God’s Preference Is You

My dear friend Josh Schram relaunched our summertime series looking at the Selahs in the Psalms. “Selah” (or “Interlude” in some Bible translations) can mean either a time of reflection, a deep breath to go into something stronger, or a time to weigh the contrasts. 

Psalm 44 is a classic example of a Selah calling us to weigh the contrasts! The first 8 verses of this psalm celebrate the recollections of God’s past victories, declarations of God being our King, and crescendoing to a note of continual praise—O God, we give glory to You all day long and constantly praise Your name!

Then comes the Selah—pause. 

And after the pause, the scene turns dark. The psalmist now recounts how bad his situation is, descending to the low note of “we collapse in the dust, lying face down in the dirt” (v. 25). 

Josh reminded us how our preferences change over time. Consider the telephone—we’ve gone from push-button corded phones, to phones with longer cords, to cordless phones, to bulk bag phones, to smaller cell phones, to smartphones. It’s very human for our preferences to want more and better. 

But God’s preference never changes. God’s preference is YOU! 

He can never love you any more than He already does. Nor can He love you any less. 

The apostle Paul quotes Psalm 44:22—yet for Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered—when he explains that absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love (see Romans 8:31-39).

In marriage vows, we usually promise to love our spouse “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health.” True love goes through it all! 

God’s love goes through it all with us. That’s why the psalmist’s last words are so hopeful: Rise up and help us; rescue us because of Your unfailing love. His unfailing love is our assurance of His presence and His ultimate rescue. Paul also reminds us “indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory” (Romans 8:17). 

Josh said, “I want you to remember one thing: Nothing!” Nothing can separate you from God’s love. Ever!  

Hillsong United has some memorable words in their song Highlands—“I will praise You on the mountain, and I will praise You when the mountain’s in my way. … You’re the heaven where my heart is, in the highlands and the heartache all the same.” 

No matter what you’re facing, God’s preference is you. He loves you, and He wants you to grow closer to Him through this trial. Praise Him for His unfailing love on the mountain and in the valley, and then wait in eager expectation for Him to come to rescue you. 

Love Has A Name (YouVersion reading plan review)

I love listening to the Jesus Culture band lead people in worship! Their humble spirits and biblically-sound lyrics are a powerful combination. If you haven’t checked out their latest album called “Love Has A Name,” please do so! And also check out their YouVersion devotional with the same name. 

Love Has A Name is a 10-day reading plan on YouVersion in which the members of the Jesus Culture band have written the devotional for each day. Each devotional is associated with one of the songs on their new album and will take you behind the lyrics to the seed-thought of that song. Then you will also read the biblical passage(s) that were woven into the song’s lyrics. 

Each morning during this 10-day reading plan I read the devotional thought, read the Scripture, and then worshiped along with the song that corresponded with that day’s reading, and then journaled some thoughts. I found that hearing God’s Word sung in such a passionate way was a fantastic way to keep God’s Word in my mind and heart all day long. 

Please check out both the album and the YouVersion reading plan Love Has A Name. 

Speak Life

tobymacI love the message behind tobyMac’s song Speak Life. Our words really do have an impact on people. The writer of Proverbs said it this way—

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Probers 18:21)

In tobyMac’s song, the lyrics echo God’s Word—

Though it’s crazy, amazing

We can turn our hearts with the words we say

Mountains crumble with every syllable

Hope can live or die…

Well it crazy to imagine

Words from our lips as the arms of compassion

Mountains crumble with every syllable

Hope can live or die

Check this out…

And if you’d like to hear Toby’s inspiration for this song, check on this clip…

No Regret Living

Today’s my birthday. It’s not really a “big deal” day for me, except I enjoy being able to get together with my family and friends.

The Bible tells us that God has set the length of our life:

You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer. (Job 14:5 NLT)

I woke up this morning singing the lyrics to Mark Schultz’s song Time That Is Left:

What will you do with the time that’s left?
Will you live it all with no regret?
Will they say that you loved till your final breath?
What will you do with the time that’s left?

I want to live until I die.

Duh, right? Not really. There’s a lot of people who coast to the end, who check out long before their last day. But life is too precious to me … I have too much to do … too many to love. If God has given me a set number of days, I’m going to live everyone with excellence.

A great way to celebrate a birthday is living with no regrets!

More Today?

I have shared before how I often wake up with a particular song on my mind. This morning it was a 1969 classic that I added to my iPod a few weeks ago: “More Today Than Yesterday” by The Spiral Starecase. (Go ahead and listen to the song while you read on.)

So as I was attempting to wake up Betsy, I sang part of the chorus to her. “I love you more today than yesterday. But not as much as tomorrow.” Which got me thinking: How do I do this?

Betsy and I have been “an item” for 8,935 days. I thought I loved her tons yesterday, so how do I love her more today than yesterday? Let me take a couple of cues from the song:

“I’ll be spending time with you”—the greater the quantity of time I spend with her the more likely I’ll have quality time with her.

“Everyday’s a new day in love with you”—love keeps no record of wrongs. If I’m holding grudges against her or beating myself up over mistakes I made, I’m keeping a record. Forgiveness is the key to wiping the slate clean so I can love her more today than yesterday.

“With each day comes a new way of loving you”—there’s a reason why the apostle Paul talks about “growing up” in the great love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. My love should be maturing and growing up every day. So today I should be able to love Betsy in a more mature way.

“I thank the Lord for love like ours that grows ever stronger”—as my relationship with Jesus becomes more intimate I will learn how to love Betsy more today than yesterday. As C.S. Lewis put it, “When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.”

What special relationships do you have? Do you love that earthly dearest more today than yesterday? With quality time, forgiveness, maturity, and a closer relationship with Jesus, you can truly love that special someone more today than yesterday. Give it a try!

Every day’s a new day, every time I love you.

Every way’s a new way, every time I love you!

More Than Okay

Most mornings when I wake up there is a song echoing in my mind. This morning it was Switchfoot’s song “More Than Fine” (lyrics here).

Lately, I’ve been noticing some clichés in our culture that are survival-oriented—

  • “I’m just trying to make a living.”
  • “Another day, another dollar.”
  • “Ugh, another Monday!”
  • “I just need to make it until the weekend.”
  • “If we can just survive today.”
  • “How are you?” “I’m fine… okay, I guess.”

I suppose for some, this is how they view life. But this should never be the mindset for followers of Jesus Christ.

Jesus didn’t die on a Cross for us, conquer death and rise again so we could have an okay life. He came to give us overflowing life. Of all people, those who are in a personal relationship with Jesus should be the most more-than-okay people of anyone!

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. (Psalm 23:5 NLT)

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (John 10:10 AMP)

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! (Ephesians 1:7-8 MSG)

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

Today is the only today you will ever get. You don’t have to just survive today, you don’t have to just make it through this day, you don’t have to settle for just okay. You can live for more than okay today, you can experience God’s abundance, and you can revel in the overflowing life Jesus’ resurrection purchased for you!

%d bloggers like this: