Psalm 118:22 The stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone. This verse made me smile because I think this is how all of us at Hope Inspirational Schools feel. We’re the rejects of society trying to build something revolutionary. Psalm 118:25 Please, LORD, please save us. Please, LORD, please give us success. Yes, this is my prayer on a daily basis. Save me from this situation in life and please give us success with this venture. Psalm 118:28 You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! Ultimately, God is supreme. Worship is the way out (read about it in the book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day). No matter what the circumstances I find myself in, He is my God. I will exalt Him. That’s sometimes easier said than done, and sometimes it takes me a little while to remember that; however, even in my darkest days God has given me a lot to praise Him about. Yeah God!
Psalm 24:11 Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. It is so hard to wait patiently. Think about little kids and Christmas. They may not even know what it is, but they can sense the excitement and it keeps them up at night in anticipation. Or what about when you see something you really want. For example, every night we do the same routine with my two boys. They get dinner, a bath, a bottle, and then we read and they go to bed. And every night, when Gavin sees his bottle being warmed up in the microwave he starts crying because he wants it now. It’s almost comical because there’s never been a time when we haven’t given him the bottle, and he doesn’t like it if it’s cold. So he has to wait a whole 28 seconds before it’s ready, and you’d think he’d never get that thing fast enough! Even as adults we have a hard time waiting patiently. At least, I know I do. I don’t like to wait in lines, and I always seem to pick the slowest one. I have a hard time waiting when I see something I really want to buy. Sometimes I have a hard time waiting until the boys are in bed so that I can make dinner and sit down and eat (yes, this is weird, and hopefully it’ll change so that we can all eat together sometime). I think that story about Gavin made me realize a little of why we have to wait on God sometimes. He hates his bottle cold, but waiting for it to get warmed up is hard. I wonder how often God makes us wait because the reward will be better in the end. He’s just heating it up. Twenty-eight seconds seems like an eternity to a two-year-old, and waiting patiently on God’s timing can seem just as long to us. I, as the adult doing the microwaving, know that it’ll only take 28 seconds, but Gavin doesn’t understand time the way I do. It’s the same thing with God. He knows exactly how long it’ll take until that thing I want is just right. I don’t know that because I can’t understand time the way that God does, so it may seem like that thing will never happen or never come, but God knows it’s only 28-seconds away.
Psalm 56:4, 9 O God, I praise your word. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? … On the very day I call to you for help, my enemies will retreat. This I know: God is on my side. Today I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that I need to get done in the next week. There are a lot of important tasks that I’ve taken on (at least important to me), not so much because I was asked but rather because they bugged me (not necessarily anyone else) and I’m the only one who can fix them, or because they were my idea and past history has shown that if I let someone else do them, they’ll won’t turn out the way I want them to and I’ll be disappointed (and because I’m so particular, I’ll end up redoing them anyway). But that’s my own personal issue, and I’m okay with that. This verse, is great. First of all, it worships and praises God and the words He gives to us. I believe that this project, this school, is a word from God. It’s a dream and a desire placed in us by Him. Last night at our meeting, one of the other board members shared some things he learned in a devotional he got. One of the things was that when God gives us a desire or a dream we should go for it. Don’t be afraid of it. That’s what got the servant who buried his talent in the ground in trouble. He was afraid of his master so he never used the gift. Our Master is our Father and He loves us and gives each gift to be used. The other lesson was that we should be passionate about our dreams. If we’re not passionate, then why should God be passionate about helping us achieve them? This was from the story of Elijah, the king, and some arrows. The king was told to hit the ground with the arrows, which he did, but he only did it a couple of times. Elijah scolded him for his half-hearted attempt because if he had been more passionate about it then God would have completely destroyed the enemy. However, since he only hit the ground a couple of times the enemy was not completely destroyed (and I’m guessing the king died or was taken prisoner, but I can’t remember). Anyway, good lessons. Back to the verses… so Praise is due. But also, when I get afraid and overwhelmed, I should remember that God is on my side, what can mere mortals do? I love that part about mere mortals. It’s such a great reminder that relative to God and His power, we’re pretty puny. God is on my side. And the very day I call for help, God begins to work. The very day! Not several days later… That very day He begins to move mountains. He is for me. He is for the dreams He plants in me. He is by me every step of the way. So, my conclusions are that my God is AWESOME! He plants dreams and stands by me, helping me, as I jump into those dreams with courage and passion. Hang on! It’s going to be a wild ride!
Psalm 25:4-5 Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. This is my prayer today. Our Inaugural Green Gala is next weekend and that slight feeling of panic is setting in. It’s come so fast and there is SO much left to do… And I probably don’t know the half of it since I’m not really all that much in the know. I want to know the path I should walk, the things I should do and focus on, to be most effective and to be where God wants me in His plan. My hope is in Him because this task seems insurmountable. I had a pastor who one said that if I can do the job on my own, it’s not big enough. God has the opportunity to shine when we are overwhelmed and the task seems impossible. He is the God of the impossible. So, God, I lift up this event to you. We’re too small to do it alone. Only You have the knowledge and resources needed to get this school off the ground. Please put us on the right path, with eyes to see where you have put the resources we need and ears to hear when you direct us towards a person. I will trust in You because You alone are God, and this is a dream you’ve planted in our hearts. Thank you that we can trust you and put our hope in You, and you never fail.
