This Will Hurt Me Worse Than It Hurts You!

(Luke 17:3-4 HCSB) 3 Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” 

When I was young, one of the methods of discipline that my parents used was spanking. Mom and dad were good spankers. They would sit me down and explain why I was getting a spanking, they spanked me on my backside, they hugged me while I cried while explaining how much they loved me, and then assured me that the discipline was for my good. Often they would say, “Son, this will hurt us more than it will hurt you.” Of course, being young and immature, I never really believed that! In my limited understanding, I only saw the physical pain I was experiencing. As an adult who has raised two children of my own, I now understand the emotional pain that is felt by the parent. It was painful for all, but beneficial to my development. I am who I am today partly because my parents were willing to hold me accountable for my actions and attitudes.

Jesus spoke very directly to the disciples in Luke 17. His words were strong, clear, and non-negotiable. “Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” I wonder when is the last time you rebuked another Christian? Oh, I know what scripture says about being judgmental… But, Jesus is not talking about judgmental attitudes here. He is actually calling us to accountability. It is my responsibility as a Christian to rebuke another Christian if they commit sin. In fact, according to Jesus I should be on my guard; watching out for their soul and the possibility that I might be drawn into the sin as well.

We are not very good at this! In fact, we don’t want to rebuke or be rebuked. We’d rather just turn our eyes away and mind our own business. But you know what? If my words of rebuke can help you make better and different decisions which will have a positive impact on your life then I should be willing to engage in the dialogue. For this to be done properly, we should consider the following guidelines.

  • A rebuke MUST be motivated by love.
  • A rebuke is better received when delivered with soft and appropriate words.
  • A rebuke should offer assistance, solutions, and prayerful support.
  • A rebuke MUST be followed by forgiveness.

Do you know someone who has lost their way? Maybe a friend has backed off from their relationship with Christ. They identify as a follower of Christ, but there is very little evidence to support their claim. Have you considered the possibility that the Lord has placed you in their life to help them in their SpiritLife journey?

I realize this is not easy. It probably will be more uncomfortable and painful for you than it will be for the other individual. But, if your loving involvement can be a mitigating factor in leading them to victory–shouldn’t you be willing to take that chance?

PRAYER: Lord, as difficult as this task can be, please give me the courage to speak appropriately, forgive freely, and support my Christian brothers and sisters on their journey of faith. Amen.

All That is Gold Does Not Glitter

Screenshot 2016-09-01 07.16.34

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.

– J.R.R. Tolkien

(Luke 15: 28-32)  28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ 31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

I am a 2nd grade instructional assistant, and I work at a challenging school.  We have a lot of children with behavioral, emotional, and/or psychological issues, and there are days that seem to be completely consumed by one or two who are making poor choices that disrupt the entire day for everyone else.  Yesterday was one of those days.  We have a particularly difficult student this year, and we are all reaching down deep for those extra portions of grace, patience and love and doing our best to heap it all onto him each day, while still implementing the norms and expectations that are set for all of our students.  It has not been easy.  This child occupies a huge space in my head as well as my heart right now.  On my way home from work yesterday, I was thinking about all of the ways that we have reached out to him and tried to establish positive reinforcements for the right choices that he occasionally makes throughout the day.  We have to be hyper-vigilant, and it takes up a lot of time and energy.  I can’t help but sometimes think, “How is this fair to the other children?”  On days like yesterday, when one child is commandeering the attentions of both adults in the classroom for most of the instructional day, and the other 23 children just have to have their patience tried in every way and bide their time until the end of the day, I wonder about the fairness of it.  The disruptive one is getting stickers and prizes for each baby step that he takes in the right direction…only to rip them to shreds within moments in a fit of rage, while there are students who make the right choices every single time…yet much of that gets overlooked in the moment.  It is unfortunate, but that’s just what some days look like.  We have to celebrate those small victories with our challenging one, because those teachable moments with him are like seeing the dead come to life! 

