He’s Not the Dry Cleaner

I picked up my dry cleaning yesterday. It was actually two separate tickets, so that says something about the lack of urgency of my dry cleaning routine. When they say, “It’ll be ready tomorrow by five,” I courteously reply with thanks. If I wanted to reply in kind I’d say, “No rush. See you in a few weeks.”

There is the rare occasion when I realize I need something that quick. A wedding or funeral demands a quicker pickup. So I’m more in the “I’ll see you then” mode.  I’m in need, and I’m expecting them to deliver.

If we aren’t paying attention, we can treat God like the dry cleaner. We pull up in the drive-thru lane, drop off our needs, say thanks, and go about our day without much urgency.  No big deal. Unless it’s that rare occasion. Then we might actually be more demanding of him than we are the dry cleaner.

To be clear, He isn’t the dry cleaner.

He doesn’t say, “You tell me when you need it, and I’ll get right on that.” He’s not a business owner needing your business in order to keep the doors open. He’s not in the business of keeping you satisfied.

But here’s a question: What about those desperate times when you are truly in need of support, or connection, or at least an acknowledgment that He’s there? We understand in that moment He isn’t going to completely solve our issue, but can He at least let us know He’s on the job.  We aren’t an irate customer; more like a hurting son or daughter.

Recently I found myself torn between treating him like the dry cleaner, fully knowing He isn’t, and like my heavenly Father.  I won’t share all the dialogue, but suffice it to say it was more than a short conversation in the drive-thru.

And what He did was what He promises to do. He heard my cry.  He didn’t totally solve my issue, but He gave me what I needed to get back on the road.  His answer to my question, “What are you doing?” was, “Whatever it is, I’ll give you the strength for it.”

And that was enough-especially when I stopped acting like His customer and more like His child.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Waldemar Brandt

Justice Must Be Foundational

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; faithful love and truth go before you. Psalms 89:14 CSB
This week I along with some friends completed a youversion reading plan by Dr. Tony Evans answering the question “What is Biblical Justice.”  A couple of thoughts stood out to me:
  • There is no clear and right definition of justice that excludes God.
  • Biblical justice encourages freedom through affirming accountability, equality, and responsibility by linking the spiritual to the social realm.
The last devotional referenced this verse from Psalm 89. I’ve read it many times over the years, but never has its words been more powerful than when considering the topic of justice. The imagery of the throne of God being built on a foundation of justice is transformational. Before fulfilling his mission for which he left that throne, Jesus gifted one last act of justice by caring for the repentant thief, this while dying unjustly. That’s justice found in one’s foundation. As a citizen of God’s kingdom, I must align myself with that foundation. In order for the King to reign in my heart, mind, and soul, justice must be sought and preserved. That’s possible if it’s in my foundation. Photo Credit: Unsplash/Mirko Blicke

Straight Paths

“In all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:6 CSB
https://bible.com/bible/1713/pro.3.6.CSB

Often when praying for others, I ask God to make their paths straight. Other translations read that God will keep you on track or show you which way to go.

This blessing from God is preceded by knowing him in all our ways. Other ways to say that is to seek his will, to submit to him, and to listen to his voice.

How could this play out?

  • Listen for his direction about financial planning (purchases, saving, investing, charity)
  • Submit to his ways in honoring others (family, leaders)
  • Seek his wisdom and place it above anyone else’s (otherwise, you’re letting someone else determine your path)

Praying this for others clears the way for the start of their path. Interestingly, it also challenges me to do the same for myself.

Here’s to straight paths!

Repentance and Pride

You will never be done with repentance.

Did that quote get your attention? It did mine. It’s the first sentence of chapter 30 of Joe Thorn’s Note to Self, his book of 48 notes to preach to yourself.


It may be the best devotional I’ve read about repentance. Here’s more to explain why:

Repentance is both an attitude and an action. It will be helpful to think of repentance in three parts: revulsion, resolution, and repetition.

Revulsion is finding something offensive or distasteful. Revulsion will come only when you see the holy, just, and good character of God in contrast to yourself.

Resolution is purposing to walk in righteousness, delighting in God’s law, laying off the old self, and walking in newness of life.

Repetition is the ongoing nature of this work. Without repetition, it is all for nothing; for as long as you continue to sin, you need to repent.

Helpful, right? And because of the truth of that note, Note #34 entitled “You are Proud” demands sharing. Why? Because we all are prone to it and thus need to practice repentance of it. Thorn suggests that we struggle with pride because of comparing ourselves to others and because we disregard the work God is doing in our lives.

Pride is why you rage, lust, covet, steal, and lie. You do these things because you believe you deserve what you don’t have. This kind of pride denies God and others the place they should have in your life.

You must see yourself as you really are-creature, not Creator; sinful, not righteous; undeserving, not deserving; dependent, not independent; made for his glory, not for your own. And you must know God as holy, just, good, gracious, and merciful, who saves all who trust in him, and not in themselves. This is the theology that erodes pride, builds humility, and produces joy.

These two notes on repentance and pride have great content for self-preaching. I encourage you to get the book to hear the other 46.

Invitation’s Power

Recently someone shared how being included in an invite to a Bible reading plan on YouVersion had impacted them.

I grew a lot from being part of those groups.  Because I haven’t been able to attend church since October since I started working Sundays, being asked to be a part of a group reading plan meant a lot to me and gave me a way to grow and to stay connected.

Hearing that was great. But it also convicted me. Here’s why.

I’ve gotten so used to inviting folks to things that when I heard my friend say this I realized that I had lost appreciation of a simple invitation’s impact. Invitations carry power.

  • The Power of Worth – “I believe you belong.”
  • The Power of Inclusion – “I want to include you.”
  • The Power of Remembrance – “I thought about you.”
  • The Power of Value – “I think you have something to contribute.”
  • The Power of Connection – “I would like to stay in contact with you.”
  • The Power of Observation – “I realize this might be something you‘d like.”

We’ve all been on the receiving end of an invitation. We can relate to its power as a receiver. What if we balanced the power by extending invitations?

  • Want to go to lunch?
  • Want to go to a movie?
  • Want to join my _______ group?
  • Want to bring your family over?
  • Want to discuss what’s on your mind?
  • Will you be my guest?

These days we may feel powerless. I’m guessing this is a simple way to exercise personal power that we still own.

What invitation power could you share before the end of this day?

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Kate Macate