Monthly Archives: February 2018

Awe of the Almighty

I am going to deviate from our Psalms this week. In my church we are preparing for Revival services in a few weeks by walking through a 30-day prayer vigil. This week in one of our reading, Isaiah 64 was used, I was overwhelmed by the reading of this chapter in Isiah, I felt it was better to write on it for anyone who has forgotten how great is our God.

Actually the Psalm 85:4-6; came to my mind – the psalmist cries out for God to revive the people – to Do It Again! Something is wrong with the Church and people in the pulpits and pews; we have lost the Awe for our God. Revival is for the believer not for the unbelieving. Revive is to restore or bring back to life. This can be seen in restoring an old car or piece of furniture – but as it applies to the believer – it indicates a condition of the soul that has grown cold or indifferent.  I know when restoration is needed, there has been some build-up or deterioration to the object. As this relates to the believer, church and even humanity as a whole, it shows an apathy for moral and ethical restraint – this happens as the depraved minds of mankind no longer fear reprisal for their actions. Ultimately this means,  no fear of God. The story in Exodus when God comes down Mount Sinai, He displays great thunder and lightning [Exodus 20:18-19], so much so that the people asked Moses to speak to God for them; and whatever He said they would do. They were terrified of the Holy God of Israel. The problem with this is not 12 chapters later in the absence of   Moses, the rose up to play harlotry with the Golden Calf! If revival is to come again to the Church and believers, we will have to return to the fear and awe of the Lord. God is righteous and holy – as His children He expects no less from us. The Church today I believe is anemic; I know there are pockets of great activity, and many mega-churches that run thousands; but if they Churches were empathic about the things of God – a great revival would be happening. I believe that are a lot of kingdom builders in Christianity – but they are building their own kingdoms. In Isiah 64, the plea is that God would come down again; that there would be great evidence of His presence. The chapter is obviously post-exilic in that it was written after the return from Babylon exile. No one sought God, no one revere His power or right to be sovereign over them. It speaks of the great devastation to Jerusalem and the Temple. While there were warning from numerous prophets – Jeremiah specifically; the people didn’t heed the warning but believed they were exempt from the discipline of God.

In revival, the people of God return to God on His terms – He “gives” revival, we do not pray it down or manufacture it by formulas. The people MUST be broken over their corporate and personal sin. The Church is guilty of “coasting” through the years. In America we have let opulence ruin us. When I think of the barbaric behavior being displayed today from “so-called Christians” it nauseates me, I can’t imagine what it does to the Father!

I want revival, I have tasted of revival before , I want it again – I am praying for it daily, for me, my church, Christianity and the world. God has sent revival numerous times – but conditions had gotten so “gross” with sin and rebellion, people – some [usually a small band] began to pray, really pray, their cries were heard and the Lord God moved in miraculous ways.

We are trying to fix the declining and dying church situation by discipleship and planting more churches. Both absolutely need to be done. But if Revival doesn’t come, if “the Lord doesn’t build the house, the laborers work in vain.” We are the clay, Jesus Christ is the Potter, sometimes the potter has to “break” the clay and rework it to a vessel He can use. It is time for believers, pastors, and  churches to wake up! If we want our world to change, then the change must start with us by quit being “nominal, cultural” Christians! So often all the commentary is our world is so bad; but I recall reading in the Book of Acts how a band of believers turned the world upside down – Oh, Lord Do it Again!

