Honestly

Traveling through the Atlanta airport, I spotted a series of clever signs advertising a new hotel reservation website. Their shtick is based on honesty; they claim that other room booking websites have hidden fees, but their company is honest. The application of this marketing ploy is hilarious. The first sign to greet you as you descend the escalator toward the train reads:

“Nobody calls it Hotlanta. You’re Welcome.”

Truth. I lived here for 20 years, and locals never call it Hotlanta, as appropriate as that would be. Other signs were posted at the train. As you entered, one said, “Let the awkward silence begin.”

This one was my favorite:

Hahaha! That makes me laugh.

I know nothing about this company, but don’t you wish there was more honesty in general in the world? Like kindness, it seems to be in short supply these days.

Proverbs 11 New International Version (NIV)

11 The Lord detests dishonest scales,

    but accurate weights find favor with him.

2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,

    but with humility comes wisdom.

3 The integrity of the upright guides them,

    but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

Take a gander at all the “d” words. Detests. Dishonest. Disgrace. Duplicity.

God hates dishonesty in any form. From little white lies to lying under oath, scripture assures us again and again that dishonesty leads to our peril. Notice how pride plays a part. When we boast and are full of ourselves, it is easy to inflate things to make ourselves look better. Humility, in contrast, is the foundation for wisdom. Honest wisdom.

And in every season, dishonesty leads to the destruction of society. From relationships to families to communities to countries, dishonesty will undo all the good work God planned for his creation. Think about what lying does to a marriage. Lying erodes trust, and when trust is gone, relationships crumble. The marriage fails and the family suffers. Duplicity will destroy us.

But God has a higher standard for us:

Ephesians 4 (NIV)

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Speaking the truth in love binds a couple, a family, a community, and a country together. It is a uniting force that combines to combat evil in every form that it takes. Truth has power. Truth defeats deceit. Truth unites us together with Christ. And in the end, truth always wins. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is truth.

So guard your mind today. And your tongue. It is so easy to slip into a lie, which begets another lie, which begets a life of deception. Mark your words, and hold them up to the lens of honesty, even in the little things. In this way, you will grow to become in every respect the mature reflection of Christ to the world.

And by so doing, we will change the world together, in truth and love. Honestly.

Weakness

I know a beautiful young woman who has struggled with an alcohol addiction for years. The ‘life of the party’ in a culture that loves to party, she was seen as the fun girl everyone wanted to be around. Slowly and very surely, the addiction took over, and drinking was no longer just a party favor, but a nightly thing. She almost lost her marriage, job, and family over it. But looking up from the bottom of a highball glass, she reached beyond her impediment and found Christ reaching down to her. Not only did he restore her sobriety, but he also kept her family intact. God’s strength comes into its own in our weakness.

The apostle Paul had an impediment that he wrote about in his letter to the Corinthians. He understood this to be a handicap, and it was so troublesome that he asked God to remove it. It was distracting, it slowed him down, and in his mind, it prevented him from fully serving God. But eventually, he realized that his weakness was a gift:

2 Corinthians 12:10 The Message (MSG)

“7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty!”

One of the things I greatly appreciate about this passage is that he recognizes Satan’s activity in trying to get him to think that his impediment was larger than life, and a reason to stop sharing the gospel. But Paul overcame that, and God shaped his thinking about it in a hurry. Still, Paul desired for the handicap to be removed:

“At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

So let’s just linger there for a moment. “My grace is enough; it’s all you need.”

Do you believe that? In the depths of your despair, at the bottom of your rock, do you believe that? God is telling you that at your lowest, he performs at his highest. He will use your impediment, your handicap, your weakness, your mistakes, and even your sin, to draw you closer to him, and to save you….from yourself.

“Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

What’s your impediment? Anger? Resentment? Arrogance? The need to control everything? Lust? Adultery? Satan is having a field day with your weakness, exploiting it for his own good and holding you down with an ironclad boot on your neck. He would love it if you never got up again.

So get up.

Push it all away and reach for Jesus. In that desperate moment of weakness, he will be the only one reaching down to lift you up. It is precisely then that your weakness allows Christ’s strength to move in and take over. And like Paul, the weaker you get, the stronger you will become.

Just get up.

Photo by Jay Paterno.

