It’s Not Fair

23 09 2013

“In the natural life our ambitions alter as we develop; in the Christian life the goal is given at the beginning, the beginning and the end are the same, viz., our Lord Himself.  We start with Christ and we end with Him…  The aim of the missionary is to do God’s will, not to be useful, not to win the heathen; he is useful and he does win the heathen, but that is not his aim.  His aim is to do the will of his Lord.” — Oswald Chambers

1 Peter 2:19-24 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. 21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

In preparing for tomorrow’s bible study I was struck once again by the discrepancy between Truth and my own attitude.  God’s word says that favor or grace is found when I bear up under the weight of griefs that come from suffering things that are not at all due to anything I did or did not do. It clearly promotes the idea that no credit is given for being strong in the face of that which is fairly given.

It reminds me of a credit report.  If I decide to buy a car and need to borrow money to finance it, the dealership will run my credit report.  On that report there is listed all the opportunities I have had to exercise the discipline of debt and repayment.  I get “credit” for the times I have borrowed and repaid.  If I borrow and don’t repay then I get a deduction.  My final score is determined by both positives and negatives.  When it comes to our Suffering Credit Score, we get “credit” only when we bear up under that which is not fair.  If we sin and get what we deserve, and bear up under it, that does not count toward our final score.  Okay, so it’s not a perfect analogy, but you get the point:  if we want that grace upon grace principle at work in our lives than we need to look at the attitudes that might be blocking it from coming.

“Whether we like it or not, all Christians are an advertisement for Christianity; by their lives, they either commend it to others or make them think less of it.  The strongest missionary force in the world is the Christian life.” — William Barclay

Matthew 5:10-12  Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

We have been called for the purpose of bearing up under the weight of unfair treatments because it gives us the opportunity to mirror Jesus to the world around us.  If I am just like the world in my attitude, why would anyone want my Christianity.  Jesus example was absolutely and completely counterintuitive to every other person EVER.  He suffered more utterly unjustly than any of us ever will, and yet, for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.  He despised the shame of it all but did not waver.  (Hebrews 12:2)

I have dug my feet into the big but of “It’s not fair!” more times than I can even begin to count.  And each time, I have lost out on a measure of grace that could have been mine.

“But, Margaret, if I have to DO something to get the grace, than it isn’t grace at all, is it?”

What a good question!

It is not the work of bearing up under that brings the grace, it is the positioning of a soul that brings it.  The spout of grace is already on, if I am a believer.  I don’t have to DO anything to turn it on, but I can choose whether or not to stand under it or not.

One of the things I love about God is that He is always, always, always faithful to the soul who bows low in humility and dependence on Him.  Even if I sin and bring consequences on myself, if I truly repent and turn to Him, He pours out His grace upon me so that even in those circumstances, I am able to glorify Him.  Too often, though, I am so set on my attitude of “It’s not fair” that I don’t see my need to repent and return to Him.

So, what does that
look like in real life?

How about the spouse who cheerfully sticks it out in a marriage that is not meeting his or her needs and does not stop doing the things that bless?

How about the employee who cheerfully endures ridicule by co-workers and continues to share the kindness of the Lord with them?

How about the parent who cheerful bears up under the weight of rebellious children and continues to pray and love on them?

How about the friend who cheerfully sticks by the friend who is unwilling or unable to return the friendship and never stops praying for them and being available to them?

How about the believers who cheerfully sustains a kind and loving spirit toward the ones who hate them and want their death?

I will never be able to do the last if I have not practiced the principle in other areas.  It is time for me to begin to build my Suffering Credit Score so that when the time comes (and it will come!) for me to stand firm in the face of death for my faith it will be such a habitual part of my attitude that all the Grace I need will be there and it will be a no-brainer.

Oh, Lord!  You alone know what a big whiner I am and how hard it is to move past the attitude of “it’s not fair”!  But You alone are the One who can so powerfully consume my heart and mind with Your grace and truth to set me free from it.  I submit my rights and my right to my rights to You.  I trust You, O Lord, to be faithful.  I trust You, O Lord, to be huge.  I trust You, O Lord, to be here with me so that like the three Jewish boys in the fiery furnace, the enemy will have to acknowledge that the fires have not hurt me but have brought Your presence and glory.

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Does It Matter?

25 06 2013

DOES IT MATTER HOW WE LIVE?

It is unfortunate that sometimes the words we need to hear from the Lord are the ones that we are most familiar with and, so, we are quicker to dismiss them.  There is a deception circulating the body of Christ whose emphasis is Freedom in Christ, but whose end result is Freedom of the Flesh.

Are we free in Christ to do whatever we want?

In terms of losing our salvation?  Yes; yes, we are.

In terms of staying close to the Lord and maintaining the kind of anointing that furthers His kingdom, the answer is a solid “ABSOLUTELY NOT.”

(Titus 1:16)  They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

(1 John 3:1-3) See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

When the Apostle Paul exhorts us that “it was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery,” he is referring to slavery to the kind of legalism that says a person must add to what Christ did on the cross in order to be saved (5:4).  The key thought of the Book of Galatians is “Salvation by Faith.”

