Categories
Perseverance Perspective

Sparkle!

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” Dr. Seuss

One of my colleagues has this sign hanging just outside her classroom door:

Frankly, every time I walk past and read it I have conflicting thoughts. Thought #1: “Right on!” Thought #2: “That’s easier said than done.”

If you’re like me, your sparkle has been dulled before. And needless to say, it’s a “Once bitten, twice shy” experience. In fact “sparkle snuffers” seem to have an unfair advantage in this fallen world. The lopsided power of negativity, as seen on social media, is a prime example.

Question: how do you do that—not let anyone dull your sparkle?

That’s right, I’m asking you, because I’m not sure I know. I do have a pretty good idea, though, so please read on.

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Everything that glitters may not be gold, but REAL sparkle only comes from God. And whatever God gives you, can’t NOBODY take away!

That’s my idea: ✨God-Sparkle ✨. It doesn’t come from the world, so the world can’t dull it—at least not for long.

But the first order of the day is to make sure our glitter (yours and mine) comes from God.

“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

This is one of my favorite scriptures in the whole Bible. God has an AGENDA for each of His children, AND it’s a GOOD one! All we have to do is make sure we’re holding the right bottle of glitter.

We are His workmanship, so keep sprinkling your God-Sparkle (good works)!

If you need a pick-me-up from a Christian blogger who has sparkle to spare, please check out Caralyn at Beauty Beyond Bones. She’s an eating disorder survivor who’s as effervescent as a glass of Alka-Seltzer!

Again, how do YOU not let anyone dull YOUR sparkle?

Categories
Christian Living forgiveness

Are You My Daddy?

One of my favorite books as a child was, Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman. In the story, a baby bird hatches while his mother is away from the nest. He falls to the ground and immediately begins to search for her, but doesn’t know what she looks like. The little hatchling meets several animals, and even a few machines, and asks each of them, “Are you my mother?” Finally, the baby bird is returned to the nest–just as his mom arrives with a worm.

The Bible has a version of this story. In the final days of His earthly life, Jesus returns to Jerusalem just before Passover. He’s overcome with emotion when the city comes into view and says this:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.

Matthew 23:37

The Israelites had ‘left the nest’ yet again, and were not seeking to return. Time after time in the Bible we find God’s people asking everything they see, “Are you my daddy?” And, just like the baby bird in the story, they have NO IDEA of their REAL predicament. When Jesus says, “Look, your house is left to you desolate,” He refers to the ultimate destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (in 79 AD) and God’s rejection of His people (Jeremiah 12:7).

Isn’t idolatry (even in ignorance) still a problem today? It’s easy to stray from the nest. And Christians are not immune to the lure of the three S’s: sin, self, and stuff.

A recent devotional in, Our Daily Bread, highlights the tendency to trust in just-in-case idols. The old hymn, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, becomes Leaning on the Ever-lesser Arms, when we trust in our own intelligence, abilities, or possessions more than God.

Nevertheless, a loving Father awaits the return of all stray hatchlings to the nest.

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.

Psalm 91:4

Who’s Your Daddy?

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/10/17/whos-your-daddy/

Categories
Christian Living Trust

Fully Rely on God

My mom was an avid reader of Guideposts, a Christian devotional magazine. In one issue, when she read an article about a man who handed out little rubber frogs with the caption, “F.R.O.G. – Fully Rely on God— she was motivated to get involved.

A quick check at an online retailer found bags of suitable frogs by the 100 count; a pack of lined note cards (to cut into strips) and a ball of red yarn completed the supplies needed to go into the F.R.O.G. business.

Here’s one of my mom’s earliest models. It’s a bit tattered, because he has made the rounds with many in need.

Mom made several dozen and began handing them out to friends and neighbors. She also supplied Nancy and me enough to hand out for our nursery home ministry. Altogether, she made and shared about 200 F.R.O.G.s before she became too sick to continue.

After mom passed away, we decided to hop 🐸 into the F.R.O.G. business ourselves. Ours didn’t have the carefully handcrafted look of mom’s, but they served the same purpose

The residents at the nursing homes and assisted living centers where we sang were thrilled with their little green friends who reminded them to totally trust God. A running joke every month was, “Don’t keep two together, or you’ll soon have more little froggies than you know what to do with!”

At one particular retirement home, the same sweet, smiling resident continued to ask for a frog every time we came. I kept thinking, “Didn’t I give you one last month?!” This went on for awhile—until I heard her whisper to a friend—after taking yet another frog— “I have three more in my room!”


Fully Rely on God, it’s a great idea, but are there practical applications? I think I’ve found a couple. Perhaps you can help me think of more!

