Wednesday

Why You Don’t Have to Fear the Future – Profundity from Winnie-the-Pooh


Profundity appears in unusual places, but this source didn’t catch me completely by surprise. As philosophers go, Winnie-the Pooh has long been known for wise-beyond-his-years serendipity. Disney’s latest version of Pooh’s adventures, a movie called, Christopher Robin, provides an ample supply of the short, fat, and proud-of-that bear’s snippets of wisdom. 
My well-loved copy from my childhood.

Here are some of my favorite lines from the movie: 

"I always get to where I'm going by walking away from where I've been." 

“Doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something.” 

“There's always time for a smackeral of wonder.” 

But the quote that has reverberated in my heart since the last whispers of the movie finds its origin in Scripture. 

In one scene, an adult Christopher Robin awakens to discover he’s slept the night away. He’s late for a very important meeting. “Oh no!” he says. “It’s tomorrow.” Panicked, he rushes into a day filled with pressure, problems, and hopeless scenarios. A day devoid of joy and fun. 

Pooh remembers this exchange as the sun sets on the movie. “What day is today?” he asks. 

“It’s today,” Christopher Robin replies. 

“Oh, that’s my favorite day. Yesterday, when it was tomorrow, it was much too much day for me.” 

I have often felt Pooh’s angst. Standing on the precipice of Today peering through the thin veil into Tomorrow, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by what the future might hold. Cold fear clutches my heart. Will my resources be enough to handle what comes my way? 

Will my marriage go the distance? 

Will our money be enough to pay the bills? 

Will my children love God? 

Will my body be ravaged by some cruel disease? 

Will my retirement account last through my old age? 

Like Pooh, tomorrow is much too much day for me. 

Thankfully, Jesus knows the frailties of our hearts. This is why he cautioned, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mat. 6:34). 

Don’t peer into the veil, he warns. One day’s challenges are enough. 

Isaiah, in the book of Lamentations, tells us why each day must stand on its own. 




“(God’s) mercies never end. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23).

Like the manna he supplied to the Israelites every day, God’s supply is inexhaustible – but the quantities are limited. Today’s mercies are only enough to feed Today’s growling stomach. There are no leftovers to vacuum seal and set aside. Tomorrow’s mercies remain safely stored in the warehouse of God’s supply until the new day arrives, and we cannot raid the stash. 

Yet we want to. Oh, how we want to. 

We want to stockpile a lifetime’s supply of mercy so we’ll only have to ask once. We long to shed our mantle of fear and uncertainty forever. We want to walk into our future with our mercy cloaks wrapped tightly about us, impervious to the fiery darts of our uncertain futures – the same darts that drive us to seek shelter in the shadow of the Almighty. 

But it doesn’t work that way. “Yesterday’s mercies are for yesterday’s burdens,” John Piper said, and it’s true. Today’s mercy check is payable to the bearer on demand, but it can’t be post-dated. 

Every day God invites us to sit at his feet and obtain all the mercy we need – but only for that day’s challenges

“Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence,” the writer of Hebrews says, “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” 

This daily portion of grace and mercy tethers us to his side, where we are safe, instead of releasing us to the dangers of spiritual independence. 

God knows our hearts. He knows we’d jerk the coat of adequacy off the rack, shove our arms into its sleeves, and march off into the future with nary a backward glance. Clothed in our self-sufficiency, we’d have no reason to sit at his feet, learn from him, and allow him to work through us. We’d have no need for a relationship with him if he provided all we needed to live without him. 

Knowing our willful bent toward independence, God tethers us to himself by his grace. There we experience the freedom of knowing he’ll provide everything we need, exactly when we need it. 

What a gift. 

If you feel overwhelmed and frightened by the what ifs of the future, take heart. If you can’t bear the thought of tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, rest easy. As Pooh so wisely observed, tomorrow is much too much day for you. 

But today isn’t. Today you have God’s mercies – and they are new every day, abundantly sufficient for everything you will encounter. 

Today is all you have to face. And God’s mercies are already here.



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Sunday

How to Help a Hurting Friend

Someone you care about is struggling. Perhaps they're sick, or angry, or discouraged. Maybe a child has broken their heart or their marriage is in shambles. Maybe it’s not one big ugly, but a lot of little uglies that have them down. They've lost their perspective, and their faith is flickering. You know you can’t fix the situation, but you love your friend, and you want to help. What can you do? 

