Live Loved

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

~ HEBREWS 4:16 

God Meets Daily Needs Daily

You hate to worry. But what can you do to stop it? These three worry stoppers deserve your consideration:

Pray more. No one can pray and worry at the same time. When we worry, we aren’t praying. When we pray, we aren’t worrying. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).

When you pray, you “stay” your mind on Christ, resulting in peace. Bow your knees and banish anxiety.

Want less. Most anxiety stems not from what we need, but from what we want.

“Delight yourselves in the Lord, yes, find your joy in him at all times” (Philippians 4:4 PHILLIPS). If God is enough for you, then you’ll always have enough, because you’ll always have God.

Live for today. Don’t sacrifice it on the altar of anxiety.

God sends help at the hour we need it.

You don’t have wisdom for tomorrow’s problems. But you will tomorrow. You don’t have resources for tomorrow’s needs. But you will tomorrow. You don’t have courage for tomorrow’s challenges. But you will when tomorrow comes.

God meets daily needs daily and miraculously.

~ EVERY DAY DESERVES A CHANCE  

O Lord, you provide the answers and solutions for our questions and our problems. Steady our steps on the path of life. When we feel overwhelmed with worry, remind us to stop and pray. Let us choose to align ourselves with your plan for our lives rather than dwell on the problems. Remind us to live for today and trust you to give us the wisdom and resources for tomorrow when tomorrow comes. Thank you for meeting our needs each day in a truly miraculous way, amen.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
~ PSALM 27:1

You are my hiding place. . . . You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
~ PSALM 32:7 

 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. 
~ PSALM 46:1–2

Live Loved

Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. 
~ PSALM 119:89
 

 Unchanging Truth

God’s truth never wavers.

Would that we could say the same. We’ve learned to season our words with salt, we eat them so often. Our opinions change like Rodeo Drive fashion trends. (Weren’t your convictions about child rearing stronger before you had kids? Do you know any Republicans who used to be Democrats and vice versa?) Our convictions tend to change.

Good to know God’s don’t. His view of right and wrong is the same with you and me as it was with Adam and Eve. “The word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8 KJV). “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. . . . All thy commandments are truth. . . . Thou hast founded them for ever” (Psalm 119:89, 151–152 KJV).

Your outlook may change. My convictions may sway, but “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). And since it can’t, since his truth will not waver, God’s ways will never alter. 

He will always hate sin and love sinners, despise the proud and exalt the humble. He will always convict the evildoer and comfort the heavyhearted. He never changes direction midstream, recalibrates the course midway home, or amends the heavenly Constitution.

~ IT’S NOT ABOUT ME

Blessed Father, your words are the light we need to see how to walk on the path of life. Your words are a place of quiet retreat where we find rest and renewal. Your words are permanent and unchanging. Your truth is always the same; it is eternally right. We can rely on it and trust it as the pattern for our convictions and our decisions. Thank you for giving us this firm foundation for our faith, amen.

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
~ JOHN 14:23 

 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
~ EPHESIANS 6:11 

 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.” 
~  JOHN 14:21

Live Loved

He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
~ MATTHEW 17:2
 

Loved by a Powerful God

Light spilled out of him. Brilliant. Explosive. Shocking. Brightness poured through every pore of his skin and stitch of his robe. Jesus on fire. To look at his face was to look squarely into Alpha Centauri. Mark wants us to know that Jesus’ “clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter than any bleach could make them” (Mark 9:3 MSG).

This radiance was not the work of a laundry; it was the presence of God. 

How long since . . . a fresh understanding of Christ buckled your knees and emptied your lungs? Since a glimpse of him left you speechless and breathless? If it’s been a while, that explains your fears. 

When Christ is great, our fears are not.

As awe of Jesus expands, fears of life diminish. A big God translates into big courage. A small view of God generates no courage. A limp, puny, fireless Jesus has no power over cancer cells, corruption, identity theft, stockmarket crashes, or global calamity. A packageable, portable Jesus might fit well in a purse or on a shelf, but he does nothing for your fears.

