Nudgings #17 - The First and Last Word


โ€œ๐‘ญ๐’๐’“ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’„๐’‰๐’๐’Š๐’“ ๐’…๐’Š๐’“๐’†๐’„๐’•๐’๐’“: ๐‘จ ๐’‘๐’”๐’‚๐’๐’Ž ๐’๐’‡ ๐‘ซ๐’‚๐’—๐’Š๐’…, ๐’“๐’†๐’ˆ๐’‚๐’“๐’…๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’•๐’Š๐’Ž๐’† ๐‘ต๐’‚๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’‘๐’‰๐’†๐’• ๐’„๐’‚๐’Ž๐’† ๐’•๐’ ๐’‰๐’Š๐’Ž ๐’‚๐’‡๐’•๐’†๐’“ ๐‘ซ๐’‚๐’—๐’Š๐’… ๐’‰๐’‚๐’… ๐’„๐’๐’Ž๐’Ž๐’Š๐’•๐’•๐’†๐’… ๐’‚๐’…๐’–๐’๐’•๐’†๐’“๐’š ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐‘ฉ๐’‚๐’•๐’‰๐’”๐’‰๐’†๐’ƒ๐’‚.โ€

The above superscription is found at the outset of Psalm 51. It doesnโ€™t even merit a verse number, but it sure packs a punch. Itโ€™s the โ€œback storyโ€ for Davidโ€™s prayer recorded in the psalm. Anyone who has read the whole story in 2 Samuel 12 knows that this pithy introduction to Psalm 51 is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Davidโ€™s offensesโ€”teeming with lust, adultery, deception, manipulation and murder.

However, as I point the finger at David, I canโ€™t help but notice three more fingers pointing back at me. I donโ€™t know about you, but an honest superscription of my life, although different from Davidโ€™s, would be just as tarnished. The Apostle Paul sums it up well, โ€œAll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.โ€ (Rom. 3:23)

Sin may have the first word in this psalm of David, but sin didnโ€™t have the last word in Davidโ€™s storyโ€”and sin doesnโ€™t have the final word in my life either.
Jesus does.
He paid the price for my sins upon the cross and God doesnโ€™t want a blood sacrifice from me. But He does want somethingโ€”my heart.

Take a look at Davidโ€™s words near the end of Psalm 51:

๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐’”๐’‚๐’„๐’“๐’Š๐’‡๐’Š๐’„๐’† ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’…๐’†๐’”๐’Š๐’“๐’† ๐’Š๐’” ๐’‚ ๐’ƒ๐’“๐’๐’Œ๐’†๐’ ๐’”๐’‘๐’Š๐’“๐’Š๐’•.
๐’€๐’๐’– ๐’˜๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’๐’๐’• ๐’“๐’†๐’‹๐’†๐’„๐’• ๐’‚ ๐’ƒ๐’“๐’๐’Œ๐’†๐’ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’“๐’†๐’‘๐’†๐’๐’•๐’‚๐’๐’• ๐’‰๐’†๐’‚๐’“๐’•, ๐‘ถ ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’…. (vs. 17, NLT)

(Wow, now that merits a verse number!!)

Give God your heart. Let Jesus be the first and last word in your life.

Nudgings #16 - The Life In Our Hours


The hours of our livesโ€”they are a precious commodity.
We donโ€™t want to lose a single one.
So we say to ourselves and to others:
donโ€™t smoke,
stay away from fried foods,
exercise regularly,
cut the sugar,
manage your stress,
get regular check ups,
avoid the lines at the DMV,
and, . . . be careful!
We all want to live. We want every hour of life we can get.
Why? So we can watch more Netflix? Football? and Fixer Upper?
Maybe, but too much cotton candy leaves us sick and unsatisfied.
Time flies as the hours congeal into days.
Is it time spent or invested?
Do our minutes have meaning?
We give great attention to the hours of our life;
but what about the life in our hours?

Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! โ€ฆ And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do! (Psalm 90:12, 17 MSG)

Nudgings #15 - Jesus is Enough

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It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changersโ€™ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. (John 2:13-15, NLT)

The Passover celebration . . . a remembering of the days of Moses, when the blood over the doorframe of your home meant rescue, deliverance and salvation. And now the people were coming to the Temple yearly, religiously paying the price for the blood of animals to cover their sins. They were being charged an extravagant amount of money for something . . . that wasnโ€™t enough.

And then Jesus came. He flipped the tables, flipped the Scriptures and said enough is enough. He drove the religious, the swindlers and the sin offerings from the Temple. He chased them all out. The birds flew, the cattle ran and the sheep scattered. There were no more sacrifices left in the building.

None, except One.

The Lamb of God stood alone in the Temple court like a tree on a hill, foreshadowing His cross on Calvary, where he paid the ultimate, extravagant priceโ€”once and for allโ€”for the religious, the swindlers, and for you and for me. Where He proclaimed, โ€œIt is finished!โ€

Jesus is enough.

The Place of Help - 2 Years Later

Screen Shot 2022-01-22 at 6.53.45 AMCall on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalm 50:15, NIV)

Two years ago today I had pancreatic surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Through the hand of God, and the hands of the medical team, I was delivered from a rare tumor that was taking my life. 

I am so grateful. 

