Monthly Archives: October 2016

Waiting, not Wasting

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
• Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. KJV

Verse 14 was the designated one to read but on the way to it I read verse 4. I’ve been waiting for the neon sign from the Lord to say “this is what you should be reading every day.” I thought reading the Verse of the Day was just a good fall-back plan to avoid wasting my time while I waited. I missed the whole point! It’s not “what” I’m reading but “that” I’m reading.

Realizing that about waiting not being wasting time was a lightbulb moment but it was verse 4 that turned out to be a personal reminder. God is always working his Plan Be. Nothing is wasted. There was a period in the ’90s when it was popular to take a verse of Scripture and put it to music as a way of memorizing it. That’s how I learned verse 4 of this Psalm. I was surprised to find I could still sing the song after all this time.

It was God at work through this technique called a Mnemonic device; a memory technique to help your brain encode and recall important information…Scripture set to music.

Click to hear song:

As Good as His Word

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  Proverbs 9:10 NIV

I don’t really like the idea of “fear” when it comes to the Lord: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. I know him to be a loving, protective parent who’s goal is my good, not to scare me into behaving…but there’s that word “fear” in the same sentence with wisdom.

I went to the dictionary, a Hebrew lexicon and someone else’s explanation of that fear hoping I’d find something less harsh. Guess what? By the time you’ve run that gauntlet of options you discover this truth. Mostly it really is THAT kind of fear. This is God, he makes the rules and sets that boundary of fear to keep us from deliberate sin and like a really good parent he will keep his word…all of it!

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

It reminded me of when I was a teenager. I heard myself say “I can’t do that, my mother would kill me.” It’s that kind of fear. It’s not wanting to get into trouble because you know exactly what that trouble will bring. That really is the beginning of wisdom. Turns out Mother knew best, after all.

The Key to a Willing Spirit – Plan Be

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

It’s interesting the Psalmist doesn’t presume to call it “my” salvation. He knows about that salvation. He remembers there was joy but that’s not his to claim right now either. There’s baggage here to be sure.

He’s been confronted with his sin of adultery. Nathan’s words have penetrated his mind. He’s finally come to understand his heart has fooled him into accepting his freedom to sin as a substitute for the support of that salvation. That changed heart prompts him to write one of his most beautiful prayers:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

Plan Be – Faith and Laundry

Romans 12:2
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Laundry! That’s what came to my mind when I read this. Remember, this blog is about finding faith in “daily” life. Laundry is a basic activity we all go through to “renew” a piece of soiled clothing and transform it into something presentable we’re happy to be seen in. Daily use takes it’s toll on laundry…and on our minds.

That’s why keeping up with laundry stains becomes a pretty good analogy for the renewing of the mind. It’s a before and after thing.
Is it just slightly soiled or badly stained?
Have you got the necessary stain treater?
Does it need pre-treating and soaking?
Does it need more treatment before going in the dryer?

Let your mind run with those few ideas…but remember this…Spiritual laundry is the mental image of your own before and after. Your proof of God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will” is that he’s changed your mind to be able to see him.  You’re looking better than just presentable. You’re looking more like what he’s created you to Be.

B or Be?

Jeremiah 29:11, 13b & 14
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

• I read, think, study and write each day. My goal is to come up with a thoughtful idea…AND…to keep the posts short. I’m just a couple of multiple Verse of the Day posts into the idea of Plan Be and I already need a plan B. That’s the nature of human plan-making; there’s almost always a need for a plan B.

The Lord’s planning is different. He covers A-Z. He knows every flaw and every detail of your life and still he’s got “plans to give you hope and a future.” “13b…when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you.”

I’m not sure where I first read the prayer below or who the author is. The quotes are to honor the inspirational idea and wisdom because I think it’s the perfect “Plan Be” prayer.

“Lord, give me the Grace to not need to be anything other than what I am, and the wisdom to not settle for anything less than you can make me.”

Working on “Be”

Monday: Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:20-21

• The first two phrases in that Verse of the Day are important but that little conjunction, “and” is critical. The real wisdom for those of us who suffer bouts of “know it all” and “control” issues may come down to this: Your life in Christ will still happen even while you’re busy making many plans. Finding that little connection between listening “and” accepting what the Lord has to say though his Word and his people is the challenge. That’s what will prove” at the end you will be counted among the wise.” I wish it didn’t take that long.

Tuesday: Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1
• If you’ve ever been restless you know it feels like sitting in a running car that’s in neutral gear, and flooring the accelerator. There’s a lot of noise but no matter how hard you push you don’t go anywhere. The Psalmist has found the answer for a restless soul. It’s getting out of neutral and – “in God.”

Wednesday: Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9
• I read the same verse in The Living Bible. “Only fools refuse to be taught. Listen to your father and mother. What you learn from them will stand you in good stead; it will gain you many honors.”

I not sure how this works if you get bad instruction and teaching. I guess one way or another you are learning something that can be of value to you; either what to imitate or what to avoid.

Plan “Be”

I’m surprised how much I miss the continuity of reading parts of that long Psalm 119 day after day. I don’t know what to do next. My original plan was to use someone else’s reading plan. Instead I’m borrowing my title from my Pastor, Greg Long. Plan “Be” is going to be using Verse of the Day thoughts from BibleGateway.com to discover how they impact my thoughts and mesh with the experiences of my daily life.

Thursday: Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:4
• It must have been that phrase about the Rock that triggered my thoughts.  I heard that Chevy jingle in my head.  Advertising slogans can shape our daily life more than God’s word if we’re not careful. Believing the ad-men can leave you between a “Rock” and a hard place.
Apple: Think Different
L’Oréal: Because You’re Worth It
Coca Cola: “It’s the real thing
Chevy: Like a rock
So I’m repurposing these slogans into a new song: Think different because you’re worth it. The Lord is the real thing, “the Rock eternal.”

Friday: You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1
• The Psalmist paints a verbal picture I can identify with. This summer we saw what a dry and parched land can produce. We watched the lawn go from a lush green carpet to a dried up imitation of itself that completely stopped growing. Nobody wants to be a dried up imitation of a Christian do they?

Saturday: I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
Isaiah 43:11-12
• I’m a witness for the defense…that was my first thought, but the question of context was my next so I read the chapter and found something even better.

Have you thought about why God would bother with the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into after his perfect setup at creation? Why would he care enough to forgive and forget our sins and offer redemption at all? Realizing how much we’ve been given, despite ourselves, is how we come to recognize the magnificence of Grace, isn’t it? But wait, there’s more….

Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. 26 Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.

This is Grace in action: It matters to God that your sins are blotted out as much as it does to you! He’s willing to review at all the details and argue the “why’s” and “how’s” of your innocence with you. Take him at his Word!

Stand Alone Sunday: It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
Deuteronomy 13:4