Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lemuel

Proverbs 31:1 KJV
The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.

Proverbs 31:4 KJV
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

My devotional thoughts today are more of on the intellectual level than heart. It occurred to me this morning that I had no idea who King Lemuel is. He was not, so far as I could remember, recorded as one of the Kings of Judah. I could not place him in the lineage of either Joseph or Mary, and yet here he is in the Proverbs. It seemed to me to be reasonable to want some sort of understanding concerning who he is.

I was correct that he is not found in the Bible anywhere but in these two references. But as to whom he is, there is little information. The name means "of God" or "devoted to God." Most writers I have access to believe this to be a reference to King Solomon and that Lemuel is either

A representative name or royal title
Similar to the Pharaohs all being called Pharaoh or the same experience in other nations; Abimelech, I believe is another one of those family names that eventually became a title. Caesar was the same, as was Herod.

An endearing name
Used by Solomon's mother to refer to him. Mother's are prone to give their children a special name that has meaning to them. Bathsheba may have referred to Solomon as being of God to remind her of the graciousness of the Lord despite the sin of she and King David. Referring to him as the son of her vows may remind her that he was conceived after the King had taken her to wife.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Our Inheritance

Psalms 47:4 KJV
He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.

And I want to leave that choice up to the Lord.

This is written years after Israel was back in their Promised Land and the property had been divided among the tribes. It must have more meaning than that.

God has a plan for each of our lives. He plans
What we will do with our lives
Where we will live our lives.
What will be the potential of our lives
Which spiritual gifts will be active in our lives and
What will be the result of our lives.

Even more; He plans our inheritance with Christ. We are, of course, joint heir with Christ. All that is His is ours in eternal glory. But there is no doubt that we will hold different stations in heaven. And those stations are determined by God's choice not our own.

And that is exactly how I want to leave it. I want to leave it in the hands of the gracious Almighty.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Justifying Obedience with the Sacred

Mark 7:9 KJV
And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

As I understand this verse and the ones following it is like this; the Jews had determined that if a man had dedicated a "gift" to the temple, if he was using what he had for the betterment of the temple, then he could not be expected to take care of his parents. The one use of the resources (for the temple) outweighed the other use of a man's resources (caring for his parents) and therefore he would be free from the responsibility to care of his parents because he had devoted what he had to the temple. In another scenario, a child may have made a vow not to take care of his parents. Either this vow was done in the carelessness of youth or because of some disagreement with the parents, but the Pharisees had determined that it was more important to keep the vow than to obey the Bible command to honor parents.

I wonder how often we hold our own traditions so strictly that we reject God's Word to keep them?
It could be a young person who is so anxious to be with friends, that he will disobey God's Word to be with them
It might be a congregation that is so set on reaching multitudes that it ignores (or at least justifies) the Word of God in order to do their outreach
I may be a believer who holds a family tradition (say for a yearly gathering or whatever) so strongly that they see no wrong in missing God's worship for the family.
It might be a parent who holds the raising of their children as so sacred that they would deny giving that child exposure to the house of God (holding home worship instead)


I can think of a myriad of other ways we might commit an infraction right here. But the ones that concern me the most are the ones that we (I should say “I”) have become blinded to and justify without realizing I did it.

God's Word is the standard. Obeying God's Word is the only acceptable course of action. Nothing we do to attempt to justify rejecting His commandment really holds up in the courts of glory.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Awake...O Lord

Psalms 44:23 KJV
Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.

Psalms 42-44 seem to tie in together. In each the Psalmist feels "cast down" or "cast off." There is a series of highs and lows, of mountain tops and valleys throughout these Psalms.
He admits that there have been wonderful times when God did "drive the heathen with thy hand" (Ps 44:2).
He believes there will come again a day when through God they would "push down their enemies" (Ps 44:5 ).
He knew they could "boast all the day long" in God (Ps 44:8)


But such was not the case at that moment. Right now it seemed as if God had cast them off and put them to shame. (Ps 44:9) And he was confused (Ps 44:15).

