Sunday, December 31, 2017

Return to Me,
   and I will return to you,
       says the LORD of hosts.

                  Malachi 3. 7

(God always has the light on.
There is always a way back.
Seek Him,
and He will reveal Himself to you
in all things,
in all ways,
even in what appears 
   the most ordinary of days).

Saturday, December 30, 2017

And He who sat 
upon the throne said,
I make all things new."

                  Revelation 21. 5

(You are never stuck.
Walk with Jesus
       through this.
What is the path
     of His glory in this?
God may not pluck you
out of your hard place,
but He assuredly 
     makes all things new,
               heart included).

Friday, December 29, 2017

... for the fine linen
is the righteous deeds 
                 of the saints.

                 Revelation 19. 8

(And that would mean
       each and every one of us.
Nothing that is good and right,
kind and gracious, 
loving and selfless,
              is ever insignificant,
but seamlessly woven into eternity
                   for His glory).

Thursday, December 28, 2017

He determines the number
               of the stars,
He gives to all of them
                    their names.

                  Psalm 147. 4

(Stand outside in the majesty
     of a starry starry night
      and gaze upward in total awe.
And realize 
        God created each one,
              He knows them by name,
and He loves you even more).

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

I will praise the LORD
        as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God
                while I have being.

                  Psalm 146. 2

(Praise is not just a reaction
           to what we deem favorable,
but a deep abiding response to God
       in all that is before us.
Praise is not thinking good thoughts,
       but acknowledging Him by name 
                                           out loud.
Praising God changes you).

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

...for like jewels of a crown,
they shall shine on His land.

                       Zechariah 9. 16

(Live as differently as that
      bringing grace and hope,
reflecting His glory
  where there is only despair).


Monday, December 25, 2017

And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us,
     full of grace and truth;
we have beheld His glory,
glory as of the only Son
from the Father.

                       John 1. 14

For God so loved the world
that He gave His only Son,
that whoever
     believes in Him
should not perish
but have eternal life.
For God sent His Son
            into the world,
not to condemn the world,
but that the world
    might be saved through Him.

                        John 3. 16-17

(Open that gift of grace first.
This is not just another worldview.
    You are greatly loved).

Merry Christmas, my friend!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

And the angel said to them,
"Be not afraid;
for behold,
I bring you good news of great joy
   which will come
                  to all the people;
for to you
  is born this day in the city of David
  a Savior,
           who is Christ the Lord."

                         Luke 2. 10-11

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government 
           shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called
"Wonderful Counselor,
         Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
       Prince of Peace."

                         Isaiah 9. 6

(This promise about the Messiah
         was written 800 years before Christ)

(And He shall reign for ever and ever.
Please make sure that your little ones know
that the Christmas story is not just a "story,"
       but about Jesus who came
       to change the world
and still does,
              one life at a time,
              precious in His sight).

Saturday, December 23, 2017

And this shall come to pass,
   you shall diligently obey
   the voice of the LORD.

                        Zechariah 6. 15

(The big IF.
And oh, how I miss out
because I hesitated
               to respond to Him,
or was too busy to listen.
That which is most profound
often appears inconsequential.
Responding to God 
               always matters 
--even in ways I will not see--
and impacts other people
           I may not even know).

Friday, December 22, 2017

Not by might,
nor by power,
but by My Spirit,
      says the LORD of hosts.

               Zechariah 4. 6

(The only thing 
       impossible about this
is that I am trying
            to do this on my own.
This is how to do this,
not on my abilities,
nor pride,
nor blood, sweat and tears,
     but by His Spirit.
Amid shouts of
     "Grace, grace to it!"
                      Zechariah 4. 7.
Grace is always God's signature).

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Then I said,
     "What are these, my lord?"
The angel who talked with me
said to me,
"I will show you
            what they are."

                    Zechariah 1. 9

(What in the world is this?
This inconvenience,
these rocks,
this sharp bend in 
         my road,
        in what I think should be.
What has God placed in my life?
When I am walking with God,
               nothing is random,
      no matter how it may appear.
All has profound purpose.
All can be redeemed
              for greater good.
God never works 
               in singular outcomes.
Even in this.
"I just don't recognize it yet."
      That's what trusting God means).