My first down-to-earth utilization of F.R.O.G. is the “Phillipians Filter”:

“Finally brothers, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think of such things.” — Philippians 4:8

My apologies for the handmade illustrations. I spent all my money on my catchy domain name.😆

My second illustration of our amphibious acronym is called “Proverbial Math”:

“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

Again, please excuse the homespun illustration. I need a graphic artist!🙄

All things considered, maybe the concept of fully relying on God can’t be reduced to a simple formula. Perhaps that why the Almighty told a guy like Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9

All the same, as fallible followers of a Holy God, we seek tangible ways to put His promises into practice. Hence, the popularity of F.R.O.G., WWJD and the like.

Today, and every day, may we: turn away from sin, hop to Him, and keep our eyes on the prize like we’re watching flies!

🎶 It’s not easy bein’ green. 🎶
Categories
Christian Living Discipleship

Drawn to the Light

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm 119:105

One night this summer, I accidentally left the garage door up with the lights turned on. It was three hours later before I discovered my oversight. As I opened the door that leads into the garage from the laundry room, I was greeted with a surreal sight: dozens of moths! They were on the walls, hanging from the ceiling and covering both vehicles like polka dots.

They all looked similar to this one.

I decided the best thing to do was to simply turn off the lights and shut all the doors. The moths will go nowhere in the dark, I thought: “I’ll deal with it in the morning.”

But early the next day when I opened the door, there were just a few little brown insects to be seen. Only when I walked to the other side of the garage did I discover what happened overnight.

Most of the moths had landed on the floor—fanning out from a night light. It was the only source of luminescence in the room, shining only 0.4 watts, yet most of them found their way too it!


This begs the question, just how much of God’s light does a person need?

King David wrote of God’s Word being a lamp for his feet and a light for his path (Psalm 119:105). This doesn’t sound like the airport runway lights I’d prefer, but it must be enough to find The Way, or David wouldn’t have said it.

Jesus Himself spoke about how just a little bit of the right stuff is a big deal in the kingdom of God. Remember the parable He told about having faith like a mustard seed (Mark 4:30)?

As an amatuer bread baker, it still amazes me just how little yeast is needed for a whole batch of dough! “Surely, one packet isn’t enough,” I tell my wife every time. But the balls of dough keep rising until they triple in size! Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to such an experience (Matthew 13:33).

As a child of God, out on life’s ocean, it’s often hard to find my bearings. And when I can’t see but a few feet in front of me, it’s tempting to pray for lighthouses, fog horns and flares–something BIG to show me The Way. However, like He did with Elijah, God often speaks in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13).

I suppose the moral of the moths is to tune in to the light of God we have, no matter how small. Flood light faith isn’t always needed.

God’s best to you in your journey.

Categories
Christian Blog Uncategorized

What was that, God?

Photo by Alireza Attari on Unsplash

I once heard a story about a little boy who misheard part of the Lord’s Prayer. Where it says, “forgive us our trespasses,” he thought the people at church were saying, “forgive us our trash baskets.”

There’s actually a term for this. According to Dictionary.com, a word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of another word or phrase is called a mondegreen. In many cases, the misinterpretation gives the original phrase a new meaning. Like in the song, Purple Haze, when Jimmy Hendrix sings, “Scuse me while I kiss the sky,” but the listener hears, “Scuse me while I kiss this guy.”

I wonder, do mondegreens sometimes happen when God speaks to us? After all, He doesn’t think or work the same way we do (Isaiah 55:9), so it stands to reason that His instructions could easily be lost in translation.

God: “You have enough stuff.”
Me: “I need a new truck!”

Or maybe we clearly hear what God says, but creatively interpret the meaning. This mistake cost Saul his kingdom, in 1 Samuel chapter 13, when he offered up burnt offerings to God as a stand-in for the prophet Samuel.

Something like this happened to me the year I turned forty, but not with such dire results. I clearly heard the Holy Spirit say, “It’s time to get the music started.” I interpreted this to mean that I needed to begin a Christian concert ministry, record albums, and pitch my songs to Nashville publishers. To me, it was all or nothing–throwing the entirety of God’s resources up in the air at once.

But the Lord had something else in mind. He opened a door for my wife and me to share music in nursing homes and assisted living centers, making seniors feel better by singing their favorite hymns. My own gospel songs never made it to Nashville, but they still touched people–a few at a time. I know, because they told me so. Clearly, God’s plan to, “get the music started,” meant something more like passing out a bag of nickels one at time, rather than my grandiose ideas.

So that’s my, “What was that, God?” story.

