Posts Tagged ‘Psalm’

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DISCOVERING THE BIGGEST LOSER – Nov 6

November 6, 2014

“God settles the solitary in a home…” Psalm 68:6a

I recently returned from a business trip to the Los Angles, California area. Like many business trips,  I found myself with an afternoon departure time leaving me with a long morning of free time.  Since I was going to be lingering through a day, I decided to do my lounging outside the confines of TSA.  My client had mentioned the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area. Since I collect National Park lapel pins, I decided to take this opportunity to collect another. Therefore, I weaved my way along the Ventura Freeway amongst the morning commuters and a rising California sun to the Park visitor center. This visit was unique to other parks I have visited due to the solitary of the experience. I pulled my rental car under a shade canopy in the visitor center parking lot. Mine was the singular vehicle occupying a space designed for many. I got out of the car and looked for other visitors. There were none. I was the only visitor on this morning. King Gillette Ranch, main residence courtyard,... I perused the exhibits of the visitor center and learned that I was on the King Gillette Ranch. This had been a ranch commissioned by King Camp Gillette, of the Gillette razor fame and fortune, as a “paradise on earth, California style” in the late 1920’s. I meandered from the Visitor Center along a nature trail lined with native plants, intent on working my way to see the Gillette Ranch House. In typical California fashion, the trail did not lead to the Gillette ranch house so I had drive. I found my way to yet another parking lot only this one was filled with cars. While I now parked with other cars, the atmosphere was still unsettling due to the absences of people. I wandered toward the buildings in search of King Gillette’s California styled paradise. Oddly, all of the buildings appeared to be in some sort of administrative use. There were no tourist directions or information kiosks. “Very strange”, I thought as I slowly gazed across the campus from the steps of its largest building, wondering what I should do. Mr. Tumnus That was when I saw a young lady, hustling fawn-like, across the grass expanse disappearing down a trail on the opposite side. I considered returning to my car and heading back to the airport, since I had no idea what lay down the trail she traveled. However, she looked intent so I decided to follow my new “Mrs. Tumnus” and explore this rather drought stricken caricature of paradise. She led me under a grove of oaks and down a slightly descending trail. The tree canopy diffused the intensity of the sun but the appearance of activity ahead was still cloaked behind the glare particular to California. I could make out approximately a dozen people milling about as I strolled closer but that was not what focused my attention. It was the cameras. There were four cameras; two sets each focused on separate points of interest. I quickly stopped because the path  I was on was going to take me directly across their back-sight. biggest loser 2I looped around to another trail that took me further away from the activity but still let me investigate what was going on. I immediately knew what was occurring from the voice that rushed across the woodland. “C’mon, pick up that jump rope. Two minutes; start…now!”, I had to restrain myself from instinctively jumping in-place. Jillian Michaels, the tormentor of my basement workouts, was leading a workout of two hapless fellows. My wife and I had filled our winter mornings doing the Jillian’s Body Revolution.  Therefore, I knew that voice and right there in front of me stood the rather small body of that distinctively large voice. biggest loser 1As I looked closer, there was Bob Harper over in the corner, having an intimate discussion with one of his competitors that did not look as intimate with two cameras peering over their shoulders. I looked around me and saw a beige building with “Biggest Loser” sprawled across its entrance. I had stumbled upon the filming of an episode of the Biggest Loser. This may have been the Gillette Ranch but it is now more famous as the Biggest Loser Ranch. I pulled out my cell phone and started taking pictures, which drew the attention of an official looking individual. He approached me and inquired as to whether I was “with the show”. When he discovered that I lacked the appropriate credentials, he informed me that they could not allow me to be taking pictures. I apologized but when we continued to stare awkwardly at each other, I realized that my presence was not entirely welcome. So, I decided that it probably was time to head back to the airport rather than participating in a game of “catch me if you can” around the Biggest Loser ranch. Once I was back in the secured confines of the Burbank airport, I reflected upon how cool my little adventure had been. The unexpected surprise revealed from following “Mrs. Tumnus” provided an enjoyment, whose memory still engenders a smile within me. I would never have had the fun of discovery if I had not taken the initiative to do something different. You just never know what you might stumble upon when you explore beyond your security zones. A quick inspection of my life reveals a busy mind hard at work constructing a myriad of security zones. However, they are not really for security, but more for comfort. My tendency is toward the comfortable solitary.

