Archive for April, 2013

Knowing Where To Go (Numbers 7, Psalm 42-43)

April 30, 2013

“And Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord,” Numbers 7:69

“Why are you cast down, oh my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God,” Psalm 42-43

It was so frustrating, we could see where we needed to be but we could not get there from where we were. I can still remember those feelings almost 21 years ago as Sherry and I were trying to get on the interstate as we were trying to get home from our honeymoon.  Finally we discovered where we were to go.  Once we got on the right road the frustration left and love abounded.

As Moses lead the people toward the Promised Land there were many moments of frustration because the people knew where they were to go, however they were making decisions that kept them from where they were to go.

As the Psalmist thought about his fellowship with God, he longed to get back to the temple to worship God (Psalm 42:1-11).  Thankfully he was able to go to God (Psalm 43).

Question:  “Are there days when you know where you are to go, but for some reason you do not go?”  I think many of us intend to always go to God with every circumstance but we allow the sin of frustration, pride, and selfishness to keep us from going to God.  This morning I was truly reminded of Peters response to Jesus in John 6, “Where else would we go Lord, for you alone have the words of eternal life.”

Today and every day you and I need to go to Jesus.  All other stops will lead to disaster.  If you are going somewhere else today?  Stop, change directions, and come to Jesus!!!  II Cor. 1:3-11 teaches us what we find when we go to Jesus.  Check it out.

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The God Who Takes Thought Of Us (Numbers 6; Psalm 40-41)

April 29, 2013

“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, when either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazarite, to separate himself to the Lord.”  Numbers 6:2

“By this I know that you delight in me, my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.”  Psalm 41:11

“Wow, you were really thinking about me?”  This was the question a startled woman asked her husband when he gave her a gift.  Question, “Do you and I really know how much God thinks about us?”

In Numbers 6 God gives the proper order for one who takes the vow of a Nazarite.  This is a vow for a person who wants to dedicate themselves to God for a specific purpose.  All of the these requirements must be in place before God will honor the vow.

In Psalm 40 we find the Psalmist both praise God and also petitioning God.  In Vs: 1-11 we see the Psalmist Praising God.  He praises God for his perfect timing in his deliverance.  God has placed a new song in his heart.  This song includes words of praise for God’s wonderful deeds toward his people.  How could we do anything but praise this God who has thought of each of us.

In verses 12-17 we see the Psalmist petitioning God.  These verses remind us of the old praise hymn, “We need thee every hour.”  As I read these verses I found myself in a position of thankfulness to my great God for His thinking of me.

Today, I know that some of you are feeling alone in your journey.  If this is the case, I have good news.  You are not alone on this journey.  Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ is with you.  Look to Him for both love and leadership during this hour of trial.

Today, I know that some of you are feeling great about the journey.  If this is the case, I have great instruction:  “Praise him in the morning, noon, and evening!”  Praise him before all you meet.  Make sure part of that praise is for God thinking of us!!!

What Will We Do With What We Have? (Numbers 2: Psalm 36)

April 25, 2013

“Thus did the people of Israel, according to all the Lord commanded Moses.  So they camped by their standards, and so they set out, each one in his clan, according to his father’s house,” Numbers 2:34

They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights,”  Psalm 36:8

Each day I am reminded of the abundance in my home through many reminders.  The first reminder always comes early in the morning as I read God’s Word.  Today was no exception. The second reminder comes as I read emails and blogs from around the world.  People, who I know and minister to have so little but still they have great praise from our Lord.  Still other reminders come as people visit our home, ride in our cars, or eat at our table.  Truly we are blessed far more than we can imagine.

This morning we find God’s challenge to be both be thankful and to be intentional with what God has given us.  Consider Psalm 36:

I.  Humanity in their wickedness focuses on their own stuff, Vs: 1-4

Such people do the following:  They transgress without fear of God, They are blind to the iniquity in their lives, They are always speaking forth deceit, and they are headed down a destructive path.

2. God in His kindness focuses on others, Vs: 5-12

Our God is steadfast in his love.  We find the many blessings we receive as His followers in these verses.

Consider Numbers 2.

God’s people are to erect the tabernacle in a set way and they are to position themselves around the tabernacle in a pattern of a square.  This foreshadows the scene in Revelation 21:6 “New Jerusalem-city built 4 square.”

Our great God not only provides for our daily needs but he is also providing for our eternal needs.  So the question that bears asking is this:  “What are we doing about sharing with others what we have been given?”

Today, I hope your answer is, “I am sharing what God is giving me!!!”  Here are a few practical suggestions:

1.  Spend less than what you are blessed with making so that you can give

2.  Set aside 10% for your church

3.  Set aside extra (Sacrifice) for the needs of others

4.  Be sensible with all that you spend.

Then Will My Soul Rejoice (Numbers 1; Psalm 35)

April 24, 2013

“The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai…” Numbers 1:1

Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord, exulting in his salvation,”  Psalm 34:9

Last week John (my youngest son) traveled with me to North Carolina for a revival that I was leading.  While there John looked at me and said, “You are a great dad.”  A few hours later when he did not get what he wanted, he said, “Your status as a great dad is in jeopardy.”  Inside I laughed but at the same time I was reminded of our readings for the day.

