Saturday, February 28, 2009

Poor and Needy

O LORD hear me: for I am poor and needy. Psalm 86:1

David was a rich man. Once his kingdom was established, nothing was withheld from this king.

And yet he cries to the Lord from penurious, pitiful poverty.

That just goes to show that riches do not buy happiness, beauty is only skin deep and popularity is fleeting.

This roller coaster of life can take us from Alpine apexes to depths of discouragement in no time flat. We had better have an anchor for our souls. There must be something in our lives or Someone Who is a Rock, that which never changes.

The word "poor" in our verse here means "depressed in mind or circumstances, afflicted, humbled."

It doesn't matter how we try to insulate ourselves from the circumstances of life, they always find their way through the cracks and into our experience.

Thank God that He is always there, right beside us, in fact, right inside of us to incline His ear to our cries of circumstantial penury.

A word to the wise... David reveals to us in subsequent verses that there are preconditions that ensure God's mercy in such times. They are; living a holy life, serving God, placing our trust only in Him and lifting up our souls to Him.

Whatever circumstance you find yourself in today, whether you are experiencing mountaintop blessings or are feeling poor and needy, look to the Lord on high for preservation of soul, mercy and the ability to rejoice in the midst of it all.

Friday, February 27, 2009

When two Worlds Come Together

Psa 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Psa 85:11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Finish the pairings...
Peanut butter and _____
Abbot and _______
Ginger Rogers and _______

There are matches that seem to be made in heaven. You can't think of one without the other.

When a fine young couple from two families meet, fall in love and get married, they may eventually have a baby. That precious child is the culmination, the fruit of that blessed union.

Psalm 85 introduces us to two such pairings, 1. mercy and truth and 2. righteousness and peace. The fruit of these blessed unions is salvation.

God is holy and just, those are the foundations of His immutable character. Truth and righteousness are an integral part of the fabric of Deity. God could not be God without these standards.
But as with a beautiful multifaceted gemstone, turn it just a bit and you see a whole new aspect. And so it is with the Father. As hard as the edges of truth and righteousness are, so is the beauty of mercy and peace. You can have one without the other or the godhead would seem incongruous.

Thank God for Who He is and what He brings together for those that love Him. These perfect balances of mercy and truth, righteousness and peace enrich our eternities beyond any possible earthly comprehension.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

If We Will Repent...

Psa 85:6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
Psa 85:7 Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.

America's crown has fallen. This mighty and blessed nation has come a "fer piece" from where she once was. Our founding fathers and the other great generations would be hard pressed to recognize this as the nation they established and handed down.

Most of our nation's history was replete with righteousness and dependence on the Almighty, recognizing Him as our Creator and Sustainer. Suddenly, we now resemble post-Christian, post-modern Europe where God is viewed as irrelevant to everyday life.

This is not a liberal/conservative problem, neither is it a democrat/republican thing. It is a shift in culture away from God because, as Romans 1 tells us, "even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to those things which are not convenient."

God is not a convenient concept to most Americans anymore. Why trust a God who demands moral piety, when we can depend on big government with no strings attached?

Heaven only knows if and when our populace is going to wake up and see just how far the crown has fallen.

Today's Scripture does indicate that nations which have lost all moral underpinnings can indeed find favor with God once again and be brought back from captivity (vs 1). We find that He would be willing to forgive the iniquity of a people (vs 2). God may turn away his wrath and anger, (vss 3-5). But we must first have revival!

II Chronicles outlines the recipe for revival, we must humble ourselves, pray, seek the Father's face and turn from our wicked ways. Only then will God hear from heaven, forgive our national sins and heal this land.

We can point our fingers at the deteriorating culture all day and cry "foul!" about abortion, porn, socialism, gay marriage, trash TV and the like. But we are told that judgment must first begin at the house of God!

Until Christians hit their knees and repent and then hit the highways and the hedges and start winning souls to Jesus, this nation will never see a mighty move of God again. But alas, we are at ease in Zion, living off the fat of the land, not even sensing God's righteous indignation and the coming destruction of our formerly blessed homeland.