I have felt that same frustration of the faithful son…how he must have felt when his estranged brother came home to a celebration.  It hurts to be faithful and diligent and in turn feel as if you have gone unnoticed.  When we give, yet never receive, it’s not weird to, at times, feel indignant.  We have to remember though, that the Lord sees our faithfulness for what it is…even if no one else does.  Just because we aren’t standing out, glittering, doesn’t mean we aren’t precious…like gold.  There is no room within a faithful heart for jealousy and indignation.  When those feelings arise, we have to replace them with good fruit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Remember that yes, God loves us all on an equal plane, and though there are no levels to His love, there are differences in how He teaches us what we all need to learn about Him and about ourselves individually…because we are all unique.  Does the longevity of my own faithfulness make me more lovable to our Heavenly Father?  Nope.  Does my faithfulness go unnoticed because I don’t get a standing ovation every time I walk into the room?  Of course not!  Some people are just needier at times, and require a little more attention.  We’ve all been in that place at some point or another; we’ve all been lost, and every path looks just a little bit different than the one before and the one ahead.  Our job is not to look around and demand equal treatment.  We must instead embrace our own rewards, be grateful for them when they come to us, and press on…ever forward.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I am grateful for every step of my journey with you.  As I seek to be more faithful to you, help me not to compare myself to others.  Instead, help me to rejoice with You as You welcome home and celebrate the victories of Your prodigal sons and daughters.  I was once a prodigal myself.  Amen.

What News Are You Bringing?

(Isaiah 52:7-9 HCSB) 7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaims peace, who brings news of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns! ”  8 The voices of your watchmen — they lift up their voices, shouting for joy together; for every eye will see when the LORD returns to Zion.  9 Be joyful, rejoice together, you ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people; He has redeemed Jerusalem.

Like most people, I love to hear good reports! People who speak positively are so much easier to be around than negative Nellies and Doubting Dans. Positive people lighten the mood and brighten the day! They can take ugly situations and transform them with their beautiful spirit.

Before contemporary methods of spreading communication, news had to be carried by heralds. (Think Pony Express) In Isaiah’s days, the reports of current events were physically carried and reported. Because most of the communities were protected by walls, the reporters shouted the nature of the news to the watchmen who stood on the walls. The response of the watchmen indicated whether the news was good or bad. As was often the case, the news was negative–another attack, famine in the next county, drought, an outbreak of leprosy–these reports were understandably disheartening. At other times, the news was good–the drought was over, crops were doing well, the harvest would be plentiful–news like that was delightful.

But, the scripture reference for today described a report of great news for Zion! The watchmen were delighted by the news of peace, good things, and a proclamation of salvation. The message was clear, “Your God reigns! The voices of your watchmen — they lift up their voices, shouting for joy together; for every eye will see when the LORD returns to Zion.  9 Be joyful, rejoice together, you ruins of Jerusalem!” Loud exclamations of joy… shouting for joy… eyes focused on the signs of the Lord’s return… Why? “For the LORD has comforted His people; He has redeemed Jerusalem.”  

Back to my original statement. People who report GOOD NEWS are so much easier to be around. Whether speaking with our mouths, publishing on our social media accounts, talking on the phone, or sending texts, we should strive to report the good things of God.

He is good. He is in control. He is able. He is willing. He is love. He is accessible. He is… Well, He is God and He REIGNS! Report that! Text that! Post that to Facebook. Trust me when I tell you, people will be more happy to see you coming when you are known for your positive approach to life. And your feet will never look better…

PRAYER: I commit to speak about the positive things of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. The news is good. Always. Help me Lord to focus on and report those things!

“Friend, Move Up Higher!”

(Luke 14:7-11 HCSB) 7 He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noticed how they would choose the best places for themselves: 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, don’t recline at the best place, because a more distinguished person than you may have been invited by your host. 9 The one who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in humiliation, you will proceed to take the lowest place.  10 “But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ You will then be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I have to admit that sometimes I become frustrated with Christians who have adopted the self-help, self-promotion, self-exalting mentality of our society. Before you tune me out, let me affirm that we should have confidence in who we are in Christ. We should never be ashamed of who we are in Him. After all, Jesus did die so that we could live. And, He did say, “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10 HCSB) Jesus provides a life that is clearly better than any life we could manufacture for ourselves.

