Worth Keeping

keepTrust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

What do you need to set aside?

What do you need to keep?

How much space in your life is filled or available for God?

What does it mean to keep something? Perhaps hoarding comes to mind, people keeping what they don’t need to keep. The television shows on hoarding serve as a reminder to all of us not to keep what is unnecessary. We don’t need to keep every piece of paper, every paper sack, every piece of mail. We need to keep what is worth keeping. We shouldn’t fill our lives with the unnecessary.

We don’t define what is unnecessary or necessary. God does. He decides how to fill our lives. He decides where space should exist and how and with what it should be filled. He defines what we keep, and it comes out of our love for Him.

To keep something is to continue having or holding something, to not return, lose, sell, give away, or throw it away. Because we love God, we keep what He says in our grasps, on our minds, and in our hearts. We keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments. We don’t let go. We’re singled-minded. We set aside our understanding for His.

To keep something also means to continue in a specified state, condition, or position. When we keep our relationship with God, we keep changing, keep loving, keep seeking, keep obeying, keep trusting. It’s a continual relationship. No more checkboxes that you can accomplish and move on.

 

Anytime a reminder or notification pops up on your phone today, remember your constant relationship with God. Staying in a relationship with Him is like having a notification or reminder light up your phone every single second. It’s constant. Be thankful today.

When People Are Wrong

titleSometimes people will notice a difference in you as a Christian, but they won’t completely “get it.” Because they don’t understand or relate, they’ll describe it as it makes sense to them.

The king said to David, “I’ve heard that you have the spirit of the gods in you, and that you have insight, intelligence, and extraordinary wisdom.” (Daniel 5:14)

Well, close. Not exactly “the spirit of the gods.” A few verses later, Daniel gives credit to the Most High God. He doesn’t lecture the king or openly tell him he’s wrong. He maintains respect and dignity for the king while honoring God.

We don’t have to clash in harsh disagreement with people, even when we find error. We can be more patient and gracious than that. Sure, we want to correct people, but there are ways to convey truth without demeaning someone. After all, who pays attention to the content of what someone says when that person is slapping and berating them with words? Not me.

Have (and show) more respect – for yourself, others, and God.

Claim (Our Own) Truth

240_f_86747267_f0t60rxhbgndvifkhbunxs0jictzxkbdHow can you claim, “We are wise; the law of the Lord is with us”? In fact, the lying pen of scribes has produced falsehood. The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and snared. They have rejected the word of the Lordso what wisdom do they really have?…They have treated superficially the brokenness of My dear people, claiming, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 8:8-9,11)

We sometimes claim what we want to be true. If we claim it enough, it must be true, right?

Not even close.

Each of us has limited perspective. We have a foggy view of reality, moreso in some areas than others. We can share with one another, acknowledging that someone else’s view of a specific truth might be more clear than ours. But only God has crystal clear vision. Only He can truly fact check us. Only He can be completely trusted. We just have to be humble enough to learn – from Him and through others. We can’t get too caught up in our lack of understanding, while being willing to see our misunderstandings. We need to explore what we can and keep moving forward, because fog lifts.

 

Justice

cj_istock_000006259503largeThe Lord rises to argue the case and stands to judge the people. The Lord brings this charge…(Isaiah 3:13-14a)

God has multiple roles in justice, because He is justice. We most often declare God as judge. Often it’s not a positive declaration: “Don’t worry. God will ultimately judge him!” In essence, we’re already judging someone and declaring God will certainly agree and handle the person with as much harshness as we want.

Good thing we don’t always know how God deals with someone. He deals in both justice and grace, righteousness and compassion, judgment and mercy.

And He isn’t just the final judge. He brings charges and argues the case, too. Because ultimately, they’re His standards. We can make all the laws we want and hold people accountable according to them. There are consequences on earth, as there should be. God created us for eternity, and time on earth is part of it. But there is a broader perspective than what we see. And perhaps narrower in some ways.

We don’t understand it all, but we can pursue truth even in our areas of uncertainties. We can invite correction into our lives. We can seek wisdom, then live it out. We can trust Him – for today and eternity.

The Give and Take of Hope

hope“Why would God give me hope just to take it away?”

I’ve heard it often, and it’s usually in a painful moment. Someone who wanted children so badly was finally pregnant, only to suffer the death of an infant. Someone who had struggled to get on track financially finally gets a job that will provide, only to get hurt and not be able to continue working as the bills pile up. Someone connects with a lifelong partner after a long wait and much pain, only to find out they’ve been deceived and cheated yet again.

In each situation, there is hope, and that hope seems to be trampled on and destroyed.

But hope isn’t about circumstances. We often put our hope in the wrong things. We claim our hope is in God, but then it begins to slide toward hope in what God can provide, what He’s willing to give us. Our hope is in our children, our jobs, our marital status, our financial security, and so on. We claim God provides when those areas of our lives are going well. We are hopeful, because it’s easy to have hope when things are going well by our own perspective, either now or just around the corner. But that hope can easily deflate when things get troubling…when we’ve displaced our hope.

Hope isn’t the same as hype. Hope is enduring, underlying, and chronic. It’s not in what we can see and plan. It’s in God. It’s trust. It’s faith. Pain doesn’t erase it. It can certainly surround it with fog temporarily. But hope still shines.

Our ability to see the sunlight doesn’t determine whether or not the sun shines. Our ability to have hope doesn’t depend on what we can see, understand, and plan.

Worship Today: Open My Hands

I believe in a blessing I don’t understand
I’ve seen rain fall on wicked and the just
Rain is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I believe in a peace that flows deeper than pain
That broken find healing in love
Pain is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I will open my hands, will open my heart
I will open my hands, will open my heart
I am nodding my head an emphatic yes
To all that You have for me

Worship Through Life

worshippageThen Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her with their tambourines and danced. (Exodus 15:20)

When do you feel most worshipful?

How does music affect you?

How do you worship throughout the week?

Miriam and other women worshipped in song and dance. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I picture them worshipping with freedom, unhindered, excited to celebrate and praise God. I wonder how often we allow ourselves to revel in a season of pure worship. Do we more often relegate worship to a specific time and day of the week? Has it become something is based on an event instead of a lifestyle?

Of course, we cannot go through everyday life dancing. Imagine danceing in and out of your office, house, car, restaurant, coffee shop, meetings, and public bathrooms. I guess we could do that if we so desired, but it’s not practical, and we’d definitely get some odd stares. We’d start trending on social media: #Ijustsawthedancingladytoo! But worship is so much more than dancing through life. It encompasses all that praises God, acknowledging Him in the daily details, thanking Him, sharing Him, choosing Him.

A worshipful life knows no boundaries of worship. God gives us freedom. Worshipping Him might lead to singing in our cars, skipping down the sidewalk, picking up trash as we walk through the park, smiling at a stranger, and so much more. We begin to see the world and everything in it through God’s perspective, and as we do, we cannot help but appreciate and honor Him. Relinquishing every single moment of our lives to Him isn’t easy, but we don’t fail in an instant. We have another choice to seek and worship Him in the next moment. Much of our life can be a season of worshipful dancing—literal or figurative—when we keep our eyes, mind, and heart on Him.

Choose a favorite worship prompt. Listen to music. Begin to journal. Play an instrument. Dance around the house. Take a stroll through a flower garden or wooded area. Savor God’s presence. Connect with Him. Praise Him.