Here are four steps to take when someone you care about is hurting: 


1. Pray 

We are in a battle, and the enemy of our souls prowls around, seeking whom he can destroy. Thankfully, we have powerful weapons in our arsenal. Jesus, at the Last Supper, knew he would soon be arrested and separated from his disciples. He warned Peter of the coming trial. 

“Peter, Satan desires to sift you as wheat.” Then he said something profound and powerful. “But I have prayed for you.” 



The forces of evil in this world want to discourage and defeat Christians. But Jesus, the Lover of our souls, who is infinitely more powerful than Satan, is praying for his children. When we add our prayers to Jesus’, we join forces to support those we love.

Every time I pray for my loved ones, I can be confident that Jesus has gone ahead of me and is interceding on their behalf. And while prayer, on the surface, seems passive, it is the most dynamic thing we can do. 

2. Love them, even when they’re not very loveable. 

Hurting people hurt people. It’s sad, but it’s true. Ironically, those who are hurt and angry often direct their negative emotions toward those who love them most. When this happens, our natural response is to pull back and distance ourselves from them. Well if that’s the way they’re going to act, fine. I’ll leave them alone. 

Instead, ask God to enable you to love them even more. Try to see life through their eyes. Imagine how you’d feel if you were in a similar situation. Share those thoughts with them. If I had just lost my job, I’d be feeling pretty scared right now. This may open channels of helpful communication and direct them into healthier ways of expressing their feelings. 

Determine in advance that no matter what they say, you'll respond with love. Conflict doesn’t start with the first person. It is the second person’s response that determines the course of the conversation.  

3. Look for practical ways to serve them. 

Kathy, a patient of mine, lost her husband to cancer after an ugly seven-month battle. He was admitted to a hospital 90 miles away the week after Christmas. Shortly after they arrived, she received a series of text messages. When she opened them, she saw pictures of her three best friends--at her house. 

What are you doing in my house? she texted back. 

We’re taking down your Christmas decorations was their reply. 

Kathy’s friends couldn’t stand vigil at the hospital, but they wanted to support and encourage her. Instead of fretting about what they couldn’t do, they did what they could—something practical that still brings a smile to Kathy’s face years later. 

4. Leave room for the Holy Spirit to work. 

The Lord may give you the opportunity to share scriptural truths, promises to claim, or comforting Bible verses. Do it. 

But don’t be surprised if your friend isn’t ready to receive your words. If they respond negatively, take a step back. The Holy Spirit will continue to work, even if your friend appears to have closed the door. 

Watching a loved one struggle is hard. We feel helpless, because we want to fix their problem and lift their burden. Sharing words of faith from your own experience, praying, and listening when they feel like talking will help them heal. Continue to love them, and look for ways to serve them. Finally, trust the Holy Spirit to speak to your loved one’s heart and restore their joy. 

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). 

What about you? What do you find helpful when a loved one is struggling? Leave a comment in the comment box below. And if you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE and scroll down to the end of the post to share your thoughts.



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Wednesday

Andrew the Disciple and Patches the Cat -- Why Sharing Matters


I’ve been chased by a few creatures in my lifetime, but this attack caught me completely by surprise. 

Orienting myself to my new neighborhood, I’d walked down an unfamiliar cul de sac in the early hours of the morning. The eastern sky was turning pink and birds were chattering in the trees. Rounding the loop at the bottom of the street, I headed back up the hill. 

That’s when something came charging out of the bushes at me. In the pre-dawn light, all I saw was movement – an odd sort of half gallop, half hop. Too slow to be a Chihuahua. Too fast to be a skunk. To confrontational to be a bunny. 

I stopped, prepared to stand my ground, come what may. And the creature kept coming. 

Then I heard a sound. Not barking. Not hissing. Mewing. 

And that’s how I met Patches. 


I named him Patches (not his real name) because he looks like a patchwork quilt. As if God had pieced him together with scraps from the Cat Room floor. Stripes from an alley cat. An orange ear from a tabby. White socks of varying length. A multi-colored tail that sticks straight up. 

Patches was a sight to see, but that’s not what distinguished him that morning. What surprised me was how un-cat-like he behaved. After he charged out of the bushes, he followed me down the street until I stopped to pet him. 



Not sure if he was friend or foe, I hesitated to reach out a hand. I shouldn’t have worried. As soon as I scratched him behind his ear, he melted like a Hershey bar in the sun. 

Thus began our ritual. 

Every morning I round the corner to Patches' cul de sac. Every morning he runs to meet me. I scratch his ears and stroke his fur, then walk down the cul de sac. He waits for me to make the loop and head back up the hill, where I scratch him and stroke him some more. Content, he goes back to who-knows-where, and I turn the corner toward home. My walk ends on a happy note and puts a smile on both of our faces. 

