From Grief to Joy

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I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Jesus (John 16:33)

What “things” is Jesus talking about–that he told them?


Christ had just shared the news that he was soon to be betrayed and arrested, falsely accused and convicted, and then brutally executed. Furthermore, as these events unfolded, most everyone listening to this unwelcome monologue would run for their lives.

Yet He told them these things so that they could have peace.

Peace!?


Absolute worst case scenarios don’t usually include serenity.
But Jesus knew the WHOLE story: 72 hours later He would be alive again and the disciples’ grief would turn to joy.

It’s likely you’re already familiar with the story, so I’ll get to the point.

Isolation is cured by authentic community.

The disciples were cowering behind locked doors for fear of arrest, until the risen Christ Himself came knocking. Isolation changed to authentic community the second someone turned the bolt!

Once united, these former frightful believers in Christ soon turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)!

I bet, like me, you’ve experienced everything from rock bottom grief to over the moon joy. Here’s the good news: Christ said one day it will ALL be joy,
because the Prince of Peace overcame the world and started the most authentic community EVER!

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

Mother Teresa

It Will Keep

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

People who’ve spent time in submarines, deep under the surface of the ocean, speak of a “sea cushion.” Below a certain depth, the ocean is as smooth as glass–no matter what happens overhead.

This illustration leads me to ponder the unshakable peace that can be found in God’s holiest servants. Each of us can probably think of a believer who trusted God and remained faithful to Him through the most perilous of circumstances. Which begs the question: How does one rest in God while the storm rages?

Rest is not a hallowed feeling that comes over us in church; it is the repose of a heart set deep in God.

Drummond

That’s it! The life that is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:1-3).

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1

This reminds me of a godly woman who used to live in my little town. She was twice widowed and mostly confined to a wheelchair, yet had the sweetest Christian spirit! Most days, she never ventured outside her home, but friends and neighbors still lined up to see her or called her on the phone. People were drawn to this friend of God who had the peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7).

One day, I was visiting with Ms. Frieda, as we called her, when her phone rang. However, she continued to speak with me as if nothing was happening. As the phone continued to ring, I said, “Go ahead and answer, Ms. Frieda, I’ll wait.” But she continued to ignore it and said the most amazing three words: “It will keep.”

Today, no matter the disturbance on the surface, may we rest under the sea cushion of Christ. And despite the inevitable distractions, may we respond like Ms. Frieda.

It will keep.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/13/it-will-keep/

Too Much of Me

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Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers righteousness on you.

Hosea 10:12

As I passed through the empty hospital lobby, an abandoned television blasted a medical infomercial touting the benefits of cosmetic surgery. A spokesperson quipped, “Is there still just a little bit too much of you?”

“How comical,” I thought, stepping into the elevator. “Some people are so vain.” I reached out to push the button for my floor, and at that exact moment the Holy Spirit whispered, “David, is there still just a little bit too much of you?” I understood what God was getting at; there was too much of me in my relationship with Him.

Pride is the sin of making self our god.

Oswald Chambers

Picture a pad of paper.

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At that point in my life, I had relegated God to the margins. In the center of the page, where people normally write, THAT was MINE. Over on the sides–in the left and right margins–that was God’s. I quickly fell under conviction that the whole page was rightfully His; I had no right to fence off the “ME” ranch. My attempt to reduce God to the size of my choosing had left a huge field of unplowed ground between us. The realization hit me, as I rode alone in that creaky elevator: if God wasn’t everything to me He wasn’t anything.

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Jesus (Matthew 16:24-25)

Today, the Holy Spirit asks each of us anew, “Is there still just a little bit too much of you?”

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/12/to-much-of-me/

An Alternate Past

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The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:8

Last night, I had an intense dream. I was riding with my brother in his 2000 GMC Yukon, as he confronted me about my alcohol abuse. I listened, but then pointed to my recently imploded career and crumbling marriage as a hopeless situation that drove me to drink. My brother wasn’t buying it, as he brought up a mutual mentor of ours who’d always believed in us both. I feigned agreement, but simply wanted out of that SUV–somewhere where I could be alone with my addiction.

Clearly, this was a flashback to an alternate past; my brother sold that Yukon years ago! My ministry and marriage did indeed fall apart (in 2000), but I’ve never struggled with alcohol abuse, though it IS a family weakness.

