Category Archives: Chuck Lawless

06/13/18 The Days of Your Youth

READING: Ecclesiastes 7-12

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come. . . .”

Ecclesiastes 12:1

I tell folks that we become walking evidences of the fall as we age. We think little about the aging process when we’re young, most assuredly because we see only a strong future in front of us. We look forward to positive things of aging – we will start driving, we’ll finish college degrees, we’ll get married, we’ll have kids, we’ll have a good career, etc. . . .  All is good as we mature as human beings and have families of our own.

But then something happens. It’s almost imperceptible, but it happens. As the writer of Ecclesiastes describes it, we begin the process of decline. Our limbs (the “keepers of the house”—Ecc. 12:3) begin to tremble. Our muscles in the back and legs weaken (“the strong men are bent”—Ecc. 12:3). Our teeth (“grinders”—Ecc. 12:3) become fewer, and our eyes lose their power (“those who look through the window are dimmed”—Ecc. 12:3). Our ears seemingly close, and fears increase. All in all, it makes sense why it is best to start serving the Lord at a younger age.

That is not to say that those with graying hair bring nothing to the table; in fact, the wisdom of the aged is often celebrated in the scriptures. Rather, it is simply an honest recognition of the value of serving the Lord in the days of our youth. I became a Christian at the age of 13, which means that I’ve now had the privilege of serving Him for more than 40 years. I love learning more and more about Him today, but I’m deeply grateful that I was privileged to meet Him in my youth. I’m certain my early conversion has saved me from some heartaches over the years.

ACTION STEPS:

• If you became a believer at a young age, thank God.

• Pray by name for a young person today.

PRAYER: “Father, thank You for drawing me to You in my young age. Help me lead other young people to follow You.”

TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Kings 10-11, 2 Chronicles 9, Proverbs 30-31

Source: 06/13/18 The Days of Your Youth

06/12/18 Idolatry of Aloneness — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Ecclesiastes 1-6

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9

Ecc. 4:9-12 “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”

The writer of Ecclesiastes speaks of the vanity of a person who is always alone, who works to gain riches, yet who has no one to leave his riches to when he dies (Ecc. 4:7-8). He lives for much “stuff,” but he shares life with no one. This life, the writer says, is futile.

Indeed, God created us to be in relationships with others, and we deal with life together in the context of the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:26). If we choose not to develop strong friendships, we miss the value of combined efforts, the power of companionship when struggling, the comfort of shared emotional strength in a cold world, and the strength of protection in numbers. In fact, if one friend makes us stronger, it is even better to have more than one (Ecc. 4:12).

I freely admit that I can tend to be a loner who is far too self-dependent. I grew up leaning on myself for support, and that trait has continued to this day. Some days, I could be the one who “falls alone without another to pick him up.” Hence, I need to live a “three-strand” life that more readily welcomes others into my world.

ACTION STEPS:

  • Thank God for the friends who “lock arms” with you in your work.
  • Reach out to a loner today.

PRAYER:“Lord, I don’t want to be a man who lives as a loner. I don’t want to miss all the benefits of having genuine Christian friends. As usual, I need your help.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Ecclesiastes 7-12

via 06/12/18 Idolatry of Aloneness — ChuckLawless.com

04/28/18 Integrity — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Psalms 89,  96, 100, 101, 107

“I will live with a heart of integrity in my house.”

Psalm 101:2

I wonder what intentional commitments to holiness we make. Perhaps some of us made such a commitment several times during our teenage years, but I’m not convinced that most believers commit themselves fully to godliness. Our commitment is sometimes more surface level than deep, evidenced by our lifestyles that are often much like the world.

David, on the other hand, committed himself to godliness as he reigned as king. He did not always live up to his commitment, but the commitment of this psalm was surely genuine at the time. Note his commitments:

  1. He would sing of God’s faithful love and justice, knowing that God’s love is still far beyond his understanding.
  2. He would be a man of complete integrity in the public eye, in his home, and ultimately in his kingdom.
  3. He would not be swayed by false teaching or anything other than God to lead him.
  4. He would not allow sin to cling to him.
  5. He would not live a life of sin; he would not be associated with evil.

As noted, David failed some of these commitments. One would be tempted to ignore what he said here because of his own sin, but that response is not legitimate. Another man’s fall never grants us permission to go in the wrong direction ourselves. Instead, we should consider our own responsibility to God, state our commitments as the psalmist did, and choose to follow Christ fully.

