Come Apart with Me…

Our world is reeling and in disarray. Our souls have been revealed and we are found wanting. Yet in all of this God is still there, waiting on us to come to Him that He may teach us about Himself and about who we are..

Psalm 24-27 King David is the writer of many of the psalms. David’s prayers are an open window to learn about God, His attributes, and His ways. Through his eyes, we are given prayers to a holy God that demands holiness. Again David introduces us to the lessons of how to wait for His answers. We become acquainted with His character and His ways of blessing those who are humble. If we really want to know God, we must fear him both literally and figuratively. Then you can, like David, say “one thing I have asked of the Lord, one thing I seek…”

What is the one thing you seek?

Warren Wiersbe says that this is the first time God is referred to as “light.” Jesus came and said “I am the Light of the World.”

One thing David reminds us is that God is God, and there is none like him. He will protect us and conceal us from the enemies around us. God is immutable—that is, He does not change. He is the same yesterday as he is today, as he will be tomorrow. 

God’s character shines through David’s prayers. We learn of His righteousness, His discipline, His lovingkindness. We learn that if we are patient, God will come to us to respond to our needs.

BUT….We cannot know God unless we are reading His love letter to us. 

What has God revealed to you this day?

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Feeling Pinched? God IS the Answer!

feeling-the-pinch2Did you ever lose something and no matter where you look or try to retrace your steps you cannot see the lost item. When that happens I take time to echo this prayer: Holy Spirit give me your eyes to see what is hidden. And you know what? It happens every time that He reveals that lost item which reminds me of the short pithy parable found in Luke 15 where a woman has lost one precious coin, lights a lamp and searches. When she finds it she says rejoice with me for I have found the lost coin. Now what does that have to do with Ps 18 and 2Sam 22 you ask?

David, the writer of these two sister passages says “in my distress I called to the Lord, I called to my God.” Like the woman of the lost coin, David was distressed. He was in a state of extreme necessity just like the woman. How often are we in a “pickle” and we seek to find the answer on our own. But, when we stop and seek the Illuminating Holy  Spirit’s power it is amazing how quickly the distress turns to rejoicing! Is it right to call upon the Lord for that help? Unequivocally YES!

We are often like the Israelites in the book of Judges who needed God’s help. He never stepped in until they cried out to him. There is a principle then: he who calls out or cries out to the Lord will be heard and God will respond. Vs 7b He heard my voice and listened to my cry for help.

Where are you seeking to solve a dilemma on your own? Try calling out to the Lord for His help. He is waiting, He is listening and He will answer.

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Do You Know How to Face Goliath?

Psalm 73 one simple stone2AHere’s your sneak preview of the post on https://www.facebook.com/bible.org which will be published on July 27th.

Just as physical waves toss about, the waves of the world try to toss us about. We face the giant Goliath’s that David faced whose “bodies are strong and well fed, arrogance is their necklace, violence is their clothing.”  Goliath thought he had the victory all sewed up but David knew differently. Goliath defied the God of Israel and he tried to intimidate the Living God’s army. We have to be careful that we do not fall into a similar trap called envy. Goliath’s strength was only outward and it took just one stone to bring him down and it only takes the word “JESUS” to bring Satan to his knees.

The Army of God was floundering in the waves of uncertainty. We too can flounder if we try to wear someone else’s armor as Saul wanted David to do. Or, sometimes we flounder when we hear the words “you can’t do it, you are too young” or the XYZ reasons. But, if we sit and ponder God and His plans in the Temple or in His Word we find peace and encouragement. It is there God can and will dispel the arguments of the Goliath’s. It is in the quietness of the sanctuary that Asaph was reminded that one day the destiny of the fool who lives for the moment will find his end before the holiness of the Almighty. In fact, Asaph notes that they will be desolate in a mere moment and terrifying judgments await them. It was in the valley that David told Goliath: “This very day all will know that the Lord will deliver.” [1Sam 17]

Take time to be quiet before the Lord and come away knowing that all you need is one simple stone with this one simple word: “JESUS.”

Just a reminder: See this post on https://www.facebook.com/bible.org on July 27th.

