Friday, September 30, 2011

Name of God

 1Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.
 2Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
 3For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah. 
(Psalm 54:1-3, King James Version)

Name of God
Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.
David, the king, needed help! When you were the king, where did you go for help? David recognized that help in the name of God, the God of strength, was the only true help he needed.

When we are in dire straits, where do we go for help? The help we do or do not receive is directly related to the source of our help. We must consider both that person's ability and willingness to help. Was God's arm too short for David; in other words, was David accustomed to having his prayers answered by God?

Yes! Throughout his entire life, David had been calling upon the name of God. At times that answer seemed long in coming, but in the end, God never failed him through all the days of his life. That did not mean that David did not have times of great difficulty. The help he received from God did not necessarily deliver him from the evil, but, instead, sustained him as he went through the difficult times.

As Christians today, do we expect anything different? Can we pray and equally expect God to answer those prayers? Yes! Like David, those answered prayers do not always come in the manner we would choose, but God never forsakes his people. Also, like David, we may be required to go through times of great difficulty. In answer to our prayers, God may not remove our troubles from us, but He will always walk with us each step of the way.

David acknowledged that strangers, who had not set God before them, sought after his very soul. Do the enemies of God seek after the souls of Christians in our day? Oh, yes, they do! But, just as in the time of David, the enemies of God may do much to persecute us, but they cannot touch our souls. Our souls rest permanently in the hands of God!

As we go through the duties of this day, let us remember to keep up a steady conversation with God. Pray for strength and wisdom to live this day in a manner that is pleasing to Him.

Go in the name of God and the strength of God, and be assured that your prayers will be answered!

God Bless You,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Salvation from Zion

 6Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. 
(Psalm 53:6, King James Version)

Salvation from Zion

Psalm 53 ends with a longing for the salvation of Israel, a salvation from Zion! Being written by David, this Psalm was actually written centuries before Israel actually went into captivity, but already the knowledge that God will bring the people back from captivity is being presented.

What a reminder to us that God is not a God of time. We see all of history as a succession of years, but God sees His entire plan, from creation to the end of time as we know it, as one finished tapestry. It is good for us to look beyond the immediacy of our daily lives and view a larger perspective of life as we know it to be.

We must not forget that God is God; He is our help from ages past and our hope for years to come. Nothing that has happened to us, is happening to us, and will happen to us, is removed from God's sight. Everything fits together just as God has planned it to be.

We are not always comfortable viewing life in this way; it is hard to admit that we really have so little to do with the details of our daily lives. As a matter of fact, we will never truly understand these things until we are with the Lord. How is it that we have a free will--we make our choices based upon the information we have--and yet, God in is sovereignty is never overruled by our own wills? In our arrogance, we think we must understand everything, but in truth, we will always be limited by our humanity.

Centuries have come and gone since David penned Psalm 53, yet the truths taught in this Psalm are timeless. Just as in the time of David, men foolishly declared, "There is no God!" so do we hear the same sentiments echoed today. The eyes of the world are darkened from their own sin. Yet, salvation from Zion still remains as our only hope and light. In Christ a way to God has been paved, that we may live and fellowship with Him.

What an amazing God we serve! How rich a love He manifests to His children!

God Bless You,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Despised by God!

 4Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.
 5There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them. 
(Psalm 53:4-5, King James Version)

Despised by God!

I cannot think of more chilling words than, "Despised by God!" Sadly, those who are despised by God are those who are least aware of their state. Indeed, with the Psalmist, we must ask the question, "Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge?"

It is no secret that nonbelievers have no qualms about carelessly tossing words of criticism against the people of God. Even worse, Christians continue to be widely persecuted, even unto death, in many parts of our world today. The greatest sin, however, that these unbelievers commit is their sin against God: "They have not called upon God."

Yet God has written His Law upon the hearts of every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. God has given to each person a conscience, that they may understand what the animal kingdom cannot, the difference between right and wrong. They may choose to ignore their conscience, and their conscience can become so seared that it is no longer effective, but they stand before God without a viable excuse for their sin.

What is the result? They are despised by God, causing in them a great fear, where no fear needs to be! The true Christian puts the unbelievers to shame, for this life is but a fleeting breath in the realm of eternity. Sadly, the few years spent here will have a devastating affect for all eternity upon those who choose to ignore God, the Creator and Ruler of all the earth.

It is so important that Christians keep these things in mind as they traverse through this world that is truly foreign to them. The years of our trouble on this earth are really few in number compared to the eternity that stretches out before us.

It is also important that Christians remember their true calling. We have not been placed here to enjoy life to its fullest and heap great wealth and pleasures upon ourselves. We are here as servants of God to do the work that He has called us to do? No matter what our specific vocation may be, our heavenly calling must take priority, for God is God, and we are not!

