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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Burning the candle at both ends?


I've been slandered unmercifully by the politicians, but my awe at your words keeps me stable.  I'm ecstatic over what you say, like one who strikes it rich. 
   I hate lies—can't stand them!—but I love what you have revealed.  Seven times each day I stop and shout praises for the way you keep everything running right.  For those who love what you reveal, everything fits—no stumbling around in the dark for them.  I wait expectantly for your salvation;       God, I do what you tell me.  My soul guards and keeps all your instructions— 
      oh, how much I love them!  I follow your directions, abide by your counsel; my life's an open book before you.
(Psalm 119:161-168 The Message)

I think there are times we think proudly to ourselves, "Whew!  Now, did you see how well I kept everything together today?"  We look back over our day, see the chaos of events we tackled and proudly assess the accomplishment as "ours".  In fact, we couldn't be farther from the truth!  The accomplishment of "stability" in our lives is really the result of the influence of the Word WITHIN!

We will endure slander - it is part of human nature.  We will be faced with lies - even if they are "half-truths", they are still lies!  The darkness will sometimes creep in like the setting of the sun is preceded by the dusky sky; at others, it will come with haste, making all seem rather bleak.  These are part of living - no one escapes these (even on a island by themselves!).

There are several points made in our passage - we'd call them Key Points - when we pay attention to them, we stand strong in the midst of slander, ferret out the truth in the lies, and see a spark of light in each moment of darkness.  

- Love what God reveals.  Don't take a casual approach to the revealing of God's will.  When God takes all the necessary time to get our attention, truly focusing us on what he is saying, we have an obligation to pay attention!  To our listening ear we need to add an obedient heart.  Often the biggest struggle of the will is in the emotional energy obedience requires!  Love begins with the struggle of the will - - we are choosing to let someone or something else influence our lives.  In this case, we are giving God this access!

- Stop and praise God.  In the busy days we sometimes don't take the time to maintain balance.  Balance is tough.  I was surprised when I looked into the dictionary to see the word "balance" with over 25 different definitions.  No wonder we get confused by "words" sometimes!  Here's just a couple you might want to consider when you are considering if you have "balance" in your life:

* Mental steadiness or emotional stability (no one really enjoys chaos, but even in the midst of it, we can enjoy mental steadiness)

* The power or ability to decide an outcome by throwing one's strength, influence, or support to one side or the other (the one we "side" with throughout the day really goes a long way determining our "balance"

* An adjustment of accounts (moving time, talent, treasure in order to keep them divided into equal "buckets" - not allowing one thing to over-consume any of these)

* To weigh in a balance (just remember the counter-weights we utilize to determine "balance" are not always "true" - we need to test the weight)

- In the waiting, don't forget to DO what God tells you.  We sometimes think waiting is a place of inactivity.  In fact, it is quite the opposite.  In long lines at the store, I often turn my attention to people-watching.  A little amusement comes in the observations of those who are "jockeying" for the shortest line.  Just remember - the shortest line doesn't always produce the greatest experience!  

- Guard, keep, and follow.  Guard what you allow to influence your life.  Keep your attention focused on truth.  Follow truth's direction.

We are almost at the end of our study of this lengthy psalm.  In keeping with any good "message", David is summarizing the hope he has in living a life directed by God, obedient to his will.  Let us live in such a way so we will be able to do the same as we "summarize" our day!