Of Pens and Penmanship

Do you have a favorite pen? Pens can be personal. Some folks like the popular Big Grip Bics, with their rubberized finger grip and convenient pocket clip. Others prefer fountain pens, ball points, gels, rollerballs, marker tips, or even the elusive space pen, which writes upside down. For when, you know, you need to write in space and they turn the module on its head just as you need to jot down a note.

Pens are almost a thing of the past these days. They have been replaced by keyboards, thumbs, styluses, and talk-to-text. Think about it: when is the last time you used one for any length of time? I don’t even write down a grocery list anymore. I text a list to myself so that I can use my phone as I shop. Because of course, I always have my phone with me, unlike my written lists that I usually managed to leave at home or in the car.

Of course this now prevents me from the satisfaction I get from marking things off. There is no better feeling than looking at your “Do Today” list and seeing everything crossed through. Sometimes I even add something that I’ve already done, just to cross it off. That feeling of accomplishment is hard to achieve with a text to yourself!

As pen use falls away, so does good penmanship. I had to actually write something out longhand last week and I was appalled at my own chicken scratch. Writing by hand is something that requires daily practice. When we stop, it shows.

Which brings me to why we need to stay engaged in the scriptures on a DAILY basis. It really becomes a “use it or lose it” thing. Daily immersion keeps our spirits in tune with God’s spirit, and sets the tone for our daily thinking, responding, acting, and being. When we stop, we begin to disconnect and drift away from God.

Just as we need “daily bread,” we need a daily consumption of God’s word. Listen to how Jesus responds to the Devil’s taunting in the wilderness:

Matthew 4 The Message (MSG)

The Test

4 1-3 Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”

4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”

Did you notice that Jesus answered the devil with SCRIPTURE? It is our best weapon against the Evil One. But you have to know it to use it.

It takes a steady stream of God’s words to stay alive. That is why we do this. That is why opening up the Bible every single day is important. Without it, we would starve for wisdom, knowledge, direction, discernment, and purpose. And surely without those things our souls would die. Like manna in the desert, God provides. All we need to do is open ourselves up to consume it.

2 Timothy 3 (NIV)

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So THANK YOU for your daily faithfulness in reading At Water’s Edge. Thank you for sharing it! We have reached almost 9,000 views since this began a little over 6 months ago, and have been read in 27 countries and locations including China, the Czech Republic, federal prisons in Georgia, Hong Kong, and South Korea. That has only happened because of your faithfulness in sharing it.

As we continue to read, pray, and equip ourselves and others every day, may the Lord add his blessing to the reading of his word. This is the WORD of God for the people of God! Thanks be to God.

Photo by Mary Watts.

Star Baker

Do you have a favorite show that you escape to when stress is rising all around you like the rush of an incoming tide? Mine is the Great British Baking Show. I am not a baker. I am not a good cook. I dislike the kitchen and find food prep tedious and irksome. I am very likely to cut or burn myself when cooking, I am that inept. But I love the Great British Baking Show. The minute the pastoral scenery appears on the screen, and the delightfully whimsical theme music starts to play, I feel my shoulders receding from my ears where they have spent the day. I begin to feel the ease of the Union Jack-lined bakers’ tent on the formal estate lawn take over my mind and my soul.

By the way, I don’t eat sweets. I have never even heard of half the stuff they are challenged to make. Fougasse? Dampfnudel? Savarin? Somebody bring me a Twinkie. And all the measurements are in METRICS. So why is this show so enriching to me? What draws me in and keeps me there?

It’s the kindness.

In this particular reality competition show, the contestants are exceedingly kind. The judges are kind. The hosts are funny, and kind. When the week’s “Star Baker” is named, everyone is genuinely happy for them. The patisserie served up every week is a madeleine of niceness topped with a macaroon of gentleness. And I gobble it right up.

I think kindness is in very short supply today. Anger, animosity, arrogance, and a lot of other “a” words that have no place in a devotional are the rule of the day. From Washington, D.C. to my local gas station, the lack of kindness and consideration has become the norm, and it is wearing us down.

I had a miserable encounter at a gas station with a car of ladies who attempted to cut me off from a gas pump that I was pulling into. Every pump was full, and they came from the street and drove around a large truck that was stopped at the right pump. They could not see that I had already headed in to the left pump from the opposite direction. I could not give way due to a truck that had circled around the other side and pulled in right behind me. This was during the mandatory evacuation of Hurricane Dorian, and everyone was tense. I get it.

