Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Psa 107:4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.
Having been there myself, my heart goes out to those who seem to be wandering in the wilderness in a solitary way.
Perhaps you've been there, all by yourself in a crowd. Maybe you feel like nobody understands, nobody knows all you are up against, nobody knows what you are going through. It could be that you are there right now.
If any of these are the case, know that the Lord is with you every step of the way. Just acknowledge His presence and seek His fellowship. Also, don't be afraid to reach out. There are many around you who really care and if only you would get their attention, they would be glad to help shoulder your burden.
Additionally, realize that there are a bunch of folks around you today who are wandering in the wilderness in a solitary way. An arm around the shoulder, a kind and caring word or some little notion would be all it takes to let them know they are not alone in their journey.
May you be blessed and be a blessing today.
Mat 21:1-11 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
I've been to the old city of Jerusalem a couple of times.
The city is so very intriguing. All kinds of different people are everywhere. Jews, Palestinians, pilgrims, religious leaders and followers, international government types. There is a buzz everywhere you look. Nobody is laid back, nobody is taking it easy. The air is thick with anticipation of something...the past coming alive, a coming Messiah, a religious feeling, fervency of worship, or a good buy on some relic, souvenir or even a loaf of bread.
And everybody is scurrying around. They are going to the temple mount, or just leaving. Or they are headed to a mosque or synagogue, or have just left one. Nobody is stationary very long. Even those who do stop don't stand still.
And crowds, they are everywhere! Never or nowhere have I ever witnessed so many groups of people, anywhere from 3 or 4 to 30 or 40, huddled around some guide listening intently to some anecdote.
That's the way it is in the holy city now, and that's exactly the way it was 2000 years ago when a former Carpenter rode into town from Mount Olivet on a borrowed donkey.
People were stirring, thoughts were expressed, opinions were bandied about, emotions were displayed. Anger, joy, doubt and exultation comingled as a crowd grew from 13 to hundreds, maybe even thousands.
Passover week was in view as pilgrims made the city swell to more than double its normal population. Many of them were enveloped in this special occasion, the King of Zion, the Son of David, making His entry amidst the cheers and adulation of the growing throng.
They spread their clothes in the path of the parade. They defaced the palm trees so they would have branches to wave in honor of the King. They cried out, "hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest."
The account tells us that all the city was moved. Those in the dark asked who the Honoree was, others answered that it is Jesus, the prophet from Galilee.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Psa 106:48 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to
everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.
The 106th Psalm enumerates the goodness and grace of God against the backdrop of His amazing patience. Truly, He deserves all our highest praise. As with Israel, He has led us, fed us, provided for us, forgiven us, protected us, given us His presence, and the list goes on.
So let all the people voice an Amen and let each individual specifically praise the Lord.
Is it a habit of yours to vocalize your praise in the congregation of the Lord, as well as in public? Do you actually find yourself blessing the name of the Lord, even in private, when He has blessed you?
God inhabits the praises of His people. When we give it up for God, it glorifies Him , edifies others and lifts our own spirit.
While we are thanking and praising Him, there is no way we can be discouraged, angry or upset. As James said, from the same fountain there cannot proceed better and sweet waters, and from the same mouth there cannot come forth blessing and cursing.
I encourage you to be praiseful today. Look for those positive things that God is doing in your life. Make it a point to say "Amen!" often and praise ye the Lord.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Psa 106:12 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.
Psa 106:13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:
Psa 106:14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.
The history of Israel's failings in the wilderness causes a person to wonder about their sanity. God gave them miracle after miracle. They seemed to praise Him one day and curse Him the next. They received regular attitude adjustments from the Lord which never lasted too long.
Spiritually, the wilderness experience was as up and down as anything we read in the Bible. How sad that their memories were so short.
We have the benefit of hindsight. We read of their 40 year wanderings in a condensed period of a few days. We don't take into consideration that the time between a great miracle of God and a great failing of the people may have been several weeks or even months apart.
That brings us to the present day. How often does the Lord do really great things on our behalf? Deliverance from some enemy, a big provision of some sort, etc. And yet, how short is the time lapse before we pull some boneheaded sin against the Lord.
Ah, perhaps the Jews of old aren’t the only ones with a case of spiritual Alzheimer's.
The things written in the Old Testament are to be an example for us. In the New Testament, we are told not to provoke the Lord like they did in the wilderness.
So let's be ever mindful of the miraculous and ever grateful to our wonderful God as we travel through the wilderness of this life.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Psa 106:3 Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth
righteousness at all times.
The story is told of the two flies in the kitchen gorging themselves on lunch meat on a platter. Suddenly the lady of the house comes in and sees the disgusting little pests and heads for the fly swatter. One of the little beggars immediately takes off for the window, the other is so stuffed he can't get going. He sees the broom leaning against the table and decides to run up the broom handle, jump off of it to get a flying start. He runs for all he's worth, plunges off the end a falls right to the floor. SWAT! She smacks him right there on the floor.