So his cry to God was, "Awake, why sleepest thou, O LORD?..." We know that God does not slumber nor sleep, but that there are times when it feels like that from our perspective. Even when the Psalmist exclaims, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." (Ps 42:1) the obvious implication is that at that moment he was thirsty rather than satisfied in the Lord.

It is not wrong to call on the Lord to "Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercies' sake." (Ps 44:26)

Let’s not ignore those times in our lives and act as if we Christians can never be in the valley. Let’s not pretend that life is always on the high places and give those who need Christ a false impression.
Let’s be honest.

And then let’s call out to the Lord. With fervor and passion let’s plead to the Lord to “arise for our help” and see what He will do.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Enemies

Psalms 41:5 KJV
Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish?

John Clark says, "It is often a good man’s lot to be evil spoken of; to have his motives, and even his most benevolent acts, misconstrued."

There are a couple of ways to understand this passage
It could be the enemies saying "When shall he die, and his name perish?" or
It could be the Psalmist saying of his enemies, "When shall he die and his name perish
?"


This morning I began to contemplate on the saints enemies. We have them without doubt. But we also need to make sure we carefully identify them. They are never flesh and blood, though they may manifest themselves in them.

Our enemy is the devil
Satan may use others in his attacks against me. But it is never them we should blame. The focus of our efforts in warfare ought to be the spirit of Satan leading them.

Our enemy is this world system
The world is anti Christian and moves men and women in masses to rebel against Christ and the Christian. But it is still not the individual who is the enemy. It is the movement of the world he has been swept away in.

Our flesh is the enemy
And I mean by that, the sin nature in us all. I must see that nature crushed in myself as much as in any man. It is not the individual my prayers for deliverance should focus on; it is the sin nature; the flesh that resides in us all.

I may, and I do pray that these enemies die and their name perish.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Those That Seek

Psalms 40:16 KJV
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

Memorial Day. My family will leave in only a few moments on a five hundred mile trek to decorate and remember family members who have gone on.

I have been especially trying to focus my attention on passages that speak of seeking the Lord. This prayer/proclamation calls on God to enable His seekers to be glad in God. We cannot make ourselves be glad in the LORD in our own power. While there are, I think, things we can do to make that joy perhaps more readily available to our souls. Like a good meal, we can prepare ourselves to enjoy it. But we must also recognize that this is a work that God does in our souls. The Psalmist prays for the saints to rejoice and be glad and we ought to learn to pray in the same manner.

And then the Psalmist prays that the saints would "...say continually, the LORD be magnified." Once again I see two ways this might be carried out; first in the power of human will. We might see this verse as a command to obey and therefore will ourselves to say those words, "The LORD be magnified." But then, there may be no heart behind it. Better far would be to have God's enablement to say these words with heart and soul conviction. And that calls us to pray once again. Pray for one another. Pray that God would lift us and strengthen us and cause us to rejoice and be glad so when we say those words they spring forth of the exultation of God in our lives.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rest Wait Fret

Psalms 37:7 KJV
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

What a soothing passage of Scripture to think upon. We can rest in and wait for our God.
He is trustworthy
He is dependable
His Word is sure
His help is absolute

Rest and Wait are opposites of fret. We have no need to fret.
When the wicked seem to do better than the righteous
When the promises seem to take longer than we would like
When the times are difficult and dark
When our cares are larger than we are
When the obstacles are impossible


No need to fret. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. He will not fail us.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Keeper of the Soul

Proverbs 24:12 KJV
If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

There is a serious consideration fixed in the middle of this passage and one I fear we may take little notice of because of the whole of the passage. The Bible says that God, "...keepeth thy soul." One of the reasons we ought to care for the souls of others is because God keeps for our souls.

He keeps in the sense that He
Guards our soul
The word means to secure against injury or attack; to keep in safety. The keeper of my soul keeps my soul's salvation in His own hands.

