Friday, June 26, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.
Trials and obstacles are part and parcel of living in this fallen world. These days it can seem like bad news is lurking just round the corner - widespread financial collapse, rising unemployment, H1N1 virus, turmoil in the Middle East, etc... Maybe your concerns are much closer to home - perhaps you're concerned about holding on to your job or you have mounting personal debt or you're dealing with a chronic illness in your family.
In times like these, it's easy to locate our confidence in the wrong place. Perhaps Psalm 33 was written in response to such mounting pressure. If you're fighting a battle, it makes all the sense in the world to put your confidence in the size and abilities of your army. It wouldn't seem altogether unreasonable to hope in the battle tested assets that might secure victory.
Yet, the Psalmist reminds himself and us of the folly of such thinking. Despite conventional wisdom, no king is saved by such things. He looked beyond the means of salvation to the source of salvation - the LORD, the eternal God who is able and willing to rescue those who fear Him.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
When you encounter the next trial or challenge - whether at work or at home, whether great or small, where do you plan to locate your hope?
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Why do these conflicts occur? James 4 offers one possible reason -
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.
James is saying that many fights and quarrels arise from selfish desires and from inner conflict within our hearts.
But that's not the case for every conflict. Sometimes, one or all parties in a conflict may well-intended, yet may respond sinfully in other ways. For instance, in arguing for our position on an issue, are we being dismissive of other points of view? Are we failing to acknowledge the contribution of our colleagues? Worst still, could we be sinfully judging our co-workers by assuming ill-motive on their part?
How should we respond? Better yet, how should I respond in the midst of my situation? Here are a few questions I’m pondering for my part –
How can I speak more gently when all my tendencies are to the contrary?
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
How can I encourage my co-workers by speaking hope rather than despair?
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
How have I contributed to conflict by my lack of leadership or poor example?
How does this challenge help me see more clearly my insufficiency and spur me on to count on the sufficiency of Christ?