Tag Archives: Psalms

Quiet Time

Quiet time

I think our culture needs a time out….a quiet time out.  This morning, EARLY this morning, I’m reading,  praying, thinking…and in my ears is noise all around.

The neighbors next door fighting,

the neighbors behind me hollering at their kids,

dogs barking in response,

airplanes flying overhead,

will you all please be quiet!

Silence is something our world does not like.  We are a world of noise…noise 24/7.  Noise to keep the silence away.  There are few places where we can go to find a place without the noise of our world….because in the silence we have to deal with ourselves, we have to deal with God, we have to deal with the things we have done and so we turn up the noise.

It’s interesting that in the bible quietness and peace with God are spoken of together.  Noise and sin are partners as well.  It seems that quiet is the posture of peace, of a right relationship with God…it’s comfortable when peace with God is a reality.  But when we haven’t resolved our relationship with God, when there is no peace with God we keep the volume turned up so we don’t have to deal with him.

Isaiah wrote, “The Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.””

In Psalms God said to David, “Hush, be quiet and know that I am God.”

As I listen to the noise all around me, volumes increasing as the sun rises, I am thankful for the peace, the quiet of a relationship with God that gives me calm in the storm of noise swirling all around.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

The slide to despair

It happens quickly.

It happens easily.

At least it does with me.

Discouragement….

Disappointment….

Dejection….

Despondency…

Depression and then despair.

It’s a quick slide from the first thoughts of discouragement to the pit of despair. It happens so quickly that it’s often a surprise to find we have come to utter despair and hopelessness. David battled this just as many of us do. He wrote about it in Psalm 40.

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
David described it well. The slide to despair feels like a slide on mud or wet clay. You can’t get your footing. Then suddenly you are in the pit of despair. Hopeless. Helpless. Alone….or so it seems. Although nothing may have changed in the real world you feel that your world has crumbled into ashes. It’s a difficult place to be. It’s a difficult place to get out of. Unless the Lord helps us we would most likely remain in the pit of despair. Some never get out. But God does help. He does give us the hand we need, the help we need. He does change our song from a dirge to a praise. He does lift us up. If you’re like me these slides to despair happen without warning….for no reason at all…and then you have to deal with the clouds of doom that fog your thoughts. The Psalms were David’s journals as he dealt with his own frequent descents into despair. Here are his directions for those of us in the pit today-
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
3 O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
If you find yourself in the pit of despair look to the Lord. He will lift you out of the hopelessness. When it seems there’s no way out he will come to your rescue. The slide to despair is an easy one. The climb out is God’s work as we trust him. As one who frequently visits the pit I’m glad for a wonderful God who gives me hope and help when I need it most.
(Thank you, James, for your help this morning.)

Waiting….

Waiting. It’s one of the hardest things we do. Waiting for answers, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for someone to arrive. Waiting is loaded with expectations and anticipations. We are waiting for something, someone and things will change when the waiting is over.

Waiting is a pause in our lives, as if the picture is frozen on the screen and we wait for someone to once more push the play button. Waiting is hard.

Waiting involves the passing of time as we anticipate the thing, the one we wait for. Anticipation. Expectation. Frustration at times are all part of this thing called waiting. As I read Psalm 37 this morning, one of my favorite Psalms, it’s clear that God invites us to wait….to wait for Him. Several times in this chapter the invitation is given to wait for the Lord. There are good reasons for this. We conclude God is late, has gotten busy somewhere else, has forgotten us, but the truth is that we have simply missed God’s ways and timing and so we find we wait for the one who is never late.

“Wait for the Lord and keep his way” David writes. In this short phrase are the instructions for those of us waiting, while you wait walk with God until he arrives. The truth is he is always with us, never leaves us, but waiting involves a patience with God’s timing, God’s plans, God’s ways. It involves my choices to walk well while I wait.

“But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.” There is a reward for waiting. The reward is God’s business, but the waiting is ours.

There is a reason for the waiting. We may not always know what that is, but wait we must and trust God to work while we wait.

There is a rest in waiting. It means I have someone I’m trusting for what’s ahead and I dare not proceed until he arrives. It’s an awareness that I must not walk alone the road ahead, but wait for God to walk with me, to lead me and guide me.

 

There is a peace in waiting. It’s the realization that I wait for one who will accomplish all I wait for. The God who made heaven and earth asks me to wait for him. Why wouldn’t I? How would I dare proceed without him? Waiting for God is the most logical decision of all!

What are you waiting for? Direction? Answers to prayer? A job? Healing? Peace? God’s response to your waiting? “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret….” In other words, don’t worry. God’s coming. He will sort it all out for you. Rest in him, relax, don’t worry, he’s coming….he’s never late.

Wait for the Lord.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

On being a fool

I woke early this morning thinking about a passage of scripture that I thought I understood. As I thought about my own life and the verse I will share with you in a moment it suddenly struck me that the way I had viewed the verse was all wrong. I had missed the main point! Here’s the words from Psalms,
Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”As I thought about this verse and my own life I realized I’m the fool! It’s not the denial of God that’s the problem, it’s thinking and living like there is no God! I’m the greatest fool of all in this. 

Yes, I am a Christian. I’m a pastor. I do love the Lord, BUT I often think, act and live like there is no God. The bible calls me a fool and it’s right to do so. If God is really there then my thoughts and life should be different because of that.

If there really is a God who is there then that will affect what I look at on the internet and on television. For any man or woman to get involved in sin, whatever the flavor, is to say in your heart, “there is no God…no one is watching…no one will ever know.” If you’ve ever done that, and I have, then you’re a fool. I speak from first hand experience. When you make a decision to sin, in any way, you’re saying in your heart “there is no God…no one will know.” But he does. He sees. You’re being a fool when you do that and so am I. Continue reading On being a fool