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Put in writing what your commitment to God is.
  • Ask God to help you to follow Him more fully and passionately.

PRAYER: “God, I make my commitment to You again. Make me a follower of complete integrity.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Review and catch up

via 04/28/18 Integrity — ChuckLawless.com

04/23/18 Worship Him — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Psalms 81, 88, 92, 93 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord.” Psalm 92:1 Yesterday, many of us worshiped the Lord in our various churches. We heard prayers, sang songs, gave offerings, listened to sermons, and fellowshipped with others. I wonder, though, if we truly realize the blessing of doing what we did. I…

via 04/23/18 Worship Him — ChuckLawless.com

04/22/18 His Wondrous Works

READING: Psalm 78

“. . . tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the Lord.”

Psalm 78:4

The psalmist understood something I’m not sure we North American believers understand well enough: we need to make sure our children know our spiritual history. Here’s how the psalmist expressed this mandate in Psalm 78: “We will not hide them [God’s works] from their children, but will tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed” (Psa. 78:4). In fact, the Hebrews were to teach their children, who would then teach the next generation “so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep his commands” (Psa. 78:7). In that way, future generations would not be like their fathers, who had been “a stubborn and rebellious generation” (Psa. 78:8).

Here are some of the things I wonder if our children and grandchildren know:

  • stories of other ancestors who were believers
  • when and how we became believers
  • when and where we were baptized
  • the sweetest experience we ever had with the Lord
  • the toughest struggle of our spiritual walk
  • significant times of answered prayer
  • how we live out our spiritual disciplines

There is so much we can tell our children and grandchildren! I fear, though, that we seldom get to these stories. We talk about everything else—and I’m grateful for any real conversation between generations—but we don’t take the initiative to talk about what God has done in our life. Most of us need to hear this word again from the psalmist: “We will not hide them from our children.”

ACTION STEPS: 

  • In prayer, meditate on God’s great works in your life.
  • Perhaps by using something from the list above, tell somebody what God has done in your life.

PRAYER: “Father, I commit to telling my children and grandchildren about Your wondrous works.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Psalms 81, 88, 92, 93

Source: 04/22/18 His Wondrous Works

04/18/18 Hope in the Lord — ChuckLawless.com

READING: 1 Chronicles 1-2, Psalm 43-44 “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5 Sometimes it’s easy to let the circumstances of life trump the depth of our faith. We know what we’re supposed to say—and we might even try to preach to ourselves—but the words sound hollow…

via 04/18/18 Hope in the Lord — ChuckLawless.com

04/17/18 You Have Not Abandoned Me

By Chuck Lawless on Apr 17, 2018 01:30 am

READING: Psalms 6, 9, 10, 14, 16, 21

“Sing to the Lord, who dwells in Zion; proclaim his deeds among the nations.”

Psalm 9:11

I have so much reason to trust God with my life. I could, for example, speak of the ways He has always taken care of me. He loved me and protected me through a broken engagement that I thought would cost me my ministry. He held my hand when I had no idea what direction to go.  He has given me fulfilling jobs (more than one at a time, in fact . . .), and I’ve never been hungry. He has provided when Pam and I wondered how we would pay our bills. He has simply never let us down.

Then I think of others I know who trusted God through difficult times. D, a senior adult who was the only believer in her family. Mrs. M, who cared for our dementia-ridden husband for years. A, who joyously served God despite multiple job losses. L, who stood beside his wife as she lost her battle with cancer. K, a mom who patiently loved and prayed for two wayward children to return to God. J, who faithfully served God in a war-torn country. I could keep writing . . . .

Then, the Bible characters who saw God’s hand are almost too numerous to mention. Noah. Abraham. The rest of the patriarchs. Moses. Joshua. Deborah. Prophets. Disciples. Paul. John. Some paid the ultimate price for following God, but none regretted that commitment. They lived and died trusting Him, as Hebrews 11 shows.

I recall these stories today, and I can echo the words of the psalmist: “Those who know Your name trust in You because You have not abandoned those who seek You, Yahweh” (Psalm 9:10).  Seeing all that God has done for His people in the past ought to give me great confidence today.

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Review two of the Bible stories noted above, and see God’s hand on His people.
  • Briefly (5 minutes max) draw your life story on a small piece of paper, rejoicing every time God’s hand is apparent.

