|Thursday, September 29, 2022|
You’ve had some weird dreams. Meeting a celebrity. Being a celebrity. On the run. Shot at. Whatever.
Recently, in the wee hours of the morning, I heard a tumultuous sound—like many voices shouting. At once, I realized it was the rapture, that “glorious appearing” of Jesus Himself. Short on breath, long on adrenalin, I jolted awake.
Jesus…here…now? Concerns about unsaved family members tempered my shock and awe. What about friends whose salvation I'd been praying for? Two emotions hijacked my soul—regret and sadness. Regret at not working harder to share Christ. Sadness at time wasted—things left undone.
Biblically speaking, the real rapture (not my early morning dream) will be instantaneous. Of course, it will be overwhelmingly awesome to be with our Savior, Jesus, at last, and forever. How could it be anything less?
Still, that dream left me with a strong impression of unfinished business—things I need to care for.
Jesus really is coming back. And someday, the last opportunity to share Christ really will be gone. But we have today. We have this moment.
People need Jesus.
We know Jesus.
Why should there be unfinished business when He returns?
|Your Mind on Parade`
|Thursday, September 22, 2022|
It’s a small town with a big parade: Princeton, Illinois.
Every year, this city of 7,589 people hosts what they call the Homestead Festival. Under a big yellow tent, folks chow down pork butterfly sandwiches grilled in the town square by the Pork Producers Association. But the most prominent event is the parade—some two hours long!
When you think about it, parades are curious things. They offer a warm welcome to whimsy: people walking on stilts, or driving motorized flying carpets, or firing tee-shirt cannons.
Of course, the Homestead festival has taken all of this to new heights. Candy? You walk home with enough to feed the entire neighborhood at Halloween. But we’ve also seen folks hand out frisbees, ice cream tokens, full-sized water bottles, and even hotdogs. This year, one guy was handing out wristwatches—for real!
Parades are where politicians go to meet and greet, where banks and businesses try to win customers. Parades are curious things. But they are also a strangely fitting metaphor for the mind.
Consider. Every time you speak, your mind is on parade. You go public with what was previously private. High stepping down the public square are words for all to hear. Words that can hurt or heal. Words that can never be taken back. Words that can change the destiny of a life.
Little else is more public than a parade.
Little else is more sobering than knowing that your mind is on parade with every word you speak.
What is your parade saying about you?
|Taught by a Tower
|Thursday, September 15, 2022|
When touring Copenhagen, don’t miss the steeple climb at the Church of Our Savior (completed in 1695). Some 400 steps elevate you to a panoramic city view, with the last 150 steps wrapping around the outside of the spire. It's a unique—and at times frightening—hike.
One glance upward from the foot of the tower, and your mind can’t help but envision Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and are safe.” At the entrance to the church, a banner announces, “The tower is open.” But take note. The Lord—our Strong Tower—is never not open. He’s always ready to welcome us, enfold us, protect us.
As you climb up the ancient steps, you pass by some massive bells, one weighing more than 4,400 pounds, and a sign that reads: "Warning: The Bells are Ringing." In other words, if you're climbing, expect some sound!
That notice in multiple languages recalls the urgency of Hebrews 3:15, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.”
After some mild huffing and puffing, I reached the pinnacle. And yes, the view really is spectacular. One website claims you can see all the way to Sweden.
But I was more intrigued by a claim made in a brochure describing the tower structure (completed after the church, in 1752). It explains, "Christ is on the top of a golden globe with the victory banner."
Well, I saw that golden globe, but of course, I did not see Jesus. Further, I can assure you, He is not on the top of a golden globe in Denmark. An imperfect metal image of the Savior might well be fastened there, but Jesus the King is seated at the right hand of the Father.
Some day, every eye will see Him. And we won’t even have to climb a tower! Don’t you hope that day is soon? Come, Lord Jesus, come!
|Don't Feed the Fears
|Thursday, September 08, 2022|
Donna Munson considered the black bears that swarmed across her land in southwestern Colorado as her pets. As such, she fed them dog food and kitchen scraps. She would poke the food through a metal fence she built around her porch. According to neighbors, as many as fourteen bears would gather on her property at a time.
One of those bears slashed through Donna's fence on a Friday, dragging her body underneath it. The bear then killed and ate Munson.
You may never have fed a bear. But I’m pretty sure you’ve done something just as deadly. You’ve fed your fear.
What does it mean to feed your fears? It means to fixate on them. It means to give them a spacious bedroom in your mind allowing them to roam the hallways of your soul freely, all night long. It means to engage in endless What if? and What then? questions. (I’m guilty!).
But what if we fed our faith rather than our fears? In Psalm 56:3, David (who knew a few things about fear) wrote, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” Note the wording here. David says, “When I am afraid.” Meaning fear is normal. It happens to all of us. But trust—the kind that moves us through those fears—that’s a matter of choice. Every time.
We’ve trusted Christ to save us from hell and the hideousness of our sins. Can we not also trust Him for other things? Fearful things?
Here’s the bottom line: Fears are fed or fought every time you encounter them! The difference is always our decision to trust—or not trust—Christ.
Fears are unavoidable. Feeding them is.
Don’t feed your fears—feed your faith!
|Are My Shoes on the Right Feet
|Thursday, September 01, 2022|
One of the frustrating things about being a grandparent is the realization you can never convey how much you love your grandkids. And often, that love seems lost on them.
Three-year-old Emma doesn’t smile—she glows. And when she giggles, you giggle too. Because you can’t help it. So, we love to remind her and her sister, Ava, how much we love them.
Recently, I said, "Emma, I love you so much. I'm really glad to be here with you! It's just so fun going camping together with you." I'm sure I showered her with more comments than that, even.
And how did Emma respond? Did she squeeze me with a big hug? No. Did she say, “I love you, too?” Nope. Instead, she asked, “Are my shoes on the right feet?”
A tad bit underwhelming. Not the response I was hoping for. But then again, that’s kids.
That’s also big kids like us—who should know better. Our Heavenly Father regularly showers us with loving statements like Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." And we reciprocate, mumbling something like, "Wish the Bible readings in my daily devotional weren’t so long.”
Our Heavenly Father says He loves us so much, in Zephaniah 3:17, He says He will "rejoice over you with singing." But our lives are so noisy that we rarely hear the song.
So personal is this love that Isaiah 49:16 proclaims, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” But rarely do we look for His hands.
When was the last time we told God we loved Him—not for His gifts or blessings, but for who He is? He's taken great pains to use eloquent language to convey how much He loves us. I'm thinking we can come up with a better response than "Are my shoes on the right feet?"
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