Sunday, September 30, 2012


Listen, my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

Psalm 78:1

Words, words, words. I live in a world filled with words. Daily, I delete annoying emails filled with words that vie for my attention and pocketbook. I listen to newscasters filling the airways with predictions of financial doom, scholastic failure, evil acts, loss through natural disasters, war, famine, and ongoing political banter between political parities. Further, I work in an environment filled with words of those struggling to understand their physical decline, and the hopelessness they feel as a result. By the end of my day, I can be depleted of all hope if it were not for different words I intentionally seek out. 

Psalm 78 grabs my attention, because it instructs me to "incline my ear to the words" of God's mouth. This Psalm goes on to say that the words of God's mouth will sing of "His praises" and "His strength." I am also told to make sure that my children and future generations hear His words so that they will "put their confidence in [Him]." 

Why do I feel the words of this Psalm is worth meditating on? Because what I listen to becomes the place I rest my confidence upon. If I listen intently to the prediction of financial doom, then I fear loss. But if I listen to a God that tells me He can take care of a sparrow, then He can take care of me. If I listen to the perpetual reports of academic failure in this country, then I start to believe that only the educated and wise have purpose. But if I am listening intently to His words, I will here a God that states I was created with purpose, and that my life is meaningful in all moments and everyday. 

You see, we are to place our confidence in Him. We can only do this if we listen intently to what He is saying. Our confidence will rise up as we come to hear that He will avenge those who harm His children, that He is sovereign over poverty, hunger, and disasters. We can trust that regardless of who are political leaders are, that He uses them to accomplish His purposes. We will hear him as He reminds us that He is our healer, and that the healing He offers last beyond the grave. 

Today, incline you ear to different words, His Words, and know that you can rise up in His praise and His strength. Listen intently, because there is one more thing He wants you to be confident in. Listen carefully. Listen as He whispers-I LOVE YOU!

Today, Father , fill my ears with your Words. Fill my heart with Your Words. Fill my life with Your Words. Today, I rest confidently in You, because You, Oh Lord, Love me. Amen. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Born to Die and Live Well

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes confirm the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:17

I have worked in the medical field since 1986. I have been employed in a variety of settings. For most of my career I have enjoyed working with people. I have had many experiences dealing with a variety of personalities, beliefs, values, cultures, religious practices, and life choices. Although I have not always been in sync with these differences, I have appreciated the lens through which I have been blessed to experience humanity. In the presence of such variety, there has remained one common thread among every human being regardless of any difference they have; ten out of ten people die.

Yes, in spite of all the medicines and medical treatments I have rendered, and continue to provide, everyone still dies. What amazes me is not that medicine has yet to defeat death, because it cannot, but that people stop living their lives fighting death. We were placed here with intention and purpose. The psalmist asks God to "establish the work of [his] hands," making them effective and enduring. He understood his mortality; "As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away" (Psalm 90:10).

So, what provides a strong foundation for living well? Knowing we were born to die. Death is our school master. Once we have grasped the concept of dying, then living becomes easier. Accepting death frees us to live life with vision. This vision helps us to understand that relationships were not meant to last, that forgiveness opens the door to freedom and creativity, that each of us has a life work to accomplish in the presence of our inevitable mortality, and that love can be shared without fear, because "love never fails" (1 Cor. 13:8).  Being born to die reminds us that change begins and ends with ourselves, and that the opinions of others do not define our life's work.

Jesus too was born to die. He understood this and lived His life with intention and purpose. His life's work was effective and enduring. Because He died, I now have eternal life. 

Today, embrace death so that God "can confirm the work of your hands" and you can live well. 

Father, death does not have a hold on me. You do. It is you who provides effective and enduring work. As I embrace death, let me live well. Free me to love humanity without fear. Free me to forgive, and release my life's work through courage. "Confirm the work of my hands." Because of you, I can live in the presence of death. Amen.