Archive for August, 2018
“May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy” (Psalm 137:6).
Memory is both a curse and a blessing. While memories can be painful (v.1), they are also cathartic and prepare us to move on to a future beyond our present exile of grief and lamenting. Cherished memories are a reminder of what God has undeniably done in the past, providing the certain hope that his purposes will be accomplished again in the future.
“How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land” (Psalm 137:4)?
It’s a fair question because, as with the Psalmist, life eventually takes us through an exile experience of such degree that it’s as if all the music and melody of life has died. Both life and music, when fully pursued, eventually gives way from the simple and rhythmic to the complex and multifaceted. The key is to keep singing, even when you don’t feel like it, knowing that each experience adds a new stanza to the song God is composing.
“Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).
From the teachings of the Old Testament to the life exemplified by Jesus, we discover that the life of faith, when rightly understood and practiced, is an affront to those who perpetuate injustice, who sit in power, who build their wealth and kingdoms on the backs of those who are defenseless, who have no leverage and no voice. Faith is to confront the up and in with the issues facing the down and out.
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Hide and Seek was one of my favorite childhood games, but I never liked being “it.” To be “it” meant having to go find everyone that was hiding. It was a laborious task because of the unlimited number of possible hiding places. In contrast, God’s omniscience gives him the knowledge of all our hiding places, and he delights in searching us out and finding us.
“Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established” (Proverbs 4:26).
The best place for life and work is where your feet are. There is no greater self-deception than the idealized notion that the best place to live, the place to work, the best place to write a book, the best place to save your marriage, the best place to “connect” with God is somewhere other than where you are right now. Our issue is never one of geographical location but, rather, the location of the heart. If your heart is in the right place, life flourishes where you are.
“If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).
Degrees, recognition plaques, photos of special moments…I see these each day on my office wall. But I see something else; a vision of my children having to sift through my “stuff,” deciding whether they want keep this or that, put it in a garage/estate sale, or “chunk it” in the dumpster. My sense is when this “stuff” is taken off the wall, it will find itself in the “chunk it” pile. This is as it should be. After all, a closer look reveals that it is composed of the same “stuff” as wood, hay, and straw (v.12).
“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17).
Strange how the masses labor to protect their property, family, and investments, but not their time. How you work your time confirms and establishes the trajectory of your life and, ultimately, your destiny. If we do not predicate how our time will be spent, others will. Just “killing time” is a failure to appreciate the value of this non-renewable resource.
“Let Your work appear to Your servants and Your majesty to their children” (Psalm 90:16).
As stewards of the life of faith, we must be attentive to the details of how time is utilized. A legacy of faith is not accomplished by church attendance, as even unbelievers can attend…and they do. Nor is a legacy of faith established by confession, as nothing is easier than verbal assent. Your legacy of faith, and mine, will be remembered and perpetuated only by those in whom we have invested.
“For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4).
Right now is the most important measure of time in your life…not yesterday, today, or tomorrow…but NOW…this moment. If you are going to choose to live joyfully and fulfilled, it must be right now. Otherwise, you are just waiting for more favorable circumstances to dictate your attitude and perspective on life. In the limited moments that are ours, we must not think of time in terms of years, months, or even days, but NOW. For our time-conscious age, it is a timeless truth.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8).
A vision of God’s grandeur and his grace-filled salvation always elicits a burden of responsibility that desires to respond; that longs for others to see and experience what the Father has done and is doing. His is a story waiting to be told by those willing go forth.