But when I indicated to them that they would need to circle around (as I had done four times already), the driver continued toward me, angrily gesturing for me to get out of the way. I continued pulling forward to line up my gas cap with the pump, and we scraped bumpers. Immediately a passenger jumped out and ran over, shouting a blue streak of verbal anger at me. I rolled down my window and apologized, and said since I was already in line with the pump, I assumed they would wait. Apologizing again, I asked twice if her car was damaged (I could see that it was not). She continued her blue streak, telling me that damage was not the issue! I hit their car! How dare I cut them off! Fortunately the truck behind me saw (and heard) her, and backed up enough for me to back out and leave without any gas. As I drove out of the station, she ran after me, yelling.

She will never be Star Baker at the Great British Baking Show. But then again, neither will I.

Colossians 3 (NIV)

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

As followers of Christ, it is upon us to be kind, compassionate, humble, gentle, and patient. We are to be the reflection of Jesus to the world in every thought, word, and deed. Especially when kindness is so lacking, it becomes our call, and indeed our MANDATE, to exude gentleness in this harsh world. I remember a song I once learned that said,

“You’re the only Jesus some will ever see;

And you’re the only Words of Life some will ever read.

So let them see in you the One in whom is all they’ll ever need!

‘Cause you’re the only Jesus some will ever see.”

Something is likely to annoy the heck out of you today. Like, WAY annoy the heck out of you. Ignore it. Be kind. Be gentle. Be a Star Baker. Be Jesus. The world needs it.

Photo by The Great British Baking Show, BBC. Guys, this is BREAD.

Worth Living For

A cancer survivor friend recently shared a significant epiphany with me. Since her successful cancer treatment and in her post-cancer life, she has been meticulous in avoiding those things that might cause her cancer to return. A common and practical thing, her highly-tuned awareness of cancer prevention led her to a sudden realization one day. She was no longer living for life, she was living for cancer.

You see, every day she made a multitude of decisions based on that fear. I can do this, I can’t do that, I have to avoid this, I must eat that, I can’t eat this, I will never drink that, I can’t go in the sun…all day long, every day, cancer and the fear of it ruled her until she realized that by doing so, she was making cancer a part of her daily life…and she is cancer-free.

Fear can do that to you.

Fear is a strong and powerful emotion that can overtake and overrule every moment. It can prevent you from letting each moment just live out its life on its own. When fear rules, joy flees. Fear is a force of nature that can cause all other sources of nature’s divine pleasures to fade into the background.

Mind you, fear is not a sign of weakness. Fear is a part of God’s design to keep us safe and tell us when to flee. When a toothsome bear is chasing you in the woods, run! But it is not part of his design for you to live your life being ruled by fear. Instead, we are invited to seek God (also a force of nature…in fact, he is THE force of nature) and choose a life of love over a fearful life:

1 John 4 (The Message)

17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

Perfect (“well-formed”) love casts out fear. And so a life ruled by fear is simply one not yet fully formed in love. That’s the good news! We are all a work in progress, and we can choose to become more “fully formed” in perfect love each day.

And what is perfect love? God is perfect love. So when fear creeps into a moment, the way to cast it out is this:

1. Spend time every day growing closer to God, your perfect love. Perfect love banishes fear. The closer you stay to him, the deeper and more fully formed your faith will become, and your resolve for living a life worthy of LIFE will be stronger, and more fear-resistant.

2. Jesus came “that you might have LIFE, and have it abundantly.” Make choices every day based on life-abundant, not fear of what may (or may not) happen.

3. Talk back to your fear by saying this:

“God is my refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

I WILL NOT FEAR.” (Psalm 46)

Take that, fear!

So you go now, and live a life worth living for.

Flying Fearless by Michelle Robertson

Just Say No

Raise your hand if you dislike plastic straws. On the Outer Banks, we are raising awareness about the incredible damage that plastic does to our oceans, our ocean wildlife, and our earth in general. One picture of a beached whale whose stomach was filled with plastic was enough to change me. This is something that is starting to take ahold of our culture, slowly but surely. Paper straws are becoming the norm in places like Disney World, (can you imagine the number of straws they use in a day?) and it is not uncommon now to be served a drink without a straw. Thank the Lord, we are waking up.