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Praise, Prayer and Perseverance

Psalms 31-35; there seems to be an underlining theme for many of the Psalms that  David writes. They are interlaced with times of crying out to God for vindication from his enemies and praise to the Father for His deliverance from his enemies. Often it appears that David pleads his case to God based on an innocence” in his actions and thoughts. So, we are to think that David is innocent of any wrong doing. Now I have read enough about David and know that there are two sides to him. There is the side that praises and worships God from a pure heart. He is after all call “a man after God’s own heart.” Yet there are other stories besides Bathsheba and his adultery that reflect that David was anything but perfect.  I am not trying to say that David is without just cause for asking the LORD to take care of his enemies, but why does David want his enemies destroyed; because they are against him and don’t like him, is his life in danger? How does all of this vindictiveness bode with what we read in Mathew 5:1-12? It that there is a conflict. Are we as believers to pray against on enemies, those that would mean us harm? Where is the compassion and love that exudes from what Jesus says in “loving our enemies, pray for those who disrespectfully misuse you?” In Psalm 35, there is a definite tone of “God get’em” for me from David. It seems that maybe David is really telling God exactly what is on his heart – transparency? How many of us are willing to really let God hear what we are truly feeling about people, events and adversaries?

Earlier in Psalm 34 we have David crying out to the LORD, he is over come by those that would do him harm. “Fear” is often used in this Psalm. There is crying, fear and praising all in the same Psalm. In the beginning of the Psalm David is rejoicing and praising God. He then quickly pens about how there are those that seek his life. Then we find a semi-confort in the words of refuge, and how the angels come to defend him. There is the praise of God for those blessings given to people who find their “salvation n God.  How are we to understand this roller coaster of emotions and thoughts? Simply, isn’t David just reflecting in words those thought s of everyday living? Do we not all have the ups and downs of life?

We praise the LORD in the good times and we lament in the sad/bad times – how many of our inner thoughts stay right there? Do we not have a compassionate “listener” in Jesus? Oh what joy we often forfeit, because we do not take it to the Lord in Prayer. Please I am not advocating that we pray down the wrath of God on everyone who does wrong to us. But rather than whine about the discomfort and injustice; let’s take it to the Lord. I did notice that within the same Psalm , there is crying before the LORD, there is Praising God for His strength, justice and deliverance, as well as the righteous living of David before the Lord.

On a side note – there is a lot of language in Psalm 35 that reflects the way Jesus was treated before his enemies and the mockery they made of Him as He went to the cross. “Like a sheep before his shearers, He said not a word.” – Just saying

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Whom Shall I Fear?

In Psalms 26-30 we have three personal laments and two prayers of praise. Obviously David and we have a roller coaster of emotions and events that parlay into our daily living. How are we to respond midst the conflict and storms that make up everyday living? Probably the best answer to that is to remain on even keel. If we place our confidence in the Lord Jesus, then we should trust Him for the strength of each day. Now David had problems with Saul, Absalom and even his own moral failure. Like David I find that we often want God to vindicate us. We think that we are better than others, and that the events and issues that govern life – we take way too personal. It is easy for us to see ourselves as right and everyone else as wrong. After all we are the children of God.!

Psalm 26 list some attributes of GOD – His loving-kindness [mercy]; Truth, Wonders/miracles. Too often I think we forget how awesome God is by making Him to Human and small. In times of difficulty I know I default to a “why me” thinking. Yet the scripture tell us that being a Believer will include difficulties and trials. James 1:2-4, 12 & 1 Peter 4:12-14. Jesus our Lord told us that if they persecuted Him they would persecute us. Yet when persecution comes, we whine and cry our “O Lord why me, what have I done!” I did notice that David wanted to be vindicated and have his enemies destroyed. David does bring a bit of boasting about how innocent he is, yet none of us are holy. We must be careful that we don’t think we are too holy and righteous that God can’t and won’t discipline us.

Whom shall I fear – Romans 8:31-39 is a great passage for us to remember. There is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God; natural or man-made. We as believers are secure in the love of God. David repeatedly uses reference to God being his “Rock and Refuge.” The Lord is my salvation – my deliverer – my strong fortress. David in his prayers to God always seem to reflect a condition or conflict that he wants Yahweh to correct; then he brings praise for the deliverance of God. David repeatedly asks God not to leave him, not to hide from him and not to be forsaken.  David and we must take great courage in “the Lord is my defense.”  The last part of Psalm 27 caused me to meditate on if I am willing to “Wait on the Lord?” I think that we all can say that it is difficult to wait when we want to run ahead of God. Isaiah 40:31 that famous verse tells us to wait on the Lord and we will renew our strength. If we are running all the time, we will and do get weary.