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"I am with you,"
            says the LORD.

                   Haggai 1. 13

(And what difference
does His Presence make in this day?
Even here.
Even now.
Flourishing in the
    most unlikely places).

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Do not fear, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
The LORD, your God,
           is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory.
He will rejoice over you
                   with gladness,
He will renew you with His love,
He will exult over you
  with loud singing
  as on a day of festival.

                 Zephaniah 3. 16-17

    is just weakness entering the soul.
    is the strong reality
    that the LORD is in your midst.
    is the LORD leaping for joy over you,
    precious in His sight.
Do not forsake the work of His hands.
The LORD is fulfilling His purposes 
       for you, in you, through you
in incredible extraordinary ways
              you wouldn't believe, if told.
   is not the absence of fear,
but grasping with both hands,
             the reality of His Presence).

Monday, December 18, 2017

Though the fig tree do not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail,
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold,
     and there be no herd in the stalls,
     I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation;
He makes my feet like hinds' feet,
He makes me tread
              upon my high places.

                    Habakkuk 3. 17-19

(The Hebrew word for "tread"
does not mean "slog through"
            but "dance."
Dance in your impossible situation,
       even in the scary places.
Bring the glory of the LORD there.
     No matter the circumstances,
               God's purposes prevail,
and His Presence embraces you.
"Trust Me!"
          Even in this.
Come deeper.)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The LORD is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
He knows those
     who take refuge in Him.
                  Nahum 1. 7
(God's got this.
 God's got you.
Circumstances can never break
              His hold on you.
 His Presence prevails.
        No matter what).

Saturday, December 16, 2017

As in the days
   when you came
   out of the land of Egypt,
I will show them
              marvelous things.

                         Micah 7. 15

(No matter how impossible it appears,
no darkness too deep,
no situation insurmountable.
Where there seems to be no way,
      God says,
                   "Now. Watch. This.")

Friday, December 15, 2017

There you shall be rescued,
there the LORD will redeem you
   from the hand of your enemies.

                          Micah 4. 10

(Foes come in packages
     both real and imagined.
God works 
  in the unlikeliest ways,
  in the most unlikely places,
  among the most unlikeliest people.
God's redemption 
           never falls too short.
What only appears as a really wrong turn,
      He designed all along,
      to redeem
              for His sake
the lives of countless people
Even where you are.
Even where is yet to come).

Thursday, December 14, 2017

      You brought up my life
                     from the Pit,
        O LORD my God.
When my soul fainted within me,   
              I remembered the LORD;
and my prayer came to You.

                          Jonah 2. 6-7

(God never gives up on you,
       no pit too deep.
His love, grace, and redemption 
                  are far deeper still.
One of God's favorite words
                   is yet).

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The fear of man lays a snare,
but he who
      trusts in the LORD is safe.

                   Proverbs 29. 25

(Don't let fear block out the light
and trip you up.
"Trust Me in this,
               even in this."
Trusting in the LORD
      gives you night vision).

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Then Amos answered Amaziah,
"I am no prophet,
     nor a prophet's son,
but I am a herdsman,
and a dresser of sycamore trees,
and the LORD took me
    from following the flock,
and the LORD said to me,
"Go, prophecy to My people Israel."

                           Amos 7. 14-15

(God chooses and uses
those who only appear most unlikely
        for His profound purposes,
those whose only qualification
is being willing 
             and faithful to Him,
even right where they are,
even in invisible places.
Never say,
     "I am only a _________."
God has strategically placed you
     to be faithful and fruitful
     for His glory).

Monday, December 11, 2017

But let justice roll down
               like waters,
and righteousness
    like an ever flowing stream.

                      Amos 5. 24

(Seek out what is good and right
     even in this tough situation
   and among impossible people.
Justice and righteousness
   don't just happen
          and are rarely comfortable,
          nor convenient.
Bring peace in your hands
   and grace stuffed in your pockets.
God will unleash flourishing
          even in barren places).

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Repent then.

             Revelation 2. 16

(When I realize I am on the wrong path,
I am never stuck.
That is why God invented forgiveness.
Turn around now.
Time for a new heart in this.)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

I will restore to you
the years which 
the swarming locust 
               has eaten...

