Archive for November, 2014

Did you take time to praise Him? (Psalm 145; Amos 2)

November 13, 2014

“My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.”  Psalm 145:21

This week has been filled with both activity and accomplishments.  I must confess as I sat down to write this blog, I felt the tiredness that comes from such a week.  But as I began to read through the 21 verses of Psalm 145 I found a pleasant reminder, “Every activity and every accomplishment was because of God’s greatness!!!”

The truth is brothers and sisters, I do not have the ability to accomplish anything on my own!!!

This morning David praise for God reminded me of this great truth.

Think it through:

1.  If we are going to accomplish anything we must take time to be committed to knowing this truth.

Here we see David committed to the following:  Daily praising the Lord, Vs: 2.  He was daily investigating the inexhaustible attributes of God.  He was daily being intentional in informing the next generation of this truth.

2.  If we are going to accomplish anything we must take time alone with God to be challenged by this truth.

David was challenged by the character of God in Vs: 8-9.  David was challenged by the praise of God by the saints of God in Vs: 10-12.  David was challenged by the sovereignty of God in Vs: 13-14.

3.  If we are going to accomplish anything we must take time to be comforted by this truth.

As David investigated God, he discovered the following:  God loves the weak and cares for the poor, Vs: 14-15.  Our God provides for all of our needs, Vs: 16.  We can be assured that God always does the right thing, Vs: 17.  He is a God who both rewards the faithful and judges the wicked, Vs: 18-20.

Our response:

Brothers and sisters, as I came to the end of this chapter I realized the following:  “I need to spend time with God everyday so that I would know how to praise Him correctly.”  This requires daily commitment.  This commitment will be challenged by our enemy, but God in His love with give us the victory!!!

This very day, I praise the one true God for leading me to accomplish great things for His glory!!! To him alone belongs the praise and glory, I Corinthians 10:31

A man who believed (Psalm 144; Amos 1)

November 12, 2014

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hand for war, and my fingers for battle.”  Psalm 144:1

There are times when we find ourselves in either a frustrated or frantic mindset.  In those moments we can say and do things that we really have not thought through.  This can happen in our prayer life as well.  Think about those moments when you have cried out to God things that were really not true but in the moment they flooded from your lips.

This day we are going to see how David in a frantic moment (We know not his circumstances) both praised and petitioned God in the correct way.

Think it through:

I.  David has theologically correct praise, Vs: 1-4

David praises God for his strength in training him for spiritual warfare (Vs:1)

Today, our God is training each of us for war as we believe the right things about God, Ephesians 6:10-20

David praises God for his steadfast love and his strong protection (Vs: 2)

Key-Our God does this because of His character!!!  It is not because we have earned his love, Vs: 3-4.  God loves us because He is a God of love.

II.  David has theologically correct petitions, Vs: 5-15

Notice:  You are a strong God, Vs: 5-8, who alone is Sovereign, Vs: 9-10.  You are more than sufficient in our lives, Vs: 14-15.

As David both praised and petitioned God, he knew that God would be both honored and pleased to work on his behalf.  This is what he believed!!!

Our response:

Do you and I believe these same things?  The half-brother of Jesus believed these things, James 5:16.  Paul believed these things, Ephesians 6:18-20.  The Apostle John believed these things, I John 5:14-16.

The question is, will you and I both believe and act upon the belief that David stood on?

Still to come (Joel 3; Psalm 142)

November 11, 2014

“Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.  Go in, tread, for the winepress is full.  The vats overflow, for their evil is great,” Joel 3:13.

Question:  “Have you ever gotten so caught up in the moment that you forget what you were really supposed to be doing?”

I can remember how I used to get caught up in the moment in the early days of my experience with being a basketball official.  I would be so engrossed in a close game that I would sometimes forget my responsibilities to call the game.  But with discipline and experience I was able to put aside the excitement of the moment and focus on the greater responsibility I possessed.

This morning the Prophet Joel writes about the moment in time that is still to come.  Here is what is still to come: 1.  God will repay the enemies of Israel, Vs: 1-8.  2.  God will redeem the people of Israel (Those who come to Jesus), Vs: 17-21).

The question that comes as a result of what is still to come is this:  “What is our responsibility in the moment to be because of our knowledge of what is still to come?”

