Categories
Christian Blog vulnerability

Dog Gone It!

Photo by David Fanatan on Unsplash

We have a dog in our neighborhood that’s a fence jumper. Every so often, even with the gate shut, he just appears in the backyard. He’s friendly enough, but we worry what might happen if he gets in when our two little dogs are out.

We thought we had the problem solved. Our super-athletic trespasser liked to jump the one section of our fence that was four feet tall, so we replaced it with a six foot wooden privacy fence. We now have a tall fence around our whole backyard. “That should do it,” I told my wife.

But wouldn’t you know, one day we looked out and there he was: standing on the back patio laughing at himself in the window. What kind of dog gets over a six foot privacy fence?!

This has to be yet another metaphor for life. We build fences around our circumstances to control them. And then, when something breaches our puny perimeter, we build better ones.

Yet sometimes, no matter how hard we try, IT still happens. They make LifeProof cases for phones, but not for the human condition. And when something jumps the ‘fence’ and laughs at itself in the window, it’s easy to feel violated, unsafe and unsure about the future.

Enter God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, who most certainly understands humans.

He became one.

Psalm 139 makes it crystal clear: the Lord knows more about you and me than all the data mining companies of Silicon Valley combined!

As it turns out, He’s a fence builder too.

You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

Psalm 139:5

King David doesn’t mention sideways, but surely the Almighty has that covered as well.😀🙏

From the sounds of Psalm 139, and other similar scriptures, God never looks in on one of His children and says, “Well, would you look at that?!”

So friend, can we agree that whatever we’re facing right now—be it good, bad or ugly—God saw it coming and knows what to do about it?

His Word is His bond.


Here are a few go-to promises I turn to when I’m ‘on the fence’ about God’s protection and provision:

“What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

Please share your favorite scripture about God’s watch-care over us, if you’d like.


For another story about setting boundaries, that also involves an uninvited animal on our property, please see “Cat”astrophe.

Categories
change Christian Blog

Surfing Uncertainty

“Reality: what a concept!”

Robin Williams

About ten years ago, a severe ice storm crippled our area. Widespread power outages left many without electricity for days. Those without backup generators, that was most of us, were forced to adjust to reality–finding alternative sources for modern conveniences.

Not surprisingly, the people who coped best during this time were those who grew up in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Many of them spent their childhood creating things at home that the rest of us think only come from a store.

For example, during the power outage, my neighbors (a couple in their 80’s) simply put their perishable food items in a box on their back porch. The temperature didn’t rise above 30 degrees for a week, so they were good. Why didn’t I think of that? Another older couple had no heat, so they warmed up a cast iron skillet on their gas stove top to create a radiator!

When in a crisis, it’s a good idea to consult someone who has survived a few. Actor Alan Alda, 84–of T.V. show M*A*S*H fame–was recently asked in an interview how optimistic he was for his children and grandchildren’s future. Here’s what he told AARP magazine:

“With the world changing so rapidly, there’s no point in being optimistic or pessimistic about anything. You’ve just got to surf uncertainty, because it’s all we get.”

Alan Alda

Wow, that’s a wise way to look at life! But how do you surf uncertainty? Does this idea come with lessons?

We need only look to scripture for the answer.


Think of all the famous Bible heroes who successfully dealt with difficult circumstances. Many of these are mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, the Hall of Faith. These ladies and gentlemen surfed uncertainty, just as Alan Alda advises, and we know HOW they did it.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (emphasis mine)

We see this scripture in live action when the apostle Peter went surfing with Jesus–well, kinda sorta (Matthew 14:22-31). Remember the story? Peter walked on the water to meet Christ, but started to sink when he realized he was riding a huge wave; he took his eyes off Jesus and almost whiped-out. But, just for a moment, our fisherman friend was surfing–with God!

The world only offers two options: sink or swim. But when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can walk on the top with Him.

Surf’s Up!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/08/29/god-surfing/

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
Comfort Faith Security

Promises, Promises

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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
Christian Blog Comfort

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, and there he was: a little brown teddy bear 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.

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 comfort 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/

Categories
Anxiety Faith Purpose Security Sufficiency

One Stop Shop

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“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”

2 Peter 2:3

My wife and I recently fell in love with a particular cream-filled chocolate cake bar that is hard to find.

Wouldn’t you know, our local supermarket put them on sale, and their entire stock disappeared in one day!


NO!!!


We were out of our all time favorite snack; this couldn’t be happening. Almost daily trips to the store revealed the same empty shelf in the cooler. I even slipped the manager of the dairy section my phone number, asking him to call me the moment they came in.

NOTHING HAPPENED…


But then it did. I was digging in the freezer for some steaks to put on the grill and there they were: two pristine milk bars buried under a bag of broccoli.

YES!!!

I was searching like mad for something I already had.

Does this remind anyone else of their walk with God?

Too many times I’ve been like Moses and Jonah and said, “I can’t do that God; please pick someone else.” And God’s response has been, “I’ve already given you everything you need for the job, David. I want you to do it.”

