Nudgings Feed

Nudgings #41 - A Free Life Jacket Kiosk

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Listen as Wisdom calls out
Hear as understanding raises her voice!
On the hilltop along the road,
she takes her stand at the crossroads.
By the gates at the entrance to the town,
on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
I call to you, to all of you!
I raise my voice to all people. …
But those who miss me injure themselves.
All who hate me love death. (Proverbs 8:1-4, 36 NLT)

You choose.

The Wisdom of God is like a free life jacket kiosk at a lake. It’s always there and available, offering help, support, peace of mind, safety, good sense, protection and . . . life.

But most of us don’t give that kiosk a second look.

C’mon, life jackets are bulky, uncomfortable, too hot, they get in the way, and they just aren’t cool. The water’s calling and we jump right in!  We say, “I’m a strong swimmer, nothing’s going to happen to me,” . . . until it does, and then it’s too late.

The waters of life these days are rough, churning and dangerous, and every morning, as we enter the maelstrom, there stands the Wisdom of God kiosk—calling out, ready and available to help and to save.

Those who miss it, risk injury. Those who reject it, incur death.

Jesus Christ is the Wisdom of God kiosk and the life jacket. “[He] is the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24, NLT). He knows your heart, and all about your wants, needs, hopes, disappointments, challenges, losses, victories and failures, and he sees you struggling to stay afloat amidst the troubled waters.

And He offers help.

He says, “I love you and I want to save you. Come unto Me, put me on, and I will give you life.”

You choose.


Nudgings #40 - Psalm 131 Prayer Response

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My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore. (Psalm 131:1-3, NLT)

My prayer:
Pride is a part of me. Guard my heart Lord and keep me close, for I know you “oppose the proud but give grace to the humble.” I want and need you in my life—more than anything.


Haughty eyes . . . I have them. Forgive me God. Help me to not look down on anyone with criticism, judgment, or disdain. Give me eyes of love. Help me to remember how you see me . . . and may your kindness, mercy and grace be the lens through which I view the world around me.


Keep my eyes fixed on you Jesus. Steady me as the world of science, media, culture, entertainment, economics and politics swirls. Keep me from being caught up in it all. I am not my infantile urges. My peace is found in Jesus. He is my life, my growth, my maturity, my identity and my help.


I am wholly devoted to the Father who loves me, provides for me, guides me and cares for me—completely.


In You alone I put my hope and trust.
Amen.


Nudgings #39 - Cling to Jesus

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I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. (Psalm 63:8, NLT)

The other day I spent over two hours watching a power company worker climb and trim a huge tree. Wow. I can’t speak for the climber, but for me, just watching it all was an amazing, interesting, challenging, adventurous, nerve-racking and scary experience.

The climber used a harness, carabiners, ropes, two flip lines and a set of spikes on his feet to hold himself and his heavy chainsaw to that tree. At one point I saw the climber’s spikes slip, but the worker didn’t fall because his flip line and harness held him fast. The tree stood tall and strong, and as long as the climber clung to it . . . he was safe.

In Psalm 63 we find King David (a person just like you and me) in the midst of an amazing, interesting, challenging, adventurous, nerve-racking and scary experience––life.

And what did he do? He held on to the One holding him.

“I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.” (vs. 8)

So, that’s what I will do. I will cling to the mighty Tree of Life who is holding me––Jesus, the one who died upon a tree.


Nudgings #38 - Eternity

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God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT)

For now we see through a glass, darkly … (1 Corinthians 13:12, KJV)

I don’t understand all this “eternity” talk . . . but then again maybe I do, sort of. Eternity means forever, and forever includes tomorrow, and I spend a lot of time thinking about, wondering about and unfortunately, worrying about tomorrow. And I know you do too.

All humans have “eternity” in their hearts and minds. Just look at the way we all check the weather. The news stories and interest articles that catch and keep our attention are all about what is coming—what might be. And for all of us, at one time or another, things don’t look too good—in fact, they look dark. So what are we to do with this “eternity” in our hearts?

