Archive for May, 2016

Forever (Psalm 119:89-176)

May 31, 2016

“Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.”  Psalm 119:89

Just when I began to like it, they took it off the market.  This is often how it goes with products that we like to use.  It seems that advertising markets believe that nothing will keep on selling as it is.  So there is always either, a new product, or a new and improved product.  Fact:  “Some things are good just as they are.”

Consider the Psalmist product in Psalm 119.  The product is God’s Word.

The Psalmist both praises and points us to the eternal (forever) Word of God.

  • The Word of God is our roadmap, Vs: 105.
  • The Word of God is our comfort, Vs: 52.
  • The Word of God is our hope, Vs: 81.
  • The Word of God makes us wiser than our enemies, Vs: 98.
  • The Word of God gives us understanding in every circumstance, Vs: 104.
  • The Word of God is our hiding place and shield, Vs: 114.

The above are just a sampling of the forever value of God’s Word.  As the Psalmist closes the chapter with, for me, the most awesome forever value of the Word:

“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.”  Psalm 119:176

The truth is, even though the Psalmist had the Word of God, he still at times found himself slipping in his walk with God.  In those moments he remembers that the Word of God is living.  Jesus Christ is the living Word of God.  He here is described as our Great Shepherd.  He is the one who comes to us when we walk astray.  I am so thankful that the living Word is my shepherd, John 10.

 

Advertisements

Wisdom, pay attention (I Kings 3-4; Psalm 72)

May 30, 2016

“Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high place.” I Kings 3:3

This is a day of great blessing in my personal life in three ways:

  • Today, Sherry and I celebrate 24 years of marriage.  I have been blessed beyond measure with a partner who has walked with me through ups and downs, good and bad, happy and broken, joy and sorrow, and great hope for the future.  I could never thank the Lord enough for Sherry!!!
  • Today, we honor the men and women who have defended and are defending our nation.  On this Memorial Day I am so thankful for the blessings I have received because of what others have sacrificed for me.
  • Today, I celebrate another day of life in Jesus Christ.  All I have and all I will ever be is because of His grace in my life.

These three blessings came to mind as I walked through God’s work in the life of a young king by the name of Solomon.  As Solomon comes to the throne we discover a man in whom we need to pay attention too:

  • Solomon is a man who comes to the throne with humility, 3:6-7 (All He has been provided by God).
  • Solomon is a man who comes to the throne in adoration, 3:3 (He loves the God who loves Him).
  • Solomon is a man who comes to the throne with a dependent heart, 3:8-9 (He could not lead without God leading him).
  • Solomon is a man who is walking in obedience, 3:14 (He walks in God’s ways).

These are things of wisdom that each of us need to pay attention too.  Consider this fact:  “Solomon followed these wisdom practices for many years, but then he faltered from them.”  Even the wisest of people must daily be disciplined to pay attention to spiritual matters.

This is why you and I look to one greater than Solomon, Jesus Christ, Matthew 12:42.  As we look to Jesus we find all we need to be faithful to God!!!

After further investigation (Psalm 111-118)

May 27, 2016

“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.”  Psalm 11:2

One of the amazing phenomenon in major sports is the adding of instant replay so that the officials can have the opportunity of further investigation.  Often times the further investigation will confirm the call on the field.  However there are those times when the replay will show, “the call on the field was wrong.”

Have you ever replayed an event or a season of time in your life?  Have you ever said to God, in the moment, “what are you doing?”  Then after further investigation, you discovered, “God knows what He is doing!”

This mornings scripture reading is filled with praise to the God who knows what He is doing.  The writer is investigating God’s work,  In each Psalm there is continual praise for the God who does great and amazing things!!!

Key-“Each time we do further investigation, we come away more and more amazed at the greatness of our God.”  This greatness leads us to delight in, devote to, and declare to the world the goodness of God.

Take time to reread the Psalms under the following further investigation:

  • In Psalm 111 we see what God did for Israel.
  • In Psalm 112 we see the blessing of God’s peace.
  • In Psalm 113 we see the glorious provision of God, even for the poor.
  • In Psalm 114 we see God’s victory in our wilderness moments.
  • In Psalm 115 we see God’s word among the living.
  • In Psalm 116 we see God’s workers lovingly serving Him.
  • In Psalm 117 we see God being worshipped.
  • In Psalm 118 we see a people in awe of God.

