This past week I found myself taking two different “assessments” to help me determine those things that lie within me as strengths and weaknesses. Of the results, one was not surprising to me at all, I read the conclusions and agreed with the assessment. The other was more revealing to me. For in it “they” saw things in me that I didn’t know about and therefore could not see. I was glad to have taken both assessments.
Probably because of those assessments, I began some self-evaluation. Then, this phrase BURST into my thinking – “the measure of a man“. I don’t know why, where it came from or the origins of the phrase, but I determined to pursue it, because, here I was considering within me, what my measure was, how was I measuring up, and by what do I measure my life. What, in fact, is the measure of a man?
After sweeping aside the current and ridiculous arguements about what is a man or a woman, and following some shallow search, I discovered that the phrase was pretty much made popular by two speeches given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1958. His speeches, (What is Man? and The Dimensions of a Complete Life) were so highly regarded by the attendees at those speeches, that they were published together in a book entitled, “The Measure of a Man”. Voila!
In his “What is Man?” speech, Dr. King addresses what he considers to be the “most important questions confronting any generation”, proposing that man is “a biological being, a spirit being who is made in the image of God, and a sinner in need of God’s divine grace”.
“In his “The Dimensions of a Complete Life”, King finally asks God: “help us to discover ourselves, to discover our neighbors, and to discover thee and to make all part of our life.” (1)
“Help us to discover ourselves” is such a wise and powerful request, and not just for Dr. King.
For when we dare to look within ourselves, to honestly assess what lies there, we will find things that are not at all surprising to us and then again, we will discover those things that we had no idea about, hidden in those deep recesses.
We are right to look within and discover. We are right to assess our strengths, weaknesses, our right and our wrong.
“Those who turn their backs on what they know is right will no longer be able to tell right from wrong.”Proverbs 28:4 TPT
May we join Dr. King in the prayer to discover ourselves, our neighbor and the measure of a man.
Cheers to you,
(1) Stanford University; The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute; The Measure of a Man
When speaking with my girlfriend recently, I commented, “He’s a keeper”, referring to her new boyfriend, and her response was, “He is definately a keeper!”. We both were approving of their budding relationship. (He is also approving. ha ha)
Did you know that there is a list of signs you can look for to see if your friend’s boyfriend, your boyfriend or girlfriend is a keeper? (Or, how about your spouse?) I didn’t, but scan this list of signs to see if he’s a keeper: (1)
- You are comfortable around him
- He respects your uniqueness
- You laugh together
- You can discuss anything
- He’s open to resolve conflicts
- Understands when you act up
- Your relationship gets better
- He includes you in his plans
- He has a good sense of responsibility
- Your loved ones support your relationship
- You are very happy
- He is interested in your daily affairs
- He notices intricate physical details about you
- He remembers important things about you
- He loves spending quality time with you
- He says good things about you to his loved ones
- He is excited anytime you succeed
- He doesn’t blame you when you fail
- He doesn’t expect anything in return when he does something for you
- He doesn’t shy away from challenges
- He is always real with you
- He makes you feel on top of the world
- He loves you
Have you found that kind of partner? It’s not too good to be true. Some of us have found in our spouse a keeper, so we know it is possible.
But more importantly, for all of us, male, female, single, or married you have a keeper!
“The Lord is your keeper…”Psalm 121:5 ESV
I was impressed that six times in this eight verse chapter it mentions KEEP, KEEPER, or KEEPS. THE LORD IS A KEEPER. HE KEEPS US… HE WILL KEEP US…
The Lord is a keeper!
Please be encouraged, refreshed, and reminded that the Lord loves you and keeps you. Here’s what that means:
“Hebrew 8104 = to hedge about (with thorns); guard, protect, body guard, to watch carefully over.”Strong’s Concordance
You see, the Lord is your personal body guard. He is your protector and He carefully watches over you. He is jealous for you and will hedge you in a safe place, protected by the thorns of healing and victory that He purchased for you on the cross of Calvary, where He shed His blood, died and was resurrected.
Let’s look at the 6 KEEPS in this Psalm:
“He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”
Psalm 121:3 ESV
There are three points to make here, my friend. 1- Your Keeper, will protect your steps, He will guard them. He will guard where you walk. He is your bodyguard, remember? 2- He is your individual keeper (guard), but He is also Israel’s guard. That means He keeps the nations of the Earth and guards them, (corporate guard) and He keeps you. (individual guard) Especially in these days, let’s not loose sight of the ONE who guards not only our steps but the nations. 3 – HE never sleeps or slumbers. Our Lord never takes a light nap on His watch over us, nor does He slip into a deep sleep. Never.
