Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trust and Acknowledge.

Proverbs 3

I Love This Chapter! I believe it was the first passage I was ever required to remember (Christian school). That was 34 years ago. Precious memories flood my soul with each verse that I reread.

When it comes to "life verses," the wonderful words of 5 and 6 are probably the most popular among all believers:

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Trust and Acknowledge. Some may think it to be oversimplification, but there is no better way to approach a complicated life than with this simple motto.

Do we believe that God orders and orchestrates the events of our lives? For me, it is obvious. Retrospection has always revealed to me the wisdom of God in plan and direction and implementation of God's will for me in my moments, days and seasons of life. I only wish I had been more cooperative with His plan. It would be best if my clay were more malleable in the capable hands of the Potter.

My goal today is to trust my Maker whole-heartedly, acknowledging Him in every decision so that my paths will be God directed, each one leading me a step closer to home.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

An "Oops" and a Head's Up

Well, yesterday's blog about the ark of God was sure a big 'oops!' When am I ever going to learn not to believe any news coming out of Rome? Apparently the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia was "misinterpreted," whatever! So now it's back to living by faith and not by sight. :<)

Surprise of surprises! My dear wife, Lynn has actually posted a blog or two. So simply click back a page or so and click on "Lynn's Blog" for some good devotional thoughts.

For today I want to impart to you a wonderful quote from the King James Bible preface. I think you’ll enjoy this paragraph: “But among all our joys, there was no one that more filled our hearts, than the blessed continuance of the preaching of God’s sacred Word among us; which is that inestimable treasure, which excelleth all the riches of the earth; because the fruit thereof extendeth itself, not only to the time spent in this transitory world, but directeth and disposeth men unto that eternal happiness which is above in heaven.”

We are going on a much needed and anticipated family vacation following Sunday services. Branson is our destination. Included in this trip is a professionally guided fishing trip on Table Rock Lake, compliments of my family as a Father's Day gift. We are really excited about going to "Noah, the Musical." I hope I can gather some insight and inspiration from this production. (I guess it will be like moving on from one ark to the other :<)

We will be out of pocket for several days, but I hope to find wi-fi somewhere to try to keep on posting.

Blessings to all who follow this post.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hark, is that the Ark?

I am as excitedly nervous as can be about the supposed Friday unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant that has been rumored to be in Ethiopia for the past 24-26 hundred years.
The story of how it got there has always made perfect sense to me. Solomon linked up with the Queen of Sheba who came up to Jerusalem to see if everything she had heard about him were true. Eventually she said, the half has not been told! It is even said that Canticles, the Song of Solomon, was based on their love story.
As the account goes, they had a son as a result of their relationship who grew to become very ardent in his faith in the God of Solomon’s fathers. As Solomon’s life and morals began to decline as he took numerous wives and concubines who worshiped false deities, he became suspicious of Solomon’s stand for God (YHWH). He supposedly replicated the Ark, slipped the fake one into the temple and spirited the real Ark to Ethiopia for safe keeping, where it has remained unto this day.
If tomorrow’s announcement of the unveiling by The patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia is the real deal, we are about to lay eyes on the greatest archaeological find in the history of mankind. In that Ark should be the two tables of stone carved by the very finger of Almighty God several thousand years ago on Sinai and given to Moses for Israel and the world.
Now, do you understand why I am excited? To believers, it will only strengthen their faith. To many of the lost, it will mean nothing. Even such a discovery would not shake their devotion to their self-god. But there are many who may just have a reality seed planted concerning the veracity of God’s Word. I can only pray!
By the way, could you imagine if Mr. Netanyahu could get his grubbies on this? The Iranian Mullahs wouldn’t stand a chance if it came to fists over their nuke program.
Finally, the real importance of the Ark, should this prove to be it, is that the timing could not be better. The Temple Institute has trained its priests for service in the next temple. Furnishings, instruments and vestments have all been prepared. A true red heifer has been genetically produced, whose ashes would be needed to cleanse the temple. All that remains would be the building of the temple and a false Christ to sit therein. And now, this, the Ark, ready to be shipped to the spot for the completion of the scenario.
Lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Got Wisdom?

Pro 2:1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
Pro 2:2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Pro 2:3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
Pro 2:4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Pro 2:5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
Pro 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Pro 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

It strikes me as I read this passage how difficult wisdom is to come by. How many people do we know that are wisdom challenged? See what I mean? You could probably count on one hand the people you know whom you consider to be sage individuals.

