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Posts tagged with: Psalms

A shepherd with a flock of sheep on a green rolling hill

Prayers for Workers: Lord, Lead Me in Right Paths

The “right paths” or “paths of righteousness” are not limited to what we might call the “religious” or the “personal” spheres of life. Rather, they are all-inclusive. The promise of Psalm 23 is that God will lead us in “the right direction” in every part of life (following the wording of The Message). Thus, the “right paths” of this psalm have everything to do with our daily work: the actions we take, the decisions we make, the words we speak.

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A shepherd with a flock of sheep at the foot of a mountain

God the Worker . . . Yes, It’s Personal

I need to remember that the same God who spoke the Milky Way into existence is the God who is my shepherd, who cares about me personally and who actually works for my benefit. This glorious God is also your shepherd, the one who is with you in the darkest valley, who protects you and provides for you.

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A younger woman in a mask showing something on an iPhone to an older woman

Bless the Lord at All Times

In these uncertain times, we need the Lord most of all. But we also need each other. Yes, our ability to be physically together may be limited because of the coronavirus. But we mustn’t let this stand in the way of our relational interaction. Maybe we can figure out how to be in the same space with appropriate social distancing. Maybe we can use digital technology to bridge the relationship gap. Maybe we can rely on old standbys, like telephones and even letters. However we do it, let’s take advantage of the freedom we have to share with each other our struggles and victories, our sorrows and joys. As we do, may we bless the Lord in all of the times of life.

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A hand holding a pocket watch

Your Times are in God’s Hand

Oh, I can sometimes pretend as if I’m the boss of my time. But then something comes along to jar my consciousness—something like a pandemic, for example. All of a sudden what I had been expecting to do with my time is turned upside down. And, in spite of how much I read about the coronavirus and its implications, I really don’t know what’s coming next . . . and neither do you.

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Mark with his father as a toddler

Trust in God at All Times

What does it mean to trust God? The Hebrew verb translated here as “trust” (batach) means “trust, feel safe, be confident, rely upon.” I’m reminded of how I felt as a young boy when my dad would carry on his shoulders.

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A hand reaching up from out of choppy water

Prayers for Workers:
Learning to Lament

If we believe that God wants to teach us to pray through the Psalms, then it’s clear God wants us to learn to lament. Though the biblical psalms reflect a wide variety of themes and genres, you can’t read these inspired prayers without encountering lament after lament after lament. The psalm writers felt freedom before God to be honest about all they thought and felt. At times they would rejoice with an abandon that few of us experience. Yet, at other times, the psalmists would pour out their sadness before the Lord, sharing freely their grief, their impatience, and even their anger.

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A lighthouse above the waves

The Myth of Certain Times

For those of us whose worldview is shaped by Scripture, the myth of earthly certainty should not bewitch us. In Psalm 46:2-3, for example, we read: “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” This psalm assumes the inconstant nature of the world in which we live. Moreover, we rightly infer that the continually changing nature of the physical world reflects what is also true in our cultural world. Things are in flux. Things are unstable. In such a world, certainty is a myth.

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A father and child standing on a bridge

Prayers for Workers:
When Your Leadership is Thriving

As good things happen in your work, rejoice in God’s blessings, recognizing his grace at work in your life.

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A woman seated on the floor praying

Prayers for Workers:
When You’re Afraid You Might Lose Your Job

God’s grace is rich beyond measure. God’s grace is there for you in every circumstance. God’s grace is there for you right now.

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Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt van Rijn

Leadership Praise – Psalm 145: Recovering Goodness

If we aren’t careful, goodness can easily be distorted into a short moral checklist.  Depending on our cultural context and political persuasion, the checklists may differ.  Still, we each have one.  And, it’s easy to confuse our list with what it means to be “good.”  Today’s psalm helps us to recover a biblical understanding of goodness.  It does so, not by talking about goodness as an idea, but by describing the ways in which God is good.

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Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet by Ford Madox Brown (1852-6)

Leadership Praise – Psalm 145: Reimagining Greatness

One of the dangers of great leadership responsibility is that we live in our own echo chamber.  Many around us, sometimes out of deference and respect, tell us how great we are, and are reluctant to point out our limitations or weaknesses.  Learning to cultivate a healthy awe for God’s greatness is a helpful antidote to a preoccupation with our own.

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a man sitting with open palms surrendered upward

Leading in a Crisis: Let Go and Know God

Being still includes but isn’t only a matter of quietness. Yes, it’s slowing down our rushing minds. It’s calming our racing hearts. It’s listening rather than chattering. It’s praying rather than pontificating. But it is also entrusting to God that which is God’s and doing only that which God entrusts to us. Even then, “being still” is making ourselves available to the Spirit of God at work in and through us. It’s surrendering our will as we seek the will of God.

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pine trees in a desolate field

Leading in a Crisis: God’s Astounding Desolations

Thus, Psalm 46 reminds us that disease, including the COVID-19 pandemic, is not what God ultimately intends for our world. The future peace of God includes both health and flourishing. We who lead should at all times be strengthened and moved by a vision of God’s kingdom. During a crisis, we need this vision even more than usual because it’s so easy to become focused only on our challenges, disappointments, griefs, and fears. We can lose sight of what God is doing and will do in the world. Yet, when we keep this vision in mind and heart, when it animates our leadership, then we’ll be able to lead both wisely and resiliently.

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Creation of Adam by Michelangelo (1512)

Reflections from the Epicenter

We pride ourselves on being resourceful, intelligent, and self-sufficient people.  But if there’s one thing that’s become clear through this pandemic, it’s how vulnerable and dependent we are as human beings and as a human society.  Despite our desire to be (or at least appear to be) invulnerable and independent, we are clearly otherwise.

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a woman calmly swimming through deep dark water

Leading in a Crisis: Don’t Panic . . . Trust God

Certain leaders, those in the military, law enforcement, public health, or medicine, may sometimes face actual life or death leadership challenges. Most of us will not. But we might still feel deathly panic when things entrusted to us go terribly wrong or when we’re faced with genuine dangers, like the coronavirus. When this happens, we need to catch ourselves and cry out to God for help. We need to remember God’s faithfulness and trust to him both our situations and ourselves.

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