“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.”Psalm 121:5 ESV
As your Keeper, in the heat, stresses, and sweat of hot and troubled days, the Lord is your shade. He is the One to protect you, to cover you from the intense heat of the days as well as from the darkness that creeps in each evening and overtakes your thinking.
“The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevemore.”Psalm 121:7-8 ESV
You can be confident that He will keep you from all evil. As you keep your heart turned toward Him in love and trust, He WILL keep your life from evil. It shall not come near you. He has hedged you in and is closely watching over you. Your life is in His hands. You are safe. (Better than Allstate)
When you leave the house, He is with you. When you get back home, He is with you. He has been with you the whole time. He is your body guard and is guarding you in the car, store, workplace, doctor’s office, post office, church, and on your walk, or during your workout. Every place you go, He goes, protecting you, guarding you, watching out for you.
He’s a keeper! He is your keeper.
No wonder the psalm writer began the psalm with –
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where my help comes from. My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 ESV
Oh, how often, we must lift our eyes up, and focus on the Lord – the One who created heaven and earth, the One who is not only our helper, but our Keeper. And as our partner, He actually fulfills everything on that list we started with – reread it. When you do, let it sink in that is exactly how the Lord feels about you, as your Keeper.
He is our helper and He’s definately a keeper.
Cheers to you,
(1.) Marriage.com/SignsHeisakeeper . Rachel Pace 12/21
Once there was a daughter who complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. (1)
She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots with water began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.
After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the boiled eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He ladeled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked, “Daughter, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she replied.
“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and the coffee beans had each faced the same adversity – the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with a thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
“Which are you,” he asked his daughter, “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
Today, my friend, I ask you, “Which are you?”
Cheers to you,
- This story and modifications of it is a familiar one retold by many writers. Its author is unknown.
This is the inscription that ancient writings (The Septuagint) gave to Psalm 93, and that the Talmud says was sung every Friday, in the Temple, by the Levites.
Why should you care about this ancient song, especially since it’s probably not Friday?
Psalm 93 is a short, (5 verse) declaration of God’s might, power, and holiness. I ran across it again this week, in my reading, and was so encouraged by it, that I wanted to share it so that you too would be encouraged, and perhaps even make it a weekly reminder, like the singing Jews did.
Let’s look into it.
When I was reading it, what stood out to me was three times it stated:
“The floods have lifted up...”Psalm 93:3 ESV
Now, I’m smart enough to recognize that when something is repeated three times, it’s important. So these floods being lifted up is super important, but more exactly, they are describing a threatening storm, whose noise is loud, and filled with terror and even presenting danger.
“The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring.”Psalm 93:3 ESV
Living today, in March of 2022, I can’t help but feel these threatening floods rising up, and their loud and terror-filled voices seeking to overwhelm me. That is when I noticed, what follows in Psalm 93.
“Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the seas, the Lord on high is mightier!”Psalm 93:4 ESV
Like a lucky, three-leaf clover, I found within these verses of three thundering floods, a three-leaf promise that my GOD IS MIGHTIER! God is mightier than the noise of the floods. God is mighitier than the threat from the floods. God is mightier than the rising flood lines. God is mightier than the terror-filled voices. God is mightier!
THAT made my day. THAT helped to settle my uneasy spirit. That brought me renewed peace. God is mightier. Duh.
But I have since found that this short psalm is bubbling with effervescent and intoxicating truth. Check it:
The Psalm begins with:
“The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.”Psalm 93:1 ESV
Here we have a picture of God’s dominion over all. He reigns! That is Yehweh, not another god. This is emphatically and decisively declared – “THE LORD REIGNS!”. He is clothed in majesty; in clothes that match his diignity and soverignity and authority. He is clothed in majesty as a King and strength as a General. Think of it, he can do anything!
The next verse says,
“Your throne is established from old; you are from everlasting.”Psalm 93:2
Our God, the Lord, Yahweh, reigns forever! He is eternal and before any ruler, principality or power came into being he was ruling! His throne is not temporary, like the worlds. It is eternal and unchangeable. His authority extends over everyone and has always been.
