The Other Side of Me

5d59cbf0b7adbc3de42e3cac241ab33eRight now, what is it like to be on the other side of me?

It’s a question we should ask ourselves often. And not just when we’re at our best. In our grumpy times, our overacting moments, our misjudgments: what is it like to be on the other side and receive what we are spewing?

Perhaps it would calm us down, humble us, cause us to slow down enough to explain what’s going on in our minds and hearts and better our interactions with others. Perhaps it would help us be patient and forgiving with others as we can relate to them in some way. Perhaps it would help us be more honest with ourselves and not compare someone’s glimpse of us to our best image of ourselves.

Perhaps we’d do a lot less rationalizing and a lot more listening, waiting, reflecting, and responding with generous compassion.

 

Life In The Cockpit Of Technology

We gather all the things we need–our phones, laptops, tablets, and more–and we place our earphones on and focus. We can connect with people through technology. We can take care of many tasks. We can work uninterrupted, or at least with a feeling of control over our interruptions.

We’re not unlike pilots in their cockpits as they fly when we lock into our technology spaces. We let few people enter. We have control, or at least we think we do. We take on big responsibilities, but we do it in the illusion of isolation.

Technology gives us the opportunity to make quick connections and have effective productivity. But the more we think we can do within our reach, the more we enter a bubble to get more done. We are more content to focus on tasks than people. When we focus on people, it is often through a screen or microphone.

Technology can open up the world to us, so why do we close ourselves off and connect more with the technology than the world? Why doesn’t we use what have access to as a gateway instead of a destination? We become content to see photos instead of reality, videos instead of experiences, multi-tasking chats instead of face-to-face conversations, read someone else’s opinions instead of wrestling through our own doubts and issues.

The challenge is how to live with technology and use it well without closing ourselves off from the people in our lives. Being in the same room is not the same as being present with people, including ourselves.

How engaged are you with your phone compared to how engaged and invested in people are you?

It’s worth honest reflection and assessment today, so you can live better tomorrow.

Praying through the Psalms: The End Is Just the Beginning

prayingpsalmsimageAs our Praying through the Psalms series closes, it’s not an end as much as a beginning. My prayer has been for you to soak in God’s Word. To claim the truth He gives you about Himself and for your life. When we merely skip through the sections of Scripture we most want, we miss out on many things God has to say to us. When we’re at a loss for words for our prayers, or we’re in a rut, God’s Word is the best place to start. And that’s what we’ve done…started.

We haven’t prayed all the way through Psalms, but you can continue on your own. Or, grab a friend and commit to holding one another accountable as you pray through Scripture. Use the prayer tips I’ve provided along the way. Need a reminder? Simply type “prayer tip” in the search bar, and you’ll have at least a dozen ideas to dig into a growing prayer life.

We need God. I need God. You need God.

Keep talking with Him. Keep listening.

Praying through the Psalms: Psalm 77

prayingpsalmsimagePsalm 77

I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and He will hear me.
I sought the Lord in my day of trouble.
My hands were continually lifted up
all night long;
I refused to be comforted.
I think of God; I groan;
I meditate; my spirit becomes weak.Selah

You have kept me from closing my eyes;
I am troubled and cannot speak.
I consider days of old,
years long past.
At night I remember my music;
I meditate in my heart, and my spirit ponders.

“Will the Lord reject forever
and never again show favor?
Has His faithful love ceased forever?
Is His promise at an end for all generations?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger withheld His compassion?”Selah

10 So I say, “I am grieved
that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
11 I will remember the Lord’s works;
yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders.
12 I will reflect on all You have done
and meditate on Your actions.

13 God, Your way is holy.
What god is great like God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
You revealed Your strength among the peoples.
15 With power You redeemed Your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.Selah

16 The waters saw You, God.
The waters saw You; they trembled.
Even the depths shook.
17 The clouds poured down water.
The storm clouds thundered;
Your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
lightning lit up the world.
The earth shook and quaked.
19 Your way went through the sea
and Your path through the great waters,
but Your footprints were unseen.
20 You led Your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Read Psalm 77 aloud.

What seems to get in the way, things that distract you or get you “stuck” as you read through the psalm?

What is God highlighting for you to focus upon?

Read through Psalm 77 again, this time, pausing to yield to God, praising who He is and how He provides and giving Him everything that might be holding you back in faith.

