I will admit I am forgetful. As a crutch, I use my Google calendar to remind me of everything both at work and at home. I make a grocery list to remember what food to buy, and then cannot even remember the list. I kept losing my prayer lists; my prayer list is now on my phone. If I don’t write something down, it is likely it will be lost in my memory bank. I would not call it a memory bank – it’s more like a black hole.
This morning while I was on the usual walk with my dogs, I soon realized as we changed directions that I forgot my sunglasses. The whole way home I was squinting because my oversensitive eyes could not face the beautiful morning light. I even grumbled a bit considering the headache that might follow as a result. All because I forgot my sunglasses.
What a surprise when I got home only to realize my sunglasses were in my pocket. I had my sunglasses the entire time!! The sunglasses I own are magnetic and when I grabbed for my keys, they unbeknownst to me followed along. I spent all that time wishing for the solution, when it was right with me. Sadly, that is how many of us are in life from time to time. God has the answer but we look elsewhere. God has provided what is needed but we are too blind to see (2 Corinthians 9:8, Philippians 4:19). God has a perfect plan but we only see the struggles, the pain, the heartache. God is with us through it all but we so often feel alone (Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 13:5). My friends, let us open our eyes. Let us look at what He has blessed us with and embrace what He has for us. Let us remind ourselves of what He has done, what He has said He will do, Who He is, and His promise to never leave. We each have all we need to accomplish what God has called us to do in life!
“For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.” – Psalm 33:4-5 [NIV]
People are important. Every single person matters. Zechariah 7:9-10 tells us, “Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil” (MSG). These are simple commands to remember and act upon; however, our society screams, “Me, me, me.”
If you are not so interested in people, then you have forgotten the two commandments of Jesus: Love God, love others. It’s plain and clear. There’s no way to misinterpret. It is not complex or mysterious. Zechariah states, “You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.” Sometimes we get that mixed up.
Religion is very different than relationship. God wants a relationship with us and He wants us to be in relationships with others too. God is a communal. It is all about community. It is all about people. If people—all people—are not your interests, I pray today you may start changing your interests. There are a whole lot of people out there—and each one needs Love.
“God-of-the-Angel-Armies gave me this Message for them, for all the people and for the priests: ‘When you held days of fasting every fifth and seventh month all these seventy years, were you doing it for me? And when you held feasts, was that for me? Hardly. You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.’” Zechariah 7:4-6 [MSG]
There is a lot of noise in the world. I love Sundays because I can enjoy quietness. I don’t hear the bells and whistles of the world. I get to experience quiet. I get to experience peace. I get to sit on the sofa and read God’s Word and simply listen. I do the same thing on lunch break during the week. I lock myself in my car, locking out the rest of the world, and spend time with God and His Word in the quietness. There is such unexplainable peace with our time together.
In Isaiah, we read of this “quietness and confidence.” This comes from righteousness. The righteousness comes from Christ. The confidence is assurance, assurance that comes from Christ and what He has done for us to be justified by faith. We only need believe.
One day justice will rule and righteousness will bring a peace beyond our understanding. This is not something we can do on our own—only through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior is this quietness and confidence possible, only through Him can we have this forever.
“Justice will rule in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field. And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.” – Isaiah 32:16-17 [NLT]
When someone does something wrong to you, there is usually this desire for justice and even revenge. Over the years I have heard many stories about how people have gotten even with others who did something bad to them. We all have this need for retribution but God doesn’t want us to “get even” with people by repaying them with evil.
Too many people take the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” concept the wrong way. God is a God of justice and He will judge. He is fair. He is right. He is faithful. Our retaliation, our revenge attempts only bring us a moment of temporary satisfaction for getting someone back. But does it really do something good for us? Does it really make us feel better?
God wants us to pay people back with a blessing. Has someone done something mean to you? Has someone hurt you? Has someone stolen from you? Has someone spoken badly about you? Pray for them. Pay them back with a blessing. Don’t stoop down a level for retribution. Trust God will handle it all. Be a blessing.
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” – 1 Peter 3:9 [NLT]
There are many people who go to church weekly because it is the thing to do in life. You are supposed to go make your grand appearance each week. Some people believe that going each week means that they are saved. They are making the sacrifice of their Sunday morning. They have done their deed for the week. Some believe if they give to the church they are secure. If they tithe each week, they are good to go and need not worry about anything else.
Today’s passage states that God is pleased more so when we do what is right and just. When we live focused on righteousness and justice at the forefront, the sacrifices will be offered, but the heart will be very different. When you desire to do what is right and just because you love the Lord, the sacrifices mean something. They come from the heart. If you are only tithing because it’s something you are supposed to do, but you fail to even attempt to do what is right and just, what are you really trying to do? It could be seen as trying to buy you security. But you cannot buy security. Security only comes through Jesus.