Photo Credit: Brina Blum:Unsplash.com  + Author’s Caption

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Psalm 51 “Sin, Forgiveness and Grace”

psalm 51 forgiveness2Had King David remembered:  “sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it” he would not have experienced an adulterous affair with Bathsheba nor committed murder to cover it up. Yet David concealed his sin and why  God sent Nathan the prophet to him. As David realized this, a profound thought came to him as he confessed before a Holy God. “Against You, You only, I have sinned.”

No matter who the persons are involved, the sin is in reality against God and Christ who saved us and washed us from our sin.  Like David, we think our sin is concealed or it does not impact anyone other than ourselves but this is a lie out of the pit of hell. Galatians reminds us that God will not be mocked and we reap what we sow. God told David, “ Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.[ 2Sa 12:10]

When David repented he heard Nathan the prophet say, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.” Reflecting on this, David entered the house of the Lord and experienced God’s  greatest gift and mystery called forgiveness. All we have to do is to ask God to “Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin!” Open hearts are ready to receive God’s grace and lovingkindness and understand more clearly God’s grace.

How do we know that transaction of forgiveness has taken place? Like David, we will experience peace and joy even as we face the consequences that follow.

 

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The True 007 Stands Up!

ImageIf anyone could write a novel of real life as a 007 agent it is King David. His life of hair breadth escapes reads like a James Bond novel and Psalm 54 fits in perfectly with the plot line. If you are a fan of James Bond, you know that he often escapes with finesse and clever tactics, thanks to cinematography, and you walk away with your heart palpitating. David lived it in real life and today’s psalm finds him seeking a respite as he had done previously near the camp of the Ziphites, who were in fact blood relatives. However, they are the Judas Iscariot’s of the OT as they betray and double-cross on more than one occasion revealing to Saul where David is hidden. Chapters 1Samuel 23 and 26 is a record if you care to read it and see the true 007 in action.

This is the backdrop and prominent theme in Psalm 54. Our true 007 did not trust in harrowing car chases but instead as he wandered from oasis to oasis learned to trust God (Elohim—Creator who interacts and reveals Himself to His creation, one who has sovereign authority over all). David voiced his prayer to Elohim and asked him for deliverance in vs 1-3 and in vs 4-6 records his thankfulness for having his prayers heard.

Vs 1: O God deliver me by your name. God’s Name is strong and powerful; by His Name He brought creation into existence and by His Name He continues to reveal Himself. “For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen,”[Rom 1] Paul reminded us in Ephesians 6 to: “be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power.”

Vs 2 O God, listen to my prayer. God hears and responds to those whose heart is perfectly aligned with him. Pro 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Vs 4 Look, God is my deliverer! God, Elohim is the only one who has the power to deliver when we are in dire circumstances. David trusted that God “is” that he is currently and always will be. Secondly that according to his character he will deliver. Deliverer is “’azar” and carries with it the meaning of one who helps or supports.

Vs 7 Surely, he (Adonai = Lord- master) rescues me from all trouble. The confidence that David had in this challenging time is seen in this last verse. Pro 3:26 for the Lord will be the source of your confidence, and he will guard your foot from being caught in a trap. Where is your confidence this day?

You may not be living a life as a 007 agent but your life may be just as Paul described in Ephesians 6
“a struggle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” In whom do you put your trust for deliverance when the roaring lion roves about seeking whom he may devour?

 

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“With God there is No Fear”

ImageKing David seemed to always be on the run from King Saul’s army. David often found refuge in the Judean wilderness and in its many caves which were deep and cavernous. We read of one such time while hiding in a cave that Saul entered to relieve himself. What an opportune moment! David secretly cut off the edge of Saul’s robe but afterward his conscience bothered him and he restrained his men from rising up against Saul saying he is the “Lord’s chosen one.” This may or may not be the backdrop of this psalm but we can learn a principle from this psalm he authored: David was confident of the Lord God Almighty’s protection until God saw fit to remove Saul according to His time frame and in His way.  Today, we all may be facing the foes, the stumbling blocks that the enemy has placed in our path just as David did. Can we like David echo these words: The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?

