer in silence. We wouldn’t want anyone to think Christians are anything less than blessed and happy all the time, would we? But is that realistic? And does our brave face give a wrong impression to people who are watching us go through hard times?

Job asks another question. “Is not all human life a struggle?” (7:1a) Of course it is. Sin in our world has caused life to be a struggle for all of humanity. So why do we pretend we don’t struggle?

It’s not wrong to cry when you receive a cancer diagnosis, or lose a loved one. It’s not unchristian to admit you are going through a hard time. I don’t believe it’s wrong according to Scripture to be angry in the difficult position we often find ourselves.

But here is what I think God would have us see in Job:

In all this Job did not sin by blaming God. (1:22)

Oh, he questioned. He complained. He expressed anger and frustration. And he admitted he was depressed and wanted to die. But he didn’t shake his fist at God and walk away from his faith.

Job continued to trust God even when he didn’t understand his circumstances.

Are you in trouble right now? Go ahead and throw something. Pound your pillow. Cry out to God. But don’t deny the fact you are facing trouble. There are people who would count it a privilege to pray with and for you.

There are some things you aren’t intended to handle alone. There are some times when admitting you CAN’T do this, is the most freeing words you can say, when you turn the situation over to God.

And God, who does all things well, is able to carry your load. He’s not fooled by your brave face.

A Benevolent Master

Genesis 47

Submitting ourselves into God’s hands is a process. He reveals an area of our lives we need to turn over to Him and when we do, He blesses us! But before long He lays His finger on another area of our lives we have yet to submit to Him. And He’s always faithful to bless us when we lay that part of our lives at His feet.

I see that truth demonstrated in Joseph’s dealings with the people during the famine here in the book of Genesis. He didn’t start out by making them slaves. Yet gradually, as they submitted one thing at a time, they become totally dependent on Pharaoh for everything. They gave up their money, their flocks, their land and family, and finally themselves.

But in doing so, they received everything they needed in their lives. They became willing servants to a benevolent master.

Do you see the comparison? The Apostle Paul often identified himself as a slave or servant of Jesus. Is that where you are in your own walk with the Lord? Or are there areas in your life you’re still holding onto, reluctant to give up control?

Let me urge you today to submit that person, or dream, or attitude, or activity to the Lord. The blessings far outweigh your struggle to remain in control. Give your “self,” your family, your health, your plans, your pride to God and become a willing slave to The Benevolent Master.

Death at the Hand of God.

Genesis 38

Does God lie in wait to take out evil people like an army sniper? That seems to be the case with Judah’s sons Er and Onan. Scripture is very clear: these were bad men – and God killed them.

So are we to assume this is God’s MO? That if you are bad enough He just mows you down, gives you cancer, or a bullet in your head?

Yes. And no.

God wants us to know death is a part of the curse handed down because of Adam’s sin. God causes death for every human being because all have sinned and the wages of sin is death. But common sense – and life – tells us there are some very evil people in the world living to a ripe old age.

So no, God doesn’t make it a habit of killing sinners, Aren’t you glad? We don’t know why God chose to kill Er and Onan like He did. And He doesn’t owe us an explanation. But what happened to them is not a blueprint for God’s dealing with people.

In fact, Scripture repeatedly shows us how patient God is with us sinners, how quick He is to forgive a repentant heart, how He longs to save whosoever believes. Look at how many chances God gave the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. Read in the New Testament what Jesus did for sinners when He went to the cross.

I think the lesson here in Genesis is that all of us will die at the hand of God. Some will die young, others will live to be 100 years old. Our deaths won’t have as much to do with whether or not we were good or bad, as it will have to do with God’s Sovereignty.

Death will end life on Earth for all of us unless Jesus comes back first. That is His Sovereign will.

I see Er and Onan dying in their sin, because I believe had they repented we would be reading about that. That makes me want to warn us all. Because we are going to die.

My prayer is that we will be ready to die by accepting the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus. Your death could come today. My death could come today.

The question is: are we ready?

He Has Been With Me

Genesis 35

Obedience isn’t a guarantee everything in life will be easy. Jacob was a changed man. Where before he lied and cheated to get what he wanted, now he is a man who wanted to obey God. He got rid of all the idols and moved to Bethel because that’s what God told him to do. Then he moved from Bethel to Ephrath because that’s what God told him to do.

