My Strength

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, Lord, my strength. Psalm 18:1

My strength when I am weak.
My strength when I feel strong.

My strength when I can’t go on any longer.
My strength when I can go the distance.

My strength when my eyes fail me.
My strength when I have 20/20 vision.

My strength in the storm.
My strength in the bright sunshine.

My strength when I am needy.
My strength when I need nothing.

The paradox of these statements is that we know clearly when we need His strength. It’s the times we think we don’t need that strength that we need it the most, for when we rely on our own strength, we’re doomed to fail.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

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Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
    with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
    from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
    may their children gorge themselves on it,
    and may there be leftovers for their little ones.
As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
    when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. Psalm 17:13-15

Some people love confrontation. They love the thought of challenging people and situations, and of course they love the end results: a resolution.

Others, however, dislike confrontation because it’s messy and painful and “in your face.” They’d much rather a situation go unresolved than to deal with the immediate pain and messiness.

But it’s interesting in these verses because David is asking God to confront his enemies. Why? If David had confronted them, he wouldn’t make it out alive. His enemies were out for blood.

Sometimes that’s the only way we have of confronting people: through God. I doubt it’s God’s preferred method of confrontation (because God is the God of reconciliation among other characteristics), but when situations become such that face-to-face or phone-to-phone confrontations are impossible, going through God is an option. If confrontation would endanger you, it’s the only option.

In our cloistered and private world we find ourselves in, it would be far too easy to pray (for God to confront) and not confront, but I believe God would like us, as far as it is possible, to live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:8).

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Cure for A Callous Heart

They close up their callous hearts,
    and their mouths speak with arrogance.
They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
    with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
They are like a lion hungry for prey,
    like a fierce lion crouching in cover. Psalm 17:10-12

We meet a lot of people with callous hearts. Perhaps we don’t use the word ‘callous’ that much but bitter, hardened, indifferent, cold, cool, and mean-spirited all have a similar meaning. If we’re not careful, we too can become callous.

What separates the callous heart from the gracious, caring heart? A lot of things come to mind but one that stands out is keeping short accounts. What I mean by that is the ability to deal with hurts and offenses quickly. Sometimes those hurts are ongoing and are impossible and impractical to deal with quickly. Sometimes, though, we want (or worse, like) to “stew” in the juices of bitterness and callousness. After all, you’ve been hurt and it’ll serve that person right if something bad happens to them. Sound familiar?

The 80s Christian group Petra wrote lyrics that suggest a remedy:

Don’t let your heart be hardened – don’t let your love grow cold
May it always stay so childlike – may it never grow too old
Don’t let your heart be hardened – may you always know the cure
Keep it broken before Jesus, keep it thankful, meek, and pure

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Losing the Magic

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
    you who save by your right hand
    those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
    from my mortal enemies who surround me. Psalm 17:6-9

Joy to the World, the Lord is come….
And wonders of His love, and wonders of His love…

The festive Christmas song, Joy to the World, states: “Show me the wonders of your great love”

What does that mean exactly?

What are the wonders we sing so much about?

That’s the thing, as we grow old, we lose the magic of it all.

  • Recall as a child looking up into a starlit night and marveling at the sight.
  • We didn’t know anything at all but we did know it looked cool to see those speckles of light.
  • We used to marvel at a mound of red ants.
  • We used to be intrigued about how a buttefly flew.
  • And we used to ponder often why an almighty God would leave the task of changing the world with people who forget so easily His wonders.

Pray and ask God to help Him restore the wonderment you once had when it was all new and exciting. What we see and experience is truly a wonder of His love.

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Clear Consciences

Though you probe my heart,
    though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
    my mouth has not transgressed.
Though people tried to bribe me,
    I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
    through what your lips have commanded.
My steps have held to your paths;
    my feet have not stumbled. Psalm 17:3-5

If you are consistently going to sleep with a clear conscience, you are well on your way to a peaceful life.

Even cynic and humorist Mark Twain thought that way: Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

So, what is keeping you from a clear conscience? What changes, what relationships, what habits and what thought patterns do you need to change to have a clear conscience?

There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. -French Proverb

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