After surgery, I’m restricted to an all-liquid diet.  Not a lot of fun, but survivable for a day or two.  That’s all that’s needed before soft foods arrive.  What the nutritionist makes crystal clear is that I have to supplement my diet with plenty of water.  Good old H2O.  Then add some of this and that to increase calories and even some bulk, which I’ve been blessed with since early childhood, so to speak!

Spiritually, when we’re new believers, we need an all-liquid diet.  Bible verses that tell us of Jesus’ love and salvation.  His forgiveness and kindness.  Not heavy-duty theology as in the timing of the fall of Satan and his cohort angel band, or that free will versus the elect business.  No.  But more time in the Psalms and the Gospel of John.  For a while avoiding Leviticus and Ezekiel.

But, as we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we add supplements to our spiritual diet.  Dig deeper.  Take on the tough stuff.  Placing faith, not only in what our mind’s comprehend, but also in how we live.  Reading 2 Peter 1: 5-8 we discover a cornucopia of tasty morsels.  As in building character adding these supplements–faith and virtue, knowledge and self-control, steadfastness and godliness, kindness and love.  Grab hold, and you’ll be maturing in the best possible ways.

The only problem for me is that I either forget about them or, even worse, ignore them.  Laziness leads with old habits becoming harder to break, masking God’s best medicine.  Know what I mean?

Imagine if I genuinely concentrate on adding godly virtues to my personality.  Not to be holier than thou.  Or better than thou.  But to be more honorable and honest, considerate and gentle.  More reliable and dependable.  A man of my word.  Loving and forgiving.  All just as the Lord desires for me.  And you.   Helping us grow more in our love for Jesus and others.  That’s more like it.

This week I’m going to zero in on those supplements.  To put them into practice.  See if I’m making any progress.  Or if I’m falling down on the job in this area or that.  For me, probably some of both on a good day.  How about you?  Maybe someday we’ll enjoy sharing three square meals with Jesus.  No more liquid diets.  Nothing salt-free.  With those supplements becoming part and parcel of exactly who we are.  Most of the time, at least!

While you’re at it, please pass the patience!

Thank you, Jesus, that we can grow in our love for you.  Amen.


It goads me that I fall miserably short of God’s ideal.  Of all that He wants me to be.  Not even close.  It bothers me.  Shouldn’t it?

I’m humbled, even taken to the cleaners, comparing myself with classmates from my Bible college days.  I graduated 2nd in my class.  No, not of three, wise guy!, but of a couple hundred.   At alumni gatherings over the years, I hear what they’ve done for the Lord– faithful pastors and missionaries, Bible teachers, and more.  Very moving.  I wish I could disappear, right out the back door.   When it’s my turn to share, I melt into the woodwork.

Reading Psalm 138, I take my eyes off myself and place them where they should be…on the Lord.  Might help you to do the same?  The opening verse praises God with the psalmist’s whole heart.  He means business.  Don’t you want to be His next-door neighbor?  On the best of terms?  Genuinely so?  I do.  Verse 2 highlights the Lord’s steadfast love and faithfulness.  God’s character displays His generosity and kindness.  He yearns for us to be as close as close can be.  Really?

His devotion, unswerving and dogged, means that Jesus will never wash His hands of us.  When we’re His, we’re His.  So, when we mess up (as I do regularly), get back on track with Him, as soon as possible.  As in ‘fessing up, getting it off your chest, telling Jesus all about it.  Like He doesn’t already know?  But He wants to hear it from your lips.  Come clean and you’ll be just that.  Clean and neat as a button.

It’s that last verse that captures my attention.  Psalm 138: 8–‘The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.  Do not forsake the work of your hands.’  God’s not finished with us.  As long as we’re breathing, we can grow and mature.  To become more like Jesus.  Fulfilling His plans for us.  Doing what He wants us to do.  He’s not done yet.

Knowing that motivates me to keep busy for Him.  Not for brownie points.  Or bragging rights.  Not to shine brighter than others at our next Bible school alumni gathering.  No.  Why then?  You know.  To show my love for Jesus, putting worship into action.  For Him.  For others.  For a change.

Lord Jesus, to be busy for you is such joy and privilege.  Amen.

THE CHECK IS IN THE MAIL! 1 Peter 1: 3-12

I can’t believe it– an inheritance is coming my way.  From whom?  What does it matter as long as the check is in the mail.  Sadly, I’m kidding.  But I do remember someone promised an inheritance only to find out that the deceased had spent it all on a remodeled kitchen.  Can a claim be made on the refrigerator, toaster, and upgraded cabinets?

The Apostle Peter promises an inheritance, one which comes directly from the Lord to His own.  That’s to any who repent of sin and welcome Jesus into their lives.  I’m not being simplistic, but that’s what happened to me years ago.  Hear of Jesus’ love and respond ‘yes’ to His offer of a new life.  Nothing complicated or requiring some theological final exam to cram for.  That starts my Christian life, which rolls with the punches, stays the course with fits and starts, and hangs in there going backward and then forward.  Not a straight line, but the trend is my friend.