My preference has been to read a book at the airport rather than explore the unfamiliar.

I cringe when confronted with social mingling in its various forms.

I would rather have on one real conversation than twenty superficial discussions of the weather.

I have turned from gatherings due to the absence of an insider to make my introduction.

I have curiously watched many a “Mrs. Tumnus” walk over a ridge into the unfamiliar and merely returned to the security zone of a known life.

King Gillette Ranch, Santa Monica Mountains Na...I have written about being an introvert before (Hello, My Name is JD and I’m an Introvert). Yet, I still find it an embarrassing admission that even now with so many gray hairs in my beard, my actions can still be dominated by such a childlike preoccupation with self. My little surprise in the Santa Monica mountains reminded me that while it is fine to be an introvert (I needed my own blog to preach that back to me) there might just be wonderful discoveries just beyond the safe boundaries that we have established for our self-esteem. Maybe, the curious draw of the “Mr. Tumnus” or “Mrs. Tumnus” that we encounter is really the Spirit leading us to an enjoyment that will bring a lasting smiling to our hearts.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for giving me a little surprise in the Santa Monica mountains.  Thank you for for encouraging me to go beyond my comfort zone while reassuring me that there is nothing wrong with me.  Lord, please make this disposition to be with people that you have given me be a blessing to others.  Lord, lead me to the wonderful surprises you have awaiting.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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NONE CARE FOR CHUCK – Oct 21

October 21, 2014

“Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.” Psalm 142:4

DSC_0032Our duck, Chuck, cannot fairly be considered our duck. Chuck lives with us or, more accurately, around us. He was delivered to our home by some friends needing to relocate Chuck. Chuck needed to exist at a new home or he was soon to cease existing.

My wife, who has a soft spot for ducks, agreed to take in Chuck.

Chuck is a Muscovy duck. Muscovians can fly and perch in trees. They are a very hardy duck. Even so, we originally enclosed Chuck in our chicken coop at night. Coyotes roam our vicinity and we have lost several chickens in the night’s darkness to a local pack. We did not want Chuck to become “foie gras” for a coyote, so each night we herded him into the refuge of the coop.

DSC_0040However, Chuck is a large, male, bird. This means he eats a lot, without producing any eggs. We noticed a steep increase in the consumption of chicken feed after Chuck took up residence in our coop. The chicken food consumed by Chuck was proving to be expensive amusement of watching him waddle across our lawn. Our friends told us that they had never put Chuck in their chicken coop and he had survived.  So, Chuck has been deprived of the refuge of the coop.

I was awakened at 3 AM last week to the yipping of several coyotes. I groggily remembered that I had forgotten to close the gate to the chicken coop. I pulled myself out of bed, slipped into rubber boots, and headed outside with flashlight in hand. The sounds of the coyotes immediately cease as I closed the door behind me. They were close.

I went into the coop and counted my chickens. They were all silently and safely roosting. I looked for Chuck as I closed the coop gate behind me. He was nowhere to be seen so I headed back to the house. I wished Chuck good luck as I went back to bed.

DSC_0022The following morning, there was Chuck waddling across the lawn. He had made it. “Good for you, Chuck”, I thought as I ate my oatmeal.

We don’t really provide care to Chuck. We give him inexpensive corn and water, but as far as security, Chuck is on his own.  I look for Chuck each morning, half expecting to see a strewn patch of feathers signifying the demise of Chuck the duck. Yet, I am pleased to see him make it through the night…”good for you Chuck”.

winter treeI know that many people feel that God has the same attitude toward them, as I have for Chuck.  I have heard too many times the adage, “God helps those who help themselves”. It is an unspoken belief that God sleeps through our dark nights, coming to our aid only when we have shown enough resilience to survive to the dawn.

