Hebrews 13:8 (Day 42/50)

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Yesterday Pacman turned 35. The video game icon was a world changer in its day taking in more quarters than any arcade video game in the history of gaming. Kids in the 80’s were pumping tokens into 293,000 machines in pizza parlors and skating rinks across the USA.

Compare that to today’s kids playing Grand Theft Auto in their own bedrooms on their own TV and gaming system. It’s a whole new world isn’t it? Everything has changed. Most obviously is the quality of the game. Technology has made incredible advancements. Less obvious is the economics of gaming. You used to pay per play. Today you buy the system and the game and play as often as you want. You used to have to go to a place that had the game, today Nielsen says that over 56% of households have their own game system. Pacman used a rollerball or joystick to move a 2d character through the repetitive maze. Todays games use wireless controls to investigate 3d worlds. In Pacman, one kid played while everyone else watched and waited their turn. Today kids play simultaneously from their own rooms communicating with friends from around the world as they complete missions together.

Everything has changed. The shift from Pacman to video games of the future says less about the gaming industry than it does about the changes in American culture over that time. Economics, education, play, hopes/dreams, and even what’s seen as ‘normal’ have moved from one place to another in the past 35 years. We live in a time of monumental change in many areas of life.

When I think about societal shifts like these I am torn between a nostalgia for the simplicity of the past, and an excitement about what new things we’ll experience in the future. I can see the benefits of both worlds, and I can see the curses. Change can be wonderful, and it can be incredibly difficult. Change happening at such a tremendous pace can be overwhelming for us. I honestly can’t even comprehend what might come next.

For many this type of change can be scary. If you’re one of those I offer a wonderful verse of Scripture for you today. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Jesus is unmoving in His love for you and this world. No matter what we experience today, and no matter what the future brings, there is confidence in Jesus!

Dear Jesus, thank you for being my constant! Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Psalm 15:6 (Day 41/50)

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Psalm 150:6

If you haven’t heard yet: Today is Lydia Comfort Dog’s BIRTHDAY! Happy TWO to our dear puppy who has joined the team at Messiah Lutheran Church in Lynnfield. In her honor we’re picking a great Bible verse today.

All of God’s creation has the capacity to offer praise to God. Like a Rembrandt points back to the creative genius who painted it and like a symphony points back to the rhythmic wonders of Aaron Copland; God’s creatures point back to God as the ultimate creative power in the universe.

Today is a great day to remember that the whole earth gives praise to God, our creator!

Dear Jesus, Receive our thanks and praise today and always! Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Matthew 26:26 (Day 40/50)

“This is My body…” Matthew 26:26

We take Jesus at His word. He didn’t say, “Take, eat, this is like my body.” He didn’t say, “Take, eat, this represents my body.” He said, “This IS my body.”

We teach our 6-8th grade confirmation students that it’s ok to say, “I don’t know.” In fact, when it comes to the mysteries of God we BETTER say, “I don’t know.” How does the body of Jesus appear? I don’t know. How is it possible that Jesus’ body is present on our altar AND on an altar in Florida at the same time? I don’t know. How does Jesus actually show up in the bread and wine? I don’t know.

My eyes tell me one thing, but my faith tells me something else. My eyes see little wafers of bread and a sip of wine, but my faith says there is the forgiveness of sins! My eyes and my faith don’t always match up. That’s perfectly fine. We don’t have to be able to explain things in order to believe them. This gives me a ton of comfort because it reminds me that God is God and I am not. I can’t figure out all that He does. If I could I would be God and would take care of things on my own. But, I can’t, so I rely on what He’s already told me. If He tells me that this is His body. I believe it. How? I don’t know.

There are lots of other things I don’t know. I don’t know how the Trinity is the Trinity. I don’t know how Jesus is God and Man at the same time. I don’t know how I’m a saint and sinner at the same time. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. I don’t know why God would love a guy like me so much that He would die for me. But, I believe it.

God is bigger than me, smarter than me, wiser than me, older and more experienced that me, more creative than me, and just plain better than me. His ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts. If He says it’s His body, it is. I don’t know how, but I believe it.

Dear Jesus, I believe your word. Amen!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Psalm 95:1-7 (Day 39/50)

Some times it’s important to be reminded of who God is, and who we are. Maybe it’s better said that some times it’s important for us to be reminded of who we are NOT. We are not God. Never have been. Never will be.

