ANYTHING AT ALL 1 Chronicles 23-27

Please don’t blow a gasket.  I’m aware that the Bible chapters for this week are from its most obscure section.  Cut me some slack.  It’s leap year.  February 29th.  Here goes!

Reading these chapters, I find myself freed to do anything at all for the Lord.  Whatever it is, do it.  Don’t hold back.  I know it’s not easy.  All kinds of obstacles clutter our paths.

Just under the surface of my emotions, I feel as if I’ve not done near enough for the Lord.  And, of course, I haven’t.  Slacked off when I should have had my nose to the grindstone.  But why look back, holding onto negative thoughts?  God forgives.  Move on.

Here’s some good news from little known Chronicles.  Really?  Some hope from these unsung pages?  For sure!  Nothing in the Bible is wasted.  Not one jot or tittle without purpose.  So what do I see?

Note that King David is organizing the building materials and personnel for Jerusalem’s Temple, which his son Solomon will complete.  There will be lots to do.  All kinds of jobs–priests, builders, designers, weavers, gatekeepers, perfumers, jewelers, armed forces, musicians and singers, accountants and managers.  You name it, they’ll need it.  Choices galore.

Same today.  Whatever you do for the Lord is fine with Him.  But do it.  Try not to let Satan derail you, sapping your joy in serving the Master.  For me, two steps forward, one back.  But at least a couple steps move forward.  Not bad.  But let’s do some better.  And always…for Him.


Thank you, Lord, that we may serve you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


DAD’S HELP 2 Kings 19

How I loved arranging my work schedule so that I could help my 8 year old son Dave deliver the local newspaper on his first paper route.  My job allows me the freedom to plan appointments around both my boy’s school, sports and work schedules.  They almost always come first.

So, off we go delivering papers, door-to-door, for about 45 neighbors.  Once in a while, a mean dog prevents our doorstep delivery, so a handy, well-placed toss lands the newspaper somewhere in their front yard.  Not messing with a hound that bares its teeth, looking barely fed!

Months in, I wonder why Dave’s paycheck is so low.  What gives?  Volunteer work?  No.  When asked, he won’t say.  Off to the newspaper office we go.  Turns out a customer isn’t paying.  Hence, Dave’s income becomes almost invisible.  The local rag sheet isn’t about to lose a penny, but my boy does.  Can you sense that Dad is none too happy?

What happens?  Standing my ground, of which I’m quite capable, the problem’s solved lickity-split as in no more daily papers unless they cough up for three months in advance, in addition to all the back payments owed my son.  Can still see the relief on Dave’s face.  What joy to help my boy!

King Hezekiah receives a threatening military letter from world-dominating Assyria.  Lots more at risk than an insolvent paper route.  The nation teeters on the brink.  Defeat and death hang in the air.  What to do?

2 Kings 19: 1–‘When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord.’   Verse 14–‘Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it.  Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord.’  Up against it, what next?

So simple.  Whatever weighs you down, take it to the Lord.  Lay it all out before Him.  Even if you’re at fault, especially then, bring it to Jesus.  He’s your friend.  He loves to help even when it all seems so helpless.

But did you notice something?  Dave never cried out to me for help.  Poor little tyke probably too shy or embarrassed.  Not to worry.  I was watching.  I could see that something was rotten, not in Denmark, but with his paper route.   And that’s when I took off the kid gloves.  Eating Popeye’s spinach, landing on both feet, ready to right the wrong…for my boy.

I wonder how many times I never asked the Lord for help when He was already at work on my behalf?  And yours.  Think about that this week.  Thank Him for all that you’ve never seen Him directly do for you.  For when you kept your mouth shut, He was at work anyway…for you!  That’s Dad’s help.


Thank you, Jesus, for helping me.  Amen.

GOALS 2 Corinthians 5

No, I’m not rehashing errant field goal attempts from some past Super Bowl!  Nor am I remembering the annual visit to my investment company manager’s office to declare in writing what my dollar goals would be for the new year.  Like I have a crystal ball.  Or some tea leaves to decipher.  Or worse, slicing an animal’s liver to decode the year ahead.

2 Corinthians 5: 9–‘So we make it our goal to please Him (Jesus)…’  St. Paul doesn’t issue a command, but voluntarily decides to please his Lord and Savior.  His preference.  Ours?  Goal #1?  Most of the time it’s you-know-who.  Me!

But who deserves it most?  Guess!  It’s not like God is narcissistic and self-serving, craving endless attention.  Like some people we know, who must always be right.  Know-it-all smart alecks.  Talk incessantly about themselves.  A regular I love me.  Boring beyond measure.

No.  He’s not needy like we are.  After all, He actually deserves our attention, praise, and worship.  Because He’s Lord of all… always.  Don’t rob Him of what’s rightfully His.

And, by the way, we owe Him.   2 Corinthians 5: 15–‘And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.’  Crystal clear?  Shouldn’t we live for Him?  The answer’s way too obvious.  Here’s the goal–  ‘…for him.’  Again ‘…for him.’