Pray for the unbelievers around you, and ask for opportunities to share Christ with them. By God's grace may we not only look forward to eternity with our Lord and Savior, but may we also bring many others with us through our faithful walk with the Lord.

"Despised by God!" May that not be said of us!

God Bless You,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

No, Not One!

 2God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
 3Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 
(Psalm 53:2-3, King James Version)

No, Not One!

It is no wonder the world is in such a state, when one considers the words of Psalm 53:3, There is none that doeth good, no, not one. We are helpless before God; nothing we could ever do or say could appease a holy God who demands perfect righteousness.

In reality, man does not really appear all that bad, does he? Look at the great humanitarian deeds that many do for one another. How can that be bad in the eyes of God? We are guilty of comparing humans with humans; we must, however, compare fallen man (which includes all men from the beginning of creation to now, except for the Lord Jesus Christ), to a righteous and holy God who cannot even look upon sin.

We are guilty of thinking of greater and lesser sins, but God sees all sin as corruption! Is there, then, no hope for all of mankind. Even in the Old Testament, God already promised a coming Redeemer who could take on Himself the sins of man. Look at these verses from Isaiah 53:4-5.
 4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
No, there is none that doeth good, no, not one, but in Christ there is hope. Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, came to this earth, was wounded for our transgressions and was bruised for our sins, so that with His stripes we are healed.

Therein lies our hope. Before God we are altogether filthy, but in Christ we are a new creation, showing forth the beauty of Christ. While on this earth, we will still wrestle with our sin nature, but when we are released from the bonds of this earth, we will bear the perfection of Christ for all eternity. How amazing is that! What God is there who gave so much for a people, expecting nothing in return except their undying love and devotion?

How, then, can we neglect so great a salvation? Go to Christ today, and cast yourself upon His mercy, and He will save you now!

God Bless You,

Monday, September 26, 2011

No God!

 1The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. 
(Psalm 53:1, King James Version)

No God!

Psalm 53 could come right out of the pages of todays' newspapers. Has there ever been a time when man was more prone to disbelief that there even is a God? Man does not want God, because he does not want to answer to anyone but himself; He does not want a God to rule over him!

Nevertheless, what a person does or does not want will not change the reality of what is true. Sadly, in their foolishness, lack of belief in God leaves people without support when everything around them begins to cave in. And, cave in, it will!

Because of the fallen world in which we live, no person ever has the privilege of living their entire life without sadness, grief, despair, illness, and untold miseries that come their way at the most inopportune times. How does the world cope at such times? There are plenty of ways, especially in our "advanced" societies to escape from the troubles of life, but how sad when escaping is the only answer people have to their difficulties.

Such is the life of the fool!

However, it does not need to be that way. In His Word God reveals Himself to us, including His purpose in creating this world. In spite of Satan's attempt to abolish mankind from the face of the earth, God did not allow His creation to suffer defeat, but provided a way to overcome the horrors of eternal death.

It is true, that God's children still suffer the agonies of this world, but rather than seeking to escape from the horrors of life, they find peace and consolation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Death is not eternal separation, but rather, the death of believers is an advent into God's greater Kingdom. Christian loved ones who have gone before will be waiting with outstretched arms to receive us and introduce us to God's Kingdom of Light.

But, even before that, when ushered into Heaven, we will come face to face with our Lord Jesus Christ. The love that compelled Him to come to this earth, suffer the pain and rejection of His own people, and then suffer a horrible death at their hands, just to win a people for Himself, is more than we can ever hope to comprehend. Imagine the joy of feeling His hand in ours as we enter the gates of Heaven! May the Lord hasten the day.

Yes, indeed, the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God! I pray that you are not numbered among the fools of this world!

God Bless You,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thy Name is Good

 8But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
 9I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints. 
(Psalm 52:8-9, King James Version)

Thy Name is Good

Psalm 52 ends on a glorious note when the Psalmist proclaims, Thy name is good! Gone is any sense of doubt.

What are the benefits of trusting in the mercy of God? The Psalmist compares himself to a sturdy green olive tree. He is not just a branch that is easily swayed in the wind, but he is a strong, mature tree that can face the storms of life, but yet remain strong. It is good for us to reflect upon the Psalmist's words and compare them to our faith.

In the end, faith is all of God and none of ourselves. We are weak, like the branches of a tree, but God is our strength and fortress. In Him, alone, we can walk through the storms of life unscathed. As we ponder these things, how can we help but agree with verse 9.
I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.
As we think of the contrasting natures of the wicked and the righteous as found in Psalm 52, who do you resemble most? Are you more like the wicked who slays people with his tongue and trusts in his riches, or are you like the righteous who puts all of his trust in the Lord?