Upholds our soul
Which means to support and sustain; to keep from falling or slipping. Not only is my soul's salvation safe, it is maintained. God's desire is to build and grow us until the day we get to glory. He provides the support for its health. He gives discipline and training for it's development.

Preserves our soul
Among other things this means, "to defend from evil." God insists that His children be separated from evil things. He sanctifies and separates our souls from the things of this world that would defile.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Wrong Message Spells Disaster

Mark 3:7-8 KJV
But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,
And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.


Jesus had previously done miracles and had said they were to tell no man what he had done. It is confusing because we always teach to talk to all about Christ. These had disobeyed the Lord, told a lot of people and here we are told multitudes followed him because they heard about they great things.

But in John 6 when Jesus would not let them make him king they grew upset and left. They had heard the wrong message. They thought he would do great things for them if they followed him.

Jesus told the demoniac to tell. But he had done different things for him. He had delivered him from his desperation.

When we hear the message of deliverance and come to him for that we will also see him do great things. But if we come for the great things we will ultimately be offended.

And when we preach a message inviting people to come to Jesus for the great things we are setting them up for failure. Our message should be of deliverance and not of strong marriages, good kids, great jobs and etc.

If we bring the multitude with the wrong message, no matter how good that message might be and no matter how innocent our intentions, we are inviting disappointment disillusionment and eventually, disaster for those who come.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Speak to My Soul

Psalms 35:3 KJV
Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

The Psalmist asks God to speak to his soul. What a great need that is. We have people to will speak to us about God. We have books that will tell us who is God. We have heard sermons and watched video recordings of others giving us their ideas of God. What we need though is to hear God speak to us directly.

We need God to speak to our soul and assure us of salvation.
It may be quite damaging if a man, who can never know the spiritual condition of another man's soul, assures him he is saved. What if he is not? But when God speaks to the soul and gives that assurance, the soul is sure.

We need God to speak to our soul and assure us of deliverance.
There are a hundred and one dangers in our world today. None can take away our salvation but
They can rob us of peace
They can steal away our spiritual joy
They can shake our foundation so that we fear to serve the Lord as we ought

Friends might attempt to comfort us
Companions man try to reassure us
Peers may come alongside to pick us up

But what we really need is for God to speak to our soul with the strengthening message that He is a very present help in time of trouble.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When the Humble Are Glad

Psalms 34:2 KJV
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

There is much in the way of humility found within this Psalm. Here we learn of one difference between the humble and the proud; the humble are glad to hear people boast in the Lord.

Not so with the proud and leaders of this world. They want to hear about men. They want to make much of personalities. They want to point out the strengths of one another.

They like to hear about the biggest
They like to hear about the fastest
They like to hear about the best


They love to hear how something has grown. They like to talk about plans and programs.

The humble just want to hear about the LORD. The humble are not so interested in what has worked and what is popular. They are so prone to pick out their favorite or to lift up the names of men. They only want to hear about Jesus. They want to hear what God has done. They want to see Jesus.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Considered My Trouble

Psalms 31:7 KJV
I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;

What an encouragement to know that God has considered my trouble! I am not alone in my times of trial. God is aware. Strong's Concordance lists a variety of applications for the word considered here. Among them are "to gaze" and "to experience." God's concern for my trouble is more than a non emotional awareness. Some may know I am in distress but either they do not care or they are not able to bear the emotional pain of my distress. God gazes upon my trouble. God studies it. God looks into it, marks it.

But God goes even further than that; God experiences it. I am reminded of
Heb 2:18
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (KJV)

And
Heb 4:15
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (KJV)

God became man and experienced our trouble. And because He has experienced it He can empathize with us; not just sympathize with us. He not only feels compassion for us in our trouble, He identifies with us in our trouble.

