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Psalms 8:1 & 9 (NIV)
1  O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
9  O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 
Today is Psalm 8 day.  By heart I know how Psalm 8 begins.  And I know how it ends.  This psalm is the threshold of worship.  Do I know who I’m talking to and about when I refer to God and pray or worship or sing or talk about Him?  His name speaks something to me.  When I say “God”, my heart knows I’m talking about the God of the Bible from one end to the other.  And when I say “Lord”, my heart knows Him!  When I say “Jesus”, my heart knows Him.  When I say “Holy Spirit”, my heart knows Him.  While I have only a vague comprehension or imagination of His majesty, when I say His “Name”, my heart knows a depth and reverence around the power and beauty and grandeur and excellence and might that no other name stirs up when I either think it or say it.  And until I have some comprehension and acceptance of the majesty of this Name and the Person it represents, I do not and cannot honor or worship or praise or respect or fear or live for Him.  The roadblock to worship is in dragging God down to my level and somehow thinking that He’s more like me than I’m like Him.  When I realize that He’s not like me – all carnal and base and so human and corrupted by the thinking I’m stuck in – but that He calls me up to be like Him – all chosen and glorious and Spiritual and pure – then my life shifts and I’m struck by His love and grace and mercy and I can’t help but allow the Spirit to work His mystery in my life to make me into exactly what and who He envisions me to be. 
Mmmmmm . . . O Lord, my Lord, how majestic is your name in my life, and, indeed, in all the earth. 
I can rest now. 



Proverbs 17:27-28 & Proverbs 18:2-6

The last two verses of Proverbs 17 always make me stop and do a little self-inventory . . . and that business of ‘talking’ flows on into chapter 18, with verse 6 giving warning to the fool that “his mouth invites a beating.”
I think I was born with words.  I’m not sure if I started talking early, but once I started talking, there was just no shutting me up.  My Spiritual gifting is as a pastor and teacher, and that calling requires words.  You may not feel particularly suited to your gifting, but I feel very comfortable in mine, thank you very much.  And there are the warnings about misuse and abuse.  For everyone that talks too much, there are those that don’t talk enough.  A wise man must talk, because I need to hear from his wisdom, and there’s no other way for him to communicate with me but with his words, spoken or written.  A fool must talk, because he’s driven to put his thoughts on external speaker, but I don’t need to hear from his foolishness.  Granted, I can learn from the foolishness of the foolish . . . often more about what not to do than what to do, but I can learn from them.  However, once I’ve learned my lessons from them, I really want to move on to more fruitful territory . . . and give my ears and mind a rest.  But I can never get enough of a truly wise man or woman.  Their words are music to my heart!  I store them up and they provide a tune to dance to!  Their words are cause for a party in my spirit, and I smile and take it in.  As I listen and ponder . . . and Solomon speaks to me . . . I determine that I don’t want to foolishly expend words, but I want to speak wisely, and keep silent wisely.  Not always easy, but always right.  Oh God, help! 



Proverbs 25:2  --  It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings.  NIV
There are times when I scratch my head about how God does things . . . as I’ve grown along I’ve come to, not only an acceptance of God’s ways . . . or how it looks like God has designed things to be, but also a deep peacefulness around His ways.  I’ve come to the place that I talk about my relationship with God as my walk with God, and doing things God’s way.  I’m reminded today that God sometimes doesn’t make it really easy to get my firm grip on His matters, but I’ve come to recognize that He doesn’t hide stuff so I can’t find it, but so that I’ll be purposeful about my search, my journey, my quest!  And I’ve made my decision that I’m committed and purposeful about this stuff.  And, as I search out Godly matters, I not only come to understand the issues better, but I also come to a perception of God’s glory itself!  The light, the brightness the source of really good . . . goodness/rightness!  I’m impatient, and I like things to be easy, but quality takes focus and time.  Understanding isn’t a simple plot in the story line of a make-believe story, but a real-life flow and how pieces fit to make the life flow better . . . not always easier, or simpler, or more fun, but better, and therefore it becomes simpler, and easier, and a lot more fun!  It takes time for the fun to show up sometimes, but as I live in that faith, and time passes, I find that the revelation is beautiful, and my life is really a lot more fun.  Being a person that was born with a deep appreciation for fun, I love the outcome of searching out a matter, and the finding of God’s glory makes me feel, not only like I’m having fun, but like I’m a king as well!



