Thoughts On Psalms: How Long Oh Lord

Psalm 6:1-3

O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger or discipline me in Your wrath. Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how Long?

The Psalmist became ill. Perhaps he felt as if he was dying. He certainly believed that his God was behind the sickness maybe causing it. He seeks the LORD’s favor and begs the condition be removed from him.

We can do that to ourselves; bring on sickness. We might attribute our sickness to God. It might be. Perhaps there is a sin that is not addressed. One in which we fail to humble ourselves and seek forgiveness. Scripture teaches that some of us drink from the cup of the Lord and eat at His table yet fail to recognize Him.

1 Corinthians 11:27-30
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

It is important to confess all our sins. God knows our innermost secrets.

David agonized. It seems the Lord was moving slowly. “How long, O Lord, how long?”

As long as it takes. God teaches we are to count trials and tribulations as joy. For in the end He gives persistence and patience to the believer.

We all know someone who is very sick; perhaps one of us. Be a blessing today. Pray for them and with them to clear the slate with God.

Thank you Father for this day. Lead us to do Your will. In the Name of our Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Thoughts On: A Human Being Vs. A Christian Doing

Proverbs 12:11
He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

Visions for a spirit filled future are blessings from the LORD. He chooses each of us for specific tasks in this life. He gives training, strength and courage to fulfill the ministries He ordains.

A spirit filled vision may be as basic as service to people. Feeding the hungry, bringing water to the thirsty, or giving counsel to the lost.

The inspired vision to serve is a gift. However, the gift is useless if we do not take the necessary steps to move from worldly pursuit to heavenly wisdom. Seeing a hungry man, but not feeding him is to be a human being. Seeing a thirsty man and not giving him water is to be a human being. Sharing sorrows with loved ones, but failing to pray for them with them is to be a human being.

Heavenly wisdom moves His child from being only a human being to being a Christian doing.

The Father plants in us a desire to serve His creation; even those who hate us. He does not give us the desire to leave it fallow in our hearts. He has an expectation that we will nurture His gift. He has an expectation that we will act on His gift.

A farmer’s crops do not grow because the farmer wishes they will. The Father gives the land, the seed and the rain. The farmer uses all of these to bring from the land crops ripe for harvest.

Matthew 21:28-32
28“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

In this parable Jesus gave praise to the son who was the Doer. He goes on to say that people of low reputation understood the Gospel and they believed. The elite did not see and rejected the Truth.

I pray you have big plans. It is my hope you have grand expectations. More importantly I pray you will make the LORD the preeminent Adviser in your plans.

Is the LORD your High Counselor?

James 4:13-17
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Be blessed today in this knowledge; the Father knows your heart. He knows your weakness. He gives you the power to overcome. Make your plans with His leading. Follow His growth chart. Act on His gift and strive to please Him.

(Adapted from “Walk With God: One Year Devotional.” Tyndale House; 2004)

Thoughts On Psalms: A Reason To Be Thankful

Psalm 2:7-12
I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.

Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.

Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Let’s be thankful. The words of this Psalm are spoken about Jesus. These verses come regarding our Savior. These verses declare the intent of our Father to make Him, the Christ. He will be ruler over “the ends of the earth.” Jesus is the Son of God from all eternity past and forever more. Jesus has universal dominion over our lives.

Let’s be thankful. We have nothing to fear in this world and everything to hope for in eternity. Jesus will rule with a righteous purpose. His authority will be an “iron scepter.” Those who trample on others and those who think themselves higher than God will be judged, justly convicted and sentenced.

Let’s be thankful this is not our fate.

Let’s be thankful. We have the blessing of His Holy Word. His Word is clear; “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your body and all your soul.”

Let’s be thankful. Because we believe and follow The Way we will not taste His wrath.

Be blessed today. Bless God with thankfulness.

Thoughts On Psalms: He Sees All…

Psalm 2:4-6
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My king on My holy hill of Zion.”

We need to gain perspective on who we are. Better yet we would be wise to gain perspective on Who God is!

Jesus sits on the Throne at the right hand of the Father. He looks down upon us and watches everything we do. Never are His eyes off us. He sees it all, even those “secret” things.

He is especially moved at our insolence. We stand with clenched fists thinking we have some kind of control. We march against the issue of the day. We band together to change the world. All without God; without Him at the helm. And, He mocks us.

Let’s stop thinking we have a measure of control. Let’s start acting as Jesus is our Lord. We know He has saved us. We should also know He rules us. Let’s behave accordingly.

One day the Lord will speak from His throne against all His enemies. When He does it will be with such power and force that our puny voices and petty problems will no longer matter. When He decides to speak and to close the book His decision will be final.

There is good news in this. There is still time to reach out to folks you know and tell them about the grace that saved you. There is still time to speak to a friend about angry words spoken in haste. There is still time to revere the Lord.

Be a blessing today.

Thoughts On Psalms: Vanity

Psalm 2:1-3
Why to the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.”

Nations grow further and further apart from the ways of God. The people making up nations lean to their own understanding. The chasm between God and lawlessness grows wider with each passing day.

