Month: February 2013

Morning Prayer

Psalm 12 calls me to prayer this morning.

Prayer that I might be faithful to those who need me.
Prayer that I may speak truthfully and from a pure heart.
Prayer that if my words seek to make much of self or boast of anything other than Jesus, that He would help me not speak those words.
Prayer that I would join God’s work of caring for and protecting the poor and needy.
Prayer that I would not be one who spends his time honoring depravity.

God, speak to me as I listen.


Paying Attention to the Right Thing

In Psalm 11:1, David starts by saying, “In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: ‘Flee<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> like a bird to your mountain?'”

David rests completely in the knowledge that if God is for him, then no one can stand against him and win. He knows that his enemies aren’t who he should be paying attention to. I think we often approach our problems the opposite way. We say, “Look at my huge problem. How then can a I say, ‘In the Lord I take refuge?'”

We live in a world of moments. Whatever is happening now is the most “whatever” of it’s type. It is the most awesome, saddest, hardest, happiest, coolest, most aggravating, or best thing ever. Many times this approach to life and especially, to God, keeps us from living deeply in the assurance that He is our protector and He is all we need.

Today, follow the lead of David and tell your enemies, whatever they are, “I rest in God as my refuge, you have nothing to say to me.”

I’ve shared this before, but I’ll share it again. It is one of my favorite short prayers to pray throughout the day. Pray it as many times as it comes to mind. Pray it particularly when the enemy tries to whisper lies telling you to flee from God and the places God has led you to.

“Abba, I rest in You.” 

When Fixing Yourself Isn’t Working

Psalm 10

Be still.
Be calm.

God is the helper of the helpless. So stop trying to think you are somehow going to rescue yourself from your enemies. When you finally realize you cannot, maybe you will stop and let Him be the rescuer.

He will rescue you from your enemy. Whether it’s:
Lack of Self-Control
Bad Parenting
Treating your spouse poorly
Your boss
Your attitude toward your boss

The Bible never says “God helps those who help themselves.” Not once. But in Psalm 10 alone it says that God helps and defends the fatherless twice. He is there to fight for the ones who cannot fight for themselves. God is not interested in your strength. He is interested in you allowing him to be strong when your weak.

So, rather than fight for yourself, let God be in charge of defending and rescuing you and look for the places he is asking you to step into someone else’s life as a rescuer sent by him!

(God) said to me, “My grace<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> is sufficient for you, for my power<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> is made perfect in weakness.<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”>”<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> in persecutions,<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.                                                                     -2 Corinthians 12:9-10

God is…

One of my favorite things to do as I read the Bible is make lists of what I am reading. A few years ago I read through the Gospels and wrote down everything I could about what Jesus taught or did. That practice is what led me to believe the way of Jesus is the way of non-violence. It can open us up to noticing things about God or Scripture that we would normally miss.

So today, let’s do that with Psalm 9. All the things we can learn about who it says God is. Go read it, make your list, and come compare and comment if you have some different ones!

God has wonderful deeds
He is the Most High
He upholds rights and causes
He is a righteous judge
He rebukes nations
He destroys the wicked
Blots out the name of the wicked forever
He uproots cities
He reigns forever
He established his throne for judgment
He rules in righteousness
He is a fair judge
He is a refuge and stronghold
He doesn’t break his promises to those who seek him
His throne is in Zion
He hears the hurt
Will lift us up
The one who saves
So full of justice that he is known by his acts of justice
Does not forget those is need
Can remind people who is God and who is merely human

It is amazing to me to think of God as both powerful enough to uproot cities but also full of enough compassion and tenderness to hear my hurt and show me mercy.

Thank you God that you are who you are, and not who I continually try to make you into. Thank you that you are powerful and righteous. Thank you that you also hear my cries for help. Amen.

Love in the Days of "I’ll Pray for You"

(A note- I’m writing this a few days after seeing the sign, because the first few drafts in my head were incapable of showing any love towards these people. And writing those words would kinda kill the entire point… Lesson: When you get all ticked off, breath until you can be loving.)

I recently drove by a sign at a local business that said:
Need Help? We’ll pray for you

It is outside a local business that claims to follow Jesus pretty loudly on all their signage. And that is fine, I guess. The proclaiming of beliefs in 500 font, I mean. This particular portion of their “advertising” is not fine. It says things to the community about who God is that aren’t true, and about how these people follow Jesus. This sign makes me incredibly sad because these people are missing out on a full half of what it means to follow Jesus.

