Archive for July, 2018
“But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant” (Psalm 73:2-3a).
Even while espousing God’s goodness to Israel (v.1), the psalmist confesses his wavering faith because of the prosperity of the wicked. Yet, it is often overlooked that he confesses to much more—his own envy. He’s not so much troubled by the prosperity of the wicked as he is the lack of prosperity in his own life. Never envy those having no regard for the things of God. They have the home field advantage. We are just pilgrims and sojourners passing through.
“Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart! But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped” (Psalm 73:1-2).
Like the psalmist, there are things we know to be true about God; that we believe with firm conviction. Yet, also, like the psalmist, if we are honest as he, our observations of this world, and even our own trying circumstances, can leave us secretly questioning the goodness of God. Scripture never seeks to cover up the weakest moments of God’s people. Peter’s denial of the Lord wasn’t swept under a rug. David’s adultery and conspiracy to murder wasn’t sealed away from public knowledge. Our questions, uncertainties, fears, and failures come to say, you’re in good company with the likes of these. To endure through seasons of struggle is to discover the pathway to greater intimacy with the Father.
“Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life” (Genesis 25:8).
The best way to come to the end of life satisfied and with no regrets is to live each day to its fullest—loving, laughing, giving, serving. It’s only as we embrace the truth of our own mortality that we can possibly be inspired to live each day with the fullness that the resurrected Christ intended.
“Beware, and be on you guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
Greed has seemingly become an acceptable flaw. What God describes as being sin, American culture labels as a Type-A personality, a go-getter, a good work ethic. It is, however, a lifestyle that is aggressively self-centered; revealing an inferiority complex of such degree that one becomes blinded to the true Source of Life.
“The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm” (Proverbs 11:17).
It’s in only a fraction of a second that a person chooses to be rude. In that same moment a decision could have been made to be kind. Just as we all have the capacity to choose evil, to be rude, or withhold merciful compassion, the abiding presence and power of the resurrected Christ beckons us to do the right thing, at the right moment, in the right way. Just as rudeness affects two people—the perpetrator and the victim—so does kindness.
“He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire” (Psalm 46:9).
God has an established track record far exceeding the life span of nations, kingdoms, and earthly superpowers. The politics, weaponry, and ideologies utilized by man to draw lines on maps; to segregate, isolate, and subjugate, all in the name of stability and security, are, by necessity, destroyed by God to fulfill his contrasting purpose—bringing humanity together. Sovereign nations, by definition, reign supreme over themselves; uncontrolled by outside forces. The pages of history and a Sovereign God, however, say otherwise.
“The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold” (Psalm 46:7).
This refrain, found again in verse 11, is the needed reminder that the instability of this earth, and the chaos created by sinful humanity, becomes the means by which God’s presence, power, and provision is ultimately realized. Too many have based their understanding of God upon the creature comforts of life; leading, eventually, only to disappointment, if not a complete abandonment of faith. Only by staying in the game can you experience the victory to be realized.
“The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted” (Psalm 46:6).
Mountains slipping into the sea (v.2); nations and kingdoms falling…what’s a person to think? Wisdom would say, “Do not anchor your life to anything this side of heaven.” Sadly, wisdom rarely wins the day. Consider the number of people, even professing Christians, who choose to bitterly campaign for partisan politicians while failing to bear the fruit of a particular Savior—Jesus Christ. Man has political agendas and ideologies, creating lines and boundaries on maps that will eventually be erased by a new heaven and a new earth. Rethink your confidences.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).
The implications are obvious. If a fearless life is to be found in making God your refuge and strength, a fearful life is the result of finding your refuge and strength in something other than the heavenly father. I find this thought to be both a challenge and an awakening. While I may declare Him as my refuge and strength, the presence of fear, anxiety, and worry reveals otherwise.
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Sadly, the life of faith is too often lived from a negative perspective; a preoccupation and satisfaction with just not doing certain things. While there are, certainly, destructive behaviors and attitudes that should be put away, a fuller understanding of the life of Christ is to be found doing those things that ought to be done and best exemplify the fruit of the Spirit. What best represents your faith? Doing? Or, not doing?