Let us take some time today and meditate upon the attributes of our loving and holy God. Who is like unto God, perfect in holiness, and filled with an incomprehensible love for His people? This is the God we love and serve. We may be easily deceived by the riches of this world, but God is not. Let us put our trust in Him, and ask Him to help us to see beyond the fantasies of this world, so that we would live our lives in a manner pleasing to Him.

Truly, Oh God, Thy name is good!

God Bless You,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Trusted in Riches

 5God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
 6The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:
 7Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. 
(Psalm 52:5-7, King James Version)

Trusted in Riches

Psalm 52 continues with its discussion of the man who, with a tongue like a razor, loved evil more than good. Why did this man not fear the Lord? He did not fear the Lord because he trusted in riches. Though we live in a time of great discoveries and advancements, some things never change. In our day, we still exalt the rich.

Psalm 52 is a sobering reminder that God sees all things. This rich man thought he was secure living right in the middle of the righteous, but God rooted him out of the land of the living. Though he may be befriended by many, none could protect him from the hand of God.

As Christians today, could we be guilty of the same thing? Where do we put our trust? Are we like this man who trusted in riches, or are we like the righteous of Psalm 52 who put their trust in God?

Do you sometimes wonder if you truly are a Christian? This Psalm gives us a subtle test of our true faith. How do you view those who are rich? How do you view your own riches?

According to this Psalm, the true righteous understand that though riches may make life easier, their strength lies in God and not in the things they may possess. We must be careful that we do not just give lip service to this thought, but that we truly ponder our own hearts. It is not easy in this day of consumerism to turn our backs on the things the world most desires and put our trust in God, whom we cannot see.

As we think on these things, it would be good to meditate upon these verses from Psalm 33.

 11The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
 12Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
 13The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. (Psalm 33:11-13, King James Version)

God Bless You,

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Sharp Razor

 1Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually.
 2The tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
 3Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
 4Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. 
(Psalm 52:1-4, King James Version)

A Sharp Razor

The Psalmist, in Psalm 52, compares the tongue to a sharp razor. Can anything be more true that this in the 21st Century. What does man love more than anything? Man loves to cut others to shreds with his tongue. More than one life has been ruined by the deceitfulness of someones sharp tongue.

What about in Christian circles? Surely this is not the case, is it? Sadly, many a Christian has been devoured by the sharp razor of another Christian's tongue! Why is that? What causes us to be so thoughtless of one another?

In the end, it always comes down to the root of pride, does it not? Is not this the same sin which caused the downfall of Adam and Eve? As a matter of fact, is this not the sin that caused the downfall of Lucifer? In our foolish pride we condemn the actions of others so that we might look better in the eyes of those to whom we are speaking. Yet, in doing so, we are showing that we, too, love evil more than good.

The book of James addresses this very topic:
 4Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
 5Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (James 3:4-5, King James Version)
As Christians, let us pray for the grace of God to keep us from using our tongues as a sharp razor. May we, instead, use our tongues to praise Him for the great things He has done in our lives. This reminds me of a song we used to sing when I was young.
Oh be careful little tongue what you say.
Oh be careful little tongue what you say,
For the Father up above is looking down in love.
Oh be careful little tongue what you say.
May the Father up above find us loving and praising Him with our tongues!

God Bless You,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Broken Spirit

 14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
 15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
 16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
 18Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
 19Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
(Psalm 51:14-19, King James Version)

A Broken Spirit
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
As I read this verse, I thought of a passage from Ecclesiastes 7:
It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
Sadness and grief are not necessarily bad things. As a matter of fact, in the large scheme of life, good character is built from times of great affliction.

What does God desire the most from us? Does God desire most our sacrifices--our good works? No, and that is the point the Psalmist is making. God does not need our great talents, our wealth, or our good works! God desires most a broken spirit: i.e. our broken and contrite hearts.

The children of Israel were filled with pride, but where did that pride lead them? They did not want God to rule them, they wanted a king. However, just as God predicted, their kings became filled with pride and arrogance and left off serving God. Did God need them? Were His plans ruined forever when His chosen people rejected Him?

No, of course not! In just the same way, there is no room in the Christian's heart for pride or arrogance. Are we any better than the unsaved around us? Do we have a special corner on God because we believe? No!

When we look at the unsaved around us, rather than being filled with pride, we should be overcome with humility. Salvation is all of Christ, and none of us! We can do nothing better than spend our lives praising and worshiping God. With the Psalmist, let us cry out to God, O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

What does God desire most from us? A broken spirit!

