You’ll Miss Your flight

January 21, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Peter Lundell –

“You’ll miss your flight,” the agent said. If she were comatose, she would have been just as helpful. Because of airlines buying other airlines, I was at the wrong terminal. I got mad at the airline, mad at the unhelpful personnel, mad that every shuttle was going to Car Rental, instead of the terminal where I needed to be.

So I selfishly asked God to delay the flight. A sympathetic driver took me to the other terminal, after a quick stop at Car Rental. I clenched my teeth through the Transportation Safety Administration lines, where of course they had only one screening line open.

The flight was delayed.

As I calmed down before boarding, the Holy Spirit prompted me. I had been tested. And I had failed the test. Still, God had been gracious to me by delaying the flight until I could arrive, but I had not lived up to my character as a follower of Jesus.

Then my connecting flight was canceled. “You’ll have to stay here overnight,” another not-so helpful agent said. I made up my mind not to fail this second test.

I smiled. “You can do better than that.” At Customer Service, another agent put me on standby for the next flight and said, “You still won’t get on. It’s a small regional jet, and we have too many people waiting. Come back afterwards.” So I selfishly asked God to let me on the flight. But this time calmly, with faith, and the added request that no one else suffer because of me.

One passenger had not shown up, but I was impossibly low—eleventh—on the standby list. I calmly waited. Even if I didn’t get on, it was okay because I was passing this character test, which had become more important to me than the flight.

Problems are temporary; character is lifelong. And little victories add up to big differences.

And as it turned out, I got on the plane, filling the one remaining spot created just for me.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You are always with me. And my being with you is more important than anything I do or that happens to me. Lead me to always trust you put my character first.

BIBLE VERSE: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV).

A Life beyond Nonsense

December 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

On Wednesday, July 27, 2011, a giant among Christians died of old age after a tremendously fruitful life. John Stott was an unassuming English pastor and scholar who wrote fifty books, mesmerized people with his preaching, and was one of the main influencers of how evangelical leaders, missionaries, and most believers understand and act on what the Bible tells us. He embraced, taught, and led Christians worldwide. His impact infinitely surpassed his fame. And that was fine with him.

After he died, AOL news carried typical headline stories like, “Princess Kate Wears the Same Dress Twice,” “Hollywood Starlet Shows off Curves in New Bikini,” “Watch What Happens When Man Encounters Dog—Shocking!” And the only death they were interested in was that of a troubled rock star.

Yet many large newspapers had the intelligence to run articles on John Stott, describing how he led the rise of global evangelism. In God’s eyes, nothing is more important than that.

Unlike reputable news sources, the superficial “news” on many Internet and other media outlets ignores that which is substantive in favor of that which is titillating. It’s always before our eyes, and it never stops.

So it’s left to each of us to purposely look beyond the nonsense and seek what’s truly meaningful and important. What’s meaningful and important are found in eternal realities and how they affect the lives we live.

I encourage you to deliberately go against the current, all the time. When you deliberately practice ignoring nonsense and seeking substance, you may be surprised at how distinctive you become.

PRAYER: “Lord, may I not succumb to the relentless nonsense that fills this world. Give me vision to see what is truly important and eternal. I chose to live distinctively as a follower of Christ.”

BIBLE VERSE: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done” Matthew 16:24–27 NIV).

God’s Ultimate Interest

December 9, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Peter Lundell –

I grieve with many others at the triple tragedy in Japan, where I lived for eight years. How does a loving God allow so many people to suffer and die? Though the nuclear problem is man-made, the question is still painful. But we can get a good perspective.

Many people seem to have the idea that God’s purpose is our well-being—or that He is concerned about our happiness. Our happiness is important to us, and we naturally think it’s important to God too. But the Bible doesn’t say much about being happy. And God never promises to make us happy. That’s what heaven is for, and we’re not there yet.

Throughout Scripture God lets, even causes, people to die in astonishing numbers: 14,700 in Numbers 16; 24,000 in Numbers 25; 185,000 in 2 Kings 19; then there’s the Book of Revelation.

But God also says He cares for us and promises to bless us. Jesus came, showed endless compassion, and even died for us.

