Monthly Archives: March 2018

Sand Castles and Rock Fortresses

This blog post is based on Psalms 62. In this Psalm there is a repetition of thought from King David; verses 1-2 and 5-6. Various scriptures came to my mind as I read this Psalm. The first was Isaiah 40:28-31; Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. 29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.  The emphasis here is the waiting on the LORD. I find it difficult at times to wait. In this microwave, instantaneous gratification society we live in makes waiting an inconvenience. Waiting has good results if we are the patient to wait on the LORD. Most of the time believers get frustrated and anxious when trying to move faster and to have to wait on someone else. The Lord is not in a hurry, and He is never late. The advantages of waiting on God to work, takes the burden of results off me. I also can renew my strength through the resting/waiting time. Another aspect of these duplicated verse is Waiting in Silence. I have seen several radical instances of impatient “road rage” because someone was delayed by another driver – silent they were not! In our waiting, we are to trust in the Lord for the delay. In John 11, Mary and Martha had to learn this valuable lesson from Jesus who waited extra days before going to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead. In waiting for the Lord to act, we are not to just do nothing, but in prayerful silence – no whining and belly aching about the delay. If we really want what God wants then we will not take matters into our own hands like Abraham and Sarah did with Hagar. Now that was a lesson in waiting that has not gone away! King Saul lost his throne because he didn’t wait for Samuel the Priest to come and offer sacrifices, but instead took matters into his own hands.

Another aspect of these verses is how we build on our faith. Matthew 7:24-27 tells of two people building their lives on two extremely different foundations. One chose sand, the other chose rock. As it goes, storms come to all in life, the waves will thunder against the foundation of our life – depending on the contraction material is the result of whether the house remained. It seems that to build on sand, you can make a wonderful sand castle, the only problem is it gets washed away at the first wave of conflict or storms. But with the Rack foundation, one has to carve out with much tenuous labor I might add a place to live. It may take longer and be a hard laborious task, but it holds up. This isn’t to say the thunderous waves won’t cause fear and anxiety, but they Rock will hold. The song, of My Anchor holds in Christ the solid Rock – this rock is Jesus. We are secure in Christ, we are protected and loved. Can we not wait for Him to act?  The Psalmist goes on to says, The Rock of my salvation, My stronghold; I will not be shaken. The Rock of our salvation isn’t just to ride out the storm, but to seek refuge, protection in the arms of God. A quiet place of comfort and strength. This is confidence in Christ. Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us to not lean on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths. The waiting may be difficult, but the wait is worth it!

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If God Be For Us

Looking at our readings for the week Psalm 54-60 there seems to be a common theme: David praying to our Father in heaven to hear his prayers and how his [David’s] enemies are seeking to destroy him. My focus this week is in Psalm 55:12-14; here we find that David’s enemy is really a once friend and ally. Some quick research and I find that these Psalms are during the time of King Saul’s relentless searching for David to Kill him – 1 Samuel 19. As we read these Psalms one cannot but help gain insight into the struggle David is experiencing. In the above verses, it says that David and his enemy once use to be friends, use to go to the Sanctuary together and worship the LORD. David could understand if it was someone who is truly an enemy or one that hates him – but this person David doesn’t identify is none other than King Saul. Now we must remember at this time, Saul has an evil spirit about him – King Saul has disobeyed God by saving King Agag and by taking Samuel’s place during sacrificing  – we also know that King Saul will seek out a witch for intervention. What use to be a grand and wonderful reign, quickly disintegrates in 18 months.  David has been already anointed by Samuel as the next King of Israel, has killed Goliath and killed his 10,000’s while King Saul has killed his 1000’s. Obvious jealousy and rage has over taken King Saul – he is bound and determined to kill David – even after he has vowed to his son Jonathan that he wouldn’t. What are we to do; in David’s place? Saul is King – he has been anointed to be king, yet King Saul has lost his reign and respect from the people. The people of the land praise David. Saul has pursued David three times, sending out messengers to find David and kill him. King Saul’s daughter Michal [now David’s wife] comes to David’s defense. We need to remember that David had opportunity to kill King Saul, yet would not lay a hand on God’s anointed.

