I remember a seminary professor’s instruction to the wide-eyed group of preacher wannabes: Pay attention when the Bible repeated itself.
As I have been preparing for this week’s message on Psalm 39, I’ve noticed the author has stated twice that life is “a hand’s breadth.” Each time the thought is followed by the musical term “Selah.”
What’s the point? Life is short.
And after each reminder: Selah. Pause. Reflect. Take a breath.
My grandson started back to school this week. As he approached his last weekend, he was filled with complaints at what he didn’t get to do or get done during his summer break. He was overwhelmed by how slow summer drug on, but how quickly it was gone.
That’s life, Buddy. That’s life, friend.
I googled “how do we create harmony?” And I was surprised by the variety of responses that came up. We can create harmony in the workplace, for the unemployed, in our relationships, and in our minds. There are sites to teach you how to harmoniously kick start your career, create harmony in your style, and find harmony in your home.
Scripture tells us: Live in harmony with each other (Romans 12:6a, NLT)
In music, harmony is the working together of notes—different notes, with different values, different tones—to make something beautiful and uplifting.
When scripture tells to be like-minded, to have the same mind as Christ Jesus, we need to understand that the “likeness” is not necessarily “sameness.” We may never agree in all things, we are as different as notes. But we can have the same end game, the same goal “in mind.”
What can we do to cross the finish line together?
Live in harmony.
Tuesdays I plant a seed for the coming Sunday message. Starting Sunday I will begin a series which draws inspiration from Bob Hostetler’s book, The Red Letter Prayer Life, 17 Words From Jesus To Inspire Practical, Purposeful, Powerful Prayer.
This week’s text is Jesus’ words on prayer after watching the self-absorbed Pharisees who prayed publically to get attention:
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:5-6, NIV).”
Is Jesus saying we are only to pray in private? I don’t think so.
I believe Jesus is teaching his followers that until they work on their relationship with God through private prayer, their public prayer will only look like the performance of the Pharisees.
So when you pray, get alone with God and talk to him…really talk with him…and don’t perform.
I’m a day late, but I’ll bounce back.
Definition: the capcity to bounce back quickly from difficulties.
My husband and I are going on a vacation—together. That may not sound like news to most people, but for us it is more rare than a blue moon.
In 40 years we’ve only been on vacation together about a dozen times—and most of those were with family.
He’s always been a go and see kind of guy. Fill up the schedule. See all the sites. I would come home exhausted.
This time, he’s on vacation. No agenda. Not interested in going or doing.
Resting. Really resting.
I’m encouraged. It’s as if I have permission to rest, too.
Why do I need someone else to give me permission?
Do you need permission to rest? To Sabbath?
We’re planning to go to Hawaii next year for our 40th. I asked for recommendations from friends on Facebook. One of the best came my friend Mike. He said this: My recommendation… just go to Hawaii (I liked Maui)sit on the beach during the day and relax. Go to a Luau in the evening and enjoy yourself. Take notes for all the stuff you would like to visit on your next trip, maybe squeeze one of those in on this trip but most of all relax. Don’t worry about your hair while you’re there because there is no such thing as a good hair day on the islands. And relax, treat like one long Sabbath.
There’s something to be said for this kind of thinking. Get someplace in nature. Appreciate God’s amazing handiwork. Breathe.
I’m breathing a lot of Arizona air this week. And thanking God for the opportunity to rest.
Do you ever wonder if God gets bored with our prayers?
I know I do.
A confession like that from a pastor might sound odd. But it’s true.
If my prayers are all fluff and stuff, lacking substance or direction: what’s the point?
They begin to sound as meaningful as Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah, wah, wah wah wah wah.”
Jesus had an encounter with a blind man. He looked at the blind man and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51ff)
The man didn’t hem and haw. He didn’t talk around the issue. He didn’t try to butter Jesus up to get him to do “whatever.”
To Jesus’ direct question, the man replied directly, “I want to see.” And that’s just what he got.
God doesn’t want us to hem and haw, dance around the issue, or butter him up.
God speaks us to directly because he loves us.
Why would we do any less?