Those who are in Christ are not Chucks. We are the precious children of our Heavenly Father, for whom He provides care.

He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own knows me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:12-15)

fall treeOur God cares not only enough to get out of bed when He hears the threatening sounds of wolves, He cared enough to send His own Son as the good shepherd to lay down His life for the sheep – you who know His voice.

You are cared for, Beloved of God, even when you feel like you are without refuge. “Good for you, JD” is not the affirmation I receive from God as I emerge from a trial or temptation. He is the good shepherd who watches over me through my long nights. He is our refuge who closes the gate of our soul to the wolves of darkness. He is the one who cares for us as we are silently sleeping in the security of our faith.

Therefore, we need to remember the love of our Father and learn to cry out to Him as the Psalmist when dark thoughts threaten our security:

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings. (Psalm 61:1-4)

PRAYER: Father, thank you for being my refuge.  Thank you for caring for me.  Thank you for your Son – who layed down his life for me.  Thank you for sustaining me through every trial and temptation.  Thank you for leading me to the rock that is higher than I.  Thank you for being my strong tower against the enemy even when I am unaware of the danger around me.  Lord, let me take refuge in the shelter of your wings.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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PATIENT BELIEF – May 7

May 7, 2014

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.” Psalm 37:7-9

Everyone has to wait. I don’t know of anyone who seeks to wait. We are forced to wait. We wait for the doctor; we wait in traffic; we wait in the grocery line; we wait for results; we wait for opportunities; everyone is confronted with the necessity to wait. Therefore, we get a lot of practice in how to wait well.

Alone on the train

The advent of Smartphone game apps makes waiting a little more bearable for me. I play solitaire on my Smartphone to pass the waiting moment. I will settle myself into a comfortable waiting chair and occupy my mind with a game of solitaire as I wait.

The particular solitaire app that I play has two game options. One option is a random dealing of digital cards. Cards appear on my screen from a random number generator with no reason or intention. It is  purely a matter of chance as to whether the cards will fall in such an order as to allow you to win the game. The other option is a dealing of a winning set of digital cards. In this case, someone has designed the order and placement of cards so that the hand can be won. It is a matter of stepping through the cards and discovering the design hidden in the stacks.

Patience

I noticed a pattern in my playing the last time I waited for my wife and daughter’s hunt for the elusive prey of fitting jeans. I noticed that I am rather impatient with cards randomly dealt. I am quick to abandon the game and move on to another because I know that chaos rarely allows a win.  A misplaced card will frustratingly block a stack that contains the link to successfully win the game and I will quickly give up.

Alternatively, I will patiently try to find the secrets of a game that I know to be designed. The knowledge that the game is not randomly driven, results in a surprising degree of patience. I will patiently flip through the digital cards long after I would have abandoned a random game with similar apparent barriers, because I know that chaos does not reign.

I realized that this pattern of patience in the simplicity of solitaire might hint at a wider truth. Waiting becomes difficult when we begin to lose hope that all will work out well. We are prone to act rashly when we sense the powerlessness that comes from waiting. The temptation to give up, grows proportionately to our belief that chaos reigns.

We are told to patiently wait for the Lord. There is a belief inherent in that command. Patient waiting only makes sense if there is a design behind the circumstances we find ourselves in. The knowledge that life’s circumstances are not randomly driven should result in enduring patience.

Because God is in control…

…we don’t have to fret about all that has gone wrong.
…we don’t have to fret about those who cheat to get ahead.
…we can refrain from anger.
…we can refrain from revenge.
…we know He will deal with the evil of the world.

Because God is in control, we can wait patiently for Him.