I want to ask them, “Do you..
Remember when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is? He responded with “Love God and love others.” 
Remember that other time when Jesus said if you feed the hungry and clothe the naked, you are actually feeding and clothing God? 
And remember all those times when Jesus had compassion on people who were sick or blind or outcast or injured or that big, hungry crowd he was teaching?” 

Jesus said love others. We can pray for them, but we are far better off praying for them as we help them find a job or a house or to feed their family. 

One of my favorite quotes about God’s love comes from a little book called the “Greatest Thing in the World” by Henry Drummond, a 19th century evangelist. It reads:

“Where love is, God is. He that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God. God is Love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love.”

Upside Down King

Psalm 8, here we go!
I have read this Psalm for almost a week now, and all that comes to my mind is an old “praise chorus” that I grew up singing in church. Aggravating the way my brain gets stuck on a song!

There is a certain way things work in our world. The richest and strongest win. Most of world history works this way: a conqueror comes with a big army and gains control of an area. He becomes king/emperor/potentate/grand poobah. This lasts until someone else has a stronger army and becomes the next ruler. Or uses all their money to buy their way to the top. Either way, in our world, having the might really does make you right.

Except that God and His kingdom work very differently. God establishes strength through the “praise of infants and children.” He doesn’t establish his strength through the power of a large army (He can part a sea, he is stronger than any army!). He doesn’t establish his power through creating good voting strategies and getting the right man in office (He is already King of Kings- and he cannot lose that title in any election). He doesn’t establish his power by lying and cheating his way, or anyone else’s way, to the top (What would He gain? He is already the bringer of life and the conqueror of death, and in him is all truth).

God works through the least. Through the humble and meek. Through the poor and needy. He works through those who bring praise to him and make his name majestic in all the earth.

His kingdom works differently. It is upside down. So quit trying to push to the top. Remember that God establishes his kingdom not through our might, power and glory, but through his. Serve him.

Where do you need to quit striving and start seeking the kingdom of God?


It is 6 am. I am up this early for the sole reason of finding quiet space to write. Sitting next to me are a  5 month old and a 3 year old. This has somehow become a regular occurrence. As I sit and write, I am interrupted by things like: 

“Dad, what can I do?” (Answer: go back to sleep)
“Waaahhhhhh!!!!!” (Answer: Shhhhhhhhh)
I like writing about the Psalms. I do, however, find in very difficult while two of my little girls are playing and talking right next to me. I mean, this is a whole lot of cuteness, right?
(Dad! That flash is too bright!!!)
Often, I think God sends us distractions to remind us of things. To remind us that what we think is important might not be most important. Moses got a burning bush. Paul got blinded. I get two girls who get up at 6 am.  And I remind myself that although I like to write, God has called me, even at 6 am to love these girls and to show Him to them. 
This morning, I thank God for distractions!
Where in your life is God trying to make sure you remember what is important?

Worthy of Worship

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. – Psalm 7:17 

Often when we worship God, we worship him because of us. We sing songs about the good things he has done in our lives. And while these things are a worthy reason to worship, they are not the only reason. In Psalm 7, David worships God because of who God is. It is because God is righteous, and that righteousness is worthy of praise.

David has not yet been delivered. He is not free from his enemies. Yet, he still chooses to worship.

David chooses worship because whether life feels perfect or he is down in the dumps, God is still the object of his worship.

God is still righteous.
God is still holy.
God is still love.
God is still the one who sees us.
God is still the place where our hope can find rest and fulfillment.

If you are struggling to worship God today, choose to worship him for who He is rather than who you are!

A Weary Heart

What is the saddest you ever remember being?

In Psalm 6 David is overcome with sadness. His bones are in agony, his soul in deep anguish. He is worn out from groaning and has cried enough that his bed has turned into a pool for swimming.

He is full of sorrow.

We carry sorrow, as well. It can be for the death of loved ones. It can be for our sin. It can be for broken relationships.

Whatever the reason for the sorrow, we carry it. And it sits on us like a ton of bricks.

So we need to respond like David. Place your sorrow and brokenness before God. He knows your not perfect. And He can carry a lot of bricks.