What did you discover about our God upon further investigation?  Take time to write it down.  Take time to praise Him.  Take time to tell someone else.

Its all about Him (I Chronicles 26-29; Psalm 127:1)

May 26, 2016

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”  Psalm 127:1

These past few weeks have been an amazing journey of desperation, faith, and victory in my spiritual journey as a pastor.  It actually began several months ago as I came to a desperate place in financial decisions for our church.  God has been so good to our church.  But we had come to a place where we had a great need.  A 150,000.00 need.

The need had come to be a source of great anxiety to my mind and heart.  Little did I know that God would use this crisis to become a watershed moment of great discovery in my life. Little did I know that God would open my eyes to His standard of measure, Luke 6:38.  Little did I know that God was going to teach our church about His Sacrifice of Release.  This past Sunday I not only watched as God meet our need in one offering, but that He went over the top and gave us more than our need required.

I have been asking the Lord, “How can I best make know your marvelous work in our lives.”  Here is His answer, “Proclaim my greatness to the world.”

This morning, I believe this is exactly what David does in his transition of leadership to Solomon.  As we begin our review of what we read I have to say the following:

“Oh how thankful I am for the reminder (from God’s Word) of God’s glorious work in which He calls His chosen ones (I Chronicles 28:3-4) to be a part of!!!”

I am humbled to consider all that God has done in his people (I Chronicles 29:10-13).

Here is our overview:

  • David is at the end of the road of his earthly life.
  • David is excited about what is going to happen after his life is over:
    • David prepares the leadership for the future, Chapters 26-27.
    • David provides for the budget for what is in the future, 29:1-9.
    • David gives spiritual direction for the future, 28:8-9.
    • David provides the drawings for their next project, 28:9-18.
  • David is confident about what is going to happen after his death, 28:20-22

David tells the people, “God will be with you.”  David tells Solomon, “the people will be with you.”

Brothers and sisters, “This is the sacrifice of release, I personally experienced this past Sunday.”  God was with us and the people were all with us.

I proclaim to the nations, “God has built the house!”

Maybe you are in a church that is struggling in the house?  Allow me to challenge you to be a part of the solution and not a source of division. Allow me to challenge you to mobilize your church into a mission of prayer.  Allow me to challenge you to come together in believing that God can, once again, build your house!!!

This is what He is doing at FBC Jackson.  It is all about Him!!!

Hold on, You need a new vantage point (Psalm 131;138-139; 143-144)

May 25, 2016

“O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore,” Psalm 131:3

Often Sherry and I find ourselves seeing things from, let’s say, “a different viewpoint.”  Now I know what you are thinking, “you’re a guy and she is a girl.”  Certainly this is true, but this is not what I am referring to.  I am referring to our vantage point.  The fact is I am about 11 inches taller than Sherry.  So, when we are looking at something, my vantage point is much different from her’s.

I admit, there are times when I just cannot seem to help her to understand what I am seeing.

This happens in our spiritual journey of life as well.  The Bible is clear, “God has a specific plan for each of our lives, Psalm 138:8, Philippians 1:6.”  God sees this plan and He directs our lives toward fulfilling that plan.  But we often do not have his vantage point.

There are times when I want to pick Sherry up so that she can see what I am seeing.  Often times I will look for higher ground for her, or I simply tell her what she is unable to see from her vantage point.

In Psalm 131, David is seeking to pick us up, take us to higher ground, and to simply show us God’s vantage point:

  • David proclaims:  “I have zero ability, on my own, to accomplish God’s plan.” Vs:1
  • David proclaims: “I do not have to have ability, on my own, to accomplish God’s plan.” Vs: 2
  • David proclaims: “I trust totally in God’s ability to accomplish His plan in and through my life.” Vs: 3

This, my brothers and sisters, is an amazing vantage point.  The Scriptures so consistently teach us to have this vantage point:

Romans 12:16 “Never be wise in your own eyes.”

Matthew 18:3 “Have a sincere childlike faith.”

