Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Refuge and a Shield

Psalm 119:113-120
2 Samuel 21; John 10:34-42

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger, or discipline me in your
wrath. Psalm 6:1

We believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord
Jesus. Acts 15:11

Dear Jesus, thank you for your grace that is greater than all of
our sin. Thank you for putting yourself aside to serve us and
save us. Help us to put ourselves aside for others so they might
see you in us. Amen.

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. (
Psalm 119:114).

Do you ever feel like finding a place to hide? Like you want to just bury yourself in a hole or hide under the covers all day? Do you need a refuge?

A refuge is defined as shelter or protection from danger or distress. When those things come our way, we want to hide. The Psalmist looked to God as that refuge. While we often are tempted to run to something else, the true comforting refuge is God.

The second metaphor that the psalmist uses is that of a shield. When trouble comes, not only do we have a place to go for safety and security and relief, but we have a sheild that we can put up in front of us to protect us from what comes. Whether they are troubles that come from the evil one or just from life's circumstances, God our sheild can protect us.

Comforting words: God is my sheld and my refuge. I can choose to either put him before me and fight off the trouble or, when I need to, I can run away -- and run to him for safety.

God, help me to remember today where to go and what to do when the hard times come. Amen.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hiding the Word in our Hearts

Monday, October 30
Psalm 119:105-112
2 Samuel 19:31-20:26; John 10:22-33

When I think of your ordinances from of old, I take comfort, O
Lord. Psalm 119:52

God is a God not of disorder but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

God of Comfort, thank you for the order and peace your word can
bring to our lives as we listen, read, study, memorize, and
meditate on it. Help us to faithfully mine the treasures in your
word. Amen.

When I was a child, teen, and young adult I was involved in a denomination that stressed Scripture memorization. I even coached a Bible Quiz team in my twenties. It is amazing how many times those verses have come back to me when I need them the most.

I can remember between 8th and 9th grade walking through the woods at a church camp with an index card memorizing I Corinthians 10:13 in the King James Version:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I can't count the number of times that verse has popped into my head since that day when I was only 13. With God's help I can make it through anything.

There are times when I feel guilty for not having time to memorize more Scripture now, but I am so grateful that I took time when I was young to "hide the Word in my heart". It has been the backdrop of my life.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Repair the Cracks

Watchword for the Week -- The Lord has done great things for us.
Psalm 126:3

Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126
Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52

God, you have caused the land to quake; you have torn it open;
repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering. Psalm 60:2

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope.
For who hopes for what is seen? Romans 8:24

Dear Lord, our hope is in you. You do great things for us. Help
us to trust every area of our lives and our families' and
friends' lives to your care. You are the perfect answer to our
needs. Amen.

After a week like we've had I feel like the psalmist who wrote, "you have caused the land to quake; you have torn it open; repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering."

While I do not always agree to the philosophy that the Lord causes the problems in our lives, it sure does feel like it sometimes. When nothing is going well we want to say, "Enough, God!"

But whether or not God is the cause of the issues, God is the one who can fix things. He can step in and make "the rough places smooth."

When we really believe this, we can, as Job did, say, "Blessed be the Name of the Lord" no matter what comes our way.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Spiritual Blindness

Psalm 119:81-88, 2 Samuel 17; John 9:35-41

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Psalm 118:26

Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" John 1:49

Lord, blessed is your Son. He is the King of kings. He is our Teacher. Help us to be eager students of your Son. Help us to
obey all his instructions, even when they are uncomfortable and hard to do. Amen.

Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. (john 9:41)

Jesus loved to use paradoxical phrases. If you were truly unable to see, you'd be off the hook -- but since you say you can see, even though you can't, I find you guilty.

Many of us have convinced ourselves that we can see. We convince ourselves that we can do things on our own and do not need help.

But Jesus reminds us that he knows us. He also calls us to recognize our own need and to admit that need. That is when we can begin to really see.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fully Known

Psalm 119:73-80
2 Samuel 15:30-16:23; John 9:13-34

Show me your glory, I pray. Exodus 33:18

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I
have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

God, show us your glory. Help us to know you more fully and to become more and more like you. Help us to find our greatest
satisfaction in you. How great you are! Amen.

Right now we just don't get it. We can't see things clearly. We don't have the big picture, so we really can't come to decent conclusions. We see our small slice of life and figure that is it, and we draw our conclusions based on that limited perspective. We are bound by time, space, and limited intelligence and so we often are fooled into believing things that simply are not true.

But Paul reminds us that there is going to be a day when we "get it." There will be a day when we understand things the way that God is -- with an eternal perspective, knowing the end from the beginning, and with perfect knowledge. And then it is all going to make sense.

In addiition we read that not only will we know fully, but that right now we are fully known. God knows everything there is to know about me, even stuff I don't know or realize, and yet God loves me and never gives up on me.

Comforting thoughts for the day: God knows everything about me and loves me anyway AND someday I'm going to understand all of it -- the pieces will all fit together and then as a fact, instead of as a statement of faith, I will be able to say, "God is Good -- All the Time, All the Time, God is Good."

Monday, October 23, 2006

How Can we Have Peace?

Psalm 119:57-64
2 Samuel 13:34-14:33; John 8:42-59

His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace. Isaiah 9:7

John wrote: There was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,
standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!" Revelation 7:9,10

Lord, all authority is yours. You are the Author of Peace. True peace can only come from you. Salvation belongs to you and your
Son, and you offer it freely to all. May our lives proclaim your peace and salvation. Amen.

It is interesting that these two verses in the Moravian text would be listed together. The idea of endless peace in Isaiah, combined with the great multitude encompassing every nation, tribe, people and language in Revelation.

Is it possible for peace to exist without harmony between those of us who are different? I don't believe so. To me it is very clear that for "peace on earth" to occur, we must focus not on our differences but on the One thing we share -- and that is the Lordship of Christ.