Don’t we need to know the transfigured Christ? One who spits holy fires? Who convenes and commands historical figures? Who occupies the loftiest perch and wears the only true crown of the universe, God’s beloved Son? . . .

The longer we live in him, the greater he becomes in us. It’s not that he changes but that we do; we see more of him. We see dimensions, aspects, and characteristics we never saw before, increasing and astonishing increments of his purity, power, and uniqueness. . . 

In the end we . . . fall on our faces and worship. And when we do, the hand of the carpenter extends through the tongue of towering fire and touches us. “Arise, and do not be afraid” (Matthew 17:7). 

~ FEARLESS

Almighty God, we worship and praise you for your mighty and glorious power. We stand in awe of you, the true king of the universe. We bow before the radiance of your holiness and purity. We rest humbly in your presence. This is where we find peace and rest and the right perspective on all that happens in life. Knowing you and living for you is the joy of my life. Thank you for your goodness and grace. This is truly good news, amen.

The LORD is great and greatly to be praised.

~ PSALM 96:4

Live Loved

Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
~ 1 PETER 4:9 NLT

Reach Out to People

In one of Jesus’ resurrection appearances, he accompanies two disciples as they walk from Jerusalem to their village of Emmaus. The trail is a seven-mile journey, the better part of a day’s walk for grown, healthy men. They converse the entire trip. Jesus gives them an overview of the Bible, beginning with the teachings of Moses right up to the events of their day. Still, they don’t recognize him.

As they near their village, Jesus acts as if he is going to continue on his journey. We aren’t told how he sent this message. Maybe he pulled out his pocket calendar and mumbled something about an evening appointment in the next town. We don’t know how he left the impression, but he did. The Emmaus-bound disciples had another idea. “But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over’” (Luke 24:29 NIV).

It had been a long day. The two pilgrims had much on their mind. Certainly they had obligations and people in their lives. But their fellow traveler stirred a fire in their hearts. So they welcomed him in. Still not knowing that their guest was Jesus, they pulled out an extra chair, poured some water in the soup, and offered bread. Jesus blessed the bread, and when he did, “their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (v. 31 NIV).

We still encounter people on the road. And sometimes we sense a peculiar warmth, an affection. We detect an urge to open our doors to them. In these moments, let’s heed the inner voice. We never know whom we may be hosting for dinner.

~ OUTLIVE YOUR LIFE 

Dear Lord Jesus, you spent your life here on earth caring for others. You reached out to the hopeless and the hurting with compassion. You forgave those who insulted you and tried to destroy you. Seeking hearts found answers from you. Weary hearts found rest. You lifted up those who were beat down by life. Your kind heart broke for the entire world. May we follow your example and spend our lives reaching out to others. When we are tempted to turn away from people, let us show them your love instead, amen.

Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
~ 1 JOHN 3:18

As the elect of God . . . put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another. 
~ COLOSSIANS 3:12–13

Live Loved

I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel.
~ 1 SAMUEL 17:45 

 Let’s Major in God

David just showed up this morning. He clocked out of sheep watching to deliver bread and cheese to his brothers on the battlefront. That’s where David hears Goliath defying God. . . . 

Read the first words he spoke, not just in the battle, but in the Bible: “David asked the men standing near him, ‘What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?’” (1 Samuel 17:26 NIV).

David shows up discussing God. The soldiers mentioned nothing about him, the brothers never spoke his name, but David takes one step onto the stage and raises the subject of the living God. . . .

No one else discusses God. David discusses no one else but God. . . .

David sees what others don’t and refuses to see what others do. All eyes, except David’s, fall on the brutal, hate-breathing hulk. . . . The people know his taunts, demands, size, and strut. They have majored in Goliath. 

David majors in God. He sees the giant, mind you; he just sees God more so. Look carefully at David’s battle cry: “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45).

~ FACING YOUR GIANTS 

 Lord God, train us to walk on your path. Teach us to see you in situations that are dangerous and difficult. Like David, when we are surrounded by overwhelming challenges, may our thoughts and words turn first to you. Rather than discuss the problem, remind us to discuss you. May our first thought in the morning and our last thought at night be centered on you. Rather than worry about the impossibilities, let us major in your mighty power. When we are tempted to look at the giants in our lives, we will choose to look at you, amen.