All this week, we’ll have choices to make.  To please God?  How?  Don’t ask me.  Ask Him.  By the way, why not admit it.  We know what pleases God.  Don’t we?  Then do it!


Lord, to follow Jesus is absolute joy.  Thank you.  Amen.


If Elijah can’t figure it out, what hope is there for me?  Here in 1 Kings 17, the prophet finds himself in a quandary.  About what?  Fleeing drought and famine in Israel, he finds much the same in Zarephath, a Phoenician town along Israel’s Mediterranean northern coast.  He meets a widow who is preparing a last supper for herself and her son.  Only enough flour and oil for a trifle of a final meal.  Nothing extra to share especially with a total stranger.

Not known for shyness, Elijah tells this poor woman to give him some water and food before they get a bite or a sip.  Can you imagine?  What chutzpah.  What a nerve.  Brazen so-and-so.  Here, serve me first!

You probably know that God performs a miracle.  This widow will not run out of flour or oil as long as the famine lasts.  Cheers go up daily as God’s provision is made for all three.

Sometime later, this woman’s faith gets tested when her only son dies.  She rails against Elijah, wondering if her sins have caught up with her–‘What do you have against me, man of God?  Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?’ (1 Kings 17:18).  Her faith hits a brick wall.  Hangs by a tiny filament of thread.

Elijah knows who can help–“Then he cried out to the Lord, ‘O Lord my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing him to die?'” (1 Kings 17:20).  The prophet doesn’t know what’s going on.  What gives, Lord?  What are you up to?  Killing her son?  See what I mean?

If Elijah doesn’t know, how can we?  Often I have no idea what God wants me to do.  Oh sure, not to murder or steal or lie.  The Ten Commandments.  No problem there.  But lots of other decisions are left hanging in the air, without a clue or hint…from Him.  Silence from above.  E-mails and texts ignored.  No return call.

When in doubt, do what Elijah does.  What’s that?  He takes hold of the boy.  Doesn’t bury his head in the sand.  Grabs hold.  Talks with his Lord.  Lays it all out.  No crafting certain words.  Prays for life to return.  And then prays some more.

In this case, the boy revives.  But who knows?  Maybe, in my case, nothing changes.  Or I won’t like God’s answers.  The opposite of what I asked for.  Or no word at all.  Then what?  That’s my quandary.  Just me?

Can I still hang in there with Jesus?  Pray without ceasing?  Without obvious answers?  Move ahead with trust and faith?  Be true to Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit?  Can I?  Will I?

And you?


Thank you, Lord, for faith that doesn’t give up.  Amen. 

NASTY COLD FRONT Mark 2: 18-22

I always wanted to ski.  On snow that is since I can’t swim.  Looks like such fun sooshing down newly groomed slopes of fresh powder.  Bobbing and weaving past evergreen trees.  Jumping moguls.  Only problem is that I’m petrified of heights.  No problem going down but the other raises immediate issues!  Since I can’t fly, I try the chair lift.

Oy vey!  I didn’t know my fears could rise higher than where this infernal moving bench is going.  An instructor advises me to persist as the phobia will eventually disappear.  Yea, right.  Liar, liar, pants…

Only gets worse.  Sashaying onto the lift is easy, but elevating skis and timing my exit, as the chair keeps going, is way too complicated.  Off I slide, down on all fours!  Skinned hands with skis stuck in the packed ice and snow.  Lift stops with other skiers dangling in the frosty air.  I’m never so popular.

I immediately notice that it feels mighty cold in my nether regions.  Falling was one thing but ripping the entire back of my ski pants ushers in a cold snap where least wanted.  An ill wind blows for sure.

On a much more serious note, Jesus talks about ripping garments and bursting wineskins.  In Mark 2, He points out that the newness He brings will not work within worn-out garments and brittle wineskins, symbolic of stifling religious rituals.  His new rips apart the old.  No patches allowed.  Religious rigidity won’t work.  Never has, never will.  It’s the supple heart He looks for.

Garments rip when Jesus appears before the high priest Caiaphas in Mark 14.  When Jesus affirms that He’ll be seen sitting at the right hand of God and coming again in judgement and glory, Caiaphas no longer tolerates such blasphemy.  Mark 14:63–‘The high priest tore his clothes’.

Wine sacks burst open, the high priest’s clothing tears, but even more happens in the Temple when Jesus dies.  The heavy curtain, which separates off the Holy of Holies, reminds all that God detaches Himself from sinful people.  Division rules.  ‘Keep Out’ signs will be obeyed, until Jesus dies and that heavy curtain is torn from its top all the way down to the bottom.  Ripped apart.  As if by God’s own hands.

And a new welcome sign goes up.  The porch light stays on.  Back door unlocked.  Welcome home, my child!


Thank you, Jesus, for tearing sin from our lives.  Amen.