               Joel 2. 25

(Watch how God transforms 
the really hard stuff of life
into tremendous good)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Sow for yourselves righteousness,
reap the fruit of steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is time to seek the LORD,
that He may come
and rain salvation upon you.

                         Hosea 10. 12

(What am I sowing?
What am I reaping?
May the LORD give me vision
for the untouched ground
                  beneath my feet
-- be it difficult situations
         or rock hard relationships--
and bring His grace to it).

Thursday, December 7, 2017

He that goes forth weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home
            with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.

                      Psalm 126. 6

(Faithfulness to God
           even in the hard stuff,
fruitfulness from God
            even in unexpected places.
Am I sowing right where I am?
Or looking for an exit door?
God never said life would be easy,
but promises that "I am with you."
God has a way of redeeming 
        what only looks like despair
                         on the outside).

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

There is no faithfulness 
        or kindness,
and no knowledge of God
                   in the land;
there is swearing, lying, killing,
stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds
and murder follows murder.

                   Hosea 4. 1-2

(Sounds like today's headlines!
As it was in the eighth century BC,
the root of the problem is faithlessness,
      a lack of love,
      and ignorance of God
            among His people.
Your assignment is
to bring faithfulness,
and the love of Jesus
wherever God places you today,
the gospel in real time).

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

...and make the Valley of Achor
          a door of hope.

                 Hosea 2. 15

(Achor literally means "trouble."
Even there,
even then,
God turns right side up
what only appears to be impossible.
Out of the darkest despair,
God redeems and restores,
     beyond what we can imagine.
The world sees hope
         as wishful thinking.
In the Bible,
    hope is that on which
    you can stake your life).

Monday, December 4, 2017

...but the people 
who know their God
  shall stand firm
  and take action.

            Daniel 11. 32

(That which is good
and gracious 
and kind.
Knowing God 
does not just change
what you do
     but who you are).

Sunday, December 3, 2017

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

                           Psalm 121. 2

(Am I seeking the answer,
    or seeking the LORD in this?
"I'm here to help.  Trust Me.")

Saturday, December 2, 2017

O man greatly loved,
fear not,
peace be with you;
be strong and  
       of good courage.

                   Daniel  10 . 9

(The LORD says the same to you).

Friday, December 1, 2017

In my distress 
  I called to the LORD,
and He answered me.

                  Psalm 120. 1

(First response,
   not last resort).

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Great peace have those
  who love Your law;
nothing can make them stumble.

Psalm 119.165

(God's peace does not mean
an absence of conflict,
but His Presence within,
not dependent 
on favorable circumstances,
    but engraved with
    uncommon strength).

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

So Daniel was taken up
          out of the den,
and no kind of hurt
    was found on him,
because he had
  trusted in his God.

              Daniel 6. 20

(Trusting in God
and faithfulness to Him
was woven seamlessly 
in his daily life.
How much more would
  I know God
if I trusted Him,
even in this,
even today?)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Therefore I direct my steps
     by all Your precepts...

                    Psalm 119. 128

(Have I considered God in this?
Specifically about this?
Seeking Him 
and not an answer of my own choosing?
What does God's Word
       have to say about this?
Directing my steps doesn't mean
God hands me an itinerary 
but the next proximate step
            in trusting Him).

Monday, November 27, 2017

...but you are able,
for the Spirit of the holy God
                    is in you.

                   Daniel 4. 18

(Nothing of your own abilities,
but able
    because God is in you.
And that is going to look
     very different in this 
                  impossible situation
    and among these difficult people.
Even today.
His grace,
His glory,
    and many such things
    you will see).

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cast all your anxieties on Him,
       for He cares about you.

                     1 Peter 5. 7

(Hand them over,
don't keep taking them back.
God has been faithful to you
      your whole life long,
          through thick and thin.
He is not about to stop now).

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Do not return evil for evil
or reviling for reviling,
but on the contrary
for to this you 
     have been called,
that you may obtain a blessing.

                     1 Peter 3. 9

(Be a contrarian.
Live in a way that is not expected
and inexplicable
          if not for God.
Am I seeking to "win" in this,
        or bring grace in my pockets?
To be right,
        or compassionate?
To complain the loudest,
     or bring the name of Jesus there?)