Governments make decisions that are frankly anti-God! In our own country we codify rights to destroy life and even worse our leaders pass legislation to attempt to stifle our faith, if that is possible. Too few of us shout down the injustice of it.

Rulers of nations enter into alliances every day. Treaties and agreements are arranged in secret away from public scrutiny. They are not secrets kept from God. Nations, Gentile and Jew, plot to separate themselves from “the Lord and His Anointed.”

Today is a good day to pray to our Father that He will change the minds of those He has chosen to lead us. Today is a good day to pray to our Father that He will bestow on them “heavenly wisdom.”

Be a blessing to our Father today.

Thoughts On Psalms: Fruitless

Psalm 1:4-6
The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in th the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The ungodly are not planted by the waters. They do not have the benefit of Living Water. They will dry up and be like a fine dust easily scattered by the wind. They are not strong. They do not bear fruit. They are not spiritually prosperous. The ungodly person is not reliable.

We will all be judged. The ungodly will not have a Defender. They will be unable to “stand.” They will not have an argument to bolster their case. They won’t have the proverbial leg to stand on.

Jesus knows the righteous things the Godly do and He approves them. It is a critical point to make here; a person is not determined innocent or guilty by the way he lives his life. His judgment is based on whether he believes the Gospel of Christ or not. The ungodly one refuses to acknowledge God. The ungodly man is unable to believe.

We know someone who is ungodly. Speak to them today about spiritual things. It is Christ’s command “to go and make disciples.”

Be blessed today.

Thoughts On Psalms: A Blessed Man

Listen

Psalm 1:3
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its
season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

The blessed man; the believer who buries himself in God’s Word and meditates on it will be a strong and fruitful man. A tree being fed by Living Water. A tree able to stand against the
most devastating storm the world can deliver.

The blessed man will have a never ending flow of water; Living Water. He will always be refreshed by the Word.

The blessed man will show the fruits of the many graces of the Holy Spirit; peace, joy,
happiness, patience and self-control among them! The blessed man’s words and deeds will
be a reflection of the Light alive within him.

The blessed man will always know the right thing to do in any situation. He will have the right
words to express at all times. He will do these confidently. The “…leaf will not wither….” “He will
be evergreen” (Dr. D.L. Moody).

The blessed man will prosper in everything he does. This is a man who knows where his treasures are. This is a man who understands he can do nothing by his own sufficiency. This is a man calling on the Holy Spirit to come along side.

The blessed man knows Who his Lord is.

Be blessed today.

Thoughts On Psalms: Toward Christ

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Psalm 1:1,2
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.

The truly blessed believer is the one who successfully avoids the “counsel of the ungodly.”

We lose our way in the Lord when we listen to the call of the world and ignore the call of God. We cannot avoid the world after all we live in it, but we can certainly avoid any complicity in it.  Let others conspire for worldly gain. Let us be satisfied by drinking at the Fountain of the Lord.

By our behavior others will see the Light that is in us. We are to teach the truth in loving
kindness, but we should not associate ourselves with the ways of the world in order to
convince a man to believe the Gospel. Do not “stand in the path of sinner.”

Neither should we “sit in the seat of the scornful.” It is our call to evangelize. “Go and make disciples of all the nations,” Jesus said. Go where the sinner is, but don’t get comfortable there.

There is only one true state of happiness. I can only relate to you, my beloved, from my
experience and from what I learn in His Word.

Happiness, the kind of happiness that matters; that is persistent; that stands in the
storms of trial; that never leaves me is the happiness that comes from knowing God.

I was taught by a dear Pastor that once I began to really read God’s Word and meditate on
what the Holy Spirit revealed to me I would never again be satisfied. He said, “You’ll think
there are not enough hours in the day to read and to do all you want to do in His name.”

My Pastor friend also said, “God doesn’t know time as we think of it. God will make time for you.”

Day and night; in your waking hours and during your dreams while sleeping meditate on
God’s Word.

Be blessed today.  Bless others today.

Thoughts On… Happiness Or Joy

Happiness is an emotion we experience every so often. It’s a powerful emotion. It’s the kind of emotion we find ourselves pursuing.

Happiness is like a powerful drug. Once we have tasted it we want to taste more of it. Our bodies; our minds want to experience more of it. We deliberately seek happiness.

Happiness is envisioned in opening gifts at Christmas morning. Happiness is the anticipation of receiving something. For most of us we find happiness in watching our children and grandchildren express their happiness at their good fortune on Christmas morning.

Happiness is the emotion we feel when walking hand-in-hand with out beloved mate or your baby no matter how old your baby may be. Your baby is happy and secure in the knowledge you are close-by. Your protection is near.

Happiness is being surprised by your friends on your birthday. They remembered your birthday. They thought enough of you to remember your birthday.   Happiness is laughing at a good joke.

We all want happiness. We pursue it in our jobs and try to bank happiness. Happiness is an ideal that we chase and reach for.

Happiness is dependent on circumstances and circumstances change. My friends, happiness passes away. The toys that brought happiness rust. The loved ones we count on disappoint us. Those we put so much stock in for our happiness die; our parents, loved ones, friends.

