Why not pull up your chair next to Psalm 91?  I’ve been pondering its opening verse all week long.  You know I need the Lord’s help more than ever.  Really?  Why?  What’s happened?  Nothing really.  Sorry, no juicy gossip.

Just life.  With worries about this.  Fears about that.  This one has little to do with Jesus anymore.  That one has medical issues which make me nervous for them.  That’s today.  And tomorrow?  I don’t want to talk about it.  Lay off, already!

Okay, what does the Bible recommend?  Any help there?–‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty’ (Ps. 91: 1).  Sheltered by God Himself.  Fully resting in Him.  Standing near Him unmoved.  You don’t even have to be right next to Him, but merely in His shadow.

This life is home away from home.  We’re passin’ through, hunkering down in an unwelcome, foreign land.  So, what should we do?  You know–hold tightly onto Jesus.  After all, God is ‘the Most High’, as it says in Psalm 91: 1.  He doesn’t get bogged down with petty matters.  He’s above it all.  Confident in His character and plans.  Casts His shadow wide and long so all of us have plenty of room, as close to Him as we want.

He’s the Almighty.  All-powerful.  All-knowing.  All…everything.  You name it and He’s all of the above, which is exactly why His shadow has oodles of leg and elbow room where we can find shelter.  No overcrowding in His mansions over the hilltop.  God’s shadow covers more than we can imagine.

This is from that first verse?  Right again–‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty (Ps. 91: 1).’

I know.  I’m only scratching the surface.  So why don’t you take it all in, all of Psalm 91?  You’ll find help there, even for a scaredy-cat like me.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for always having a safe place for me in your heart.  Amen.


There seems to be a dearth of great, let alone good, role models.  Growing up in the ’50s and 60’s we mostly admired and respected those in authority.  They earned it.  We gave it.  Teachers taught.  Preachers preached.  Police policed.  Politicians seemed more polite and dignified then.  I still like Ike!

When I was 3, I ran away from home wanting to get some particular toy from Woolworths 5 & 10 up the street and around the corner.  Something my mother wouldn’t let me have.  Meany.  I’ll show her!  Then the police found me (minus that gizmo that I couldn’t live without) and drove me home after giving me an ice cream cone.  Guess it goes to show you that crime does pay!

I loved my teachers.  They were special.  Beginning in Kindergarten with Miss Ford.  Junior High teacher Mr. Rooney instilled in me a love of geography and travel.  Mr. Gordon in Senior High passed on his love of literature my way.  Culminating with evangelical biblical scholar Bruce Metzger at Princeton Seminary.

Disrespect them when they’re trying to help me grow?  Are you kidding?  How about the general tone today?  Well, you know.

But I do have a great role model for you.  No, not me.  But thanks for asking!  Or did you?  Ezra’s my man.  Can hardly go wrong if you’re following in his footsteps.

What am I looking at?  Ezra chapter 7 in the Old Testament–‘this Ezra…was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given…for the hand of the Lord his God was on him…For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel’ (vs.6,10).

He’s a scribe.  A religious teacher’s job pivots on being clued in with God’s Word.  He’s savvy and skilled.  Takes his job seriously.  No skimming the surface by speedreading or sloughing off with extended lunch breaks.  Ezra’s all in for the Lord.  Sounds like a hint, doesn’t it?  How am I doing?  Are you sold out for Jesus?  Only on good days?  When blessings flow your way?  But what if…

Again, what Ezra works hard at is God’s Word.  It’s the Lord’s gift to each generation of those who seek Him.  Digging in, mining its gems and minerals.  Never comes without some good old-fashioned grit and determination.  ‘For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord…’ (Ezra 7:10).  Sets his heart.  Makes a commitment.  Promises are given to his Lord.  To delve deeper.  And then even more.  Have we?

Not just study…study…study.  Makes for quite the dull boy.  No.  ‘…and to do it…’ (v.10).  You know about faith without works being dead as a doornail.  Well, it is and they are.  Waste of God’s time and yours not to put what you know into action.  Be Jesus’ ‘A-OK’ follower–‘Action-Oriented Kind’.  That was Ezra.

There’s more.  To study…do…and now share.  ‘…and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel’ (v.10).  Pass it on!  Don’t hog all that good news for you and yours.  Charity may begin at home but don’t let it hit the brakes there.  Get going and let someone else in on the best news ever.  That’s what Ezra did.

A great role model?  You think?

Thank you, Jesus, that I can be more for you and for others.  Amen.

