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God has been gracious to me again and again, delivering me from the messes I make, giving me hope when I feel hopeless, and working away at helping me to become more like Christ. For God’s amazing, tenacious grace, I am most grateful. Yet I am eager for more of God’s grace in my life. I yearn for revival.
Jesus invites us into the house and household of God, the family of God. We can accept this invitation now, even as we await a greater fullness of family life in the future. You and I have the opportunity to be brothers and sisters in the family of God, beloved children of our heavenly Father. In this sense, we can be at home with the Lord today.
Psalm 83 begins with a bold request: “O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God.” This is one of scores of places in the Psalms where the psalmist does not hold back from demanding something of the Almighty. This is not neat, tidy prayer, but gut-wrenching, heart-yearning, no-holds-barred communication with God.
Would you like to live in God’s country? I imagine you would. I would too. But where exactly is God’s country? Plenty of people think they can answer that question, because they claim to live in God’s country… The truth, according to Psalm 82, is that every country on earth is, in some sense, God’s country. Verse 8 reads, “Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.”
Do you believe that you usually know what’s best for your life? Do you make choices based on dubious but bold confidence in yourself and your own judgments? Or, do you seek God’s truth and walk in God’s ways? Do you choose to follow the Lord, even when his guidance contradicts your own hunches? When it comes right down to it, do you really believe that you know what’s best for your life?
As with our physical bodies, our interior life has a core set of “spiritual muscles” that are shaped by personal disciplines and practices. How we develop or neglect them profoundly affects our life and leadership… Today’s text from the Psalms is a great encouragement for us to give renewed attention to strengthening the interior core of our leadership. How might we go about that?
Scripture regularly associates God with joy, exuberant joy… But joy is not the only emotion connected to our relationship with the living God. Sadness also shows up in Scripture. In Psalm 80:5, for example, the psalmist laments: “You have fed [your people] with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.”
I believe God values coherence (integrity) of his followers as they express God’s goodness in their work and lives. The most logical thing for the Christian is for their leadership to express love for God and love for others, leading to a joyful life that is deeply coherent.
As I noted in a prior reflection, Psalm 3 is a prayer of David from one of the darkest days of his reign as King of Israel. I find it remarkable that in the heart of his prayer, David says, “I lie down and sleep.” Frankly, that seems a bit odd to me. Why would David sleep in a crisis? And, even if he needed to sleep, why would that be important enough for him to work into his prayer? Isn’t sleep a mere necessity that gets in the way of our important work of leadership?
Evidently, it wasn’t for David.
As Christian leaders it is easy to become overwhelmed with the busyness of life. There’s not enough time in a day to accomplish every task. Not enough space in one lifetime to complete the Great Commission. As a Christian, I often feel overcome by the pressures of trying to reveal Christ’s character to the world on a daily basis. Am I fulfilling my call? And do I balance being truly present in the lives of my family members on a consistent basis? How do I accomplish all of my tasks before the 5pm deadline? These thoughts bombard my mind constantly, increasing my anxiety. Most days, time feels like a commodity that constantly eludes my grasp. Yet in the midst of this calamity, I often hear a still small voice that says, “Be still”. When I am feeling pushed to take more action, join more movements, or pursue more ideals, I hear again the quiet whisper to “Be still”.
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