I think you’ll agree that the health of your eyes and good eyesight is of critical importance: Good vision helps you in every aspect of your life.
The same is true when you consider your spiritual life. Good eyesight is an essential to spiritual health, and poor eyesight can be devastating. In Psalm 119, there’s a verse that focuses on the object of your vision:
Turn my head and my heart to Your decrees
and not to sinful gain.
Keep my eyes from gazing upon worthless things,
and give me true life according to Your plans.
Verify Your word to Your servant,
which will lead me to worship You.
Instead of wasting your time on the worthless, invest it in the precious. Take a look at these “eyesight” verses:
- Psalm 19:8: The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
- Psalm 26:3: For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth.
- Psalm 33:18: Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, and on those who hope in His mercy.
- Psalm 34:15: The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.
I’ll close with Psalm 119:18, and I encourage you to make it your prayer for today: Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.
I am a frequent reader of the Psalms. They are a collection of Scripture that proclaim the faithfulness and goodness of God.
As I read Psalm 34 this morning, I thought of some Scripture in the New Testament that are companion verses:
- Psalm 34:3: Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
- Hebrews 10:24-25: Let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.
Did you notice the two words that are repeated in the two verses above? They are “let us.” These two words speak of the power of encouragement, and this to be the voice of a choir—not a solo performance.
In Ephesians 5, Paul said you should “Let God fill you with the Holy Spirit. When you are filled with the Spirit, you are empowered to speak to each other in the soulful words of pious songs, hymns, and spiritual songs; to sing and make music with your hearts attuned to God; and to give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done . . . The Spirit-filled life is not just for a special few; it is the normal Christian life, and it affects everything, including how we live in community and how we treat others at home (~The Voice).
When you reflect on the goodness of God, you can project a refrain of faithfulness by singing and making music in your heart. I encourage you to call or text a friend and share a Scripture or song with them. Do this and you will magnify God and exalt His name together.
Yesterday I walked by a table and, I heard part of a conversation in which one person said: “It’s a mute point.”
Mute means silent, and I have often made a point of being silent, and I have even pointed silently. I cannot, however remain mute about a key point of that conversation.
Mute and moot cannot be used interchangeably—they are not synonyms. Moot is used to refer to some item or point of discussion that is debatable, but of no practical value.
While moot points are often hypothetical in nature, making a point to be mute can have real value. In Psalm 46:10, there is a clear command to be mute: “Be still and know that I am God.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer expressed the importance of this principle in a letter to some friends: “Daily, quiet reflection on the Word of God as it applies to me becomes for me a point of crystallization for everything that gives interior and exterior order to my life.”
The words of Bonhoeffer serve as a commentary on God’s instructions to Joshua: “This set of instructions is not to cease being a part of your conversations. Meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to carry out everything that’s written in it, for then you’ll prosper and succeed (Joshua 1:8.”
Mother Teresa suggested that silence is an essential of practical Christianity: “The fruit of Silence is prayer. The fruit of Prayer is faith. The fruit of Faith is love. The fruit of Love is service. The fruit of Service is peace. “
I encourage you to take time out of your schedule for a mute point, so you can “be still” and bear fruit . . .
Some of my early childhood memories made their home in my mind while I lived on Residence Street. It was a small house across the street from Jefferson Elementary School.
I remember my kindergarten class that had a large slipper slide inside the classroom and the day an interesting visitor walked into class. It was Peaches, my Boston Terrier who had come looking for me.
Even when I was in kindergarten, I would think of a hundred different places I would rather be than in class. One day I poured my milk in my lap, just so I could walk home (across the street) and get a change of clothes.
I guess my favorite memory was Dad teaching me to ride my bike. He would run along behind me and hold on to the back of the bike as I pedaled. I would take a quick peak to see if Dad was still behind me—it was always comforting to see him and know he was there.
We can know the same thing about our Heavenly Father. He’s promised to never leave us, and we can also know:
- God stands guard over us: “God can guard you so that you don’t fall and so that you can be full of joy as you stand in his glorious presence without fault (Jude 24).”
- God’s strength is available to us: “The Lord is faithful and will strengthen you and protect you against the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3).”
- God encourages us: “God our Father loved us and by his kindness gave us everlasting encouragement and good hope. Together with our Lord Jesus Christ, may he encourage and strengthen you to do and say everything that is good (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).”
- God has an inheritance for us: “We have been born into a new life which has an inheritance that can’t be destroyed or corrupted and can’t fade away. That inheritance is kept in heaven for you, since you are guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed at the end of time (I Peter 1:4-5).”
Dad had a great smile, and I only need to close my eyes to see it again and to hear his clear voice shout words of encouragement: “You can do it son—keep pedaling!”
You can do it too. You may need a little help, but the God who is your guard; your source of strength; and, your source of encouragement is ready to give you a little push as you pedal your way through life.
When I woke up this morning, I was thinking of God and how He watches over us and cares for us. I realize there are those times of heartache, and we wonder where He might be, but life is not a Wizard of Oz experience. We can’t peak behind the curtain to see who is pulling the strings that form and fashion our lives.
