Thursday, 14 January 2016

Priorities: Psalm 27

We start every morning with a Psalm. I have been trying to explain to the children the difference between knowing about God, knowing the Bible stories, historical events, prophecies fulfilled and so forth, and actually knowing God Himself, loving and worshipping Him. These are quite difficult concepts to explain to young children, but when it comes to worship, I find nowhere better to start than in the Psalms.

Whilst considering priorities for the coming year, I have often returned to Psalm 27:

'One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord , and to inquire in His temple' Psalm 27:4

What one thing do you desire for 2016?
What do you prioritise for your family?
What occupies your prayers?
How will you use your time?

The glory of God is evident in creation, and there are many beautiful things in this world. There are also many dreadful occurrences and ugly scenes which dominate the press. There are achievements to celebrate, disappointments to commiserate. There will be life events - some planned, others unexpected. There will be times of rejoicing and times of sorrow. But what matters most?

This morning I read Philippians Chapter 3, and the words of the Apostle Paul:

'But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead'. Philippians 3:7-11

That Paul wrote this - the man who did so much for the gospel, who faced so many hardships and trials and yet counted these 'a light and momentary affliction'. He wrote with real humility - that he wanted nothing other than to know Christ more.

In my own spiritual life, that is my priority. I often rise early before the rest of the family - at times that is difficult and can be tiring, but the quiet morning hours are so precious. Even ten minutes alone with the Bible and prayer in food for my soul, and yet so often I am ashamed at what a small percentage of each day I spend alone with the Lord.

In my family life, this is my priority. We read the Bible and various storybook Bibles and Christian biographies several times a day, and the curriculum we use (Sonlight) provides a Biblical worldview. Our decision to home educate has been largely shaped by our desire to provide the boys with this foundation (although there are MANY other positive reasons to home educate!)

In the workplace, using every opportunity for God's glory has to come before the pursuit of academic success or popularity. Working amongst vulnerable populations, my desire is to radiate some of the love of Christ.

And more widely, in the community where we live (and we certainly do get known around here; a family with several young children of different races who walk miles and travel on local public transport do get noticed, and of course living on a compound brings its own ready-made community) our desire should be to make the most of each opportunity.

Yes, I may need to translate this into some specific, measurable goals and areas of accountability, but simply my greatest desire for 2016 is to know Christ more. 

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