In my own experience, I know that the Lord desires me to have wisdom in the decisions I make, but it never seems to come very easily.

Bro. James tells us that if any of us lack wisdom, we should ask God, Who gives to all men liberally and upbraids not.

And yet, that wisdom must be diligently sought. Look at these verses concerning wisdom, understanding and knowledge...
(v 2) We have to incline our ear and apply our heart
(v 3) We have to cry after and lift up our voice for them
(v 4) We must mine them as ore

In each of these word pictures we see that the wisdom we seek is readily available and offered to us but it has to be worked for.

It is said that that which is easily gained is not readily appreciated. The same is the case with this golden prize called wisdom.

I don't know about you, but I have to get to work today inclining, applying, crying, shouting and mining because I need a lot of wisdom. There are many forks in my trails. I have important decisions to make. I can't lean unto my own understanding because it always fails. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov 14:12

I need the mind of God in my finances, my health, my church, my family, my plans, my relationships, in so many areas.

Practically then, where are the mines rich with nuggets of wisdom that I need?

1. If I would incline my ear unto wisdom, it stands to reason that I must listen to those who are wise. Biblical preaching and teaching would be one venue. Sitting at the feet of wise individuals, drinking in their understanding would be another. So, church, a good radio station, the right kind of TV, videos, DVDs, good books, etc. These are the places I can garner wisdom as I listen to others.

2. In the application of my heart to understanding I imagine myself thinking and studying, listening to the Spirit of God within me as I meditate on His still small voice dispensing silvery veins of knowledge within my heart.

3. As I stand at the mouth of the cavernous mines of sound wisdom, thirdly, I call into the mine, sounding and seeking with my voice for direction to the richest ores to sustain me in my quest for answers to my dilemmas. This is called prayer and petition. We have not because we ask not. If we would but plead to the Lord, He will direct us to the places to dig.

4. The most productive mine of all is the Word of God. No other book can touch the hem of the garment of the Bible.

I think of the book of Proverbs, the Sermon on the Mount, the writings of Paul, the gospels rich in the divine teachings of our Savior.

Here is what I have found, the Bible is a living Book. It has a sufficient answer for every question I have ever had. And that answer has always come on the very day I dug for wisdom concerning my problem.

Lord, lead me to the truth I need for today's questions. I am listening, meditating, crying out and digging. Thank you for not turning me down in my quest for answers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Muddy Gloves or Glovey Mud?

Pro 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
Pro 1:11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
Pro 1:12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:
Pro 1:13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
Pro 1:14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
Pro 1:15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
Pro 1:16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
Pro 1:17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
Pro 1:18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.

I was shown the following verse as a teen: Be not deceived, evil communications corrupt good manners. I Cor 15:33

The illustration that was given was about kids throwing muddy snowballs at each other, wearing white gloves. Once they have finished, you can see the mud all over the white gloves, but you can't perceive much of the white glove remaining on the muddy snowballs.

It happens every time. Good people try to hang out with and influence wicked individuals. A godly girl marries an unbeliever. A Christian thinks he can convert the lost by frequenting their ungodly haunts and the same thing generally results. The darkness snuffs out the light rather than the intended opposite. We are, in fact, commissioned to influence our dark world. But not at the price of our own light being snuffed out. We are to be in the world, but not of it. Therefore the Word is plain, we are not to link up with evil.

Our verses today show what may be the result, the temptation to perform unconscionable acts which break all of God's holy laws.

The reading of Proverbs 1:10-18 is akin to reading Romans 3, where the whole human race is condemned for its nose-thumbing at the heavens.

But wisdom is busy making itself clear:
Pro 1:20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
Pro 1:21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,
Pro 1:22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
Pro 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
Pro 1:24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
Pro 1:25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:

Proverbs is a great daily reminder to listen to the voice of wisdom and ignore those tempting voices to break the Law of God.

Let's encourage our children (and ourselves) to be influenced by the right voices and to avoid getting our gloves muddy.

Lord, let me be a godly influence today in whichever venue you place me. Let me not be enticed by evil voices beckoning me to forsake your law. Give me wisdom and discernment to not be unezually yoked with unbelievers. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It All Starts Here

Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What do you fear? Snakes? Heights? Roller coasters? Spiders? The Dark? Why is it that we fear these things? Because we have a great respect for what we perceive is their ability to do harm.