God Bless You,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Restore the Joy

 10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
 11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
 12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
 13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 
(Psalm 51:10-13, King James Version)

Restore the Joy

We must often ask ourselves the question, "In a country such as the United States, where there are so many professing Christians, why do we see such widespread corruption?" Going a step farther, why, among these professing Christians, do we see so much depression and discouragement? Why are Christians so unhappy?

It appears that this is not so very unusual; even the Psalmist cried out to the Lord, Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Backing up just one verse, the Psalmist pleads, Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Are these two thoughts related?

We are all so busy with our lives that we often neglect the more important task of maintaining a right spirit with the Lord. How do we do that? Just look at our daily schedules. How would we add one more thing? Does the Bible give us any examples?

Of the many examples given in the Word, the one that always seems to come to my mind first is that of Daniel. Was Daniel an important person? Did he have a busy life? Considering the fact that for several rulers he was one of the chief counselors, do you think he had a busy schedule? Did his busyness and importance lead to a corrupt lifestyle? No! As a matter of fact his enemies could not find any fault in him.

However, they knew that Daniel loved the Lord God above all, and that was where they hoped to bring him down. No matter how busy he was, Daniel took time out three times a day to spend time in prayer and meditation with God. How much time each day do we spend in prayer and meditation? How much time in a week do we spend in prayer and meditation? Do you think there is a correlation?

Do you desire to have an effective testimony before the unsaved around you? Do you desire to lead others to Christ? As Christians, these desires should be at the top of all of our lists. It was during this time of meditation that the Psalmist plead with God knowing that when God renewed a right spirit within him, and restored the joy of his salvation, he would be in a position to teach transgressors Gods ways and sinners would be converted to Christ.

Go to Christ and pray these verses to Him. May Christians today rise up and be the light and salt to this world that they are meant to be!

God Bless You,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Whiter than Snow

 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
 8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
 9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 
(Psalm 51:7-9, King James Version)

Whiter than Snow

In a world filled with untold filth, is it really possible to be clean? Millions of dollars are spent each year on cleaning products; just trying to keep a small home clean is an almost impossible job. Even more important, however, is the question of spiritual cleanness.

One can feel pretty confident about oneself when looking around at others. In this "I'm OK; you're OK" world, the bar is set pretty low. The problem arises, however, when we look at God; God requires perfection! No man can stand before a righteous and holy God and feel clean. It was right, therefore, for the Psalmist to go to God and say, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

Does sin carry a price tag? Our world is so corrupted by sin that we cannot imagine what this world would be like if sin had never entered it. Neither can we imagine what our bodies would be like, both physically and spiritually, if they were not corrupted by sin. In his heart of hearts, the Psalmist understood that there is no spiritual cleanness possible apart from God.

We will never be able to experience true physical cleanness for our bodies on this side of heaven, but by the grace of God, we can experience spiritual cleanness. Just as hyssop was used in ceremonial cleansing rites, the blood of Christ is the fulfillment of that hyssop. In other words, what the hyssop could not actually do, Christ's blood does! Complete spiritual cleansing comes from Christ, and Christ alone!

Does that mean that we can really experience perfection, or sinlessness in this life? No! Unfortunately, sin will plague our hearts and lives until we reach our last breath on this earth. However, the blood of Christ covers our sin, so that God's sees Christ's perfection when He looks upon us.

How can this be? It is certainly beyond our comprehension, is it not? God loves us in a way that we cannot possibly understand; He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to purchase a salvation for us that is full and free!

We must go to Christ today, for He alone can save us from the sin that would condemn us for all eternity.

Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

God Bless You,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shaped in Sin

 5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
 6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 
(Psalm 51:5-6, King James Version)

Shaped in Sin

Some of the greatest truths of God are nestled in the Psalms. Do you doubt that you actually sin? Do you see your life as no worse than your neighbors, therefore free from guilt. Psalm 51:5 states, Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

We are without hope! We were conceived and shaped in sin! Even before we drew our first breath, God looked upon us and saw our sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, they brought death to all mankind. Satan truly thought he gained a great victory that day. However, though we may be plagued with sin, and wrestle with it every day we live in this world, the final victory belongs to Christ.

Though Christ had not yet come and offered up His life in payment for his sins, David already understood that there was forgiveness in God. Before that first sin even occurred, God had already planned a solution.

Our difficulty comes when we compare ourselves to others, when we should, instead, be comparing ourselves to God. Compared to others, we will usually find ourselves no worse than our neighbor, and maybe even better! However, no man can truly stand before God and believe to be His equal.

In God, there is no darkness at all, neither shadow of turning. He is the Light of all lights, existing in perfect holiness. Even the angels of heaven, though they have never sinned, are not to be compared to God! How, then, can we hope to find any help apart from Him?

