Friday, November 28, 2008

Why So Many Enemies?

Psalm 35:1 Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

David spoke so often about his enemies and those who tried to destroy them. Why did such a good man have such adamant foes? Why do we read over and over about David’s bouts with his adversaries? Among other reasons…
1. Jealousy - King Saul was threatened by David's favor with God and others and his promotion by God to future king.
Saul’s jealousy reached a boiling point when the girls sang of David; "Saul has slain his thousands, David his ten thousands"
The king who had achieved the highest position in the land was bested in the hearts of his own people by this upstart.
2. Vengefulness
right or wrong, what David did as a dowry for Michael, his first wife, was never forgotten. 200 Philistine foreskins was cause for them to be foes for life.
3. Envy - His own son, Absalom thought he was all that, got pretty full of himself, thought his head of hair made him the man (ha!) so he plotted for the throne.
4. Spite - People hated David because he loved God first and foremost. Sure, he was a mess at times, but God called him the man after His own heart. Darkness hates light, so the wicked hated him for his stand for God.
5. Cause and effect, sowing and reaping. David numbered the people against God's will, he committed adultery and murder - sin has consequences. Enemies were raised up against David because of his own sins.
6. God's enemies are our enemies. The world hates God. They want to live autonomously. Anyone who is on God's side or speaks on God’s behalf will draw their angst.
7. Sin nature - there are wars, battles, enemies, fights simply because men's hearts are evil. They want what isn't theirs, so they take it, if you are in the way, you are an enemy. People have pent up rage and anger. Life has dealt them blows which they feel they don't deserve. If you get in their way, you just may receive the whole load of their trash.

And so it is with us. No matter how nice you are, how good of a life you live, what stand you take, you will have enemies. They may be jealous of you, envious, they may want to get even, spite you for being a Christian, or you may have people rise up against you as a consequence for poor choices you have made.

Know these things:
1. If you are tight with the Lord, He is on your side and will win the battle for you
2. You are in good company. You have an affinity with people like David, Daniel, Paul and Jesus.
3. Keep on doing right. Remember these timeless truths. Right is greater than might, eternity is greater than time, and good is better than evil.

To the victor goes the spoils so keep fighting the battle in the strength of the Lord.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

Psalm 33:5

Mountain majesty, river royalty, field fruitfulness, ocean openness, sky serenity, rain richness, animal attractiveness, flower fragrance, woodland wonder, marine mystery, earth embellishment.

Everywhere we look, in the natural world, that which is uncontaminated by the depravity of man, the goodness of the Lord is clearly evident.

Spurgeon had this to say: Come hither, astronomers, geologists, naturalists, botanists, chemists, miners, yea, all of you who study the works of God, for all your truthful stories confirm this declaration. From the midge in the sunbeam to leviathan in the ocean all creatures own the bounty of the Creator. Even the pathless desert blazes with some undiscovered mercy, and the caverns of ocean conceal the treasures of love. Earth might have been as full of terror as of grace, but instead thereof it teems and overflows with kindness. He who cannot see it, and yet lives in it as the fish lives in the water, deserves to die. If earth be full of mercy, what must heaven be where goodness concentrates its beams?

Truly, the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Praise is comely for the upright

Psa 33:1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
(The word comely means beautiful, attractive.)

A good look for the Christian is a glad heart which continuously rejoices in the Lord, and praiseful lips which extol the Lord.

Too many Christians are far too glum. They pour forth the faith from dour vessels. Unsmiling expressions do not adorn the gospel of God, but disgrace the faith.
As oraments on a holiday tree, so does a positive, praiseful believer make for an attractive religion.

We ought to ask today, are we the honey that attracts or the vinigar that repels? The faith is best showcased by the beautiful believers whose faith gives them joy rather than those whose religion seems to have given them indigestion.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Are You Happy Today?

Psalm 32:1&2 Blessed is he whose sin is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

I am not asking if you feel good, or if more things are going right than are going south. I just wondered if the joy of the Lord pervades your soul today?

Do you remember that snappy little hymn which states:

You ask me why I’m happy, so I’ll just tell you why…
Because, my sins are gone.
And when I meet the scoffers, who ask me where they are…
I say, my sins are gone.
They’re underneath the blood on the cross of Calvary,
As far removed from darkness is from dawn.
In the sea of God’s forgetfulness, that’s good enough for me.
Praise God! My sins are gone.

Such a great little chorus to singthroughout the day to keep us reminded that the best reason for any of us blood-bought children of the King to be happy is that our transgressions are forgiven, our sins covered, and once we’ve been washed, the Lord does not regard our iniquities, our spirits are clean before Him.

I ask you again, are you happy today?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Much to be Thankful For

Family, a home, a car that runs, church, health, the Holy Spirit, a bank balance, Midwestern values, my Bible, forgiveness, church family, air conditioning, rewards in heaven, shoes, truth, Christian friends, my pastor, the Resurrection, food on the table, paved roads, a job, a democratic republic, our deacons and trustees, trash collection, honesty, a Christian nation, Jesus Christ, good Christian music, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, sewage system, good books to read, missionaries, traditions, carpet, Paul Harvey, the grocery store with fully stocked shelves, Sunday school teachers, decent medical care, running hot and cold water, my country, grace, ability to smile, heaven, a good cup of coffee, the wheel, emotions, Junior church teachers, the sovereignty of God and the free will of man, ability to cry, Sunday, the Huskers, Bible colleges, a closet full of shrinking clothes, preaching, mercy, available meds, exercise, plastic, Wal-Mart, hundreds of restaurants, hope, radio, 4 seasons, technology, toilet tissue, Fox news, the telephone, a bed with pillows and blankets, an orderly society, refrigeration, hunting and fishing, heritage, wisdom, comfort, fire, belonging, Christmas, green grass, prayer, justice, vitamins, success, padded pews, our church’s singers, the internet, the pastor’s wife, love, Heaven, Louis L’Amor, holiness, God’s promises, a garden, neighbors, Kleenex, the US military, the Apostle Paul, electricity, children, Thanksgiving, memories, education, buttons and zippers, pets, spouse, the right to bear arms, tooth paste, salvation, gasoline, toys, cheese, people who care, church nursery, joy, Old Glory, assurance, Calvary, the sun, moon and stars, good news, faith, cotton, roses, the Book of Revelation, angels, rain, amazement, innocence, loyalty, revival, travel, Friday, 5 senses and 3 dimensions, sunrise and sunset, Creation, my mansion in heaven, the ability to sing, love, worship and shout!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Ps 22:1

This is a prominent prophetic crucifixion chapter. Part of the trilogy of Christ's ministry 22-24. Where He is presented respectively as Saviour, Sufficient and Sovereign.

Intro - "upon Aijeleth Shahar"

"Deer dawn." That is, when the deer feed at the dawning of the day. This is an early morning Psalm. When many are still asleep, while many others rush to their daily tasks, work, school.
Upon this day, an early morning song requires our heart-felt attendence.

1. The prophetic words of Jesus on the cross. "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me"

Perhaps the saddest words ever muttered from earth toward heaven. Impossible words, made possible for the 1st and only time in the history of the world. made possible because of the awful implication... our sins have separated God and His Son. Isa 59:2, II Cor 5:21.

Notice the double cry, the emphatic plea to heaven as Jesus calls upon His God and Father 2 times as if repetition might somehow garner heaven's pity and attention. But it would not be so, it could not. Our sins have deafened heaven to His plight. How unfair! How incongruous! Alas and did my Savior bleed and did my Sovereign die, would he devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?

The blackened skies on that fateful noonday, the Savior having hung in writhing pain for 3 hours, not only portended nature's remorse, Calvary's wrath and man's wretchedness, but it also reflected the mood of Heaven's sorrow mingled with wrath. Payment must be made for inequity and only God's beloved Son could meet the demand. Hence, on this sole occasion, the Throne of glory had to ignore the passionate plea from heaven's Hero, the adored of the angels, Jesus. The innocent Lamb of God, Who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might have a shot at righteousness, which would forever elude us had God not turned His back for 6 hours on crucifiction day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The LORD sitteth King for ever - Psalm 29:10

Ps 29:10 The LORD sitteth King for ever.

Economy - headed into the tank
Government - lowest approval in history
Relationships - stressed
Job - dissatisfaction
Health - overweight, unexercised, diseased
Possessions - taxed, falling into disrepair
Happiness - stolen by the enemy

Is there anything we can count on?

The LORD sitteth King for ever!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Power, Familiar Verse Psalm 23:6

Ps 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

What ever I come up against today, or any day, God's goodness and mercy are coming along for deliverence.
Here the word "follow" means to run after with hostile intent. To chase, put to flight, hunt, persecute.
God's goodness and mercy are bent on the destruction of any enemy which oppose us. As an added blessing, this is every day of our lives!
And if all that weren't enough, the icing on the cake...heaven too!

Thought: a verse that speaks to you can save your day, your mindset, you health, even your life! Here in vs 6, if you know God's mercy and goodness are there to crush your opposition, you won't fret, worry or do something rash or foolish.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Degrees of sins

I cringe everytime I hear the phrase, "to God, all sins are equal." To that, I have to say, "yes and no."

I accept that sin is what nailed our precious Lord to the cross, yet, you cannot convince me that an illicit thought is on par with incest, nor a lie the same as sodomy.

Jesus, as He raised the bar under grace told us that even a lustful thought is the commission of adultery and a harboring of hatred is the same as murder. Yet, we find that society, church governance, natural consequence and even the frown of heaven differ from one sin to another.

A convicted rapist, terrorist, embezzler, murderer or child abuser has reservations for a stay in the graybar motel. Depending on the sleaze of his/her laywer and the fatness of their bank account, they will do the time for the crime.

However, providing a wolf-whistle or a cat-call to a passing female will usually get you only a dirty look. Celebrating Miller Time will set nobody in Ol Sparky. The sin of missing church may get you the cold shoulder from your clergy, but little more.

Let's look at the Bible's clear teaching on the degrees of sin:
Psa 19:12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
Psa 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

The progression from bad (all sin is bad!) to worse is clear!

1. Errors (shegîy'âh) moral mistakes (common sins of passion that crop up in the course of living - anger, jealousy, gluttony, etc.)
2. Secret Faults - hidden failings (the human weaknesses which vary from one to another. Those sins which do so easily beset us)
3. Presumptous sins - Arrogant sins ("I'll do this and I know I can get away with it")
4. The Great Transgression (the egregious sin which causes irreparable damage)

It is obvious that the motives and penalties for these 4 different types of sin are progressive. One seems to lead to another if not dealt with. Additionally there are crimes of passion and then there are premeditated offenses, for which human government and the Lord have varying punishment.

In conclusion, God is grieved by any and all sin. Christ Died to provide pardon for sins, big and little. All sin is hurtful - some are more destructive than others. When we trangress God's law, in any sense, we are guilty of breaking His standard - the perfection of His Son, Jesus. It is because of origional sin (our sin nature) that we all stand guilty before a thrice holy God. Therefore God offers forgiveness for any and all sin through the sacrifice of the innocent Son of God on the cross.

Let us be filled with the Holy Spirit so we will not bow to the will of the flesh. By God's strength, may we all forsake and avoid all sin.
"Father, forgive us our sins and we forgive others their sins against us, and lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil, Amen!"