Regarding the phrase, "thou hast known my soul in adversities.” Albert Barnes writes, "...That is, God had seen and known all the feelings of his heart in the time of adversity; his sorrow and anxiety; his hope and trust; his uncomplaining spirit; his feeling of entire dependence on God, and his belief that He would interpose to save him. God had not turned away from him, but had shown that he regarded with interest all his feelings, his desires, his hopes."

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Voice of the Lord

Psalms 29:3-9 KJV
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.

I glory today in the voice of the Lord. We can make this spiritual and speak of it as referring to Jesus Christ, or to the Bible; the Word of God. But I prefer today to take it as simply as I am able. God's voice in itself is wonderful, powerful, and glorious to listen to.

God is glorious in every aspect of his being. He is a spirit and may not be properly understood as having human appendages. Yet every part of God is all glorious.

How He covers us as a hen, with her wings
How He protects us as if we were in His hands
How He speaks to us, in a still, small voice

How wonderful is our God!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

One Thing

Psalms 27:4 KJV
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

David's request was not about going to heaven here. He says he wants to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life. He must be speaking of physical life because there is no end to eternal life.

Of all the things a man may seek in his lifetime, David said that his desire from the Lord was to dwell in the house of the Lord all his life. He must not mean that he would never leave it, for we know that David spent many hours in battle and in the administration of his kingdom. However there is a way that we can abide in the house of the Lord without actually being there seven days a week.

When we are faithful to the services of the house of the Lord
When we are diligent in serving at the house of the Lord
When our chief concern is for the care of the house of the Lord
When in those times we are not at the house of the Lord we still live a life befitting the inhabitants of it.


It is not possible for many of us to be at the house of the Lord all day every day. But all of us can live with the house of the Lord being the most important think in our lives.

That was David's one desire of the Lord.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

God's Ways

Psalms 25:4 KJV
Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.

As important as it is that God would teach us the ways we should take and the paths we should walk, there is something higher, grander, more sublime; that would be the ways and the paths that God Himself takes.

Barnes Notes says;
"The “ways” of God are His methods of administering the affairs of the world; His dispensations; the rules which He has prescribed for Himself in the execution of His plans; the great laws by which He governs the universe. Deuteronomy 32:4, “all his ways are judgment; a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” The prayer of the psalmist is, that he may be able to understand the methods of the divine government; the principles upon which God bestows happiness and salvation; the rules which He has been pleased to prescribe for human conduct; the arrangements by which He confers favors upon mankind; the scheme by which He saves people.

The paths which thou dost take; to wit, as before, in administering the affairs of the world. The prayer is expressive of a desire to be wholly under the direction of God."

Spurgeon's Treasury of David says
"The second petition, “teach me thy paths,” appears to mean more than the first, and may be illustrated by the case of a little child who should say to his father, “Father, first tell me which is the way, and then teach my little trembling feet to walk in it.” What weak dependent creatures we are! How constantly we cry to the strong for strength!"

O to know the path of God that we may walk with Him!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Who Is this King of Glory?

Psalms 24:3 KJV
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

Psalms 24:8 KJV
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

Psalms 24:10 KJV
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

How important it is that we remember who is the king of Glory and that we keep our eyes fixed on Him. We will go to heaven,
Not because we have "...clean hands and a pure heart"
Not because we have not lifted up our souls onto vanity and
Not because we have never sworn deceitfully

For if we are honest we would have to admit we are guilty on all counts. Only Jesus meets this measure. And Jesus has opened our way into the hill of the Lord in Him. We go to glory hidden in Christ.

Oh, let us keep our eyes upon the Lord! Let us magnify and speak of Him!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

In Thine Own Strength

Psalms 21:13 KJV
Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

Not too many months ago I began a study and preached a series of messages on the things the apostles prayed for. That series led me to look into the benedictions and doxologies of the New Testament and through that study I learned that the doxologies can be considered prayers. A couple of the most impressive to me are;

1 Pet 5:11
To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (KJV)

Rev 11:17
Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. (KJV)

It was an awe inspiring idea to me to pray that God would take unto Himself His own great power; to pray that God would Himself glorify Himself in the earth. That has become a focal point of my personal prayer life these days.