I think, perhaps, David had this in mind in Psalm 51:6.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
In his heart of hearts, David understood that only God could make him to know wisdom. What an amazing God we have. He has revealed Himself to us in His Word, so that we do not have to live this life in ignorance. As a matter of fact, even more has been revealed to us than had been revealed to King David. In the New Testament, we are given the rest of the story.

Christ has come, bringing to us salvation, full and free! Yes, we are shaped in sin, but through Christ we have been made alive again before God. That is the good news of the Gospel--and it is free!

God Bless You,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Against Thee, Thee Only

 1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
 2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
 3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
 4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 
(Psalm 51:1-4, King James Version)

Against Thee, Thee Only

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. (from A Tale of Two Cities)

For David, King of Israel, times could not be better; his kingdom was well established, and wars were nothing more than small skirmishes against neighboring nations.

Why is it, that at times when everything is going well, we are the most vulnerable to sin?

Such was certainly the case for King David. Looking out his balcony one day, he observed a most beautiful woman; after inquiry, however, he learned that this was none other than Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of his most mighty men in battle.

That should have been the end of the matter, but we know that is was not. He was the king, after all, and he could have whatever he wanted; that included Bathsheba. Of course, we know what happened; Bathsheba became pregnant with David's child. Seeking to cover up his sin and guilt he arranged to have Uriah come home from the battle so he could be with his wife. Uriah did no such thing, but slept outside his door. So David committed an even worse sin: he arranged to have Uriah killed in battle, and then took Bathsheba as his wife.

It would seem to be the perfect cover-up, however nothing is hidden from the Lord. It did not take long for Nathan the prophet, being sent from God, to confront David. You can just see his finger pointing at David as ye proclaimed, Thou art the man. Indeed, it was the worst of times; that one sin of David brought untold grief upon him for the rest of his life.

There is good news, however. In spite of his sin, David was a man after God's own heart. In agony over his sin, David penned the words of Psalm 51. You see, Christians do sin, sometimes even grievously. The true heart of the person is shown by what they do when confronted with their sin. David could have made excuses for himself, but he knew that, in truth, his true sin was against God.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
That really is the truth today as well. When we sin against family, friends, or neighbors, or even ourselves, the greater sin is our sin against God. As Christians, we desire to live obediently to God's Law, but not so that we can be honored by men. It is God we serve, and it is Him we must please. We can hide much of our sin from others, can we not? However, we cannot hide anything from God. There is no perfect crime!

Though this was a devastating time for King David, God chose to allow David to commit such a grievous sin, and had it recorded in Scripture, that He might show to us the power of His forgiveness. God desires that our first love be to Him, and shows us that, when we come with a truly repentant heart, He always forgives. We may still have to suffer the results of that sin, as did David, but we can be assured of complete forgiveness by God.

Like David, let us go to God with our sin and confess, Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned. He alone has the power to forgive!

God Bless You,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Salvation of God

 16But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
 17Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.
 18When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.
 19Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
 20Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.
 21These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
 22Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
 23Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
(Psalm 50:16-23, King James Version)

Salvation of God

 16 But to the wicked God says:
         “What right have you to declare My statutes,
         Or take My covenant in your mouth,
 17 Seeing you hate instruction
         And cast My words behind you?
            (Psalm 50:16-17, New King James Version)

Can I be a Christian and act anyway I want to act? If one only has to believe to become a Christian, then Christ died for my sins even if I choose to not obey Him, right? In other words, what does it really mean to possess the salvation of God?

The Jews were under the misconception that they were children of God just because they were part of the Jewish race. They may have been disobedient Jews, but they were still Jews. In Christian circles today, this question is still hotly debated. If salvation is totally of God and not of ourselves, then does it matter how we act, or how obedient we may or may not be to the Bible?

The Psalmist fully addresses this idea in Psalm 50. He is speaking to the religious Jews when He asks, "What right have you to declare My statutes . . . . seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you?"

It is true that salvation is entirely of God, and not of ourselves; i.e., our works cannot save us. However, it is also true that genuine salvation of God is evidenced by a change in our hearts which leads to a change in our actions. Though we will always wrestle with sin, this side of heaven, as Christians, our sin is a grief to us. In our heart of hearts we desire to love and obey God so much that breaking His Law causes untold misery in our hearts. Consequently, this grief leads the normal Christian to become more and more like Christ in their thoughts, words, and deeds.

This is not true of the unbeliever. When is that last time you have heard people of the world grieving over their sins? When is the last time you have seen people of the world even believe they are sinners? Most of the time, if sin is even addressed, people of the world are proud of their sin.

