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Psalm 87: Hometown

Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

New-JerusalemGreat cities dot our planet; testimonies to the ingenuity of their founders, architects, engineers and artisans. Oh, how hearts swell with pride when gazing upon mountains of bricks, mortar, steel and glass … crafted by human hands.

What of the city God calls home? He could have settled anywhere, but He chose the hill country of Palestine, a place He affectionately refers to as Zion.

Residency there isn’t about what you own, but rather Who you know. Birth certificates are issued only to those who have been born again (John 3:1-21).

One day, all of humanity – the living and dead – will marvel at this wonder of the world. Some will see it from outside its walls and despair. Others will celebrate from within, having been adopted into the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10, ESV).

So, where are you from?

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Psalm 86: Coming Clean

Posted by on Oct 31, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

“I need … I need … I neeeeed!”

I know it’s the truth about me! But it just seems so pathetic in my heart and mind as a recovering maverick who has taken enormous pride in self-sufficiency. I’m a survivor; a get-r-done-r; and honestly find it difficult to abandon myself to the care of another.

I’ve got needs, I just don’t naturally share them with anyone.

So prayer can feel more like an obligation than a necessity. I can, on the one hand, “let my requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6), and on the other, conceive all my contingencies just in case God doesn’t come through. Saying prayers isn’t the same as praying with faith.

I don’t doubt that God CAN come through. I believe He possesses unlimited power and has all of creation at His disposal. My doubts are more about whether or not God WANTS to. And, of course, I have a particular idea of what it would look like if he did.

I hate to admit it, but it looks like I have a lot more to pray about than daily bread.

I desperately need to confess my utter dependence upon God for all things. I also need to rehearse the faithfulness of God to always give me what I need to do what He has called me to do. In that sense, prayer is less about what I need God to do, and more about who I know Him to be.

Letting my requests be made known to God, then, isn’t rolling out my list of demands, but rather my declaration of faith that because of who God is, I can trust in Him. This doesn’t mean He must do what I ask; but He will always do what is best for me.

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Psalm 76: Fearsome

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I fear what I cannot control … cannot manipulate … cannot overcome.

It is that immovable object, that insurmountable force which disturbs me. I should say it threatens my thirst for autonomy. It stands in the way of unbridled independence.

Consequently, I am prone to order my life in such a way that I appear to have everything under control, even to myself. That façade stays up until reality crashes in.

Part of me would like to control God. I’d like to know that if push came to shove I could have my way; that is until I need God to be God for my sake.

Isn’t it strange that I somehow want (need) God to be greater than anything which threatens my well-being, while also wanting to be greater than Him. It’s quite the dilemma.

When I am overwhelmed, vulnerable, devastated and wrought with despair, I need God to be immovable, insurmountable, unchanging and in complete control. I need Him to be fearsome if He is to be a strong tower and a safe refuge for me in the storms of life, all of which expose my helpless condition.

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Psalm 75: Too Big For Your Britches

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Have you ever seen someone in clothing several sizes too small? Fabric stretched to its limit and seams begging for mercy? It’s obvious the man or woman beneath the strained material believes themselves to be someone they definitely are not. They’re too big for their britches and everyone around them knows it.

Arrogance is just as unsightly. Pride poses in a gross exaggeration of self-image that cannot be concealed. Virtues of kindness, patience and self-control are hard-pressed to contain the puffed-up persona of one who is full of themselves.

Those who are full of pride are vacant of self-awareness. They may not be especially bad, just oblivious to the fact that they are far less than they think themselves to be; yet very typical in comparison to the common man.

Worst of all, a huge ego leaves no room for authentic relationship with God or man. Conceit cuts us off from the community we were created to enjoy.

Humility, on the other hand, connects broken yet hopeful people. It allows earnest, imperfect individuals to walk together in a covering of grace. Actually, nothing fits us better than a sincere recognition of our dignity and deficiency. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5)

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Psalm 70: Right On Time

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

It isn’t surprising, but I don’t know anyone who prays for God to hurry up with whatever is next while in a moment of prosperity, security, and/or significance. Who wants to move on from the pinnacles of life? Our instinct is to savor those seasons. We might even go so far as to ask God to hold off on what’s next, kind of like giving a butler the day off, especially if what’s next diminishes the now we’re enjoying.

When, however, our world is coming undone … were all about wrappin up and movin on! “NEXT!” Predictably, our prayers spike in frequency and urgency. “I need help, and I need it NOW!”

But God is no butler. He is no genie in a bottle. He is a Master Craftsman busily and thoroughly completing a good work in each of us (Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 2:10). So devoted to our re-formation, God uses each and every moment – difficult and delightful – to cultivate good in our character which will outlast any and every circumstance from which it was borne (Romans 8:28-29), however much time may be required.

We’re urged countless times to bring our requests to God, and we should do so, confident that He hears and He cares. But it is well worth our time to consider what exactly we want most. There is nothing wrong with asking for relief, deliverance or favor in hard times; but it helps me to remember that the time which passes before my circumstances improve is never wasted. God does some of His best work when life is most cruel.

Our highest aim, then, is the workmanship of Christ in us, in both good times and bad. I’m grateful for the good, but don’t want to begrudge the bad. Rather, I want to give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Many times in days gone by, I’ve pleaded with God to follow my schedule; to get on my calendar. In hindsight, I’ve found His timing to be flawless. Having to wait has never proven to be unfruitful in terms of my personal growth. I still instinctively pray for “timely” action on God’s part, but those requests are more often accompanied by a growing contentment with the life-changing pace of His work in me.

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Psalm 69: At Odds

Posted by on May 15, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What does it cost to be liked by all? It is, without a doubt, more than I’ll ever have. But am I willing to mortgage my life for the favor of my fellow man?

Even if I could afford it, paying for popularity feels desperate, repulsive, “cheap.” How could I stomach knowing that the accolades of supposed friends were not unlike trinkets acquired in the marketplace? Each secured at a price.

It turns out, people pleasing costs far more than fees and favors. At some point, it requires us to betray our conscience, deal away our dignity, and sell out our soulful convictions.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26, ESV)

Loyal love for God will put us at odds with some, maybe many. Submission to His will and ways can’t help but offend and provoke hostility in the hearts of God-haters. It isn’t our intent, but rather the outcome of light shining in darkness.

May our zeal for God and His redemptive mission never be surpassed by a need for human acceptance or approval.

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