Forgiveness with Thee

Psalm 130:3-5 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

As self-righteous as any of us can convince ourselves that we are, the truth is that if the Lord “marked” iniquities, none of us could stand.  I thank the Lord for His forgiveness. I thank Him for his Word. I thank Him for His mercy and redemption (vs 7). And thus when we do, it causes us to fear Him more.

Except the Lord build the house.

aljavaPsalm 127:1-5 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

I love this chapter. One reason I do is because I like big families. I enjoyed growing up with 4 brothers and 3 sisters. I look forward to, Lord willing, having a big family. It occurred to me two days ago that my next child will be number four. To me, that puts a modern day family in the “big family” category.

Nonetheless, we see that children are to be viewed as the blessing they are. The fruit of the womb is His reward. We see that they are an heritage from the Lord. We see that they are like arrows in the hand of a mighty man. We see that a man with a quiver full is a happy man.

We must remember, though, that the Lord gives us a preface to all of this. It is this: our house (family, home) will be successful as the Lord is the One Who builds it. Might we allow the Lord to build our house. Might He be preeminent in all we do. Might we rear our families for the Lord, and by the Lord. For then, comes happiness, and no shame against the enemies, and the blessings, and the godly heritage. Praise the Lord for the first institution he ordained – the family!

The Lord hath done great things.

made-for-this-capital-campaign-reveal-weekend-the-lord-has-done-great-things.jpgPsalm 126:3 The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

This morning, this verse jumped out at me. For I too can put myself in this context, and “be glad”. The Lord has done great things for our church, and we are glad. He’s done great things with our missions teams overseas, and we are glad. He has done great things in our family, and we are glad. He has done great things in the next generation, and we are glad. He has done great things in our personal lives, and we are glad. And the list can go on for a long time.

The Lord has done great things. Might we rejoice and be glad because of it. Might we not forget. Might we praise and thank Him today.

Sound in thy statutes

Holy Bible - Know the BiblePsalm 119:80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

One of the most heart wrenching things we see in ministry when someone who loves the Lord and souls, and has a desire to do right, starts changing direction. And yet, it can happen to the best of us.

This morning, this verse reminded me of the importance of being “sound” in the Word of God. Might we know what we believe. Yea, and very importantly, we must “try the spirits”, and see if they be of God.

Thy Favour

Web FavorPsalm 119:58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

My dad often would say that we are what we are as a church and as individuals because of God’s favor. He would also say that we don’t want to do things that would turn God’s favor away from our church or from our lives. He placed a high premium on the favor of God.

In this passage, the Psalmist says that he intreated, or asked and sought for, God’s favor with his whole heart. He, too, understood the importance of the favor of God in the life of an individual. This morning, might we understand that true success and blessing in this life comes by the favor of the Lord. Might we, too, intreat His favor with our whole hearts.

Delight

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Psalm 119:16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. 

Psalm 119:35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

Psalm 119:47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

People delight in many things. For some reason, my mind goes back to one of the original “Narnia” movies in which a young man, Edmund, delights in a food so much so that he follows the witch (in the allegory, a picture of Satan/evil) to get more. Now, maybe that’s a tad farfetched, but there are many things that our heart may delight in. If we’re not careful, they, too, can draw our hearts away from the Lord.

In twenty verses, at least three times the Psalmist tells the Lord that he delights in His Word. He uses plenty of other words to describe his desire/relation to the Word as well, such as: which I have loved, which are good, teach me, stablish thy word unto thy servant, give me, I will observe, with my whole heart, and many others.

The question that speaks to me is, in what does my heart delight? Might it be in seeking and knowing Him through His word. Might my heart be drawn to it, might I love it, and seek it, be stablished in it, with my whole heart. And might that be the desire of God’s people everywhere. If we delighted in God’s law like we ought, we’d surely have revival.

Testimonies, vs Covetousness

Limia_68822_7My daughter woke me again in the middle of the night last night. Many times after I’m fully up, I have a hard time going back to sleep.  Last night after getting back into bed, I grabbed my phone, and turned on the screen. I caught up on Instagram, Fox News, and then opened up Amazon to check out the deal of the day, or something to that affect. I was tired, and it was shallow thinking. Further, I wasn’t planning on buying anything. But the Holy Spirit spoke to me, and He said something to the affect of, “what if you opened your Bible app every time you grab your phone like that instead of looking at pictures or shopping?” I was convicted, because He was right. Then this morning, I read this verse that went hand in hand with that thought:

Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

How many times are our hearts, especially in this day and age, “inclined” toward covetousness? My prayer is that the Lord would incline my heart more toward seeking His Word and His testimonies, than toward covetousness, which really is idolatry.

Hate Evil

tumblr_l29yi3gag71qa8ix8o1_r1_1280Psalm 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.

In a day where we are surrounded by oppression, immorality, and all types of evil, it’s easier than ever to become desensitized to that by which we are daily bombarded. And yet God’s desire is that we HATE evil. If we take a moment and think about what evil does, it won’t take long for a holy hatred against it to swell up within us.

I was in Asia two weeks ago, and I heard again of the orphans and young teens who are forced into the prostitution rings. When I think upon these things, I hate evil. We heard about the families torn apart due to drugs, and I saw the children wandering the village with no one to love or raise them. When I ruminate on these things, I hate evil. I came back to the states to have three young men come and admit to being involved with pornography. When I and see their struggle within, and the heart break of their parents, I hate evil. When I think about the havoc and heartbreak that ISIS has caused on thousands of families in the middle east, I cannot but hate evil.

We could go on all day long. Might we allow the evil that breaks God’s heart to break ours. Might we not become desensitized to it. Might we not accept it as the norm. Let’s, as God’s people, get back to a holy hatred for that which is evil.

The Secret Place

36ed994568bb41f0194b88c7e8ad2b59Psalm 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  Psalm 7-9 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

After being in three different political environments for 16 days in Laos (communist), Thailand (monarchy/military), and Cambodia (“Prime minister”/cabinet), I’m so thankful for the freedoms we have here in our country. And on this fourth of July morning, I’m thankful for the price that has been paid so that we can worship, pass out tracts, share the Gospel, and live our Christian lives openly here.

But this morning’s reading reminds me that true freedom and safety cannot be found in a political system, a president, or a military. It is found in the Lord. Might we strive to make the Lord our habitation. Might we (our thoughts, desires, ambitions, conversation) dwell in His secret place.

Revive us again.

e_mmdwq6.jpgPsalm 85:6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?

Revive means, “to regain life, consciousness, or strength”. It also means to “give new strength or energy to.” As I read this definition, my imaginations went back to a time someone with whom I was speaking had a heart attack right in front of me. He said he wasn’t feeling well, then went pale, and collapsed. Life left. I remember the panic and uncertainty of that moment. But I also remember when one of the ladies jumped into action, and began to do CPR. After what seemed like an eternity, the paramedics came and shocked his heart back into motion. They got a pulse, and over the course of a couple days, he was revived.

There is a spiritual parallel between Psalm 85:6 and this story. The Psalmist understood that there are times when our spiritual condition needs revival. There are times that our prayer life needs revival. There our times where our thought life needs revival. There are times where our “first love” relationship needs revival. And how bout our Bible reading? Our relationship with our spouse or children? Our ministry? And it’s at that point we, like the Psalmist, must seek “spiritual CPR”. We must seek a reviving from above.

This morning might we seek a reviving from on high. For once we do, we can truly rejoice in Him. Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?