Rescue

I love you, O Lord, my strength….but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:1, 18-19
David is nose to nose with accusers. He is entrapped by dangers and problems…no escape…but the Lord
He alone takes us to the broad places. He rescues and lifts us up. No one else can do this and I dishonor him when I think I can deliver myself or depend on someone else. The great Interrupter delights in me – I am his child. I am his responsibility. I am in his care.
God has no problems, just plans. – Corrie tenBoom
Why would I turn to anyone else for rescue? Why would I ever think that I so entrapped that there is no way of escape?
Lord, you alone are my strong deliverer. Help me depend upon you alone.

Majesty

Psalm 8:1 [widescreen]

The universe…the best man can do to understand it is to see it like this:

The Universe is all of time and space and its contents. The Universe includes planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, the smallest subatomic particles, and all matter and energy. The observable universe is about 28 billion parsecs (91 billion light-years) in diameter at the present time. The size of the whole Universe is not known and may be either finite or infinite.

This is what we are left with when we toss away the infinite, personal God who created and sustains his creation. Man can only skirt around the question, “Where does personality come from?” He knows that personal does not come from impersonal. He is left with a quandry.

Psalm 8 reminds me that my God is that infinite, personal God who exists. He lives outside the limits of his creation, yet reaches me and knows me! He has made it possible for me to know him! Therefore, he is always bigger than my need and not bounded by anything as he provides for me.

Lord, you alone are inspiring and awesome in all you are and in all you do. Today, our world has turned its back on you and is trying to solve its problems without you. If I am not careful, I can follow the same path and live as if you are not here or somehow believe you are unable. Forgive me for those thoughts. I am your child – you are my God! Come!

Stop and think

Psalm 3.8

Following be careful who you listen to and where you are (Psalm 1-2) is a painful Psalm 3. David is on the run, betrayed by many, even his own son. I see the word selah appearing three times. The word encourages me to stop and think, “Could it be true?”

many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.”Selah  Could it be true? Of course, it isn’t. I must be careful to listen to the right voice. Even my heart might betray me.

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah  Could this be true? Stop and think. Oh, yes, this is marvelously true for me at all times.

Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah Could this be true? Stop and think. Yes! I am greatly blessed in every way.

Lord, help me listen to your voice alone and open my heart to embrace what is true, regardless of my situations.

A call to praise my Lord

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence. (Ps 103:1–5)

Too often, my attention has been drawn to what my Lord does for me. Verse 2 encourages me to not forget a single blessing. However, this time, my heart is drawn to the repetitive He. He alone does these things for me because it is his nature.

He forgives because he is the forgiver. He heals because he is the healer. He redeems because he is the redeemer. He crowns because he is royalty himself. He wraps me around with goodness because he is good. He renews because he is the renewer.

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In short, I am longing more for him than even what he does for me. I dare not forget his unceasing blessings because they turn my eyes upon the one who blesses.

Lord, all good things come from you alone. Thank you. But, even more than that, thank you for revealing your heart through those things. Forgive me for complaining or ever believing you hold out on me.

Self talk

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer. Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God, “Why did you let me down? Why am I walking around in tears, harassed by enemies?” They’re out for the kill, these tormentors with their obscenities, taunting day after day, “Where is this God of yours?” Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. (Ps 42:5–11)

Self-examination quickly gets to the heart of an issue. No sugar coating. Just honesty. This is why I love these verses. The writer questions himself and points his heart to great truths. God puts a smile on my face, He’s my God. God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night!

These truths confront all my fears and answer my questions. The writer feels down, crushed, let down, unprotected and abandoned. As real as these things feel, they are not true. And, left unattended, they can fester into an infection. So, what can I do when afraid or down? Simply said, I will fix my eyes upon my Lord. Focus on him.

Lord, I trust and surrender to you. Like the writer of this psalm, take my anxiety away. Point me to the truth about you. May all my worries be fashioned into prayers.

Four Choices

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.  Psalm 9:1-2

Four I will statements. Two are solely between my Lord and me. One is outward expression to others. And, one combines the vertical and horizontal. Each rests upon my determined decision.