PRAYER: Father, you know that I don’t wait well.  Forgive the unbelief inherent in my impatience.  Lord, teach me your patience.  Teach me to trust you.  Teach me to wait upon you in faith.  Thank you for being in control.  Thank you for giving my life and this world a plan.  Thank you for the design that your hand has made in all things.  Open my eyes to the work of your hand in this world and my life.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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JOY IN SALVATION – Mar. 19

March 19, 2014

“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much.  But he who is forgiven little loves little.”  Luke 7:47

We have all seen reactions of the unexpected.

RMHK-Michael / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The joy of the one who expected to stay seated when the awarder calls their name;

The exhilaration when an unachievable goal is achieved;

The shocked speechlessness at the generosity of a gift;

The tearful gratitude when the defenseless is defended.

The daily grind of my days may have ephemeral hints of these diffused emotions, but not as frequent as I think that it should.

More often, my days begin and end in the structure of muted routine.

The morning of another day commences with the structure of a Bible reading plan – a little Old Testament, a little New, bashed with some Psalms and garnished with contemplation.

The day is lived managing the cares and troubles allotted.

Evening ushers the day to closure with some reading and prayer – mostly focused upon the day previous and the one to come.

FredBaby13 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The faithful practice of the Christian faith can lead us into an attitude of the entitlement and wonderless-ness.  We can become accustomed to our salvation.  We expect our name to be called.  We can be so familiar with the bridge that spans the unachievable gap that we bounce and play on it.  Our words run on with academic “isms” in abstruse explanations of the marvelous gift freely given.  We walk confidently in the obligated defense of covenant.

I wonder whose attitude my daily existence most often reflects?

Simon the Pharisee – who did not wash Christ’s feet, never gave Him a kiss, and neglected to anoint his head.

The sinful woman of the city – who washed Christ’s feet with tears of gratitude, soiled her hair to dry His feet, and willingly gave expensive oil to anoint His head.

The reality of this comparison is displeasing .

I have a need that is greater than a desire for fresh revelation.
I require nutrition of something greater than a fresh telling of old truths.
I have a want that comes from a well deeper than spiritual discipline.
I have an essential necessity for remembrance.

Followers of Christ need to remember.  We should frequently remind ourselves of who we were.  We must regularly preach the gospel to our own soul.  We must daily acknowledge the unsanctified reality of our hearts.  We must practice marveling at the perfection of Christ in contrast to our imperfection.  We are not good.  We are not worthy.  All that we have to offer are filthy rags.

We need to live in the joy of our salvation so that we will live in the gratitude of the sinful woman of the city.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.  Psalm 51:8-12

May we be a people who remember what has been done for us and take ecstatic joy in His salvation of our souls.

PRAYER: Father, restore to me the joy of your salvation.  Uphold me with a willing spirit.  Open my eyes to the wonder of what you have given me.  Forgive me for living ungratefully and entitled.  Renew a right spirit within me.  Help me to remember the beauty of the gospel.  Revive my dry attitude that has come with familiarity.  You have been so good to me.  You have blessed me with so much.  I was lost in my sin, worthy of your condemnation, and yet you saved me while I was still in rebellion against you.  Your love to me is abounding.  Your mercy is without boundaries.  Your grace is beyond comprehension.  Thank you – with all my heart and soul.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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“SEEKING A MISSING BOLT” – Jan 22

January 22, 2014

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”  They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.” Psalm 14:1

I nearly missed my first outdoor bike ride of the year.

English: Taken by Andrew DresselI had set out with the intention of doing some adjustments on my triathlon bike.  I wanted to get lower and I needed a little more stretch over the front wheel.  I figured that the stem on my road bike was the perfect solution.  The stem is the part that joins the handle bars to the headset / front forks of a bicycle.  I thought it would be a quick switch to exchange the stems between my two bicycles.