Taking care of our earth is a charge we received at the very beginning of time:

Genesis 1 (NIV)

27 So God created mankind in his own image,

    in the image of God he created them;

    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

And it was so. We are charged with caring for God’s glorious creation: the fish, birds, every living creature, every seed-bearing plant, tree, and even the beasts of the earth.

That is quite a lot of responsibility.

The simple question today is this: what can you do to intentionally change how you live? Can you reduce your use of plastic? Sign up for recycling? Choose paper bags over plastic ones? Refuse a plastic straw in a restaurant? Learn more about how to reduce your carbon footprint?

If we take this scripture seriously, we realize that God trusting us to care for everything he gave us. This becomes not a political or social issue, but a SPIRITUAL one.

So ask yourself today, what one thing can you do?

We can begin by refusing the plastic straw. Next time a server offers you one, just say, “No thanks. I’m saving the whales.” Let it build from there. The planet will thank you, and you honor God with your choices. And it’s biblical!

Clean Waters by Wende Pritchard.

Endless

Have you ever been in a moment that seemed to be endless?

A first kiss, sitting in the Operating Room waiting area, the month before Christmas, a painful reprimanding by your mom, being in labor with your first child, church administrative meetings….lots of things feel endless.

Of course the end eventually comes and in hindsight, you realize that it wasn’t as bad as you thought in the moment. Well, except for church administrative meetings.

Our sense of time and our perception of its passing are easily skewed by our expectations. If you expected a meeting to be over in half an hour, then by the third hour you are sure you’ve been there for days. The month before Christmas is exactly four weeks, no matter how ready you aren’t or excited you are. A first kiss is probably more fleeting than you realized….but when your Mama is yelling at you, well, that does go on for an eternity.

When working with people who have lost a loved one, the subject of time and our perception of its passing are often a part of the discussion. In the grand scope of things, this earthy existence is but a blink of an eye. One blink, and there is your 89.5 average years of earthly existence. By contrast, the scope of eternity is, well, endless:

Revelation 21 New International Version (NIV)

A New Heaven and a New Earth

21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Can you even imagine? All the pettiness, grief, hardship, heartache, and even all the pleasures of earthly life will pass in the blink of an eye, and we will dwell with God forever. And in our new Jerusalem, there will be no more pain, no more crying, and even no more death.

This is the perspective of time which we would do well to remember. So often we focus on the seeming endlessness of everyday life, when actually every day is minuscule compared to what is to come. So the aggravations of this world end up not amounting to much in the end. Yet in the moment, they certainly can overwhelm everything.

So next time you are stuck in a place or situation that you long to flee, remember the new Jerusalem. This moment, this thing, this burden will quickly pass, but God’s eternity is endless. His love endures forever, world without end. Amen.

Endless Summer by Michele Robertson.

She said Yes

So many happy stories end in, “She said yes!”

A shy boy shows up at the front door with a cake box. On the cake it reads, “Prom?”

An elaborate marriage proposal, planned for months, and pulled off to perfection.

Mothers, girlfriends, and sisters breathing a sigh of relief at the wedding dress shop that the hunt is finally over.

I had a chance to watch three little girls experience the pure joy of “she said yes.” They were plotting and planning a sleepover, hopeful and giddy. The third girl hadn’t asked her mother yet. She ventured over to her Mom, asked the question, then began to shriek, “SHE SAID YES!!! SHE SAID YES!!!” I was so excited, I almost started to pack my sleepover bag myself.

You know what’s ever better than when the girl, the dress, and the Mom all end up in “yes?”

When God says, “YES.”

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 The Message (MSG)

20-22 Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.

God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.

This scripture hinges on God’s promises:

*There is nothing that can separate you from his love.

*You are fearfully and wonderfully made

*God has a plan to prosper you, and not harm you.

*God wants to give you a future with hope.

*God loved you so much, he sent his only son to die so that you might live.

*When you sincerely repent, he will forgive you, and wash you clean of your sins.

These promises are rock solid, stamped by Jesus’ YES, and are the affirmation of his eternal pledge to you. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. All he asks is that you believe he is who he says he is, and receive his grace. God’s yes and our yes, together.

What is God asking you today?

Say yes.

Crescent Moon by Michele Robertson.

Second Hand Smoke

According to the CDC:

• Secondhand smoke is smoke from burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.

• Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer.