God is good to all, even the undeserving, yet those who understand His power to reverse their good fortune, health, power, happiness or progress tread lightly in His presence. They understand that He is the one in charge and respect His leadership in their lives.

These same individuals have embarked on the path of wisdom.

Conversely, those who fail to recognize the wisdom and instruction of the Lord though His Word are destined to remain as fools. The fool, Psalms tells us on two occasions, has said in his heart that there is no God.

There are those who say you cannot love what you fear. I say they have not understood a healthy relationship between a father and his child. A wise child will understand that dad deeply loves him/her and always has his/her best at heart. Yet they know that they had better not break the rules, for he has the power to chasten them to get them back on track.

It is easy for us as Christians to say that we readily respect our Lord, yet, practically and on a day by day, moment by moment basis, are we listening to His wisdom and instruction?

Lord, we believe. As you have loved us, we do our best to reciprocate. Also, we have great respect for your omnipotence. We crown you King of our lives once again this day as we cede our heart’s thrones to you. Give us this day the wisdom and instruction to accomplish your holy will for our lives. Amen.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Pro 1:3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
Pro 1:4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
Pro 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
Pro 1:6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Have you heard this one? "You can always tell a preacher, but you can't tell him much?" I suppose you could substitute many other types for preacher, but that one is a great example. Some folks, nah, most folks feel they know it all and are not open to new ideas and they surely don't want to find that they were wrong about anything.

I am refreshed to come upon someone who is open to instruction, or, teachable. They are like the sponge, ready to soak up knowledge, wisdom and instruction.

Rush Limbaugh, the pompous one, talks about kids being young skulls full of mush whose minds need to be molded into the right kind of thinking.

The Proverbs are a great opportunity for solid teaching and learning. The wisdom imparted in this book is unequalled anywhere, anytime.

The question is then, are we teachable? God has timeless truths available by way of proverbs, short, wise sayings gathered from years of experience.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In a Nutshell

Pro 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
Pro 1:2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
Pro 1:3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
Pro 1:4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Proverbs means "instead of many words." A proverb is a condensed bit of wisdom garnered by much experience.

So this book of the Bible is a vast collection of wise sayings by Solomon, considered the wisest man to ever live.

The purpose of this extremely interesting book is set forth here in the very beginning. "To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding," et al.

Wise people live by principle rather than by emotion. Situational ethics, that is, comporting oneself according to the dictates of the immediate, has no affinity in the life of a principled person.

Rather, they live by the principle of wisdom laid up through the ages by wise collectors of proverbs.

You've heard them, but have you lived by them? "A bird in the hand..." "Don't count your chickens..." These are quips to live by. They are tried, tested, true and unfailing.

The proverbs that we are embarking upon not only flow from the pen of an extremely wise man, but they are inspired by the Lord in Heaven.

Proverbs has been a favorite book of many because it has 31 bite sized chapters. It can be read, over and over again, one chapter each day for a month.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day Prep

Psa 149:5-6 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand;

You are getting ready to head out of the door for another day of living. The hair is in place, your clothes match, your socks are the same on each foot, you have "accessorized", you've got your keys in one hand, coffee in the other, your bag is over your shoulder. Ready, right?

Did you get your praise on? Is your praise a necessary item for you? Is there a better accessory than praise? Could you wield a more powerful weapon?

Oh, you can get by without the laptop if it came to that, heaven forbid! I suppose I could do without the java. But should we really hit the bricks without the preparation of praise? We may think we can do without it, in fact, most Christians forget it often, but it is very unwise to do so.

You see, praise lifts us up far above the din of the world. The darts of the enemy are easily repelled by shouts of praise. Those little things that get under our skin won't upset an apple cart supported by praise.

So start early, while you are still in bed. Praise Him for another day, another chance, another breath.

Praise Him early, praise Him often. It will mean the difference in your day like the difference between driving a car with a full tank and pushing the car when it has run out of gas. Think about it.

Praise, don't leave home without it!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fulfilled Desires

Psa 145:19 He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.

When we get so close to the Lord that His desires become our desires, then our desires are able to be fulfilled.

