Categories
Christian Blog forgiveness

Weeds Are Flowers Too

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”

A.A. Milne

If the guys on my dorm hallway at seminary had been the twelve disciples, then *Sean Fitzpatrick would have been Peter. Too say that ‘Surly Sean,’ as he was known, was rough around the edges is putting it kindly. Brash, quick tempered and occasionally foul-mouthed, he was far from the typical divinity student.
Sean looked like a shorter version of Tom Selleck, from the show Magnum P.I.–right down to the shorts and Hawaiian shirt. And just like the character on television, he was always ready with a playful insult.

I asked one of the other guys on the hall, “What’s with this dude?!” My friend told me that Sean came to seminary after his father died of a heart attack while they were on a hunting trip. The grieving young man was adrift, so his pastor suggested he come cross-country to attend seminary–thinking it might help the healing process. But Sean only lasted one semester; training to be a pastor was NOT his calling. This was no surprise to the rest of us.

Nevertheless, as I got to know my fractious neighbor, I realized he was a true brother in Christ who just happened to come from a different place than I did. Sean told me of growing up in Philadelphia, where Irish kids like him walked down the middle of the street to avoid being mugged. It was unimaginable, to a small town boy like me, who grew up where people seldom locked their doors.

We lost touch after he left seminary, but something told me Sean was back in Philly. So three years later, I looked him up. He was married and a recent father to a baby daughter. I reminded him that the last time we’d talked he insulted me. I won’t repeat what he said–this is a G-rated blog–but to him, these were terms of endearment. However, three years later, he couldn’t believe he’d talked to me like that! Clearly, Surly had sweetened. He even thanked me for being a good friend during a tough time in his life.

There are lots of ‘Seans’ out there, people who aren’t exactly like you or me, people who are hurting. And God loves them too. Remember one of the nicknames Jesus’ enemies gave Him? They called him a ‘Friend of Sinners’ (Matthew 7:43).

When Sean showed up at a seminary, he was like Zacchaeus in the Bible, up in a tree looking for Jesus. But most of us pious would be pastors avoided him, because we thought weeds aren’t really flowers. We were wrong.

For the son of man came to seek and save the lost.

Luke 19:10

*not his real name.

Categories
Christian Blog devotional

Wet Paint

“27 February – 242/365” by Researching Media is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

As a recent project, my wife and I decided to touch up some high traffic areas in our home with fresh paint. Each of us walked around one morning, with brush and paint can in hand, covering over blemishes high and low.

We finished the job as planned and were quite proud of our work. But there was a little problem: we didn’t mark where we painted. It’s hard to tell wet paint from dry of the same color, you know?

Well, I must have brushed against some fresh paint walking into the laundry room, because, next thing I know, my wife tells me I have a racing stripe across my backside! Later, our little terrier comes up to me sporting a white-tipped tail she didn’t have before. It actually looked quite fashionable on her.

I now know why signs that say Wet Paint, Biohazard, and Radioactive were invented.

Hey, someone needs to come up with a type of paint that goes on light pink and slowly turns white as it dries. I would buy some of that.

Anyway, after these two mishaps, we managed to avoid any further contact with wet paint, but the quote lover in me was intrigued. Searching for just the right words to describe our dilemma, I remembered these:

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”

Robert Burns

This actually comes from the poem, To a Mouse. Burns wrote it after plowing up a mouse’s nest in a field in November 1785. The rodent ran away unharmed, but the poet felt bad–knowing he destroyed its home just before the brutal Scottish winter.

But who knows what really happened to our little grey friend after the accident. Maybe it ran straight to Robert Burn’s house and moved in!


Being a child of God doesn’t make one immune to ‘mouse-haps.’ In fact, I’ve survived quite a few. I bet you have also.

Maybe that’s why my wife and I gave the poor mouse in Burn’s poem a happy ending. Like the Psalmist said, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14).

Have you ever experienced a Romans 8:28 situation–something that seemed ALL bad right when it happened, but later turned out for the good?

Maybe our present circumstances are like wet paint–we need to let them dry before we brush up against them. This takes faith in God’s sovereignty, but sure beats getting paint on your backside!

Here are two of my favorite, let-the-paint-dry scriptures. Please share yours in the comments, if you like.

“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)

“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “you are my God.” My times are in Your hands.” — (Psalm 31:14-15a)


God’s Child
Things don’t always turn out the way we think they should.
Sometimes, we look to heaven and say, “God, it’s just no good.”
Until somewhere from the silence…comes a voice of love
Saying, “You’re My child, and that’s enough.”