The moral of the story is, don't fly off the handle when you are full of bologna!
The Word tells us that we will be happy if we use good judgment and do what's right at all times. Unfortunately, many of us are guided by our emotions rather than good judgment. We blow up at the gal who cut us off in traffic, especially when we see she is on the phone and is doing her make-up. The temptation is to ride her bumper while laying on the horn. Now don't look so smug, you know exactly what I am talking about!
Or what about the kids making too much noise while we are trying to work on the computer? We react rather than act and end up yelling at them when we could have used a better solution.
It is much more blessed to use good judgment rather than flying off the handle, especially when we are so full of bologna. Now, go out there and do the righteous thing today.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Psa 105:41 He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the
dry places like a river.
I don't suppose we can fully appreciate this miracle of God.
Have you ever looked at a rushing river and wondered how all that water
keeps flowing? I mean, thousands of gallons gushing by per minute. Where
does it all come from? I know the scientific answer. Rivulets from the hills
feed tributaries which feed the streams which contribute to the river. That
river flows into another and then to the sea the water goes. Evaporation
draws the water to the sky and precipitation starts it all over again.
But really, that's still a lot of water. Amazing!
But even more amazing is when you get water from nothing but a rock in
the desert. Enough water to take care of a few million people and their
animals. Enough to bathe, wash clothes, drink and cook. And all of this in
the middle of a place like Saudi Arabia where oil is more plenteous than
Well that's our God for you. He's great at making something out of nothing.
He can meet needs when resources are unavailable.
I guess the best example of that is my own life. He took a nothing and made
a something. Not a whole lot, but a bunch more than is naturally possible.
Man can manufacture items out of a certain amount of raw materials and
resources, but only God can create something out of nothing.
Aren't you glad our Creator is still in the miracle business?
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Of all the great miracles in the deliverance of God's people from Egypt, this has to be the best. First, there were the miracles that God used to prove Moses was His man and deliverance was His plan. A rod turning into a snake and vice-versa, then the leprous hand, etc. Then there were the ten plagues, again made special in that not one of them touched the area of Goshen where the Jews lived.
In the wilderness, Israel witnessed the dry crossing of the Red Sea, the leading by the cloud and pillar of fire, the quails, the manna, and shoes which lasted for 40 years (enough to drive a shoe loving woman crazy!)
But Ps 105 37 presents the best miracle of all, in my book.
“He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.”
Now think about this. On a given Sunday in your church, how many of the folks are
going to be ill? Probably at least 5 to 10%, a few more during cold and flu season.
But imagine, at least 3 million Jews, and not one feeble person among them. Wow!
Maybe I should stop eating catfish and shrimp and mixing meat and dairy like our
No, this had nothing to do with diet and everything to do with God's protection.
What does this tell us? Well, the things written in the Old Testament are there for an example to us according to I Cor 10:11. God is able to take care of His own. God is able to take care of you. That doesn't mean sickness won't come to your house, but it surely can't pay a visit without God's permission. Our lives are in His hands to do whatever is
best for us.
As surely as God did the miraculous for the children of Israel so long ago, He is doing great and marvelous things for you every day, you just have to pay attention.
Assignment: Look for God's hand to do the miraculous in your life today and then let others know of His power and might.
One final thought…Why does the Lord do such wonderful things for us? The answer is
in Ps 105:45 That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Ps 105:16-21 - He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant...
The ancient bard said that all the world is a stage, and we, merely actors.
I fully subscribe to this sentiment. There is a place for each one of us trying to navigate our way through life. The intricacies of the grand design of God demand that each of us play his/her part well.
Joseph was the man whom God had sent to Egypt to save the world. A strange way to do so, for sure, but there is no doubting his role. He went from being hated of his brethren to slavery in Egypt to imprisonment due to libel to interpreter of dreams to viceroy of Egypt to savior of the planet.
Had it not been for God's anointed man, in the right place, in the right time, in the right circumstances, who knows what would have become of mankind.
Friend, did you know that you are also God's anointed child brought to your present station as a set up? Perhaps not to save the world, but possibly to save one soul, which is more valuable than the entire planet. It could be your own children, your neighbor, a loved one. Possibly your part is to plant a very important seed in a very needy heart.
Whatever role God has planned for you in this great drama of life, play your part well. Obey the Director's cues. Eternity will reveal the final act.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Psa 105:13-15 When they went from one nation to another, from one
Kingdom to another people; He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he
reproved kings for their sakes; Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do
my prophets no harm.