This Psalm fits right in to that focus and I plan to make it a regular part of my prayer time.

That God would be exalted
That God would be exalted in His own strength (and not that of man's)
That we would sing and praise God's power - not what man has done in the name of God.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Psalm 19

Psalms 19:14 KJV
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

My thoughts today really cover the whole of this Psalm. God's Word here begins with
The Declaration of God's Glory
vs 1-6
One cannot help but see the glory of God. Our world is filled with evidences of it. The heavens and the earth cry out the glory of God
In the grandeur of creation
In the balance of creation
In the variety of creation
In the immensity of creation
In the power of creation
In the consistency of creation

Truly, "there is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.”

God's Word continues us
The Revelation of God
vs 7-11
Through the written word, the Bible we get the general picture of God from His creation. We learn the specifics of God from His revelation, the Word of God. His Word is
Perfect
Sure
Right
Pure
Clean and
True
What could we desire more from Almighty God than His Word?

God's Word then proceeds with
The Conviction upon man
vs 11-14
The man, who has been brought to see God in creation, then to find God revealed in His Word, come under conviction. Man, beholding himself in the Word of God, sees his
Errors
Secret faults and
Presumptuous sins
Moreover he realizes he is not able to cleanse himself and so he must appeal to the mercy of God.
It is at this point we become acceptable in the sight of God and he not only has saved us, but gives us strength and new life.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Believing

Matthew 21:21-22 KJV
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.


This is the second time in Matthew that the Lord has used a statement similar to this concerning believing prayer
Matt 17:20
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (KJV)

I know of no time in human history when any man has been able to pray a mountain removed (at least in the sense that these verses refer. I have heard testimony of churches having mounds of land moved off their property when they needed or others of large quantities of earth being moved to their property when they needed; but nothing that would catch the attention of the world as I imagine this refers to.) The truth is that there has been a mountain of doubt mixed in with the faith of the believers since the earliest of days.

Who could deny that Peter had moments of doubt?
Who could question that Paul had times of doubt?


I look through the pages both of Scriptural and extra-biblical Christian history and I am forced to admit that among the greatest of believers, there was always unbelief. We have not seen what we might have seen because we have all been, more or less, in states of unbelief.

No doubt the Lord has allowed much to be done through believing saints. But what might have been done had we prayed believing more than we had?

So there is not one of us who could not say
Mark 9:24
... with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (KJV)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hide Me In Christ

Psalms 15:1-2 KJV
LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

I have often read these verses and attempted to work out the Christian life in them. However this morning it came to me. No one has kept verse two well enough to abide in the tabernacle of God. No one that is except Jesus Christ.

We have all sinned
We have all come short of the glory of God
We have all gone aside
There are none of us that are profitable to God

None that is, except Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ abides in the tabernacle of God
Jesus Christ walks uprightly
Jesus Christ works only righteousness
Jesus Christ speaks the truth in His heart

No one but Jesus Christ.

And I am, through faith hidden in Christ
Col 3:3
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (KJV)

The Old Testament is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. That is as true of the Psalms as any other portion of Scripture.

I am going to stop trying to work my way through the Psalms of David and recognize that I can never measure up to the standard of the Psalmist of Israel. Instead I will run and hide in Christ.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Will Sing Unto the LORD

Psalms 13:5-6 KJV
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

John Gill says, "...The Psalm closes with a sentence which is a refutation of the charge of forgetfulness which David had uttered in the first verse, “He hath dealt bountifully with me.” So shall it be with us if we wait awhile. The complaint which in our haste we utter shall be joyfully retracted, and we shall witness that the Lord hath dealt bountifully with us.