I proceeded to remove the stem from my road bike, setting the cap and bolt on a nearby stool.  I then proceeded on to installing it on my tri-bike.  I carefully tightened the stem in place, inserted the bolt into the top of the forks and tightened the entire assembly into place. Now, it was time to put my road bike back together with the tri-bike stem.  I completed the assembly and reached for the bolt that holds it all together but it was gone.  I looked under the stool; it was not there.  I looked under some exercise equipment; it was not there.   I looked throughout the house but the bolt was gone and I eventually gave up.  Amid the contemplation of a return trip to the bike store, I recalled a previous experience when I accidentally removed the compression fitting that I was now trying to screw a bolt into.  That didn’t make any sense.  Why would they put bolt threads inside the exact hole that takes the wrench to loosen the compression fitting?  Doubt began to enter my recollection.

I loosened the compression fitting and pulled it from its place inside the headset tube for closer inspection.  I looked at the fitting.  The top looked a lot like a bolt with a hole in the end.  There were threads on the outside.  I looked closer at the cap.  It has threads on the inside – it is a nut.

It was then that I remembered that my road bike doesn’t need a bolt.  I don’t know why I didn’t remember that.  I have taken the stem off a dozen times.  I simply got distracted by the knowledge of how one bike worked and convinced myself that everything has to work the same way, even when I had experienced the truth.  I was foolish to search for a bolt that did not exist.

No GodI have talked with many people who say that there is no God or that it is highly unlikely that there is a God.  They think that the guilt of religion is keeping them from happiness and enjoyment.  Often, they are truly sincere in their conviction that a deity does not exist.  Basing their convictions on observations of the physical world and being persuaded that the world is held together by the laws science.

However, we all, Christian and atheist, recognize that there are many questions in this world that science does not answer.  There are some people in a diligent search for those answers.  They spend their careers diligently searching for a bolt that they are confident exists. CARMA Radio Telescope, Big Pine, CAI argue that most who are looking for the bolt to hold their worldview together, the solution to their life of worry and sadness, have given up in either frustration or apathy.  They may pick up the search periodically but the results are typically the same – deeply unsatisfying – so they try not to think about it.

The problem with all these potential bolts is that they prove to be incomplete and unsatisfying.  Some seek assurance in science, but that is just the start of the list of potential bolts: money, status, appearance, relationships, education, popularity, pleasure; all have been tried in an attempt to hold a person’s worldview together.

I hold that people are searching for bolts that don’t exist.

There is no solution to what this world seeks to appease troubled minds and give meaning and purpose to short lives.  God is the only solution to holding our world together and He is not a bolt.

He has designed our hearts to be perfectly threaded to Him.

Most children start their lives without any difficulty in believing that there is a God.  It is typically through a lifetime of observing worldly solutions (bolts), that a person comes to the conclusion that there’s probably no God.  A close inspection of our hearts will reveal that God is not the source of our anxiety and disenchantment.  We are broken.  We cannot be who we aspire to be.  We will never be deeply satisfied even if we were to obtain every goal  we set.  A close inspection of our hearts will reveal that we were designed for something other than this world.

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. ~ C.S. Lewis

Our lives were designed to be held together by the perfect connection between the God of the Bible and the new heart that He gives us when we receive the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  It is only through that connection that we will ever stop worrying and enjoy life.

It is foolishness to seek a bolt that does not exist when the solution we desire is already at hand.
It is even more foolish to reject the true answer to our created desire.

All we have to do is thread them together.

PRAYER: Lord, I know that this world is held together by your mighty hand.  I know that my life is held together by your loving grace and mercy.   Father, I pray for all those who are searching for something that does not exist.  You know those whom I am specifically lifting up to You.  Show them that their particular bolts are useless to satisfy their need.  Open their eyes to your Son.  Draw them to the door of salvation and create a new life in them..  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“OVERWHELMING INFLUENCES” – Dec 15

December 16, 2013

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”  Psalm 1:1-2

Viktor Hertz / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

I currently have 300 podcasts on my computer that I have not listened to.

I have 845 unread articles on my RSS reader.

WordPress Reader provides a constant stream of posts from the blogs I follow.

I have bookshelves in my office full of books that I intend to read.

My Bible software program has over 1,000 books that I can search by key word.

My iPod has more music on it than I can remember.

My Facebook page has the 20+ symbol beside all of my categories.