It is in this context, that the writer then speaks three times of the scary floods approaching to overwhelm him, that we mentioned earlier. That means, the writer is declaring that God is not only mighty over these thunderous storms and floods, but he is triumphant over them.
No threatening storm, loud and terror-filled waves, or booming voices; no waves of danger or ungodly floods will be successful or harmful because HE REIGNS TRIUMPHANTLY. He always has and always will. He is clothed in majesty and strength and he is eternal. The Lord is mightier than the noise and the threats.
This wonderful, Friday song, closes with this verse:
“Nothing could ever change your royal decrees; they will last forever! Holiness is the beauty that fills your house, you are the one who abides forevermore!”Psalm 93:5 TPT
When the writer saw the waves. the floods coming, the tide rising and heard the deafening waves crashing, what he also saw was the Lord God’s mighty power, authority and sovereignty. What he saw was the One who has always reigned, and still reigns over every power, principality, and person on the planet.
He saw that it is God’s Word that is final. His decrees that matter. For they are eternal and unchangeable.
This is effervescent because the reminder that the Lord reigns over the mess of the world and has it all in His control bubbles and boils out of us to those whose hope has gone flat and stale.
It is intoxicating because this truth of the Spirit fills us so that we are not uptight when we see waves and dare to believe that He who is living in us is mightier than the noise of the floods.
This Friday psalm should be our Friday song. We must weekly remind ourselves and those in our sphere of influence that our God reigns and is mightier than the threats and floods, and he is not going anywhere. HE REIGNS FOREVER.
There are times when our lives feel off kilter, out of alignment, and going around in endless circles. Times of cycling through repeated motions with little purpose or meaning. Times when we seem caught in a gravitational pull from which there is no escape. Our life seems like it is in a lopsided orbit to nowhere.
Well, my friend, welcome to what the scientific community describes as seasons. All those descriptions and the earmarks of those on our life, are telling us that we are experiencing the seasons of life. Those describe the very why there are seasons on Earth and thereby in our personal life.
Seasons are caused because Earth is lopsided as it spins on it’s axis once each day. And because Earth is titled, and the axis is not straight, that exposes the light of the sun to different parts of the Earth at different times, thereby causing seasons on Earth.
Sometimes parts of the globe are close to the sun at 91,000,000 miles and other times are far away at 94.5000.000 miles. But because Earth’s tilt on her axis is 23.5 degrees as she orbits and revolves, we have our seasons.
Her lopsided orbit causes seasons.
As James Taylor and Carol King sang, we have “Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall”.
What is true of Earth, is true for you and me. Because of our lopsided orbit, our “imperfect alignment”, we experience seasons of life.
You know what I mean, times when we just can’t seem to find our purpose, joy or direction. (winter) Other times when we are so busy that we can’t keep up and become overwhelmed. (fall) Or those long and dreary dry times when all we do seems like sweat and work, (summer) And then there are days of joy, and newbirth like spring.
In my early childhood days, seeing and recognizing the seasons on the farms in Iowa was easy. But in our daily lives it is not so easy to recognize the season that we are in. And what makes it even worse, is the fact that we are constantly comparing ourselves to and with others. We look at someone else and say, “They’ve got it together, look at how productive they are and how their life is filled with purpose.” When in fact, what we need to understand is they are probably in a different season than we are. (Not to mention they are entirely different people than we are with different life experiences, maturity levels, weaknesses and strengths AND in whose private life we have no idea what they are dealing with.)
We are surrounded by people that we love, admire and respect who are in differnt seasons that we are. It is always unwise to compare.
But more importantly, recognizing the season that you are in is vital.
SPRING – seeds take root, vegetation grows, it’s warmer, wetter, animals wake, new babies & melting snow
SUMMER – temperatures increase, heat waves and droughts, less water, more fires
FALL – Temperatures cool, plants go dormant, preparation for winter
WINTER – chill, cold, often a change in appearance to adapt
These are what we see in our natural world during the seasons. In what ways can you apply these characteristics to your life and the season that you are currently in?
Try these seasonal interpersonal characteristic applications.
