From the Quad Cities Times
From the Quad Cities Times
All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. Ps. 38:9
The number of hairs of my head are known to God. My soul He knows. My sin He knows. My pain He knows. My repentance He knows. My longings for renewal He knows. God reads me like an open book. He is not shocked or surprised. He isn’t amazed at my sin. I cannot hide anything from Him.
David’s cries in Psalm 38 are vulnerable. He is weak. He is fragile. I weeps for God’s protection and love. Who on earth wants anything different, really? God does not hide. Though we feel far away–He is close. He is the sun rising in the morning, the breath in our lungs, the song on our lips, the hope of a better tomorrow. God is always there.
I, on the other hand, stray. I turn my back. I walk away slowly at times, and sprinting at others. I feel the pull to connect coming from him and I hesitate. I pause. He sees me though. He knows me.
God, all of who I am lays open before you. I cannot hide from you. Forgive me when I try.
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. Ps. 37:23-24
Though he may stumble? Of course there will be stumbling. Life cannot be lived without stumbling. The key to this verse is that the “fall” is covered. God has taken the necessary steps to make sure that we cannot be impacted by the fall. We need not worry about it. We need not be afraid to take a step.
His hand is a hand of support. It is a strong hand that can hold us in even the worst of terrains. My path is treacherous, but God holds me with His hand and so my steps are not filled with peril. There has to be cycle of delight in this as well. When I put my trust in him, He shows that He is trustworthy and deserving of my faith and hope in ALL areas of life.
“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”Psalm 36:7 NIV
I used to refer to this verse to show people that the Bible uses metaphor at times to describe God. “God doesn’t have wings” I would say, proving that there is room for creative liberty in God’s Word. But, today this passage has a depth of meaning for me that I treasure.
God’s love can be used as a protective, secure state of presentness. The immenseness of God allows for a shadow to be cast that covers me. It is something I can take refuge in. I can be protected like a young one under the wing of my protective Parent.
I recently was able to attend a symposium hosted by Cornerstone Church in Ames with Dr. Russell Moore. Dr. Moore is the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, or ERLC, the moral and public policy agency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Cornerstone Lead Pastor Jeff Dodge hosted the conversation with questions for Dr. Moore before opening the floor for questions from the audience.
I was drawn in by his compassion for people that he doesn’t agree with, and his highly intelligent arguments to modern ethical issues. For anyone interested in engaging culture with the Gospel, I highly recommend watching. He has also authored a few books which can be found here.
Jonah 2:2 NIV. He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
There is no depth you can be at that God cannot hear you…or reach you.
Yesterday was President’s Day. It doesn’t mean much to people anymore. It’s a holiday invented to honor our supreme national leader (and give government agencies the day off). I was reminded, however, of something that President Abraham Lincoln said:
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
These words, by poet John Lydgate, were used by President Lincoln to talk about the demands of leadership and meeting people’s expectations. Recently, I have had a lot of expectations to consider. Due to stressful circumstances in my life, I have been forced to look at who I am and how I do things. This isn’t something that is new. In fact, this is how people grow in maturity. We adapt. We grow. Yet, in this phase of my life I am realizing that the path isn’t always clear. The “grey areas” of life seem to grow and I have been stuck wondering, “where do I go next?”
This is when people give me their thoughts and ideas, and I am brought to wonder how I-and if I-should meet the expectations of those looking into my leadership. The more people I ask, the more opinions and directions I am given and the more convoluted the way seems to be. Who do I listen to? Who do I ignore?
Here are a few questions that run through my mind as I seek to meet the expectations of some, and try to lead them all:
President Lincoln was wise to point out the obvious. We CANNOT please everyone…not for very long that is. So, we must know why we make decisions. Why we listen to some, and ignore others. Why we stand for something that others might not. That is leadership.
Tough days are something we all have from time to time. The key is: How do you handle them? Here are a couple of quick tips in how to have expected tough days that won’t keep you down.
So, next time you’re preparing for a bad day, think of a couple of these and I know it will help.
It is a tradition every New Year that Karla and I look back at the previous year with review and introspection. Here are the “highs” and “lows” of 2016.