Let the God of my salvation be exalted! 
~ PSALM 18:46 

The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints. 
~ PSALM 89:5

We walk by faith, not by sight.
~ 2 CORINTHIANS 5:7

Live Loved

Love With a Merciful Love

The LORD your God. . . . He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
~ ZEPHANIAH 3:17

God’s Immeasurable Love

Several hundred feet beneath my chair is a lake, an underground cavern of crystalline water known as the Edwards Aquifer. We South Texans know much about this aquifer. We know its length (175 miles).We know its layout (west to east, except under San Antonio, where it runs north to south).We know the water is pure. Fresh. It irrigates farms and waters lawns and fills pools and quenches thirst. We know much about the aquifer.

But for all the facts we do know, there is an essential one we don’t. We don’t know its size. The depth of the cavern? A mystery. Number of gallons? Unmeasured. No one knows the amount of water the aquifer contains. 

Watch the nightly weather report, and you’d think otherwise. Meteorologists give regular updates on the aquifer level. You get the impression that the amount of water is calculated. “The truth is,” a friend told me, “no one knows how much water is down there.”

Could this be? I decided to find out. I called a water conservationist. “That’s right,” he affirmed. “We estimate. We try to measure. But the exact quantity? No one knows.” Remarkable. We use it, depend upon it, would perish without it . . . but measure it? We can’t.

Bring to mind another unmeasured pool? It might. Not a pool of water but a pool of love. God’s love. Aquifer fresh. Pure as April snow. One swallow slackens the thirsty throat and softens the crusty heart. Immerse a life in God’s love, and watch it emerge cleansed and changed. We know the impact of God’s love.

But the volume? No person has ever measured it.

~ IT’S NOT ABOUT ME 

Your love, Father God, is without limit. We depend on it, but we can’t begin to measure it. Your love rests on us like a holy blessing. From day to day and hour to hour, we enjoy the benefits of your faithful and eternal love. You paid the price for our salvation with the death of your Son. You accept us into your family as your children. You guide us and teach us your ways. You never leave us without your immeasurable love for one fraction of a second. You never quit showing us your tenderness and kindness. We rest joyfully in your hands, amen.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 
~ 1 JOHN 3:1 

 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” 
~  JOHN 15:9

Live Loved

“Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
~ JOHN 3:3
 

You Must Be Born Again

“Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” JOHN 3:3 You Must Be Born Again The noisy room silences as Nicodemus enters. The men are wharf workers and tax collectors, unaccustomed to the highbrow world of a scholar. They shift in their seats. Jesus motions for the guest to sit. Nicodemus does and initiates the most famous conversation in the Bible: “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2).

Nicodemus begins with what he “knows.” I’ve done my homework, he implies. Your work impresses me. 

We listen for a kindred salutation from Jesus: “And I’ve heard of you, Nicodemus.” We expect, and Nicodemus expected, some hospitable chitchat.

None comes. Jesus makes no mention of Nicodemus’s VIP status, good intentions, or academic credentials, not because they don’t exist, but because, in Jesus’ algorithm, they don’t matter. He simply issues this proclamation: “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3).

Behold the Continental Divide of Scripture, the international date line of faith. Nicodemus stands on one side, Jesus on the other, and Christ pulls no punches about their differences. 

Nicodemus inhabits a land of good efforts, sincere gestures, and hard work. Give God your best, his philosophy says, and God does the rest. 

Jesus’ response? Your best won’t do. Your works don’t work. Your finest efforts don’t mean squat. Unless you are born again, you can’t even see what God is up to.

~ 3:16: THE NUMBERS OF HOPE

Thank you, Almighty God, for providing salvation for all who submit to you. We praise you that we can be born into your spiritual kingdom out of a life of sin. What a relief to know that we do not have to work to become your child; we simply accept the work of Jesus’ death on the cross. Your offer of salvation is a marvelous miracle of mercy. It is a free gift from your generous heart given to all who don’t deserve it but desperately need it. We praise you for your magnificent work, amen.

And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
~ HEBREWS 5:9

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
~ MATTHEW 7:21