Barnes says, "...The psalm closes, therefore, with expressions of joy, thankfulness, triumph. Though it begins with depression and sadness, it ends with joy.....Light, under the influence of prayer, breaks in gradually upon the soul. The clouds disperse; the darkness disappears. New views of the goodness and mercy of God are imparted; an assurance of his favor is brought to the soul; confidence in his mercy springs up in the heart; and the psalm that began with sorrowful complaining ends with the language of praise and of joy. So, too, it is in our own experience. Afflicted, depressed, and sad, we go to God. Everything seems dark. We have no peace - no clear and cheerful views - no joy. As we wait upon God, new views of his character, his mercy, his love, break upon the mind. The clouds open. Light beams upon us. Our souls take hold of the promises of God, and we, who went to His throne sad and desponding, rise from our devotions filled with praise and joy, submissive to the trials which made us so sad, and rejoicing in the belief that all things will work together for our good."

I have experienced this very thing many times in my spiritual life. The overwhelming clouds of sin in the world seem to overcome me; until, that is, I spend time with God.
Then I am reminded that He has dealt bountifully with me.
Then I am reminded that He has made incredible promises to me.
Then I am reminded that He has given His Son for me.

And I find reason to sing unto the LORD.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The LORD Trieth the Righteous

Psalms 11:5 KJV
The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

What a blessing to know that "the Lord trieth the righteous." Being godly is no easy journey; to be sure.
The world is opposed to us
The flesh resists us
The Devil attacks and accuses us and the Bible says
The LORD tries us

The word “trieth” means "to test, investigate, examine, prove."

Daily, it seems, God tries His children. Those trials
Test the fiber of our faith
Testify to the world concerning our convictions and
Tend to make us more into the image of our Saviour, Jesus Christ


Or else they prove that we were not His at all. Truly, some buckle under the weight of the trials. But that does not mean that God tempted them more than they could bear. It means they were never children of God in the first place. And it is a blessing to the soul of the one who is thus exposed. How tragic it would be if God allowed a false professor, who may even have themselves fooled into thinking they are Christians, to die with their faith unchallenged and end up in eternal hell. No, it is a grace of God that He is not complacent about our faith. It is His grace that leads Him to try the righteous.

On the other hand the Bible says His soul hates the wicked and those who love violence.

Let this world hate me!
Let me flesh condemn me!
Let the Devil accuse me! and
Let the Lord try me!


I would be loved of God and tried rather than hated of His soul any day.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Seeking Thee

Psalms 9:10 KJV
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

I am gratified to know that God will not forsake the one that seeks Him.

That is about the most that any man can do; and in fact Romans says we don't even do that (except I believe, when God puts it in our hearts to do so).
Romans 3:11 KJV
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

I do not often feel like I am close to God
I often wonder if I am really walking with God
There are times when I am not able to effectively serve God


But I do seek God. I pine after Him. I long to know Him, to see Him face to face, to understand His will and to grasp His doctrine.

...thou LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Where to Find Wisdom

Proverbs 8:2-3 KJV
She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

It occurred to me that the word of God is telling us where to find wisdom. Wisdom has positioned herself in six public places for easy access and so we would be sure not to miss her so long as we do not ignore here.

Of course the wisdom of Proverbs is very often seen as a picture of Jesus Christ. So John Gill says;
“She standeth in the top of high places,.... To be both seen and heard, for which reason Christ went up into a mountain and preached

by the way; the roadside, to instruct and direct passengers as they go along, to show them the right way, and caution them against taking wrong ways; so did Christ

in the places of the paths; or, "between the paths" (s); where more ways than one met together, and so difficult to know which was the right path to take; here Christ stands in the ministry of the word to direct, and says, "this is the way, walk ye in it"

She crieth at the gates,.... Of the temple, or of the city, where the courts of judicature were, and persons met on civil accounts; and where people were continually passing and repassing;

at the entry of the city; meeting those that came out of the country to the city upon trade and business;

at the coming in at the doors; of the temple, or city, or private houses; all these expressions denote the publicness of the Gospel ministry, both by Christ himself, who spake openly to the world, always taught in the synagogues and temple, and in secret said nothing”

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Look Up

Psalms 5:3 KJV
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

When I have prayed I can look up.

