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Sunday, February 9, 2014

You awake?

If you have ever had one of those mornings where yours eyes open and you just feel like celebrating Jesus, you can totally relate to the psalmist when he proclaims he is "ready from head to toe" to get the day started with Jesus. For the most part, if we were totally honest here, our days don't begin this way very often!  In fact, we awake to the thoughts of how much laundry has to be done, the groceries we need to get later in the day, what might happen at work with a particular issue which has been brewing, and whether the blemish we noted on our chin just prior to going to bed last night has erupted into a total "Mount Vesuvius"!  Ordinary life breaks in on our thoughts pretty doggone quickly and we find ourselves carried away in the planning, fixing, and doing of the day.  We might want to challenge these "ordinary" life moments a little, though - because a day started with Jesus is going to make it an "extraordinary" day instead!

I’m ready, God, so ready, ready from head to toe.  Ready to sing, ready to raise a God-song:  “Wake, soul! Wake, lute! Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!” Give us help for the hard task; human help is worthless.  In God we’ll do our very best; he’ll flatten the opposition for good.  (Psalm 108:1-2;12-13 MSG)

One thing I realize in my own life is the tendency to see the hard tasks ahead, but the sometimes stubborn over-reliance upon my own abilities to sort things out and get them handled in a timely manner.  I doubt I am in this alone - for most of us struggle with this, even if it is to a smaller degree than someone else.  What our psalmist is directing us to do is to "focus" - rein in those immediate thoughts about how much needs to be done, what effort you will have to exert to get it all done, etc. and focus our total attention on Jesus - even if it is just for a few moments.  First, he calls for his soul to awaken (mind, will and emotions).  Mind engaged, not in figuring it all out, but in paying attention.  Will submitted to the will of Jesus - not our plans first, then whatever we have left over goes to Jesus, but Jesus' plans first, and we won't have stuff left over!  Emotions carried into his presence rather than carried away by all the rising stress caused by trying to get all our ducks in order ourselves.

Then he calls for the "lute".  Most of us aren't musicians, but we can listen to music which will lift our spirits and encourage our focus.  My radio is set for the Christian station each morning - so as the alarm clicks on, I begin to hear the soft tones of worship.  It centers me for just a few moments while I come into the state of being fully awake and just prior to mind becoming fully concentrated on the thoughts of the day.  I also awaken long before the sun rises, so I don't usually "call for the sun" to rise, but I get the idea - our psalmist is eager to have the day begin.  We often have this same eagerness, but we skip out on the other two "awakenings" which we really need in order to keep balance in our lives!

Most importantly, we see the petition to receive God's help for the hard tasks ahead - noting quickly the insufficiency of human help.  Don't get the psalmist wrong - God may send his help in the form of another human being to come alongside and assist with the work at hand, but the psalmist isn't relying upon human effort alone!  He is turning his focus to God, asking God to direct the steps he takes, and to sort out the tasks in the order they are to be completed.  It is likely that this psalm was written prior to going into battle, calling upon God to give them wisdom as they move in to take the city they have in their sights.  If you have ever been in battle, you know the planning which goes into the maneuvers.  Nothing is haphazard - it is thought through with great care because life depends on it!  Our psalmist might just be reminding us of the need to have God help us "think through" things before we launch head first into them - because our life does indeed depend on it!

Our "very best" is a result of this focus - this centering of our attention on Jesus and our willingness to wait upon him for the plans he wants to set in motion.  I don't know about you, but I don't start out each day thinking if I can just make it through with "mediocre" outcomes, then I will feel pretty good when I lay my head upon the pillow again that night.  In fact, I pretty much count on doing my "very best" - anything less is just not what I desire. Somewhere along the way, our psalmist has learned the secret of being able to accomplish our "very best" - it is in Jesus.  We don't get to "very best" alone - we need his oversight and direction.  So, what do you see different about how you might start your day tomorrow?  Oh, wait - what about today? Sure, it may have already begun and you may be well underway by the time you read these words, but it isn't too late to just stop, awaken your soul to Jesus, and center on him just a moment.  Just sayin!