Friday, April 18, 2014

taking the bad news

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. 

Psalm 112:7


This song celebrates the benefits that come to a righteous soul that walks in God's ways. And a godly person can handle bad news. I think it is important to realize that the text does NOT say that a good person never has bad news come into his or her life. On the contrary, it seems to imply that bad news comes at times to good people. They just handle it better.


Instead of fear, a righteous person responds with firm faith, trusting God in difficult times. That is the big difference. Bad news may come, but God does not change! Faith in God will carry the good man through bad times.


Now, on "Good Friday" I remember the bad things that happened to Jesus. He suffered and died for my sins. He endured the cross, despising its shame for my sin because it was a "joy set before Him" to bring many sons to glory! What started out as "bad news" in the death of Christ is now very much "good news" in the gospel. He is the only hope for mankind. No other way to the Father exists except by Him. Easter is coming, and life will be secured in a resurrection. My heart is firm, trusting in The Lord.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

God's Word... forever

The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 

Psalm 111:7-8


The outstanding duration of the work of God is that it will always last. God builds things that last... forever. Even this current universe, marred by sin, groaning as all creation, waiting for redemption, will be remade as the new heavens and the new earth. Once created, God's will is for the universe to remain. He does lasting work.


The same is true of His Word. It is established. His precepts and principles are trustworthy. They are eternal truths that last forever with God. We, His people , are bound to His Word forever to live faithfully by His leading.


One reason why I must remain faithful to God's Word despite the chaos and change all around me is that it maintains my eternal priorities. I know that I feel the "forever" in its pages. I can handle any of life's unexpected bumps with the power of God's sustaining truth forever settled for me. In His Word is my strength.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

mighty Ruler

The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! 

Psalm 110:2


I write this so Far East on the globe that Passion week began yesterday. The time to reflect on my suffering Savior and His sacrifice is here. It will culminate with the celebration of His resurrection when I am once again with my home and family at the start of next week. So landing on this Messianic psalm at this moment is interesting timing.


I worshiped in a tight, hot room packed with believers yesterday. We shared the unique fellowship of a common meal around the table after we were first fed by the strong exposition of the Word. And Jesus rules over us! His scepter circles the globe. Even in places where men oppose Him, Jesus reigns! He does indeed rule in the midst of His enemies.


Rule Lord Jesus! Lead Your bride to love You and to declare Your rule among Your enemies. Save Your foes to make them Your friends. The gospel of Your love turns your enemies into Your servants! Amen.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

when accused

In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love. 

Psalm 109:4-5


David was under the scrutiny and attacks of evil men when recording the words of this psalm. It could have been a snapshot taken at many points in his life, whether early in his service to Israel when running for his life from Saul, or later when running from the rebellious uprising led by his own son, Absalom. David knew the heartbreak of misunderstanding and the fear of persecution.


But David trusted God when accused and attacked. He said, "I give myself to prayer." The Hebrew is literally, "I am prayer". I like that. When under pressure, we should make our lives a constant prayer to The Lord. There is a peace and consistency that will pervade even the most perilous times of persecution when God's people pray.


I long to have David's heart. To make my life a prayer is to seek constant communion with God. And so I wish to be today.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Among the Peoples

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 

Psalm 108:3


Yes, Lord I will sing

my own praises I will bring

with the joy of all peoples of the earth

I will sing of Your great matchless worth

Among the peoples I will sing

Yes I will sing


Yes, Lord, I will always tell

of the glory of the gospel

offered hope to every nation

You give us more than conceived in imagination

With love our hearts around the world proclaim

of saving love, heavenly home, spreading Jesus' fame

Among the peoples  I will sing

Yes I will sing

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

prayer for perspective

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD. 

Psalm 107:43


Lord,

My need for wisdom is great. I am a foolish person. I focus on me. My periphery barely extends beyond the reach of my fingers. I can't see beyond the tip of my nose. I am pathetically nearsighted in my "wisdom". It is why I need to attend to the reading, understanding, knowing, and doing of Your Word.


In the pages of Your book, Lord, I read the story of Your steadfast love, played out over generations, through centuries, among nations, to the entire world. It takes me out of my narrow tunnel and gives me the forced perspective that I must have. It opens my eyes to a vast world. I see humanity as You do, at least in part, and my focus shifts beyond me. Help me to always consider these things!

Amen

two types of leaders

Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, or declare all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times! 

Psalm 106:2-3


This is the call of all the Lord's people. It is particularly vital for leaders to heed because the people best prepared to make a difference in uttering God's mighty deeds are leaders. Those who rise up to share in that duty are blessed to serve The Lord in gladness. It is a joy, a responsibility and ultimately a delight to do so.


This psalm mentions leaders at key points in Israel's growth. Moses and Aaron were Israel's great Exodus leaders, but they suffered at the mumbling indifference of the nation. Leadership is always tested. Don't lead if you don't think that you can handle that.


Phinehas was a leader of opportunity. When he saw how far Israel's idolatry had come into the camp, he stopped it single-handedly, dramatically and for the glory of God. And instanteous leaders like him are needed now as well.