The people who perpetuate the notion that Freedom in Christ means that we can do whatever we want because we are saved, tend to not continue on past the first verses of the fifth chapter of Galatians, because it clearly shows that true salvation walks in the Spirit, where the Spirit walks, and how the Spirit walks, and therefore, bears the Fruit of the Spirit.

(Galatians 5:16-25) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 

There are clearly two options for the believer:  walk in the flesh or walk in the Spirit.  And that is where our freedom lies.  You the direction you want to go, but we must realize that the direction DOES matter.

(Galatians 6:7-9) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 

The seeds of the flesh sprout quickly and bear fruit that satisfies momentarily.  The fruit eaten, though, quickly turns to poison and begins to produce death.

The seeds of the Spirit sprout slower, because the roots are going deeper to produce a solid stalk on which to bear the kind of fruit that satisfies permanently; it satisfies the soul, and continues to bear more fruit, so that it becomes a source of life.

(James 1:14-15) But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 

According to James, it is our very own desire that gets us into trouble.  We falsely assume that lust refers only sexual desires so as long as we aren’t having actual physical sexual intercourse outside of marriage, these verses do not apply to us.  Not so, the word means “a deep longing for anything, especially for that which is forbidden.”  It is our desires that bait us, they seduce us.  We enjoy the flirty, never really intending to go any further with it; but by the nature of bait, it gets its hooks in and does not let go until we are lying in a pan as dinner for the enemy.

(Titus 2:11-14 ESV) For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, training us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, looking for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.

The grace of God saves AND instructs us.  It teaches us to “just say ‘no'” to behavior that isn’t characteristic of the Lord (1 John 2:3-6).  It teaches us to “just say ‘no'” to the seemingly tasty morsels the world offers us (1 John 2:15-17).  The grace of God also trains us to live in such a way that we control SELF and choose to live the kind of lives that reflect our Savior (Galatians 2:20; 1 John 1:5-9).  The focus is not on what we do as much as on WHO we are doing it for.

(1 Corinthians 6:12, 20)  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful to me, but I will not be mastered by anything… For you have been bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body.

Some would point out that there is no specific commandment from God regarding particular behaviors, and so they have freedom to exercise them if they choose.  That is when it is important to remember that sin is a direction, not a line that we cross.  Have you ever wondered how a solid believer can fall so hard and land so far from the things of the Lord without even seeming to care?  It is because they assumed they could dance so close to the line of sin and not fall victim to its lures.  This is foolishness and the enemy delights in it.

(Romans 13:11-14) Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Some will point out that they are very involved in church, that they love the Lord, and that they are still in their Word everyday, so a little smoking here, an inappropriate movie there, a tiny dip into the pool of fantasy through video games or daydreams… isn’t a big deal. What they don’t realize is that they have a tiny island of rock on which they have one foot standing, in the middle of acres of quicksand; and it won’t take but a little bit to blow them right off their foundation into the miry depths waiting for them (Matthew 7:24-27).

(Philippians 3:7-12) But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 

Any area of behavior that we feel the need to defend with a self-righteous argument of freedom in Christ should probably give us cause to wonder if the enemy has inadvertently found a place in which to put a hook.

(Philippians 2:14-16) Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…

What does your behavior say to the world around you?  Does it scream to the lost that you love the Lord enough to follow Him, even when it means not being able to do the things that you’d really like to do? 

(John 12:25-26) He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”

If you are truly saved by grace through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, you were rescued from the land of darkness and transferred to the Kingdom of God as His kid (John 1:12; Colossians 1:13-14); and you have the freedom to choose (Joshua 24:15).  Your choice in any given area reflects the whole of your choice.  Choose Life for your own sake and for the sake of those around you (Deuteronomy 30:15-17).

(Ephesians 4:1)  Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.





Ever Right

13 08 2012

Psalm 119:143  Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.

  •  Righteousness:  both words used for righteousness come from the same root word meaning, “moral and forensic rightness”; describes justice, right actions and right attitudes;  in other words, it is true (as in not “off” by any degree), and right (never wrong).
  • Everlasting:  for all time, including past and future
  • Law:  a rule of conduct; refers to God’s law in general
  • Truth:  stability, certainty, pure

The prevailing propaganda circulated by the Enemy is that everyone is allowed to have their own version of what is right, and that only those who believe that there is one standard for rightness are wrong.  With no moral compass, however, a society has no “true north”, and can only remain lost in a sea of selfish desires.  We desperately need a standard, a plumb line, in which to gauge our actions and attitudes.  The psalmist set his confidence upon the kind of rightness that does not change with the passage of time, with public opinion or with popular philosophies; he knew that there was a true moral compass and it was his God.

Our God is not only an eternally righteous God, but He is also a good Father.  He doesn’t just do what is right and approve what is right, He also gives a clear expectation of what is right to His kids.  His law, or His righteous expectations for you and I, is truth; it is a stable foundation on which we can build our lives.  We were freed from the condemnation of the Law by grace and grace freed us to obey God’s truth through the power of the Holy Spirit.  All “real” truth is based on Love:  Love the Lord and love your neighbor.  (Matthew 22:37-40)  That kind of unselfish and other-centered love is an undeniable force for good in any society.