A memory I have from childhood was watching the old black and white police drama "The Untouchables." Man, what a show! The story was based in real life though. In the 1920s, Chicago was a veritable gang land ruled by the likes of Al Capone and henchman Frank Netti. Cops and officials were often "on the take." Whenever law enforcement would begin to cramp the style of the underworld, a little dirty cash in the pockets of the powers that be took the heat off. Corruption and graft were the rule rather than the exception.
If only someone could value principle over personal gain, then perhaps something could be done to clean up the windy city. Enter Eliot Ness and his group of hand-picked g-men from the U.S. Treasury. They could not be bought off by the underworld. They would seek justice no matter what. Bribes were offered, but they were "untouchable."
We find ourselves in a world ruled by the prince of the power of the air. Evil is all around us, crime, corruption and greed are commonplace.
But there are those g-men, that is Godly men, women, boys and girls who are not interested in what the world holds for them. No matter the offer, they are untouchable.
God in heaven warns the world to not even try it. "Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm."
And so God's untouchables stay the tide of corruption as they strive to be salt and light to a bland and dark world.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The Creator and Sustainer of the universe, this earth and all the inhabitants is lifted up in this great chapter. Notably, the abundance that He provides fills our stomachs, nourishes our bodies, gladdens our hearts, enhance our countenances and strengthen our hearts...vss 13-15
In the 24th verse, the psalmist praises the Lord this way, O LORD, how manifold are thy works!
Manifold means "multiplied by the myriad."
Truly, we cannot begin to even fathom the greatness of our God nor number His glorious works. Whether we employ a microscope or a telescope, God's magnificent works are evident all around.
And to think that the apex of His creation is you and me is most mind boggling of all. The infinite care He gives to His creation is most expressed in us.
Thank God for his wonderful works and praise Him for His work in us!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
As far as the east is from the west, that’s a fur piece, as they say in the country.
Psa 103:8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
Psa 103:9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
Psa 103:10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Psa 103:11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Psa 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
Psa 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
We have to admit that we are pretty flawed. At our best, we are the worst.
We may not be so rotten compared to Charles Manson, but he is not God's
standard, Jesus is. And we have all sinned and fallen short of His glory.
So what can we wretched sinners do? Plead no lo contendre and cast our
sorry carcasses on the mercy of a knowing and a forgiving, merciful God.
When we, in humble contrition, come before Him in all honesty about our
condition, He is merciful, gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.
When we repent, the Lord doesn't deal with us after our sins, or else we
would all be crispy critters. Rather, He knows our frame, that we were
fashioned from dirt, we are fallen creatures cursed with sin natures, so sin
is what we do, it is how we roll when we forget Him.
Rather, He is ready, willing and able to grant us His great mercy and
remove our foibles as far as the Fujiyama is from Fremont. He weights our
sins with cement overshoes and places them into the Marianas Trench,
then forbids any drudging in that area.
Why would He allow us to offend Him so greatly and so often and still be
willing to forgive? I don't know. His ways are unknowable and past finding
out. As the heaven is above the earth, so are His ways and thoughts above
mine. But I thank Him for His patience with me and for treating me a whole
lot better than I treat Him.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Ps 103:2
We humans are so remiss in our flawed memories. I think of Israel in the wilderness and how utterly senile they were. About all they could ever remember was how yummy the leeks and garlics were in Egypt. But they could never remember the miracles from the previous week. Oh, little things, like a parted sea, water from a rock, quail and manna from heaven.
We aren't so unlike them. God's benefits to us are so great and so frequent that we get used to them, expect them and eventually, we forget them. Little things like free air to breathe, strength to labor, family to enjoy, food to cram down our throats, nice housing, decent rides to and from all of the great activities we have, a pretty good country to live in, and a pretty cool church to attend. Wow! And these are just the basics. All benefits from the hand of God to undeserving sinners.
O my soul, don't be forgetting all these goodies!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
David is making plans in this wonderful psalm to comport himself with dignity and integrity. He thinks of many areas of his life where he can implement his plans.
1. He is going to sing the right song.
I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. vs 1
2. He plans to act like a child of God ought to act.
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto
me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. vs 2
3. He will avoid wickedness and shun temptation.
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. vs 3
4. He thinks only good thoughts and will be in fellowship with the right people.
A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. vs 4
5. He will put up for the oppressed and will not abide the ungodly.
Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an
high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. vs 5
He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies
shall not tarry in my sight. vs 7
I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked
doers from the city of the LORD. vs 8
6. He will promote those who are good, responsible and godly people.
Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with
me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. vs 6
I wonder what safeguards I could place in my life so that I might have a good and godly day.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
If you had to chose one song out of all the songs you have ever heard, could you do so? I would almost have to break them down into categories and then pick a few from each.
But there is one song I absolutely love. It is so uplifting. Every time I read the lyrics, I am thrilled. Funny thing is, the lyrics are all I know. I don't even know the tune. You see, the song was written 3000 years ago in a foreign land. The lyrics are timeless. I won't know the tune until I get to heaven.