Think it through:

1.  We must recognize that many people are in the valley of decision before that day comes.

We who have been led to see our need of the gospel, Gal. 2:16, must see beyond the moment of our salvation.  We must understand that God has poured out His Spirit upon us so that we might share His Word with the masses of people who have wrath still to come, Joel 2:28-32.

2.  We must renounce the viewpoint that says, “Life is about my wishes and my desires.”

Joel was pleading with his people to turn to the Lord and to share His great name with the nations that surrounded them.  He knew the day of judgment was coming and he wanted people to flee the wrath to come.

3.  We must recognize the day is near.  In Revelation 14:15 we read these words, “The hour to reap has come.”

No one knows the day or the hour when our Lord will come.  But we see the signs that seem to be indicating that the time is near.  I must work harder and I must never allow the moment to cause me to miss out on the gospel.

Our response:

Praise be to God who has delivered us from the wrath that is still to come!!!  Praise be to God who has shown us the very purpose of our lives as His followers.

The dungeon of loneliness (Psalm 142; Joel 2)

November 10, 2014

“Bring me out of the prison, that I may give thanks to your name!  The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.”  Psalm 142:7

During the winter months people often become discouraged and even depressed with their place in life.  Often the season without a family member or the breakup of a marriage is seen as a dungeon of loneliness.  This morning I truly believe the Psalmist understood the depths of this reality.

Think it through:

The path the writer finds himself on is a slippery slope.  Notice the slope:  “In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.  Look to the right and see; there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.”

Question:  “have you ever been in this dungeon?”  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ faced this dungeon as he went to the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This is why Jesus can clearly say, “I can identify with even the darkest of dungeons.”

Notice the Psalmist way of getting out of the dungeon:

1.  He poured out his heart to God, Vs: 1

2.  He was honest with God, Vs: 6

3.  He believed God could and would bring him out, Vs: 6b-7

This very day, I believe these very things.  This is why I have chosen to trust in the Lord.  I have chosen to rebuke the feelings of loneliness because I am never alone.

Our response:

1.  Will you trust in his presence in your life?  You are never alone, Hebrews 13:6

2.  Will you cry out to him when you feel alone?

3.  Will you tell others of His great love in never leaving us alone?

Kissing a cow (Hosea 13; Psalm 137-138)

November 7, 2014

“It is said of those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves!”  Hosea 13:2

I thought the title of the blog would get your attention.  This morning God really got my attention with the absurdity of the sin of the people who were compared to that of kissing a cow.

God’s people were facing certain judgment.  This judgment was based upon the absurdity of the people in regard to how they were living.  In our society we see the same things happening every day as we see people who are kissing the cow of post modern living.

Let’s examine their lives according to Hosea:

I.  These were dead people, Vs: 1

They had no spiritual life.  They were living as people who were acting as if they had spiritual life.  In our society we have people who fall in the same category as is described by Paul in Ephesians 2:1-3

II.  These were depraved people, Vs: 2-6

They are engaged in idol worship.  They were engaged in blind worship.  They were engaged in forgetful worship.

III.  They would be destroyed, Vs: 7-13

The one true God (Vs: 4) would rule the day.  He is not a God that men should love another.  “Beside me there is no Savior.”

Our response:

The Lord of the universe cannot be compared to a cow.  He has true life who alone has the ability to take dead, depraved, and headed to certain destruction people and give them life, “O death where are your plaques? O Sheol, where is your sting?”

Our God is fulling able to do more than we can imagine, I Corinthians 15:54-58  (Praise be unto our God).

Make sure that people can see you living as a person who is worshipping the one true and living God!!!

The ups and downs of parenting (Hosea 11; Psalm 132-134)

November 5, 2014

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” Hosea 11:1

When I was much younger my mother once said to me, “Keith, you never cease to be a parent in your love and concern for you children, no matter how old they are.”  Now that I am 47, I understand this reality having seen two of our children leave the nest.  My mother was correct, “My love and concern has not changed.”

In a much greater and much deeper way, Hosea shows us the great love God has for his children in the ups and downs of life.

Think it through:

In the text before us we see God depicted as the parent and Israel depicted as the child.

