Bread, Benefits, and Priorities

benefitsMy morning routine usually begins with a cup of coffee and a piece of toast with peanut butter and honey.  As I sip my coffee, I read some Scripture, check the news, and I think about my To-Do-List for the day.

I then do the necessary but mundane tasks of showering, shaving, brushing me teeth, and combing my hair—notice that I didn’t say hairs. While I was doing this yesterday, I thought of the correlation between the “daily” words of Jesus in Luke 9:23 and Matthew 6:11:

  • Luke 9:23: If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
  • Matthew 6:11: Give us this day our daily

The thought of taking up your cross daily, might seem to be a monumental task, and it would be if it were not for God’s provision.  He promises the daily bread you need to accomplish His will for your life.

Psalm 68:19: Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!

God  will never tell you to “go” without showing the way, and He will never say “come” without leading you to Him. This is the benefit of knowing Him as your Shepherd and the God of your salvation.

God will show you and lead you with with His Voice of Wisdom in Proverbs 8:32-35: Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways.  Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord.

Discovering God’s will and finding the necessary bread to accomplish it, requires a daily trip to the food pantry: These Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures (food pantry) daily to see if these things were so. ~Acts 17:11

When you consider your  T0-Do-List for tomorrow, I suggest you start by making God a daily priority.

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. ~ Psalm 16:7-8

Do You Have A Second To Spare?

Honeybee_landing_on_milkthistle02On a recent trip to the lake, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll give them to you in reverse order: The ugly was the trash that someone had thrown into the lake; the bad was the wasp that kept buzzing my head; and, the good was the honey bee who was pollinating flowers and gathering nectar

My Great-Aunt Fern was a beekeeper, and it is from her that I acquired my love for honey.  Whenever I’d visit Fern, I usually left with more than just a jug of honey; I would also leave with some new fact about her precious bees.

I remember Fern telling me: “A bee flaps its wings about 230 times a second while it hovers over a flower.”

When I saw bees hovering over flowers yesterday, I thought of Aunt Fern and the significance of one second: One second of life passes into history in the time it takes you to say: “One thousand one.”

Take another second or two to read these one second statistics.  Every second:

  • 8,613 tweets are posted on Twitter
  • 1,771 photos are uploaded to Instagram
  • 1,669 “phone” calls are made on Skype
  • 46,610 searches are made on Google
  • 96,225 videos are watched on YouTube
  • 2,372,740 emails are sent

One second is a brief period of time; yet it’s a moment of eternal significance:

  • Psalm 144:4: “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”
  • Psalm 90:10: “The days of our lives are seventy years; and, if by reason of strength they are eighty years; yet, their boast is only labor and sorrow.”

Perhaps it’s time to take a second to do a firsthand review of your life, and compare your perspective to Paul’s:

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] ~Philippians 3:10 ~Amplified Version

Wise Words and the Letter “Y”

y-300Your letter for today is the letter “Y.”  You may ask why “Y?” I’ve selected “Y” because there are three “Y” words that can be wise words.

Some people think it is wise to start the day with a cup of Yogurt.  Others think it is a good idea to begin the day with some exercise and Yoga movements. Both of these are probably good for the body, but I prefer a third “Y.”

The “Y” that intrigues me the most is known as a Yogism.  I have always like the wit and wisdom of Yogi Berra.   Yogi played 19 years in the Yankees organization, and he appeared in 14 World Series—10 of the 14 series ended in championship wins.

One of the better known statements of Yogi is. “This is like déjà vu all over again.”  There are several others as well:

  • A nickle ain’t worth a dime anymore.
  • When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  • Baseball is 90% mental, and the other half is physical.
  • You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.

Yogi also said, “I never said most of the things I said.”  This reminds me of something that Solomon said about the things you might say:  “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb: they drip sweet food for life and bring health to the body (Proverbs 16:24).”

When you speak to people today, make sure you are engaging in a healthy conversation.

An Instrument of God

images (5)When I read John 9 this morning, seven words popped into my mind:  “The absence of Jesus demands my presence.”