We are admonished to sing to the Lord psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and this is my favorite psalms. Well, at least one of them in that category.
Here is the song...
Psa 100 A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye
lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we
ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be
thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
It is time the truth be told about a great man and a noble ministry.
First, what Patrick had nothing to do with… Patrick had nothing to do with alcohol, driving vermin off the Isle of Ireland, and Catholicism. Surely, the man would roll over in his grave to see what has happened to a day celebrated in honor of him. Of course, he is not in his grave, but with all of the true “saints” in heaven, that is, all of those who have been born again by the Spirit of God and have passed from this life.
When just a young man of 16 Patrick was kidnapped from Wales and forced into slavery in barbaric Ireland. After 6 years he made his escape, sailed back home and found the Lord. Possessing a great fervor for Christ, he was burdened to return to the Emerald Isle to preach the gospel of Jesus.
Many came to Christ under Patrick’s preaching and turned from their heathen practices. Patrick, born in the late 4th century and ministering in the middle 5th century would be better named as the evangelist of Ireland, rather than the patron saint. It should be noted that it wasn’t until 300 years later Rome decided to claim Patrick as one of her own bishops and granted him “sainthood”.
Patrick is famous for using the 3 leaf clover as an illustration of the godhead. God is one, yet possesses 3 distinct personages, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
A proper celebration of Patrick’s day would be to share the gospel with another, as he spent his life doing.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad...Let the field be joyful...before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
Ps 96:11a, 12a, 13
Folks feel that they can find truth in many venues. They think that all religions have elements of truth, that many philosophies contain virtue. But the fact is that there is truth and there is error. Any admixture of the two become only error. Poison mixed into pure water in any amount contaminate the water, rendering it impure.
There is God's truth, absolute, timeless, irrevocable and indisputable and everything else is error.
Jesus laid exclusive claim to the truth. Truth comes from Him and is embodied in Him. He said, I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by me.
From this central truth springs every other truth in creation. Whether it be a mathematical equation, a natural law, or a moral truth, it all flows from the pure mind of God.
When man chooses to twist a truth, or to add or subtract from it, it's purity is compromised and it is no longer truth. Whether one says that no longer is it 2+2, but it now is 2.5+2=4, or whether he says that PI is now 3.4, it matters not, he is wrong. We may say "that's close enough" but it might as be a hundred miles away.
A simple misnomer like that in ocean navigation could mean the difference between New York and Brazil in the end.
A little bit of error in the matter of theology can mean the difference between heaven and hell. God's truth is that we are saved by grace through faith. Man often seeks to tweak that a bit. He attempts to add a little water baptism to God's formula, or take away the factor of man's inherent sinfulness. Perhaps man would like to tweak the truth of the deity of Jesus. Suddenly, you have no little problem, but a huge lie which changes eternal destinies.
God's truth is the standard by which everything and everyone will be judged when He returns. His righteous standard of absolute truth will be the measuring stick. Vain philosophies of man will have no part in eternal outcomes.
God's Word is truth. There is no admixture of error therein. We ought to be daily dosing ourselves with copious amounts of His truth while avoiding and shunning the world's error.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Did you know that the legalists and traditionalists who actually make it to heaven are going to be singing contemporary music? Read it in Revelation 14:3!
Psa 96:1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.
Most people are traditionalists. That's because they refuse to budge from their comfort zones. "That's the way we've always done it!" and, "That's just the way I am..." are two of the greatest banes of the faith.
When I watch the cable access channel to see how other "ministries" operate their TV programs, I am appalled at the vain traditions of some of the churches. A handful of bored people watch an old man in a robe fling incense around a separated room while spouting mumbo-jumbo and I wonder what this has to do with the reality of people's needs. I wonder sometimes if I do some of the same kinds of irrelevant stuff that have no impact on a needy world, or even my own spirit.
Perhaps it’s time for a new song. A song that comes from the heart, not the middle ages!
When Jesus came to earth, He wasn't too enamored with the traditions of the day. In fact, he showed little kindness toward the people who enslaved people in their worthless traditions.
He brought a new song into the world, a song of relevance, a song of lasting joy. His song is placed deep down in the heart but refuses to stay there. It has to make its way through the lips and then sung from the mountaintops.
He is the Composer of the song, I am the artist who sings it and grace is its theme.
Sing unto the LORD and bless His name; show forth His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Psa 95:7-8 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the
sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart…
I am comforted today by the fact that I belong to Jesus, He is my God. He is my Good Shepherd, Who gives His life for the sheep, Jn 10:11, my Great Shepherd Who has resurrected, Heb 13:20, and my Chief Shepherd, Who is coming for me to pass out crowns of glory, I Pe 5:4.
