Skip to main content

Open invitation

God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list?  "Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. "Don't hurt your friend, don't blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. "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)

David stands as a great example of how it is we are to communicate with God. He certainly doesn't seem to have a lot of preconceived pretense in his "discussions" with God. It isn't rehearsed or all that formal. He is conversant with God in a casual, relaxed manner - allowing God to reveal things to him as he just opened up his heart to God and then listened. David asks a question that I suppose many have asked over the years: How does someone get welcomed into God's presence? If anyone is ever curious about that truth, God isn't going to turn away, but he is going to respond to that curiosity. God gives him a list of fourteen characteristics that "stand out" in a man's character that makes that man "stand out" in God's eyes - things that are 'built in' the more we spend time with Jesus in thoughtful and prayerful discussion. Let's briefly look at each:

Walk straight - suggests that you are not stagnant in your walk. The walk is characterized by straightness - it has directed purpose, an aim in mind - the movement is not just movement for movement's sake. That movement or aim is God's best being achieved in one's life - single-minded focus that makes all movement purpose-driven and heading toward the target.

Act right - when our walk is directed purposefully toward the things God desires of each of us, it becomes easier to have our action be affected by the very goal we are directed toward. Action is always affected by the aim of our heart and mind - if it is rightly focused on God, we tend to act more consistently in accordance with his love and grace.

Tell the truth - look at the progression here: First, your aim in life needs to be Christ-centered. Then, your choice of action is affected by the fact that Christ is at the center and self is no longer the main object of your satisfaction. In turn, you begin to see your speech (words) be affected. The words we speak take on meaning and become life-giving when our aim is right. That is what truth is and what it produces - it is a well-spring of life to those that hear it.

Don't hurt your friends - did you know that one of the easiest ways we hurt each other is in the carelessness of our words? Our actions and our words can both hurt, but most people will be quick to tell you that words cut deeply. Actions may be more easily forgiven, while words are not quickly forgotten. Guard well your words. 

Don't blame your neighbor - we may not like it, but we are to own up to our behavior and don't shift blame to others. It is easy to blame-shift, but it takes a strength of character to say, "It was me; I had a part in that outcome." It is this admittance of blame that often begins the road to healing after an offense has been felt.

Despise the despicable - the mean, vile things are to be despised - akin to 'hated'. It is easier to despise a "scumbag", but a little more challenging to despise the sin that motivates the man to act as he does. It is never God's intent that we throw the sinner out with the sin - we are to embrace the sinner, and despise the sin. Oftentimes we get that backwards - but when we keep the right focus on this one, we find the sinner draws closer because they are intrigued by our openness to embrace even the unlovely.

Keep your word even when it costs you - and it WILL cost you to be true to your word! We use our words sometimes a little too freely and promise what we really did not intend to provide. God asks us to only promise what we can provide - words often commit us beyond our capacity or capability. Words like, "I will NEVER...." are rarely achievable, nor truthful. We need to learn to be realistic in our commitments - both to God and to others. In so doing, it becomes easier to keep our words.

Make an honest living - we all have a contribution that is to be made to society, family, and local community. Whatever that is, we need to engage in it with a focus on contributing what we are capable of contributing. The thing we might contribute that is most valuable is our time.

Don't take a bribe - this really goes hand in hand with making an honest living. Honesty and upright conduct should be the hallmarks of all we engage in.

If our conduct is reflective of his actions within our life, we are truly blessed individuals. Don't get me wrong - you don't need to be perfect - just moving in that direction! God welcomes those with a right focus - the rest is an outcome of focus. So, come right on into God's presence - he welcomes those who welcome his presence into their lives! Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…