I called upon the Lord in my need, and when I couldnโ€™t, others stood with me in prayer. I was at the end of my rope and Jesus delivered me from my troubles. 

I give Him all the honor, glory and praise. 

But as I rejoice (and thank you for rejoicing with me), I also want to be sensitive to those who mourn and to those who are in the midst of trouble in these trying times. 

I am so sorry for the sadness, pain and fear that you are experiencing. I stand with you in prayer. Jesus says to each of us, in every moment of our lives, โ€œCall on me in the day of trouble,โ€ because only in Him is the place of help. 

I did call upon the Lord and I was surprised and delighted to find that he was with me. I was โ€œdeliveredโ€ well before I lay under the bright lights of the operating table. His presence and peace were with me in the midst of the struggle and it was enough. The physical healing was an added bonus. 

I will be in trouble againโ€”we all will. Jesus said, โ€œIn this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.โ€ 

He is the place of help and hope. Look to Jesus. 

Here is a video of me sharing my story. I hope it is a help and blessing to you. 


Nudgings #14 - New


New . . .
A new car, new house, new pickup, new job, new furniture, new RV, new bike, new jewelry, new TV, . . . new . . . new . . . new.
You fill in the blank.
โ€œNewโ€ is advertised everywhere, but often only realized in the lives of the rich, successful and lucky.
โ€œNewโ€ is uncommon, . . . except in Jesus. Take a look:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV)

I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:4-5, NLT)

Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT)

And he who was seated on the throne said, โ€œBehold, I am making all things new.โ€ (Revelation 21:5, ESV)

In Jesus, โ€œnewโ€ is the norm.

Nudgings #13 - Look!


John [the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and said, โ€œLook! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29, NLT)

Look! Itโ€™s Jesus!
Look! You are rescued!
Look! There is hope!
Look! Youโ€™re forgiven!
Look! Thereโ€™s joy.
Look! You are loved.

(Psalm 105:4, 1 Chronicles 16:11, Revelation 5)

Nudgings #12 - The Word is Jesus

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Jesus said to the Pharisees, โ€œYou search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! (John 5:39, NLT)

Words, knowledge, talk, information . . . eternal life? Nope.

The good news of eternal life is not found in words, but in the living Word. It is not based on principles, but established in a Person. It is not attained through religion, but realized in relationship. It is not proved by history, but provided for in His Story. It is not earned by good works, but given by Godโ€™s grace.

The Scriptures point to Jesus, the only Way to eternal life.

(John 1:14, John 15:4-11, Isaiah 44:21โ€“23, John 14:6, John 3:16-17)

Nudgings #11 - Frustrating


Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. โ€ฆ Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God. (Psalm 50:14, 23 NLT)

When it comes to Christmas, Fatherโ€™s Day and my birthday I am a blessed man. My wife and kids are great, they always give me thoughtful and wonderful gifts and I so appreciate their generosity and care for me. But every time a gift giving celebration rolls around I always tell my family that I donโ€™t want or need a giftโ€”"they" are the gift. This frustrates them, but honestly, my joy comes from our relationship togetherโ€”our conversations, shared experiences, laughter, trust and love that spans time and distance. Those are the things that capture my heart.

In Psalm 50 I see that I might be frustrating God too.

God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and all of creation to boot, and I come to Him with my โ€œgiftsโ€ of effort, striving, trying and doing and all He wants is for me to be thankful and obedient. In every season, celebration, and in all the moments of my life, God wants one thingโ€”my heart.

(read Psalm 50:1-23)

Nudgings #10 - God Gives, I Steward


John the Baptist said, โ€œNo one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.โ€ (Jn. 3:27, NLT)
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. (James 1:17, NIV)

Today I pray:

Dear Father,
Thank you for loving me and giving me the gift of another day.
Help me to remember that it isnโ€™t about me, itโ€™s about Jesus in me.
God gives, I steward. May it be so in my life.
Jesus, give me your holiness. Use me for your glory.

Nudgings #9 - Glory


Moses said, โ€œNow show me your glory.โ€ (Exodus 33:18) โ€ฆ
Then the Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and passed in front of Moses, calling out,
โ€œThe Lord! The Lord!
The God of compassion and mercy!
I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.โ€ (Exodus 34:5-6, NIV)

This passage from Exodus about Godโ€™s โ€œgloryโ€ makes me think of the scene in the Disney movie, โ€œAladdinโ€ (1992) where the big blue genie describes himself as having โ€œphenomenal cosmic powers.โ€ (I heard you say that in a deep, booming voice.)

The genieโ€™s self-description aptly depicts the way that โ€œgloryโ€ is communicated throughout history, and even in our present-day sports, entertainment, financial, business and political contexts.

However, the almighty Godโ€”the creator of the universe, the beginning and the end, the perfect, transcendent, all-powerful oneโ€”expresses and โ€œshowsโ€ Moses (and you and me) His glory in a very different and surprising way.

Godโ€™s glory is that He is: compassionate, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in love, ever-faithful, and forgiving to a thousand generations.

If you think that sounds a lot like Jesus, the one who was crucified on the cross for the sins of the world, itโ€™s because it is. Godโ€™s glory is Jesus, and Jesus loves you and me!

โ€œWow.โ€ (I heard you say that in a hushed, grateful, amazed voice.)

(Hebrews 1:3, John 3:16, John 14:9, Matthew 11:29)