Proverbs 21:11  -- When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; when a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge.  NIV

My spiritual gifting is as a pastor and a teacher.  The term pastor is from Latin, and is a herdsman or shepherd.  So the task of a spiritual shepherd/pastor is to care for and watch over the flock, and the task of a teacher is to instruct/impart information, so that learning can take place in the pupil/earner/disciple/student.  As I move my way through life, and I encounter people in many different life situations, that sound like there is a need for some enlightening or need for improvement, I immediately fall into my pastor/shepherd mindset and want to watch over the situation and guide it to a best conclusion, and my teacher/instructor mode with the default belief that all we need here is just a little more information to provide better understanding or a course correction or new instruction or an attitude adjustment.  The problem is that not everyone is either ready to hear or willing to hear, and I have to back up a bit.  I also have to realize that there are some folks that cannot learn and will always resist caring for, and the best I can hope for is that someone standing by, observing the situation, will gain wisdom . . . at someone else’s expense.  I’d also like to believe I’m not the mocker that cannot learn from good, solid discipline, and that I’m the wise man who, when instructed in any manner, can and will gain knowledge.  At those junctures, when I listen, I’m always making good progress in my journeying process! 



Proverbs 17:4  --  A wicked man listens to evil lips;
a liar pays attention to a malicious tongue.  NIV
And now, for my second log . . . it’s important what and who I listen to.  My experience is that our universe is full of voices, and noises, competing for space to be heard.  And my ears are gonna hear something, and tune into something, and listen to what’s being said, and my mental capacity will put that stuff on some shelf or file in my brain, and my life will be affected by it.  Fact!
If I’m hearing Solomon correctly, and if he’s speaking truth, then what I listen to defines me more than I want to admit!  One mark of a guy who’s life is broken and spoiled is that he pays attention to lips that speak evil, wrong stuff, and a mark of the untruthful, deceitful person is that they pay attention/lean their ears toward a tongue that speaks mischievous things.  There’s a backward engineering reality that a person who listens to the wrong stuff will also say the wrong stuff and live the wrong way. 
I’m not saying that it’s always comfortable, but I find Solomon spends about as much time telling me what not to listen to as he does telling me positive stuff that I need to be paying attention to!  I need to pay as close attention to the warnings as I do to the wisdom I need to be incorporating in my life.

“Thank you, Solomon!”


Pastor's Log-0717-01

Take a look at Psalm 1 -

I’m making two posts to my logbook today – I’m revisiting the ‘why’ of my focus on God’s Word:  Psalm 1 is one of my guiding lights in life – I want to be blessed of God, fruitful, healthy and prosperous, and, I want to possess that confidence that God is carefully watching over me!  So, I don’t listen to some sources of counsel, and I stay off the path of some of life’s travelers, and I cannot relax with a certain type of attitude. 

Judgmental?  Well, just as I’ve learned to be discerning of what foods I enjoy indulging in, I’m also learning to be careful of what I take in intellectually, socially, and spiritually.  King David tells me that the process I choose to submit myself to determines the quality of the product I get for my effort.  i.e. I must be proactive, not only in what I choose to spend my time doing, but also what I choose not to spend my time doing.  It’s not enough to only choose what I won’t do, nor is it enough to choose what I will do.  I must proactively choose what I will spend my time doing, and whom I will spend that time with, and what I will not spend my time doing, and whom I will not spend time with!  These are critical choices!  I suggest one of the greatest contributors to failure in life can be traced back to faulty choices in these two areas.  We cannot afford to allow default processes to take over our choosing (or lack of choosing) process.  Note:  not choosing is a choice, even when it becomes a choice by default.

So, my further choice – after I choose to stay away from the influence of those three people in verse one – is where I will derive my pleasure, and where I will park my mind/heart/soul/emotion.  Verse two:  I find my delight in God’s demands on me, and my meditation (where I spend my mental and emotional energy) is in those same demands, and what they mean to me and how I apply them in my life.

My simple definition of delight (verse 2) is:  Finding pleasure because I recognize the value.  And of this form of meditation (verse 2) is:  Internal conversation.  So where I find my pleasure, and what I allow my mind to create self-talk around, are major determinants in whether or not God is carefully watching over me (verse 6).