The wisdom literature of the Old Testament tell us to:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV)

And Jesus, as he speaks to Jairus, a desperate father in the New Testament, says to us:

Don’t listen to them; just trust me. (Mark 5:36, MSG)

This “eternity” thing is in us, and way beyond us. We get it, but we don’t, and this place of tension and unease leaves us in a difficult place. What are we to do? Like the Apostle Paul, “we see through a glass, darkly.” He had eternity in his heart too, so I’m going to follow his lead. He says:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14, NIV)


Nudgings #37 - Holy Saturday

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There isn’t much written in the Bible or in the history books about Holy Saturday—the day between Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. It is a backwards day, a hopeless day—an evil day. Its silence screams things like: hate, loss, war crimes, hyperinflation, malignant, shame, “there’s nothing more we can do,” good-bye and Jesus is dead.

And then the angel says to the women at the tomb and to you and me . . . 

“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” (Luke 24:5-6, NLT)

Let us be reminded that the suffering only lasts for the night. The darkness of Holy Saturday will end—evil spelled backwards is live—and joy comes in the morning. 

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55, NLT)

Let the backwards silence of Holy Saturday be drowned out by the One who said,

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)

Jesus is Risen!


Nudgings #36 - But Now . . . Follow Me (Easter Poem)

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Go, tell his disciples and Peter, . . . (Mark 16:7, NIV)

But Now . . . Follow Me
by Ryan M. Roberts

Where Jesus walked, the disciples followed;
But not all the way.
“Where I go now, you can’t. But later, ...”
Was all that He would say.

After midday prayers, Peter’s words rang out,
“No matter what or where or who;
You are mine, and I am yours.”
He said, “I will die with you!”

Amid friends huddled ‘round the fire that night;
“Hosannas!” gleamed in memory.
With hopes high, but resolve low,
The glow faded into Gethsemane.

They watched with the Christ in darkness,
But their prayers turned quickly to sleep.
And Peter’s vow, though earnest,
Was more than he could keep.

He drew his sword at the gleam of the torch,
But the Lord said, “No more of this!”
Jesus touched and healed His enemy;
And was led away, betrayed by a kiss.

Peter followed Him from a distance;
Keeping warm by the fire of his foe.
When asked, “You’re with Jesus, yes?”
Three times his response was, “No.”

With the lies came a rooster’s crow.
The look, a whip, the crown, a hill,
A cross, the cry, a spear thrust forth;
The King of Kings to kill.

Three days passed, Peter sat alone;
The guilt and regret—his choice.
Now what? Now where? Now who?
“He’s gone!” Peter leapt at Mary’s voice.

He ran to the tomb, bent low and went in,
Echoes, predictions, rags filled the space.
“Tear down this temple and in three days it will rise.”
Peter left, wonder full on his face.

There were sightings and sayings that, “He is alive!”
Stories no book could contain.
Yet ashamed, Peter watched the Christ from afar;
He should laud, but his failures remained.

Peter said to his friends, “Let’s fish,” and they went,
To row and to cast was no chore.
The fish, they were few, but the company good;
Then they heard a voice from the shore.

Jesus was there, by the fire, cooking food.
He said, “Come my friends, let’s eat.”
Peter pledged all his love—heart, mind and soul,
Jesus smiled and said, “Feed my sheep.”

“Your own efforts and failures, left you lost and in chains,
Through my wounds and my death you are free.
Where I went, you could not go on your own,
But now . . . in my power, follow Me.”


Nudgings #35 - Call Out to Jesus

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The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him. (Psalm 145:17-18, NIV)

I will never forget the day that Becca broke her arm. We were having fun together at the elementary school playground near our house and Becca was showing me her first-grade “skills” on all the different play equipment. She was climbing and hanging and swinging and saying, “Watch this Daddy,” and “Look at me, Daddy,” and I was close by watching and “oohing” and “aahing.”

And then it happened. 

Becca slipped off the bars and fell to the ground. She put her hand out to break her fall and landed on her arm. As I ran toward her she looked up at me and cried, “Daddy!” and I can still hear her voice—it sounded so shaky and fragile and fearful—it pierced my heart.

I helped her immediately. I gently cradled her hurt arm in my hands and calmly told her that everything was going to be OK. I held her close as we walked back to the house and I assured her that her Mom and I were going to take her to the doctor. Two hours later Becca’s tears and pain were replaced with a good story and a fancy blue cast—and I was the first person to sign it. 