I can look up and see Jesus Christ.
I can place my faith and trust in Him. I can expect my help to come from the Lord. I can look forward to the day when He returns to take me to heaven. I can look to Him for answers to my needs. I can rest in Him to protect me from my enemies. I can look up.

I can look up in victory and joy.
With my eyes upon Jesus Christ all the things of this world seem minor and trivial. I can rejoice in my relationship with God. I can rejoice in the assurance of His return for me. I can rejoice in confidence that the Word of God is true. I can rejoice in the purpose God has given for my life.

A morning time of prayer leads to a daily attitude of faith and rejoicing.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Meditate

Psalms 1:2 KJV
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

My focus today has been on the word meditate.

Someone has said that the word meditate is similar to the word ruminate. A sheep or a cow chews his cud. His food is first taken into the part of the stomach called the rumen. The animal then later brings the food back up from the rumen to chew further before finally swallowing to be ingested. I have recently gotten a young calf. One of the things I am learned about the calf is that before it can be taken off milk or milk replacer it must develop its rumen. I have been providing the calf with feed, but not until recently did he eat much of it. While he would taste some of it, he was not yet ready to live on it. The books have said I should continue feeding the calf milk replacer until he eats at least two pounds of feed per day. In other words, he must learn to ruminate BEFORE he can be taken off the milk.

A lot of Christians never learn to ruminate upon the Word of God. They never take in enough of the Bible and place it in a place where they can bring it back up for more meditation later on in the day. The calf will eat his food and then later, in a moment of relaxation, chew his cud. We on the other hand, live such busy lives that we either seldom read our Bibles or if we do read it, do not provide for a quiet time later to bring back up what we read and work on it in our minds for a while.

The result is that we are limited to only ingesting the "milk of the Word." We might hear some more meaty type message, but we only get a nibble of it for ourselves because we have never developed the capacity to meditate and think deeper thoughts in our faith.

There is a process whereby some calves are never taken off of the milk before the slaughter. It's called veal. The calf is fed only milk or milk replacer until it has grown to a sufficient size for butchering. The meat from the animal is very tender, but almost tasteless.

I think we have now developed whole church systems designed to minister to the milky Christians. The saints in these churches never develop in maturity; they just stay baby Christians.

God help me to meditate upon and lead others to meditate upon the Word of God.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Delight

Psalms 1:2 KJV
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

My focus today is on the word delight. Strong's Concordance says it means "pleasure, value, desire." How we have gotten ourselves turned around in our day. We find our pleasure, our values and our desires in all of the wrong things.

God's word should be our pleasure
I want to enjoy God's Word.
I want to enjoy reading God's Word
I want to enjoy hearing God's Word preached
I want to enjoy preaching God's Word
I want to enjoy studying the delicacies of God's Word

The Word of God is pleasing when a person takes the time to get to know it well, to dive in a little and get past just a ritualistic reading. I want to find my pleasure in God's Word

God's Word should be what we value
We place value on some of the most temporary things; cars, clothing, electronics, and etc.
We can become greatly agitated if any of these is either missing or broken in our lives.
Yet the Bible ought to be what we value the most. And not just owning one either.
We ought to value the message of God's Word
We ought to value the impact of God's Word in our lives
We ought to value the influence God's Word can have on our families


God's Word should be our desire
We must come to the place in our spiritual walk where having time in God's Word is a priority for us. It must become something we can not and will not do without daily. To spend time in the Word of God is more necessary than daily food. We must then crave it and make the provision for it as we would our daily food.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

More and More

Proverbs 4:18 KJV
But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

This has become one of my favorite verses in the book of Proverbs. Each time I read it I want to spend my time in it. Most of the time I force myself to some other thought so I do not become blind to other truths in Proverbs four. Today, however, I elected to stop here.