How wonderful to know today that I am led to lie down in green pastures and to drink from still waters.
I am comforted to know that His unseen hand leads me when I am willing to follow.
I thrill to the sound of His voice that I can follow to a table spread for me.
Lord, may I not harden my heart, but always listen to your voice that I may not hearken to the voice of the enemy, no matter how he disguises it.
I am yours Lord, lead and feed me this day.
Friday, March 13, 2009
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. Psalm 95:1,2
Do you receive phone calls from an individual and you cringe when you look at the caller ID because you know they are going to be griping about something? Or, possibly they are going to be wanting something. And maybe you are frustrated because they only call to give you the latest details on their health problems.
You know what I mean, don't you? If not, maybe you are the one on the caller ID? :<)
I know we are to bring our petitions to the Lord. We are even welcome to complain to Him, as happens so often in the Psalms. But don't you suppose that the gracious Father in heaven would love to hear something positive from us once in a while?
Perhaps it could be something as nice as a sweet love song from our hearts, or just a joyful noise, which would pretty much describe some of our singing. (Noise, Hebrew; Rua - to mar, to split the ears).
We are also invited in these verses to come before His presence with thanksgiving and poetry.
"How do I love thee Lord? Let me count the ways..." Believe it or not, that's what a psalms is.
And when was the last time we came before Him, not to ask or gripe, but to just praise and thank Him for Who He is and what He has done for us?
I encourage you for the entire day, pray to the Lord, and pray often, but resist the urge to petition the Lord, only praise Him. And then sing Him a song. Go ahead and split His ears with a nice song. Make a joyful noise before the Rock of your salvation.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Ps 94:1-3 O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whome vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
Vs 10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?
One of the most difficult things for our sinful human nature to cede to God is exacting vengeance on someone who has done us wrong. Turning the other cheek goes against the grain of this rotting flesh as much as anything.
Allowing the unseen hand of God to punch someone's lights out when we can easily take the matter into our own hands is difficult. Talk about a matter of faith!
The question is, do we really believe God is taking notes? Does He see every time we are taken advantage of? Is He truly cognizant of all the wrong that is foisted upon us?
The answer is yes! In verse 7, it says, "they say, The LORD shall not see" but He sees all. The wheels of God's justice do indeed turn, sometimes very slowly, but always surely.
We want our pound of flesh and we want it now. If someone owes me money, or if they have done me wrong, if they have talked about me, lied to me, stabbed me in the back, my flesh cries out for a payday.
But God sees the whole picture. He also sees the needs of the offender. He gives them time and space for repentance. He offers them forgiveness if they will turn and do right. But in the end, if they do not do right, be assured that they must answer and give an account to God, just as you and I will.
We must recall His promise in Romans 12:19, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
God is the judge of the earth and He will render a reward to the proud, according to verse 2. In another Psalm we are told that the Judge of all the earth shall do right.
The problem with revenge in our hands is that it is never as satisfying once we exact it. When we have gained our pound of flesh, it is still not over. Hard feelings prevail, guilt lingers, forgiveness wanes, and we are left with an awkward empty feeling. Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions than salt water has on thirst.
When God takes care of the matter, there is complete and utter satisfaction.
Revenge is best left up to the One who knows how to deal with the intricacies of the matter.
And if vengeance is not met in this life, be assured, it will be taken care of in the next. Be sure you are on the right side of that equation!
Finally, know along with the Psalmist, that the LORD is our defense; and our God is the rock of our refuge. vs 22
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Psa 93:1 The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
Psa 93:2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
Psa 93:3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.
Psa 93:4 The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.
Psa 93:5 Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.
I am struck that this Psalm possibly extols the Lord as much or more than anything I have ever read. I am impressed with the impressions of the writer of this chapter concerning the Lord.
Of this Psalm, Spurgeon says, "...he puts on his regal apparel and ascends his lofty seat, while his happy people proclaim him with new joy, shouting “The Lord reigneth.” What can give greater joy to a loyal subject than a sight of the king in his beauty? Let us repeat the proclamation, “the Lord reigneth,” whispering it in the ears of the desponding, and publishing it in the face of the foe. “He is clothed with majesty.”
There is coming a day friends when we will behold this glorious King in all of His majesty. What a day that will be! I am enraptured just by reading this chapter.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Are You Planted in God's House?
Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. Ps 92:13
Vegetation has three basic needs, water, nutrition and sunlight. If a plant has the proper amount of these sources, it will flourish.
When a soul is planted in the house of the Lord, he or she receives the water of the Word, the Bread of Life, and the Sunshine of God's glory. As the soul soaks in these nutrients, it flourishes, but when starved of any of these, wilting occurs.
I have seen it a thousand times. Well, not literally, in reality, more like 10,000 times. Those who forsake the assembly dwindle in their spiritual lives. It happens EVERY time, without fail.