  1. I will praise the Lord, with all my heart. I will not give him sloppy thanks with a divided one.
  2. I will be filled with joy. I will not look to others to provide the joy that only he can give.
  3. I will tell others about his marvelous work. I will not hold it back.
  4. I will sing praises to his name. I will not reserve my praise at any time, regardless.

These are decisions I must make and can make today. There is never a day he is not worthy of my praise; and, today is a great day to share him with the world.

Lord, I tend to be very reserved with you and certainly with the world. Help me look to you for my joy and share this with others.

A quiet place

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. Matthew 14:22-23

As was with Jesus, there must be times that I draw away from everything and everyone to connect with my Father. Intimacy demands this. It is in the quiet place that I hear his heart and understand his plans for me. There, the uncertainties fade into trust and faith.

Something I have come to experience is that he is always there before me. He arrives and waits. I never do. So, I wonder what he is wanting to share with me today?

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Lord, help me find a quiet place to meet with you. And, help me be disciplined to show up. I don’t want you to wait a long time for me.

Role-play

Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. Matthew 6:6

Jesus is inviting me to come to him, in a quiet, secluded place. It is there that honest relationship is formed. My hurried pace fights this intimacy. In the quiet place with my Lord, I can simply be. No show. No pretense. No role-play.

That is what I want so, I must discipline myself toward it. Turn off. Disconnect. Stop. Only then will my Lord reveal himself. He will not do that if I don’t care enough to slow the pace. He will never speed up his pace to walk with me; I must get in step with his.

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Lord, you know my hurried heart. Demands, distractions, involvements all fight for my attention. And, I let them do so, even encourage them at times. Help me be still through silence and cultivate serenity through times of solitude.

Involvements vs. intimacy

“Thomas said, “My Master! My God!” John 20:28

Thomas, though doubting at first, was drawn to the resurrected Jesus. Perhaps it is a little too much of a refined thought but he was drawn to Jesus not the miraculous resurrection of Jesus. The person is who Thomas sees. I can easily be enamored with what Jesus does and not so much in love with him. This affects my loyalty big time!

Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. – Oswald Chambers

Is this not true? Involvements but not intimacy is another way to say it.

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Father, intimacy is to become my passion. Guard me against substituting intimacy with involvements. Help me become more focused on our relationship.

True intimacy

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Master sitting on a throne—high, exalted!—and the train of his robes filled the Temple. Angel-seraphs hovered above him, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew. And they called back and forth one to the other, Holy, Holy, Holy is GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies. His bright glory fills the whole earth. The foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and then the whole house filled with smoke. I said, “Doom! It’s Doomsday! I’m as good as dead! Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted— blasphemous even! And the people I live with talk the same way, using words that corrupt and desecrate. And here I’ve looked God in the face! The King! GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies!” Then one of the angel-seraphs flew to me. He held a live coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with the coal and said, “Look. This coal has touched your lips. Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out.” And then I heard the voice of the Master: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” I spoke up, “I’ll go. Send me!” Isaiah 6:1-8

When I see the Lord as He is, I see myself as I am

He reveals the deepest part of me; he scopes through the secret places and shines his light on them. And, he deals with those things he sees. Nothing is hidden. And, that’s the way it should be. There should be no fear in his examination because with it comes healing and ministry. Before I can love others I must undergo his heart change surgery. Otherwise, my life is a shallow one.

I cannot really do until I am

Isaiah saw the Lord, saw his own heart, saw his people and culture. He was healed and then sent. That’s the pattern of intimacy and service. I have spent time mastering the mechanics without intimacy. I want to look like I have an intimate relationship. Gladly, that is not enough for the Lord. He passionately seeks me out.

There is no shortcut to intimacy

This journey is not quick, easy, natural or automatic. It requires decisions and disciplines. The sad thing is that most often I have refused to take the time to be still before my Lord and let him do his work.

 

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White Ginger by Rosa Say

 

Lord, if I really saw you today, who would I see? And, what about me would be revealed? Isaiah saw doom, good as dead. He replayed his words and found them tainted and even blasphemous. Heal my heart today. Set me on a path of true intimacy. Keep me from erecting only facades.