We are told in Psa 37:4 to "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

In another verse, "For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Psa 84:11

Can it be that God in heaven truly wishes to bless us so?

Jesus gives us the answer in the gospels, Lk 11:11-13 “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

God is intent on giving His children an abundant life. Of course, He will withhold from us that which would be harmful to our lives. For example, it may be a person's desire to be rich, yet perhaps those riches would draw them away from dependence upon the Lord. Therefore, riches for that individual may not be a good thing, but bad.

The key then, is to line up our desires with the Lord's. Then we can expect the windows of heaven to open and our wishes to be granted.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Lord's Provision

Psa 145:15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season
Psa 145:16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
Psa 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
Psa 145:18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
Psa 145:19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
Psa 145:20 The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.

It is wrong for us to think of our great God as some kind of a cosmic Genie beckoning to our every need. It is we who are to serve Him, not Him serving us.

Yet, how wonderful to have the assurance of His watch care and provision for us.
As little chirping birds in the nest with mouths agape, awaiting our next meal from mom, we wait upon our faithful Lord Who provides without fail.

He gives us our meat in due season. Every living thing is satisfied at the hand of God.

Again, we dare not think of God as our servant and yet we are told that He is very near to those that call upon Him in sincerity. Not only does He fill our needs, but He will even grant our desires.

I never thought I would experience how "the other half" lives, but no butler or maid could care for my every need as our glorious Provider does.

I am encouraged to redouble my efforts to do more for the One Who does so much for me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Amen!

Psa 145:10-12 All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.

I remember, as a very green servant of the Lord (and I don't mean environmentally), how turned off I was by people who used clich├ęs like "Praise the Lord!" every other breath. To me, they were just asserting their charisma and Pentecostalism. And while I assume that was true with many of them, I have come to appreciate the honest, sincere Christian who seeks to glorify and praise God often.

In fact, I have become one of them! Oh no!!!

I've even started speaking in tongues...Spanish mainly. :<)
Once in a while you'll catch me raising my hands, but I assure you, it is to glorify God, not the gold of my rings. Some of you who have seen the showiness know what I mean.

I am saying that God deserves to be glorified, in the church, in the home and in the world. It is the job and the pleasure of the saints to speak of the glory of God's kingdom and to talk of His power. We need to testify about His mighty acts.

And so, I praise His glorious name this morning in this venue, the blogosphere. He is great, He is good, He is glorious. Amen! Hallelujah! And wave a hankie!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

To Be Like Jesus!

Psa 145:7-9 They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

Emotional, fleshly, impulsive. 3 words which embody the human condition when we are not close to the Lord. We know what it is like to be human. But, Oh! To be like Jesus! What a tremendous endeavor.

For those that long to be near Him and be like Him, these verses give us a few important character traits of His we also ought to exhibit. They are:
Slow to Anger
Good to all

Of course, in and of ourselves, this is an impossible feat, but with His help, all things are possible. Shall we strive to be more like our Lord in these areas today?

In 1911, James Rowe penned these immortal words:

Earthly pleasures vainly call me;
I would be like Jesus;
Nothing worldly shall enthrall me;
I would be like Jesus.

Be like Jesus, this my song,
In the home and in the throng;
Be like Jesus, all day long!
I would be like Jesus.

He has broken every fetter,
I would be like Jesus;
That my soul may serve Him better,
I would be like Jesus.

All the way from earth to glory,
I would be like Jesus;
Telling o’er and o’er the story,
I would be like Jesus.

That in Heaven He may meet me,
I would be like Jesus;
That His words “Well done” may greet me,
I would be like Jesus.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Praising the Lord Across the Generations.

Psa 145:3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
Psa 145:4 One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

Grandparents and parents in a church virtually pop their buttons when they see their young ones on the stage singing or participating in the church plays. It fills their sails when their offspring praise the Lord.

Conversely, it is inspirational to hear grown kids extol the spirituality of their parents and grandparents. Perhaps you have heard, "I miss my mama's prayers." or "My grandparents were in church praising the Lord every time the doors were open."

Generational faith is not as common as it once was, but is a wonderful blessing when it is witnessed. Parents, be a solid example of faith for your children. Grandparents, while you still have the time and opportunity, nurture them in the things of the Lord.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Doing things I hate

Ecc 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

1Co 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Digging dandelions, scraping the old paint off of a house, counseling couples who are down each other's throats, having the flu, preaching the funeral of a suicide victim, performinng a wedding for a bridezilla. Which one do you think I hate most?