I’m always amazed at the profiles of the people God chooses. They are seldom the smartest, most gifted, best, top of the line…. Honestly, some of the most effective people who have ever lived have come from the bottom of the barrel! We spend crazy amounts of time and money trying to better ourselves; to position ourselves in a worldly system only to discover that God is the one who exalts AND humbles whom He chooses.

In Luke 14, Jesus uses a parable to instruct his followers on the topic of humility. He warns them that selfishly choosing the highest places of honor could actually work against them, rather than for them. He points out, “don’t recline at the best place, because a more distinguished person than you may have been invited by your host. The one who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in humiliation, you will proceed to take the lowest place.” In other words, we must know our place and remain in it. If God needs us “up higher” He will make the necessary arrangements to exalt us at the right time. And the right time is seldom about our glory–but His!

There may be a secondary application in this passage as well. I believe that many of us have “God-moments” that propel us into a place of supernatural effectiveness. God “moves us higher” for a particular purpose at a specific time. Think Gideon, the woman and her alabaster box, John the Baptist, Esther; people who were selected for a specific task in a strategic moment. God positioned them so they could fulfill His purpose through them. “Moving up” happens at His discretion! “When you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ You will then be honored in the presence of all the other guests.” Jesus encourages His followers to assume the lowest position of honor and leave the exalting to Him!

As Jesus often did, He spoke in parables which required further explanation. In this instance, He clarified the parable with these words, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 

Be patient. Stay humble. Develop your inner heart rather than trying to position yourself for advancement. God knows who you are, where you are, and when you are needed. And when your time for advancement comes, you will hear Him say, Friend, move up higher.”

PRAYER: Father, I understand that balance is a key to effectiveness. If I’m too critical of myself, I will be hesitant when You do call on me. And, if I’m too conceited, people will tune me out. Help me to stayed in balance and to respond positively when I hear You say, “Friend, move up higher.” Amen!

Are You Listening?

(Luke 8:16-18 HCSB) 16 “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see its light. 17 For nothing is concealed that won’t be revealed, and nothing hidden that won’t be made known and come to light. 18 Therefore take care how you listen. For whoever has, more will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.”

When I was a youngster, our Sunday School teachers taught us a song entitled, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See. The song was an encouragement to be aware that the Heavenly Father was lovely watching over us. Knowing this, we were encouraged to guard everything that could negatively impact our relationship with Him. One of the verses said…

O be careful little ears what you hear
O be careful little ears what you hear
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little ears what you hear

Luke recorded some very important words spoken by the Lord. Jesus began with the practical reality that people do not light lamps and then cover it with a basket. There are three observations that should be made.

  • To cover the lamp would be counterproductive. Why go to the trouble? Why attempt to drive away darkness by covering the very flame lit to drive it away? Jesus rightly points out that “no one” would do that. Instead, they would display the lamp prominently so everyone would benefit from the light. The light represents the truth of the Gospel. Jesus is saying that we have a responsibility to embrace truth, and to share truth. Our lives should be a reflection of the truth of the Gospel.
  • To cover the lamp with combustible material would bring devastation. The lamp under the straw basket could only be contained until the heat build-up ignited into a raging fire. Here, Jesus wants everyone to know that there is a responsibility to reveal truth, but if we attempt to hide it, it will be revealed anyway. The basket meant to cover truth will be devoured, and truth will break forth regardless of our effort to keep it “under wraps.” Nothing will be allowed to hide the truth!
  • Take care how you listen. The way we listen determines the level of truth by which we live. As a pastor, I’m constantly counseling people to comply with scriptural truth. If my truth is not consistent with scripture I cannot expect my life to be filled with His blessings. The more truth I accept, the more blessing I will receive. The more truth I reject, the more blessing will be forfeited.

When I was a child, my parents would often request my full attention. I can still hear in my mind the voice of one of my parents saying, “Robbie, please listen to me. You’re NOT listening! Look at me and acknowledge that I am speaking to you.” Sometimes they would say, “What did I say? What did I just tell you? You don’t know because you were not listening!” 

And, that really is the message. Jesus knew how important it would be for us to pay close attention to His truth. It is the key to our blessings. Without it, we stand to lose much. But, when hearing and applying His truth, we stand to gain more than we can imagine!

Take care how you listen!