Look at the main characters in books and movies today. Even in animated Disney movies, the main character, whether male or female, is usually vain, selfish, and totally lacks any kind of submission to authority. Families are portrayed as largely dysfunctional, with the kids being the only ones who seem to have any semblance of wisdom or intelligence.

Is that the way the Bible portrays the ideal family? No! However, we have lost all sense of God's order in our society today. It is time that Christians reclaim Biblical standards in their lives and in the lives of their families.

It is a sobering reality that not all who claim to be Israel (Christians) are really the Israel of God (true believers.)  The true believer understands that there is nothing they can do, in and of themselves, to become right with God. Their sin will always separate them from a holy, righteous God.

The true salvation of God is granted to those who humbly fall before Christ, confessing their own unworthiness, and claiming Christ as the only One Who can pay the debt of their sins. As they cry out to Christ to save them, He becomes the true Lord of their life. From that moment on, they set their hearts to love and serve Him forever!

Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

God Bless You,

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Worthy Offering

 7Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God.
 8I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me.
 9I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds.
 10For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
 11I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
 12If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
 13Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
 14Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
 15And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. 
(Psalm 50:7-15, King James Version)

A Worthy Offering

What did God need? Was God hungry that he required the Old Testament saints to make sacrifices to Him? That is exactly the question the Psalmist addresses in Psalm 50. He quickly states that God did not need the sacrifices; after all, all of the beasts of the forest were His for the entire world was His.

The Old Testament sacrifices were intended to show how abhorrent our sins are to God, and to point the way to Christ's perfect sacrifice that would put away forever, the need to offer up the blood of goats and bulls.

What then, does God require of us? What does God consider to be a worthy offering to Him? God requires that our hearts be given wholly to Him; He asks us to offer our thanksgiving, desiring that we return to Him, our First Love! Indeed, there is nothing we can do to deserve such a great salvation; Christ has already offered Himself up for us.

Do we in actuality spurn Christ's sacrifice? Do we serve God with our lips, and yet not with our hearts? This is exactly the complaint that God had against Israel, which eventually led to their downfall as first Judah, and then Israel, were taken into captivity.

These words spoken by Ezekiel are reminders to us that we may also be guilty of the same thing.
So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. 
Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. (Ezekiel 33:31-32, NKJV)
Is God just a lovely song to us? Is Christ just a pleasant melody, or is He our complete Source of life and strength? What is a worthy offering? The only worthy offering God will accept is all of our heart!
Not just a part, or half of my heart,
I will give all to Thee.

God Bless You,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Mighty God

 1The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
 2Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
 3Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
 4He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
 5Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
 6And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah. 
(Psalm 50:1-6, King James Version)

The Mighty God
The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.

Psalm 50 opens with an awesome picture of the mighty God, calling to the earth from the heavens. There is no doubt that when God calls from heaven, all the earth is silenced before Him. Why? For God is judge himself.

Too often we are so caught up in the love of God that we fail to consider all aspects of who God is. Yes, indeed, God is a God of love, but because of that love, He is also a God of justice and judgment. As dwellers on the earth, we are so enamored with ourselves that we superimpose our greatness and power even above the greatness and power of God. Yet, before God we are nothing!

Can we truly stand before this God who shall come, and shall not keep silence? Can we stand before a God who comes with a devouring fire before Him? Let all the earth note, that this is the mighty God.

Take note, too, that this God knows His people; He knows those who have made a covenant before Him--those who are covered by the blood of His own dear Son. To the child of God, Psalm 50 brings hope and inspiration as we view this awesome God we serve.

However, to those who do not serve this God, Psalm 50 brings terror. Those who do not serve God are those who will fall before the tempest surrounding this holy God, and will be devoured by His consuming fire.

One does not have to look far to see the power of God displayed throughout our entire world. This year the entire globe has been inundated with hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, and more. With one word from His mouth, God can easily bring man to His knees. The frightening truth, however, is that few men actually see God's power in the natural disasters that occur. Instead they view the effects of nature as simply mere chance.

Sadly, even God's people are slow to equate natural disasters with the hand and power of God. We love to think of God's love, but are reticent to consider His judgment. Let us remember that nothing in this world occurs apart from the mighty hand of God, and everything that occurs is part of God's perfect plan, set in motion before time began.

Yes, we serve a mighty God; all nature bows before Him and declares His righteousness.

God Bless You,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Man and Beast

 16Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
 17For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
 18Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
 19He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
 20Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish. 

Man and Beast

As a Christian, I am sure you have already been inundated with the thought that there really is no difference between man and animals. They are all creatures who are not responsible to any but themselves. Is that what the Bible teaches? 

It is interesting to note that the last verse of Psalm 49 seems to reference this whole idea. What is the Psalmist really saying in verse 20? 

