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November 30, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 3

Israel01_040 But you, God, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, you lift my head high; with all my might I shout up to God, His answers thunder from the holy mountain. Psalm 3:3-4 (TM)

David's description of being surrounded on all sides was literally true. Before he was king of Israel, David spent many years living in the desert south of Jerusalem. I've been there (see picture). Believe me, it couldn't have been a fun place to live. To the north was King Saul who had put a significant price on David's head. To the south and east was Israel's historic enemy the Amalekites. To the south and west he had the Philistines to contend with. David was literally surrounded.

In the midst of this impossible situation, David could look back and remember that Samuel had anointed him king. It was God's promise that he would someday sit on the throne of Israel. God was for him and he believed it. David wasn't trusting in himself, his military genius, or his personal cunning to get him through. He was trusting that God would deliver on His promise, and in order to do that God would have to protect him - so he chose to believe that too.

What a great reminder. In the midst of difficult circumstances (far less dire than David's) am I trusting myself, am I giving up, or am I believing God's promises to me?

November 29, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 2

Crown_3 "Don't you know there's a King in Zion? A coronation banquet Is spread for him on the holy summit." Psalm 2:6 (TM)

Exactly who was king in Zion (Jerusalem) was up for debate when David wrote Psalm 2. The liner notes on this Psalm tell us that David was on the run from his son Absalom, who had pulled off a brilliantly executed coup and was in the process of taking his father's throne. Absalom was a smooth talking, good looking young man who was popular with the people. David's popularity was at an all-time low. He was the establishment and the public was tired of his reign. (read the story in 2 Samuel 13-18)

David's psalm reminds us all that God was king - not Absalom - not even David.

There are plenty of times when things seem totally out of control and I feel like I'm getting the shaft. It's in those times that I need the reminder that God is good, He is in control and His purposes will ultimately prevail. My plans, my purposes, and my circumstances are subordinate to His will. It may not be easy and it may not be pleasant - but I can trust my heavenly Father.
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Join the conversation! What verse in today's chapter meant something to you? Email subscribers can click on the title of this post and you'll be taken to a "permalink" of the blog post. Once there, you can scroll down and submit a comment. Feel free to share what you got out of today's chapter! If you're viewing this on the blog-site, simply click on the "comments" link at the bottom of the post. Share your own thoughts!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and xjy.

November 28, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Psalm 1

Road God charts the road you take. The road they take is Skid Row. Psalm 1:6 (TM)

As I stand on this leg of life's journey, I can look back at where I've been and see how God has charted the path. Even through my own silly detours the road has been steadily leading me right here.

As I turn and look forward I can't see the horizon clearly, but I can see the next step. I look back again and realize God's faithfulness. He has brought me this far. I can keep going. Step-by-step, day-by-day - I'm on the right road.

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Join the conversation! What verse in today's chapter meant something to you? Email subscribers can click on the title of this post and you'll be taken to a "permalink" of the blog post. Once there, you can scroll down and submit a comment. Feel free to share what you got out of today's chapter! If you're viewing this on the blog-site, simply click on the "comments" link at the bottom of the post. Share your own thoughts!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and bekahstargazer.

November 27, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Proverbs 31

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. Proverbs 31:17-18 (TM)

We were under a deadline yesterday. There was a project that had been delayed for several different, aggravating reasons. Wendy and I worked hard over the weekend but yesterday was crunch time. I was up and off to meetings early in the morning and Wendy was up with me to get cranking on the project. Last night I went to bed late and she was still working away. I don't know what time she came to bed.

How can I read today's chapter and not feel blessed?

November 26, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Proverbs 30

Books The skeptic swore, "There is no God! No God!—I can do anything I want! I'm more animal than human; so-called human intelligence escapes meProverbs 30:1 (TM)

I've never been able to get this one. I remember teachers who taught this in the classroom. Even if I wasn't a follower of Christ, I would still believe that there is a God. It seems to me that being an atheist requires as much, if not more, faith than being a Christian. To be an atheist you must believe that (1) matter spontaneously came into existence out of nothing (try and prove that scientifically) and (2) life spontaneously sprang from matter (once again, defying the very laws of nature).

I liken those who would utter the thoughts of today's verse to the rebellious teenager who, when asked who his parents are, replies, "I have no parents."
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Join the conversation! What verse in today's chapter meant something to you? Email subscribers can click on the title of this post and you'll be taken to a "permalink" of the blog post. Once there, you can scroll down and submit a comment. Feel free to share what you got out of today's chapter! If you're viewing this on the blog-site, simply click on the "comments" link at the bottom of the post. Share your own thoughts!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and coolmel

November 24, 2007

"Godfather Night" at the Vander Wells

Godfather I feel gross. Perhaps it's the combination of eating Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, then last night Wendy fixed a fabulous Italian meal for our "Godfather Night". Last summer we realized that a few of our friends had never seen The Godfather (yes, I know - sinful!). Of course, Wendy and I are always looking for an excuse to have a dinner party - so last night we put out a huge spread with Italian chicken, spaghetti with both italian sausage red sauce and garlic white sauce, homemade Italian bread, garlic bread, salad, and plenty of wine. Then for dessert Wendy made - for the first time - cannoli that was out of this world which went along with the leftover chocolate cheesecake and peanut butter chunk cheesecake she made last week. (Lord, and I wonder why I've gained weight since we got married!)