1 Peter 1:3-4–‘…he has caused us to be born again to a living hope…to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…’   Okay, it’s not money.  Sorry.  But the old green stuff has a way of doing a vanishing act.  Note recent stock market rollercoaster gyrations.  Better not to put your trust there.  In the perishable.

But our salvation, given us by the Lord Jesus?  As St. Peter says, it’s imperishable.  Held secure.  That check is not just in the mail, but already has been deposited into your account with the Bank of Heaven.  Nothing polluted, toxic, or mucked up about it.  It’s not from illegal or immoral sources.  Salvation remains ‘undefiled’.  Pure and clean, neat as a button, in apple-pie order.

Actually, I do have an inheritance from a friend.  It’s a personal, handwritten letter mailed from C.S. Lewis.  It hangs on my office wall.  Written from Magdalene College, Cambridge University, England on May 21, 1959.  I’ve framed the letter and the envelope, both in C. S. Lewis’ handwriting.  It’s a cherished gift from a dear friend.  But I note some fading of the ink.  Not much.  Only a tad.  But I wonder how long what C. S. Lewis has written will be visible.  Not forever.

Our inheritance from the Lord?  Fear not.  ‘Imperishable’…’undefiled’…and ‘unfading’.   You can always bank on Jesus.  Always.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being totally dependable.  Amen.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME Psalm 119: 17-24

Hazel tells me, her financial planner, that she and her home have roots and foundations deep down in her yard.  No way was she ever going to be forced out of her mobile home.  But in her 90s she had no choice but to be uprooted to a nursing home.  Was painful but necessary as it may be for us if blessed to live to a great age as Hazel did.

Somewhere within lurks the feeling that we’re not at home yet.  Uprooted.  Strangers in this life.  The joys of our early years often utterly vanish.  Kids grow up and move away.  Disputes happen that never heal.  Death claims our heartstrings.  Hearing diminishes.  Sight dims.  You name it and it’s on its way out the backdoor.

I hear a similar echo in Psalm 119: 19–‘I am a sojourner on the earth…’  A traveler and wanderer hanging out at life’s bus stop, not knowing that a labor strike has idled all transport.  Hoping to put down roots, fearing that they lie barely under the soil’s surface.

C. S. Lewis wrote in his book ‘Mere Christianity’ that we believers in Jesus have been parachuted behind enemy lines, landing in hostile territory, where we feel less than welcome.  For, in fact, we are.  There are numerous reasons for feeling left out in the cold.  Even locked out.  A primary one is that Satan has a bit of sway and swagger in this world.  Not forever.  Never for good.  But often for here and now.  Please don’t mention my own complicity.  Please!

No wonder we feel so out of place.  The old song says–‘This world is not my home.  I’m just a-passin’ through.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue… And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.’  Possibly you’re feeling a bit out of sorts.  Unwanted and uptight.  Displaced.

Maybe it’s because you’re not home yet.  There’s no maybe about it.  But someday, as the front door opens, Jesus will take you by the hand ushering you into the unimaginable, the unheard of, and what’s presently unseen.  And then we’ll know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we’re home.

Finally, home sweet home!

Lord Jesus, thank you for being with me always.  Amen.


I’ve noticed that I’m repeating some stories I’ve told over the years.  They must be in great demand.  Who wouldn’t want to hear them for the umpteenth time?  The problem is that I’ve forgotten that I’m regurgitating the same old, same old.  Can’t be due to my age, can it?  Please, don’t answer!

Do you know why I feel much better when reading Psalm 118?  Here’s why–certain phrases and words get repeated over and over.  We’re told that good teaching requires repetition.  If I hear something five times, it may stick in my craw.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  What was that again?!

Remember.  Cover the same ground.  It’s why Christmas, Easter, and Lent warrant our attention every year.  Like seasons keeping the rhythms of creation.  Refreshing our minds and hearts with familiar Bible stories.  Why is this important?  Are we that forgetful?  Frankly, yes.  Without reminders, we’d be clueless.  So, let’s hear from the Lord again…and again.  His familiarity will never breed contempt.  Quite the contrary.

Here are those words repeated four times in Psalm 118: 1-4–‘His steadfast love endures forever.’  The phrase ‘steadfast love’ in Hebrew is but one word.  It’s hard to translate into English.  But let’s give it a shot.  Basically, it means loyalty, faithfulness, promise-making, and -keeping; and, again, steadfast love.  Too good to be true?  Not for our God!

For a committed believer in Jesus, the gist of that one Hebrew word is worth repeating– ‘Jesus’ faithful love for me knows no end, ever.’  Say it over and over again.  All week long.  He’s ever faithful.  Always keeping any promise that He makes.  Loyal to the nth degree.  Say it again… ‘Jesus faithful love…’

Thank you, Jesus, for words to live by.  Amen.