Friend, I believe God rewound my life last night and showed me what COULD have been– had I not trusted His grace and followed His steps at a pivotal time.

If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

Psalm 37:24

I don’t know about you, but I tend to fixate on questions about my NEXT step, not the steps I’ve already taken. But in reality, they’re both on the same path, one that God has planned from start to finish (Ephesians 2:10).

Today, and always, may you and I trust God enough to stick to the main roads of His providence. AMEN

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/11/an-alternate-past/

Teddy Bear Out The Window

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The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

My wife and I were driving to church this morning, when there he was: a little brown teddy bear with a red bow lying face down on the shoulder of the interstate. Both of us agreed there must be a story behind this seemingly lost friend, one that involves a heartbroken little person.

Isn’t it interesting how we develop emotional attachments to objects like stuffed animals? Somehow, they generate security and help us self-soothe.

Until I was about 4 years old, my “teddy bear” was a small crocheted blanket the family aptly named, “Nasty.” I’m told (I don’t remember any of this), I refused to let go of Nasty long enough for him to be washed. And when my mother occasionally did coax my little comforter from my grasp–for a much needed bath–I stood in the utility room and cried the WHOLE time.

I still have Nasty. He is safe in a trunk with several other family heirlooms. Yet other adult appropriate security blankets have taken his place. A special co-worker, a much loved family member or mentor, or even a favorite chair, I’m sure you can relate.

Alright, I’ll get to the point.

Psalm 34:18 says that God is CLOSE to the broken hearted; He doesn’t keep driving when our Teddy Bears go out the window. He also helps those who are crushed in spirit; He sent an angel to comfort Jesus when he collapsed at the cusp of His own crucifixion (Luke 22:40-46).

And He will do the same for you and me. Guaranteed.

Check out the very next verse of Psalm 34!

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;

Psalm 34:19a

Hold on Teddy, Daddy’s coming…

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/09/teddy-bear-out-the-window/

Start With Why

Teach me your way, O Lord; Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Psalm 86:11

In his best-selling book, “Start With Why,” author and organizational consultant Simon Sinek asserts that WHY we do something is paramount. WHAT we do and HOW we get it done are secondary.

People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.

Simon Sinek

Sinek illustrates his philosophy of value before volition with The Golden Circle:

In Golden Circle format, Psalm 86:11 (quoted above) looks like this:

So that I may fear Your Name (Why)
Teach me Your way, O Lord (How)
Give me an undivided heart (What)

An undivided heart means the appearance and the reality are exactly the same–you actually believe what you say and do . However, this can only come from learning God’s ways. But learning God’s ways won’t be a priority unless you WANT to respect and honor Him as He deserves.

Please pause for a moment and think about someone who has truly inspired you.

Has this inspiration led to lasting change in your life?

Chances are good that it did– IF you started with WHY.

Please allow a brief personal illustration.

I was converted at age nine, but at fifteen I sensed God drawing me closer to Him. My pastor suggested I start a daily time of prayer and Bible study; I took his advice, and thirty six years later I still meet God every morning!

It’s not WHAT I do–set aside time every day, or HOW I do it–with certain scriptures and prayers, but WHY–to draw closer to God, that keeps me coming back.

In our life with Christ, may we always Start With Why

The heart writes with permanent marker; authenticity is hard to erase.

Regular David (me)

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/09/start-with-why/

Peace that Isn’t Pitiful

body of water
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“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you  I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Have you ever attempted to bring peace to a difficult situation and failed?

This happened to me once with a room full of squirming kindergarteners.

I was a brand new elementary music teacher determined to prove my worth.  Those little guys didn’t know who they were dealing with!  Man, was I wrong.

I attempted to quiet down the class room using a call back:  “Tootsie Roll. Lollipop.  I was talking now I’ll stop.”  The children were supposed to repeat after me, ONCE, and then get quiet.  The trouble was, several little tykes wanted to be the last one standing.  So they just kept saying it over and over.

I spoke peace, but peace did not prevail.

Jesus, however, has a better track record.  He not only speaks peace to a situation, He creates it.  Awakened once in the back of a boat during a fierce storm, he told the wind to stop and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!”  And the wind died down completely and there was a miraculous calm (Mark 4:39).

The application here is obvious.  If the Prince of Peace speaks calm to your situation, He actually has the power to make it happen.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3