How do we reconcile those two extremes?

Here is my attempt: Yes, God cares for us and will bless us. But whether we’re blessed or not is secondary. I don’t mean God doesn’t care; He does. I mean our physical well-being is not His main interest. It appears to be secondary to God whether we even live or die. That’s hard to swallow, but both the Bible and the daily news tend to agree.

What’s primary then? Relationship. God is primarily concerned about our being connected with Him. And He will allow all things to happen if it helps to deepen that relationship. Throughout the Bible, God is focused on people turning to Him and growing in that relationship. When someone, anyone, cries out, “God!” He zeros in and says, “Yes? I’m here.”

May the whole world meet Him in its suffering.

PRAYER: Lord, open my eyes to see past hardship, to see You. Whatever I endure, I choose to draw near to You, never apart. And may I be Your witness to help others do the same.”

BIBLE VERSE: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. . . . It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. . . . I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75 NIV).

 

Rest or Get Sick

December 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

For a long time, I avoided taking a full day off. I wasn’t earning enough money to pay off credit cards, so I worked harder and longer. Preparing for a conference, I went almost a week with little sleep and crashed after returning home. I kept going and got worse again. My body seemed to break down, and I’ve been sick for weeks. I was a fool.

I’ve told others that if they didn’t rest, their bodies would eventually take it out on them. I’ve heard the lectures and read the articles on how, if I don’t rest, my body will take it out on me. But hearing and acknowledging is different from listening and doing.

And when I did rest, I kept busy. How American of me. How utterly ungodly!

I ate right but acted as if rest were for the weak—a subtle form of arrogance I could not see at that time.

Of all the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath rest is the one Christians like me think is okay to break. Some of us even do it with a sense of increased self worth.

We have rewritten Descartes’ dictum, “I think; therefore I am” to read: “I’m busy; therefore I am.” We assume being busy is a virtue. But in the Bible, Israelites were punished for breaking the Sabbath. There is no biblical virtue in busyness.

The Bible says twice that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. When we don’t take care of our temples—whether the way I did or by stuffing them with junk food—we can’t very well claim to have much respect for God.

After resting a lot, I’m slowly getting stronger. More important, I must change my habits.

And if I don’t; if I refuse to change? My body just might prove to me that if I don’t control it, it will surely control me.

Is there anything in your life that needs to change?

PRAYER: Lord, teach me to know and live in a way that I wouldn’t think myself so important as to not rest. Teach me to draw near to You in my rest. Teach me to keep my temple well.

BIBLE VERSE: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30 NIV).

Trying to Love People

October 28, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Peter Lundell –

I’m trying to love bad people. It’s hard, and I often fail.

I’m trying love people of other religions, even the terrorists. It’s so hard, and I often fail.

I’m trying to love adulterers, drug addicts, thieves, murderers, cheaters, liars, perverts, and child abusers. O Lord, it’s hard, and I usually fail.

I’m also trying to love Christians who don’t act like Christians. Sometimes that’s been me.

I don’t like loving all these people. It’s easier to scorn them, justify myself, and pretend it’s okay for me to be this way. It’s easier to simply be religious, which is why many people are.

But I keep running into Jesus. He will judge those people; I don’t have to. Instead he insists that I love all people with the love of God—irritating people, disgusting people, and people who are enemies to me.

Many Christians get angry about people they do not like. I don’t blame them. But if we’re truly followers of Jesus, He won’t exempt us. He insists we love others, including our enemies. For that we need the grace of God.

Jesus can be difficult to follow. We love Him because He loves us so much, but He also loves those who are easy to despise. Thankfully, we have testimonies of many persecuted churches to inspire us to love those who hate us.

None of this means that people who do bad things are okay. It means that while we’re alive on this earth, we love people with the love of God. We do not love because others deserve it but because of who we are.

Imagine what would happen if large numbers of Christians did this. The whole world would turn upside down.

That’s exactly what Jesus intended.

PRAYER: “Jesus, work in me to love people, especially when it’s hard. I open my heart to Your Spirit to form me more in Your image that I may step beyond myself to love with Your love.”

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34 – 35 NIV).

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