PRAYER: So much of my prayer life is me speaking to you, Father. Today, I intend to listen much more. I’m listening now………….


(Isaiah 36:4-5 ESV) 4 And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? 5 Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?

I think I’m feeling unsettled right now about what I’m hearing. Everyday seems to be filled with words, words, and more words! People are speaking their minds about politics, the economy, elephants and donkeys, budgets, which public bathroom we should use; guns, entitlements, taxes, refugees, illegal aliens, deportation… words, Words, WORDS!!!

Everyone has an opinion about everything, and, of course, their opinion is always correct. “If you elect me, I will do so and so…” “No, if you elect me I will do such and such.” “If you marry me I will make you happy.” And the rhetoric continues building each day…

In our passage of scripture, Hezekiah was being tormented by the Rabshakeh (the name given to the chief cup-bearer or the vizier of the Assyrian court; one of Sennacherib’s messengers to Hezekiah). The Rabshakeh was threatening Hezekiah in behalf of his boss, the king of Assyria.

First, he tried to weaken Hezekiah’s faith by asking, On what do you rest this trust of yours?” In other words, prove the existence of your God. I can’t see him! What makes you think He will come through for you? Then, the Rabshakeh insults Hezekiah by implying that he had no strategy for victory—mere words! Notice, Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war?” He was basically telling Hezekiah that he was just full of hot air! All the words in the world would not help Hezekiah against his enemy. Finally, the Rabshakeh reminded Hezekiah that he had burned his bridges and could not rely on the King of Assyria for assistance. Those days were gone! His words were strong and meant to strike fear into the heart of Hezekiah. Listen to his tone…In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?

What the Rabshakeh didn’t understand was that Hezekiah wasn’t trusting in him OR the king of Assyria! Never did! And, he wasn’t going to start now!

Rabshakeh’s implication that mere words would be useless ultimately backfired! In the next chapter, Hezekiah used MERE WORDS to PRAY to God concerning the threat from the king of Assyria. MERE WORDS, when backed by faith-filled prayer IS strategy AND power for war. MERE WORDS (prayer) caused God to intervene and give Hezekiah an overwhelming victory.

So, use your words… And, use them wisely!

PRAYER: Father, I will use my words to thank you for the many times you have intervened in my life to produce blessing on my behalf. And, I intend to use my words to establish an ongoing atmosphere of faith! I trust You! Amen.

Full of the Holy Spirit!

(Luke 4:1-14 ESV) 1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.'” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'” 9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ 11 and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” 12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. 14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country.

This is a very familiar passage of Scripture. It usually evokes one of two different responses. First, there are those who read this and are inspired by the fact that Jesus overcame every temptation the devil threw His way. The sentiment is…”If Jesus could overcome then so can I.” The other response is one of frustration. Comparing themselves to the “perfect record” of Jesus, this group of people think that they can’t overcome anything. “Jesus batted 1000% and I can’t even keep my thoughts pure for 10 minutes!”

As I read this passage today, I kept noticing the references to the Holy Spirit. (1) Jesus, FULL of the Holy Spirit… (2) LED by the Holy Spirit… (3) Jesus returned in the POWER of the Holy Spirit. The simple reality is… Jesus lived, moved, breathed, walked, talked, made decisions, thought, according to an inner influence of the Holy Spirit. The nature of the Spirit indwelled every part of Jesus!

I’ve enjoyed a pretty exciting life. Military kids AND preachers kids have at least one thing in common… they’ve moved around a lot! Moving causes one to realize that there are many different ways of doing things. Speech is different. Traditions are different. Cooking is unique. Mindsets are different. Some parts of the country are more conservative, while others are predominately liberal. Some areas have higher concentrations of baptists and others have a higher population of catholics. But, with all the differences, there are also many similarities. Peel away the learned behaviors and we discover we are more alike than we realize.

When one does life in many locations, they must adjust to the nature of the current culture. I don’t mean you have to try to be someone other than yourself; you don’t have compromise your core belief system, but you do adjust your actions to respect your culture. As an example, when I visited Korea we removed our shoes before entering the sanctuary. For me, it was a temporary adjustment that helped me relate to the Koreans I was visiting. For those who have become life-long missionaries there, what was a temporary adjustment for me became a second nature to them.