Have you ever misheard God or misinterpreted what He said to you? If so, please share. I’d love to hear about it.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/09/05/what-was-that-god/

Categories
Christian Blog courage

The Source of Her Strength

“Picnic” by pigpogm is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In a recent Our Daily Bread devotional, Deep Rooted Faith, Xochitl Dixon tells the story of a 600 year old oak tree that stood next to a church in New Jersey. The tree had survived many storms (including several hurricanes) due to its extensive root system. It’s deep vertical taproot supplied strength and nourishment, while it’s horizontal roots spread beyond the tree’s canopy. Says Dixon, “Most of the life-giving growth occurred beneath the surface.”


My mom and dad were happily married for 49 years. Like many of their generation, my father made most of the decisions. He did the driving, arranged for major purchases, etc. The majority of the time, my mother deferred to him.

When dad died in 2007, the rest of the family wondered how mom would fare. Would she wilt under the strain of making ALL the decisions?

We shouldn’t have worried. After a period of adjustment, my mother began to blossom. She painted her bedroom sunflower yellow, learned to use the riding lawn mower, and traded the family van for a cute little SUV.

For nearly 50 years she let my father lead, yet all the while her tenacious fortitude was just beneath the surface. The secret of her strength was her deep roots in God. Mom was not overt in sharing her Christian faith, but the source of her strength was obvious to all who knew her. And when the time came for her to join my father in heaven, she did not seem to be afraid.

A few months after my mother died, I picked up her favorite Bible. Tucked within the pages was one of her “taproot” scriptures–written on a 3″ x 5″ card in her perfect penmanship.

What is one of your tap root scriptures? Please share, if you’d like.

Here’s one of mine:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)
Categories
Christian Living Discipleship

The Narrow Path

One of my favorite blogs is Devotional Treasures. Alan, who goes by the moniker holytreasurehunter, is a brother in Christ from the Kingdom of Fife.

Yes, I had to look it up. Fife is in Scotland, and it’s home to over 40 golf courses–including the world famous seaside links at St. Andrews.

On Devotional Treasures you’ll find simple stories about prayer, revival and walking with God. There are also amazing pictures of the Scottish countryside, along with wonderful scriptural applications to life.

What impresses me most about Alan’s blog, however, is how he comes across: he is simply a guy who takes walks with God and then writes about it.

Please check out Devotional Treasures; you’ll be glad you did!


Actually, it was a post Alan wrote on July 9th, entitled The Way of the Lord, that inspired this one.

As I mentioned earlier, the holytreasurehunter likes to take walks through the Scottish countryside near his home. One of his favorite journeys reaches its highest point at a place he calls the narrow path.

Photo by Alan from Devotional Treasures. Used by permission.

As you can see, this is most certainly a single person one-way walking situation! In fact, Alan says he often “steps up on the stone dyke to let folk pass.”

Anyway, the post refers to Matthew 7:12-14, about the narrow gate that leads to heaven. I kept staring and staring at that slim path in the picture until it dawned on me: there’s only room for one person at a time–with Christ in front leading the way!

Two days later, I opened a compilation of classic Our Daily Bread devotional readings. The entry for July 11 was entitled, No Place For The Devil.

The key verse was Ephesians 4:27, where Paul exhorts his readers to, “Neither give place to the devil.” According to the author, the word ‘place’ is important. The devil can’t fill the same ‘place’ as the Holy Spirit.

“It’s the narrow path!” I blurted out loud. If I’m filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit, there’s no room for the devil!

It’s just Jesus and me.

There’s one caveat, however: being filled with the Spirit means handing over the reins of life to the will of God (Romans 12:2). And the best way to know the will of God is to know the Word of God.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105

Isn’t it amazing how a brother blogger and a devotional writer from 50 years ago worked together–within 48 hours of each other–to impress the same truth into another believer’s heart?

God is good!

Categories
Christian Blog Comfort Hope

God is God, Wherever You Are

Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash

For many of us, these times we’re living through have brought forceful emotions to the surface. For me, this has been particularly visible through mood swings and dreams.

I’ve always been susceptible to up and down emotions, but COVID 19, and now racial tensions on a national level, have taken things up a notch. The hills, drops, and loops of my life roller coaster are larger and occur more frequently.

Hyper-vigilance is the new norm. An unexpected loud sound–FedEx guy rings the doorbell and the dogs go nuts–sends my adrenaline soaring. A typically low-grade frustration takes me from sea level to death valley in a microsecond. It’s like I’m sailing on an even keel one moment, and slipping on a banana peel the next.

Uncertainty impacts the mind.

My pre-covid emotions were driving a Toyota Prius. Currently, I’m cruising in something more like this:


Dreams: they reveal our subconscious desires, and lately mine have been most enchanting. Two nights in a row, I’ve dreamed of intense platonic interactions with others.