We never learn from history, do we? Nations are brought low because they forget God. Once mighty Britain, upon whose empire the sun never set, is now a 2nd rate toothless old nation plagued by debauchery. Babylon thumbed her nose at the Almighty and fell to the Persians, whose corruption, in turn, gave way to the hedonist Greeks, whose pantheon of lesser gods could not stay the onslaught of the mighty Romans. Rome crumbled from corruption within. Israel witnessed her own decline on a regular and cyclical basis because she neglected her God. The nations that forget God shall be turned into hell!

And what makes us think that a godless America is going to escape the ash heap of history. If we continue to pump our rebellious fists heavenward, we are goners!

But if we will repent...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No Good Thing

Psalm 84:11 good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Truly, The Lord has our best interests at heart. Obviously, what we consider good for ourselves and what He considers for our good are usually two completely different things.

There are times I think maybe mission work on an Island paradise would be in my best interests, or maybe a mission to the wildlife to the Montana mountains would be good for me. I am thinking now that the Lord has a better idea for me.

Have you ever put a jigsaw puzzle together? I don't mean a 15 piece Dora the Explorer puzzle for your toddler, I mean the big, bad 500 piece babies that takes days or weeks. The ones that take over a coffee table for a while.

Every piece of the puzzle has its place. And when the puzzle is complete, you feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment. I start with those edges. I get the sky together, then the ground and the sides. Then you start matching colors and figures. What a process.

Our lives are an interlocking puzzle. Everyone and everything around us is part of that puzzle. No piece can be forced to fit where it doesn't belong.

God is the One who has the picture on the box, so He knows if a piece belongs or not. He will never force a piece where it doesn't belong. The good things in life He allows us to have are those pieces fitting in just right. But the good things we sometimes desire are forced puzzle pieces. A new Corvette, a set of $1000 golf clubs, membership in an elite club, etc., might seem like a good thing to me, but they don't fit in God's plan for me and others around me. So I get a Chrysler, a set of $400 clubs (which I never use anymore) and membership in my church instead. My, how that all works out so much better!

Also, If I were to force perceived good things into my puzzle, it may not be good for someone else's good things. Imagine, if I made that move to minister in Bali, where would that leave a sheep of the flock where I am who considers me a good and necessary piece of their puzzle?

When we not only need, but also desire something good, the Lord let's that request come through the filter of His wisdom as He considers the whole picture of the finished puzzle and then grants us what is truly the best for us.

Never sacrifice the good for what is best!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'd Rather be an Usher at Church

Ps 84:10b I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

This is a Psalm written for the sons of Korah, a division of the priestly tribe of Levi, whose job it was to man the doors in God's holy tabernacle. This job was a little different than our door greeters at church these days, but similar. The difference? They ensured that everybody who entered or exited the place exhibited an attitude of worship. Additionally, they had swords for enforcement! Picture a person bouncing into the Lord's house chewing gum and 'whack!" you'd get bopped on the side of the head with the flat of the doorkeeper's blade.

We try not to let our greeters have that kind of power, but they are so important. They are the first ones many come in contact with in their Sunday church experience. Who would you want greeting you, Deacon Happy Harry or Lurch? You get the picture.

Thank God for the guys at our church doors who offer a winsome smile, a firm handshake, the bulletin and a good start to worship.

Hey, a day as a doorkeeper at church is better than hanging out anywhere else.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Better is One Day in God's House

Ps 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Remember "greater than" and "less than" symbolized by the signs > and Fishing, when they are biting.

When church "works", that is, when the Spirit of the Almighty accompanies glorious worship, powerful preaching, genuine fellowship and truthful teaching, there is nothing that compares.

The Psalmist says that he wouldn't trade a single day like that in God's house for a thousand days elsewhere.

We had a day like that this past Lord's day. Souls were saved, lives were reclaimed, grand decisions were made, baptisms were planned. The Lord's house was filled with "all of the above" and much more.

Most of all, He was there!

It is days like this that a preacher like myself lives for. As my wife said, "this reminds me why we do this." Indeed.

Honestly, I wouldn't trade last Lord's day for a thousand days catching bass, hunting deer, riding 4 wheelers or snow machines, attending my team's games or any of the other things I love to do.

Lord, you've strung together a few of these Sundays in a row. Could you give a few more?
Blog site is messed up at this time. New blog is coming as soon as they can get their act together.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Limiting the Holy One

Psa 78:41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy
One of Israel.

Speaking of the children of Israel in the wilderness and their vacillation, the
Psalmist tells how they limited the Lord.

It's true, we limit God by our behavior. There is so much He'd like to do for
us and through us, but we tie the Almighty's hands by our sin and unbelief.

Jesus experienced this as He returned home to Nazareth and could do no
mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Imagine that, the almighty, sovereign God of creation allows Himself to be
limited by our actions.

Imagine also, that if we would just get right and do the right thing God
could and would do the miraculous on every hand and we would see His
power manifested in our lives on a regular basis.

Let us not limit the Holy One of our salvation, but simply believe and live

Friday, February 20, 2009

Swinging and Singing From Strength to Strength

Ps 84:7 They go from strength to strength...

Tarzan, just learning the ropes, or in this case, the vines, is getting the "hang" of things as he swings on a vine, then another vines just happens to be there to receive him. He lets go of the first so the second one may deliver him to the third. He makes a trade and picks up some speed. High off the forest floor the monkey man traverses the jungle. Like a circus pro, he manipulates nature's super highway. Suddenly, oops! He hits a clearing and no new vine awaits him. He must descend his vine and walk for a while. Well, it was fun while it lasted!

Tarzan's jungle junket is not unlike our Christian journey. God allows us to negotiate our jungle of life going from strength to strength, as Mr. Loin Cloth went from vine to vine.

Strength here, speaks of power, might or substance. It is that which gives us the ability to progress. One day it might be the joy of the Lord, another, dependence upon a promise of the Word. Then we may pick up a vine of fellowship in which God's people encourage us to go on. At our next vine, we find God's outright goodness to us keeps us aloft, then His mercy bears us to blessings, which carry us to a blessed truth, followed by the Holy Spirit's leading, then a song, hymn or spiritual song carries us along to thanksgiving. Suddenly, oops! We get our eyes off of the Lord like Peter on the stormy sea and we find ourselves grounded. Fear, frustration, flesh, a falter, something has got us punching through thick undergrowth when we were sailing high off the forest floor.

Maybe today, this is your plight. You have gone from strength to strength in the past, but now it is your strength and not His. Get into the Word and find a promise, win a soul, ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit, give thanks, fellowship with a sister in the Lord, soon you will find yourself aloft once again. Soon you will be swinging and singing, going from strength to strength on your journey to the Promised Land.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

God will make your trial and trail a blessing.

Psa 84:6 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well.
Have you been through Baca? Baca is a valley in Israel, the name of which means "weeping". Ishmael and Hagar cried (baka’) to God for aid in the wilderness after Abraham left them in a deserted area. There, in that valley, God heard them and blessed them. The great well Zamzam it’s actually a spring that sprang up in answer to their cry.
Sorrow is a part of our human experience. Mountaintop joy means little if we cannot contrast it with valley woe.

Jesus took the valley route often. He wept over Jerusalem's refusal to find refuge under His wings. He wept at the death of Lazarus and the subsequent sorrow of his friends and family. The Scripture calls the Savior a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.

What kept Him going through that difficult Baca valley? The joy that was set before Him. Basically, the place back at His Father's side.

We also have much to look forward to. Joy awaits us when we finally make our way out of the valley of weeping. We are destined for victorious mountain tops.

But our passage here shows that, for a person to be able to make a well in the valley of Baca, he or she must first make preparation. Initially, one has to long for God's house. There they fellowship, praise, worship, sacrifice, learn and serve the King of Glory. Strength for the valley of Baca is garnered from the Lord's house. Verses 1 and 2 show this.

And then, we find the valley of Baca is made a blessing for the individual who has made use of the church altar. Verse 3. An altar is the place where we meet God and lay bare our heart and soul. It is a place where we do our most serious business with our Lord. If we miss His house, we miss an opportunity to be blessed at an altar.

And then, according to verse 4, the Baca valley is made much more tolerable for the person who is still praising God. Imagine one person reluctantly, drudgingly making his way into Baca, humming in a minor key, "Well, it's cryin' time again!"

Meanwhile another, filled with the Holy Spirit, praising God for His goodness, making melody in her heart to the Lord, and giving thanks for all things. This person is the one who sees the possibilities of this lonesome valley and there makes a refreshing well.

Also, the Baca traveler who finds a blessing in the valley is a person who operates in the strength and power of the Lord rather than leaning on the arm of fallible human flesh. Vs 5.

Operating by flesh power is a frustrating endeavor. What a huge contrast to live by the credo of the Apostle Paul who said, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Friend, valleys of weeping are inevitable. There are times when there is no other path. David said, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

The word "yea" that David uses portends the certainty of such an endeavor.

Our choice then is, are we going to cower through the valley? Will we feel sorry for ourselves and seek solace from others also navigating that difficult trail? Or will we allow God to use those tears to cleanse our vision? Can we allow our valley sufferings to become mountain ministries?

Know this, child of God, the Lord does not lead us into box canyons but valleys which have an entrance and an exit. So, make a well while you are there, be refreshed and emerge to a greater joy on the other side.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

God Remembers We are Just Flesh

Psa 78:38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
Psa 78:39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.

Thank God for His wonderful, abundant mercy! We are fully deserving of penury and penalty here on earth and hell to follow.

But God is full of compassion. He is slow to anger, righteous anger. The reason for His patience to us is that He remembers what we are made of. Faltering, failing flesh. We are as stable and dependable as the wind that passes by.

And so, He forgives when we fail, He shows compassion when we show coldness, He turns away His anger when we turn antagonistic.

He remembers what we are made of. Today, let's remember God's character, holy and just, but merciful and loving.

Now look at verse 50...He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence;

The Lord had turned away His anger from His people, but when it came to Egypt, He made a way to His anger. In other words, He found a way to deliver it.

Think of an archer shooting at targets 30 paces away. One target, he decides to turn completely around and shoot his arrow harmlessly in the opposite direction, but the next target, he shoots the bull's eye with precision.

This was the difference between ancient Israel and Egypt.

Make sure that you are one of His own, rather than on the delivery end of His anger.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You can have your cake and eat it too!

78:25 Man did eat angel's food

Can you sense the amazement of the Psalmist as he pens these words? God is taking care of His kids in the wilderness. Water came from a rock, quails flew into their nets, but bread from heaven, not just once, but 6 days a week! That's amazing.

Angels eat? I never really thought about that too much. Why? Is it for fun? Do they need it to sustain strength as they minister to us? Do they eat manna for the same reason I eat nachos, because I can?

We sometimes think of the spiritual world as solely ethereal...unseen and immaterial. But it has to be pretty real if the angels sit down to honey flavored coriander bread on a regular basis.

And then, to think, heaven's bakery got this special order to feed a few million Jews in the wilderness for an indefinite period of time. And then there was the logistics of delivery. Did the angels drop it from the sky? Did coriander clouds drop the flakes on their camp? Hmmm.

The most amazing thing about it all to the Psalmist and to me, is that, when it seems impossible for God to care for His own, He surprises us with yet another way to open the windows of heaven.

In these hard times, making ends meet is going to be difficult. But those who love God are going to be amazed at the methods God will use to care for His own.

Pass the angel food cake, please!

Addendum: Our family is in a $$$ pinch! We took a large pay cut before it was even in vogue. We have had to file a small claims suit against former tenants in a property we reluctantly own. Even if we win the lawsuit, worth enough to fund the habits of a banana republic’s dictator for about 15 minutes, they don’t really have the means to pay up. Suddenly, out of heaven, well, Houston, Texas, I receive a call from the Judge Alex Show offering to have our case tried on TV. If we win, and I am pretty confident of that, the show pays the judgment against the defendants. Now once again, pass the angel food cake, please!

Monday, February 16, 2009

If you play with fire…

Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?
Pro 6:27-28
Pyromania was alive and well with my brother and I when we were kids. (Maybe that's where my two boys get it!). We were fascinated with the incendiary. Our home was historic, it had belonged to General John J. Pershing around the turn of last century. The garage had one side for autos, the other for horses and a haystack above. We performed several "scientific" experiments in that old barn. Too bad the neighborhood kids had learned from us and decided to perform one of those acts while we were still in bed one summer morning. They torched the whole thing and destroyed the place. Well, that's what you get when you play with fire.

Did you hear the story of the king who was in the market for a good carriage driver for his daughter? To find out who was the most suitable driver for his girl he proposed a challenge to the candidates. He offered the prestigious job to the one who, at full speed could drive the carriage closest to the dangerous cliff edge, while maintaining a high speed. One driver came a mere foot away from the edge while rounding the turn. The next was able to maneuver the wagon several inches closer. All who observed cheered his valor. Then a third man took the reins and as he approached the dangerous precipice, he slowed the horses to a painfully slow gait. He hugged the rock cliff as far away from the chasm as possible. The people booed his cowardess. As he finished his course, the king demanded of him why he was so cautious. “I value my life and that of these beautiful steeds so much so that I have no desire to see them wasted in such foolishness. And besides that, I see no earthly reason to endanger the beautiful princess’ life, should she be aboard this magnificent carriage whilst I am driving.” The king nodded and said, “To this man goes the honor of driving my daughter’s carriage, for his wisdom and respect has earned him such a privilege.”

I am appalled to see such carelessness in the lives of God’s people these days. They show no respect for God nor the dangers of sin. Rather than stay as far away from evil as possible, they nudge up to it so close, trusting their grit and determination not to fall into its vices, they are soon caught up in it and are unable to escape.

I read a bizarre story which I now share with you that proves the point of people’s foolish rendezvous with sin. May God deliver this dumb dove before she is devoured by the coyote.

Drew Peterson’s fiancée: He will never hurt me - She says suspected murderer ‘has a good heart,’ plans summer wedding - By Michael Inbar - contributor - Feb. 13, 2009
Many people, including her own parents, call her crazy, but Christina Raines maintains she is Only crazy in love with her notorious, headline-grabbing fiancé, Drew Peterson.
After a strange, weeklong split, Raines has reconciled with Peterson and is planning a summer wedding, despite Peterson’ remaining under a heavy cloud of suspicion that he murdered his third and fourth wives. The pair sat down with TODAY’s national correspondent Amy Robach for an interview marked by Peterson’s braggadocio and Raines’ continued assertion her intended is no criminal.
Raines, just 24, told Robach she ignores talk that her future husband is a murderer, despite her father Ernie publicly declaring he fears for his daughter’s life.
‘A good heart’“[Drew] has a good heart,” Raines told Robach. “[He’s] very caring and I don’t think he will ever hurt me or anyone else.”
Peterson, 55, a former police sergeant in Bolingbrook, Ill., is under police investigation for the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. The 25-year-old woman went missing in October 2007, and while Drew Peterson told police he had received a call from Stacy telling him she was leaving to be with another man, the couple’s neighbors reported Peterson carried a 55-gallon barrel out of his home shortly after her disappearance.
Suspicions in the Stacy Peterson case prompted authorities to exhume the body of Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio, who died in 2004 from what was initially judged to be an accidental drowning in the couple’s bathtub. A new forensic examination decreed Savio had actually died of a forced drowning.
While police continue to gather evidence for possible charges against Peterson, his 33-years-younger fiancée told Robach she has no fears becoming the next Mrs. Peterson. She noted that she knew Drew before Stacy’s disappearance, and “he has always been nice to me.”
When Stacy disappeared, Raines said she “felt bad for [Drew]. I felt like she was kidnapped or something. But that’s it. I didn’t think that he did anything to her.”

So, there you have it. People are so stupid that they look down the barrel of a loaded gun and aren’t afraid to pull the trigger. What about you? Are you taking fire to your bosom these days? Are there sins you are playing around with which are going to burn you?

Do like the wise driver did, stay as far away from the edge as possible and you won’t have a thing to worry about.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Can God Furnish a Table in the Wilderness?

Psa 78:19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
Psa 78:20 Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?

Our nation is in as much of a wilderness as I have ever seen it. Our heritage is being steamrolled by socialism and racism. Socialism will be better than what we will have though, because in socialism, everyone works! Hard times are upon us unparalleled since the great depression.

I predict that it won't be long before huge lifestyle adjustments are going to have to be made. I see the day when families are going to have to combine households just to meet surviving mortgages. Joblessness is going to go through the roof. Those who have jobs, even bad ones are going to make unbelievable concessions, i.e. pay cuts, benefit reductions, etc, just to hang on to employment. I can see unemployment reaching almost 30%. Think about it, much industry produces items that are useless in bad times. Who is going to buy a jet-ski, fishing boat or 4-wheeler when they can't even make the house payment?

Churches are going to struggle tremendously. Raw numbers show that it will be impossible to operate at present levels. Staff positions will be cut, missions budgets will be pared, building projects will be tabled. It is a gloomy outlook.

