Psalm 118 is an incredible passage of scripture. It is probably best known for Psalm 118: 24 “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (NLT). But just stop and think about the implications of a life lived in the light of this verse. Seriously. Stop. Ponder the life orienting, life directing perspective the psalmist gives us. Each day is a gift from God and each day we can live our lives as a gift to God.
We, The Vineyard Church Pearland, recently had a 5 week sermon series titled “Today”, utilizing Psalm 118 as the backdrop. I found this series to be dynamic, inspiring and challenging. When I slow down enough to actually think about each day being full of opportunity for worship and connection with the Creator, I am reminded of the beauty of living a life in relationship with the triune God.
In life, ministry and being who you are, let me encourage you to take 3 tips for focusing on the Lord each and every day…
1) Prioritize the Lord. Now I know what you are thinking. That seems rather obvious right. So why is it so difficult? In the simplest and sweetest way, we need to rediscover ways to acknowledge the presence and purposes of the Lord in everything we do. Take a moment and think about where you spend your time during the week. If you are anything like me, your list might include: work, driving in the car, family time, and if you are lucky, leisure time! When I took time to make my list I quickly realized that my list did not include prayer, scripture reading or other spiritual expression. It was this simple exercise that reminded me that we must be a people who engage the Lord in all that we do, as opposed to living compartmentalized lives of either secular or spiritual. The life giving presence of God allows every moment to be full of his kingdom, we simply need to prioritize the Lord in all we do. Here is a short list of ways you might be able to prioritize the Lord this week; allow this list to get you started and see what you can add…
- Share what God is doing in your life with others: telling your story to neighbors and co-workers is a great way to prioritize the Lord in conversation
- Worship while you drive: whether CDs, iPods or radio, fill your car with worship music and allow time in the car to be spent worshiping the Creator
- Read scripture as a family: every night my wife and I put our kids to bed and we have added reading scripture to the bed-time routine. It is great!
2) Give Your Attention to the Lord. Psalm 118:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Take a moment to look at the following image:
Did you see it? Can you find the mistake? How long did it take? Are you still looking? Notice that the word “the” is written twice. Just so you know, it took me much longer than I would like to admit to see it the first time. Now take a second to watch this short video.
Did you see it the first time? Visual recognition studies have shown that things which are real and present are regularly overlooked because we fail to give our attention to them. I feel that things of God’s kingdom can be very similar. God is constantly at work around us, but our attention is being given to other things and we miss the real, present opportunities to experience and participate in God’s kingdom work day-in and day-out. How can we give our attention to the Lord and grow an ever increasing awareness to His work?
- Put yourself in opportunities to be taught how to look for the Lord. Ask someone to mentor/disciple you, join a small group, access podcasts, etc.
- Take time to look to God through prayer and scripture reading. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into the truth of who God is and where God is.
- Intentionally look for God moments everywhere you go…a hint, they will often involve interacting with people
- Take God with you everywhere you go: be willing to regularly share with others what God is doing in your life
3) I Will Live for the Lord. Psalm 118:17 says, “I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.”
Discover the joy of living for the Lord and daily telling what the Lord has done and is doing. As we are captured more and more by the kingdom of God, we are invited to experience more and more life. We are invited to share more and more life. We are invited to embrace the truth that each day is a day made by the Lord and made for the Lord. We can rejoice and be glad in it! While I will spend the rest of my life discovering how to live for the Lord in all that I do, today I recognize the first step is a willing heart that desires to live open and free before the Lord. A willing heart that longs to know my creator. A willing heart that embraces my need for the Holy Spirit. Its daily engaging with the Lord so that I am available to engage with everyone around me in a way that PRIORITIZES the LORD and gives ATTENTION to the LORD so that I am LIVING for the LORD everywhere I go…I LIVE for the Lord in my marriage, I LIVE for the Lord with my family, I LIVE for the Lord at work, I LIVE for the Lord with my friends, I LIVE for the Lord in loss and plenty, I LIVE for the Lord everywhere I am and I go!
“This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!” Psalm 118:24