AN OLD SAP! Psalm 92

I’ve been called worse.  Much worse.  One unrepentant church attender labels me the anti-christ in a letter to the elders, who wisely usher him out the back door, so to speak.  In another church, someone compares me to President Richard Nixon who resigns after threats of impeachment, suggesting that I do much the same.  Resign, that is.

But slinging mud my way for being an ‘old sap’ seems a tad childish.  You know about sticks and stones breaking bones but those blasted, shoddy downer names never hurting.  Baloney and balderdash.  Those jagged verbal stones stick in our minds and hearts better than using Gorilla glue.

Psalm 92 prescribes good medicine.  An antidote for disparaging my good name, while having no toxic side effects.  No insurance co-pay.  Just what’s needed.  The right dosage.  Take as much as you want.  You’ll feel much better.

After initial praise to God, we’re reassured that His enemies will exit as quickly as grass which grows, dies, and blows away (v. 7).  But for those of us who have trusted in Jesus for salvation, we’re like palm trees and cedars of Lebanon (v.12).  Unlike grass, trees take a lot of time to grow.  Roots dig down deep, garnering needed nourishment, strength, and stability.

Trees can live for decades…centuries…and some for millennia.  Hear God’s promises to those who stay close to Him in this life–‘The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.  They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him’ (Ps. 92: 12-15).  See?  The old sap still flows for Him!

That’s true for many of you.  All?  I wouldn’t know.  But I do know that someone crafts amazing scarves and patterns for Him.  Another teaches the Bible to a group that meets weekly in a home setting.  A couple sells glass creations at a local farmer’s market where they shine Jesus’ love.  Another couple assists at their church’s drug and alcohol recovery program.  Another knits baby clothing for couples burying their miscarried and stillborn children, giving them a respectful and loving burial.  A young woman copies these weekly devotionals for those in her church.

These are all saps…for Jesus!  Green and fresh, lively sharing their Lord with others.  At whatever age.  So, go ahead.  Call me an old sap.  I don’t mind.  In Jesus, quite the compliment!

And you?  Time to get off your duff for the Master?  Think about it.  No supply-chain shortage of needy people.  Inflation adds to their numbers.  International tensions rack up terrible gains.  What’s lacking?  Only willing, able, and loving workers.  Who brings good news of Jesus.  Of hope and help.  Is that you?

For a life worth living, we thank you, Jesus.  Amen.


Going from the Moody Bible Institute to Princeton Theological Seminary seems like crossing a wide, deep, and turbulent river without knowing how to swim.  Why was this my educational path?  Why not attend an solidly evangelical seminary which Princeton used to be but sadly is no longer?  What gives?

Frankly, I need some theological breathing space.  Something different from what seems rote and pat.  New approaches.  A different angle.  To be stretched academically.  Be where great minds can interact with my pea-sized one.  But I wonder if an ivy-league seminary would even admit me.  They did.  I’m the first Moody degree grad accepted by Princeton.  So, I went.  And?

Since pastoral counseling becomes my master’s degree’s concentration, Bible classes are few and far between.  I make sure I take those required few from evangelical scholars like Dr. Bruce Metzger.  As it turns out, Moody lays a solid foundation for me.  A place to firmly stand.

But, at seminary, I come across all kinds of professors and teachings.  Some so far out I imagine they’d fall off the edge of the earth if there is one!  So what keeps me from having my faith in Jesus watered down?  From becoming the typical compromiser, allowing the world’s ways to dictate to, dominate, and alter God’s Word?   After all, some weird theological curve balls get pitched my way.  Would I strike out?  Maybe get traded to another team?  Or make it safely home, rounding all the bases, winning the game for the owner, God Almighty.

So, what did see me through?  Check out Psalm 89: 34–‘I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.’  The Lord affirms that His Word will stand forever.  He’ll never break any promise that He makes.  Keeps them all.  His Word is trustworthy from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation.  Not just some of it.  The parts I like, which tickle my ears.  No.  All of it.

When I’ve experienced pastors, professors, or anyone for that matter who spouts off that the Bible is a bunch of hooey, a figment of someone’s imagination, out of date, no longer applicable, I know where to stand.  As far from them as possible.  So should you.  Skedaddale, amscray, step on the gas, fly the coop…and don’t look back.

When God speaks we better listen…and obey.  Whether we like it or not.  If not, too bad for me…and you.  It’s His world and His Word, so get in line.  Follow the Leader.  Stand firm with what God says.  And don’t apologize.  Yet be kind.

That’s what got me through and still does–His Word, the Bible.

Father, for your trustworthy Word, we thank you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.