These last five verses of Psalm 49 are actually a summary of the entire Psalm. Again the Psalmist speaks of the rich man. It is no secret that in our day the rich have much more power than the poor; that is not just a 21st century occurrence. Even in the days this Psalm was written, there was a reason the Psalmist said, "Be not thou afraid when one is made rich." Even in over 2000 years, some things do not change!

Yet, the Psalmist again helps us to see the bigger picture; no matter what a person's influence may be in this life, everything stops at death. All of those riches have no power in the grave; even if that person was a great philanthropist, money has no power in the eyes of God.

In the end, that is really all that matters. As you set goals for your life, how do you establish your priorities? As Christians, there is no greater priority than living our lives to the honor and glory of God, our Father, remembering that God is not appeased by our own seemingly good deeds. God looks on the heart, for everything we say and do actually stems from our heart attitude.

A heart that is sold to Christ will seek, above all, to love, honor, and obey Christ. Every single choice made is balanced by the Word of God. How is a young person to decide on such weighty matters as marriage and careers? How is a Christian to face the many choices that must be made in one's lifetime?

As a Christian, we understand that every trait we possess is given to us by God. It is our responsibility, when looking to the future, to consider our strengths, considering ways we can affectively serve Christ using the abilities we have. That does not necessarily mean every Christian has to become a pastor or missionary, but it does mean that every Christian must seek to honor and glorify God above all, no matter what his or her career choice may be.

In the end, when considering man and beast, we know that we are not like the beasts of the field. God has given to each person an eternal soul. As the Psalmist reminds us, the man who lives his entire life for himself, however, is much like the beasts that perish. No matter what deeds that man did on earth, he will be found wanting when he stands before Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

Not so, however, for the Christian. No matter what may happen in this life, the Christian sees this life as just a tiny prelude to an eternity with Christ. What will that life be like? No one can even begin to understand the joy and glory that awaits us there! Imagine, being in the presence of God, Himself, in a world with no sin!

May God truly hasten the day!

God Bless You,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

He Shall Receive Me!

 13This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
 14Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
 15But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
(Psalm 49:13-15, King James Version)

He Shall Receive Me!

This is a continuation of yesterday's devotional, "Man is Man," so if you have not read it, you may want to do so now. "This their way" (verse 13 shown above) is referring to the successful man, from the perspective of today's popular world view. Notice that this person's posterity approved of their sayings; he or she was successful financially, and at death was well loved and left a good inheritance for their descendants. What more could a person want from this life?

Obviously the Psalmist has a totally different perspective.
Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
What next? The person is laid in the grave. Does the power of death have dominion over him? When all is said and done, what else matters? No matter how many or how few years we live on this earth, in the end it is only God's view that matters, for only God has the power over death.

Death, i.e. eternal death, is the price all men must pay for their sins. Because we live in a world permeated with sin, we know of no other existence. When we look around us, it is easy to say, "I am OK, and you are OK." As a matter of fact, it often seems as though the non Christian has an easier life on this earth. Why, then, would anyone even want to be a Christian?

The true Christian understands that nothing matters but Christ. Christ, alone, paid the debt of our sins; that payment is the only way to appease a holy God who cannot even look on sin. When He would see the sins of His children, He sees, instead, the perfect blood of the Lord Jesus Christ covering that sin.

However, God does not force Himself upon any; only those who fall humbly before Him, confessing and forsaking their sins, receiving the payment that was made on their behalf, actually are covered by the blood of Christ.

You may ask, "Why, if God loves us so much, do we often have such a difficult life on this earth?" It is because God loves us so much that we face the trials and difficulties that come our way. It is in the middle of these difficult times that we see God's grace poured out upon us; in the middle of our darkest days upon this earth, we experience the greatest peace and joy of Christ which passes all understanding. This peace is worth whatever the world may throw our way.

God gently reminds us, that this world is not our home. We are here just for a few short years, and then what? For the Christian, Psalm 49:15 says it all.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.

For He shall receive me. And that, dear friend, makes all the difference. Think of the best and greatest times you have experienced in your life, and that will pale compared to the joy and peace that we will experience when we enter heaven's abode and look on the face of Christ.

The struggle will be over, and He shall receive me!

God Bless You,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Man is Man!

 10For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
 11Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
 12Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. 

Man is Man

I am always surprised by how contemporary the Bible, which in this case was written over 2000 years ago, is. Psalm 49 could just as well have been penned in 2011. Let us do as the Psalmist did and take a broader look at man in our day. 

We see great and wise men, as well as foolish, senseless men, die and leave their wealth to others. In their own minds their houses and lands will continue forever after they are gone; their children's children and beyond will live in the land they have left behind. Some, as a matter of fact, are so sure of this that houses and properties are often called by their own name. 