But I do know this, God can furnish a table in the wilderness. His promises are still true, boom or bust. When we tithe, He will open the windows of heaven and pour out the blessings, while rebuking the devourer. When we give to missions, He will meet all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

On a brighter note, we know that the rapture and tribulation must be proceeded by perilous times in which men's hearts fail them in fear for the things which are coming.

Lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Godly Generation

Psa 78:8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation
that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God

The desire of parents is always that their children have a better world and a better chance than they had.

In this verse, the Psalmist bemoans previous generations characterized by stubbornness and rebellion. Their hearts were not right with God and their spirits were not solidly with God.

I'd like to pass down a better world to my kids and a better heritage for them to emulate. However, our present generation is best described in the New Testament, Phil 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Our nation is just that in this generation, crooked and perverse.

It is by no accident that some kids "turn out right". It takes diligence, care, love, discipline, prayer and much wisdom and in the end, they must make the proper choices to be part of a generation that honors God and seeks Him whole-heartedly.

I pray that the next generation would have the example and all the tools they need to choose godliness and to stand for what is right.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What are We Passing Along to our Children?

Psa 78:5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:
Psa 78:6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
Psa 78:7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:
Psa 78:8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.

We see in this passage that it is the responsibility of one generation to pass along to the next one, so that they, in turn, might pass along to the next generation the following;
1) The Praises of the Lord, vs 4
2) How Strong the Lord is, vs 4
3) The Wonderful Works that He has Done, vs 4
4) A Testimony, vs 5
5) The Perfect Law of God, vs 5
6) That There is Hope in God, vs 7
7) That Generations to come might not forget the Works of God, vs 7
8) That Those Generations would Keep His Commandments, vs 7

Now, let's be honest, what are we really passing down to our kids?
The average Christian home teaches;
1)That a television set is the pivotal point of the home.
2)That getting ahead, or rather, just keeping afloat by whatever means necessary, is primary.
3) The principle of situational ethics can be employed when issues arise.
4) The whole ‘God thing’ is okay for normal times, but crises may call for other means to get by, i.e. lying, stealing, depending on the government, coveting, sloth, slander, etc.
5) The ‘God thing’ is basically a 1 or 2 hour a week proposition, otherwise, all bets are off.

I am reminded of the illustration of God being the spare tire for most people. When we have a flat, we pull out that donut tire from the trunk and use it just long enough to limp into the service station and get the tire fixed, then the spare gets thrown back into the trunk until the next time you have a flat. A person is just fine until trouble comes and he thinks he could use God to get over the rough spot, then, as soon as the crisis is averted, our Cosmic Genie goes back into His bottle until the next time we are in trouble.

That's precisely why we are losing the coming generation. They see God as an add-on to their parents lives, not a real deal, sure fire part of everyday life. They don't see a testimony of 24/7 dependence and relationship with the Almighty from their mom and pop, but a religion of convenience. Hollywood holds more reality to our kids than does their parent's faith.

It's time we talk the talk and walk the walk in our homes, like we do down at the church house. We can't hide the true faith from our kids, but we have to establish a testimony before them that they might know the true power of God and choose to pass the faith along to their kids.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Promotion Comes From God

Ps 75:5-7 Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

It is refreshing to see a person with a little assertiveness, trying to better herself, learn better his trade, establishing and perfecting the gifts that God has endowed them with.

But it can be frustrating to get passed over when another, lesser qualified person gets that promotion. You know you have better people skills, you have honed your craft and have a better knowledge of the workings of your trade. You ask, "Why did they get the job? Why wasn't I even interviewed?"

These are fair questions to ask about seemingly unfair situations.

Though the higher-ups may seem a bit clueless at times, know that the Lord is taking notes. He knows when to make the sun shine on you and when to leave you in the shadows for your greater good.

One of the men in our church was dismissed from his job because of a simple misunderstanding. He had been a valued employee at that company for decades and, boom! he was gone.

The temptation for he and his wife was to worry, despair and cry "foul!"

However, time, testing and trials showed that God knew exactly what He was doing in this man's life.

Now he has a better job, in fact one of the most coveted jobs in town at a tremendously reputable and caring company, better benefits to boot! And the old job? All the employees are laid off. They were told to take their vacations months ago, which they did, and then they never even received their vacation pay.

Once again, God's timing was impeccable and His will was accomplished in the life of His kid.

