Is your light under a bushel?

Ps 22 & Ps 78 The psalmist says we are to tell the next generation about the Lord and his saving deeds and what he has accomplished. We can’t pass that job off onto the preacher or the missionary because the psalmist says, “we” will tell. Jesus said to “go and tell.” How many of us are like those who say, “my faith is personal, I don’t share it, I just live it?  Jesus left us a commandment: go and make disciples. That means we do just that; we tell about God’s saving grace.

Do we realize that God will hold us accountable for lives who would have chosen Jesus had they had heard the gospel message? The psalmist says to tell the next generation so that the truth will be heard from us to the next generation.   They need to hear from our lips the truth of the gospel message. We also need to do that so that they will not be lost and without hope.

Psalm 78:6 says to tell the next generation, and they, in turn, will tell the next generation about Jesus. If each generation carries on this tradition, imagine how many souls will hear the gospel? And in contrast, if we don’t tell how many souls will enter a Christ-less eternity because we have failed in our responsibility?

Today I challenge you to tell someone about Jesus.

God’s Glory

The heavens declare the glory of the Lord

Psalm 19 The Heavens Declare the Glory of God!

The other night God graced us with a double rainbow! What a joy to see it and to remember the promise of God to never flood the earth again. The weather and the creation of God is an amazing picture of His holiness and majesty.  Perhaps you wake up in the early dawn when only the stars are evident, for the clouds obstruct the moon. However, stop and consider; even the moon is busy illumining the clouds to give us light.  But then all of life awakes with a roar as the sun awakens and illumines the sky from east to west, north to south! The psalmist envisioned it as a bridegroom ready to meet his bride! Truly Romans 1:20 is ever before us: God’s invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – are seen by what has been created, so people are without excuse.  

And yet, as David praises God for the wonder and beauty of God’s amazing creation, others will stop and worship the creation more than the Creator. That was one of the charges God made to the Israelites in exile as they came to inquire of Him. He reminded them that the idols of Egypt they so willingly put their trust in were not able to take them out of bondage, yet they closed their ears. So lovingly, He took them into the wilderness so they could see the marvel of His creation, and yet they refused to see.

Where are you this day? Are you in bondage in Egypt relying upon the wooden idols? Or are you in the wilderness viewing His creation that you may bow the knee to Him?

God looks at the heart! Man looks at the outward.

Psalm 16-18 “Innocent” When you see this word what comes to mind? What is the standard we use to determine whether one is innocent or guilty? The Hebrew defines that word as what is right, rightness, justness. When we look at David’s life we read and see his sin of adultery, his faithlessness in disciplining his son for rape. We cry guilty but what does God cry? He cries innocent. Does that seem contradictory?

David writes You I call to you because you will answer me, O God. The Lord is my high ridge, my stronghold, my deliverer. My God is my rocky summit where I take shelter, my shield, the horn that saves me, and my refuge

Truth: God looks NOT at outward appearances but at the heart. We judge by what we see, God judges by what we DO NOT see.

Outwardly we see a failing individual but inwardly God sees a man fully consecrated to Him. Outwardly we see a man who is faltering but God sees a man who chooses faith. Outwardly we see just a man but God sees a man who chooses to trust Him. God sees a man who allows God to examine him during the night hours while the world swirled around him.  

No matter how the world sees you, (or you see yourself), know this, the Everlasting God sees you and your heart.  Our question then is when He looks into your heart what does He see?

Are you hiding from God?

Psalm 51  Seeking God’s Mercy  

You cannot hide from God. No matter what you do, you cannot hide. God will move heaven and earth to show us our depravity and our need for His cleansing. David had tried to hide behind lies and life as usual, but God used the prophet, Nathan, to reveal his self-deception. At that moment, when he heard “you are the man,” all of his support system fell away and he lay bare before the Almighty God. God does that for us as well when we have refused to admit our sin. It is then that our prayers reach heaven’s door and then God’s lovingkindness reaches down from heaven to cleanse our hearts and minds.

David finally was open and transparent before God about his sin of adultery and murder. He sought God’s mercy and cleansing recognizing that his sin was not just sin against Uriah and Bathsheba but his sin was against a holy God. He notes that God is just and right to condemn him and why he needed cleansing. We too in our prayer time before God must seek God’s mercy, cleansing and washing and then, and only then, can we ask God to grant us the sweet forgiveness that only He can give.

Will you seek God’s face and His forgiveness today for any sin that you are harboring? Your sin is not just against men but against God. Seek Him first and His lovingkindness will pour over you.

How’s Your Vision?

Ps 13 to 15 “Through God’s Eyes”

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if we could see with God’s eyes? Instead, God says trust me, for I see not as man sees. King David reflected on his world around him and viewed with a renewed vision exactly what God saw. First, he saw men like blameless Job who probably wondered ‘how long.’ Then he saw men who were fools because although the creation screams God’s power and majesty, they refuse to bow the knee to Him. Lastly, he saw men of integrity as he examined their character.

Seeing with God’s Eyes about the past: God was faithful in the past and will be faithful in the future; therefore, we can trust Him.

Seeing with God’s eyes about men: Ps 14: Men are fools! They ignore the evidence before them. Although they are wicked and deny God, those who have chosen His way can say with assurance: He is our shelter.

Seeing with God’s eyes about ourselves: Ps 15: O God, I see it now! I may someday enter your presence because I have chosen Your way, Your standards, Your path. I want God, who sees all things.

Beloved, are you asking God to help you see with His eyes, or are you still satisfied to see with seeing with your earthly vision?

Are You a “Why” person?

