Psalm 73 Life Isn’t Fair–Yet

Do you talk to yourself? Let’s listen in on Asaph’s self-conversation.

Listen, God, life is not fair.  You tell me to be humble, but I see the prosperous, and they are not! They are proud and pompous while I am poor and suffer adversity. They lack for nothing and live life with a “God owes me ” mentality. I am a man of integrity, and yet here I am facing problems. Where is my material prosperity, God? Why do I face challenges? If you are God, why am I suffering? Does this sound familiar?  Asaph has a problem and we do as well. We fail to see life through the lens of the eternal perspective.

There are three lessons we should note. First, Asaph was envious.  Envy is a sin that began in the Garden of Eden and is alive and well today. Secondly, Asaph shares, “If I had publicized these thoughts, I would have betrayed your loyal followers.” Today’s translation: I would become a stumbling block! Do we do the same without thinking what our grumbling might do to a young believer’s faith?  Asaph then realized as he entered the precincts of God’s Temple; what he needed was cleansing. He pondered the consequences of being a stumbling block to others, so wisely, he sought God’s counsel.  Lastly, in God’s presence, he saw the reality: We are here for one purpose:

to behold His beauty and to worship Him in all of His fullness.

In the parable of Luke 16, we see the point of it all. Lazarus was poor and needy, but in the end, he was the one whom God blessed. The rich man, not hardly. You see, he had the “God owes me mentality.” So, where are you in your thinking?

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“Do You Need a Heart Transplant?’

Psalm 50 & 51 People, we are in deep trouble. Instead of peace and quiet, our world is swirling with anxiety, greed, grumbling, and all the “vices” of Galatians 5. There is strife, jealousy, and outbursts of anger. We are swimming in sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, and idolatry—all because we are worshiping the creation more than the Creator.

God says we are in debt, but He also says: My Son has paid your debt.  The world is striving to do the right “things,” but God says come apart with me and listen to what I have to say. You lack the one thing I desire, which is a humble spirit, a repentant heart, or a heart transplant.

Without the sacrifice of our Savior, we remain indebted. We are guilt, but Jesus paid our sin debt; if we accept His gift of salvation. Then our sin debt is canceled. But—we are never debt-free of offerings of thanksgiving to Him for this beautiful and precious gift. God does not desire sacrifices, for if He did, we could never repay our debt. Indeed, God wants is a heart that is receptive and thankful for this unspeakable gift.

Today step aside and evaluate your worship and your lifestyle. Pray that God would create in you a pure heart and a resolute spirit.

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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?

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The Price of Sin

The price of sin

1 Chronicles 21 King David decides he wants to know how big his army was, but we aren’t told why. The backdrop note is that God allowed the adversary to slip in unnoticed.  To alert David to the sin he was about to commit, God sent wise a counselor through Joab, His General. Joab pleaded with David to not do a census, but his words fell on deaf ears. David insists, and so finally, Joab follows through. God, in His patience, allowed this sin to fester for over a year and a half. Not always does God allow us to see the fruit of our sin.

We all need a Joab in our life to challenge us as to our motives in decision making. God uses them to discern where our hearts lay. For David, his heart was in his pride of the army he had amassed. What he had not counted on was the price that would he would have to pay for his sin. David was “like someone who gazes at his face in a mirror. For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was.” [James 1] It is because of his filtered view that God sent Joab into his life. 

David didn’t back down, but somewhere along the path of foolish decisions; the Spirit came to him to prick his heart. Although God forgave David, the price for his sin was grievous. The same goes for us when we sin. There is always a price to be paid. God set the price for our sin with the body and blood of His Son.

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The Sex Trafficker of Judges 19-21

This week we honor women across our globe for their accomplishments and their witness. Yet, today in the last part of Judges, God has us meet someone who is voiceless but pays the price of the sins of humanity. The author of judges walks us through the life of a Levite who is deceitful, selfish, and a liar. God wants us to see the depravity and reality of Romans 1:18-31. It is hard to read these chapters.

This Levite has failed to follow Levirate law by acquiring a concubine. He has a temper. He lacks the basics of caring for another human individual. He is the sex-trafficker personified. God’s mirror reveals the sin nature of mankind minus His righteousness. Today we see it front and center in our world, and we, like the Levite, are failing in our protection for the most vulnerable.