Notice the contrast:

1.  We see the parent:

He loves his children unconditionally, Vs: 1.  He provides for his children in all seasons of life, Vs: 3-4.  He rescues them from harm, Vs: 4

2.  We see  the child:

He fails to love his father in that he goes after other gods, Vs: 2.  He did not recognize what his father provided for him, Vs: 3. He decides to live in rebellion against his father.

In this we see the clear picture of a people who were going through the ups and down of a broken path.  But in the midst of this broken path we see the unwavering love of the parent.  Here is how Hosea describes this parent, “For I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.”

This is an amazing scene of how God loves his children.  We see this same scene in Luke 15:11-32 as Jesus teaches us of the Father’s unconditional love for his children.

Our response:

1.  As God’s children we need to daily remember his lordship over our lives.  We should praise him for all he has done for us.

2.  As God’s children we should readily confess our sins before God and we should seek to follow him in every command he gives.

3.  As God’s children we should lead our children to love the Father.

4.  As God’s children we should seek to keep loving and keep directing our children in every season of life.

What to do when you are scared (Psalm 129-131; Hosea 10)

November 4, 2014

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with it’s mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”  Psalm 131:2

The past few months world news has been dominated by the Ebola virus which is claiming the lives of many people in West Africa.  In the United States there is much fear as people scramble to determine what to do with this deadly virus.  Certainly we must pray that our leaders are given godly wisdom and are granted the answer for this virus.

Recently I was in a prayer meeting where a person spoke with genuine concern and fear about this situation.  As I thought about their mental state I was reminded of one of our scripture readings, “Psalm 131”

Here the Psalmist is considering things that are extremely deep and extremely intense.  It is clear that the things he is considering are too great and beyond his ability to understand.  But instead of being scared, he simply turns to the Lord.

Think it through:

“I will not occupy myself…” 

The Psalmist knew that if he did occupy himself with constant though of his circumstances, he would become deflated and defeated.  These were things that he could do nothing about.

So he choses to come before the Lord and cast his burdens before the Lord.

Notices what he does next:  “He positions himself as a child with his mother.”

Here is the deal:

1.  Take the position of humility knowing that you are not the parent (God is in charge of the events of this life).

2.  Occupy the position of faith (As a child leaves the details to his parents, so too must we leave all in God’s trustworthy hands).

Romans 12:16 “Never be wise in our own sight”

Our response:

Jesus wants us to become as a child in our humility in trusting Him with our very souls, Matt. 18:3.  This day I know we can rest in the assurance that our Lord cares for us, Matt. 6:33.  We can face this day knowing our Lord is not scared and He is not going to be overcome by our enemy (Ephesians 6:10:13).

When you are scared, it should be a clear reminder that you are trying to take the place of God.  In these moments, relinquish your position to the only one who is qualified to hold the position of leader.

Dreaming the correct way (Psalm 126-128; Hosea 9)

November 3, 2014

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream,” Psalm 126:1

It is very unusual for me to have dreams, but this is exactly what happened to me this morning, somewhere around 4 am.  The dream was so real.  I can honestly say, “I woke up thinking, what can I do about what just happened.”  However, in the moment I realized I had only been dreaming.

This morning we continue to look at the Psalm’s of ascent.  These Psalm 120-134 were the songs that were to be sung as God’s people would make their way to the temple to worship.  Psalm 126 focuses on dreaming the correct way.

Literally we are not being asked to have dreams on our bed but we are to live in such a way that it would bring something to pass that was so amazing that it would be like a dream coming true.

The something coming to pass would be God’s favor being upon His people.

Think it through:

What is God calling us to do?

1.  Cry out in brokenness before Him, Vs: 5

Each day we must come before the Lord with a heart of genuine repentance, Sow in tears, for the sin in our land.  We have fallen so far from what is right, “Dear Lord turn us around for your glory.”

2.  Go out in brokenness with Him, Vs: 6

Each day we must go out sharing the gospel, believing people will respond to the gospel.  This very day I believe the Lord can restore our land.  This is a dream I am dreaming each day before the Lord.

Our response:

Will you begin to live in this way before God?  If so, the dream can become a reality where you and I live.

I want to offer you this warning, The dream demands all of your life!!!  We cannot possibly see this dream come true apart from true brokenness before God and total surrender to the blessing of His work.

I believe God is calling each of us to this very work.  Start doing the things God commands so that you can dream the correct way!!!