I am a recipient of second hand smoke. My parents both smoked cigarettes when I was a child, and I have strong and unpleasant memories of a care-giver down the street who watched me while my mother worked. Every day she smoked non-stop. The worst was riding in the car with her in the New Jersey winters with all the windows shut, breathing in her cigarette smoke as we ran errands in her VW bug.

I have had respiratory issues all my life. Coincidence, or exposure?

It occurs to me that there are other ways of encountering second hand “smoke,” as in the kind of smoke that comes with mirrors, or the smoke that someone tries to “blow up your chimney.” In this context, smoke is understood as “the obscuring or embellishing of the truth of a situation with misleading or irrelevant information.”

Sound like the nightly news? On any channel?

Essentially we are all victims of second hand smoke and mirrors. Nobody delivers the news any more. Nobody is telling the truth. It is all opinion, innuendo, and click-bait. Where is Walter Cronkite when you need him? The truth is obscured, misleading, and irrelevant. Contemporary news can make you heart-sick. And it is definitely toxic.

So what is truth? Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, heart, and the very being of God. Truth is God, expressed.

Psalm 25 New International Version (NIV)

2 I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame,

   nor let my enemies triumph over me.

3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame,

but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

4 Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.

5 Guide me in your TRUTH and teach me,

for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

God alone is our only source of truth.

God alone is our savior.

In this age of constant confusion, lies, misdirection, second hand smoke, and cracked mirrors, our only hope is for God to guide our path, teach us truth, and to show us the way.

1 Corinthians 15 The Message

If there’s no resurrection, there’s no living Christ. And face it—if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.

But the TRUTH is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.

That’s the truth. You can stake your life on it. All the rest….ALL THE REST…will all pass away. The troubles, trials, and fabrications of this world will all bow down to the truth of Christ-resurrected.

When that time comes, do you think anyone will care about today’s headlines? What is trending on Twitter? What is going viral on FaceBook or YouTube?

Nope. All that will wither away in the face of truth.

So stop spending your day inhaling the toxic fumes of untruth of what is currently playing on the news. Quit logging in to the shattered mirror of social media. Turn your eyes instead upon Jesus. And the truth will set you free.

Suffolk Sunset by Michelle Robertson.

Just CHILL

Have you ever seen such a relaxed pose? Don’t you wish that for a brief moment you could actually achieve this level of chill? Not a care in the world, not a thought in your mind, no worries, burdens or pressures of bills, flat tires, back-talking kids, cheating spouses, and lay-off notices. It’s a dog’s life!

But for the rest of us….

Relaxation is hard to attain. Everyday life is so full of everyday stress, and then life-altering situations such as job loss, death of a family member, childbirth, hurricanes, etc. come along and can send you right over the edge.

I evacuated twice from two different states during the most recent hurricane. It was heading straight for Florida while I was there. Flights were suddenly canceled and the airport was about to close so we fled to catch the last flight out to North Carolina. Then the hurricane turned and we braced again for it to hit us on the Outer Banks, so I evacuated a second time to Virginia. One storm, two evacuations, three states.

I came home to find it raining in my closet. It’s not supposed to rain in your closet. My shoulders were so tense, they did not come down from my ears for a month and my neck still aches from the tension. And compared to our brothers and sisters in Ocracoke, we got off easy.

What do you do to relax? Golf? Read? Walk somewhere beautiful? Play games? Binge Netflix? Talk with friends? These are all wonderful ways to find a measure of relaxation in the crazy reality you live in.

But do you ever wonder, what would it take to find relaxation that actually lasts?

Matthew 6 (The Message)

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

What I’m trying to do here is to get you to RELAX, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.

People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Steep your life in God-reality.

Steep your life in God-initiative.

Steep your life in God-provisions.

Every tea drinker knows that to steep something means you immerse it in hot water and leave it there until it is bled out. Matthew is reminding us to immerse ourselves in the heat of God’s love until God-reality replaces crazy reality. Like a long, steamy bubble bath where you emerge jello-legged and empty-headed, we are invited to steep in everything God is providing, and stay immersed until the tension leaves our shoulders and we lay belly up on the beach in the warm sun.

Do something for yourself today: enter into God’s presence and RELAX there. God adores you and has great pride in you. He desires to meet your everyday human concerns. Let him take care of you, and just BREATHE.

See the dog? Be the dog.

Photo by Margaret Brushwood