The book of Numbers tells the story of God’s faithfulness to Israel during her days of wandering in the wilderness.  Again and again we see God’s faithfulness and man’s unfaithfulness.  The book of numbers reminds us of our desperate need of God’s grace.

In Psalm 35 David asks God the following: “Be my salvation.”  For this to happen the enemy must be both subdued and destroyed.  When this happens David will praise the Lord with his soul.

Also in this Psalm we find David testifying of God’s mercy in extending grace, Vs: 12-14.    Finally David clearly understands, “Man can only be vindicated by the righteousness of God.”   

At best people like me (fall short of the glory of God).  We can never have joy in ourselves, our joy is in Christ.  When we fully understand Christ, we come to a true place where we can rejoice in the Lord.  When we rejoice in God we will not lose our joy when we fail others and others fail us.

This Poor Man Cried (Leviticus 27; Psalm 34)

April 23, 2013

“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, If anyone makes a special vow to the Lord…” Lev. 27:2

“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles,”  Psalm 34:6

Question, “Have you ever been so scared or struck with your problems that you found yourself just crying out?”  As a kid it often happened around our house as we would hide and scare one another.  Still yet I have to resist the temptation as an adult to not scare Sherry.

As I spent time with God this morning I found myself engaged with both vows (Lev. 27) and prayer (Psalm 34).  Our Lord was clear with his people.  If you make a vow, keep the vow.  David was clear with the people who would read Psalm 34, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

When we make a vow, it is clearly something we commit to doing.  But the opposite is the case when we cry out to God.  In the later case we are beyond our ability so we cry out.  Here David in Psalm 34 gives those who are beyond their ability, two imperatives:

1.  Taste and see

Here we are encouraged to do more than just sample Christ we are to surrender ourselves to Christ.  We are to surrender to his goodness, his greatness, and his grace.

2.  Listen to David’s instruction

David challenges his readers to fear the Lord and to live in the right way.  When his readers do this they discover a God who hears/delivers/and saves.  But the opposite is the case when his readers do not obey.  They will find a God who does not hear/will not deliver/ and will certainly destroy.

As I come away from this chapter, I now know that I must come in submission before God with a desire to live in the way he prescribes for my life.  Truly I am a poor man crying out for help.  Thanks be unto God that He helps us!!!

A Reason To Be Glad (Leviticus 26: Psalm 33)

April 22, 2013

“If you walk in my statues and observe my commandments and do them.”  Lev. 26:1

“For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.”  Psalm 33:1

Question: “Do you and I have a reason to be glad today?”  The churchy answer would be yes, “We have Jesus so we can be glad.”  This is a great answer, but how personally true is this for your life and for my life?

This mornings More For Christ readings speak directly to the issue of gladness in our lives as followers of Christ.

In Leviticus 26 we discover the greatness of our God in the following way, “He has broken the bars of our yoke and made us walk erect.”  What an awesome God who has brought us from darkness to light.

In Psalm 33 we discover the greatness of our God in the following ways:

1.  As we focus on his word we discover what we have in Christ

2.  As we focus on his works we discover how much he has done for us in Christ.

3.  As we focus on his wisdom we discover the greatness of who He is.

 

In both these passages we find sufficient reason to praise our great God.  We should be glad that in good times and in bad times we have a reason to be glad because our great and awesome God will see us through.

Our thoughts for this day should be to walk in obedience to this great God.  The fact is, the only reason we would not be glad is if we are in rebellion against God.  For if we are in rebellion (Lev. 26:11-39) we face the discipline and judgment of God.

Oh how I want to be glad every day.  I leave you with the words of a wonderful praise chorus:

    “He has made me glad, He has made me glad.  I will rejoice, I will rejoice, and be glad in him.  This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in him!!!

The God who drew us out (Leviticus 23; Psalm 30)

April 19, 2013

“I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.”  Psalm 30:2

When I was a kid we would occasionally be taken by my Father to his parents home.  I can still remember the wonderful barn to play in and the gigantic rock cliffs to climb on.  My favorite thing was to draw water from my grandfather’s well.  I was always amazed at how fresh and cool the water was from the bucket that was drawn from the well.

Here in Psalm 30 David is using this same picture as he speaks about the life of anyone who has been drawn out of the well of Hell.  Better put: “Our God has delivered us from the path to hell.”

Look with me at Verses 2-4.  We were sinking into this well but we were saved (Healed).  We were stained but now we sparkle (Restored).  Because of this David leads his readers to praise the Lord (Vs: 5).