SPRING – joy after dormancy. Pruning, shaping
SUMMER – dryness, need spiritual food
FALL – harvest, bear fruit, reaping
WINTER – introspection, examination, change
” For everything there is a season…”Ecclestiates 3:1 ESV
I charge you, please realize that the times when your life feels off kilter, out of alignment, and going around in endless circles, the times of cycling through repeated motions with little purpose or meaning, and the times when you seem caught in a gravitational pull from which there is no escape; in those times of lopsided orbit to nowhere- YOU ARE IN A SEASON that will end.
What season is it? Identify it, learn from it, grow in it. What season is next? Prepare for it. And don’t compare!
Tilt, rotation and revolution cause seasons. Remember, it is your lopsided orbit that causes your seasons.
Cheers to you,
Are we living in the days of the rider on a red horse, that John, the beloved, wrote of in Revelation? I don’t know, but look at what John said…
” Out came another horse, bright red. It’s rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that the people should slay one another…”Revelation 6:4 ESV
Whether we are or not, it certainly appears that permission has been granted for peace to be taken from the earth. From the war in Ukraine, Covid mandates, rising drug addictions, mental health issues and political infighting, peace is being taken from the earth. Peace is being taken from hearts and minds. Peace has been permitted to be taken.
Probably, even within your heart or the heart of a loved one, you’ve seen a wearing away of peace and a rise in anxiety, fear, depression and pending doom.
But today, I am here to remind you of what Jesus has given to you– in spite of what the red rider has been permitted to take.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”John 14:27 ESV
Read that again, in another translation –
” I leave the gift of peace with you – my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous!”John 14:27 TPT
When Jesus came to Earth, He came as the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6 tells us. That means He is the “Captain, Commander, General & Governor of Peace. He alone is the leader with immediate authority over everything, and He alone is the leading priest, above all others.” (That’s actually what “prince” means in the Hebrew there.) In fact, isn’t that what the angels proclaimed at His birth? “Peace on Earth, good will to all men.”?
Additionally, to encourage you if you’ve found yourself dealing with fear, worry, concern & lack of peace… remember after Jesus raised back to life, and He went to find his 12, make that 11, “mighty disciples”, they were hiding in fear behind bolted doors and in denial of what Mary had told them about the empty tomb.
It was to THOSE mighty disciples that Jesus appeared and said,
“Peace to you!”Luke 24:36
Or as John puts it –
“Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this He showed them His hands and his side…. then He said to them again, “Peace be with you”.John 20:18-21 ESV
Here they were, totally engulfed in fear, anxiety, worry and even unbelief, and Jesus walks through the walls to tell them AGAIN, “Peace be with you.”.
Their peace had been taken. Their peace had been stolen. Their peace had been taken away when they saw Jesus crucified and buried. That’s why He showed them His scars and reaffirmed His offer of peace to them.
My friend, in these days, when our peace is being stolen, may I remind you of these profound promises?
- “In me you will have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
- “Peace from God our Father.” Rom. 1:7
- “For the Kingdom of God is righteousness, PEACE, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Rom. 14:17
- “The God of hope will fill you with peace…” Rom. 15:13
- “The God of peace will be with you.” Rom. 15:33
- “The God of peace will soon crush Satan…” Rom. 16:20
- “God is not the God of confusion, but a God of peace.” 1 Cor. 14:33
- Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Gal. 5:22
- “He is our peace who has broken down every wall.” Eph. 2:14-18
- “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds.” Phil. 4:7
- “The peace of God will rule in your hearts…” Col. 3:20
- “Seek peace and pursue it.” 2 Pet. 3:11
- “grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and Jesus.” 2 Pet. 1:2
You see, scripture is full of reminders to us who become anxious and alarmed, that as we adjust our focus to God and His kingdom, where Jesus reigns as the Prince of Peace, we find our internal storms calming. Just like when Jesus told the storm on the sea – he says to our mental storm – “Peace be still”. And guess what? It has to obey Him, cuz He has all power and authority. He’s the Commander, and His peace surpasses our understanding.
The reality of Jesus’ peace for us becomes evident when we realize that although we live in this earthly kingdom with wars and other robbers of peace, we belong to another, eternal kingdom that is very much real. Our focus has to stay on the Prince of the Heavenly Kingdom – Jesus, and not the rider on a red horse with his permit, for he has only limited permissions.
Our Jesus, who is Faithful and True, the King of Kings, will come again on a horse, as well, and the kingdom of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever. Revelation 11:15
The red rider may have permits to take your peace, but he needs your permission too, and you do not have to give it to him because Jesus has given you His peace.