“Daddy!” . . . I will never forget the sound of Becca’s cry. Even before she called out to me, I was running to help her, because I love her.

How much more does God the Father love you and me? He so wants us to call out to Him—and a cry is all it takes. When it comes to prayer, God isn’t picky. He wants to hear from us and He wants to help us because He loves and delights in us just like parents delight in their children. 

The LORD doesn’t require perfect words or polished language. Your voice gets his attention. Your cry pierces his heart. God is a good Father to his children. He hears us, helps us, saves us, “oohs” and “aahs” over us . . . and loves us.

Call out to Jesus. 


Nudgings #34 - For Joy

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For the joy set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2, NIV)

The joy set before Jesus was you and me! He went through the horrific pain, struggle and humiliation of the cross so we could find mercy, grace and life with God.

When I was 27 years old I left my job as a fifth grade teacher and took a position as an elementary school principal. That might sound good and glorious, but it was difficult . . . I mean—diarrhea every day—difficult.

I was the youngest adult in the building, I was the boss, and I was a nervous wreck. One day I was so stressed that when the secretary brought a purchase order into my office for me to sign, all I could do was scribble—and it looked nothing like my signature. The secretary saw my shaky hand and with concern said, “Oh Ryan . . .”

I was a mess.

At the time, being a principal wasn’t my dream job, but it paid the bills (nearly double what I made as a teacher) and made it possible for my wife to stay home and care for our newborn daughter. I didn’t like the stress and the struggle, but that didn’t matter. I was thankful for the job and did it for the joy set before me—my wife and my daughter.

But all that doesn’t come close to what Jesus did for you and for me.

He left Heaven, came to earth as a baby, lived as a servant, healed the sick, loved the unlovely and showed us God’s heart. And in return, He was wrongly accused, slapped, spit upon, mocked, beaten and tortured. He was stripped naked, impaled on a wooden cross and died a criminal’s death.

He could have called ten-thousand angels and stopped the pain and injustice, but He didn’t. He did the hard thing. He paid the price for you, me and the whole world so that we might be free from the power of sin and death in our lives. We were a mess, but while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

He did it for the joy set before Him and that joy was you and me!


Nudgings #33 - Choices Matter

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This isn’t a fortune I pulled out of a cookie at a restaurant, it is a picture of Proverbs 20:7 in my NLT Bible. (Yes, I write in my Bible.)

Life is challenging and I need wisdom, so each day as a part of my daily Bible reading I read a chapter out of the book of Proverbs. Years ago I learned that Billy Graham read a chapter a day out of Proverbs and I thought it wise to follow his lead.

Every morning I know the exact chapter I will turn to—I just look at the calendar. There are thirty-one chapters in Proverbs and there are no more than thirty-one days in a month, so I check the date, and then read the corresponding chapter. The result is always help and wisdom for my day.

Wisdom comes from God. It is the good, guiding, life-giving way to act, think and live. It is God’s mind and the Holy Spirit’s prompting in our being and doing. It’s the way to live well, appreciate what matters most and take nothing for granted—it’s the way of blessing.

God gets my attention in Proverbs 20:7 by mentioning my children and He reminds me that my choices matter. None of us control much of what happens in this crazy world we live in, but we all get the power to choose how we “walk,” think, act, talk, spend our time and live life.

Jesus is interested in our lives, so much so that He gave His life upon the cross to save us from our sins. He wants good for His children as we walk this journey of life and He gives us help along the way, and it doesn’t come from a fortune cookie, it comes from the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus gives us wisdom, and because He is love—He gives us choice.

Choices matter.


Nudgings #32 - Crystal Clear

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In these days of trouble is your faith fuzzy and your hope blurred?

Look to Love.

The Apostles Paul, Peter and John all make it crystal clear that love is the first and last word—it is to be the supreme attribute and value in our hearts and lives.

Paul said, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT)

Peter said, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

John said, “God is love.” (1 John 4:8, NLT)

Jesus said, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”(John 13:34-35, NLT)

Jesus, the One who is love, came and lived with us and died for us, and now He lives in us and shows us what love looks like:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT)

So we pray:
Jesus, as we walk in darkness, wade through troubled waters and stumble forward on a path that is unclear, we look to Love. May it live in us and through us, for Your glory. Make us crystal clear for You.