In reality, what often happens? Due to prevailing circumstances houses and properties are sold and belong to another. What of that original land owner? If people purchase the Jefferson house, do they have any idea who the original Jefferson was? Most likely they are not related to him, and know him by name only, if at all. As a matter of fact, the home is probably not even called by the name of its original owner.

Of course, none of this surprises us; after all, that is just the way life is. As Christians, however, we should ask, what is it that we hope to leave for our children and children's children? Are we amassing a great amount of wealth and property so we can leave each of our children a sizable inheritance? An inheritance is not a bad thing, but there is something of much more importance.

What kind of a spiritual heritage are we leaving our children? Have we spoken one thing and yet lived another? If we tell our children that Christ is all, do we live as though that is true? Children, no matter how young, are amazingly perceptive, and parents are amazingly transparent. In the end, it is the things we actually do that will have the most influence on the character of our children. 

Is Christ just a placeholder in our lives, or is Christ our life? That is the real question we need to ask ourselves. We have example after example in the Bible of men and women who served God in name only. They may have been zealous for their religion, but they were not zealous for God. Was that good enough for God? No! In the end, both Israel and Judah understood that God desired their hearts and not their outward appearances.

Today, take some time and look at your own life. What are your goals for today and tomorrow? What is the most important thing you can leave for your posterity? May we join Joshua in saying, "Choose you this day who you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"

God Bless You,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Costly Redemption

 1Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
 2Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
 3My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
 4I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
 5Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
 6They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
 7None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
 8(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
 9That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. 

Costly Redemption

True wisdom is ageless, priceless, and applies to all men, which is noted in Psalm 49, which begins with a command:
 1 Hear this, all peoples;
         Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
 2 Both low and high,
         Rich and poor together. (NKJV)
Note that this command applies to everyone, whether rich or poor; in other words, no one is exempt. What could be so important that we should stop everything and listen to the Psalmist? The wisdom of the Psalmist transcends all peoples and all times as he refers to something more important than life itself, and that is the state of our souls!

In truth, any wealth we gain in this life is inconsequential if it is at the cost of our souls. Our bodies live just a few fleeting years, but what then? Can those who trust in their wealth redeem the souls of their friends and families? Can they even redeem their own souls?

Ours is a costly redemption--one that a mere man is helpless to pay. Satan knew that when he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; he knew that the knowledge of good and evil came at a terrible cost. His was a plan to destroy the entire human race.

God, in His great love, however, already had a solution in place. What man could not do, He would accomplish through the precious blood of His own dear Son who would come to this earth and give His life to purchase a people for God! Yes, ours is a costly redemption! For we are not speaking of just this physical life, but we are speaking of the eternal life of our souls. 

Our bodies will live only a few short years, but our souls will live for eternity. The question, then, is what will happen to our souls upon our death? How can the souls of a corrupt people even hope to live in eternity with a perfect and holy God? 

It is all rather amazing, is it not? God, in His great love and wisdom, not only created man, but rescued him from a fate truly worse than this physical death. In Christ we have a redemption pure and free; go to Him that you may still live forever and not see corruption!

Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!

God Bless You,

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Forever and Ever!

 12Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.
 13Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
 14For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. 

Forever and Ever!

How long is forever? How many promises made to us in this life will last forever and ever? As Psalm 48 draws to a close, the Psalmist reminds us that we can cast our eyes upon God our Father and not be disappointed. Just as we see the towers of His fortress looming above us, as we consider the city of Zion, the lasting city that will house the King of Kings, we are assured that this God will be our guide even unto death.

Of course, death is not the end, is it? In a true sense, death is just a beginning. Everything we love and hold dear in this life is but a shadow of the things to come. Like children, it is not easy for us to look beyond what we know and see before us, to a time to come. We live in this world, and though it is filled with much sorrow and grief, it is what we know.

That is the true heart of Christianity, is it not? We bypass the present and look to the future promises of God's kingdom. By the grace of God, Christ has redeemed us and purchased our eternal home, giving us the ability to see beyond the here and now and look unto the life to come.

It is good for us to read and ponder such Bible passages as Psalm 48. Just as men over 2000 years ago looked forward to eternity with the Lord, which they are now experiencing, so, too, will we one day pass through the veil of death into life everlasting.

What a blessing! In light of the uncertainties of this age, where else do we find such hope. We see nations experiencing financial and political breakdowns, natural disasters seem to be compounded in their frequency, and new heath issues seem to be born daily. Yet, in all of this, God is still God. His eternal plan, created before the foundations of this world, has never been and will never be compromised!

Consider the words of Joshua 24:15.
 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15, King James Version)
May this be our theme as well: For this God is our God forever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.

God Bless You,