Keep thy heart

guard-your-heartProverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 

Proverbs 5:21-22 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

Yesterday’s and today’s reading go hand in hand. Proverbs 4:23 pleads with us to keep  our hearts with ALL diligence. The word keep refers to “guarding something that is besieged. To protect, conceal, or maintain.” Then today’s reading (Proverbs chapter 5) warns us of the grave dangers of getting involved with a strange woman (anyone who is not my wife).

In this day and age, there is a siege against our hearts. Might we “keep” them with all diligence. Whether on an internet screen, at the store, or with a coworker, we must realize the importance of guarding our heart. The Lord knows what’s going on. And He renders to every man. Let us “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. “

The Lord giveth wisdom

gold pan with golden nuggetsProverbs 2:3-6 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

One of my earliest memories is my mom taking us to pan for gold flakes. I remember being there, with other parents and children around us doing the same. People would spend 30 minutes, 45 minutes, even an hour or more to find a couple small, almost weightless flakes of gold. And people get into that. I also remember a friend of mine whose friend was getting into gold mining. He told him how they spend a lot of money on their equipment, go out for days and weeks to prepare, risk their lives while digging and exploring, and search tediously through the earth for gold.

This morning, I’m reminded to passionately seek wisdom from the Lord – for true wisdom comes from Him and His Word. This morning’s Proverbs tells us that if we’re going to receive godly wisdom, we must be willing to search the Word of God like we are searching for silver, or for hidden treasures.  We’re to put time and passion and energy, sifting through the Word looking for the nugget that we need, and that God has for us. Might we place a high value on wisdom from God. But let us remember the prerequisite: “if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom…”

Praise ye the Lord

Psalm 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord . Praise ye the Lord.

Haven’t been in the office the last two days, getting things ready for the upcoming semester. But glad to be back at it today.

This chapter, like the chapters before it, gives us a glimpse into the psalmists heart of praise for the Lord. Our praise should be more than just lip service (though we should praise him with our lips, and that openly). Our praise should be a lifestyle – who we are.

David lived a life of praise. He praised upon his bed. He praised in the sanctuary. He praised among the heathen. He praised among God’s people. And everyone and everything that has breath ought to do the same, for he is worthy.

Today, might we praise the Lord for all He is and all He does.

The proud… afar off.

pridePsalm 138:6 Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

I like hard preaching. I like people who know what they believe, and what they stand for. I like to preach hard, and be one who knows what I stand for. But I must be careful in my quest to stand for right and preach it hard. For if I’m not careful, I may allow pride to creep in and show itself forth in my life.

In the verse above, the Lord reminds us of his disdain for pride. God hates pride. He lists it with abominations that he can’t stand. Yet pride is probably the sin we most easily allow inside. And when we do, He stays at a distance from us. Oh we might “learn” from the Word of God – but we’re far off. We might preach, but we’re afar off. We might stand for right, but we’re afar off. We might go soul winning, but we’re afar off. We might stand for right, but be afar off.

Humility is a big deal to the Lord. I want God to have respect unto me, and be close to me. But we see in Psalm 138:6, this comes with lowliness (a mark of humility). Might we seek to humble ourselves today so that the Lord doesn’t have to. Might we shun pride so we can have that close relationship that He desires to have with us. When we do, then we can preach with His power, stand for right with His favor, and preach His truth in His likeness, pleasing Him.

His mercy endureth forever

mercyPsalm 136:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Praise the Lord for His mercy! One definition of mercy is, “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” Twenty-six times in this chapter, the Psalmist says that “his mercy endureth forever”.

I’m reminded that it’s because of God’s mercies, and not my goodness, that I’m not consumed. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. Praise the Lord for His mercy, faithfulness, and goodness this morning!

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.