When faced with the dilemma of a blind man, Jesus said:  “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world (John 9:5).”  Because He is no longer in the world, I am responsible to proclaim the principles of light in a world of darkness.

God has equipped you and me for this ministry.  Peter said:  “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (I Peter 2:9 ~Amplified Bible).”

This theme was developed in the life of Noah who Peter referred to as a “preacher of righteousness.”  The world had witnessed wickedness, but God called Noah out of that darkness and into his marvelous light.  Noah was chosen to speak of the excellent qualities of God that were revealed in a single word picture—the rainbow.

In the language of the night and day or light and darkness, The Message emphasizes ythe ministry of those God has chosen:   “You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”

Last week I spoke to a friend that I had not seen in several months.  I said:  “Good to see you.”  He replied:  “Good to hear you.”   He has lost what most of us take for granted—the ability to see.  His blindness gives him the unique perspective to contrast the experiential difference between light and darkness.

In a spiritual sense, the believer also has a unique perspective.  He has been “chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (GWT Version).”

It is difficult to explain the wonderful sweetness of honey to someone who has only tasted the sourness of a lemon. Because you have lived in a sour world and tasted the sweetness of God’s Spirit, you are God’s instrument and you have been chosen to reveal the “night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”

Are You a “Phobe” or a “Phile?”

lovehateAn old adage is: Actions speak louder than words. With this in mind, do your actions define you as a bibliophobe or a bibliophile? Let me clarify these terms:
• A bibliophobe is a person who has a fear, hatred, or distrust of books.
• A bibliophile is a person who has a love for books and is prone to collecting them.

Considering your actions in regard to books, are you “phobe” or a “phile?” Do you love books, or do you hate them?

Whenever I see the prefix of these words, the first thing I think of is the word Bible, and the Bible is a collection of 66 books—Genesis to Revelation.

How do your actions define your relationship with the Bible? Are you a “phobe” or are you a “phile?” Do you read it or neglect it or do you heed it and respect it?

When I consider some of the statements found in the Psalms, I’m certain the writer was a “phile” and not a “phobe.” He describes Scripture as being more desirable than gold and he even says that it is sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10; 118:103).

If you are a “phile,” you use the Bible as a lamp to your feet and a light to your path to guide you. If, however, you are a “phobe,” you may stumble through life in a state of perpetual darkness.

I encourage you to read Psalm 1 to see the start contrast of a “phile” and a “phobe.”

As Sweet As Honey

beeI’m not sure if I like it because of what it says about the Word of God or because of the pleasant memory it brings to my mind, but Psalm 19 is a favorite of mine.

Every time I read Psalm 19, or fix a piece of toast, I think of my Great Aunt Fern. I remember her as a lady who was full of love; gave me big smiles; and, one who wrapped her short arms around me and embraced with warm sticky hugs—Aunt Fern was a bee keeper.

I think her bee keeping is one reason I grew up eating toast slathered in peanut butter and drenched in honey. Whenever I walked into her house, I would look to the left, and her shelves would be lined with jugs of pure raw honey. This was the real stuff—not an anemic imposter of colored water you see on store shelves labeled as honey.

The sweetness of honey is used in Psalm 19 as one of several descriptions of God’s Word. When you read this Psalm, you find the Word of God is:

• Perfect and will convert the soul
• Steadfast and sure
• Able to make the simple wise—boy do I need this!
• Full of God’s statutes and they are right, and they bring rejoicing to your heart
• So pure it will enlighten your eyes
• So precious you should desire its teaching more than gold
• Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb
• The means through which God warns us, and in keeping of them there is great reward

Now that you’ve read this summary of Psalm 19, compare it to the words of Solomon in Proverbs 28: “A discerning son keeps the law, but anyone who turns his ear away from hearing the law—even his prayer is detestable.” Quite a contrast between hearing and obeying on one hand, and neglecting it and refusing to hear it on the other.

Whenever I read Psalm 19, it reminds of Aunt Fern in two ways. It reminds me of her sweet honey, but I am also reminded that we need to be keepers of God’s Word.