Happiness deteriorates. One day; inevitably that thing that brought happiness is gone.

JOY, ON THE OTHER HAND, RUNS FAR DEEPER THAN HAPPINESS.

Joy’s root is in Christ where happiness is rooted in a happening. Christ is permanent and the joy in Him is forever. Happiness is fleeting.

Joy is the confident assurance that Christ Jesus is at the center of life and of living. Joy is the knowledge that God, The Father, has taken away our sins through the everlasting love of Christ Jesus. Joy is the knowledge and understanding that God is at work in our hearts.

Rom 8:31-39

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Joy is knowing that God will be there for us no matter what!

Philippians has been called “Paul’s Joy Letter.” It is an epistle full of love and expressions of grace to a church in Macedonia that has supported Paul and encouraged him. It’s an epistle full of love and expressions of grace through the Holy Spirit written directly to you and to me. It’s a letter written to encourage us. It is a letter reminding us of God’s affection for us.

There is real joy in Christian living and this letter points that joy out to us.

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

Paul has suffered more for his Christian walk than many men could bear. He was flogged and beaten multiple times. He was run out of town on a number of occasions. He was penniless and he was hungry. He was ill without cure.

 Philippians 4:11, 12

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Paul’s joy rests in the strength he prayed for. He was enabled by God “…to rejoice in the Lord always.”

Paul’s purpose was to walk as Christ in Him led him to walk. Everything in Paul’s life was joy in his relationship with Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:8-11

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Even in times of need our hearts as Christians are filled with joy.  When our lives are full as Christians we share our joy.  This year reach out to the Lord.  Ask Him for the strength and power to hold and know the righteousness of Christ is in you.  Share His love.  And, as always thank Him for His grace.  Amen

More Thoughts On… Our Blessed Assurance In His Keep….

I am beyond just grateful for the knowledge that I am secure in Christ Jesus. Describing the assurance of salvation seems impossible. In Scripture, however, Christ Jesus explains how His obedience to His Father brings to those of us who believe a place in God’s “Keep.” Remember a “keep” is a safe place where treasures are made safe from any outside threats. In God’s “Keep” no marauder, neither spiritual nor physical can separate us from the love of our Father.

We Are Kept In His Name…

John 17:12

While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Only one of Christ’s Disciples was lost. Every other Disciple was kept safe by Christ’s presence by His love. Christ’s ability to protect His own comes not from a power intrinsic to Himself. Rather, His power comes from His Father. “I kept them in your Name….”

We don’t have the ability within us to comprehend the extent of God’s love and the lengths only He can take to protect us from the world.

His power is so complete that He allows us free will to reject Him. He had the power to create people who would fall to their knees in worship at the simple mention of His Name. But, that is not our God’s way. He blesses us with freedom to choose Him. He blesses us with the freedom to build a relationship with Him.

We are in His “keep” because we seek to be. Once there He protects us from all evil.

We Are Kept In Joyfulness…

John 17:13

But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

Our lives are fulfilled in Christ’s joy.

Jesus told His Disciples of His death, His time on the cross and of His resurrection. The things He told them must have been very difficult to process. In fact, Peter said he would never turn away from his Lord. We know from Scripture that all Christ’s Disciples abandoned Him that fateful night in Gethsemane.

Jesus also told them of His Resurrection. On the day Christ Jesus was accused through the time He was hung on the cross I imagine the followers of The Way to have been very frightened men and women. Their Lord was being accused and abused by the rabbinical leaders of their synagogues. He was being marched from palace to palace to be spat upon, mocked, and beaten. Eventually, Christ Jesus was marched to Calvary.

We all know this testimony of our Lord. He was hung on the cross and there He died. His lifeless body was taken down before the end of the day and buried in a rich man’s tomb. After three days He rose again.

His Disciples had his “…joy fulfilled in themselves.” Can any of us imagine the elation in Peter or John as they raced to the tomb? Were they breathless when they entered and found His Body gone?

We Are Kept From The Evil One….Kept From The Ways Of The World…

John 17:14, 15

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

Christians are hated across the world. In some places the hatred for what we believe is so profound that murder rests in the hearts of evil men. The evil one causes one man to hate another man. Christ causes one man to love the man who hates him.

The ways of the world are bound in flesh and in the desire for sinful things; for worldly pleasure. Our Christ asks His Father to protect us from the evil one; to protect us from the desires of the world; to lead us to joy that is ever lasting.

The “world” listens to the evil one. Christians hear the Spirit of Christ in their hearts.

The evil one hates Christ and will do anything He can to keep us from Him.

Remember, Christ Jesus is praying for His Disciples and He is praying to God for us. His Words will not be returned to Him void. Our Father honors the Son and His prayer for our keeping is a blessed assurance.

We are not of the world….

John 17:16

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

Our belief in Christ Jesus and The Father’s mercy; His grace, separates us. He begins the new work in our hearts. He takes us from fleshly to spiritual. He takes us from desiring our own way to seeking His Way.

We are witnesses of God’s mercy and grace. Our testimony is our freedom from sin in the world.

We praise Him, honor Him, and bring glory to Him. We are “kept” in His presence.