I am overwhelmed with information.  We all live in a world that is awash with news, opinions, and content.  In general, I love it.  I have lived without Google.  I have lived when there wasn’t such a thing as the internet.  I am thankful that Al Gore invented it. The speed and ease by which I can obtain an answer to a question still amazes me.

I love the fact that I can access information with a few clicks of my mouse.  I love that I can carry my entire music collection in one small device rather than cases of cassettes.  I love the fact that I can read the work of amazingly talented writers and artists that I would never have know about.  I love being able to get my news from a diversity of viewpoints.

However, the management of information has never been harder.  It is easy to fall down the rabbit hole of meaningless links.  One funny YouTube video can consume an hour exploring all the related videos on the side bar.  There is the temptation to taste all the offerings but never enough time for a full meal.  We are forced to glide over the surface of most of the available information due to the overwhelming volume.  We surf past the majority of the content since there is not enough time in the day to truly consume it.  However, it is hard to learn how to pick and choose.

It is so easy to become lost in the process of being informed.
It is so easy to walk in the counsel of worldly digital pundits.
It is so easy to silently revel in the debauchery of the famous.
It is so easy to nod along with the skeptic.

I was curious what content was most sought this last year.  So, I did a little Google-ing and this what I found:

Top Searches on Yahoo in 2013:

miley cyrus
kim kardashian
kate upton
minecraft
selena gomez
obamacare (affordable care act)
amanda bynes
jodi arias
iphone 5
justin bieber

Breakout (Miley Cyrus album)

Breakout (Miley Cyrus album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Top Questions on Yahoo in 2013:
Top Who Question: “who wins the bachelor”
Top What Question: “what is twerking”
Top When Question: “when is thanksgiving”
Top Why Question: “why only 6 jurors in zimmerman trial”
Top How Question: “how to take a screenshot”

The Bachelor (US TV series)

The Bachelor (US TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Top Searches on Google in 2013:
Actor:  Miley Cyrus
Musical Artist:  Miley Cyrus
People:  Miley Cyrus
Top TV Shows:  #1The Walking Dead, #2 Breaking Bad
Scientists:  #1 Albert Einstein, #20 Richard Dawkins
Authors:  #1 Tom Clancy, #2 William Shakespeare
Books:  #1 Bible, #2 Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey produits dérivés

Fifty Shades of Grey produits dérivés (Photo credit: ActuaLitté)

I am left to wonder what counsel the majority are walking in;
what way are most people standing in;
where are the most popular seats being occupied?

Are not Miley Cyrus, the Kardashians, and Fifty Shades of Grey merely  glamorizing  the ways of sinners? Aren’t seats offered by Richard Dawkins and his like all in the amphitheater of the scoffers?  The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Grand Theft Auto revel in wickedness.  I am thankful that the Bible topped the list of books but I wonder how many who typed that search topic spend their days and nights meditating upon it.

I am reminded of my need to guard my heart.  The internet opens us to many forms of counsel, divergent norms, and normalization of deviating mores.  We all need to be careful to prevent the wave of internet content and information from replacing our time in meditation upon the word of the Lord.  I can be influenced more than I care to admit.  We are all buffeted by the changing winds of our culture and society.  We must be careful and intentional about the content that we immerse ourselves in.

I hope that my top counselor of the 2013 was the Spirit of God.

I hope that the primary way that I stood along this year was that of the righteous.

I hope that the seat I occupied most frequently was that of the one wise in the Lord.

Lel4nd / Foter.com / CC BY

I know that I did not meditate on the precise gift of God’s word like I could have.  Too often, I skimmed and perused.  We all must develop a strategy so that we will not be overwhelmed into indifference by the influences flowing onto our electronic devices throughout the day and night.  For me, this blog is one of my primary methods to help me increase my depth and duration of meditating on scripture.  I know that I am like John Piper in this regard:

I count myself as one of the number of those who learn as they write and write as they learn.
John Piper, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

Writing helps burrow my mind into the word.  Reading through the Bible in a year (or two) and writing blog posts of what jumps out at me has been the best way for me to discipline myself.  It has created a strategy for me to prioritize God’s Word above all the other influential content that is vying for my attention and my soul.

