Ups and Downs

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

What is your greatest desire?  Think about it for a minute.  Do you have something? Often our schedules or circumstances can apply enough pressure to never think about this question.  At first we may think of various earthly treasures  or warm places we want to be based on our current weather here in Illinois.  Still, there is no place, thing, or human that can fill this desire.  David writes in Psalm 27 that the one thing he seeks, is to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  How awesome is it to remember. That on this side of Heaven, our earthly days are promised too!!! So when we ask again what is our greatest desire, it would be A desire to always be in His presence.  Look back at Psalm 23:6.

Now as a husband, father, brother, son, principal, coach, and friend  I understand the multitude of things we are part of or are called to do from sun up to sun down.   We are stretched pretty thin and always trying to do  something helpful for others. Being God’s hands and feet.   Take time in all our daily lives to allow the Lord to dwell in your heart today!   

In Psalm 27:1.  we look back at verse The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Am I the only one tired of fear creeping into my mind? The painful self generated questions,   How will this turn out? What are they thinking about me? What if I fail? Fear is always lingering waiting for us to take the bait, to believe in the “fake news“. The two fears you are born with are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  Let’s not let the noise of the world, others, or from our self imprison our minds and hearts.  God hears our voice when we call out to Him.  Psalm 118:6 reminds us that the Lord is on our side, what can man do to me?

Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. v. 10

This verse reminds me that whatever is  in your past doesn’t matter anymore. God can take away any past pain. Broken homes, addictions, divorce, loss, abuse? Whatever horrible experience you have lived that has caused a void in your heart, God can heal. He can take away any pain.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

I know waiting is not easy.  I have a few of my own children that are masters at asking the question, Are we there yet?” Waiting on the Lord can be hard because we usually want answers to our prayers yesterday.  We just need to remember that God’s plan and timing is always better than ours.  Wait and trust… so hard. What is God trying to teach us in our waiting?  God offers hope to today and our future. Let our waiting teach us of His glory, grace, and power.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
 they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40 28-31

Dear God, I pray that you take my selfish desires and turn them to you. That through a love and trust in your promises I can put aside my fears, failures, and false gods to dwell obediently in your presence.  Let us wait patiently for all you have planned for our lives.  In your loving name we pray. Amen  

Wait on the Lord

1 Samuel 26 and Psalms 27

1 Samuel 26 reads like a repeat of 1 Samuel 24, that we explored two days ago with Jennifer Armstrong.  The circumstances are two different events, although  similar, with Saul once again pursuing David. David has another opportunity to kill him, yet he shows mercy for the second time.  The picture Jennifer painted of choosing reconciliation over revenge, and trusting God’s authority, is applicable to this chapter as well.

I love how Psalms 27 so clearly describes David’s experiences outlined in 1 Samuel. He shows us that putting the Lord at the center of his life removes his fears (verse 1). Surrounded by enemy armies, he declares his confidence in God’s protection (verse 2-3). Even when David had the opportunity to take control, kill his enemy, he chooses to show mercy and allow God to work how He will.  TWICE!

Like David, we can trust God to deal with our enemies. Do you have a Saul in your life that you need to commit to the Lord’s hands?  He is the supreme authority, the righteous judge, and the ultimate miracle worker.  As a mentor once told me, “Let that go… it’s above your pay grade. That’s work that the Lord will do”.

I’m so encouraged by David’s cries out to the Lord in this Psalm, seeking wisdom and leadership (verse 11) in the middle of his drama. He chooses to WAIT for the Lord, even when under duress.

In contrast, my instinct is to take action. The Lord continues to give me opportunities to be patient and wait on Him. I’m a problem-solver, coming up with a mental action plan for the 12 “what-if” scenarios I create in my mind for any given situation. Inaction can make me uneasy, even when I know that immediate action isn’t always the best solution.  Waiting – whether it’s on direction from the Lord, or for my kids to get in the car – does not come easy.

I can think of a big season of waiting in my life, while handling hurts at the hands of others. God used this time to grow my trust in Him, He provided more wisdom, and delivered hope.  He protected my heart from seeking revenge, and in time, turned it toward reconciliation.  Had I taken immediate action, the outcome would be very different.  While the waiting can be the hardest part, in hindsight, we can see the beautiful work God does. For me, more time brought more truth.  And more time and truth brought more healing.

Lord, Thank you for being a righteous judge.  Please give us an ear to hear your direction and a heart to follow. Help us to know the difference of when you are leading us to wait and when you are leading us to action. Amen