So keep bettering yourself, continue to hone your skills, be the best whatever it is that you do, be invaluable at your place of work, and God will promote you in His time, and in His will.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Valentine for Solomon

David's last prayer was a prayer for Solomon.
Ps 72:20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.

In this Psalm, David lays his desires for his son before the Lord. Knowing at this time that Solomon would reign in his stead, David petitions the Lord for good judgment, prosperity, dominion, spirituality and honor for Solomon.

One curious request I see that the Lord answered in a manner with quite a twist, verse 10 asks, maybe even prophecies that the kings of Sheba and Seba would offer gifts to his son during his reign as king. Verse 15 says that to him shall be given the gold of Sheba. I suppose, at that time, Sheba had a king. Little did he know that in Solomon's day, Sheba (Ethiopia) would be ruled by a queen.

In I Kings 10 we read the story of the visit of the queen of Sheba who had heard of Solomon's fame and came to check it out. She brought, as a gift, 120 talents of gold. That's a huge chunk of change! In fact, we are told that nobody brought him bigger gifts than she did.

Well, Solomon had an eye for the ladies and apparently, he was as impressed with her as she was with him and we are told they got hitched. Some say that the Song of Solomon, the love story between he and his wife, was written about none other than the queen of Sheba. Take a gander at Canticles 1:5-6a, I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me:

Well, be careful what you pray for, you might just get it. And in this final prayer of David, he unwittingly got a future daughter in law. Instead of a king, the family got a real queen.

What a nice Valentine's day story!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What's in a name?

Psa 68:4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

"...his name JAH"

"Name" here speaks of God's individuality, authority, character. His very name tells of His renown.

Then we come to this curious demarcation of the Lord. We are used to the familiar usage of Lord, God and sometimes, occasionally, Jehovah. but here is a once and only usage of "JAH" as it stands alone. It is actually a contraction of Jehovah, but is used commonly as a suffix in many of the Bible names with which we are familiar. For examples; Eli(jah), "God of Jehovah"; Isa(iah), "JAH has saved"; Jerem(iah), "JAH will rise", etc.

The common usage of this suffix to Hebrew names indicates the centrality of God (JAH) in the lives of His people. He is integral to anything and everything.

In our culture, it seems as if God is an add-on. The phrase "God willing" is sometimes an afterthought rather than an all-important thought.

(Special note: Did you know that "Jah" is the Rastifarian name for God?)

Our society hears the name of God used in blasphemy more than in praise and reverence.

What a crying shame that God's holy name is so misunderstood and misused. Would to JAH that we would pause, as the ancient scribes did, at the majesty of His name as it is presented, and make spiritual preparation before even invoking His holy and majestic name.

Let us consider that glorious name in whatever form we hear, say, read or otherwise engage it today. Names convey meaning, but true meaning is found only by the power of His name, JAH.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Wheelbarrow Overfloweth!

Ps 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

I can remember well the old “family” wheelbarrow we used around the place for years. The wooden handles were well-worn and polished from great use, the wheel was steel, I had no idea there actually existed inflated tire models. I still think those are for sissies! :<) I was always a fan of loading that thing up as much as possible. My dad would encourage me to make more trips so as not to lose items over the side. Fewer steps was my greatest concern.

“Loadeth” - to load, that is, impose a burden. The blessings of the Lord are heaped upon His dear children to the point of overloading them. As Jesus promised, Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give into your bosom.

Whether the Lord chooses to heap upon us His blessings from within, without or even from above, whether they are spiritual, physical or economic, they are multitude and exceed that which we deserve.

I thank my God this day for His multitudinous blessings upon me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thank you, Lord, for your wonderful mercy!

Psa 67:1 God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
Psa 67:2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
Psa 67:3 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
Psa 67:4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.
Psa 67:5 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
Psa 67:6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.
Psa 67:7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

The 67th Psalm is a beautiful bit of praise. The invocation asks for God's mercy, blessings and favor.

I need this triumvirate today and forever more. It is said that Grace is getting what we don't deserve and mercy is not receiving what we do deserve.

I confess, I am deserving of a whole lot I'd rather do without. Therefore, God's mercy is a welcome gift to this "deserving" sinner.