It serves a soul well to stay faithful in God's house.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Ps 91:1,2 et al. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust...
Ah, God's secret place... do you know of it? Have you experienced it.
"Where is the place?" you may ask. It is His ark of safe retreat for the child of God overwhelmed by the onslaught of the world. It is a safe dwelling in the palm of His hand. It is being hidden in the cleft of the Rock. It is finding refuge under the shelter of His wings. It is being surrounded by His glory, guarded by His angels, led by His Spirit.
It is the sweet hour of prayer, it is being caught up in the everlasting arms and held close to His breast. It is the whisper in your ear, "You are my child, I love you unconditionally, no weapon formed against thee shall prosper. I have good thoughts for you, a master plan to bring you to an expected end."
If you are overwhelmed today, run to Jesus. Find safety, shelter and retreat in the innermost sanctum of His love, mercy and grace. Let the world fade away as you concentrate only on Him. Read His Word and let Him speak peace to your storm.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us Ps 90:17
Strong's defines beauty as agreeableness, delight, suitableness, splendor or grace.
The desire of the Psalm singer is that God's beauty be upon the believer.
He who crowns the mountaintop with snow, graces wildlife with wonder, imbues the flower with fragrance and moulds all of creation with majesty wishes to gift His children with His own splendor and grace.
And that brings us to the point of today's blog...drum roll please!
If the Spirit of God is upon His child, they glow with His presence. The Lord allows us to be endeared to those we meet. You have ran into this person, haven't you? Some have the Shekinah glory and some have only a kinda glory.
I pray that the beauty of the Lord our God would be upon you today.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
The 90th Psalm contrasts the eternal and the temporal.
When Moses asked God what His name is, "Who shall I say sent me?" the Lord's answer was, “I AM THAT I AM.” That is that God is the eternal, self-sufficient, self-existent God. He is the first and the last, transcendent, Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He holds the universe in the span of His hand and the world in His palm. He has no beginning. There was never a time when He was not, for He has always been and always will be. "From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God."
For God, time has little relevance, a thousand years in His sight are but as yesterday, when it is past.
Man, on the other hand, is fleeting, temporal and finite. His beginning can be traced to conception, his ending to cessation of physical function. Man is turned to destruction, vs 3, he has an expiration date. We are consumed by God's wrath as grass is consumed in a fire. We are like a story that is told. Intro, plot, body, climax, and conclusion, "the end!" vs 9.
The Psalmist estimates that we get about 70 years down here below, plus or minus. Then we fly away.
However, when our lifeline, which is a line segment, intersects His lifeline, which is an indefinite line, then we are placed into Christ and we get to live forever with Him. We then become a ray, having a beginning, but no end.
In the meantime, let us learn to make the most out of our earthly days, let us gather wisdom, (12) and let us enjoy the time we have while we are here. (15) May we rejoice in the beauty of the LORD our God and allow Him to work mightily in and through us. (17)
Friday, March 6, 2009
You just might be a liberal if...
* You're sure the Constitution explicitly guarantees the right to abortion and gay marriage, but not the right to own a handgun.
* You think Dan Quayle is the dumbest Vice-President we ever had because he believed a flash card that misspelled "potato," but think Obama is a genius despite the fact he believes we have more than 57 states.
* You'd be more upset about your favorite candidate being endorsed by the NRA than the Communist Party.
* You think the same criminals who use guns in the commission of a crime will just hand them over to comply with the law if guns are made illegal.
* You know that 86% of all income taxes are paid by the top 25% of income earners and you still feel that the rich "aren't paying their fair share of the taxes."
* You put a higher priority on oil pipelines possibly inconveniencing a few caribou than you do on lowering the price of gas for everyone in the country by drilling ANWR.
* You're worried that Osama Bin Laden might not get a fair trial if we capture him, but want George Bush thrown in prison for being too zealous in protecting us from Al-Qaeda.
* You get infuriated when you hear about the CEO of a Fortune 500 company making tens of millions of dollars, but don't see a problem with an actor, basketball player, or trial lawyer making the same amount.
* You're constantly seeing subtle, coded racism in campaign ads, but see nothing racist about blacks being promoted over more qualified white applicants because of Affirmative Action.
* You think it's obscene that oil companies are allowed to make 8.3 cents per gallon in profit with gas prices this high, but would never suggest cutting the 13 cents per gallon they pay on taxes to reduce the price of gas.
* You think George Bush is a chickenhawk because he wanted to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan despite the fact that he only served in the National Guard, but you don't think the same about Barack Obama, who has never served in the military and probably couldn't find either country on a map without help.
* You think protesting outside of abortion clinics is extremism and should be illegal, but carrying around giant puppet heads while wearing a t-shirt that compares Bush to Hitler is just exercising your First Amendment rights.