There is no winner here. I detest each of these equally. Yet, on this fine day a few of us from the church are going to get together at the house of one of our families and prep it for painting. What can I be positive about in one of my "Big Six" least likely things for me to do?

I get to fellowship with some good people.
I get to help out someone who really needs some help.
I need the exercise.
Maybe it will help me with an attitude adjustment.
Someone is serving up some grub!!!
I need to work on patience.
It will help build my character.
I get to do God's will, rather than mine. Ahhh, those silver linings!!!

(Please, somebody remind me of these things at the close of the day!)

So, I am going out this morning to be the best house scraper this side of the Pecos, or the Platte, which ever comes first. It will be for the glory of God and I will do it with all my might. Pass the lemonade please.

Tread Water or Ride the Roller Coaster

Psa 144:3 LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
Psa 144:4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

I know several Christians who are merely treading water until the lifeboat, the rapture, comes along. They are not really looking for Jesus, just the way out of here. You may even feel that way at times. I suppose we all are excited about the next life and are quite anxious to get it started, and the sooner the better.

With a shrug and a sigh, we reluctantly agree with the Psalmist, "Man is like to vanity..." That is, so much of what we do is empty and meaningless. Sometimes we feel that we are spinning our wheels, going through the motions, living from meal to meal, nap to nap, paycheck to paycheck.

But when we add Jesus to life's equation, everything changes. "Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him!" Vanilla ice cream is one thing, but add a banana, drizzle some chocolate on top, sprinkle with peanuts, a couple of cherries and some whipped cream and that ice cream gets very interesting.

And such is life, it can tend to get pretty bland and pointless, but when Jesus enters, all kinds of purpose and excitement breaks forth.

If you have Jesus, not only do you have life, but you can have it more abundantly (Jn 10:10). Satan has come along to suck the joy out of your existence, but Jesus offers to put it back.

How can we experience that abundance? Participate in the Divine appointments He has scheduled for you.

If a person parks him/herself on the couch in front of the TV all day, not much in the way of adventure is going to happen. But if we are out and about, moving, mixing, visiting, helping, ministering, things are going to get thrilling.

God has meaning and purpose waiting for you today. Get out and cooperate with His plan.

So you can tread water in the kiddie pool or ride the roller coaster. The choice is yours.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What is He to Me and What am I to Him?

Psa 144:2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.
Psa 144:3 LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
Psa 144:4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
Psa 144:5 Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

Having battled against many enemies and gaining the victories through his Lord, David rejoices in God's goodness to him. He begins to enumerate what God means to him. He says that God is:
*My goodness
*My fortress
*My high tower
*My deliverer
*My shield

And then he asks what we are to God.
The answers:
*People which God thinks about "takest knowledge of"
*People whom He regards "makes account of"
*People to whom God came down (vs 5)
*People He cared enough about to deliver (7)

You mean so much to God today and everyday. What is He to you? A passing thought? An influence? A spare tire to be used only in times of emergency? Or is He your all in all, your goodness (righteousness), fortress (strong place), high tower (retreat), deliverer, shield and your object of trust?

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Warrior for God

Psa 144:1 A Psalm of David. Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

David would not have made a good Quaker. Being a conscientious objector was not an option for him and his mighty men. Ammonites, Amalekites, Philistines...every turn presented a new enemy that wanted the destruction of Israel.

"Drive them into the sea!" is not a new notion. Islam is a jihadi come lately when it comes to anti-Semitism.

But David came from a long line of militaristic heroes who led Israel. Joshua, Samson, Jepthah, Gideon, Deborah...these weren't weak-kneed, sissified, pink tea and lemonade, milquetoast, panty waists. Well, Deborah might have been a panty waist, but I wouldn't accuse her of weakness to her face! These were decisive, battle tested warriors who would rather fight and die and then let God's people be downtrodden.

And so David blesses the Lord for granting him strength and the wisdom to war effectively.

Oh that we might have leaders with backbones of steel, honoring God and country rather than a personal socialist agenda. Leaders who refuse to hide behind the skirts of the Speaker of the House or pander to the likes of queer congressmen.