Psalm 9-12 God’s Longsuffering Patience

We are learning more and more about the power of prayer in the lives of believers. Yet there will always be those who rebuff God and refuse to bow the knee or utter words of praise to Him. They are like the men in Romans 1:20 who see the evidence of his power and His love, yet deny him. Just like the psalmist, we go before Him to ask: “Why, Lord, do you stand afar off?” Why do you not remove these evil men?

The answer is that God is full of compassion, mercy and his patience is far beyond ours. He continues to offer evidence until like Pharaoh; they have hardened their hearts beyond the point of no return. Then, He allows the waves of death to come, and like the people in Noah’s day, they realize it is too late. Their ears were seared beyond hearing the gospel message and so they die and enter Torments where they meet the rich man of Luke 16, who said, don’t let them come here. 

But, even as believers, we also often fail to stop and praise God for things like pandemics. We are like Peter, whose eyes were on Jesus as he stepped out of the boat but then let the winds whistle and the roar of the water take our attention. We see the evidence of his power, yet hear God ask: Why don’t you trust me and my plans?

Ps 8 “O Lord…How Majestic is Your Name!”

Psalm 8 begins and ends with the same phrase: “O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth,” “We need not wonder at this, for no heart can measure, no tongue can utter, the half of the greatness of Jehovah. The whole creation is full of his glory and radiant with the excellency of his power; his goodness and his wisdom are manifested on every hand.” [Spurgeon]

And yet even though God is majestic and full of splendor, it is the infants and children who understand His majesty more often than those who mature and educated. The Pharisees were angry when the children were crying out in the temple courts “Hosanna to the Son of David,” and Jesus responded, quoting Psalm 8:2. “From the mouths of children and nursing babies, you have ordained praise” Is it your prayer to have such a childlike faith to offer praise as freely as these little ones to the Lord for His power, majesty, and splendor? David’s point was the same as the Apostle Paul’s words: “But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong.” [ICor.]

Today may we offer praise to Jehovah for truly He is majestic and full of splendor. The heavens and all of creation resound with his work. “For since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.” [Rom 1] and that is why this statement should bring shudders to our soul: the young child of an atheist couple once asked his parents, “Do you think God knows we don’t believe in Him?” [Dr. Constable] Precious Child, yes, God knows for He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.

Today may we meditate upon these words upon our lips: “O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth.”

Are you Blessed?

 Psalm 1 to 4 “Blessed Men and Women”

God blessed Job; “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil.” James references Job “Think of how we regard as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance…” [James 5]

Now, as we leave Job behind and move on into the psalms, written over thousand years, we once again read about the blessings God bestows upon those who are righteous, of whom Job is an example. King David, who most likely wrote this first psalm, summarizes what God calls blessed.

These people choose their companions wisely; they revere God by obeying and fearing Him. They feed on God’s Word day and night, delighting in His Law. They see themselves as the Lord’s heritage. In times of peace and war, God is their shield and sustainer, their salvation, and sanctifier.

They are proof of what Moses told the Israelites: teach your children and speak of God in your house, and as you walk along the path of life. Be sure to educate them in the night as well as in the day; if trained early on, he will remain steadfast and immoveable later in life. [Prov 22:6]

If God spoke about you, would He use the word “Blessed?”

How does God speak to you?

Job 38-41 We have been waiting for 37 chapters to hear God speak and answer Job and Satan. The one surprise is that God does not speak to Job’s suffering, nor does He solve Satan’s challenge. No-where in these chapters does God speak to Job’s dilemma at all. Instead, God reminds the listeners about Himself and His greatness. And how does God begin? Not in a soft whisper like he did with Elijah but in a whirlwind-a tempest or storm. That word sets the stage just as it did at the beginning. Why God chose that form to reveal Himself to Job is left for us to ponder.

  God is God, and God will decide whatever way He wishes. Sometimes He speaks in a soft whisper and sometimes in a whirlwind.  “He is not a man that He should change His mind” nor is he a man who needs to compromise or offer emotions like the man he created. This is a powerful lesson as we wander through the 77 questions He asks Job.

 Imagine yourself as Job sitting in your sackcloth and ashes and facing this! We don’t find Job bowing, worshiping, or doing any of the things such as the Apostle John when he fell at his feet as dead. No, Job is in listening mode, and that is where we need to be. God will use whatever He chooses to get our attention. The question before us is: are we listening?

Don’t Delay; You may Not Have a Tomorrow

If there is one truth that we have hopefully gleaned from this Coronoavirus is this: there is no guarantee of a tomorrow. Elihu wants us to realize that .

Job 35-37 Elihu is full of words as he continues to share his wisdom. He is right in that God is exalted in power. Even though men know this, they presumptively say I am the captain of my life.  They go on their merry way, leaving God out of the equation until a storm rises on the horizon. Sometimes a delay is too presumptuous saying “another day.” It seems to me we read the account about  Noah and of those who perished because of that philosophy.

Elihu is right about one thing: Storms come that we may seek His face and His understanding. He is also right in his description of God: He is all of splendor and more. We cannot attain to Him. God is God, and man is man.

Elihu says God is God, and He is under no obligation to react to people’s actions. He also doesn’t need to provide relief if their prayers are selfish and full of pride. The time to seek God is early on when hearts are tender and humble. But days come and go leaving God out of the equation. He may be grieved and broken-hearted yet remains steadfast, allowing them to choose or reject him.

Reluctantly my neighbor said, I never needed God in all of my life, and I don’t need him now—as he breathed his last. Tragically, Noah’s record, and the rich man in Luke 16 show us the results of that philosophy. Torments await those who reject God. Where are you, my friend?