But on the way his beloved Rachel died. His eldest son Reuben slept with one of Jacob’s wives. Jacob was obedient – and life was still hard.

So if life isn’t easier, if good things don’t always happen for obedient people, why bother? I think Jacob tells us why in Genesis 35:3. Listen to what he says:

We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.

That’s the blessing of obedience – God’s Presence! If you say that’s not enough, you haven’t experienced God’s Presence!

The Voice of God

Genesis 31

Have you ever thought, “Well, if God spoke to me like He spoke to Laban, I’d know exactly what He wanted me to do and I’d obey like Laban obeyed. How could I say ‘no’ to the voice of God?”

It’s true that God doesn’t speak audibly to people today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hear His voice. In fact, we can hear it any time of the day and night. He wrote down His Words for that very reason.

You just need to read it, memorize it, spend time hearing His voice in the pages of the Bible.

You want Him to tell you what to do? It’s in there. You want Him to tell you how to think, what to believe, what your attitude should be? It’s in there.

If you think God is silent, that just means you aren’t listening, or perhaps sin is preventing you from hearing His voice. But don’t think for a minute God is not trying to get your attention.

Read the Bible. God is speaking loud and clear.

Our Birthright

Genesis 25

How seriously do you take your birthright as a child of God, a co-heir with Jesus? We read how easily Esau gave up what was his in order to not “starve” (which I would bet was a gross exaggeration to begin with). Esau gave up the blessing in order to satisfy a physical longing, sold something eternal for something temporary. The man would get hungry again a few hours later. But the blessing was gone forever.

What does our birthright look like? Eternal life for one. Forgiveness of sin. A relationship with God. The Presence of God. His strength and power and grace and mercy.

Yet sometimes we get hungry for something else.

We know we shouldn’t encourage that friendship with a married co-worker, but “he understands me.” We know we shouldn’t look at porn – but it’s harmless. It’s not like I’d actually do those things. One drink, one compromise, one thought or dream can’t hurt. So what if I don’t read my Bible today, or if I skip church once in a while?

We shake our heads at Esau and think “What a fool he was to sell his birthright for soup.” But maybe we should spend less time looking at Esau and more time looking in the mirror.

Do you value what is yours by God’s grace and through the blood of His Son, Jesus? What does that look like in the choices you make every day? If it’s worth something to you – it’s worth protecting.

(I Timothy) The Richest Man In Town

What does God think about the health and wealth/prosperity gospel as preached by the likes of Myer, Copeland, Jakes, Hinn, Robertson, Osteen, etc? In I Timothy 6:2-10 He’s pretty clear. The Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit calls it false doctrine, godlessness, and the teachers conceited know-nothings, “whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain.”

He goes on and says some people who crave wealth have actually walked away from the faith. It’s that serious.

Please change the channel. If you are listening to prosperity preachers you are in danger. God is asking you to be content with what you have. Not simply resigned to it, but actually ok with it. Content.

Do you take joy in your relationship with Jesus, or would you find a bit more joy with a heftier bank account? You are in danger if you equate God’s blessings with material gain. Believing there is a correlation between God’s blessings and wealth is believing false doctrine.

Be content.

Now that doesn’t mean don’t work hard. In 2 Thessalonians God, through Paul, makes it clear if you don’t work – you don’t eat. He talks to rich people in 1 Timothy without condemning their wealth.

Be content with what you have. Use what you have – little or much- for the glory of God. The widow gave a few pennies, but Jesus commended her as though she’d dropped a million dollars into the offering plate. (Luke 21)

Besides, if you know Jesus as your Savior, if He is Lord of your life, you are already the richest man in town!

(I Corinthians 13) 60/40

I love seeing the love between my niece and her husband. There is an intentionality, a sincere desire to build each other up.

I recently witnessed an exchange between them that came to mind as I read the “Love Chapter” today. They were in my kitchen putting together a lunch for them and the kids to take to the beach. I’m not sure what was being said but I heard my nephew say, “60. 40.” They both laughed and Elizabeth went over to him and gave him a hug.