When you’re God’s child it’s enough.
He is all you need when the going gets tough.
It doesn’t make much difference if the sailing’s smooth or rough.
You’re God’s child, and that’s enough.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” — (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Categories
Christian Blog courage

Sitting Back on Our ‘Buts’

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, He said, “the Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:12-13a NIV)

It was a bad childhood habit of mine–sitting back on my ‘but’ when I didn’t want to do something. The word was one of my favorites, “But mom, I can’t clean my room. I have soccer practice.”

Another young man in the Bible had the same problem. God sent an angel with a message for Gideon, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)

But Lord…

This makes the second time Gideon sat back on his ‘but” in just three verses of scripture! Thankfully, the extremely patient angel gives it another go: “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” (Judges 6:16)

Finally, our reluctant hero accepts the mission. Apparently, Gideon doesn’t realize, until after the second but, that God will do the delivering–not him.

If God tells you to do something, don’t sit back on your ‘but.’ Get off you BUTT and do it!

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalm 50:14-15 NIV)

We get the deliverance, but God get’s the glory.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV)

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/06/28/sitting-back-on-our-buts/

Categories
Perspective Self Care

Let Me See Your Tongue

As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.

Proverbs 27:19

My mother grew up on a 160 acre cotton farm in the sandy hills of southwest Oklahoma. The nearest town, of any size, was 15 miles away. Such isolation made self-reliance a given.

Because the farm was a ‘far piece’ from anywhere, as my grandfather liked to say, grandmother often served as a country doctor. Cuts were wrapped in a clean rag soaked in turpentine, and the cure for almost any internal ailment was a substantial dose of castor oil.

Grandmother also had a curious way of determining a diagnosis prior to treatment. If you told her you weren’t feeling well (I did this only once) she would say, “Let me see your tongue.” This was the only time I was allowed to stick my tongue out at my maternal forebearer.

You see, Grandmother believed the color of one’s tongue revealed their general state of health. I tried to tell her about the green Jolly Rancher I’d been sucking on, but she STILL brought out the castor oil.


Jesus knows a thing or two about tongues as well.

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. (Matthew 15:18 NIV) For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 NIV)

The REAL me is reflected in my words.

Here’s how I picture it:

The tongue is like a thermometer, while the heart is like a thermostat–the former is effected by the latter.

This connection between words, actions and heart is as real as death and taxes.

I love how the psychedelic NYC street performer, Matthew Silver, talks about human beings. He’s quite the philosopher.

You’re already doing, you’re always doing what’s in your heart; you can’t get away from your heart.

Matthew Silver


Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/30/thermometer-or-thermostat/

Categories
Hope

God Doesn’t Make Junk

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Many people considered famous today were once oddballs who refused to do their art the established way. The painter Jackson Pollock laid a humongous canvas on the floor of his barn and dripped paint on it. The critics thought he was nuts–until people started calling it art. More recently, there’s Lindsey Stirling, who was told by the judges on America’s Got Talent that her unusual combination of dancing and playing the violin was not marketable. After being voted off the show, she took her skills to YouTube to prove the naysayers wrong. Her channel now has 12.4 million subscribers!

“Jackson Pollock, Cathedral, 1947” by Detlef Schobert is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Personal expression doesn’t have to be justified to hold value.

Come to think of it, Jesus was somewhat of an oddball during His days on earth. His ‘art’ was unappreciated by the religious experts, but people with the ears to hear believed (John 1:12). He now has over two billion followers!

If Christ completed the good works God prepared in advance for Him to do, you can too (John 14:12).

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Dr Seuss

You are God’s workmanship, and God doesn’t make junk!

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/21/god-doesnt-make-junk/

Categories
Comfort Faith Security

Promises, Promises

Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

2 Corinthians 1:20

Have you ever had this experience? Your new electronic gizmo isn’t working properly, but there’s a number to call for customer service- “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” Did I say customer service? It should be called customer NO service! What you get when you call is a computer generated recording with a lengthy menu of choices, none of which fit your particular problem. To add insult to injury, just press 9 to repeat the same worthless menu again! Your odds of actually talking with a real person are up there with winning the lottery.

On the other hand, when God says, “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” He really means it. Every one of His promises comes with an automatic, “Yes.”

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Draw near to God and He will draw near to You.