We are the creatures. He’s the creator. For that He deserves our thanks and praise. He deserves our worship. He is God.

Psalm 95 provides a great prayer that does two things for us. First, it reminds us that God is God and we are not. Second, it provides words for us to use in praise of Him. Let these words be your prayer of praise today:

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand. Amen! Psalm 95:1-7

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Psalm 133:1 (Day 38/50)

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.” Psalm 133:1

If you want to know just how true this statement is try out it’s opposite. How bad and unpleasant it is when brothers dwell together in chaos. That is absolutely true. I would know. I’m the brother of a brother. And, I’m a dad to three brothers. I know what it’s like when boys fight. There’s not much worse than the noise of brothers living together in chaos.

Before we go letting all the women folk off the line, it’s good to remember that some translate this verse as “God’s people” instead of just brothers. I understand that sisters can get into some pretty good scrapes too!

When we live in chaos with each other the home is filled with yelling, crying, and the sounds of fists trying to make contact. How bad and unpleasant this is indeed. When we live in unity the home is filled with positive comments, laughter, and joy.

Psalms don’t just come true by magic. Unity in the home is a gift from God given through Jesus. Forgiveness is key! Sin separates, tears apart, and divides people. Forgiveness heals, brings together, and unites. Only through the cross of Jesus can people hope to live in unity.

This is true in our homes, in our congregations, in our communities, and in our world. Jesus can bring unity when nothing else can. If you’re living in chaos, look to Jesus today!

Dear Jesus, help us live in unity today. Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exodus 20:8 (Day 37/50)

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8

People can be made holy. (See Isaiah 6 when he is purified in the throne room of God) Places can be made Holy. (See Exodus 3 when Moses takes off his sandals for the place he stands is holy ground) Things can be made holy. (See Mark 5 when the woman is healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ cloak)

Time can also be made holy. In fact, the third commandment requires it! To be made holy is to be set apart for a special purpose. God wants at least one day a week to be set apart for our benefit. Set aside time for rest.

I have a date on my calendar that is set apart. I’m planning a hiking trip with my boys, and nothing will get in the way of that time. Not work. Not family. Not any other commitments. It’s time that is set aside for a special purpose.

Time with God can be set apart each week. Sunday’s work well for many people. You might want to set aside even more time though. Daily devotional time for Bible reading and prayer is vital to the life of a disciple. Start by setting aside 15 minutes each day, and increase until you reach 30, 45, or 60 minutes.

The cool thing about setting aside time for God is that He also sets aside time for YOU! It’s like when you make a date on your calendar for lunch with a friend. You block off an hour on next Tuesday to meet at Panera. They also block off an hour to meet you at Panera. It’s special time. When you set aside time to meet God, He sets aside time to meet with YOU. That’s making time Holy!

Dear Jesus, thank you for making my time Holy! Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Galatians 4:4 (Day 36/50)

“When the time had fully come, God sent his son…” Galatians 4:4

They say that timing is everything. It’s true in sports. A batter swinging a moment early fouls off the pitch. Swing too late and you miss everything. Swing right at the exact moment and the ball can travel over the fence for a home run.

Financial experts would agree. Buy low. Sell high. Miss the market by a day and you’ll lose lots. Most experts would tell you that it’s really hard to time the market, and really shouldn’t even be tried. It’s hard to get the timing perfect.

Driving a car is often about timing. How many “just misses” have you experienced? Those moments when you just miss a collision are all about timing. Hit the brakes too slow and you’re in the trunk of the car in front of you. Timing is important.

Marriage can be a matter of finding the right timing too. Two people meet at a bar and fall in love. What if their paths didn’t cross that evening? What if the guy was 20 minutes too late and they never bumped into each other? Or, what if they meet, but are too late to develop a relationship because he just agreed to a new job out of state? It could have been a great relationship, but the timing was off.

Timing is everything. That’s true of our salvation too. At just the right time, God sent Jesus. At exactly the right time Jesus came into this world, lived, died, rose, and ascended. And, at exactly the right time He’s going to come back.

Some days God’s timing feels off. His answers to prayer can seem slow. He’s pushing me to change faster than I’m ready. He calls people home too soon. In all of these it’s important to remember that God’s timing is always best, and right. God’s timing is everything.

Dear God, thank you for timing it right! Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment