Psalm 3 is a beautiful picture of peace in the middle of a predicament. The first two verses describe this predicament. Verses 5 & 6 pictures the writer as sleeping peacefully. So, what sits in the middle of predicament and peace? The truths of verses 3 & 4 are key.
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.
Lord…you…the one…the Lord…he…his
Once again, I am faced with a decision: when difficult, unpleasant times come, where will my focus be? What will grab my attention? The truth that ultimate victory comes from the Lord alone is to be my focus through these times.
Lord, you alone are my rescuer and Victor. May I be disciplined to look to you when the unexpected comes.
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
God wants me to live this way…that grabs my attention. Simple, straightforward instruction.
Be cheerful no matter what – how? By praying all the time. Regardless of the situation in front of me, I can pray, “Come Lord Jesus into this.”
Pray all the time – how? By thanking God. I can be filled with gratitude because he remains the Constant One. I can trust him. I can relinquish what is in my heart and hands into his care. He is more than enough for this day. Keeping these truths in mind, I can be continually thankful.
So, my life is not driven by circumstances but by my responses to them. That’s the bottom line regarding how my Lord wants me to live. Life happens to me like everyone else. How I process life is the issue.
Lord, it’s all yours. Every part of this day I give to you to direct and guide and provide. Thank you for being consistent and steady and faithful.
Who out there fears GOD, actually listens to the voice of his servant? For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going, anyone groping in the dark, Here’s what: Trust in GOD. Lean on your God! Isaiah 50:10-11
God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand”. The saint’s duty is to be still and listen. When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision Never try to help God fulfill His word. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure. – Oswald Chambers
Two voices – one truth. God has often revealed his will to me in stages. Little glimpses. Most of his will-revealing for me requires waiting in the shadows. And, though never easy, it is easiest when I remember I am waiting for him not for a certain thing to happen. My Lord’s timing is perfect – remember! Therefore, there is no fear of losing out as I wait in the shadows. His delay is his process of preserving me for his best and protecting me from that which is less than his best.
Lord, help me wait patiently and remember that you are perfect in all you do. What you do is rightly done.
“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13
Regardless how earnestly a child might ask for something, if it will harm or weaken him, a wise parent will not give what is requested. This parental love is certainly found in the prayer relationship between me and my Father. I often ask amiss, not knowing. But my Father knows what will keep me safe and nourish my soul. So, prayer becomes an entrusting of my need to the only one who will be trustworthy with it. He knows what will keep me safe and cared for.
Father, thank you for your answers to my prayers. Thank you for being so trustworthy with my life and needs.
“Even then God had designs on me…” Galatians 1:13-16
I wish I could say that I have always loved God’s designs for my life. In fact, there have been times I thought I had a much better plan. Even now, I look back and wonder if my plan had been better. What pride!
Many times, my Lord has spoken to my heart with, “Is it all right if I take care of this for you?” You are more than enough also impacts my submitting to his desires and plans. In fact, when I question him, I question whether or not he is more than enough for me. This has to stop.
God’s desires for me express His nature and what is suited to my nature. Only he knows how to blend the two.
Lord, reorder my life through simplicity. I surrender to you and acknowledge you are more than enough for today and every day to come.
“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7
God’s work in my life has brought me to where I am today. Even through my mistakes and rebellions, his grace has brought me here. And, with unlimited time he gives me unending grace and kindness. Today, here, then and there…forever. What glory that is!
The past and the present are surrounded by his grace and kindness. The next bend in the road leads me to more of his grace and kindness. So, no uncertainty or need to fear. He is meeting me at the next stop.
Lord, mostly, what you do is love me – through it all. This captures my heart in a way I cannot express. My story is your story of grace and kindness. So, I entrust into your grace and kindness all that this day brings to me. I give you my future and submit to you my past. Thank you Lord.
“At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?” For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.” Matthew 18:1-5
What an amazing question! What type of person thinks that heaven has a ranking system? And, who is this who would assume preferential treatment? Jesus answered the question by focusing on becoming a child of God as a requirement for entrance. I will be in my Father’s home because of his grace…nothing more.
Lord, you are my Father and I love you today. Thank you for making me your own, adopting me into your family. Only your love for me compelled you to do that. So, as your child, with all I have, I trust you. Help me remain childlike before you and our world. At the same time, free me from childishness, which is so unattractive and opposite your desire that I mature.
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
It’s interesting how people’s perspective on an incident or object or experience can be so different, even opposite. Some are masters at seeing the smallest details while others most naturally see the big picture. Some see life from a half empty glass and others from a half full glass. We are all different when it comes to perspective. We just don’t see it all.
How we approach difficulties is affected by our perspective as well. When wanting to give up, we can persevere if… We can overcome when things are falling apart if… we look up and beyond, where our help comes from.
“I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from GOD, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.” Psalm 121:1-2
Even the majestic mountains, with their appearance of permanence and strength, remain unhelpful during difficult times. Look up…and beyond…perspective!
Lord, how easy it is for me to be convinced I know all there is to know. To know or not know is really not the issue during difficult times. You are my God – the one who has full control over all. You can make sense of difficulties and use them as indispensable tools in my life. So, whether this day is one of hardship or ease, I look up from the details of this day and look beyond them to you, my Helper and Sustainer.
By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us…we find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand… Romans 5:1-2
What God wants for us meets what we have always hoped for! Our hearts are aligned, finally. What hope this gives me when I think my heart will never be totally aligned to his. One day, it will be.
Tom Landry, then coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was asked his definition of coaching. “My job is to get a bunch of guys to do something they don’t want to do to accomplish what they have always wanted.” Is this not what God is always doing?
A good friend told me, “Mostly what God does is love us.” His work of loves aligns my heart to his and changes my desires to his. I am so glad the journey to his desires is a journey to that which I have always wanted. Perhaps only he knows what that is.
Lord, I want my heart aligned as close to yours as possible. Help me let go of my heart and embrace yours. Help me to trust in you and your unexpected ways. Give me the heart to accept discipline, which leads me to your heart.
It’s better to live humbly among the poor than to live it up among the rich and famous. It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in GOD. Proverbs 16:19-20
What a contrast! Superficial or serious living? Lifestyle of the rich and famous or a lifestyle of trust? Living it up or living humbly? Being shallow or deep?
On my retreat with the Lord, one of the first great lessons brought me to this juncture. The great question confronting me was, “Do I take God seriously?” If he is who he says, how close to him do I want to go? How committed am I to live within his definition of enough? Will I trust him?
At this point on my journey, simple answers are not working. “Yes, I trust you” and then running along on my own is no longer working. He is interfering with my natural desires to be superficial. “Will you take me seriously and trust me?” The question feels a lot like what Peter must have felt when the resurrected Jesus asked,
“Do you love me?” Peter was “upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.” And then he commanded, “Follow me.” John 21:17-19
The challenge was given to me to reorder my life through the discipline of simplifying, to leave the complicated life I had created to thrive in his bountiful enough, to follow him.
Lord, what I have just written was a long time ago. Am I any closer to you today? Examine my life and show me the path to reordering and simplifying. Lead me close to your heart and help me to seriously follow you.