Now Get On With It

1 Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1

A number of years ago Dr. Stuart Briscoe and his wife Jill came to visit a number of missionaries in Tajikistan. When Dr. Briscoe was first starting out in the ministry, he worked for a man who was asking him to do something he thought he could never do. The man told Stuart bluntly, “God has gifted you to do this, man. Now get on with it.”

King David was a man of war. In order to stay alive, kings needed to be able to command their men while they oversaw them. Kings had a different gifting than their fighters or commanders had. David had a few men to command, while they had hundreds or thousands under their control. But David would have to give the command to begin action.

God had gifted David with the ability to make clear decisions in war based on insufficient and constantly changing information.

What has God gifted you to do? Are you living up to your potential in that regard? What would need to change in order to rise to the level of your giftings?

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Silence My Enemies?

11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
    in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
    destroy all my foes,
    for I am your servant. Psalm 143:11-12

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a button to push every time we wanted to eliminate our enemies? Ta Daaa! They’re gone. Unfortunately the world doesn’t work like that. David knew that because he seemed to surround himself with people who wanted to take his life. So when he prays for God to destroy his enemies, it’s just that, a prayer. Would God answer it?

If we’re honest, I think we’ve all prayed that prayer in one form or another. After all, who wouldn’t want God to just “zap” the bad guys from the face of the earth?

But thankfully, God doesn’t act because of a whim we have. He’s much more merciful than most of us are. You have to remember, His judgment on these matters is perfect. He cannot improve on those decisions.

It’s certainly fine to pray like this, and it’s probably therapeutic to do so. Get it off your mind, and let God do the rest however he wishes.

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On Level Ground

10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground. Psalm 143:10

Those who are runners understand the importance of running on level ground. If you get off the road, you run the risk of twisting an ankle because the ground is uneven. If you run on pavement the entire way, going up and going down hills are both challenging.

But the level path is where you can run and run and run without fear of twisting ankles, running out of “steam” going up, or tumbling head over heals going down. It’s steady and smooth. It’s predictable.

That is so appropriate to our walk with Christ, isn’t it? We crave stability and that solid even ground. We know the pitfalls of going on the trails but sometimes we get tired and forgets what’s out there.

Thank you, Lord, for leading us on level ground. Thank you for grounding us in Christ. Nudge us when we get off the “straight and narrow.” Give us sure footing for he road ahead.

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I Hide Myself

9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you. Psalm 143:9

Sometimes we just want to hide from the world, don’t we? Not always and not even a lot, but sometimes. God, though, knows the most intimate details of our lives and wants us to run to Him. Even if it means running to Him every day, He doesn’t mind.

So, what does “running to Him exactly mean because it’s a phrase we throw around a lot.

It means kneeling before Him and acknowledging that you don’t have it all together, and that you need His help.

It means being still before Him, resting in Him.

It means immersing yourself in the Word of God, expecting Him to speak to you through those words.

It’s not shameful to admit you need Him every day. It’s actually a bit shameful that we don’t do that.

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In the Morning

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8

What do you think about when you wake up each morning? Perhaps you begin running through the day’s events. Maybe it takes you 30 minutes and a cool shower to jump start your thinking. Sometimes, though, we awake with thoughts of last night’s strange dreams, obviously influenced by what you read or listened to on the news or the internet.

Or how about this morning. What did you think about just prior to reading this post?

Countless studies have shown that what we think about when we go to sleep at night has a great impact on what we think about through the night and into the next morning.

I would encourage you to read a verse or two of scripture before you go to bed, and meditate on it. It’s certainly an easy enough habit to start and it will pay dividends over the years.

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A Glimpse

7 Answer me quickly, Lord;
    my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
    or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Psalm 143:7

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get a glimpse of God? Moses got a brief glimpse at the glory of God. Of course those living during the days when Jesus was on earth saw God face to face. Most, however, didn’t realize who He was.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews warned us that we might encounter an angel as a stranger on the street.

Twenty years ago Joan Osborne wrote the very popular secular song, “One of Us”, that asked the same question:

What if God were one of us,
just a slob like one of us.
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

All of this is certainly something to think about as we go through our days. You just never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll say. Even Jesus taught us that when we do something for “the least of these”, we may very well encounter Jesus himself. The point he was trying to drive home is that you just never know about people. It certainly begs the question, “do we treat those who are different from us the same way we treat those who are similar to us?

In other words, do we treat a homeless man as we would treat the business owner? Would we treat people of different color different than those of our own race? Only you can answer those questions. We’d like to think we would treat those each of those sets of people equally, but it’s difficult to know unless we have been “tested” in those areas.

The more we are like Christ, the more likely we are to treat all people fairly and equally.

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We Thirst

5 I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
    I thirst for you like a parched land. Psalm 143:5-6

In the physical world, when you are thirsty you do what you can to satisfy that thirst. You drink until you are no longer thirsty. You don’t drink too much; you just drink enough. An hour later you could be a bit thirsty again depending on your environment.

Through the night we become slightly dehydrated so many people pour some water and drink it immediately after they wake up.

We know what it’s like to be thirsty and to thirst for cool refreshing water. We know how much it takes to satisfy and how much is too much.

There are clear parallels in the spiritual world as well.

David thirsted for God, and so can we. Of course we are able to drink of the Living Water that He freely gives. We thirst for water throughout the day and into the night. Do we thirst for God in the same way? If so, what does it look like?

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Be a Blessing

3 The enemy pursues me,
    he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
    like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
    my heart within me is dismayed. Psalm 143:3-4

Some days are just like this. You get “beaten up” and ridiculed and frustrated and discouraged, sometimes in the same hour! It may not be your enemies doing it, but it sure seems that way.

It’s mildly comforting to know that the King of Israel also had those kinds of days. It’s not something that just happens to me and to you. We all experience these days.

Today you will see someone who is discouraged. How do I know this? Everybody gets discouraged.

Take the time to encourage that person in a meaningful way. Let them know you are praying for them. Be a blessing to those who are discouraged.

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A Cry For Mercy

1 Lord, hear my prayer,
    listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
    come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
    for no one living is righteous before you. Psalm 143:1-2

As we saw in the previous psalm, David continued to cry out for mercy. This time, though, he implored God to consider his righteousness as a basis for mercy. In other words, David was “arguing” that God’s divine righteousness demanded mercy. What does that mean exactly?

As a perfect judge, God knew who had faith in Christ, even for those who lived prior to Christ’s incarnation on earth. On that basis, David again implored God to have mercy.

There are people in your life who need the mercy of God, some who believe and some who don’t.

Choose one person today and pray for the mercy of God to be revealed in their lives. God still has mercy on the believing and unbelieving alike (Matthew 5:45).

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