Yesterday, I prayed for those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attack on the WTC towers, in the field in Pennsylvania, and in Washington at the Pentagon. As I watched family members read their loved ones’ names, I could not even imagine how losing someone like that would feel.
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Later, I watched at the news reported the murder of Christopher Stevens, U. S. Ambassador to Libya, and three of his staff members in Benghazi. I felt a great sense of loss, even though I did not know these people personally. I actually sat in front of the television and whispered, “Lord Jesus, come. Come now.”
The U. S. Consulate Attack in Benghazi
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While listening to HIS Radio 90.1 before bed, I heard one of my favorite songs, “Where I Belong” by Building 429. Here is the chorus:
All I know is I’m not home yet.
This is not where I belong.
Take this world and give me Jesus.
This is not where I belong.
The sense of urgency in my heart that I wrote about on Monday, seeing the clouds like stepping stones to Heaven, and anticipating His coming was heavily on my mind as I went to bed last night. I was singing that chorus over and over in my heart this morning as I arose and went about my housework. Then, I sat down to have my devotion.
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What started as an expedition to Psalm 34 quickly became a detour several chapters over. The pages of my Bible (I’m currently studying through the “The Mom’s Devotional Bible” in the New Century Version.) are still fairly new and the static of turning the pages made them stick together. No matter what I did, I simply could not get those pages separated. So I “settled” for a reading of Psalm 39. How blessed and fortunate am I to have had to take this detour! The chapter so intrigued me that I used my favorite website for Bible readings (www.biblegateway.com) to read it in several versions. ( I’m going to share the New International Version because I love the eloquence of these verses in that particular translation.)
Lord, tell me when the end will come and how long I will live. Let me know how long I have. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. Psalm 39:4-7 (NIV)
Despite what the days’ remembrances were for that awful time eleven years ago and the devastation of what followed in Libya yesterday, I realized that I still felt secure in my little corner of the world — not because I don’t think attacks of that kind are possible where I live(because I live fifteen miles from a military base that could be the target of attack at any moment), but because I know who holds my future. In reading this psalm today, which I now feel was not a detour at all, but my true destination for devotion, I felt a new urging in my heart that had to come from God and here is what I gleaned:
- I must watch and guard my ways. (See Psalm 39:1. at www.biblegateway.com ) There is no boundary between me and the rest of the world concerning what I say, what I do, where I go, or how I act or react. Everything about me directly affects my Christian influence.
- I must acknowledge that life is brief and treat my time here with greater care. (See verse five.) Max Lucado once said that it’s not the college degree in the walnut frame that we’ll embrace at the end of our lives, but the people we’ve loved and who’ve loved us. Since God alone knows the time I’ll depart this world, I cannot bank on tomorrow. In fact, I can’t even bank on my next breath! So while I live, I must make my days count! (“Here’s to making it count!” Leonard Di Caprio as Jack Dawson in Titanic.)
- I must recognize what makes me truly wealthy. (See verse six.) There are a gazillion ways to accumulate wealth, invest our money, and diversify our portfolios. I have not found my way into financial wealth. I don’t believe it’s in God’s plan for me. But I do acknowledge that my investment must be in people, not things. Friends and family who have invested in me can see a small bit of return in their investment, and yet very little of what I do while I live can actually be measured as success in the eyes of the world.
- I must invest my time wisely. No, I won’t be holding that nicely framed college diploma or the clinging to the final numbers in my checking account. I want to invest in PEOPLE. If those I love will be the most important thing to me when I’m drawing my last breath, they should be important to me now. I won’t know until I stand before God’s throne what influence I may have had in my earthly life, but I certainly don’t want to stand before my Lord and be found in a deficit where my relationships are concerned.
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God summed up Psalm 39 in two words for me: Pay Attention! I must really see how God is working in my life, even in the minute details such as creating the static that wouldn’t allow me to get to Psalm 34 today. It all matters to God — the big and the small. More and more, I find myself not wanting to miss a single detail that God is in. Please pray for me — that I will pay attention to the details to eek out every message God wants me to hear and that the number of my days will not be a labor of my own vanity.
What can I pray for YOU today?