Psalm 24: 3-4 Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. Wow, this is a tall order. There are a lot of days (okay, most days) when I feel like I’m totally unworthy to be in God’s presence. I make the same mistakes over and over and over and over again. I have trouble forgiving people for what they’ve done to me or those I love. I am afraid for the future. I am angry with my situation. I am a mess. I am SO not holy. David Loveless addressed this in our church service a couple weeks ago when he spoke about spending time with God. I tend to view God’s ability to forgive on my own ability to forgive. And I base God’s ability to forget sin on my ability to forget sin. Obviously, there’s a flaw here. I am imperfect and am not blessed with the ability to forget on command. I usually forget the things I want to remember and remember the things I want to forget. But God’s not like that. He says that when He forgives He forgets our sin. He can’t see it and He doesn’t replay it. So every time we have to go back and ask for forgiveness He doesn’t ask, “Look, didn’t you just do this same thing yesterday? What’s wrong with you?” Instead, He simply forgives us because He’s forgotten the last time we did it and asked for forgiveness. He forgets, even when we can’t. That to me is mind boggling. Because I can’t do it, it’s hard to fathom and to grasp that God does that. I can keep track of each time I stop trusting God and freak out about situations. But after forgiving me, God erases the board (and He’s got a great eraser – doesn’t leave marks or traces) and there’s nothing to add to anymore. That is awesome. It’s the only way I can ever be allowed into His presence. If He remembered all the sins I did, I’d never be as white as snow. It’d be a dingy gray. Jesus is like Tide with Stain Release (or whatever works best). Once I ask God’s forgiveness, the stain’s gone and I’m clean again. I’m wearable. I’m usable. I can finally stand in front of Him and worship Him. I like that!
Psalm 113:7 and he lifts the poor from the dirt and the needy from the garbage dump. Just because God is God, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have trouble. Even in this verse there are poor who are in the dirt and needy in the garbage dump. Actually, in some ways I feel like I qualify for those verses. However, when I look at my circumstances in light of other people around the world, say in Haiti or Africa or even China, I find that I have far more than I realize. God doesn’t leave us in our current situations (unless we completely ignore Him and do things our own way). He sees us and longs to lift us up. There’s a song called “Royalty” by these two prophetic worshipers, and it speaks to a woman reminding her that God has created her to be a queen, royalty in His house. I love this song. Not because I want to rule the world, but because it reminds me that I was adopted into the family of Christ, the Prince of Peace, the King of the Universe, and I am more than I appear. He longs to lift me back to that place that He intended for me to be – a queen, living in the house of the Most High. I was made for more than this, but I live in a fallen world. I am a child of the King, and if I remember that, I am reminded to carry myself as royalty. It’s an awesome song. We were not made to live in the trash heap. We were made to live with God. And He longs for us to come spend time with Him, reminding us of who we are really meant to be and how special we are to Him. We are not insignificant. We are loved. Remember?
I receive a weekly email devotional by Max Lucado. This is the one I got this week. It was interesting because I led worship at a Presbyterian church where they say the Lord’s prayer. It made me think back to this devotional. And Max Lucado has such a great way of saying things! Enjoy while I go check on my coughing child! Happy Monday! The Kitchen: God’s Abundant Table by Max Lucado “Give us this day our daily bread…” Your first step into the house of God was not to the kitchen but to the living room, where you were reminded of your adoption. “OurFather who is in heaven.” You then studied the foundation of the house, where you pondered his permanence. “Our Father who is in heaven.” Next you entered the observatory and marveled at his handiwork: “Our Father who is in heaven.” In the chapel, you worshiped his holiness: “Hallowed be thy name.” In the throne room, you touched the lowered scepter and prayed the greatest prayer, “Thy kingdom come.” In the study, you submitted your desires to his and prayed, “Thy will be done.” And all of heaven was silent as you placed your prayer in the furnace, saying, “on earth as it is in heaven.” Proper prayer follows such a path, revealing God to us before revealing our needs to God. (You might reread that one.) The purpose of prayer is not to change God, but to change us, and by the time we reach God’s kitchen, we are changed people. Wasn’t our heart warmed when we called him Father? Weren’t our fears stilled when we contemplated his constancy? Weren’t we amazed as we stared at the heavens? Seeing his holiness caused us to confess our sin. Inviting his kingdom to come reminded us to stop building our own. Asking God for his will to be done placed our will in second place to his. And realizing that heaven pauses when we pray left us breathless in his presence. By the time we step into the kitchen, we’re renewed people! We’ve been comforted by our father, conformed by his nature, consumed by our creator, convicted by his character, constrained by his power, commissioned by our teacher, and compelled by his attention to our prayers. The prayer’s next three petitions encompass all of the concerns of our life. “This daily bread” addresses the present. “Forgive our sins” addresses the past. “Lead us not into temptation” speaks to the future. (The wonder of God’s wisdom: how he can reduce all our needs to three simple statements.) First he addresses our need for bread. The term means all of a person’s physical needs. Martin Luther defined bread as “Everything necessary for the preservation of this life, including food, a healthy body, house, home, wife and children.” This verse urges us to talk to God about the necessities of life. He may also give us the luxuries of life, but he certainly will grant the necessities. Any fear that God wouldn’t meet our needs was left in the observatory. Would he give the stars their glitter and not give us our food? Of course not. He has committed to care for us. We aren’t wrestling crumbs out of a reluctant hand, but rather confessing the bounty of a generous hand. The essence of the prayer is really an affirmation of the Father’s care. Our provision is his priority. From The Great House of God Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1997) Max Lucado