The Last to Psalms for the week [28-29] have a heavy connotation of the “Lord’s Voice.” God does hear us when we pray, cry and praise Him. The Voice of the Lord was described by David through creation. But we all are reminded that the Voice of the Lord is a Still Small Voice – 1 Kings 19. Troubles will come our way – especially if we truly live out our faith before the world. We should not be so easily shaken when things go wrong – sometimes things just go wrong. But we must remember that God has us in the Palm of His hand. Even though Job went through all the ordeal of Satanic attacks – “Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him.” If God before us, who should we fear that would be against us? Hear His voice of wisdom and reason – but listen closely to His heart of love and mercy towards you – every morning His mercies are renewed!

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Clean Hands and a Pure Heart

Psalms 24 – I don’t normally post twice in one week, but Psalm 24’s message of clean hands & a pure heart compel me to do so. The author asks us some questions – Who may ascend to the hill of the LORD – in other words who can come to the LORD’s Temple – thinking of Jerusalem and Temple Mount. The Jews had a very rigid practice of ceremonially “washing” in large vats to cleanse themselves before worship. Coming to the Temple – more importantly before the LORD’s sanctuary, people did not nonchalantly rush into the presence of the LORD. “Who may stand in His holy place?” The second question makes us evaluate if we are worthy to stand in his presence. Thinking of God on His throne; who is worthy & righteous, holy or without guile to stand before the Holiness of God Almighty [El Shaddai]? Of course the rhetorical questions have the same answer 0 no one. I believe that we have made worship all about us, rather than about God and His majestic power and love. I hear too much about people wanting to “feel” the Spirit. If a person knows the Lord Jesus Christ – they should already KNOW the Spirit and not need to “feel” the Spirit.  Feelings lie all the time to us; they cannot be trusted to verify a godly experience. If we are to “approach the House of the LORD; if we are to come into His presence,” we must be cleansed and pure.

I am not sure how many believers think about what they are doing when the “go to church.” Usually there has been a lot of activity and emotions in trying to get the family ready on time. We come sliding into the pew and are no more ready to worship than the man on the moon – then the music guy is trying to “pump us up to sing louder” – truthfully I’m not ready to sing many times until after the song service is over. As a pastor I love hearing the wonderful worship songs and the genuine praise of people toward God – I’m just not sure it is accomplished by strobe lights and fog machines!

We must have clean hands – I never was allowed to c

“come to the dinner table” with dirty hands. I hand to “get ready to eat.” Washing my face and hands was my responsibility – of course I got inspected and if I was not clean I had to do it over. The Holy Spirit is our guide to us, letting us know whether we are really cleansed for worship [dining with the Father]. I have noticed that my hand naturally get dirty when I walk around in this world. I don’t have to handle dirty or mud to get dirty. When I do have “dirt” [sin] that i must deal with, well it takes more than running water over my hands!

The second requirement to WORSHIP the LORD is to have a “pure heart.” I take this to mean that I am right with God and mankind. Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. God knows our motives and attitude – If I regard iniquity in my HEART, He [God] will not hear me. Verse 4 gets more specific – one who has not lifted his soul to falsehood – in other words not a hypocrite, not a liar! I have witnessed people who intentionally lied about who they are, pretending to be something they are not.  We can be liars by the way we behave, our actions will tell whether we are pure or not. There is work to be done before coming before the Holy God of our salvation. If we do the work of “getting ready” the dinner/presence of the LORD will be most enjoyable!

If we are honest with ourselves, and come clean with the Lord our God, there is great mercy and forgiveness in His love. The Pharisees made Temple worship about them; pretending to be religious and holy – Jesus knew better. His response was  Woes pronounced on them, and a warning to us not to be taken in by their hypocrisy.  Let’s get ready for TRUE WORSHIP of the KING OF KINGS!

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