Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Moreover, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and daughters. But David strengthened (encouraged) himself in the LORD his God.                    I Samuel 30:6 NIV

In the body of Christ, I’m a heart—but sometimes I feel like the fingernails, just holding on.

We all need encouragement. Sometimes it just isn’t there. What’s a body part to do?

David fled from King Saul, and hundreds of hopeless men found hope in him, flocked to him, became his family. Achish gave him the town of Ziklag, where they all settled with their wives and children.

Ziklag, a home for this homeless little army.

But one day they returned from a campaign to find their town looted and burned, everyone taken prisoner. No encouragement for their leader. Instead, the men—his friends, his heart family—wanted to stone David.  

Let’s face it. We’re different. Nobody is 100% compatible with anyone else in this whole wide world, not even soul mates. No one who hasn’t been through it or is going through it can understand what the one who is facing it is facing. Not even the ones who have been through it can understand what it’s like for that person. Each of us has different genetics, different shaping experiences, a different perspective, different things we value.

Lonesome, huh?

So what did David do when his men failed him? He turned to the One who does know every one of us intimately.

Avi, You are the One who made us, the One who knows all we are, all we are not, and who still loves us anyway. You know what’s best for us. You have the wisdom and the power to tackle every problem that concerns us. Please fill us, Avi, and renew our joy in serving You. Help us to keep on keeping on, all the way to a finish pleasing to You. In Your holy name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. Matthew 13:20,21 NIV

The question was asked in Sunday School, “Why is it that faith seems to come so much easier to some people?” Words popped into my head and out of my mouth. “I think it depends on how deep He plowed their ground.”

Sitting on the front porch swing with my sister-in-law. When we ran out of this and that to talk about, she grew pensive. “My granddaughter keeps getting in with the wrong crowd. She’s made so many bad decisions, but you can’t tell her anything.”

“Jesus has her,” I said, “and maybe He needs to keep her to Himself for a while.”

“I know, and I pray for her, but…” She shook her head.

“I made a lot of bad decisions and went down some rocky paths, too. A lot of bad things happened to me, but a lot of much worse things didn’t. Wanna know what I finally realized?”

She nodded.

“Jesus made me, and He knows me. He knew exactly how much it would take to get through to me. He loved me enough to let me learn the hard way. But He didn’t want to hurt me, and He didn’t let even one thing more than I needed happen to me. He knows your granddaughter just as well, and loves her just as much. He’ll be just as careful with her.”

Avi, it’s hard to keep your balance walking across a plowed field, especially with your eyes closed. It’s even harder when you are that field getting plowed. We want our loved ones safe now, but even more we want a real and lasting faith for them. Maybe the best thing we can pray for them is that You take time to plow their ground deep. In Your holy name, Amen.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


That I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. Philippians 3:8, 9 NIV

I disappointed some people today, and here I am in my quiet place, telling God how glad I am that none of those people is my judge. He is.
Then it hit me like a slap upside the head: He is my Judge. I am not.

I’m my own worst critic—learned my worldly lessons well—but when Satan points out my failures, my God reminds me: He is the One who knows my heart. He’s the One who made me, redeemed me, gifted me. He’s the One who assigns me my tasks and watches to see how well I do them—or don’t do them.

He’s the One who strengthens me. When that strength is used up, He’s the One who carries me through and over the rough spots.

And when Satan attacks again, He’s the One who convicts me of righteousness—His own righteousness, freely shared with me.

Avi, You see my heart. You see my weakness, my struggles. Give me strength to do what You choose for me to do. Give me wisdom to choose between good and best. Don’t let me waste the gifts You’ve given me. In Your holy name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  John 13:35 NIV

I’m a compulsive T-shirt reader. Clever, funny, pithy, offensive or just plain dumb. If they’re illegible or cryptic, I’m likely to pursue one across a room to ask what it says, what it means. Had some good conversations started that way.

A couple of weeks ago a normal-looking, football player-sized black man came into SubWay and sauntered past my table. His shirt was in clear view, bold white letters on a dark background: WE CU H8N. I was slow to decipher that because that isn’t where my mind was at.
“We see you hating.”

What could I have said that would have made a difference to him? People interpret what they see and hear and read according to their own biases, their own preconceived ideas. It’s hard, if not impossible, to get past a firmly entrenched belief, no matter how mistaken it is. Yes, there are people who hate on the basis of differences, but far more who don’t.


No, you don’t. if you saw anything “negative” in me, it was pity. Pity that you’re wasting your best years on Satan’s lie.

Avi, what do people see when they look at me? Do they see hate? Indifference? Or do they see the love of Your Spirit who lives in me? Make me like You, Avi. In Your holy name, Amen.