I’ve never invested in one nor do I grasp what they do.  Good plan not to put money where your mind is vacant.  Like mine!

What I’m referring to are hedge funds.  Pools of invested money, which seek to protect assets from excessive risk.  Beyond that definition, I’m in deep water without a paddle or canoe!

Reading Psalm 52 reminds me of the need to hedge against the risks of ungodly living.  To put my money, so to speak, where it will do the most for God’s Kingdom.  Growing for Jesus, lest Satan gain a stronghold.

King David in Psalm 52: 1-7 speaks of a ‘mighty man’ who boasts all day long.  A bragger par excellence.  One who toots his own horn with a tune sounding rather off-key and off-putting.  His mouth cuts you to shreds.  A machete through softened butter.  Deceitful and evil.  Lying habitually.  What hurts you pleases him.  A one-upmanship at all costs.  Destroying others mere second nature.

Such a life runs highest risk of disaster.  Ps. 52: 5–‘Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin…’  Read on.  It gets worse.  Never better.  The bottom falls out…forever.

David goes on to sketch the godly person.  He pictures one who worships and loves the Lord.  Who’s hedged in by His care and mercy, while basking in God’s steadfast love.  Finding in Him alone unfailing trustworthiness.

A humble person, admitting need for the Lord at every turn, at all times.  Praise becomes second nature.

Praise of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Praise, not only in a solitary closet, but also with all who love Jesus.  Praise for what He’s done…and does.  And for all those glories yet to be ours…in heaven!

Hedged in with praise for His everlasting and unfailing love!  That’s where to invest your all.

Thank you, Jesus, for being God with us.  Amen.


Psalm 55: 22–‘Cast your cares on the Lord…’  I’d love to do exactly that.  Give my cares, worries and anxieties to Him.  Place them squarely at Jesus’ feet.  Having a load of stress resting on His shoulders, where He can handle them much better than I can.  I’m weak but He is strong.  In addition, He asks us to do nothing less than to give Him all these messes.

So why do I grab them back at the first opportunity?  Could being freed-up be too uncomfortable?  Not used to it?  Odd not worrying or fretting over whatever?  Are you on the same beaten-down team that I’m on?  Last in the American League, so to speak?

You know me, I’m digging into biblical Hebrew language for insight.  The word ‘cares’ refers to what’s been given you.  Not fate, karma or the cards we’re dealt, but what God allows into our lives.  His permissive will.

These are to be grabbed at as from His hands into ours.  Not luck, but the Lord’s call.  What specifically this involves for you will be different than that for me.  So, it’s not so much a matter of what He gives, but our attitude.  Our willingness to receive.  Acceptance.

When I gripe to our lawn care people about a much lighter yellowish-green grass in our backyard, they inform me that this grass blows in from who-knows-where, finding a new home wherever it wants.  As in our lawn!  What to do?  They glibly tell me that nothing’s to be done except to ‘learn to love it’.  Nasty wisenheimers!

Yet (and I resist this), some things in life we must learn to love.  Tolerate, accept and even use for Jesus.  Goes against my grain.  Guess I’m a protesting Protestant for a reason!

My prayer?  To be more flexible.  Less resistant.  I’m not good at this.  I’m a fighter.  A bear.  A combatant.  More like Jacob who wrestles with God (Gen. 32).

Casting cares may be about accepting what the Lord brings my way.  A welcome I seem to know little about.  Still not sure what to meet-and-greet and what to shun.  Need discernment.  Hey, God’s not done with me…or you…yet!

Lord Jesus, please give me mature spiritual discernment.  For your glory alone.  Amen.

MORE AMAZING GRACE! 1 Samuel 12: 18-25

I don’t know if it’s Satan or me who keeps bringing up past sins, throwing them in my face.  Probably a combination of the two.  Here in 1 Samuel 12, the namesake prophet and last judge of Israel gives the most encouragement to God’s people you’ll find almost anywhere in the Bible.  Sadly, only read by few.  Why not leaf through the whole chapter, especially verses 18-25?

God’s people regret embracing an earthly king, turning away from Yahweh God.  Life goes south for them.  They know why.  Their fault.  Like you and me.  When we get self-oriented.  ‘Me, I and myself’ rule.  Then doors slam and windows lock.  Life rambles down the wrong side of the road.  Admit it or not, we know why.

That’s when Samuel tells his people something precious.  He doesn’t throw salt on their wounds.  Refuses to rehash evils committed, never rubbing their collective noses in the muck and mire of their failures.  After all, they admit their sin (v. 19).  No waffling excuses from their mouths.  Merely regret and remorse.

Samuel’s encouragement?  Move on!  Get up and get going for God!  1 Samuel 12: 20-21–‘Do not be afraid…You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.  Do not turn away after useless idols…’  Move on… in God’s amazing grace.  Be sure not to look back as Lot’s salty wife did.

Our Lord doesn’t ignore or excuse sin.  He waits for repentance, and then gets us going again… with Him.  Why would He want us down-and-out, when we could be up-and-about for His Kingdom?  What’s the value in being sidelined?  More advantage for Satan than the Savior.

Consider all the benefits of following the Lord.  He rescues us.  For His name’s sake.  Won’t reject us when we come to Him.  Forgives and forgets.

Get alone in a quiet place, and think about all that the Lord has done for you.  Don’t rush.  Take your time.  Praise Him.  Pray.  Let Him direct your thoughts.  He will.  Then get up and get going for Jesus!

How do I know this?  By reading 1 Samuel 12: 18-25.  And my reflections are only the tip of the iceberg.  Dig deeper yourself.  You’ll find more amazing grace.  More than you ever imagined!

Thank you, Lord, for grace without end.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


BLOW UP OR BUILD UP? 1 Corinthians 8

Only one time I went fishing with my Dad.  I was 12.  We rented a rowboat, with a small outboard motor attached, plying slowly the bay waters of Ocean City, New Jersey.  Calm, sunny day with my Dad announcing that ‘if the fish were there, we’d catch ’em’.  The Fischer’s were there, the fish weren’t!

We did catch two, however.  Unfortunately, both were ‘blowfish’.  Barely edible.  Somewhat toxic.  When yanked into the rowboat, they’d puff up like they’re going to explode.  Big, round and prickly.  A face only its mother could love!  So, we gingerly toss them back.  The culmination of my angling days.

Those fish are what I think of when reading 1 Corinthians 8:1–‘Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.’  Paul is writing to a church with some members excessively proud of their erudition and mental masteries.  The ‘smart generation’ of its day.

Puffed up like blowfish.  Preening like peacocks.  Pausing at their reflection in any passing mirror.  Prancing around  to the beat of their own drums.

Don’t get me wrong.  Gain the best education.  Never stop learning.  Be inquisitive.  Interested and interesting.  But do so to build up yourself so you can help and encourage others.  ‘…love builds up.’

Be a builder.  Productive.  Talents at work– not only for yourself or your family.  Not exclusively for your church or pastor.  No.  Love builds up way beyond any four walls.

Leave something lasting for others.  Think about the consequences of your actions and decisions.  Not as a puffed-up blowfish…but a builder.  A giver much more than a taker.

Let me urge you to find out where you can build for others and the Lord.  Then, do it…and even more.  My task as well.  Why I’m writing these very words.

Get off yourself.  Give back.  Be for others…and for Jesus!

Lord, we want to be useful in your kingdom.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen.