Thursday, June 28, 2018

dwell in the land

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.  (Psalm 37:3-4)


The land that we are in, is the land that we are in; there is not much we can do to change it.  What we can change is how we choose to dwell in that land.  We can fret and worry and brood and be frustrated, or we can trust and enjoy and delight and commit.  We can try, in futility, to change (or fight) our circumstances, or we can embrace them and change our mindset instead.

The words of this ancient prayer are our invitation to do just that.  Eugene Peterson says that, "The Psalms train us in the conversation with God that is prayer."  They help us to become all that God desires us to be.  So if we take these words and bury them deep in our hearts and souls, and utter them often from our lips, they will begin to take shape and produce fruit within us.  They will actually begin to do what they say.

In them we will begin to hear the whisper of the One who made us saying: "Stop fretting and simply enjoy the place where I have put you.  You cannot escape it, you might as well embrace it.  Delight in me, as I delight in you.  Trust me with all that is on your plate and all that is in your heart.  I will carry it so that you don't have to.  Calm and quiet your soul, even in the midst of the chaos, and find your rest in me."


Believe in the Eternal and do what is good--live in the land He provides; roam, and rest in God's faithfulness. Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires. (Psalm 37:3-4, The Voice)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

shame and self-contempt

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.  Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.  No one whose hope is in you, O Lord, will ever be put to shame. (Psalm 25:1-3, NIV)


Make no mistake about it, the battle against shame and self-contempt is never-ending.  Their continual assault on our hearts and souls will never stop, at least this side of heaven.  Because shame and self-contempt are two of the main weapons the enemy uses to triumph over those of us who struggle through life on a regular basis.  The reason they are so effective is that, to a large degree, they are unrecognized.  Somehow the enemy has convinced us that the voices we hear, telling us how miserable and worthless we are, come from ourselves rather than from him.  What a brilliant strategy—to turn us against ourselves.  Which then leads to further shame and self-contempt.  It is a never-ending downward spiral.

That’s why I find so much comfort in the first few verses of Psalm 25.  The words of this ancient prayer give me hope that this battle can—and will—be won.  They also give me help in the fighting of this battle.  The words of Psalm 25 give me weapons to use when I feel overwhelmed, beaten up, and defeated.  They empower me when it feels like I am at the mercy of forces far greater and more powerful than I.

All I have to do is use them—by praying them.  All I have to do is recognize the strategy of the enemy, lift my soul to the Lord, and trust in him rather than trusting in myself, or the world around me to tell me who I am and what I am worth.  To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.  In you I trust, O my God.  When I lift my soul to the Lord, and trust only in my God, then shame and self-contempt begin to lose their grip on me.  Then I am free to be the person that God created me to be.  Thanks be to God!

Help us, O Lord, to lift our souls to you.  Help us, this day, to walk in the truth of your love rather than the lies of the enemy.  Amen.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

how to listen

butt in seat
turn off phone
quiet the noise
come to stillness
pay attention
open ears
wait
wait
wait

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

the death of i

     Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  The man who loves his life in this world will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.
     "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'?  No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!" (John 12:23-28)


to live in the i
is to never become
what we were
intended to be

the i must die
else there will
always be only
a single kernel

however if the i
falls to the ground
and dies
more is possible

the single kernel
becomes many seeds
death becomes
the avenue to new life

life that is about
more than just i

so let us learn
to die to i
that much more
might be born

for like jesus
this is why
we have come
to this very hour

now is the time
father glorify your name

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

context

here and now
is but a tiny speck
of beauty and struggle
in the ocean of eternity

thus the present moment
although pregnant with God
is but a small part
of an enormous whole
a tiny thread
in a grand tapestry
of life and love

no moment
or circumstance
or experience
can be understood
while separated
from the whole

every time
and every season
is only rightly seen
when taken in context

when viewed through
the lenses of
all God has done
and all that he
promises to do

in life and faith
context is everything




Friday, June 1, 2018

approval

approval
is an illusive creature
a mythical beast
that can never be fully captured
regardless of how continuous the pursuit

every time we think we have him
he somehow wiggles free from our grasp
and disappears from our sight once again
it is an exhausting pursuit
that never stops

for approval is a fleeting thing
sweet to the taste
but unsatisfying to the soul
it is turkish delight
all sugar and no substance

until given by the one
who made us and loves us
a free gift that cannot be
achieved or wrestled away
but only bestowed and received
when we are finally willing enough
or exhausted enough
to stop the chase and accept the gift
then and only then
will we find rest and peace