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 honesty

Just a Little Off Course

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I read a story recently about a plane that crashed into a mountain because the pilot, while on approach to an airport, unknowingly followed the wrong navigational beacon. The cockpit instruments told him his true position, but he kept flying off course for over a minute–until it was too late. Post crash analysis confirmed: the pilot had not noticed a one-degree-per-second turn to the right. The autopilot was dialed to the wrong navigational aid.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Proverbs 14:12

The story above brings to mind the error of the Pharisees and Sadducees in the New Testament. They took God’s law and added their own rules to it. And just like the story of the pilot, following the wrong navigational beacon led to disaster.

For a fresh look at how this is still happening today, please read, Christian-Social identity or Spiritual reality? by Perth Girl.

Now, to my own story of getting off course from Christ. For most of my adult life I’ve struggled with social anxiety; last year, after suffering two panic attacks in as many weeks, I sought relief through mindfulness meditation.

Sitting quietly, one chooses a focal point–like the breath–and keeps coming back to it when distracted. The idea is to let your thoughts (good or bad) float by like clouds while you observe with curiosity. The result is like pushing a pause button on life, and it really helped with my anxiety.

I downloaded a couple of meditation apps, read some great books by mindfulness experts, and participated in live-streamed offerings. But the more I delved into mindfulness, which is rooted in Buddhism, the more I realized the navigational beacon of my teachers was Buddha, not Jesus Christ.

It dawned on me, I was taking a one-degree-per-second turn away from the Living God, inadvertently setting my auto pilot on the wrong flight path. Thankfully, I listened to the Holy Spirit and got back on course with Christ.

Jesus answered, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

I still meditate occasionally, but now I keep in mind where the true airport is!

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For a different look at this same subject, please see my post, What Time is It?

Categories
Hope

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/

Categories
Hope

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/

Categories
Hope

Think Big, but Start Small

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“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter until the full day.”

Proverbs 3:18

When I was in high school, I woke up every morning at 4:30 to milk a herd of Holstein cows. It was hard word, but there was at least one perk; plenty of mornings I was able to enjoy the most amazing sunrises! The coolest thing was, you could see them coming BEFORE they arrived.

Actually a recent sunset, but you get the picture!

Bit by bit, the sky grew brighter and brighter until the sun eventually came into view. It seems God likes to grow things little by little: sunrises, oak trees, immature humans.

I, on the other hand, have often subscribed to the philosophy of instant discipleship–agonizing over a major life decision without realizing (until much later) that God takes things in smaller chunks.

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

Psalm 119:105

Only God knows where the path eventually leads, but as long as He gives enough light to see the next step, we’re good, right?

Think big, but start small.

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https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/06/think-big-but-start-small/

Categories
Hope

Wakey wake, Cupcake

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Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way and me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23-24

I used to get annoyed when my laptop kept telling me it needed a software update, or virus scan, or some other preventive maintenance. Ask me later, I clicked on the screen, “Can’t you see I’m busy!?”

But then, one inevitable day, I got a computer virus that wiped out my entire hard drive. Important documents and hundreds of pictures, which I’d failed to back up, vanished in an instant.

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Needless to say, I now keep my computer healthy with regular updates and scans.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Socrates

Our wise friend from ancient Greece challenges us to scan our lives for purpose and meaning, or risk losing everything. But King David of ancient Israel has a better idea: ask God to do it.

Search me, O God, and know my heart.

King David

After all, heart surgery is best left to the professional. That’s what God told the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah:

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10

Are you like me, to busy to scan until it’s almost too late? Well, let’s both not be that way anymore. Agreed?

A closing Haiku:

Do not say, “I can’t”

When you really mean, “I won’t”

Wakey wake, cupcake.

Regular David (me)
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https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/05/wakey-wake-cupcake/

Categories
Hope

Not Random, PLAN-dom!

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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

As a child I loved to do those connect the dots activity sheets. Maybe you remember them too?

The problem was, at least early on, I didn’t know to follow the numbers in order. My smiling lion looked more like a lumpy ????, because I connected the dots in a random way. Thankfully, I got better at it–once I knew the plan.

God Dots…

God has an agenda–a pattern for each of us to trace in Christ. All we have to do is follow the numbers.

Remember, you are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do some amazing stuff. And the dots are already there!

Not random, PLAN-dom!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/04/not-random-plan-dom/

Categories
Christian Blog Perspective

What Time is It?

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What Time is It?

“My times are in Your hands;”

Psalm 31:15a

The most accurate clock on earth is the US Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, Colorado, and I have a little clock at home that is connected to it. Using a low frequency wireless transmission, the US Atomic Clock beams it’s super-accurate time signal straight to my clock’s internal receiver. Viola! Daily updates ensure accuracy to the fraction of a second.

However, something happened recently to shake my faith in the ‘mother of all clocks:’ my little ‘chip off of the old block’ started inexplicably losing time. It was barely noticeable at first, but it was happening surely enough. My supposed super clock no longer agreed with the time on my cell phone, or, more importantly, the microwave.

“Uh oh,” I said to no one in particular, “I guess the subscription to the mother clock ran out.” I took the atomic clock junior off the wall and headed straight for the trash can. Yes, all the clocks in my home must say exactly the same thing. Anyway, just as I was about to drop the clock into oblivion, I saw it–the cover to a tiny compartment containing two AA batteries. You guessed it, I promptly replaced the batteries with fresh ones, and the clock once again keeps perfect time. The problem was on my end, not the source.

Hmm… there’s a life application in here somewhere. King David, of ancient Israel, wrote about it in a prayer to God.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

We know from other texts, that David wrote these words shortly after scandal rocked his kingdom. He had slept with another man’s wife and she was now pregnant. The betrayed husband was one of David’s most loyal military leaders, but the king had him killed to cover up his own sin.

David lost his connection with God. His spiritual batteries ran down and tragedy ensued. He stopped checking in and chose to check out–until he was confronted by the prophet Nathan. He desperately needed to reorient himself to God.

As any good carpenter will tell you, even a few degrees off level is a no go. The fact is, it doesn’t take long to become out of plumb with God. Listen to Amos, the Old Testament prophet:

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

Amos 7:7-8

The world has a battery draining effect on our spiritual senses; losing our fellowship connection with God adversely affects the mind, will, and heart. However, we may not even be aware of this–until God asks, “What time is it?”

So what is the solution? The daily check-in and the weekly recharge! Spend time alone with God at least once a day and observe the sabbath each week to replenish spiritual batteries.

Staying in sync with God means maintaining a good connection, just like my little clock does with the US Atomic Clock. Now that I replaced the batteries, that is.

“In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Isaiah 30:15