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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are?

Some of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible come from the book of Job. Yes, Job. I know - depressing book, God let's Satan take everything away from Job, including his kids, makes him sick with boils all over his entire body, and leaves him with a nagging wife and 3 friends who tell him just to curse God and die. I can see why most people choose to gloss over this book, it's not very uplifting (at first glance). But if you haven't read it, I encourage you to. But don't quit before the end, that's my favorite part.


So after all these horrible things have happened to Job and he has a grand pity party(chapters 1-31), a young friend of his decides to speak up and begin to put things in perspective for him a but (chapter 32-37.) Then it happens - after many long chapters of silence, God speaks. It actually says "God speaks to Job out of a storm". For those of you who don't live in Texas, you may not be able to conjure up in your mind what that might look like, but I have lived through one of the worst Texas storms Ever - in a tent (and then the cab of my truck), so I have a pretty good grasp on what Job must have experienced that day. All I can say is WHOA!!!

Basically God says (this is the Jan Paraphrase), "Job, you sure seem to think you know it all. Now stand up and take it like a man while I tell you a few things and give you a little fresh perspective."

God proceeds to describe some of the things He has done like:

  • telling the waves how far they can come
  • telling the sun rise and sun set when to happen
  • creating the storehouses for snow and hail
  • telling each lightning bolt where to land
  • creating all the star constellations and telling them when to appear
  • creating great beasts of the land and sea who are subservient to no one but Him (including a dragon that I am pretty sure Disney ripped off for all his movies.)
  • and walking on the bottom of the Ocean just because He can (one of my personal favorites. Sorry I just have this picture in my head of God talking a little stroll on the bottom of the Sea and hanging out with creatures we don't even know exists yet because they live so deep)
I mean it goes on for 5 chapters so you get the gist. But I really encourage you to read it yourself.

I think I just need to print out these chapters and tape them to my wall so that every time I find myself wanting to have a little pity party (which I was last night), I can gain a little perspective on my life and Who it is that is in control of it. I certainly don't want to get so far gone that I have to hear God speak to me out of a storm.

All that to say - He is God and I am not and I need to trust that as long as I lean on Him, He has my life in the palm of His hand and can take care of anything that would threaten to harm me. He'll do that for you to if you know Him. 

If you don't know Him and want to, send me a message and we'll talk. I'd love to introduce you to Him. He will change your life!

P.S. The story does have a happy ending. But you'll have to read It yourself to find to what happens. I wouldn't want to spoil it for you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I, the Doorkeeper

I am just about to finish up a 21 day  journey with the Lord. It has been challenging at times, but mostly I have really enjoyed it. The reading plan that is taking me through this journey is incredibly well done. I am seeing things in scripture that I have not seen before or am seeing them in a new light. I find myself anting to know more about what these passages mean and why they were written. With only 3 days left, today was no exception.

Here is what I read today:

Psalm 84

1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.

3  Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah

5  Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.

8  O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!

10  For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

This Psalm is so rich and full of great nuggets, but the one God spoke right in to my heart is in vs. 10. For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

I had heard this verse many times and I always thought the doorkeeper reference was to someone who held a "lesser than "post" of some kind. Something that they were forced to do and maybe were looked down upon. Boy was I wrong. The doorkeeper was actually (in my opinion) one of the best positions in the whole temple. They were tasked with ushering people in to the temple to meet with God. They also sang and ministered to the Lord with music day and night. The only bad part of the job is that they were on a rotation and only got to do it 2 weeks out of the year (thus the reference to "a day in your courts is better than a thousand years elsewhere". He never wants his turn to end.)

As I was reading this passage, I realized that worship leaders really are the equivalent to the doorkeepers in the Old Testament. We usher people in to experience the presence of God (when we do our job right) and we have the privilege of ministering to the Lord in song.

The writer of this Psalm is reminding the readers how much more desirable it is to be in the presence of the Almighty God than to take part in the things of this world that so often seem to give pleasure but that are only fleeting and often times sinful.

So today, as I continue on my journey with God, I embrace the call to be a doorkeeper for His people. I believe that whether you call yourself a "worship leader" or not, you can still join me as a door keeper. You can daily, in your own world, let people experience the Almighty by your actions and you can minister to the Lord in praise and worship whether it is sung from the mountain tops or quietly in your heart. He just longs to be with you.

Be a doorkeeper today. It really is the best job around!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Taming of the Tongue

Today in my bible reading I found myself in James 1. The gist of the chapter is about reading the word and doing what it says instead of hearing it and forgetting about what your read once you close the book (or web browser).

James 1 is where you will find the well known verse that talks about being 'quick to listen, slow to speak.' I admit that one is sometimes difficult for me. But it was James 1:26 that really stuck with me today. It says this:

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

OUCH! A harsh but true reminder that with one slip of my tongue, I can do irreparable damage to the reputation of myself, Christianity and my Lord. My religion is worthless when my tongue takes control. 

So today, with renewed vigor, I will try once again to remember to be quick to listen and slow to speak. I will try to remember to speak harsh truths in love and not hate (Ephesians 4:15) and will renew my pledge to follow the words of Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear.

Will you join me?