If you think God is good and God is great in the wonderful moments, how great is your faith when pain causes you to doubt? In times of trials and temptations,I find comfort in knowing that God is the Someone watching over me:
- Chronicles 16:9: For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him
- Psalm 34:15: The eyes of the Lord are on those who do what is right and good. His ears are open to their cry.
- Proverbs 5:21: For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He ponders all his paths.
- I Peter 3:12: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Three quick thoughts from the verses above:
- God is always watching you.
- God is always ready to hear your prayers.
- God always has enough power to give you the strength you need to manage your situation.
At times I’ve prayed: “God I don’t understand the why and what-for of my situation, but I know that you know and I see that you see, so I’ll not fear because you hear–you are attentive to my prayers.”
I’ve never thought of myself as a gourmet chef, but when I need to I can prepare a decent meal. I also know that if you add too much of one ingredient and not enough of another, a recipe can be ruined.
When Peter wrote his second letter, his advice was to never add-a-vice to your life. Instead he advised people to add the right ingredients to their faith. He said a compliment of “good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love” is a good recipe for life (I Peter 2:5-11).
I encourage you to devise a plan that can de-vice you of your vices, and I advise you to add-a-vise of strength to your faith. When you add a cup of good character, and stir in some spiritual understanding, you might begin to smell the aroma of “passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love,” your life will have a sweet aroma that’s pleasing to God.
This is the time of year that fresh produce is being grown in the gardens around town. When the tomatoes ripen and the squash and zucchini are harvested, new recipes are tried as backyard chefs’ fire up their grills. The key ingredient to the success of these culinary endeavors is that special spice you add to the entrée as it simmers on the grill.
Is there a favorite spice you use when you cook? Spices influence and change the flavor of food. If you were the spice of life, how would your influence be experienced?
- Would it be felt as true compassion or random passion?
- Would you be experienced as a warming fire or dangerous and easily provoked ire?
- Would your presence be recognized as sweet encouragement or bitter discouragement?
The difference between a good meal and a bad meal can be the difference between the right spice and a bad substitute. If the recipe calls for sugar, you can’t expect to get good results if you substitute cayenne pepper.
The same is true will a spiritual counterfeit and a genuine servant of God. The influence of one is positive and the influence of the other is negative.
Jesus said that you should “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned (Matthew 7: The Message).”
As the spice of life, are you genuine or a counterfeit?
Daniel Kish may not be a muscle-ripped superhero, but as an echo-locator he has bat-like abilities. Even though he has been blind since he was 13 months old, “Kish navigates crowded streets on his bike, camps out in the wilderness, swims, dances and does other activities many would think impossible for a blind person (Discover Magazine).’
As a human echo-locator, Kish navigates his way through the darkness by using “audio cues given off by reflective surfaces in the environment (Discover Magazine).” This is much like the technique used by bats and dolphins.
Kish’s skill as an echo-locator is an ability we all have; however, we are so visually oriented, we are blind to its presence. To help people develop their echolocation skills, Kish says he is on a quest to help people learn to see with their ears.
Is it possible that we are so distracted by what we see that it handicaps our hearing? There are times that we need to turn a blind eye to the visually enticing and learn to echo-locate, so we can “hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Seeing what the world has to offer without hearing what God has to say can you get you into trouble. Eve is a good example: “When she saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate (Genesis 3:6).”
Learning how to echo-locate will help you fine tune your life, so you can hear the voice of God: “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; The voice of the Lord is full of majesty (Psalm 29:3-4).”
In a recent article in Christianity Today, an article chronicled an important change in Cambodia. A decade ago, this Southeast Asian country was a mecca of sex tourism, and many of the sex workers were only 15 years old or younger.
Cambodia has changed from being a nation of few laws and little social accountability to one that has established anti-trafficking police units in every province and a reporting hotline that is staffed by Christians.
When light dispels the shadows, it’s because Christians are embracing the mandate Jesus gave to the church: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).”
What dark corner of your world needs to be illuminated by the power of God’s love?
Any town of any size in the USA has some type of a gym or health club for the benefit of its citizens. Many Americans strive to develop or maintain a regimen that leads to and promotes good health.
According to information from Yahoo:
- 58 million Americans have a gym membership, but 67% of them never use their memberships.
- Health clubs have annual revenues of about $21.8 billion.
- The average cost per person for a membership is $58.
- 5% of gym-goers use a personal trainers at an average price per session of $65.
- Americans spend around $30 billion a year on athletic apparel.
While we should try to stay reasonably fit, we should place at least equal or more emphasis on praying to stay fit. How would your life be different if you started a match program?
- For every minute you spend trying to stay physically fit, you will match it with a minute of spiritual exercise (praying, reading your Bible, or speaking to someone about Jesus).
- For every penny you spend paying to stay physically fit, you will give an equal amount to the Lord.
When you consider eternity, which one is of the greater benefit to you? Is it paying to stay fit or praying to stay fit?