Recently, however, Patches had a surprise waiting for me. 


He scurried across the road as usual, but he wasn’t alone. A beautiful orange tabby followed closely behind. Leaning down, I scratched Patches' ear and greeted the newcomer. 

“Hello, pretty thing, what’s your name?” Patches chirped an answer, and with that introduction, Puff and I were fast friends. 

The first chapter of John shares a similar account of a friend sharing a friend with a friend. 

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus” (v. 35-37). 

One of the disciples was Andrew, a godly man waiting for the Messiah. It didn’t take long for Andrew to realize Jesus was the real deal. And he knew he had to share him. Jesus was too wonderful to keep to himself. 

“The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus” (v. 41-42). 

Andrew and Patches are a lot alike. They both knew they had found something wonderful and were eager to share it with those they loved. 

We don’t hear much about Andrew after the Gospels. Simon, whom Jesus renamed Peter, on the other hand, became a shining star. After Christ’s death and resurrection, he fearlessly shared the gospel in Jerusalem, provided invaluable leadership to the fledgling church, and is credited with dictating at least two New Testament books. 

All because Andrew shared Jesus with him. In the amazing multi-level reward system of heaven one day, guess who’s going to share in Peter’s rewards? Andrew, who didn’t keep Jesus to himself. 

Most mornings these days, as I walk my neighborhood, two chirruping kitties greet me on my final lap. I scratch their ears and stroke their fur, which brings all three of us joy. As I reluctantly say goodbye and head back up the hill, I imagine Patches saying to Puff, “See, didn’t I tell you? Isn’t she wonderful?” 

It sounds a lot like what we might say about Jesus, don’t you think? Maybe we should take a page out of Andrew and Peter’s (and Patches and Puff’s) book and share him with someone today. 

Who knows what might happen?








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Monday

WEEBS!

I’ve never aspired to be a killer, but the longer I walk the faith walk, the more I realize it’s sometimes necessary. My granddaughter, Caroline, helped me realize this. 

When you’re two years old, everything’s fun. She and her sister and I were in the backyard one day. They were fluttering around in their fairy wings, enjoying the coolness of the morning, and I was watching them. 

Glancing down, I noticed a big, ugly weed in the middle of my lawn. Grrr. I hate weeds. I grabbed my favorite weed pulling tool from the shed and dug it out. Then I noticed another. And another. 

Dig, pluck.

Dig, pluck. 

Dig, pluck. 

Before long I had a trail of dislodged weeds, their long tap roots pointing to the sky. 

“Whatcha doin, Gigi?” Caroline asked. 

“I’ll pulling weeds.” 

“Weebs?” 

“Yes, weeds.” 

“Why?” 

“Because weeds are bad. They kill the grass and make our yard look yucky.” 

Bad and yucky must have been the magic words, because Caroline sprang into action. Grabbing one of the clumps I’d dug up, she flung it into the air and cried, “Go ‘way weebs! You are BAD.” 

Her four-year-old sister followed suit. 

“WEEBS! WEEBS!” they cried, tossing clump after clump skyward. “Go away, weebs, you are BAD!” 

Caroline is right. Weebs are bad, not just in our lawns, but in our hearts. Weedy thoughts have more power to defeat and destroy us than any external influence. They are subtle yet powerful. 

Now a weed is pretty easy to spot in a patch of grass, but it’s harder to detect in our minds. 

Here are a few examples of weedy thoughts: 

This is too hard. I can’t do it anymore. 

God doesn’t love me or this wouldn’t have happened.

Nothing will ever change. Why bother trying?

I’ll never be happy again. 

When thoughts like these take root, they begin to uproot the truth and undermine our faith. 

I spotted the weeds in my lawn because I knew what good grass looks like. The same is true when we battle weedy thoughts. We have to know what truth looks like. “You shall know the truth,” Jesus promised, “and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:22). 

When we know the truth, because we’ve filled our minds with God’s Word, weedy thoughts have a harder time taking root. If they do, we can quickly spot them and sound the alarm. “WEEBS! WEEBS!” Then we can pluck them from the soil of our hearts and fling them far away, where they can no longer harm or hinder us. 

Second Corinthians 10:3-5 describes the battle plan: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

Four Steps to Conquer Weedy Thoughts: 

1. Learn the truth by reading and studying God’s Word. 

2. Compare every thought to the truth of God’s Word. 

3. Discard what is contrary. 

4. Keep what agrees. 

Now let’s give it a try. Ready? Here goes: 

Weedy Thought: This is too hard. I can’t do it anymore. 