PRAYER: “God, I praise You for not abandoning Your people. You’re a good, good God.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  1 Chronicles 1-2, Psalm 43-44

Source: 04/17/18 You Have Not Abandoned Me

04/15/18 My Rock

By Chuck Lawless on Apr 15, 2018 01:30 am

READING: Psalm 18

“Lord, you light my lamp; my God illuminates my darkness.”

Psalm 18:28

No matter what we face today, we can find hope in the words of the psalmist in psalm 18. Using multiple warfare images, he reminds us of God’s care and protection for us. In fact, the psalmist piles up the terms as if to say, “Don’t miss these truths. God is all we need.” He is our strength (that is, our source of strength), our rock (the one in whom we hide), our fortress, and our deliverer. We find our refuge in Him, the One who is our shield and our strength (the “horn of our salvation”). He is our protection, our stronghold, our shelter among the rocks. Given all that God is, it’s no wonder the psalmist expressed a deep and emotional love for Him: “I love you, Lord, my strength” (Psa. 18:1).

I pray today is a great day for you. If this day is difficult, though, cling to God as your hiding place. He is indeed “worthy of praise” (Psa. 18:3), and it is right for us to respond with thanksgiving: “Therefore I will give thanks to you among the nations, Lord; I will sing praises about your name” (Psa. 18:49).

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Let this day be a day filled with God’s praise, perhaps by singing the song, “I Will Call upon the Lord.”
  • Lean on Him for your strength throughout the day.

PRAYER: “I love You, Lord. I truly love You.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  2 Samuel 1-4

Source: 04/15/18 My Rock

04/14/18 My Help is in the Lord

By Chuck Lawless on Apr 14, 2018 01:30 am

READING: Psalms 121, 123-125, 128-130

“Our help is in the name of the Lord,the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Psalm 124:8

The psalmist in psalm 124 begins with such a simple truth that I almost stumbled over it in my reading today. It really is simple: if the Lord weren’t with the Hebrews, they would have been in trouble. They would have lost battles to their enemies. The waters – perhaps the Red Sea or the Jordan River – would have swept back over them. Indeed, the Hebrews had escaped snares only because their help was in “the name of the Lord,the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psa. 124:8).

This psalm makes me consider how my life would be different if the Lord were not on my side. I cannot know for certain, but these things come to mind:

  • I would be living in my sin, destined for judgment.
  • I would be caught in sin, finding no victory over the struggles of my heart.
  • I would have no one to hear me and help me when I cry out under the strains of life.
  • I would have no church family to walk beside me, encourage me, and pray for me.
  • I would not be forgiven.
  • I would have no purpose in life.
  • I would have no hope.

I could continue to list so many things that would be different if “the Lord had not been on [my] side” (Psa. 124:1), but I don’t have to do that. He loves me, guards me, and forgives me. He is on my side. Blessed be His name!

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Think about how your life would be different if God weren’t with you.
  • Praise God for the way He cares for you.

PRAYER: “I lift my eyes to You, Lord, and focus on You. Thank You for being on my side.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Catch up and review

Source: 04/14/18 My Help is in the Lord

04/13/18 Unfaithfulness and Death

By Chuck Lawless on Apr 13, 2018 01:30 am

READING: 1 Samuel 28-31, 1 Chronicles 10

“So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.”

1 Chronicles 10:14

Saul was dead, and the writer of Chronicles understood his death in theological terms: “Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the Lord because he did not keep the Lord’s word. He even consulted a medium for guidance, but he did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse” (1 Chron. 10:13-14). The chronicler’s understanding was twofold: Saul died because he was disobedient to the Lord, but God was ultimately in control of Saul’s death. A righteous God brought judgment on a disobedient king, and the judgment was severe.

Saul was unfaithful to the Lord. He did not keep the Lord’s word. He consulted a medium rather than consult the Lord.  The cost was heavy. Indeed, it was judgment and death.

There is much we can learn from this simple summary. First, our sin has consequences. We know that, but seldom do we see it stated as clearly as, “Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the Lord.” Second, God draws a line in the sand. We can sin against Him so recurrently that He calls us home in judgment; in the New Testament, it’s the step of turning someone over to Satan “for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Cor. 5:5). Third, God uses even judgment to accomplish His plan, even as He opened the door for giving the kingdom to David at the death of Saul.

Clearly, we must think about our walk with God every day and make the decision to follow Him fully.

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Each step of the way today, be faithful to God.
  • Pray for someone you know who is living in disobedience.

PRAYER: “God, guard me. Keep me from living in disobedience.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Psalms 121, 123-125, 128-130

Source: 04/13/18 Unfaithfulness and Death