My confession is that God is carefully and patiently watching out for me and over me.  That’s part of my story today!


Pastor's Log-0716-01

Proverbs 16:25
There is a way that seems right to a man,
but in the end it leads to death.  NIV
My focus today is a repeat of Proverbs 14:12.  These two pieces always stop me in my reading, because there’s something romantic about being sincere about my stuff.  How often do we think that if we’re just sincere, and mean well, and claim to not have any evil intent, that somehow what we’re doing is gonna work out ok?  How often have I heard well-meaning Christians hiding behind their lack of understanding, and making excuses for their difficult results of poor execution, because they say they meant well?!  Solomon shoots a hole in good intentions, and some belief that I’m doing ok, when the reality is that God’s Word – my Holy Bible – not only does not support my position, but it condemns my position/belief!  And, Solomon doesn’t pull any punches when he says my poor understanding may very well lead me down a destructive path . . .
Time to shift away from what I might think seems right to me, and focus on what God is actually saying!



Devo reading today is Proverbs 12

Proverbs 12:1  --  Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates correction is stupid.  NIV
My question today is around my tolerance for pain and pressure . . . because if I love knowledge, as I say that I do, and if I have a healthy aversion to stupidity, which I say that I do, then I must be willing to submit myself to a process that often demands more attention than is comfortable. 
The ‘discipline’ of the first phrase is instructive chastisement, and the ‘correction’ of the second phrase is corrective chastisement.  The first is submitting myself to the discipline of learning new things, and the second is submitting myself to the discipline of correcting/un-learning old things.  These two words carry a hard edge to them.  This is not grade school with a nice, gentle teacher trying to make learning fun for me.  This education is a step beyond.  This is what committed discipleship requires.  The life-giving quality of this level of learning takes discipline.  I recognize that my lead teacher is the Holy Spirit, and He has a team of teachers working with Him that are intent on bringing me to new levels of maturity. 
“Thank you, God, for not giving up on me!”



Devo reading yesterday was Proverbs 9
Proverbs 9:7-9  -- 

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult;
whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. 
8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you. 

9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;
teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.  (NIV) 
So, I’m asking myself:  “Do I want to be insulted, abused and hated, or do I want to be loved, as a contributor to someone’s wisdom and understanding?”  Since my spiritual gifting strengths are as a pastor and teacher, and my commitment to the Holy Spirit is to be a man of God, I will teach, rebuke, correct and train toward righteousness.  (see Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 3:16-17 & Matthew 28:19-20)
My personal application of these pieces of wisdom from Solomon is: 1) I will monitor how I dispense my gifting responsibilities, and I will limit them to those who will not be tempted to reject what I have to say; 2) I will monitor my own life, to make sure I’m not one of those ‘mockers’ that scoff at the wise input other gifted men and women would offer to me.  I want to be a lover of those who would teach, rebuke or correct me, so that I can become wise like my teachers!


St. Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day! A politically incorrect, exclusive, narrow holiday that celebrate lovers! I'm pretty narrow on the subject myself, and I wanna throw out a challenge to all you married folks - I challenge you to take advantage of one of our biggest holidays, when we do spend money and party, and quit griping about the commercialization of love, and just get on with letting your Love - that one who captured your heart - know just how much you are committed to loving them!

If you wanna celebrate on the cheap, make a card, buy one little flower, find one piece of chocolate, and get your lips wrapped around those three little words: "I Love You!" When we love someone, we're sharing God's heart with another person. God is love, and love is the one thing He's commissioned us to do, so it's our good fortune that on this one day it's officially so easy to express our love to the object of our affections! Git er done! Say it! "I Love You!" (Did that hurt?)

In the words of Billy Vera, I'm a "Hopeless Romantic"! I'm also a poet . . . sometimes . . . so I've been writing some poetry for Mary, and I'm making my own cards, with the help of PowerPoint and a color printer, so I'm having fun! She's not taking me out to dinner, so I'm gonna cook it up, and we're gonna celebrate. Yes, I broke down and bought a flower for her . . . two, actually . . . since she doesn't like wine, I don't have to share, but I did buy her a flower . . . did I mention that I actually bought her a flower?

Get on with it, and enjoy! Happy Valentine's day to all of you.
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