Worship the Splendid One

Sunday_1 Chron 16_29_Splendid Holiness

He is splendidly holy and worthy of all our worship!
 
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Wait and Worry?

Matthew 6_27_33 and 34_Wait and Worry

When we have done our best, we should wait the result in peace. (John Lubbock)

For many of us, worry comes as naturally as breathing!  We seem to slip worry on with our morning outfit and wear it through the day – every day.  We worry about our work.  We worry about our kids.  We worry about what we’ll have for dinner.  We worry about having enough for the future.

We worry about the world we’re leaving to our grandchildren.  Some of us may even worry that we’ve forgotten to worry about something!  After all, how can God handle everything if we’re not “helping Him” by being anxious about it!

I appreciate Lubbock’s words because they bring a sense of balance to our world.  There is “our part” and “God’s part.”  We are to work hard to provide for our families.  We’re to plan for today’s meals and for tomorrow’s retirement.  In short, we should do our best as Lubbock states.  But then, we should wait the result in peace.  Logically, if we’ve done all we can in a situation isn’t that by definition all we can do?  What’s left is the waiting for the results to come in.

And during that waiting, we can fret and worry, or we can trust in peace.  If you’re primarily a “wait and worry” person, please let these words from Christ be a much needed reminder for you today:

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?   But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:27,33-34)

Wait in worry?  Or wait in peace?  The choice is ours. –Dave

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Confident Instruction

Proverb 22_19_Instructions for Confidence

Proverb 22 contains a list of pithy instructions which my Bible calls “Thirty Sayings of the Wise.”  The first thing the wise teacher does is plea with the reader to pay close attention and remember what is about to be taught.  Next, the teacher states his purpose; and here it is:

I have instructed you today—even you—so that your confidence may be in the Lord. (Proverb 22:19, HCSB)

It seems so simple and straightforward, but there’s a reason God inspired the writer to include this reminder for us.  Genuine, godly instruction is to always point us back to God.  It is only in Christ that we have confidence for today and for eternity.

Yet so much of today’s instruction, including teaching within some churches, points the learner in different directions.  Some popular teachers would have their listeners place their confidence in them as the instructor.  But the error I see more frequently is the type of instruction that leads people to place their confidence in themselves.  If they make these seven changes, or follow this simple three-step program, they can overcome X, Y, or Z.

Please don’t get me wrong, God can help us overcome things which need to be changed.  However, if the means to that change is primarily through US pulling up our own bootstraps, can I gently ask, aren’t WE the reason we’re in that mess to begin with?  Why would we look to ourselves to fix messes of our own creation?

No, I believe the far better instruction is the one that leads us to a greater dependence upon the Lord.  In Him are found perfect wisdom and strength – wisdom to avoid perils in the future; strength to overcome troubles today.  You were created by Him to live in dependence upon Him – don’t listen to anyone who tells you to go it alone.

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Unsubscribe from Discontent

Esther 5_10_13_Unsubscribe from Discontentment

“Unsubscribe.”  That’s what I needed to do.  Every day my inbox was bombarded with emails that consisted of shopping lists fine-tuned to my  liking.  Savvy marketers were mining my search history and then presenting me with very tempting online deals.

As of this writing, I now own a new pair of sneakers, a gray suit, and a weed-eater – none of which I really needed.  But the ads got to me.  They generated within me a discontent with all I had by getting me to focus on what I didn’t.

My discontent reminded me of a pretty bad dude in the Bible – Haman.  For those who need a reminder, Haman was the right-hand man to Babylon’s King Xerxes.  Nobody in the land was higher than Haman other than the king himself.  Indeed, Haman had MUCH for which to be thankful.  Let’s listen in to a private moment within his home:

Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow.”  (Esther 5:10-12)

Haman had power.  He had possessions, wealth, a large family, and honor within the kingdom.  He rubbed shoulders with royalty on a daily basis.  He should have been in hog heaven.  Yet these were his next words:

But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.” (v. 13)

Haman obtained NO satisfaction from all he had because his attention was on the one thing he lacked – the respect of Queen Esther’s uncle, Mordecai.  In the end Haman’s discontent cost him his life.  That likely won’t happen to us, but our discontent will cost us gratitude for all we have – gratitude that’s required to experience satisfaction.