At this point we should truly be praising our Lord for delivering us from the path to hell. But there is more, Vs: 5-10: “Our God is directing us toward His commonwealth called heaven.”  Along the way we are to engage in several things: Suffer well, Vs: 5; Seek His will, Vs: 6; Share His word, Vs: 9; Stand and worship, Vs: 10.

Brothers and sisters these things should occupy our minds as we come to the house of worship.  Just as this Psalm was written for the dedication of the temple.  May God help you and I to get past the clutter, confusion, and chaos of our routines this Sunday.  May we get down to the business of truly worshipping the God who drew us out!!! This is truly more refreshing than the water that I drank from my grandfather’s well all those years ago.

Praise To The King Of Glory (Leviticus 22; Psalm 28-29)

April 18, 2013

So you shall keep my commandments and do them, I am the Lord,” Lev. 22:31

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 29:2

Last week I had the opportunity to watch the opening minutes of the celebration of the NCAA achievements of both the women’s and men’s basketball teams here at the University of Louisville.  The celebration took place in the KFC Yum Center.  There were about 22,000 people who had gathered for this celebration.  As the teams were introduced the crowd continued to build in praise.  I thought as I watch this on television, “I am glad for these teams, but I am sad that most of these people do not give praise to the true King of Glory.”

In our More For Christ readings we find ourselves continuing to weed our way through Leviticus.  In chapter 23 we are reminded that all of these sacrifices are to be offered to the King of Glory.  There were specific types of sacrifices and specific regulations for these sacrifices.  Each of these sacrifices remind us of the fact that Jesus alone is a sufficient sacrifice.  This is why we praise him as the King who came from Glory (I Timothy 1:16-17).

When we look at Psalm 28 we see the strength we have in our Lord (Again we praise the King of Glory).

When we come to Psalm 29 we see the King of Glory on the throne.  Notice how this king rules:

1.  He rules over the storms, Vs: 3-4

2.  He rules over the mountains, Vs: 5-7

3.  He rules over the forest, Vs: 8

4.  He rules over all, Vs: 10

Brothers and sisters, He is the King of Glory who deserves all of our praise.  But the question that comes to my mind is this; “Are we praising him in our present place in life?”  In this moment I understand this fact: “We only praise the one who is really our King!!!”

The people at the Yum Center were praising the King, “Basketball.”  In our lives the king could be any number of things.  Oh that Jesus were truly the King in all who read this blog.  May the words of Paul help us in the discussion, “So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of the Lord,”  I Corinthians 10:31

A Spiritual MRI (Leviticus 21; Psalm 26-27)

April 17, 2013

“They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the Lord’ s food offerings…” Lev. 21:6

Prove me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering,”  Psalm 26:1

“Have you had your yearly health checkup?”  This question came as a reminder to me this past week as our brother-in-law lost his brother to a sudden heart-attack.  It truly is important to keep a check on one’s physical health.

But even more it is important that one keeps a check on his or her spiritual health.  In our More For Christ readings we see this front and center.  Consider Leviticus 21:

1.  God’s people were to be holy before their God

In every area of their lives they were to investigate whether they were holy or unholy.  The goal was to be sanctified before the people in Israel.  Our Goal is to live a separated life so that God is glorified among the nations (II Cor. 4:12-13).

But for this to happen, you and I need a way to have a consistent spiritual MRI.  Consider Psalm 26

1.  David asks God to scan his life

In verses 2-8 we see the scan.  It is important that we know that David is not claiming sinless perfection.  David is a sinner who is being sanctified by his Savior.

In verses 9-12 we see the results of this scan.  David along with every believer calls out for the Redeemer to be gracious to his life.  Thank God for our redeemer (Hebrews 9).

This process is daily needed in our lives to insure that we are living as God would have us to live, because there is coming a day when we will be standing before him.  Praise be to our God who makes us pure in His sight!!!

Praying For People Who Are In Trouble (Leviticus 19: Psalm 25)

April 16, 2013

You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity.”  Lev. 19:35

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.  Oh my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.”  Psalm 25:1-2

As one reads Leviticus 19 we come away with knowing that God calls us to be holy in all things.  But we also know that we fail in many of those things.  This is why we need a gracious and merciful redeemer.  We also know we know that we need great help in our journey of faith.

But for a moment I want to consider with you others who are on this journey.  In Psalm 25 David is lamenting his trial.  He is coming before His Lord seeking to know the way he should go.  As I read these verses I felt a great weight to pray for people around me who are either in trouble or they are going through trouble.  As I began to pray I discovered the following from Psalm 25:

1.  We can have confidence in our prayer’s before God, Vs: 1-3

2.  We can ask for clarity in how to pray, Vs: 4-5

3.  We must ask for compassion as we pray,Vs: 6

4.  We must ask for purity in our lives and in the lives of those we are praying for, Vs: 8-14

When we pray with this backdrop of faith we find God answering in amazing ways.  Allow me to encourage you to pray in this way for others today.