Monday, October 26, 2009


Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. - Jeremiah 17:7-8
We believers love to claim blessings like this one for ourselves and those we love, but in today's reading I'm reminded that a blessing is the face of a two-sided coin. We all want that coin of blessing, but it is ignorant and irresponsible to palm it off or pocket it without examining the other side. The truth is that through our faithfulness or lack thereof, we choose which side of the coin is up. Heads, we win; tails, we lose.

The underside of the blessing is a loathsome curse. As a matter of fact, we have to get beyond the curse, in context, before we can lay claim to the blessing. It almost hurts my eyes to look at the dark side of this golden coin, in the preceding verses. Clearly engraved is the warning against any plan that takes us away from trust in God and obedience to his principles, whether inspired by self-confidence, counsel, or calculation:
Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.” - Jeremiah 17:5-6
Obviously I prefer the blessing, the fruitful evergreen with roots sunk deep in the water of life, fearless against evil, peril and hardship. I can't hand out out the golden coin of blessing, though, or put it in my own purse, without acknowledging the warning on the other side. If we want to spend that coin and buy a blessing, we'll throw our money down, but it is not matter of chance! Whether the coin lands face-up is our choice.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

QUALITY Over QUANTITY - a Message for Children

It's quality over quantity when reading through the Bible. Today in Isaiah 28, I see it's not so much about staying up-to-date with my Bible reading calendar as it is about taking time to take the truth to heart. I'm to apply the Bible's lessons little by little, a step at a time, like a little child learning to walk:

“. . . it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” - from verses 9-10

Like a child I'll stumble, but as I'm flat on my back with the wind knocked out of me I can be thankful that I'm learning to be careful with the truth I know. In the long run a few bumps and bruises are much less painful than the alternative described just a few verses further:
. . . the Lord will speak to this people . . . yet they would not hear. And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. - from verses 11-13
Yikes! The same truth that helps me learn to walk is the truth that can break me. Let me respect and heed the truth of God's word so that I won't be broken, snared, and taken, for I agree with Hebrews 10:31 when it says, "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." What a scary thought!

Yet my walk is not meant to be difficult if I just keep on trying. In today's New Testament section, Ephesians 5, I can't help but picture a game of monkey-see-monkey-do or following-the-leader. I'm to be an imitator of God, as a beloved child. I'm to "walk in love, as Christ loved [me] and gave himself up for [me]" (from verse 1). How simple is that? One step at a time!