I Corinthians 14: 20 “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”

The wise person comes to Jesus with a sincere faith seeking to do as God directs because he or she knows “God’s vantage point” makes all the difference.

Brothers and sisters, “trust God, He knows what He is doing.”

Our duty (I Chronicles 23-25)

May 24, 2016

Their duty was also to assist with the showbread, the flour for the grain offering, the wafer for the unleavened bread, the baked offering, the offering mixed with oil, and all measures of quantity or size.”  I Chronicles 23:29

Doing our duty is not aways an easy task nor is it always fun.  Be honest!  We all have those duties that are less than desirable.  But for some reason we do them.  Sadly, some people approach their faith in this way.

Question:  “What is your duty when it comes to your personal faith in Jesus Christ?”

Consider the duties outlined in our readings for today.  David is transitioning leadership of Israel to his son Solomon.  In these chapters David clearly outlines the duties of the Levites (23); the priests (24); and the musicians (25).   For Israel this had great significance:

  • This meant that God was building His people a place where they could meet with Him, 23:25.
  • This means that God was organizing them into a people who would worship Him.
  • This meant that they would have one central place of worship.

You and I read these chapters and we think, “I am glad these are not my duties before the Lord.”  Consider the following:

  • You and I are now the temple of the Lord, I Corinthians 6:19.
  • You and I are now giving access to worship through Jesus, I Corinthians 6:20a.
  • You and I are to give glory to God through our doing of our duty, I Corinthians 6:20b.
    • Look at the text of I Corinthians 6: 19-20:  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

We serve an awesome God who has brought us to an understanding of our duty as something that is joyous.  May you and I do our duty because we love to do our duty!!

 

 

Never alone (Psalm 108-110)

May 23, 2016

“For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.”  Psalm 109: 31

For the past few days I have been seeing this random post on Facebook, from a person who keeps posting, “No one thinks I am beautiful.”  As I considered this post, I began to think about the people who are either in this person’s life or are not in this person’s life.  I thought about whether this person was hearing voices inside that was apparently pulling this person even farther into darkness.

Consider what great benefits you and I have in God’s presence in our lives.  Psalm 108-110 teaches us of the great benefits of having God’s presence with us:

  • In Psalm 108 we are reminded that no matter how many enemies we have, the presence of God guarantees our victory when the trial is over, Vs: 13.
  • In Psalm 109 we are reminded that no matter how little we have of this worlds goods, our God’s presence is His guarantee of our daily provision, Vs: 31.
  • In Psalm 110 we are reminded that our greatest need for God is in our salvation, Vs: 3-5.

In each of these chapters we are brought out of any moment of darkness by His presence which is ever with us, Hebrews 13:6.  I want to challenge each who read this blog to both celebrate and to cling to God’s presence.  I want to challenge each who read this blog to cast off the voices of the enemy that would rob you of the joy of the Lord’s presence.  Finally I want to challenge you to speak of God’s desire to be present in others lives.

At the table where you are eating, there is a person who needs help.  Where you buy your groceries is a person who needs help.  When you are having fun there is someone watching who needs help. Even in a foreign land there are so many in the villages who have never heard these words, “Jesus saves.”

Who is He with? (II Samuel 22-23; Psalm 57)

May 20, 2016

“With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; with the purified you deal purely, and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.”  II Samuel 22:26-27

Recently, while I was deep in study, at the office I heard someone asking my Administrative Assistant the following question.; “Is Pastor with anyone at this moment.”  The person was sincerely not wanting to bother me if I was meeting with someone.  Her answer was amazing: “He is meeting with the Lord.”

Question:  “Who are you with today?”

As David pens this awesome praise course in II Samuel 22, which lasts for 51 verses, we see the joy of David in “being with the Lord.”

God had given David peace from his enemies, Vs: 1.

David describes for us how this happened:

  • God was his foundation.  He was on the rock of Jesus.
  • God was his fortress.  He was hidden behind God’s shield of faith.  He was sheltered from the storms.
  • God was his deliverer.  In every battle God came through.  David was never once injured.

David breaks out in praise in Vs: 4.  He then describes the battles the Lord took him through, Vs: 5-25.