Searching for that ONE THING in your Christian life? Check the freezer; you may already have it.

God is a one stop shop.

Categories
Comfort Faith Hope Peace Purpose Security

Signs of Hope

red lighted candle
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“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”  Hebrews 6:19

A recent devotional from Our Daily Bread tells the story of a recovering addict named Elizabeth who leaves encouraging notes on the car windshields of strangers.  She often closes these with the words, “Much love.  Hope sent.”

#inspiring

However, a query into the definition of hope reveals a fickle and fragile relationship between “Happy Days are Here Again” and mankind.

Hope (n.)  the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.  (Source: dictionary.com)

Sounds straightforward to me.  A quick synonym check reveals a delicate situation, however.  Confidence, expectation, and optimism make the list, but so do day dream, fool’s paradise, and castles in the air.

Clearly, the world sees hope as less of an “anchor for the soul” and more like wishful thinking.  To Madison Avenue, the future is a wind up toy with an ever-weakening spring;  expectation has an expiration date.

Thankfully, God doesn’t deal in pipe dreams.  The hope He offers has no shelf life, it’s a perpetual spring.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you.”  1 Peter 1:3-4

I’d like to meet the note leaving hope-giver Elizabeth someday.  She used to look for signs of hope, but now she leaves them for others.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,  I would still plant my apple tree.”  Martin Luther

Categories
Anxiety Comfort Peace Protection Security

The Little Girl and God

smiling girl sitting top of vehicle
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Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:13-14

My wife and I used to teach Sunday School at a shelter for abused, neglected, or abandoned children. One particular morning we encountered a sparkly eyed five-year old with a perpetual grin.  When we started the Bible story, about Jesus and the little children, she seemed particularly attentive. So I asked her, “Have you heard about Jesus?” She said no. Still sensing a connection, I gently probed, “Have you heard about God?” “Oh, I know God,” she said. “We take naps together!”

I said something like, “Oh, you do?!” and then continued with the story. But the rest of the day I tried to wrap my mind around what this sweet little girl said about God–“We take naps together!” I pictured a home, chaotic and out of control; a prison where a frightened little girl hid in her room to escape the negligent adults who were supposed to be her caregivers. She’s hiding in the closet (or maybe under her bed) sobbing inconsolably, but then God Himself comes and comforts her until she falls asleep. And THIS is what she calls “taking naps with God.”

The miracle of God’s little slumber party friend was still on my heart when I said my prayers that evening. I started by thanking Him for looking out for her and for letting me in on the secret. But then, I just couldn’t hold it:

“God, do you take naps with big people?”

Categories
change Security

One More Night With the Frogs

green and brown frog on wood
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Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to God to rid us of these frogs. I’ll release the people so that they can make their sacrifices and worship God.”

Moses said to Pharaoh, “Certainly. Set the time. When do you want the frogs out of here, away from your servants and people and out of your houses? You’ll be rid of frogs except for those in the Nile.” 

“Make it tomorrow.” Pharaoh said.  Exodus 8:8-10

Near the beginning of one of the most epic stories in the Bible, (The Ten Plagues of Egypt: Ex. 8-11) this curious event happens. Moses asks the ruler of Egypt to let the Hebrew people go but Pharaoh refuses.  So God turns all the water in Egypt into blood.  Next, He sends swarms of frogs.  But when the most powerful man in the known world gets to set the time to take the frogs away he says, “Make it tomorrow.”

Tomorrow?!

Why on Earth didn’t he say,  “Immediately, if not sooner?”

Perhaps it’s simply human nature to hold on to something we know we should let go.  Just a little… longer.

An unhealthy habit.  A toxic relationship.  Fill in the _________________.

“I’ll end it tomorrow.”

The problem is, tomorrow becomes the next day and then the next.  And the frogs just keep piling up.

brown hourglass on brown wooden table
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When God opens a door, start moving in that direction.  Don’t wait until tomorrow.  Do it!

 

Categories
Purpose Sufficiency

Why we should stop asking, “What would Jesus do?”

turned on pendant lamp
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“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He (Jesus) said to them.  “Stay here and keep watch.”  Mark 14:34

About twenty years ago, WWJD? was a popular acronym: What Would Jesus Do?

It’s a great thought, but is this completely discernible in the 21st century?  I’m fairly sure the Son of God wouldn’t tweet about what He had for breakfast, but how can one be certain?

Perhaps a better question is, What DID Jesus Do?  Now, this is discoverable!  The scripture above, for instance, records the actual behavior of Jesus in full-blown crisis mode.

In Mark 14:32-42, we find Him in the garden with a few close friends, emotionally and physically drained by the knowledge of his impending death.  The Amplified Bible says he was, “deeply distressed and extremely anguished,” and he, “fell to the ground and prayed.”

So, here are two things Jesus did during the biggest crisis of His earthly life:

  • He sought comfort and guidance from God.
  • He asked a few close friends to come near–both physically and in prayer.

Sounds like a winning formula.

Circle the prayer wagons!