The prophet Nahum knew this truth as David did. Listen to what he wrote: “The LORD is good,  A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him.” Thus Nahum as David knew this truth: God is “is a more secure hiding place than any mountain, hill, or great city, like Nineveh, when people face trouble.” As we have been reading the life of Paul we have come to know him personally in his struggles, his commitment to the Lord. Thus when Paul penned the book of Romans he shared with this group of believers this same truth of why he had no fear of men or governments or any other foe that the enemy would place before him and why he was safe in the arms of the God he served: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Beloved, where has the enemy come to distract you through the avenue of fear? Will you like David, Nahum and Paul quote this verse as your defense against him and his forces that they may flee your very presence? “The Lord delivers and vindicates me! I fear no one! The Lord protects my life! I am afraid of no one!”

 

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Cascading Dominoes of Forgiveness

ImageRecently there was a domino contest to see how many dominoes could be erected and then sent cascading down one upon another.  The Guinness world record was shattered when 275,000 dominoes fell one after another revealing a stunning picture before the audience of onlookers.

How long a line of dominoes have we erected of those whose sins we are unwilling to forgive just as the wicked forgiven servant in Matthew 18 did? He erected his own set of dominoes and kept adding to them one at a time. He had the power to topple them by just echoing the one word “forgiven” just as he had received from the Master—but he refused to do so. He failed to look back and see his line of dominoes not standing but lying for the Master had graciously and mercifully chosen with a flick of His finger to send them toppling to reveal a beautiful picture of forgiveness and cleansing.

The question then before us is; will we keep erect the dominoes of other’s sins against us as a reminder of their hurt or will we willingly offer the cup of cold water, the words of forgiveness to God’s chosen people who have also been forgiven by Him? Listen to Jesus: “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy times seven times; unlimited times!” [Matt 18]

Let’s dig deeper. Suppose we asked God to do as David did by asking Him to examine us in the night. Would our dominoes remain standing or fall? Look at what David said: “you have examined me during the night. You have carefully evaluated me, but you find no sin. I am determined I will say nothing sinful.” When we can pray those words back to God each domino we have erected will fall one after another until a beautiful picture of total forgiveness lays before us and others.

So today, Beloved, gather your dominoes and with a flick of the finger send them cascading into the beautiful pattern of forgiveness. Let them lay there for awhile as you muse what God has truly done. And then you can recite Ps 17:15 as your prayer to God for this new day: “As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.”

Remember these wise words when you consider your choice. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “the Gods we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that . . . thus, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming.”

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“The Father’s Soul Surgery” Ps 51-53

ImageKing David wrote all three of these psalms at different times in his life. One truth jumps off the page and onto our radar screen: When we sin it does not just affect us but it affects everyone. In fact, as David reveals to us; when we sin we are sinning, despising, rebelling, and are walking independently against The Lord God Almighty. Just as David had allowed his affection to turn inward, we do the same more often than we would like to admit. He had fallen: lust of the eyes led to adultery and then to murder of an innocent man. For a year he had been silent but then when continually unrepentant, God used the prophet Nathan to confront him. Hearing he was “the” man David confessed his sin and opened his heart gate to God. These psalms reflect his thinking and his actions. May we learn from him so we do not have to “do another lap around the wilderness.”

One truth comes forth from David’s repentant heart: 51:4 Against you – you above all – I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. So you are just when you confront me; you are right when you condemn me. Notice David recognized where he was spiritually and that is key for us as well and that God was just in His confrontation through Nathan. David’s heart was soft to hear the words of God. Are our hearts the same?

Secondly, David sought cleansing and a renewed heart which is key to restoration: 51:10 Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! Do we pray and ask God to change our heart?

Thirdly, David sought help from God: 51:12 Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey! How often do we admit our sin, seek cleansing but fail to implement this third step?

Fourthly, when we are restored, God does not want us to waste this experience but to teach others, to testify: 51:13 Then I will teach rebels your merciful ways, and that is what God wants for us. Do you have a story of restoration that you can share to encourage others who are going through these steps?

A practical side benefit to this psalm is that if we are open to walk through these steps, God can and will use us in His service to carry forth His message of love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

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