James 4:8

Isn’t it great that God is willing to come close to us? Like two boats coming alongside each other, our loving Father is willing to link up.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

Matthew 7:7

Here,Christ Himself reminds us that God doesn’t hide from those who seek Him in earnest (Jeremiah 29:13). Look for God and you will find Him.

Promises, promises. Man makes them, but doesn’t always keep them.

God does.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1

Categories
Hope

IYQ-YQR

Photo by Genaro Servín on Pexels.com

“If you, God, kept records on wrong doings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that is why you’re worshiped.”

Psalm 130:3-4 MSG

I met a clown once. I know, that’s a weird opening sentence, but it’s true. He was at the mall making balloon animals for the kids. While he contorted a squeaky red one into a dog for my son, I noticed six cryptical letters embroidered on his costume–where a name tag would be.

“IYQ-YQR,” I said, “What does that mean?” “Oh, you don’t speak “clown-lish,” said the red-nosed jester with a smirk. “I…like…you..like…you…are,” he said, pointing at each letter.

My new clown friend was on to something. He must have heard about the guy who said this:

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Theodore Roosevelt

At the risk of comparing the Almighty to both a clown and our 26th president, I believe God agrees.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Psalm 103:8,10,13

I think we agree, imperfect humans fall far short of God’s holiness (Romans 3:23). And our creator doesn’t grade on the curve. He could flunk us all. Thankfully, there’s a merciful solution for our predicament.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

Okay, now I’m preaching. You probably already know these things.

Here’s my somewhat fresh angle:

God likes you like you are.

You don’t have to DO anything to earn his approval. Like that clown at the mall, He just likes you…period.

Squeaky balloon animal, anyone?

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/18/iyq-yqr/

Categories
Anxiety Peace

Peace that Isn’t Pitiful

body of water
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

“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

Categories
acceptance forgiveness grace Hope Justice

That’s Not Fair!

slippery foot dangerous fall
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging.” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Romans 12:17-19 The Message

It’s a privilege to spend most of my days teaching four and five-year olds. The miraculous mix of wonder, authenticity, and innocence found in young children is indeed a balm for the soul.

What a pre-kindergartener feels is right on the surface-there is no mask. Such an, “always keeping it REAL” approach to life is inspiring.

Take, for instance, my most recent encounter with a pint-sized Italian girl who speaks almost no English. Twice during class she abruptly stood up, put her little hands on her hips, and bellowed,”Non e giusto!” in her native tongue. A quick check with Google Translate solved the mystery. She was saying, “That’s not fair!”

Of course, it was something relatively insignificant–to an adult. Someone took her place in line; she didn’t get a turn. “Calma per favore,” I said in a pleasant voice–“Calm down, please.”

The next morning, I read the scripture above during my devotional time. Then God whispered, “You know, David, you act like a preschooler sometimes; you let people push your, “That’s not fair!’ button.” I have to admit, He’s right.

I often judge myself by my intentions but judge others by their actions. I take offense and contemplate vengeance without knowing all the facts. I presume to be wiser than God.

#bad recipe

According to Jesus, our response to an offense should be forgiveness (Luke 6:37). We are to desire justice, (Micah 6:8) not revenge.

“Calma per favore,” says the Almighty. “I’ll take care of it.”

Categories
acceptance change Christian Blog

The Times They Are a-Changin’

road nature trees branches
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

“What is your name?”, I asked a patient in the Alzheimer’s unit where I visit once a month. “My name is *Ellen,” she replied, “but it will change.”

Apparently, there are those who know they have dementia and those who do not. Ellen is in the first category, but seems to take it in stride.

I decided to leave the conversation at that, but wondered what this kindly woman had once done for a living. Judging by her answer, she could have been a famous philosopher.

The scripture above says life is GUARANTEED to change–just like the seasons. It’s beyond our control; Summer turns to Fall and Winter is next. All one can do is prepare for the inevitable.

Is it just me, or does the free acceptance of fate sound a little depressing? Maybe that’s why, in this age of social media, there aren’t many “Ellen’s” posting about themselves with brutal honesty on FaceBook or sharing unvarnished self-truths on Twitter.

Who wants to be vulnerable?

Yet, in my new friend at the Alzheimer’s unit, there seemed to be no fear of embarrassing exposure. Ellen, even in her present condition, is keeping it REAL.

Going forward, I intend to do likewise.

Prayer:

God, you know the way I feel, You knew it from the start.
Show me what’s really REAL; guide and guard my heart. AMEN

*Not the same name she said–to protect her privacy.