God is pleased when we do what is right and just. God loves when we walk with righteousness and justice. It is how He created things to be in this world. Doing this is a much better thing than sacrifices. The sacrifices will come but the sacrifices are only true sacrifices when they are coming from a heart for God. If you have a heart for God, you would want to do what is right and just. He would always be your focus and righteousness and justice would always matter.
“The LORD is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.” – Proverbs 21:3 [NLT]
Simeon and Levi were upset with what happened to their sister Dinah at the hands of Shechem. She was violated and hurt. They were angry and devised a plan to get revenge. In Genesis 34, we read about their actions. They allowed for Dinah to return with Shechem but had a plan to enact vengeance on the people. They ended up retrieving their sister along with slaughtering the people and plundering the area.
Most of us today would not consider giving a victim to the guilty party but many of us do want justice. It is okay to want justice. God even tells us to seek justice (see Micah 6). But Simeon and Levi went at it the wrong way. Just because a wrong was committed, does not mean another wrong committed is an act of justice. Simeon and Levi not only lied, but they stole and they murdered.
Seek justice but understand that God’s commands cannot be twisted or ignored for the justice. Trust in His justice. He is a just God. There’s no reason to join with those who have committed wrong doings to get some false sense of justice. God will handle it.
“The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” – Psalm 33:5 [NIV]
This is a poem that I wrote for a very special person. See you soon.
Mary Got A Promotion
“Love Justice & Seek Mercy
And Walk Humbly with your God”
“Love your Neighbor as yourself
Be Kind and Compassionate”
“Work Hard at Whatever you do
As Working for the Lord”
“Honor your parents
Teach your children”
“Follow My example
Walk in the way of love”
Today is a day of celebration.
Today is a day to rejoice.
God said “Good job My faithful servant”
Mary got a promotion.
“David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.” – 2 Samuel 8:15
When I read this verse yesterday, I read it over a few times and focused on three words: just, right, all. It can also be seen as “justice and equality,” “judgment and righteousness,” and the word “fair” is even used (ESV, Youngs, GW). When we look at our leadership today, do we see these things? When we look at our government, do we see these things? I’m not going to respond further to the recent news, the recent questions that have arisen. If you are a leader yourself at work or church, could someone see these things with your leadership? If you are a parent, are these things evident?
Saul was king before David, and nowhere do we read that he was “doing what was just and right for all his people.” As we look at King Saul, we see impulsiveness, we see a man who did not have a heart for the Lord. When we look at David, we read again and again that he inquired of the Lord, and that he was a man after God’s heart. He had a whole heart for the Lord. As a result, he tried to do what was “just and right for all his people.”
There is a lot of news in politics today, having nothing to do with fair leading and justice, but a lot to do with possible scandals. There is unfairness in the workplace and even at church. In our homes, there is at times favoritism and injustice.
Today, let us focus our eyes on the Lord and inquire of the Lord just like David did again and again. As you get closer to Him, you will find that you will have no part in other things, but you will only want to be “doing what was just and right” with everything you touch.
This morning I passed by a dumpster filled with items from a house that is currently undergoing renovations. Out of the corner of my eye, I was able to spot a large box of books lying on top of the other discarded items. The books looked brand new and many of them were titles that were once found on the best sellers list. For a moment I thought of how those books and so many other items within the dumpster could have been used by someone instead of going to a landfill. I imagined if the items were donated to a church or another charity, the good that they could do for some lives. Then my mind started to focus on how we are all so guilty of getting things and tossing them out.
We have become a society that is so very good at getting rid of things. We toss out clothing because we have plenty of other items in our wardrobe. We toss out food because we had so much food, that we did not have time to eat it all and it went bad. We toss out relationships because it takes work and sacrifice for marriage and friendships to find success. We toss out opportunities because we do not desire taking risks on challenges. We toss out money with gambling or with purchases we don’t even want or need. We toss out pets because we bought them for their cuteness without thinking of the time investment. We toss out technology because something new came along. We toss and toss.
Then I thought of those who do not have anything to toss, those who are lacking the basic needs of life. There are people who are not able to eat tonight. There are people who have lost their family, their friends. There are people who do not have shoes or clothing. There are people who do not have all of the advantages and opportunities. There are those who do not have money to toss away. There are some who are sick, some dying. There are some who are slaves, yes slaves, on this very day in 2013. I could go on and on.
I cannot give any answers of how we can fix all of these things. I do not have the answers. I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to tossing out things. All I can say is that I know Who has the answers. I know that all we can do is look to God for the answers of what we can do in our own lives to be His hands and feet, and to share His love with those around us and to be who He called us. We can start here. “He has told you, O man, what is good: And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 NASB). Let us start there.