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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You're Invited


1 God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? 
How do we get on your guest list? 
 2 "Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. 
 3-4 Don't hurt your friend, don't blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. 
 5 Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, 
         never take a bribe.  You'll never get blacklisted if you live like this."
(Psalm 15 The Message)

David was a man after God's own heart.  I often consider what this really means.  It seems that my "heart" can often betray me - so I am reluctant to "follow it" sometimes!  In all the practicality of day-to-day life, David takes a little time to listen to what God tells him.  He asks God a question, then he actually stops long enough to listen for God's answer.  I think that is what it is like to have a heart after God - not that we always make the right choices and live 100% perfectly, but that we give God the central place in our lives.

When David stopped long enough to listen for God's reply, he heard some very practical answers to his question.  His question was simple:  "Hey, God, how can a man be assured that he has a place in heaven?"  I think we may have asked that question a time or two ourselves.  He wants to get it straight in his mind.  That is the way most of us like to live - get the facts and then we know what it is that we are expected to do.  I have had an opportunity lately to lay out what my expectations for another individual are - in turn, that individual will lay out the expectations that are in their mind for me.  This gives us an understanding upon which to operate in our relationship.

Here's what David learned when he posed that question:

- Walk straight, act right, tell the truth.  Easier said than done, right?  Walk straight means that we set our eyes on the goal and we don't take our eyes off that goal.  I watched a cute movie the other day in which the three women were overweight, so they each had a "goal" that they kept in mind to motivate them to remain faithful to their diet and exercise plan.  For one, it was a bikini.  Now, that would not be my goal, but it worked for her!  Every time she thought about "veering off-course" in her plan, she pulled out the bikini and remembered why she was on the course in the first place.  That's how it is in our daily walk - sometimes we need reminders about where it is we are headed and then we just need to refocus a little.  Action is an outcome of focus.  Where we direct our attention, we direction our affection!  When we are honest with ourselves first, we find it easier to be honest with God and others!

Don't hurt your friend, don't blame your neighbor; despise the despicable.  Okay, we probably find it easier to be motivated to not hurt a friend than we are to do most things.  Yet, in reality, we sometimes do hurt those we love the most.  When we do, we have an obligation to make things right.  I am learning to live "current" in relationships - not toting a whole lot of "baggage" from past mistakes and missteps in relationships around with me.  Deal with it, get forgiveness, then work through the restoration.  That is how God planned for us to live!  Blame is so easy to assign when things are just not going well in relationship.  Have you ever said, "Well if he/she had not said/done that, then I wouldn't have responded this way?"  If you have, you are probably playing the blame game.  It is always easier to shift the blame than to assume it ourselves!

Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe.  It sometimes costs us dearly to keep our word.  Especially when we have made a promise without really considering the cost!  I think that is why scripture warns us to not make a vow indiscriminately.  We can regret our vows when we do.  Living well involves us working well - applying ourselves, getting the job done, and doing it on the up-and-up.  We cannot always be motivated for the "what's in it for me" mentality.  We need to move beyond that to really doing things because it is the "right thing" to do!

So, when we actually stop long enough to listen, these may be the kind of answers we get from God.  The invitation today is to take time to really listen for the answers to your questions.  God delights in giving us direction - we have to be just as delighted in waiting upon him for that direction!  I have a friend that will come by the office periodically, notepad in hand, with the announcement, "You are on my list today!"  I humorously reply that I hope it is her "nice" list and not her blacklist!  I think that is how we often approach God's invitation to sit at his feet - we wonder if we are on his blacklist!  Just know that God's grace is sufficient to always keep us on his "nice list"!  Heed his invitation today - you might be surprised at the answers you receive!