I hadn't watched The Godfather in a long time. I believe that one of the tests of a great movie is that you can watch it over and over again and each time you see more layers of detail and depth. Instead of getting bored with it your appreciation grows. So it was with me last night. I noticed a few small details that I'd never caught in the bazillion times I've watched the film. What an amazing piece of cinema.

It's also interesting to watch the film with people who've never seen it. I've come to know the story line so well that I forget how confusing all the characters can be for a person watching it for the first time. Nevertheless, it's kind of fun watching with someone who's looking at it with fresh eyes.

So the question is will we make our friends an offer they can't refuse and have a "Godfather II" night? I think I need to lose about ten pounds first :)

November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving

Tommadison112207lr It was a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. What am I thankful for?

  • Madison Kate, who had a birthday yesterday. Princess for the day, complete with tiara, Madison has been bringing laughter and joy to our lives for 16 years! What a great young lady.
  • Family, who are healthy, blessed, thankful, and full of love for each other.
  • Watching daughters and nephews beautifully transform from children to young adults.Gmajeannetaylor112207lr
  • Playing Uncle Tim's hand-made guitars.
  • Cranium, Trivial Pursuit, and the laughter they produce.
  • Grandma Jeanne's cinnamon rolls.
  • Intimate conversation.
  • Wendy's peanut-butter chocolate chunk cheesecake.
  • I only have to put up with my nephew, Solomon's, bragging on the stinkin' Packers for one day.
  • Freedom to worship God, work hard, travel unhindered, speak my mind, vote, and love others.Wendysol112207lr

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:10 (NIV).

Chapter-a-Day Proverbs 29

Popularity The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that. Proverbs 29:25 (TM)

For believers, our goal is to be Christ-like in our intentions, our thoughts, our words and our actions. Yet, it is foolish to think that being Christ-like will make us popular or allow us to be at peace with everyone. Remember that Jesus:

  • was almost thrown off a cliff by the people of Nazareth (his hometown)
  • was despised by the religious leaders to the point they put a price on his head
  • had disciples who were constantly frustrated and perplexed by his actions and teaching
  • was thrown out of or shunned by multiple towns
  • cast out demons only to be threatened by the pig farmer whose pigs the demons went into
  • was betrayed by one of his own
  • was given a death sentence by public opinion.

Christ-likeness and popularity do not go hand-in-hand. In fact, I find that trying to be universally liked will only sabotage my efforts to be like Jesus.
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Join the conversation! What verse in today's chapter meant something to you? Email subscribers can click on the title of this post and you'll be taken to a "permalink" of the blog post. Once there, you can scroll down and submit a comment. Feel free to share what you got out of today's chapter! If you're viewing this on the blog-site, simply click on the "comments" link at the bottom of the post. Share your own thoughts!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and joits

November 21, 2007

Chapter-a-Day Proverbs 26

NOTE: I hit the "save draft" button the other day instead of "Publish". Here is Chapter-a-Day for Prov 26.

Quarrel Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own. Proverbs 26:17 (NIV)

One of my life verses is 1 Thessalonians 4:11. It's also a reminder to "mind our own business". We are constantly surrounded by interpersonal conflict. People are always having issues with other people, and they are happy to tell us about it. It's easy to get sucked in, take sides and all of a sudden we're expending time, thought and energy worrying about a quarrel that isn't even ours in the first place.

One of the ways we can "lead a quiet life" is by drawing good boundaries between what is "ours" and what is not.
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Join the conversation! What verse in today's chapter meant something to you? Email subscribers can click on the title of this post and you'll be taken to a "permalink" of the blog post. Once there, you can scroll down and submit a comment. Feel free to share what you got out of today's chapter! If you're viewing this on the blog-site, simply click on the "comments" link at the bottom of the post. Share your own thoughts!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and fikander

Chapter-a-Day Proverbs 28

VoteWhen the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it — But it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out. Proverbs 28:2 (TM)

I'm sick of political ads. It's another seven weeks until the Iowa Caususes and here in Iowa you can't spit without hitting a Presidential candidate. You can't turn on the television without being bombarded constantly with the political ads. There are regular knocks on the door from campaign hoofers (on Sunday...in Pella!). The phone rings every night with pollsters asking questions and pre-recorded campaign messages. God help us all.

I don't know who I'm going to vote for, and I will vote. I've heard enough of everyone's plans to fix the war, fix the economy, fix health care and fix social security. I'm looking for a candidate of "understanding" as the verse today says. I want a President who isn't just in it for the power or the politics. I want someone whose understanding extends beyond the problems to the root of the issues and the issues of our human condition from which they spring.
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Join the conversation! What verse in today's chapter meant something to you? Email subscribers can click on the title of this post and you'll be taken to a "permalink" of the blog post. Once there, you can scroll down and submit a comment. Feel free to share what you got out of today's chapter! If you're viewing this on the blog-site, simply click on the "comments" link at the bottom of the post. Share your own thoughts!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and cursedthing