True Thought: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13). 

Weedy Thought: God doesn’t love me, or this wouldn’t have happened. 

True Thought: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jer. 31:3). 

Weedy Thought: Nothing will ever change. Why bother trying? 

True Thought: “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). 

Weedy Thought: I’ll never be happy again. 

True Thought: “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). 

The truth of God’s Word is the best defense to guard the garden of our heart. Beginning today, why not spend some time in God’s Word? Ask him to fill you with his truth and give you the ability to spot the weeds that have sunk their roots into your heart. Then sound the alarm. WEEBS! WEEBS! Pluck them from your heart and mind, fling them from you, and plant in their place good seeds that will bear good fruit. 

Father, help us discern what is true and what is a lie. Fill our minds with your Word so we can spot damaging thoughts and discard them. Give us the faith to believe the truth and set us free from the bondage of Satan’s lies. In the strong name of Jesus I ask, Amen. 

Now it’s your turn. What weedy lies have you believed, and what is the truth that helps set you free? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you’re reading by email, click HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.

Matthew West's song "Hello, My Name Is," is a great example of how to remove weedy thoughts and walk in victory. If you're reading by email and can't see the video, click HERE.







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Thursday

Is Your Spiritual Roof Leaking?

I adore my little house. I enjoy it more than any place I’ve ever lived.

Seriously. 

Like a love-at-first-sight Harlequin Romance, I’ve been besotted since my realtor and I pulled into the driveway more than two years ago. 

Unfortunately, shortly after we moved in, trouble entered paradise. I was puttering around one rainy morning when I heard a disturbing sound. 
Plop.

Plop.

Plop. 

I traced the noise to our front window. Sure enough, on the inside of the window casing hung a glistening drop of water, suspended like a fat kid about to launch a cannonball. 



Geronimoooooooooooo! 

Plop. 

Plop. 

Plop. 

As the rain continued, another kid entered the pool. This one chose to land on the metal flue of the fireplace. 

Plink. 

Plink. 

Plink. 

Before long, we had a duet. 

Plop. 

Plink. 

Plop. 

Plink. 

Since the opening day of the pool, we’ve chased these leaks over half the roof. Roofers have reworked the flashing, installed new J channels, shrink wrapped the dormers, replaced the shingles, and refitted the siding. Their last attempt (one of six), finally fixed the leak – until a month ago, when I noticed a suspicious stain on the living room ceiling. 

“Can’t we just paint over it and pretend it doesn’t exist?” I asked my husband hopefully. 

“‘Fraid not,” was his clipped reply. 

If we did, we might not see the effects of the leak for months or years. But even if the water never made it through the attic insulation, down the 2 x 4s, through the sheet rock, and the paint, it could still destroy my sweet little house. One drip at a time. 

Sin is a lot like my leaky roof. It starts small. One click of a mouse. Plop. One lingering glance over coffee in the break room. Plink. One drink too many. Plop. A petty theft at work – plink. A hidden purchase – plop. A harsh, critical word – plink. 

Before long, our roofs are caving in. 

I love my little house, and despite my hopeful yet na├»ve question to my husband, I want to do everything I can to protect it. We should feel the same way about our homes—our relational, moral, spiritual, physical, and financial homes. They should be leak-proof shelters. 

But preserving them isn’t easy. Only eternal vigilance, early intervention, and periodic checkups can help us maintain the integrity of that which matters most in this world. Like I tiptoe across the 2 x 4s in the attic shining my flashlight into dark corners, we too must shine the twin lights of wisdom and God’s Word into the dark corners of our lives. When we invite God to search our hearts for sin, he’ll reveal areas that are leaking. 

Jeremiah 17:9-10 promises: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind. . .’" 

Here are some flashlight questions to get us started: 

1. Is there an area of my life I feel uncomfortable about when I imagine God examining? If so, why? 

2. Am I 100 percent honest in my financial dealings? If no, why not? 

3. Do I think about another man more than I do my husband? 

4. Would I feel ashamed if someone saw my TV or internet history? 

5. Would I feel comfortable bringing Jesus everywhere I go? 



The Psalmist prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23-24). We can pray the same. 

If we really want to be clean before God, he’ll show us anything that doesn’t please him. And unlike my struggling roofers, he’ll give us the ability to plug the leaks so nothing but God fills our hearts and homes. 

Will you join me in asking God to search our hearts and shine a light on anything that doesn’t please him? Then let's commit to do whatever it takes to plug the leaks. 



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