Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent Readings for the Evening

Psalm 37: 19-40

Once again, the contrast of the future of those who do evil as opposed to those "blessed by the LORD", those who are righteous is quite stark.  The Wicked perish...vanish.  The Righteous inherit the land and are kept safe forever. But that's not all.

"Those who are blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land. Our steps are made firm by the LORD, when he delights in our way; though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the LORD holds us by the hand."

These words are such a comfort!  First, the psalmist speaks of how our steps aren't like walking on an icy path if we walk with the LORD (v. 23) , but rather, we walk firmly, holding his hand.  And even further, when we stumble ~ when things don't go exactly as they are intended ~ we don't fall flat on our faces (24) can rest assured that His Hands are strong enough to hold us up when the path seems slippery. 

I needed to hear that today, as we face yet again, decisions regarding our future.  I desire so much to for God to delight in my ways.  I desire so much to be a blessing wherever I am.  And I fear the stumbling that has happened, and yes, will happen.  But God's Word makes it clear that there is no reason to fear. 

He holds my hand.  (24)
He will not forsake the faithful ones. (28)
He will keep the righteous safe. (29)
Our future is secure. (29)
Our steps do not slip. (31)
He is the salvation of the righteous. (39)
He is our refuge in times of trouble (39)
The LORD helps. (40)

I can handle those promises.

Philippians 3: 12-21

This letter was written by Paul to the Church in Philippi.  I have thought in the dozens of times that I have read Philippians, that I am certain I was sitting on the front row.  It's like this letter speaks to me in ways that alot of other parts of Scripture do not at this point in my life.  And this very passage is so timely as we seem to be in yet another decision making process about our future in ministry.  And couple that with my continued time of physical healing the words of verse 12 are so timely:

Not that I have already obtained this ~ 'this' being knowing Christ (v. 11) ~ or have already reached the goal, but I PRESS ON to make it my own, because Jesus Christ has made me his own.

This is a firm and timely reminder that life is a journey. And as cliche as that sounds, there is no other way to speak of it.  We never reach the goal until God says we do.  And the joy in this journey, and purpose as well, is in the 'pressing on' toward it.  What a great way to live!  There is a goal, and we get to do the work of moving toward it! 

We strain toward the prize (v. 13) , leaving all the past stuff in our wake, and look forward to what lies ahead, in the end, finally, the prize... being a citizen of Heaven (v. 20), and there, being transformed from this humiliatingly frail and fragile shell of a human into the Children of God we are created to be.

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