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Tremble!

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.

Psalms 114:7

One Saturday morning when I was a teenager, my friend Mike and I rode our bikes to our school in order to play handball. The school was deserted, and we had our pick of the outdoor courts. During the game, three older boys approached us. They were dressed in gang apparel and carried menacing chains with them. I sensed that Mike and I were in deep trouble.

Not knowing quite what to do, I invited them to play handball with us. They weren’t interested. They claimed to be from a rival school and were looking to beat up students from our school. Three of them with weapons versus two of us with a handball didn’t stack up well. So, in my coolest voice, I tried to suggest alternatives to the violence that seemed inevitable. Finally, I came up with something they were interested in: my money. Yet, as I opened my wallet, I could hardly grasp the bills because my hands were shaking uncontrollably with fear. The boys seemed to think this was funny, but I didn’t care, as long as they took my money and left us alone, which is how the story ended. But it took several minutes before my body was able to stop trembling.

Psalm 114:7 calls the earth to tremble “at the presence of the Lord.” The Hebrew verb translated as “tremble” can also mean “writhe” in pain or “be in labor” while giving birth. It connotes an uncomfortable body movement, one that happens without our choice. In the poetic language of Psalm 114, the earth should tremble in recognition of God’s mighty power, just as the Red Sea parted before the approaching Israelites (114:3-5).

Of course, this poetic language is really meant for us, not the planet on which we live. We are the ones who need to tremble before the awesome power of God. Yet, unlike the menacing boys on the handball court, God does not want to hurt us or to steal from us. Rather, he comes in power and grace to save us. Thus we tremble before him, not only because we are overshadowed by his might, but also because we are overwhelmed by his mercy.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Can you remember a time in life when you were trembling? What helps you to glimpse the power of God? What shows you his amazing grace?

PRAYER: All-powerful and all-gracious Lord, how easily I take you for granted. I can minimize your might and neglect your grace. Yet every now and then, your Spirit opens up new vistas for me that I might see you afresh. Do it again, Lord! Show me your power. Stun me by your mercy.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Amen.

(The words to this prayer are from the hymn, “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord,” words and music both anonymous, public domain.)

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Best Books for Business

As the saying goes, “So many books, so little time.” We all love a good book list. The stacks of books on our nightstands threaten to reach the ceiling, and we are constantly combing yard sales and thrift stores for a bargain on a bookshelf to store all our treasures. Which books are your favorite? And, if you had to narrow down that list to your favorite books for business, which titles would we find there? We asked a few writers to share their recommendations with us, and we thought we’d share their suggestions here with you, in the series, Best Books for Business. See if any of your favorites make an appearance here.

Featured image by Christine A. Scheller. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.

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