In these Psalms we read various messages come out. David will not fear what man can do to him; he will trust in the LORD to deliver him; yet David prays against those who seek after him; and the last message – David will sing and praise the LORD. In our own time we have all experienced great difficulty; have had relationships at home and in our families were great affliction and anger have destroyed what use to be a unity and harmony. We must take into account, if we live for Jesus and our faith is evident, then all who desire to live godly will be persecuted – without cause. As those messengers of King Saul sought David to destroy him; even so we have our own adversary ] 1 Peter 5:8] who lurks around trying to destroy us. I don’t know what it is like to be hunted down – but I am familiar with those who speak vile lies and plot to discredit and eliminate me from the work of God. How David can sing perplexes me; yet I think of Paul and Silas in prison [Acts 16:22 -30] at the midnight hour sing to the Lord. As believers we must find hope and strength in our faith and God as our stronghold. There will be [should be] times when we are attacked and pursued without cause – except our faith – in those times we must say as the Apostles and Fathers of our faith have said – “whom shall I fear!” Paul gives us great encouragement in Romans 8:31-39; nothing will separate us from the love of God. Paul goes to great lengths identifying many things that COULD separate, but will not because our God is our stronghold. In times like these we need a Savior, in times like these we need an anchor – be very sure, be very sure your anchor holds, this solid Rock. This Rock is Jesus! Amidst the treachery, affliction, anguish, evil, violence, oppression, deceit, strife, terrors and destruction that is ongoing in our times – we will overcome; have overcome by the Blood of the Lamb! Be strong and courageous!

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Repentance and Renwal = Revival

Psalm 51 is my focus this week. Our church just had a week of revival services. It was well attended and the Gospel was proclaimed clearly and delivered with passion. The seeds of revival have been once again planted in the Church. I have learned that almost nothing in the Kingdom of God happens by accident. This is most certainly true of Revival. I have asked several different audiences ranging from churches to pastors, if they had ever experienced revival. To my dismay, almost always the answer is no. I can remember years ago when revivals were held for a minimum of two weeks. I often wondered why two weeks? The Answer makes all the sense in the world. The first week is to revive the church members; the second week is to bring the lost/unredeemed to Christ. The point is revival is for the Church and if it occurs, then there will be an awakening to the lost.

In our Psalm 51, we find that David has been approached by the prophet Nathan, that story is unfolded in 2 Samuel 12 in the aftermath of David’s adultery and murder with Bathsheba and Uriah. It was almost a year before Nathan approaches David, and then only at the prompting of God. Everyone knew that David had sinned grossly before the people. Yet no one said a thing until Nathan is sent by the LORD. Known sin is makes miserable believer and brings public discredit upon the LORD God.

David repents having been confronted about his sin. The remorse in Psalm 51 is evident. David is call “a man after God’s own heart,” yet he is both an adulterer and a murderer. If revival is to occur in our personal life and the life of the Church, there must be a confrontation about the known, yet unconfessed sin towards God. David himself tells us the “against you, You only have I sinned and done evil in your sight.” [[verse 4]

David knows the LORD, He also knows the misery he has dealt with in his bones because of unconfessed sin; for it was ever on his mind. God is merciful and compassionate. There is a genuine repentance about his sin; there is evidence that David turned away from his iniquity. David did not have “kings privileges” to go into Bathsheba. Pastors and believers know what God requires of them – holiness. David was not tricked with Bathsheba; in fact David had shirked his duties as king, for he should have been on the battlefield.

There are a number of requests David makes of Yahweh – wash, purge, purify, create, deliver, restore, make me, blot out, and cleanse me from my iniquity. Iniquity is that sin which we deliberately do, knowingly. David has come clean about what he has done. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we find how revival occurs. “If my people who are called by name, humble themselves, seek my face, turn from their wicked ways and pray – then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.” This is not so much a formula as it is a description of what happens when revival occurs.

Repent and believe and you will be saved. Repent and turn from evil and sin, and you are revived. Both require prayer, humility and repentance. For a believer our sin causes breach in fellowship – sins have been forgiven already, but “new sins” break fellowship with a daily walk with God.

After David repented and was restored – the Joy of his salvation returned. As a result of his Joy – David said I will tell others, I will teach them of your ways. A witness returns to the believer! Out of repentance and renewal revival comes. The Church returns to its task of sharing the Gospel and the Lost are saved!

I wonder what it will take for the Church today to become humbled? I have said many times “that unless the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change, nothing will happen in our lives or the life of the Church. Let us be the sacrifice that David indicates God will accept – verse 17 – a broken and contrite heart you will not despise. May revival began today!

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Calm in Chaos

Psalm 46 begins with “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.”  It goes without much support that our world is absolutely “wacked out” with crime, drugs and politics. The natural disasters and manmade problems and impact on our world have been well documented for years. While many organizations and groups have tried to elevate the significance and create a “sense of urgency” life continues to roll on. What is the answer? It seems that everything is out of control, and common sense has either been ignored or eliminated from human beings being born these days. I could go on and on about the deplorable conditions we find ourselves in today, but I would rather speak of the “stability found in the LORD than to glorify the works of sinful men and Satan. The psalmist knows that the world is volatile and the more things change, the more the stay the same. In the midst of chaos, the believer can find hope and security in the Lord and their faith. Nothing we do takes God by surprise. Just as we have children of our own, and we know they will do some dumb things, even so sometimes we “let them” do the dumb things to teach them life lessons. In Psalm 46, the chaos is a result of earth changes, mountains slipping into the oceans and earthquakes. Typical stuff that we have witnessed during the last few years. I hear many say its the end of the world – but then am reminded that Jesus said these things would happen, but the end it not yet. Psalms 46 repeatedly tells the reader that the Lord God of Jacob is our Stronghold. He is our mighty fortress. What is the believer to do when all the world around him seems to be crashing down? Trust in the Lord and lean not to our own understanding [Proverbs 3:5-7]  The Lord knows the deplorable conditions of this world; He knows that we are but dust in His sight. God knows what we are going through; and is compassionate and merciful – for imagine if God didn’t care or love us how bad it would be.?