My emphasis this morning is on the phrase "more and more."
The Christian life ought to be a life of growth "more and more."
"More and more" we ought to know of Him
"More and more" we ought to understand the Word of God
"More and more" we ought to have the ability to minister to others
"More and more" spiritual truths should make sense to us
"More and more" we ought to be able to recognize and approve that which is excellent
"More and more" we should be capable of serving in the Lord's local church
"More and more" we ought to find we have victory over sin
"More and more" we ought to see the holiness of God and appreciate that He would forgive our sin
'More and more" humility ought to be the mark of our life


Paul said he had not apprehended and I am confident that will be more than true of me. But I ought to recognize that "more and more" I am growing in the Lord.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

So Blessed

Matthew 13:16 KJV
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

We who are Christians are such a blessed people!
That God would forgive us of our sins is a blessing beyond expressions
That God would give us a home in His heaven is such a blessing
That God would lead us away from a life of sin is a blessing


But perhaps the most overlooked of our blessings is that God would give to us His Word and open our eyes and ears to hear and see it. This world is filled with such spiritual blindness.

There are those who are trapped in the blindness of some cultish religion
There are those who are blinded by their religious traditions
There are those who are blinded culturally to the truths of God's Word and
There are those who are blinded by pride, selfishness and sin


It is obvious that our eyes are not completely opened.
Truly we see through a glass darkly. But we do see.
Often the truths of the Word of God appear to us in "fuzzy print;" we can almost grasp the greatness of the Word, but it is just out of focus. But we grasp something of the wonder of God's Word.

The disciples were privileged to behold wondrous things through the teaching of Jesus Christ, yet they still missed some of it. We can expect nothing more in our own lives. But still we see and hear. Still we open the Word of God and the Lord speaks to us. Still we hear the preaching of God's Word and He directs us.

How blessed we are!

Friday, May 02, 2008

All Healed?

Matthew 12:15 KJV
But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;

The Bible says that Jesus "...healed them all."

But there are some things worthy of consideration.

This multitude that was all healed had followed Jesus.
These were not disciples in word alone. These were people who went where Jesus went.

This multitude that was all healed had separated from the Pharisees.
Jesus had withdrawn Himself from the city and the synagogue of those who had held a council against Him. By following Jesus this multitude had also withdrawn themselves from those Pharisees.

This multitude could not have all had diseases to be healed.
The word is one from which our word therapy comes. It can mean to wait upon, adore or relieve. The healing referred to is not physical healing as much as it is spiritual. Even then, all of them were waited upon. All of them were tended to, but not all of them were saved as is obvious from the fact that many of them left Jesus after His hard sayings of John six.

The Word of God must be carefully considered and not, as the faith healers would tend to do with a passage like this, make assumptions that cannot be sustained through diligent study.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

In Their Cities

Matthew 11:1 KJV
And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.

My attention is on the last phrase, "in their cities." Jesus had just commissioned the twelve to preach the gospel. When He had finished, he set out to preach "in their cities."

The Lord blessed the cities of the disciples with His presence and with His message. They gave themselves to preach the Word of God and He gave Himself to bless those they knew and loved.

I am reminded of 1 Cor 7:14
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. (KJV)

We do not sacrifice our lives for the cause of Christ without reward. Those we may see less than we would like because we have dedicated ourselves to serving the Lord are blessed with a nearer work of Jesus in their lives. this is not to say they will without doubt be saved. Later in the chapter Jesus said in Matthew 11:21 KJV
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

I cannot say for certain that Choraizin and Bethsaida were "their cities." But it would seem to follow. Sometimes, as was the case of Gadarenes, the blessings and presence of the Lord are not appreciated as they ought to be and they desire Him to depart from their coasts. Still, the opportunity to hear from and receive Christ is a blessing most welcome to those of us who know the value of Christ.