Give us a David who knows the smell of the battle, of gunpowder, of shed blood. Give us a Jepthah who won't run at the sight of bloodshed and has the metal to keep his country safe.

Free at Last!

Psa 142:7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

You have heard the these words from the old spiritual, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I'm free at last!”

Soul prison is the worst kind. We define the soul as a person's mind, will and emotions. When this part of a person's being is being held captive, they are unable to function in a normal fashion.

What does soul prison look like? It is when a person cannot think, have normal emotional function, and cannot make even the simplest decisions. The captor may take the form of depression, oppression, suppression or obsession.

The soul can be locked up due to sin, offense by another, destroyed or stolen relationships, overwhelming circumstances, deep loss, or many other reversals in a persons in life or combinations thereof.

The Psalmist had been brought very low. David had gone from the heights of success and victory to hiding out in a cave for his very survival. He felt persecuted, weak, abandoned and alone. This was the soul prison to which he felt he had been sentenced.

Jesus to the Rescue!

The Lord proclaimed, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

These words of the dear Savior has set billions of captive souls free.

Those who are physically captive have been able to have freedom of the soul. Those prisoned emotionally have felt their chains drop and have gone on to live in glorious freedom.

What is the "truth" which sets the captives free, and free indeed?

Jesus proclaims that He alone is the way, the truth and the life. When a person places their trust and faith in Him, no doubting whatsoever, the prison doors pop open. They no longer have to live in the squalor of mental and emotional dungeons. Christ truly provides for their freedom. Forgiveness is complete, the past can be left behind, there is no condemnation, old things are passed away and behold, all things are become new!

Honestly though, the problem I have experienced myself and have seen others suffer, is that we refuse to get up and leave the cell! The door is open, the manacles are loose, freedom beckons, yet, like the prisoner who doesn’t know how to function on the outside, we prefer to reoffend and reenter the cell. It is within our comfort zone. The prisoner is okay with his “three hots and a cot” and he doesn't have to worry about the responsibilities of freedom, so there he stays.

Many Christians languish with the same kind of penuous mentality. They could learn to function outside of their soul prison but choose not too! On the outside there exists little pity or charity, no allowance for self loathing and self condemnation.

Friend, when the soul breathes free air and can function in liberty, the cheap comforts of stocks and bonds of the soul cannot compare.

When we are ready to proclaim with David, "Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name" Jesus will surely make a way. Then you can freely praise the name of the Lord. The prison doors have swung wide open, get up and get on out of there!

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I am free at last!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Praying from a Cave - Psalm 142

We are saddened to read of decent people who are used and abused by the wicked. Not that David was without fault, but then, neither are any of us. But he had done nothing but good for his king and father-in-law. He certainly had done nothing worthy of being hunted like an animal.

Now, he prays while hiding out in a cave. He had fled for his life, found this retreat and serenades the bats. I suppose some of us have found ourselves similarly oppressed, depressed and obsessed.

First, he cries out to the Lord. "I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication." Sometimes we have to go just about as low as we can go before we really seek Heaven's face. When things are going well, we have a tendency to put things on auto pilot, but, ending up in a cave in the wilderness would get our attention focused on a Higher Power.

Next, David lays out his problems to the Lord, taking an inventory of his woes. "I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble." Now, the Lord knows what's up in our lives, but sometimes it's necessary for us to lay it all out there, assessing before Him how bad our situation really is.

The future king admits that he is overwhelmed. It is just too much for him to deal with. "When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me." Been there, done that? There are times a person just wants to pull the covers up over their head and take a nap while the world takes a spin or two.

David looks around and bemoans the absence of his posse. "I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul." Strange how, when you are in the greatest need of your people, they may be nowhere to be found.

But he does the right thing. He brings his woes to the Lord, the One Who can and will do something about it. "I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.
Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me

So don't cave in in the cave you are in. Don't give up, give it to the Lord.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Sweet Smell to the Lord

Psa 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Incense employed in the house of the Lord was for the purpose of covering the smell of bloody sacrifices. Gallons upon gallons of blood were shed on a daily basis and the smell would have been sickening to the uninitiated.

Incense was carefully prepared, only certain types could be "set forth." Remember what happened when the sons of Aaron burned an unprescribed incense to the Lord? He fried them on the spot. The incense was then lit and the aroma covered the smell of the blood and of the animal's odors.