* You think the case for global warming is proven without a shadow of a doubt, but that we need another century or two worth of evidence to figure out if capitalism and free markets work better than socialism.
* You believe the best way to fix the government screwing something up in the market is with...drumroll, please...more government intervention.
* You think the first thing we should have done when Russia invaded Georgia was to take the matter to the United Nations, where Russia sits on the UN Security Council.
* You spend your days criticizing the use of private jets, SUVS, and luxurious houses that consume enormous amounts of resources and then ride in an SUV to the airport, get on your private plane, and fly home to your luxurious house.
* You have more nice things to say about countries like Cuba and France than you do about your own country.
* You think the war in Iraq is unwinnable, but victory in the war on poverty is going to happen any day now if we can just get the Democrats back in charge.
* You won't even support English as our national language, but can't seem to understand why people worry about tens of millions of illegal aliens changing our culture.
* You think censorship is absolutely wrong; except when it's applied to conservatives on college campuses or on talk radio via the fairness doctrine.
* You get more upset about an American soldier accidentally killing a civilian than you do about a terrorist deliberately blowing up a school bus full of kids.
* You think Fox News is hopelessly biased to the right, but MSNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS call it right down the middle.
* You think the real hero of the Cold War was Mikhail Gorbachev.
* You couldn't care less about what Americans in states like Kansas or Virginia think of you, but you would be greatly upset if a Frenchman gave you a dirty look because you're an American.
* You think kids in public schools should have to watch Earth in the Balance and read Heather Has Two Mommies, but no piece of literature with the word "Jesus" on it should be allowed within a hundred yards of a school.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? Ps 89:47
Our time here on this earth a just a drop in the bucket. One simple epitaph had it right, "He was born, he lived he died." How cryptic!
What we accomplish during those threescore and ten is one thing, but what God is able to do through us is what is truly important.
A young preacher, assistant pastor at a large church, was thinking pretty highly of himself. One day, the pastor called him into the office and had a bucket of water on the desk. He told the young pup to stick his fist in the water then remove it.
"See the hole you left?" he said, "That's about how much and for how long you will be missed when you leave here!"
Have you ever wondered if you will have much of a legacy when your short time on earth of finished?
So Ethan asks the Lord here to remember how few his days are and to do something lasting through him.
Have you heard of Ethan? Elsewhere he is called Jeduthun. He wrote four of the Psalms, he was one of the 3 songleaders - music directors in the house of God during the glory days of Israel. He merited 25 mentions in God's Word. Not bad!
Hey Ethan, you were not made in vain, your name will live as long as the Word of God stands.
But what about you and me? Will our short time on earth register anything lasting?
I have noticed that the following things leave the best legacies:
1. Winning souls
2. Raising good kids
3. Saying wise things
4. Living and leaving a good example
5. Sacrificially giving of ourselves, our time, our substance and our talents.
When Abel, the fourth person on earth, sacrificed an excellent offering to God, a legacy was established. God says of him, "he being dead yet speaketh."
Child of God, do something eternal today. Teach your child something of lasting value, speak a wise word to someone who is in need of wisdom, give to someone in need, bring a lost soul to the Savior, be the one that others admire for sterling character.
Remember, your time is short, don't let it be in vain.
Only one life, so soon it will pass, only what's done for Christ will last.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Ps 89:15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.
We have heard the joyful sound, Jesus saves, Jesus saves! Spread the tidings all around, Jesus saves, Jesus saves?
The joyful sound is the sound of the wind whistling through the tree tops, the sound of waters bubbling over the rocks, the sound of a gentle rain falling on the thirsty earth, the sound of ocean waves crashing on the shore, the sound of thunder splitting the sky.
The joyful sound is a baby cooing, a fawn bleating, an elk bugling, and sometimes the joyful sound is total silence.
It all says the same thing. The whisper began at creation and crescendoed to the crucifixion. It has echoed until now.
The joyful sound is that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus, born of a virgin, to live an exemplary life and died a sacrificial death. That He rose triumphantly, rules and reigns and is coming again.
Those who have heard the joyful sound repeat it in unison, though with many tongues and dialects, Jesus saves!
And how happy are they that know the joyful sound!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Ps 88 is most likely the Psalm sung by Jesus Himself during the night before His crucifixion. In the house of Ciaphas, the high priest, there is a basement holding cell in which prisoners had to be lowered by rope through a small hole in the top. As we know, Jesus was led from pillar to post, from here to yon, from priest to potentate, yet there was the time spent alone in this dungeon cell. I'll never forget standing in this cell, but there were 2 things different from then 'til now. He had no staircase and no light bulb. So there in the eerie and lonley darkness, the Savior sang this psalm.
