FROM THE CENTER OUT
1 Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
2 For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord. Psalm 117
One of the coolest things that I have ever learned in my life is to work from the the center out. I know many of you may be asking what in the world does that even mean. Work from the center out. And simply it was a lesson that was taught to me from my dad and a lot of mistakes. It started with me painting myself into a corner and having to wait a couple of hours for the paint to dry so that I could escape the prison I had backed myself into. And I know that many of you have probably experienced something some what similar. We just begin working and really never think through the process of what would make more sense to accomplish the task that is at hand. So many times we are just more focused on the final product instead of taking the time to truly work through the process and move in a way that is methodical, not so time consuming and creates the best model for productivity. The same should be said not just in the physical parts of our lives but also in the spiritual foundations of our lives.
In my life, I have learned many things from trial and error, but I have also come to understand that when I fix my eyes, my heart, my worship, my family, my job, etc.. centered on the one key theme of God, it is amazing what God is able to reveal. When we are able to slow down and center our hearts and minds towards Christ, it is amazing how our perspectives on the days will change. As we begin to see things from not the craziness of the schedule we try to keep or the checklist we try to hold our selves to, but as we renew our minds to see things in a new way. I know that you think this may seem a crazy, but I hope and pray that each day, as
I walk through my cluttered garage, I pray that God will once again reveal to me the reason for the clutter. The stories that are attached to each of the items that I have kept or the clothing that my daughters wore as babies to remind me of just how precious each day can be. I pray that I know longer see it as something that is just taking up space, but as a spiritual marker in my life that God has given to April and I as a way to truly see God's providence. if we are truly able to recalibrate our lives each day, we no longer give satan the foothold that he has taken to wedge us into chaos each day. We take a moment to reach out and allow God to be the center of EVERYTHING and from the center... everything else is affected.
So why Psalm 117 today. How does that come into the picture of what we are trying to see today. Well, Psalm 117 and Psalm 118 are considered the exact middle of the Bible. That is just a little known trivia fact. Psalm 118 is the wedged in between the shortest Psalm 117 and the longest Psalm 119. So if I am going to ask us to really recenter our lives, I figured the best place to start would be the center of the Bible and see what God was saying and how it resonates and expands throughout the rest of the Scriptures. I mean you cannot really miss the message that God is trying to reveal to us from the center of HIS WORD. See the scripture again, "1 Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. 2 For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord." That is the entirety of the Psalm. It is packaged in the center of God's roadmap for our lives and I fully believe it illustrates for us the pattern of how we should prepare our lives each day. In the essence of waking up each day and praising God and lifting up His name as LIGHT into the darkness. And it does not mean that we just say praise God... NO it means that we are to do it like God's biggest cheerleader. We are to do it with so much enthusiasm that it draws others to ask how they can get a little of what we got. It's like something that we can not really explain but that we can experience and this enthusiasm will totally affect EVERY AREA OF OUR DAY!
We see that God extends HIS love towards us and this common theme of God's love, mercy and grace continues to be the common thread throughout the entire Bible and it leads to the complete story of Christ. At the center of all creation is God and like a ripple effect, His loves touches every part of creation. It resonates from the center and will never stop until it has touched every part of God's creation. As we look to begin each day, we need to really recognize the power of God's faithfulness. I mean I am not talking about our faithfulness... I am talking doubt GOD's faithfulness that does not stop because of a bad day or a certain situation. God's faithfulness starts with God and flows out to all of creation. It begins with the center, that is God, and like a tidal wave, rushes over our lives if we are willing to stop doing
things our way and causing ourselves to be painted into a corner. If we stop trapping ourselves with living inside a box and realize that the GOD of ALL is waiting to reveal to each of us the power of HIS glory in our lives. It all starts with praise and I do not believe that it was a coincidence that that is the center of the Bible. I believe that God knows exactly what HE was doing all along the way and continues to challenge us to recenter our lives through praise. It does not take a lot of time each day.... I am just asking that the first thoughts, words, and/or actions be towards centering our lives with God and then watching as God is able to renew our mindsets for the day. It is a simple as reading the Psalm and inviting God into the day. May Christ be the center of our lives and the place we fix our eyes each day.