Archive | October, 2012

Double Your Peace

19 Oct

Have you ever asked God for wisdom, cracked your Bible open to a random spot, and the answer is in the first verse you read?

I haven’t.

But I have found answers to my prayers in the passages of Scripture I am currently reading.  Take yesterday and today, for example.

 

First a little background.

Right now I have two jobs that I thoroughly enjoy.  They are challenging and often push me out of my areas of expertise and comfort enough to keep me very dependent on God.  There are many creative opportunities every week – in both artistic (I love to paint and write and take pictures) and problem solving (How can we make this happen?  Can we do this better?) situations.  And in all this, I have the privilege of inspiring and leading others. I enjoy all these aspects so much that I work hard, fully engaged with everything in me, for long hours.

Stay up late, get up early.  The proverbial candle has been burning toward the center with increasing speed and intensity.

During the past couple of weeks my Bible reading has been all over the place – a chapter here, a section there – without continuity.  That’s not bad, in fact I enjoy the spontaneity and freedom.  Then someone mentioned the tree planted by streams of water in Psalm 1 in a conversation.  It’s one of my favorite Psalms, so I pulled out my Bible when I got home and let the familiar promises (and warnings) wash over my heart and flow into my mind.

I was completely hooked.  Again.

Reading, studying, and digging into the Book of Psalms is always a treat.

That brings us to yesterday’s and today’s reading: Psalms 3 and 4.

Holding my sleepy head in my hands, and reading through half-open eyes, I sat straight up and laughed when I read Psalm 3:5

I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.

The context for this verse is that God gave David so much peace in the midst of his enemies, he was able to get the sleep he needed.  While I am not being chased by my estranged son and his army, I am constantly pursued by excellence and giving my best to the point that I forget I have limits.  I need rest.  I need to take the time to prepare nutritious food.  I need  the endorphins and other health benefits of regular exercise.

So, I made a mental commitment yesterday morning to bring my physical needs back into balance with ministry activities… and ate chocolate-covered pomegranates and nacho chips for dinner at 8:30pm while still at work, got home very late and finally fell into bed after midnight.

This morning, I re-read Psalm 3, and smiled sheepishly at how well I took the admonition in verse 5 before beginning today’s reading.  In Psalm 4 David compares the joy he has in the Lord with the riches of the ungodly.  His joy is not only vastly more than theirs, but he can…. “lie down and sleep in peace.”

Message received.  Loud and clear.  Twice.

——————-

Ready for Sunday

Some things I am doing to make sure I’m not leading from empty–

  • make a list of priorities
  • build a schedule based on it, and
  • find an accountability partner who will ask the hard questions

Jesus took time to care for his physical needs.  It’s not un-spiritual or less important than my ministry to-do list.  In fact, this is part of the foundation to being able to minister effectively.

As I talk with others in ministry, this issue comes up a lot.  Let’s encourage and help one another figure this out.  Please share your ideas.

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God-Boasting

6 Oct

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  Galatians 6:14

Our TV is old.  When the entire visual world went HD, it went bye-bye.  Even without a TV, however, I still hear a whole lot of boasting as the presidential election draws near.  (Actually, I prefer boasting to bashing.)  There are two problems with this self-focused look-at-me-I’m-wonderful obsession:

  1. Self-aggrandizement, drawing attention to oneself and one’s accomplishments, is repulsive. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.  (Proverbs 27:2)
  2. The only one truly worthy of our boasting is God.

Reading all the Bible verses that include the word boast is a very interesting  and worthwhile study.  As I read through the verses another pair of observations emerged:

  1. I am humbled as I remember my boasting and how insignificant my accomplishments are.
  2. The only one truly worthy of my boasting is God.

I’m not campaigning for president, but I’m no less guilty than the candidates of boasting in myself and stealing God’s glory.

As I read through the verses, my focus shifted from myself to my God.  And my heart filled with the worthiness of God!  I began ticking off his accomplishments, making a list-prayer of who he is – boasting in him and giving him all the glory!

That’s My King is my favorite* list of God-boasting.  Take six minutes to listen and boast in him.

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Ready for Sunday

I’m making a list of who God is.  All day today, I’ve been thinking about who he is relating to my day.  As I eat – He is Provider.  As I look at the beautiful sunshine and changing leaves outside – He is artful Creator.  As I read news blogs – He is the All-wise Alpha and Omega.  As I hear more election jargon – He is the King of kings.

My King was born King.
The Bible says He’s a Seven Way King.
He’s the King of the Jews – that’s an Ethnic King.
He’s the King of Israel – that’s a National King.
He’s the King of righteousness. He’s the King of the ages.
He’s the King of Heaven.
He’s the King of glory.
He’s the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords.
Now that’s my King.

—————

*There are other versions of this video on-line that are more visually interesting, but I like this one the best because the crowd’s response is included in the audio.  Additionally, the full sermon is an hour well-spent!  “That’s My King” is near the end at the 55 minute mark.

Pastor S. M. Lockridge  (1913 – 2000) was  very appropriately named Shadrach Meshach after two of the three Hebrew captives who would worship only God even when faced with being thrown into a furnace of fire.  Lockridge was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, in San Diego, CA from 1953 to 1993.

Special thanks to Brandi Germana for the art above.  She has a wonderful artistic gift!  Check out her work.

Wibley-Wobley

5 Oct

So, I’ve begun to understand that my life is way too unpredictable to hold to a publication schedule.  Right now it’s Thursday night (actually, very early Friday morning) and I don’t have anything up.  While it’s my intention to publish a new devo by Wednesday evening, reality is dictating otherwise.  So, I’ll keep trying the Wednesday thing, but all I can promise is that I’ll post before Sunday morning.

If you want to check out the reason this week is crazy, check out my iPhonography show.  Opening reception is tonight – Friday, 5-10pm!

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