A Fleeting Life

4 “Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure. Psalm 39:4-5

If woke up every morning for a month and asked this question, how would it change the way we live?

  • Would we waste time or find more productive uses of it?
  • Would we ignore that phone call from a friend because we just didn’t want to talk?
  • Would we get angry at the annoyances of our life?

I think we know the answers to those questions (and countless others that could be asked). So, here’s the challenge for the month of July: ask the Lord to show you your life’s end and the number of your days. Ask that He would reveal himself throughout the day to you with the answers to those questions.

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Gathering Thoughts

2 So I remained utterly silent,
    not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
3     my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue: Psalm 39:2-3

Prior to David making a profound request about his life’s work and meaning, he considers carefully what he’ll say. He’s, as they say, gathering his thoughts. We don’t know if it was an hour or a week that he remained silent and thought about his next words. It’s apparent that he not only that about what he would say, but as he mulled it over, it eventually had to come out.

Our tendency is to blurt out what we’re thinking without considering the consequences. It’s a tough balance between stating what needs to be said and considering what should be said. Our speech won’t be as profound as David’s was, but with a little more thought, our words can be much more “measured” and considerate. Blurting our immediate thoughts is rarely helpful.

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Watching and Observing

1 I said, “I will watch my ways
    and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
    while in the presence of the wicked. Psalm 39:1

Whether we know it or realize it, the “world” is watching us. They are watching us for authenticity and realness. They know to know that what we have to offer them is real and not just some gimmick.

So what does this mean? It means that we need to especially guard our tongue. It’s so easy to become complacent and to think that what we say will just have no real effect on how others think about us. But as I stated above, people are watching us – perhaps not consciously but certainly subconsciously.

Are you building others up?
Are you using foul language?
Are you criticizing your bosses?
Are you badmouthing coworkers?

Oddly enough, those friends and relatives “watching” us don’t expect perfection. Oh they may gleefully tell us when we mess up, but deep inside they’re rooting for us to succeed. They will probably never say it. but the point remains, they’re carefully observing us.

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A Daily Foxhole Prayer

21 Lord, do not forsake me;
    do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
    my Lord and my Savior. Psalm 38:21-22

Most might consider this a “foxhole prayer,” something that is prayed as the bullets are flying overhead in the heat of a battle.

The wise, however, would do well to pray this daily, as you’re getting out of bed, just after you arrive at work, and when you’re on the roads every day. We certainly need the help every day, and not just when the battles are the greatest.

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19 Many have become my enemies without cause;
    those who hate me without reason are numerous.
20 Those who repay my good with evil
    lodge accusations against me,
    though I seek only to do what is good. Psalm 38:19-20

Spiritually speaking, it is the enemy’s job to oppose you. To claim it’s unfair is to miss the point completely. It’d be like NBA greats Kobe Bryant or Lebron James telling the coach that every time they try to score, there are five very tall men who are doing their utmost to stop them. They’re supposed to try to stop them! It’s their job.

Similarly, it’s the enemy’s job to prevent you from doing good. Ministry and doing good isn’t easy as some have made it out to be. If you’re doing everything you know to be right, and you’re still coming up against roadblocks, rejoice! If you’re being opposed at every turn, it’s often a good sign that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

Keep doing what you’re doing. Relish in the mini-breakthroughs. God will bless you for your efforts.

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