I think of my kids. Honestly, sometimes I want to whip the fire out of those children, but I seldom do. Not that they don't merit a real woodshed experience, they can really offend dad's holy law at times. I am sure they are thankful that a calmer head prevails.

Dad is capable of mercy, because he knows the mercy shown by the Heavenly Father and can really appreciate that mercy can sometimes teach a greater lesson than a good whoopin'.

Thank you, Lord, for your wonderful mercy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

He Cannot Feel at Home in a Dirty Heart

Ps 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.

Regarding iniquity in one's heart speaks to a deep seated sin which we harbor and approve of.

The word regard means to approve of, to take heed to, or to consider.
We are told that our hearts are to be the residence of Christ in us. As long as we allow iniquity to dwell in that holy spot, then God assures us that He has no intention of hearing and answering our prayers.

We've got to get the crud out so that there is nothing between our soul and the Savior, for He can not feel at home in a dirty house.

What sin are you regarding in your heart right now that hinders your prayer?

Allow the blood of Jesus, through His mercy, to wash you white as snow.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Most Powerful Man on Earth

Most Americans, without hesitation, believe the POTUS (President of the United States) has the distinction of being the most powerful man on earth. But let’s think about that a bit. Today I offer my top 5 list.

5. Oprah Winfrey. I remember many years ago, riding a ski lift up Telluride’s slopes and looking down onto Oprah’s balcony. My thought was, “How much moola do you have to have to make to live on this hill?” At the time, she made a paltry $54 mil per annum. In ’08, she raked in $385M and is worth $2.7 billion. This poor child from Kosciusko, MS, who made good as a media mogul, is dubbed as the richest African American in history, the first black billionaire, and the most influential woman in the world. She is said to have delivered over a million votes to Barack Obama in the final days of the ’08 elections. She was even considered by notorious Illinois Governor Blagojevich as a possible replacement for the Messiah’s vacant senate seat. Not only that, but she is the associate pastor of the newest world-wide cult. Perhaps she could be appointed as the false prophet for the false messiah. That’s power, man! Therefore she ranks as my number 5 world’s most powerful man.

4. Rush Limbaugh, aka, El Rushbo, aka, Maharushie, ad nauseam. Yes, ensconced behind the golden EIB mic every Monday through Friday, this living legend of radio and opinion whose talent is on loan from God ranks #4 in my list of most powerful men on earth. If he only knew he only rated a 4, I am sure his oversized ego would be greatly deflated to only 10 times the size of a normal human sapiens. In only one week the king of talk radio has drawn the ire of the POTUS, the DNC (Democratic National Committee) and every liberal critic in the known blogosphere. Why all the fuss over this teddy bear who takes on his enemies with one half of his brain tied behind his back? Because he said he hopes the POTUS will fail. Imagine that! He hopes that ultra-liberalism fails so that decent thinking Americans can regain status in the 3 branches of government. Shame on him! It’s un-American to hope a gay-friendly, big-spending , Arab-placating, abortionist president doesn’t succeed.

3. Rahm Emmanuel (literal meaning: Highly exalted God with us). Imagine opening a package and finding in it a rotting 2 foot long fish! That’s what happens when you cross #3 on our world’s most powerful list. And once you have been humiliated in defeat, expect a display of passion as he stabs a table with his steak knife, calling out your name and saying, “die!” The chief of Messiah’s staff will be the behind the scenes power of the regime that woos the world.

2. His Eminence, the Holy Messiah Barack H. Obama. On inauguration day the Anointed One made his triumphal entry to the holy city of Washington riding upon “the Beast”, his POTUS mobile. He has the ministry of world reconciliation. He is able to revive the economy, close Gitmo with a single pen stroke, strike down DOMA in a single bound and stop speeding republicans with his cool stare. His Kryptonite… Oath repeating ability and bowling.

And the #1 most powerful man on earth...

1. Al Gore. Inventor of the internet, inspiration for “Love Story”, Oscar and Grammy winner, Man of the Year, Nobel Prize recipient, Savior of the Planet. The biggest lie foisted on the world since the snake in the garden told Eve she could be like God if she ate that pomegranate is Al’s warning that we have ruined our mother goddess with our irresponsible greenhouse emissions. Well, then there is his follow up, that we can do something about it! You are a powerful man Al. How many of you miss the Clinton administration when we had both sex and Gore in the White House? If someone actually deflated this windbag we would experience measurable global warming.