God reveals the concubine as a woman who has no voice in this sex-trafficking scenario. The Levite has lost all decency when he lies and then dismembers her to make us aware of the reality of the horror of our sinful nature.  He sleeps through the night, but the concubine is left alone to face the rape and torture of her person. We see his uncaring attitude as he dismembers her and sends her body parts around the nation.

There are some questions we need to be asking. Where is the honor for the one whose voice is never heard? Where is our outrage? Where is our compassion for those caught up in this wicked cycle? Take time today to ask God’s forgiveness.

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“Falling Face Down”

Joshua 7 falling face downa

Joshua 7 Joshua fell flat on his face seeking answers as to the reason they had victory in Jericho but defeat in Ai.  Surely this small city could be taken with a small force. Joshua failed to consult God first, and behind the scenes, we find that our archenemy had been busy.  The result was that 36 men died in that battle, and the residents of Ai had a victory party.

Joshua and the leaders fell on their faces before God and asked: “why?”  The Lord responded to his prayer: “Get up! Why are you lying there face down?” Like us, Joshua failed to consider that behind every failed circumstance, Satan is busy blinding us. We begin by asking “why” instead of seeking the wise counsel of the Holy Spirit. Why did Joshua not consider sin? We do the same. We want to blame God when God is not responsible. It takes a listening heart to hear God when we are wailing and asking why.

Even though the Israelites had heard of God’s directive of the ban on all things in Jericho, Achan had casually dismissed it. Like us, we know what God desires but fail to consider the consequences of disobedience. Do you dismiss sin? Do you think, “God will understand?”  Unlike us, God does not dismiss sin but demands purity and righteousness. We foolishly believe our sin only affects us. Be forewarned; “be sure your sin will find you out.” [Num 32:23]

Keep short accounts with God. Go to Him as Joshua did; locate the sin, and seek cleansing.

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God is a Promise Keeper; are You?

Deut 7 chosen

Deut 7-8 Isaiah wrote that God is a promise keeper. He opens the eyes of the blind and frees prisoners. That could mean literally or spiritually and perhaps both. Our arch adversary seeks to keep God’s children both blind and imprisoned. But, when God delivers us, we should remember Jesus’ words: do not return to the adversary lest something worse happen. We must destroy the works of the enemy because if we do not, he and his demons will turn away our children from the faith to serve other gods. That was the warning Moses gave the children of Israel.

Secondly, God wants us to remember that he did not set his love upon us or choose us because of anything within us, but only because He loves us. It is because of his love that he promised to keep his oath and redeemed us from the prison of sin. We also need this reminder that within us lies no good thing yet because of His faithfulness He chose us from eternity past for His purpose. “The promise that I make does not return to me, having accomplished nothing. No, it is realized as I desire and is fulfilled as I intend” [Is 55]

So why do we not experience full pardon and freedom to see all that God has for us? It is because we simply do not want to destroy that which binds us utterly. We are comfortable in our sins. Until we come to the place that we desire God more than our sin that we will be free.

So where are you?

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

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Sin and Holiness cannot co-exist

 

numbers 33 be holy2aNumbers 33 From Genesis to Revelation, one theme is prominent: we are to be a holy people. As the people of Israel are nearing the end of their wilderness wandering, Moses takes them aside to remind them of this premise. They must purge the land of the idolaters and their idols. “Destroy all their carved images, all their molten images, and demolish their high places.” Then God gave them a warning: “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, then those whom you allow to remain will be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your side, and will cause you trouble in the land where you will be living.” Further: if you do not do what I intended to do to them, I will do it to you. 

God is very clear; He demands holiness. He does not want his people to be touched or to embrace that which are unholy. 

Although written to the Israelites, it applies to us as well. Peter reminded the sojourners of God’s words: “You shall be holy because I am holy.” We can only do that when we are purged from our sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. In writing to the Romans, Paul reminded them; do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. We can only do that when we immersed in His Word daily. 

In thinking about this, what idols may we still be bowing down to? Is our mind clear and conformed to Christ? 

 

 

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