So why all the chaos today in our global society? Why the wars, famines, hurricanes, weird weather patterns, economic woes and political angst? I read the book of Revelation and understand that the Seven seals and the seven trumpets are God’s warning to mankind to repent. When we look at each seal and trumpet unfolding in Revelation, we find there is an invitation attached to it. The crisis or chaos is to draw mankind to his knees and understand that God alone is in control. In our nation America we have self-promoted the ideology that we can do everything on our own without God – I would think that this has contributed to the “presence of God leaving” the Churches. Today in our nation – 8-10 thousand Churches will close their door this year. Why did they close – because they were dead – In Revelation 2-3 we find that Jesus warns seven churches and gives them warning that if they don’t heed His admonishment their LAMP WILL GO OUT.

I believe we still live in crisis and chaos because we are not yet ready and willing to humble ourselves under the Strong Arm of God. We still think we can fix us!

Psalm 46 gives us the clear answer – Cease striving, be still and know that I Am God!  Man/nations/churches must come to the end of themselves and realize only by trusting in the Stronghold of Yahweh can we be calm midst the storms of life.

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Where is Your God?

Psalm 42 is known for the first few verse – as the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants [longs] for you. This has such a beautiful imaginative picture attached to it. One can’t help but think of a roe running through the fields or forest and desires refresh water, to then find a stream of flowing water readily available. Such are the good times in the Lord. God can be counted on for sustenance and providence in our lives. It seems that for most believers as long as “everything is going their way” then God is a good, if not great God in their estimation. But when life becomes chaotic or a crisis arrives, we panic and wonder where is God. David has for several Psalms reflected on both the good times and glorious work of Jehovah in his life and praises Yahweh for the wonderful provisions. David also seems to cry out a lot about his enemies that are trying to destroy him and end his life. He asks God to take care of those who hunt him and are wickedly trying to kill him. As I said above the first few verse of Psalm 42 reflect a thirsting believer who is engulfed in the love of God. However, if you keep reading we find there is two similar passages that reflect quite a different perspective of God. Verses 5 and 11, describe a hopelessness and even questions “where is God?” Specifically, David asks “why am I cast down, why am I in despair – without hope, disheartened, distressed and in anguish? Something has disrupted the tranquil time of life. I am not sure what it was; but to do find that we often are distracted by the “events” of life and get stressed out about our fallen world. It is in the crisis times that our faith is made strong. The dependency on what God can do and not ourselves. I just finished teaching the Winter Bible Study – 1 Peter, Living as pilgrims in the world. Peter was trying to encourage the believers who were going through a “fiery” ordeal.  Peter didn’t admonish them to “bear arms” and get rid of the problem. Peter addressed the fact that all believers, those who desire to live godly will be persecuted. Peter goes on to tell his audience that they need to be in submission to every institution of man. What!! heresy you say? Yep that is exactly he told them. About the persecution, “get ready for it, because it is coming!” Suffering in life is not unique, it “rains on the just and the unjust.” The difference is how each of use handle it. Believers have the power and hope of God. The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a “living hope” that will enable us to endure with patience the trials and tribulations of life. Peter tells them “don’t complain about persecution/discipline if you have been doing wrong. It is better to suffer for doing right if the Lord wills it. I know right now many of you are going – that’s insane. It gets better, we as believers should welcome the suffering for the name of Jesus. [Matthew 5:10-12] We are blessed if we suffer. In as much as we suffer with Christ we shall also be partakers of His glory. Paul said, that I may know Him and the fellowship of His suffering Phil 3:10. I did learn not just from 1st Peter but other places that most people have a problem with submission and subjection; basically it is a “control issue.” Whether it is a to a wife, husband or a boss, people don’t want someone telling them what to do. I have also discovered that for most believers, the Christian life is about getting saved, missing Hell and living like you want after you have been baptized. Way wrong – we are to continue to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus [Romans 8:29] Our witness to the world as we “walk through the fiery trials” will be testimony of God’s mercy and grace.

David remembers the great love of God and how the Lord had always been there through good and bad times. David places his Hope in the eternal love of God, rather than the temporary circumstances of life. Answering the question of our critics “Where is your God?” Well, I am glad you asked, He is with me, He said He would never leave me or forsake me! Believers God is for us – if He is for us, then who can be against us? Romans 8 is a wonderful reminder of how secure we are in Christ!

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