Praying through the Psalms: Psalm 76

prayingpsalmsimagePsalm 76

God is known in Judah;
His name is great in Israel.
His tent is in Salem,
His dwelling place in Zion.
There He shatters the bow’s flaming arrows,
the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.Selah

You are resplendent and majestic
coming down from the mountains of prey.
The brave-hearted have been plundered;
they have slipped into their final sleep.
None of the warriors was able to lift a hand.
At Your rebuke, God of Jacob,
both chariot and horse lay still.

And You—You are to be feared.
When You are angry,
who can stand before You?
From heaven You pronounced judgment.
The earth feared and grew quiet
when God rose up to judge
and to save all the lowly of the earth.Selah
10 Even human wrath will praise You;
You will clothe Yourself
with their remaining wrath.

11 Make and keep your vows
to the Lord your God;
let all who are around Him bring tribute
to the awe-inspiring One.
12 He humbles the spirit of leaders;
He is feared by the kings of the earth.

Read Psalm 76 aloud.

What seems to get in the way, things that distract you or get you “stuck” as you read through the psalm?

What is God highlighting for you to focus upon?

Read through Psalm 76 again, this time, pausing to yield to God, praising who He is and how He provides and giving Him everything that might be holding you back in faith.

Praying through the Psalms: Psalm 75

prayingpsalmsimagePsalm 75

We give thanks to You, God;
we give thanks to You, for Your name is near.
People tell about Your wonderful works.

“When I choose a time,
I will judge fairly.
When the earth and all its inhabitants shake,
I am the One who steadies its pillars.Selah
I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn.
Do not lift up your horn against heaven
or speak arrogantly.’”

Exaltation does not come
from the east, the west, or the desert,
for God is the Judge:
He brings down one and exalts another.
For there is a cup in the Lord’s hand,
full of wine blended with spices, and He pours from it.
All the wicked of the earth will drink,
draining it to the dregs.

As for me, I will tell about Him forever;
I will sing praise to the God of Jacob.

10 “I will cut off all the horns of the wicked,
but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”

Read Psalm 75 aloud.

What seems to get in the way, things that distract you or get you “stuck” as you read through the psalm?

What is God highlighting for you to focus upon?

Read through Psalm 75 again, this time, pausing to yield to God, praising who He is and how He provides and giving Him everything that might be holding you back in faith.

Praying through the Psalms: Psalm 74

prayingpsalmsimagePsalm 74

Why have You rejected us forever, God?
Why does Your anger burn
against the sheep of Your pasture?
Remember Your congregation,
which You purchased long ago
and redeemed as the tribe for Your own possession.
Remember Mount Zion where You dwell.
Make Your way to the everlasting ruins,
to all that the enemy has destroyed in the sanctuary.
Your adversaries roared in the meeting place
where You met with us.
They set up their emblems as signs.
It was like men in a thicket of trees,
wielding axes,
then smashing all the carvings
with hatchets and picks.
They set Your sanctuary on fire;
they utterly desecrated
the dwelling place of Your name.
They said in their hearts,
“Let us oppress them relentlessly.”
They burned down every place throughout the land
where God met with us.
There are no signs for us to see.
There is no longer a prophet.
And none of us knows how long this will last.
10 God, how long will the enemy mock?
Will the foe insult Your name forever?
11 Why do You hold back Your hand?
Stretch out Your right hand and destroy them!

12 God my King is from ancient times,
performing saving acts on the earth.
13 You divided the sea with Your strength;
You smashed the heads of the sea monsters in the waters;
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
You fed him to the creatures of the desert.
15 You opened up springs and streams;
You dried up ever-flowing rivers.
16 The day is Yours, also the night;
You established the moon and the sun.
17 You set all the boundaries of the earth;
You made summer and winter.

18 Remember this: the enemy has mocked Yahweh,
and a foolish people has insulted Your name.
19 Do not give the life of Your dove to beasts;
do not forget the lives of Your poor people forever.
20 Consider the covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of violence.
21 Do not let the oppressed turn away in shame;
let the poor and needy praise Your name.
22 Rise up, God, defend Your cause!
Remember the insults
that fools bring against You all day long.
23 Do not forget the clamor of Your adversaries,
the tumult of Your opponents that goes up constantly.

Read Psalm 74 aloud.

What seems to get in the way, things that distract you or get you “stuck” as you read through the psalm?

What is God highlighting for you to focus upon?

Read through Psalm 74 again, this time, pausing to yield to God, praising who He is and how He provides and giving Him everything that might be holding you back in faith.