Tuesday, March 25, 2008

O Lord, Do Not Delay!

There are some big decisions going on in our lives right now: what job should we move towards (there are several options), should we visit Kentucky in April, what will our future be, am I called to teach in a college or preach in a church or how do I do both, and can I get Wendy a new camera? Some of these are big, and some are small, but all of them feel weighty when we are trying to live for the Lord and be holy with our lives. TBI needs about $2M in the next month or so to construct out the building we have been given and launch a bigger vision. That is big. Is it inappropriate to ask the Lord to be quick with his decisions?

Psalm 70 speaks to this. Verse 1 says, “Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!" Now, one might argue that David is speaking about deliverance from his enemies. That is true, yet do we not all have enemies of one form or another? (See comments in the last post.) What was the biggest difficulty in David’s life that he cried out to God about? It was his enemies. David cried out about his front burner issues, and I think that we should also cry out to God about our front burner issues. Just because we are not being sought by enemies “who desire our hurt” (Ps 70:2), does not mean that we can not cry out to God about our financial woes, our career woes, our family woes. We can and should cry out to God in all these things.

And, if we take David as our example, we can also beg God to be quick about it. It is not necessarily disrespectful to God to ask him to hurry, as long as our heart is not angry or presumptuous. Instead, like David, we should be poor and needy. David wrote, “But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay! (Ps 70:5).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Enemies and Life Struggles

After I finished thinking about God hearing us, I thought about other things in the Bible that could be comparable. Specifically I thought about how David wrote Psalms about getting relief from his enemies. If stars (see previous entry) can be compared to people, then certainly enemies can be compared to various life struggles and battles. In other words, the stress of getting a project at work completed is no less mundane than protection for enemies seeking our life. Not that enemies are mundane, but David’s work week and our work week are similar in that we both trudge off to do battle with something.

Then I read Psalm 55 in my quiet time after I got to work. “Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, because of the noise of my enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, an din anger they bear a grudge against me” (Ps 55:1-3).

We can bring our mundane troubles with curriculum or networks or people or studies to God in the same way as David cried out to God about his enemies. This is really basic, but this morning it seemed very profound to me.

Stars and Prayer

I have been stressed at work lately, and this morning as I drove in I attempted to pray. As I looked at the masses of people in cars around me, I wondered how could God possibly hear me. Why would he hear me? I am so small, so insignificant in relation to the rest of the world and all that is going on. There are seven million people in the greater Twin Cities area. There are six plus billion people in the world. There are governments, presidents, ambassadors, rebels, and corporate CEOs. How and why could or would he possibly listen to me as I drive in to work on I-35W in Minneapolis, MN?

Then a text from Isaiah 40 came to mind. "To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these [stars]? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing" (Isa 40:25-26).

There are hundreds of millions of galaxies in our universe and there are likely hundreds of millions of universes. That means there are billions of stars. Stars that all have a name. Stars that all emit light in various ranges of the spectrum. Stars that emit various radio and magnetic and electric and light waves that create a symphony to those that have ears to hear and eyes to see. Who has those eyes to see and ears to hear? Who knows them all by name?

The God of the Bible. And if he knows all those stars, who have names and are not missing, then I can be confident he hears my prayers.

Father God, please strengthen my faith in you today. Grant me eyes to see and ears to hear your wondrous works. Amen.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

John 10:1-21

Click below to listen to a recent lesson I taught on John 10:1-21. There has been a lot of problems with audio lately, as the first ten minutes of this teaching did not get recorded. The audio picks up ten minutes in, after a review of John 9:1-5, at 9:6.

Would We Recognize a Good Shepherd if We Saw One?