Today the Lord took me to Psalm 73.

73 A psalm of Asaph.
     Truly God is good to Israel,
to those whose hearts are pure.
     But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
     For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
     They seem to live such painless lives;
their bodies are so healthy and strong.
     They don’t have troubles like other people;
they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. 
21      Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside.
22      I was so foolish and ignorant—
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23      Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
24      You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
25      Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
26      My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.
27      Those who desert him will perish,
for you destroy those who abandon you.
28      But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

Again, it’s not about me.  Dwelling on – envying – the success and apparant ease of life of the wicked and rich is making it about me and what I don’t have.  It’s all about Him.  It’s all about eternity. 

My mind tries to define eternity as the time I have on this earth, because it seems like it will be SO long, but I have no context in which to understand the concept of eternity.  I hear it’s a really, really, long time!

Father, remove these filters of humanity through which I filter everything around me.  Open my eyes and my mind to see the eternal, the eternity in every man and woman.  Through these stupid filters, everything relates to or revolves around me.  When seeing with your eyes, it’s all about you.  In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Selflessness… use it or lose it…

Romans 1:21

“…futile in their thinking…” is a really nice way to translate this.  I looked up the word translated into “futile” and it actually means “vain.”  So, in essence, what 1:21 is saying is humanity took its focus off God and put it on itself.  It began looking at itself.  I see that every day in my own life, in the lives of my kids, in the grocery store parking lot, at football games, wherever.  We are a selfish and self-centered people by nature.  Our selfishness leads down a road we don’t want to go down.  Verses 21-27 describe how this self-centered, me-centric view led to all kinds of depravity that must have just broken God’s heart and sickened him.

Romans 1:24-25

Romans 1:28-32

Verse 28 uses “… a debased mind…” That is another nice way to put it.  The word means “reprobate” which, according to Webesters, means “to foreordain to damnation; morally corrupt,” and then a laundry list of man’s depravity follows in the next verses.

The point for me this morning is that it is easy to take my eyes off Him, even if only for a second.  One minute leads to two minutes leads to 4 minutes, etc.  The self-centered road is a slippery one that is easy to walk down.  Think about it, we don’t have to teach our children to be selfish.  It starts early and comes naturally.  One of the first words any toddler learns is “MINE!”  Selflessness – the way Christ lived – is something that has to be learned. It is an on-going lesson that must be used and practiced daily or it goes away – like a foreign language – use it or lose it.

Dad, I need you today.  Fix my eyes on you in all that I do.  Don’t let my heart wander down the road that starts with Me.  My only hope is to have spiritual blinders, as a thoroughbred in a race, to keep me looking only in the direction I am to run.  Thank you for your amazing grace and mercy on me, on all of us.  Thank you for your love.  Help me be aware for opportunities to be selfless today.  Amen.

All that I am – continued…

We play the new testament while we sleep on my MP3 player each night.  This morning I woke up to the passage in Mark, where Jesus tells the Pharisee’s that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:29-31)

This certainly feeds into yesterday’s entry.  How do I praise him with all that I am?  By loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  This, of course, could fill pages and pages of blogs and books on the application of just that verse… and if fact, it does… The Bible IS the original blog detailing what that looks like.

For me, today, it is an active love.  It is choosing Him over me.  It is choosing others over me.  It is dying to self and letting Christ live through me; letting His humility and patience overtake my own fleshsuit and all the baggage it has with it.  It is remembering… remembering that MY righteous acts are like filthy rags to Him (Is 64:6).  It is remembering that I have indeed sinned, and continue to sin, and I need to be saved (Is 64:5). It is remembering that there is NO WAY I could do this life without Him and that my wisdom is foolishness to him (I Cor 1:24-25).

It’s remembering that He chose me.

Thank you Lord, for choosing me. Help me praise you with all that I am today, by loving you with all my heart, soul,  mind, and strength and by loving my neighbors as myself.  Help me to have an active love today, engaging in remembering You and all that you have done, are doing, and will do.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

Selfless Obedience

In Job 38-42, God himself “questions” Job.  Questions is a really, really, nice way to say that God got all up in Job’s business and attitude.  In a series of questions, God describes himself, well, really he describes his works.  Slowly digesting each question that God asks Job is a very “awe-ing” time.  It filled me with wonder and gave me a fresh perspective on God’s hugeness, power, and majesty.

In Job 42:7-10 (click to read), it isn’t until Job prays FOR his friends – these same three friends who have accused, berated, and wrecklessly represented the Lord for 30+ chapters – that God restores to Job all Job lost in the trials (v10).

Two things struck me:

1.  Not until Job took his eyes off his own misery and trouble, did God restore and end his misery and trouble.  Job had to minister and be concerned with others… even those who he most likely wasn’t very pleased with at the time.  Personally, I’d have been ticked at them and wanted to curse them instead of pray for them.

2.  Just as God allowed the trials and circumstances surrounding Job’s troubles and losses, He also orchestrated Job’s praying for his friends and his own ultimate restortation.  God addresses these friends in v7 and tells them that Job has to pray for them.  This gets Job’s eyes off his own troubles (after he’s had a correction in his attitude and his own significance) and on to praying for his friends.  Isn’t it just like Father to send what we need our way?

And this is the point for me.  In the midst of trials -whatever form they take – I need to continue to be aware and look for those opportunities to do God’s bidding, regardless of how I feel at the time, and regardless of how I feel about who I am ministering to.

I am to be on guard for God opportunities… be aware for what He’s doing around me and join in on His work… Ephesians 2:10 (The Message)He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

I wrote a blog a few months ago about this verse in Ephesians.  See it here.  Interesting… different passages… same lesson.  Who says God’s word isn’t alive?