Dream number one involves a heart-to-heart conversation with a former colleague I haven’t seen in years. In the second dream, I’m bear-hugging a childhood friend. I’ve also dreamed I’m at some sort of adult summer camp with a bunch of strangers, hiking through the wilderness and making smores by the fire.

Obviously, I’m craving connection with others.

Isolation impacts the mind.

Uncertainty and isolation pack a one-two punch that can put you on the canvas in a heartbeat.

For me, it’s always comforting to look in the Bible for someone who faced a similar situation. Evidently, the psalmist was going through a bit of a dry spell when he wrote this:

As the deer pants for the streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42:1-2 NIV)

Clearly, here’s a person craving connection, but with God, not man. Maybe this is the secret.

In another psalm, there’s a different deer:

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights. (Psalm 18:32-33 NIV)

Thirsty for a drink, or standing on the heights, God is the one who sustains.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

God is God, wherever you are.

Follows your heart–no matter how far.

Sees every turn. Knows every scar.

He’s still God–wherever you are.

Categories
Christian Blog patience

Right Now, It’s Like This, Part 2

Recently I shared, Right Now, It’s Like This, about our long wait for a new roof after a hail storm.

The roofers finally arrived that morning and began to work. They were here all that day and the next, and the roof was two-thirds finished. But the following morning they did not show up.

I called our contractor. He said the crew leader told him they were getting caught up on other jobs and would return the next morning. They didn’t. The contractor contacted them again, and they promised to return that afternoon at 4PM. Again, they didn’t.

My wife and I were beginning to think they weren’t coming back.

Two hours later,the crew finally returned and finished the roof. Well, almost. After they left, I went up to take a look. The ridge was not complete–they ran out of those type of shingles! And no one said anything about coming back. So I sent an urgent message to our contractor, along with a picture, but got no response.

At 8:45 the next morning, the roofers AND the contractor showed up with the needed materials and completed the ridge.

The 72 hours saga was over. During that time we had gone through a range of emotions, but by the time the roof was finished, the soap opera level reactions we experienced had given way to elation.

With the project behind us, our earlier worries seemed overblown. A friend who worked for years in the trades told me that sub-contractors who have plenty of work don’t always get in a hurry–“they know they will eat,” he said. Our contractor assured me as well that he wouldn’t have left us with a partial roof.

I guess we watch to much HGTV.

Later that evening, I turned to the scriptures for wisdom.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

James 1:2,3

That first day I saw the roofer’s ladder against the house, after weeks of delay, I thought the endurance part was over. In reality, it was only half-time. James said the testing of faith develops perseverance. I was thinking instamatic camera, but got 35MM. Oh, and I wasn’t too joyful about it.

Can you relate?

Photo by Sharon Snider on Pexels.com

Categories
Christian Blog

Measure Once, Cuss Twice

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV)

“Measure once, cuss twice,” it’s a favorite saying of Ben Napier, from the HGTV show Home Town. On the show, Ben and his wife Erin renovate properties in Laurel, Mississippi. One of the latest episodes features the Napier’s taking their old Airstream to Sunny Campers, a business that restores vintage travel trailers. It was fascinating to watch, as they described the process to Ben and Erin.

Two Airstream trailers awaiting restoration.

First, they completely clear out the inside of the trailer–all the way back to the shiny aluminum skin. As it turns out, many older Airstreams have moisture issues. They leak. A ‘full gut’ makes these clearly visible. The company then moves to the outside of the trailer, where they pull EVERY rivet, clean out seams, reseal and re-revit to make the trailer better than new.

Once everything is replaced and triple checked, it’s time for the ultimate test– the water chamber. The chamber resembles a car wash, with high press jets soaking the trailer from every direction. Everything must be leak-proof. Only after passing the water test, can the empty shell become a camper again.

Sunny Campers says the biggest mistake people make is to take an older Airstream and fix it up on the inside, without considering that it probably leaks.

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7b NIV)

When it comes to dealing with the old David, I’d be satisfied with a surface remodel. God, on the other hand, prefers a frame-up restoration.

This was the story in the third chapter of John, when Nicodemus came to Jesus. He was a respected religious leader (undoubtedly a good man) but Jesus told him, “You must be born again.” (John 3:3)

Nic wanted a superficial remodel, but Christ called for a complete re-do.

Today, and everyday, may we allow the Holy Spirit to restore and test our hearts. He’ll go farther than we ever could on our own.

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart. (Proverbs 17:3 NIV)

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/06/13/measure-once-cuss-twice/