Read this Psalm and see the significance of each verse, each phrase, relating them to the Savior's plight that horrible night, every bit as excruciating as His crucifixion the next day.
Notice especially the last verse, bearing Peter and Judas in mind. Peter was warming the hands by the devil’s fire in the courtyard adjacent to this place and Judas was hanging out on a tree limb nearby.
Oh Jesus, you are near and dear to us in our darkest hours, may we keep near unto you when you need us!
Psa 88:1 O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:
Psa 88:2 Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;
Psa 88:3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
Psa 88:4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:
Psa 88:5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.
Psa 88:6 Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.
Psa 88:7 Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.
Psa 88:8 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.
Psa 88:9 Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.
Psa 88:10 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
Psa 88:11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
Psa 88:12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
Psa 88:13 But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.
Psa 88:14 LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?
Psa 88:15 I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.
Psa 88:16 Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.
Psa 88:17 They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.
Psa 88:18 Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.
Monday, March 2, 2009
How long will you halt between two opinions?
Psa 86:7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.
Psa 86:8 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.
Atop Mount Carmel there took place the super throw down with the prophet Elijah.
The 450 prophets of baal invoked their hapless Phoenician deity which was unable to kindle even a spark as they danced and prayed and incanted. They prayed from sunup ‘til noon to no avail. Baal did not hear and there was no voice to answer. That afternoon, they cut themselves until blood splattered everywhere. The Word says their god didn't even regard them. Hmm...
Alas, they had butchered a perfectly good beef in vain, prayed in vain and, in the end, lived, worshiped and died in vain.
Yet Elijah mocked not only them, but their worthless, imaginary god, "Where did he go?, He must be talking to someone else or has taken a trip somewhere, maybe he's in the privy or took a nap. Shout a little louder and wake him up!" Nothing like a little pastoral sarcasm!
And then he prayed. It was his turn at bat and he hit a home run by calling on the One who can knock it out of the park every time.
Elijah's prayer was only 63 words, yet mighty potent. He built an altar, he exercised faith, he prayed, he expected and he put God to the test, and it paid off! Whoosh! Fire fell from heaven which consumed the sacrifice AND wood AND stones AND dust AND water! It probably singed everybody's eyebrows too.
Immediately everyone fell on their faces to extol, "The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God."
An addendum to that story, what became of the prophets of the lesser god? They were slain and subsequently, there was no god to welcome them into eternity. The fire they had prayed for all day finally showed up on the other side of death. All that false gods are good for are false hope, empty promises and a Christless eternity. Buddha cannot save, Mohammed cannot hear prayer, Confucius cannot bless, the Pope cannot absolve sins, and Joseph Smith cannot grant eternal life, Neither Mary Baker Eddy, Chas Russell nor Ellen White bear witness to the truth.
The Lord Jehovah, He is the one and only true God who sits in the heavens, rules the universe and transcends time and space to indwell our hearts and grant salvation. He alone loves us and calls us dear children. He is the One who has commissioned us to go and tell the world that He has free salvation to all who call upon Him.
Elijah began his throw down challenge with the soul searching question, "how long halt ye between two opinions?" In other words, how long are you going to be paralyzed by being doubled-minded. Either trust God and live or believe the doctrines of devils and perish.
I tell you today that among the gods, there is none like Jehovah God and none that compare in ability to do mighty works.
We have talked about the false religions but have not yet mentioned the dominant false religion of our culture. At the base of all cults and the occult is the ever exalted god of self. Mankind gives lip service to the Almighty, but tends always to selfishly stay ensconced on the throne of the heart. Worship of the id, ego and super ego. “Oh great god who sleepeth in my bed, eateth from my plate, and thinketh my thoughts, bless me today, for I rule!”
Friends our godhood is no match against the Sovereign. It is best to cede the throne to the One who is the all powerful, all knowing and everywhere present God who knows us better than we know ourselves.
How long will you halt between to opinions?
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The Bible contains the Mind of God, the State of Man.
The Way of Salvation, the Doom of Sinners, and the Happiness of Believers.
His Doctrines are Holy, His Precepts are Binding, His Histories are True, and His Decisions are Immutable.
Read it to be Wise, Believe it to be Saved, and Practice it to be Holy.
It contains Light to direct you, Food to Support you and Comfort to Cheer you.
It is the Traveler’s Map, the Pilot’s Compass,
The Christian’s Charter, and the Soldier’s Sword.
Here Paradise is Restored, Heaven Opened, and the Gates of Hell are Closed.
Christ is his Grand Subject and the Good is its design and the Glory of God its End.
Read it Slowly, Read it Carefully, Read it Prayerfully.
There is a Mine of Wealth, a Paradise of Glory,
and a River of Pleasure.
It will Reward the Greatest Labor, and Condemn all who Trifle with its Contents.
It is the Book of God’s Revelation given to Us.