I asked them what that was all about. They explained they were in a marriage class at their church and learned that 60% of the effort in their relationship was what they were to give to the other, gladly receiving a 40% return. You may be more familiar with this seminar than I, so I might not be explaining it exactly.

But I thought of that in regard to Paul’s letter. For those of you in a relationship (and those of you hoping to be), let me ask you this from I Corinthians 13:4-7:

Are you – or are you willing to be – 60% more patient with your spouse to their 40% of patiences shown you? Can you be 60% of the kindness factor in your home to their 40%?

Can you accept the 60/40 rule when it comes to not envying, not boasting, not being arrogant, rude, or self-seeking? What about the balance of irritability or keeping track of every little thing your spouse does wrong?

Verse 7 might be a killer for some of you. Can you expect more of yourself to “bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things” about your spouse? 60/40?

“Not fair,” you might say. “I want my marriage to be 50/50 all the way.” Honestly, I’m not sure how you measure that unless you keep track of every little thing. Do you give yourself a moment of meanness because they haven’t met their allotment of kindness?

I believe if you determine to give more, love more, do more for your spouse without expecting an equal return, you’ll be happier and so will they, and your relationship will be stronger and sweeter. At least that seems the case for Elizabeth and Seth.

Do you love your spouse, but expect them to love you more? Are you happy with that arrangement and fulfilled in your relationship? If not – and even if your relationship is good – I challenge you to read I Corinthians 13 and make it a pattern for your own 60/40.

Side note: if Jesus is our example, and if people will know we are His disciples if we love one another, 60/40 compared to his 99/1 is doable, don’t you think?

(I Corinthians 8-11) Who Is Your Example For Living?

Paul is one out of a handful of people who could confidently say, “Do as I do, AND as I say.” Not that he was perfect. He shared about his personal struggle with sin, confessed he had to intentionally die to himself every day. Paul never pretended the Christian walk was easy.

But Paul is an example of a man who was passionate about the Gospel of Jesus. He’s an example of someone whose own desires, needs, comforts, and popularity came in at a distant second to the Gospel. He was more concerned about the spiritual health of others than he was about whether or not he was compensated for ministering to them.

Say what you will about Paul, he was not a hypocrite. And he invites us to follow his example.

Passionate, focused, fearless, self-sacrificing are words that come to mind when I think about Paul’s example for living. Do any of those apply to me? Could I ever in a million years encourage you to follow my example?

The answer is, “NO!” Not out of humility, or the need to hear someone assure me how great they think I am. But because it’s true.

And I have to ask myself why, and what I’m going to do about it. Because as a Christian, a follower of Jesus, and a believer in the Gospel, I ought to be an example for living to others. The whole “Do what I say, not what I do,” cannot be true in someone who wears Jesus’ name.

What about you? Who is your example for living? And for whom are you that example?

(Acts 16) How Far Are You Willing To Go?

It seems that immediately after the Church leaders made it plain that a Gentile did not have to be circumcised in order to be considered a believer, Paul had Timothy circumcised. Paul had been strongly against the circumcision requirement. So was he being hypocritical when he insisted Timothy be circumcised? What gives?

Well, first off, Timothy was already a believer. He had already accepted the saving work of Jesus by faith. His circumcision was not a step toward salvation. He was already saved.

So why on earth would he go through that painful surgery if he didn’t have to?

Timothy wasn’t circumcised for his own benefit. He did it for the benefit of the Jews who needed to hear the Gospel, and he knew the Jews would not easily accept the word of an uncircumcised man.

Paul and Timothy were picking their battles. It was the Gospel they wanted to preach, not the value or uselessness of circumcision.

Sometimes we get so caught up in little details and opinions that the Gospel isn’t heard. What is more important: what the preacher wears on Sunday morning (and I’m talking to you who prefer suit and tie AND you who prefer jeans and t-shirts), or is it what he says from the pulpit that matters?

Is it more important to hear drums or an organ accompanying the singing, or is the preaching of the Gospel more important? King James, NIV, or the Gospel being explained through the text?

Timothy was willing to go as far as having that surgery to clear the way for the Gospel. How far are you willing to go?