Feeling discontent with what you have?  Unsubscribe from anything that causes you to constantly want more!

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That Sinking Feeling

Matthew 14_30_That Sinking Feeling

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”  (Henry Ford)

When I read Ford’s words, my mind rushed to the story of Peter walking on the water (Matthew 14).  It’s an account many of us learned as children.  In fact, it was a lesson we taught to the kids in VBS just this past summer.  We learned it as children, but I fear we’ve forgotten it as adults.

So for today, let’s remember a miraculous moment that taught a simple truth.  Jesus had just fed the 5,000 and afterwards sent the disciples on ahead while He dismissed the crowd.  As the disciples fought the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus caught up simply by walking on the water.

Peter, trying to determine if it was really Christ they saw, asked Jesus to allow him to walk on the water also.  And all went well, until…

… he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  (Matthew 14:30)

Peter was doing the improbable.  No, he was doing the impossible – as long as He kept his eyes focused on the Lord.  But the moment he took his eyes off Christ, he was overwhelmed by the storm.

I know the story; you know the story – yet almost every day we face a storm and are forced to choose what we’ll focus upon.  Will it be the storm or the Savior?  Will we see only the wind and waves?  Or will we keep our eyes on the One who can see us through them?  One focus results in sinking fear – the other in peace – even if the storm continues to rage.

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Orange Teeth

Nehemiah 9_6_7_Orange Teeth

My wife loves peach tea.  Ok, that’s an understatement – she LOVES peach tea!  And under the lids of her favorite brand are fun bits of trivia.  (I actually prefer the lids to the contents beneath)!

On one such lid was this bit of life-changing minutia – “Beavers have orange teeth.”  Frankly, I didn’t know that – nor did I care.  But as I tossed the lid, I asked myself, “Why?”  Why would God give beavers orange teeth?  Here’s my wise conclusion – because that’s what He chose to do! lol

Whether I understand God’s choice or agree with it, as Sovereign Lord of the universe, He gets to make it!  The same is true with the bigger issues in life.  Why did God choose Abraham and the Israelites as His “Chosen People?”  Because He wanted to.  Why did God choose to save mankind from their sins by having His Son come to earth to die?  Because that’s the way God chose to accomplish it.  Why has God allowed suffering in your life?  Because He’s chosen to…

Believe me, I know that conclusion is less than satisfying at times.  We all long for concrete answers that make some sense to us.  May I let you in on something?  Beaver’s teeth are orange for another reason – I just didn’t know it.  The primary element in their tooth enamel is iron, which makes their teeth stronger – a pretty important thing for chewing through trees, right?!

God has His reasons for everything – whether we see them or not.  He has a plan behind all that He’s ever done and is doing.  Sometimes He allows us to understand those reasons.  Sometimes, He simply asks us to trust Him.

You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.  You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. (Nehemiah 9:6-7)

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Dead Reckoning

Acts 26_9_Dead Reckoning

So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (Acts 26:9, NASB)

Such was the testimony of Paul before King Agrippa.  The great apostle was recounting his prior, misguided actions against Christ and His church.  In his zeal, Paul harassed and imprisoned Christians; he even gave his consent to the stoning of Stephen.

It’s important for us to pay attention to the root of his wrong actions – his own thoughts.  “I thought to myself…” has been the cause of most of my mistakes.  When I’ve gotten off course it has primarily been because I have said, “I think I outta…” instead of asking, “What does God say?”

I was raised in Kansas, so I know nothing about navigating the sea.  However, I’ve read that in days gone by, sailors had to occasionally determine their location on the open water by estimating the distance and direction they had traveled.  This technique (ironically enough) is called “dead reckoning.”  Ordinarily, they’d navigate by following the stars, but during times of bad weather, they’d have to simply guess.

About this technique, one sailor stated, “Undue trust in the dead reckoning has produced more disastrous shipwrecks of seaworthy ships than all other causes put together.”  Friends, we either navigate our life safely by Divine Reckoning – drawing our perspective and direction from God’s Word – or we wreck our life through wrong reckoning of our own.

How are you navigating life?  Primarily by your own thoughts, or by God’s Word?

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