Looking to God

As I read Psalm 13 and reflect on the section describing David on his face, overwhelmed with grief and hopelessness, I see two practical areas of application: 1. It was the length of the test that began to weary David. “How long” occurs four times in two brief verses. Let us remember that God not only designs the depth of our trials but also their length.

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From Despondency to Ecstasy

David’s struggle with despondency grew very intense, perhaps prompting him to write the song we know today as Psalm 13. We can’t be certain of the issue plaguing the poet-king. We do know, however, that some of David’s darkest days came before he was officially promoted to the throne of Israel. God was preparing him for an immense task, and He used the trials to shape him into a man of maturity and inner strength.

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Excellence

Mediocrity is fast becoming the byword of our times. Every imaginable excuse is now used to make it acceptable, hopefully preferred. Budget cuts, time deadlines, majority opinion, and hard-nosed practicality are outshouting and outrunning excellence. Those forces seem to be winning the race.

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Ethics

We need heroes. I mean genuine heroes, authentic men and women who are admired for their achievements, noble qualities, and courage. Such people aren’t afraid to be different. They risk. They stand a cut above. Yet they are real human beings with flaws and failures like anyone else. But they inspire us to do better. We feel warm inside when we think about this rare breed of humanity.

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For Daily Doubts

He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:27–28) Our Father, encourage us—especially we who often doubt and feel ashamed of our doubt.

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Spiritual Leadership

Leadership is influence. To the extent we influence others, we lead them. If I were asked to name some of the standard qualities or characteristics usually found among natural-born leaders, I would list: Enthusiasm, Optimism, Persistence, Ambition, Competitiveness, Knowledge, Insight, Inquisitiveness, Independence, Friendliness . . .

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Modeling God’s Message

Hosea started a scandal in the parsonage. Why? Hold onto your hat—he married a prostitute. Talk about gossip! His name became a byword for “fool.” Respect for him dropped to zero. His reputation was suddenly null and void. “Small wonder he is listed first among the minor prophets,” some sneer . . . “He must have been some kind of a nut.”

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The Broken Wing

It is quite probable that someone reading my words this moment is fighting an inner battle with a ghost from the past. The skeleton in one of yesterday’s closets is beginning to rattle louder and louder. Putting adhesive tape around the closet and moving the bureau in front of the door does little to muffle the clattering bones. You wonder, possibly, “Who knows?” You think, probably, “I’ve had it . . . can’t win . . . party’s over.”

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Slamming the Door to Lust

SAMSON WAS A HE-MAN WITH A SHE-WEAKNESS. Although he was born of godly parents, set apart from his birth to be a Nazirite, and elevated to the enviable position of judge in Israel, he never won the battle with lust. Instead, lust eventually conquered him. Several things that illustrate his lustful bent may be observed from the record of his life, each one in the book of Judges.

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The Great Surprise

THE FEELINGS ARE FAMILIAR. Mouth open. Eyes like saucers. Chill up the spine. “The flash of a mighty surprise” boggles the mind, leaving us somewhere between stunned and dumb with wonder. “Am I dreaming or is a miracle happening?” So it is with surprises. Surprises start parties and end partnerships. They solve murders, enhance birthdays and anniversaries, embellish friendships.

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