What helps you to keep the scripture as your delight throughout the year?

PRAYER: O Lord, you know that I delight in a lot of things.  You know that I am easily distracted from the best.  Father, thank you for the internet.  Thank you for this outlet of blogging.  Thank you for making a means for me to meditate more on your word.  Father, give me wisdom to understand where my influences are coming from.  Help me to seek You first.  Grant me a desire for You and your Word.  Make my delights conform to You.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

Resources:
Google Trends > Top Charts
Yahoo’s Year in Review

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“SEPARATION OF THE STARS” – Nov 23

November 23, 2013

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.  The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.  Psalm 145:18-20

English: Campfire flames

I have a fire pit a good distance from my house, tucked in among some willows.  My kids and I enjoy evenings sitting and poking at the fire while we stare up at the night sky.  We behold a sky filled with stars hung in their designated place above our heads.  We marvel at the immensity of this nightly presentation of creation.  Occasionally, there will be an unnatural light that crosses our sky.  A blinking light of an airplane will go streaking through the darkness toward some unknown destination.

AirplaneI wonder about those on-board those planes.  Seats full of passengers all with destinations.  They are either traveling away from families or returning.  They all have stories with intrigue, conflicts, loves, hopes and dreams.  They all have beliefs, ethnicities, and philosophies by which they govern their lives in a complicated world.  They are engaged in conversations, reading books, listening to music, day-dreaming, sleeping or an assortment of other activities intended to occupy their time as the pass through my night sky.

They race through my sky merely as a blinking light to indicate their passage.  They are oblivious to me as I sit far below by my little fire.  They cannot know that I have spied them.  They cannot know that I wonder about them.  They cannot know the lives that are going on below them.  They cannot know me.

Night Flight

We slip pass each other without knowledge and only scant awareness.  Neither those in the airplane nor me at my fire can close the distance between us.  Neither of us have the power to make ourselves known.  Neither of us can affect each other’s desire.  Neither of us can preserve the other’s lives.  We are strangers destined to remain.

My eye is drawn beyond the tiny blinking light to the expanse of the universe.  I know that He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night is out there.  I know that the Lord is his name.  (Amos 5:8)  I spin around on a tiny planet, as a microscopic blip of a light spot in an immense universe, before the eye of the God of hosts.  I go past him just as that airplane passes above me.

The Night Sky

Fortunately, all the parties of this spiritual separation are not as powerless as those in the temporal.  I am as incapable of knowing Him, whose face I can glimpse in the stars, as those in that airplane are capable of knowing the man sitting beside this little campfire.  He who forms the mountains and creates the wind has the power to declare to me His thoughts. (Amos 4:13)

He has the power to close the gap that separates the created from the Creator.  He has the power to know my desires and to fulfill them.  He has the power to hear my anguish and to heal me.  He has the power to preserve me – a microscopic blip of a life, spinning on a minuscule planet, in an insignificant galaxy.

I know Him because He has made Himself known to me.
I call upon Him from His gift of faith to know the Truth.
I fear Him through eyes He has opened to His greatness.

I cry out to Him because He draws near to me.
I love Him from a heart that knows Him and all He does.
I praise Him through a transformed life in glory to him.

Prepare to meet your God!
Seek Him and He will draw near to you.
Seek Him and He will open your eyes.
Seek Him and live!

The Lord, the God of hosts is his name!

PRAYER: O Lord, your name is great and greatly to be praised.  Thank you for making yourself known.  Thank you for closing a gap that I could never span.  Thank you for speaking Truth into my life and calling me to your Son.  Hear my voice of praise – you fill all of the earth; you fill all the heavens.  Nothing can contain You.  Nothing is beyond your reach.  You are the most high – you are the Lord, the God of hosts.  I behold your name and cherish you my Lord.   You are High and Lifted Up!  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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