When scripture records that Jesus was full of, led, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, it is saying that the totality of His life was influenced by an inner nature that infilled Him. His identity was consistent with the Father AND the Holy Spirit. Jesus often reminded His disciples, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. … 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.” (John 8:28, 38 KJV) And likewise, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63 KJV)

It is true that Jesus was the only perfect man. He was sinless. But, it is evident that He relied upon the influence of the Holy Spirit. Shouldn’t we do the same? Before Jesus left earth He declared, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. … 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:16-17, 25-26 ESV)


PRAYER: Father, I pray for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit today. May my every thought and action reflect His nature in me. Amen.


(Isaiah 26:3 ESV) 3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

This has always been one of my favorite verses in the Bible. When I was a kid, our church used to have us stand up on Wednesday nights and quote a Bible verse. I liked to quote this one because it was easy to say. It had a natural rhythm that I connected with; it enabled me to rattle it off with confidence! Truthfully, as a kid I really didn’t have an appreciation for its meaning because I was happy as long as mom and dad were happy! I can’t really remember being worried, bothered, or otherwise troubled.

It wasn’t until I got a little older and more aware of the “stuff of life,” that I occasionally thought about difficulty. Even then, the things I worried about weren’t life-changing. I threw an after-school paper route and I remember worrying about whether or not the weather would be good! Big stuff.

As I matured… gained a wife and kids… I started worrying in earnest. I mean, MY family depended on ME to provide for and take care of them. Then I started worrying about MY ministry assignments. After all, eternity hung in the balance for the souls of the people who attended MY church. I didn’t want to fail, so I worked very hard not to disappoint anyone. The problem was… I was taking on a role that God never intended for me. My family was in HIS hands. The church that I pastored was HIS church–NOT mine! I had to learn to trust Him.

Consider these observations…

  • You KEEP him… The bowling alley often adds inflatable bumpers when children are bowling to keep their ball on the lane. It’s as though God sets up bumper guides to keep us on a straight path.
  • PERFECT peace… This is the description of mature peace. One that is free from worry even in the face of challenging times.
  • Whose mind is STAYED on God… Obviously, none of us think about God every second of every day. But, that is not what this is talking about. The writer is suggesting a consistent mindset that always remains peaceful.

How does this happen? It happens when we trust God. I have another “favorite” scripture that is appropriate here. (Isaiah 40:31 ESV) 31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

That’s good stuff!

PRAYER: Father, I trust You. With Your help I will discipline my mind to remain focused upon You and Your ability to keep me in peace at all times! Amen.


“While I’m Waiting”

(Luke 2: 25-29) 25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.”

Patience is hard to come by these days.  Everyone is in a hurry, and we are all spoiled by our fast food culture.  We are so used to instant gratification that any amount of waiting seems to bring out the very worst in many of us.  I remember when Taco Bell installed little timers outside of their drive-through windows so you could see how fast they could get your order thrown into a bag, out the window, and subsequently in your face.  People would get angry after just one minute passed without getting their food…  Really?  Yes, really.  That’s the way of the world.  We think we know what we want…and we want it NOW!  Essentially, we are all kind of bratty.  When someone makes us a promise, we latch onto it with a death grip and we don’t let up until it is fulfilled.  We nag, complain, guilt and whine about it until it morphs from a blessing into an assumption or even a demand .  No longer are we grateful and willing to wait.  We equalize waiting with insult and inconvenience, and as a result we get downright moody when we have to do it.  The outcome?  Rash decisions, road rage, fights, cheating, lying, stealing, taking matters into our own hands…need I go on?  It’s all rooted in impatience, and a lack of patience indicates a lack of trust.  If we can’t wait for something, our motives are selfish, and we don’t trust the process.  When we say to God, “I will wait, and pursue You all the while,” we are showing Him that we trust Him…and His process. 