In like manner, we ought to carefully set forth our prayers before the Lord and allow Him the joy of inhaling the beautiful aroma of our fellowship with Him.

In Revelation 8:4 we see a beautiful thing, “And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.”

And again in Rev. 5:8, “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”

Prayer is a beautiful aroma to God. Why then do we offer so little of this oblation to God? Why must our prayers be so sparse, so feeble and so distracted?

Let us each offer to God a sweet smelling odor in prayer this day, a little more meaningful, a little more lengthy and a little more fervent.

Sheep Stew, By Hook or By Crook

Psa 140:4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.
Psa 140:5 The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.
Psa 140:8 Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.

The Lord often likens us to sheep. Many animals are extremely aware of their surroundings, always on the lookout for danger. Domesticated sheep however, tend to have their heads buried in the tall grass, gorging themselves with no cares as to what predators lurk in hopes of a mutton meal.

The sad reality is that mutton is a favorite meal of the predator, it is abundant, tasty and oh so easy to attain.

The Devil, Peter tells us, is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And believe me, he had you in his sights. By hook or by crook, literally, he's out to make sheep stew out of you!

Snares, cords, nets and gins (hooks). Such is the arsenal from which he chooses to trap, slaughter, stew and devour you.

But the Lord, who watches over us with great care as we feed in His pastures, warns us to be sober and ever vigilant, and to not be ignorant of his devices against us.

As we go through this day, though we try to be happy-go-lucky, remember that the enemy has his sights on you. Beware of the traps, stay close to the Savior. Stand strong against wiles of the evil one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

His Enemies, My Enemies

Psa 139:21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
Psa 139:22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
Hate is a strong word. Aren't we all taught from the very earliest age not to hate? We also get the impression from the teaching and preaching that God is love and He has no need or patience for hatred.

Jesus told us to love our enemies, not to hate them.

Then we read verses like this and don't quite know what to do with them.

Perhaps a definition of the word might assist us? Nope, hate means hate and we all know exactly what it means.

You have to wade through 41 verses that employ the word ‘hate’ before you find the Lord hating anything. All the previous verses speak of the hatred man expresses toward God, believers or other people.

Finally we begin to see God hating evil works, false ways, vain thoughts and lying. Then we get into "the list" in Proverbs 6. This is the list of "things" the Lord hates.
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

87 times the word hate is utilized in Scripture, hatred is used 18 times. Almost always the hatred comes from the direction of the wicked.

So what do we do with today's verses? Hating those that hate God, hating them with a perfect, or complete hatred?

This is rare, but I think we can glean that this perfect hatred is reserved for the completely unredeemable enemies of the Lord, oppressors of His people, slaughterers of the innocent. As the Lord exhibits love, grace, patience and mercy to those that hate Him, so should we, up until the point when they, without a conscience, oppress the weak and kill the innocent. When there is no longer hope for their redemption, when they are resolutely and irreversibly opposed to God and their eternal fate is sealed, hated MAY be the proper option from God's people.
However, we must be extremely careful in this area.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Search Me, O God

Psa 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
Psa 139:24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Dr. James Edwin Orr (1912-1987) was a well-known Baptist minister, historian, lecturer, author and revivalist. He wrote numerous books and composed a number of hymns. He was one of the original board members of Campus Crusade for Christ. Throughout his lifetime, Dr. Orr traveled to more than 100 countries, spreading the Good News.

During the great New Zealand revivals of 1936, Dr. Orr overheard some Aborigine girls singing a beautiful song, Maori Song of Farewell. The melody of that song stayed with him until following a stirring Easter morning service he put words to it, using Psalm 139:23-24 as his inspiration, and the back of an envelope as his script paper. The hymn Search Me, O God was first published as Cleanse Me in one of Dr. Orr's own books, All You Need. For more than 70 years, it has been considered one of the most beautiful and challenging of all hymns.

Search Me, O God

Search me, O God,
And know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior,
Know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be
Some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin
And set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord,
For cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy Word,
And make me pure within.
Fill me with fire
Where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire
To magnify Thy Name.

Lord, take my life,
And make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart
With Thy great love divine.
Take all my will,
My passion, self, and pride;
I now surrender, Lord,
In me abide.

O Holy Ghost,
Revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival,
Start the work in me.
Thy Word declares
Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now,
O Lord, I humbly plead.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)