Bread – Urgent

November 2, 2016


Psalm 39

O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!” Ps. 39:4

When something becomes urgent in our lives, we focus more and more and work harder and harder to achieve the goal.  For example, we are working on a two hour exam and we are two-thirds of the way through and look up at the clock, realizing that we have just 20 minutes left.  The alarm bells go off, our daydreaming ends, and we sharpen eye and pencil to complete the test on time and accurately!  Our failure to budget our time has resulted in the urgent, the need for rapid, decisive action.  And we take off like a rocket to “git ‘er done.”

For another example, we start getting sick at noon but have other business to attend to.  It is now 6:00 and we are running a fever and have a splitting headache.  We need urgent attention, but the doctor’s office is closed.  We race, perhaps even dodging the slow-poke drivers in our way, to the “urgent” care center, where we know relief is one shot of medicine away.  Cost?  Irrelevant.  Other things to do?  They take a back seat.

When we are in the moment of urgency everything takes a back seat.

Why was David asking God to let him know how fleeting his life was, how long he had to live?  Maybe to remind him that there is only 20 minutes left on the test clock.  Maybe to remind him that our life on earth has a definite limit.  God didn’t have to tell David the measure of his days; David already knew his days were numbered, whether many or few.

We know this too.  Death lurks behind the door of our lives.  We say that a person’s death is untimely.  Really?  Do we not know that our life may be gone tomorrow?  Of course we do, when we think about it.  We just don’t like to think about it, so we don’t.

But David understands that if a person thinks about death, if a person knows it could be tomorrow and that death is imminent, one immediately moves from the tomorrow to the today.  The urgent drives us to live in the moment, with no care for the past and no worry for the future.

David wanted to live an urgent life, one full of concentration, joy, and effort … and so he needed God to help him focus by pointing out the ticking clock.

What would we do today if we lived the urgent life?  What phone calls would we make, what apologies would we give, what good things would we do for others, what conversations would we have?  What would we do to make amends, to get done the important projects, to show love, and to engage with everyone around us?  What would we do with our relationship with God?

We are fleeting; our days are numbered.  Are we living like it?

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

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Bread – Blameless

May 6, 2016


Psalm 18

“For who is God, but the Lord?  And who is a rock, except our God? – the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.”  Ps. 18:31-32

When I began preparing this Bread, I thought that there may be some merit in looking at the words translated “God” and “Lord” in these verses, but in the process of doing that I noticed a notation in front of the word “blameless” and the notation was that the word “blameless” has multiple meanings, including the words “complete” and “having integrity.”

And, like most aspects of Scripture, when you dig deeper into God’s Word, the Holy Spirit operates to expand self-understanding, self-analysis, and self-application.

Now think about this:  “the God who … made my way blameless;” “the God who … made my way complete;” and “the God who … made my way so that I have integrity.”

We normally think of the word “blameless” as being “without sin,” and we then proceed to the immediate conclusion that, yes, God does make our way blameless but only because He sees us through His Son, Jesus Christ, who stands between us and God the Father so that all the Father sees is the blamelessness of Christ.  To use more “theological” words, God sees me as blameless because Jesus’ blamelessness is “imputed” to me.  Wonderful, but I am still sinning (less, maybe, but sinning nonetheless), even though I have been saved by grace (mercy).

But what if I substitute the words “complete” and “with integrity” for “blameless.”  Now what?

Well, it is not so easy now to shove off responsibility for my behavior upon Christ, saying that I am a sinner no matter what.  The reason is that I can, when I have the strength and the perseverance, complete a task.  And I can, with strength of character and resolve, operate “with integrity.”  So I have no excuses.  I cannot lay this off on Jesus Christ as my stand-in because I have experiences in my own life where I completed the task or I acted with integrity.

So, if I am not complete, if I have not completed the task, perhaps it is because I do not have a radical reliance upon God to “make my way complete.”  So, if I do not walk with integrity, perhaps it is because I do not have a radical reliance upon God to “make my way with integrity.”

See, there are really only two choices.  I can walk the walk or I can lean on God and let Him make my way straight, make my way complete.  I can strive to live a life of integrity or I can lean on God to make my way one of integrity.

And how can I do either?  How can I both do it and rely radically upon God to do it for me?  The answer is in the first part of the verse: “the God who equipped me with strength…”

Do I walk with integrity, complete the tasks laid before me, and am blameless?  There is a way I can, but it is not the way of man or the world; it is the way of Jesus Christ.

Do I wake up in the morning saying “My will, my way, in my strength” or do I wake up in the morning saying “Your will, Your way, in Your strength.”

The first is weak and will soon result in loss of integrity, incomplete results, and many reasons to blame ourselves and others.  The second is strong and will result in a blameless way, complete and full of integrity.

How do you wake up in the morning?  Whose will do you follow?  Whose way do you use?  In whose strength do you act?

_________

© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

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