You know the old adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  Well…it does.  Waiting doesn’t have to be all sadness, misery, and solemn expectancy.  Waiting can be fun.  When I was a little girl, my parents would take all five of us kids school shopping at one time.  They had it down to a system.  Just outside of the mall entrance to Belk (or maybe it was JC Penney…I digress…this was thirty years ago) there was a great, big fountain and a Peanut Shack.  Dad would entertain us kids, while Mother would take us in the store, one at a time, to shop for our clothes and shoes.  Pretty smart, if you ask me!  Dad would let us get a small bag of nuts or candy to snack on, and he always seemed to have enough pennies in his pockets and games in his mind to keep us occupied.  Waiting with Dad was fun.  Before we knew it, we were done and headed back home with very little drama and/or tears involved in the process.  It took some smart thinking, team work, patience, and love, but the waiting was endured with grace. 

Well…life is much the same.  You may have to wait your entire life for a promise, or it could happen tomorrow.  Either way, we must remain righteous and devout, as Simeon did.  He hung onto the promise of the Messiah…eagerly anticipating, yet his righteousness remained intact.  He was patient…for a LONG time…and in the last season of his life, the Lord led him to a temple where he was able to witness the fulfillment of that promise…and further still…he was able to hold that promise, the baby Jesus, in his arms!  What a reward for a life spent waiting…gracefully…patiently…and trusting the process fully. 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help me to trust You enough to be patient with Your plan.  In a world of hasty, grumpy people, I want to be set apart…smiling while I wait.  Amen.


(Luke 1:1-4 HCSB) 1 Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us. 3 It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed. 

Approximately 10 years prior to my father’s passing, he started the difficult task of documenting his end-of-life wishes. He updated his will, added his medical treatment desires, finalized his burial arrangements, etc. It was a very intense time, trying to chase down information that would be necessary to make sure everything was accurate. Dad was a planner, and he cared very deeply about DETAILS! There were days I could just look at him and know that the wheels in his head were turning. Eventually, he would say to me, “Son, I’ve been thinking about…”

Dad also believed in writing things down. When he completed this arduous task, he made multiple copies and hid them in various places around the house. In the kitchen cabinets, under the mattresses, in his car, in the garage, the outside shed… any place he could think of where they could be easily accessed by family members. Having these DETAILS made a difficult time much easier for his family to navigate.

Luke began his writing to Theophilus by expressing his desire for him to know the DETAILS of the birth and life of Jesus. He points Theophilus to the many narratives that were written by other eyewitnesses. I love how he calls them, “servants of the word…” The implication is they were very thorough when it came to their responsibility to get the DETAILS right. Even though he acknowledged their contribution, Luke felt the need to add additional DETAILS he considered important. He writes, It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence…”

Notice his chosen words…

  • I carefully investigated…
  • Everything from the first…
  • Orderly sequence…

Luke felt that this message needed to be accurate in every way; carefully investigated (factual), a complete rendering (everything), and in the proper order (sequence).

As we get older and there is some distance between particular events, the DETAILS can start to get fuzzy. Our minds often remember based on desire rather than DETAIL.

I played basketball at the Bible College I attended. My memories reflect how good I was… fast, tough, sharp shooter, dependable, hustle, etc. But, others probably remember how often I was pushed to the floor and my propensity to get called for “traveling.” (Something we seldom see called in the modern game) Their memories are probably much more accurate than mine! At the very least, it would balance out my version!

Not long ago, I was going through some boxes of memorabilia and came across one of the basketball programs from school. The coach had listed every player, along with their career stats. Points, rebounds, assists, etc., were listed for every individual player. The DETAILS helped me remember that I was a decent player, although certainly not the best player. The DETAILS told a different story than my memory!

Let me encourage you to start a process of documenting DETAILS. Record birthdays, take pictures, file some important documents. Write down your blessings. Send someone an encouraiging card, or letter. Say what needs to be said while there is still time to say it. As life progresses, this information can be very useful when trying to salvage a relationship, maintain a marriage, build the self-esteem of a child, etc.

Luke said, that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.” Be careful not to hold grudges and focus on the negative things. Remember the good things… forgive… start over… do what is necessary to experience the positive things in life. And when you come to the end of life you will be able to look back and accurately remember the DETAILS of a life well-lived!

PRAYER: Thank you Father for the DETAILS Luke provided concerning the birth of Jesus. Those DETAILS have provided hope to the hopeless, life to the lifeless, and encouragement to the downtrodden. Your name is to be praised! Amen.

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