Then in verses 26-27 we come to application of the song.  Read again II Samuel 22:26-27.  David wants his readers to understand the following:

  • If you are walking in mercy, holiness, and in purity, you will experience the glorious favor of God.
  • If you are walking without mercy, without holiness, and without purity, you will experience the grave disfavor of God.

This very day I was challenged to know that God walks with me because He has redeemed me, Romans 2:1-4.  I am who I am by His great power, I Timothy 1:15-16.  I have what I have because of His mercy, Ephesians 2:4-5.  I do what I do because of His sovereign direction, Phil. 3:20-21.

I was also challenged to stay away from a lifestyle that would cause God to disfavor my life.

Brothers and sisters, “Who are you with?”  This speaks volumes to our success or failure!!!

When you slip (Psalm 5,38,41-42)

May 19, 2016

“For I said, Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!” Psalm 38:16

Last Sunday I noticed bruises and cuts on the arm of one of our senior adult ladies.  I asked her, “What happened?”  She responded, “I slipped.”

The phrase, “I slipped,” can be a metaphor for making a mistake or in the Scripture it can be a metaphor for “a moment of sin.”  Question: “Have you ever slipped?”  Answering only for myself, “Yes.”

In Psalm 38 David has slipped.  We do not know in what particular way he has sinned, but we do know that his slip has left him in both physical and spiritual pain (Vs: 3-10).  His enemies are trying to gain the upper hand on him during this moment (Vs: 11-14).

David approaches the throne of God in prayer, awaiting the decision of the Lord (Vs: 15).

This is really intense.  When we slip we often cannot get back up mentally and spiritually.  We often find ourselves simply existing whereas before we are engaging the world with the Gospel.  How do we get back up?  Here is what David did:

  • He owns the truth that he is still feeling as if he is slipping. Vs: 17.
  • He confesses his sin to God and asks for forgiveness, Vs: 18.

One might wonder at this point, “Could he ever be able to stand again?”  The answer comes in Vs: 22 “Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!”

David understood there is forgiveness and restoration with the Lord!!!  He is the God of our salvation, Psalm 42:5; I John 1:9.

Because of Christ we can stand again!!!  This is glorious news to people who slip!!!  No matter how bad you have slipped, there is forgiveness with the Lord.  You simply have to ask.

Now here is some more awesome news:  “when God picks you up, you will discover that he has work for you to do.”

  1. He wants you to remain humble every day in your standing, I Peter 5:6-7.
  2. He wants you testify of how God can make sinners stand, Psalm 51:12.
  3. He has commanded you to exercise yourself in godly discipline so that you can continue to stand, II Peter 1:5-10.

“Thank you Jesus for getting me on my spiritual feet and for keeping me on my spiritual feet.”

Difficult but rewarding days (II Samuel 19-21)

May 18, 2016

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over the, that those who love your name may exult in you.  For you bless the righteous, O Lord, you cover him with favor as with a shield.”  Psalm 5:11-12

Yesterday I read the story of former South Carolina Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore who story can be accessed in the link below.  His story is of both rise and fall due to great strength and then great injury.

Marcus Lattimore: ‘I’m thankful for those knee injuries’

What blessed me the most was in reading His commentary of it all, “I’m thankful for those knee injuries.”  It was through them that this nominal believer became an on fire Christ follower.

When we look at David’s story in our readings for today, we see a king who has difficult days:

  • David mourns the death of his son to the point that he almost destroy’s the victory of his people, 19:1-15.
  • David shows grace to both his enemies as well as to those who had been faithful to him, 19:16-43.
  • David faces a rebellion from Sheba, 20:1-23.
  • David goes through three years of famine, 21:1-2.
  • David avenges the Gibeonites, 21:3-26.

Through it all David has discovered the rewarding part of difficult days.  He has come to know God in ways that were otherwise impossible to experience.  This day I challenge you to consider the God who loves you, Romans 8:31-38!!!

I also challenge you to write down your story of what God has done in your life.  I also challenge you to begin to share your story with others for the purpose of the glory of God.  God desires for your reward to be simply, “rejoice in the Lord who is always your refuge.”  Better days are ahead!!!  II Thessalonians 2:7-10.