It’s Both/And, Not Either/Or

LifeLink Devotional

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Psalm 70:4-5  May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

The Bible is filled with either/or statements. For example, Jesus said, “You cannot serve two masters. Either you will love the one and hate the other, or you will hate the one and love the other.”

Either/or statements are powerful choice-making motivators. We latch on to them because they tend to give us a sense of pride that we are in the right. However, they also alienate us from others who haven’t reached the same conclusion or made the same decision. And we certainly lack understanding of the people who are stuck in the twilight zone known as indecision.

That’s why I am so thankful that the Bible also includes both/and statements. Today’s Psalm is one of them. Let me explain.

There are five verses in this prayer of David. It was a prayer he had turned into a song to be sung in worship by people who were feeling the stress and trials of life’s circumstances. That’s why it is called a memorial song – it is a song that reminds us of who God is when life tends to make us forget.

Of the five verses in this Psalm, the first three relate the trouble King David is experiencing and his suggestions for possible solutions.

  • He feels that God is not working fast enough to resolve his issues (vs. 1).
  • He shares somewhat boldly and bitterly that he wants God to cause problems for the people that are bothering him (vs. 2).
  • He asks God to have the people that are making fun of him to stop their activities and to feel the shame of what they have done (vs. 3).

Then, in a moment of spiritual enlightenment in the midst of the darkness of his trouble, David says this – May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”(vs. 4).  David recognizes that his circumstances have not changed the very nature and character of God. God is still great even when life isn’t.

Immediately David returns to the sorrow of the day and confesses to God that he is poor and needy, and that God should hurry up and fix this (vs. 5)

Here’s my point – Having trouble and praising God is not an either/or proposition – it is a both/and reality. It’s totally fine with God to be both upset with life’s circumstances and at the same time recognize and rejoice in His greatness and His salvation.

Bottom line, it is possible to be mad and glad at the same time. It think if we would accept that, and understand that God has declared a both/and truth rather than an either/or truth, we might find a little more patience and perseverance in the midst of the problems because we have learned how to praise him in the storm.

Pastor John

Take Your Hands Off!

LifeLink Devotional

Monday, January 25, 2016

Psalm 69:13  But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.

For three weeks I have been camped in this scenic overlook meditating on this verse. When I wake up in the morning and open the blinds of the camper to see the new day, a truth as new as the colors of the sunrise fills my vision. When I stare out into the vast universe before I close the blinds to sleep I am embraced by the magnificence of God. I see myself as one of those tiny twinkling lights and yet somehow I know that God sees me, knows me, named me, and loves me. In between my rising and my resting, I am overwhelmed with the abiding presence of God knowing that whatever happens, He has an acceptable time for it to be resolved.

Not until today have I been led to write about what God has shown me from this verse. I am going to be brief and simple. But let me say up front that I challenge you to find a way to camp in this same scenic overlook for some time and reflect on the marvel of God’s love and faithfulness.

First, the history. David is in trouble. He shouts, “Save me, O God!” The whole Psalm is a summary of David’s current trouble – serious trouble – and His cry to God for deliverance. Can you relate?

Now the lessons God is teaching me from verse 13:

  1. Take your hands off it. People may be talking about us, spreading gossip and lies, or seeking to harm us with words or actions. Our natural response is to strike back with enough force to stop the attacks. At the minimum we seek to set the record straight. Take your hands off it. But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.
  2. Wait for God to act in His time. Notice two things – God has a time to act, and God’s time is the only acceptable time. Anything and everything I do any other time is unacceptable and will not resolve the problem.
  3. God will answer in the abundance of His steadfast love. Go ahead, break this down word by word. God will answer. The answer will be a direct expression of His love. He will answer because His love is steadfast and never stops motivating His activity. His love is abundant, so His answer are not limited to just solving the problem but also bring growth and maturity to us.
  4. His answers always save us. The problem will be resolved – in His acceptable time. Our lives will be changed because of His abundant love.
  5. He is faithful to save us. He cannot not rescue us. He is mighty to save, and His faithfulness guarantees our deliverance.

The perceived deadly or destructive influence of your present situation is easily handled by God. Trust Him. Let Him work in His time. He is loving and faithful. He will deliver you.

Take your hands off!

Pastor John