John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

A culture is changed by its moral compass.  In my lifetime I have seen horrible things become normalized by a shifting morality that does not want to stay true to what is right.  Imagine how different our culture would be if all of God’s kids decided to base everything we think or do, and how we react and interact, on the standard of God’s everlasting righteousness and on the truth of His Word. It is sad to know how many of those who claim to belong to Him know so little about Him or His Word, and so they have difficulty in distinguishing between what is right and what isn’t.  We become like those with whom we spend time.  If we spent more time with the Righteous One, feasting on His Truth, and seeking His will for us, we would become a standard upon which others could stand as well.  To know and love the Lord is the best and only “true north” anyone could ever have, for He is never wrong.

Holy Spirit, come and fill me with a desire to be with the Lord and to be in His Truth.  Draw me close; let me hang out with You, to learn of Your eternal righteousness.  You died on the cross to save me from unrighteousness; You gave Your righteousness to me.  (1 Corinthians 1:30)  Establish me firmly in Your truth and sanctify me in it, so that I can love You with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, and so that I can love all those around me with the same love with which You loved me.  Rescue our nation from its own unrighteousness for Your name’s sake; may we once again bring glory to You as a nation who serves the Lord.  (Psalm 33:12)





On the Right Side of Passion

27 07 2012

Psalms 119:139  My zeal has consumed me, Because my adversaries have forgotten Your words.

  •  Zeal:  an intense fervor, passion and emotion
  • Consumed:  to put an end to; in essence, “it is killing me”
  • Adversaries:  literally, tight places; opponents, as in crowding
  • Forgotten:  to mislay, i.e. to be oblivious of, from want of memory or attention
  • Words:  God’s spoken Words

The psalmist wept streams of water because God’s law were being broken and that same intense emotion continues to overwhelm him as he sees his enemies getting closer and closer.  The lines have been drawn and sides taken:  the psalmist is at odds with those who have turned their backs on God’s revealed Word.

 “Zeal” is a high degree of love; and when the object of that love is ill treated, it vents itself in a mixture of grief and indignation, which are sufficient to wear and “consume” the heart. This will be the case where men rightly conceive of that dishonour which is continually done to God by creatures whom he hath made and redeemed. But never could the verse be uttered, with such fulness of truth and propriety, by any one, as by the Son of God, who had such a sense of his Father’s glory, and of man’s sin, as no person else ever had.  And, accordingly, when his zeal had exerted itself in purging the temple, St. John tells us, “his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal thine house hath eaten me up.” The place where it is so written Ps 69:9 and the passage is exactly parallel to this before us. –Horne.

As we read through the Gospels in the New Testament, we get a picture of Jesus our Savior.  He was kind and gentle.  He reached out to the sinners with grace and compassion.  He called the small children to His side.  And He was a patient teacher.  In the face of His enemies He was strong, determined, wise, and not given to flashes of anger even after a barrage of attempts to mess with Him.  And yet, there were several moments during His ministry when it seemed as if there was an explosion of rage.  That rage, however, was never the result of His own personal irritation or discomfort.  It never stemmed from others attacking Him.  He was consumed by great fervor in response to those who were messing with His Father’s Glory.  Zeal consumed Him when His opponents acted deliberately against the Spoken Word of God Himself in such a way that His Father was being disrespected and dishonored.

Dishonor and disrespect are at the heart of the issue with the adversaries of God.  They choose to honor themselves, to raise themselves above God’s Word, and worse yet, they encourage others to do the same.

 (Romans 1:18-32) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. 

Our social media driven society makes it seem okay to get all worked up and spew nasty diatribes when our own personal honor has been violated.  There are plenty of religious zealots out there who are more than willing to blow someone up or go on a shooting rampage in an effort to promote themselves or their ideology.  True godly zeal, however, is never self-driven; it is fueled by Love, first for the Lord and second for His people (1 Peter 1:22).  True godly zeal is a good thing and we shouldn’t be afraid of it (Revelation 3:15).  A good soldier needs intense passion to complete his mission, for without it, he has nothing to motivate and spur him on to victory when things get tough.  We SHOULD know our enemies.  We SHOULD be grieved by their rebellion.  And we SHOULD all the more get fired up to stand firm and fight for what is right, even if feels as if it may consume us.

Lord, enflame me with a godly zeal to passionately stand firm on the side of Your Truth.  Make me fervent in my love for You, for Your Word, and for Your people.  Protect me from complacent lukewarmness and from a need to protect my own honor.  Wrap me in Your own great passion and fuel my emotions with Your Holy Presence so that I will represent You well at all times and under all circumstances, but most especially in the face of those who oppose Your Word.





When Life is Harsh and Unfair

26 07 2012

Psalm 119:137-138  Tsadhe. Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments.  You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness and exceeding faithfulness. 

  • Righteous:  just; to be right in a moral and forensic sense
  • Upright:  to be straight (up and down); to be even or level; to be right
  • Judgments:  judicial verdicts

The psalmist declares that the Lord Himself is just and righteous.  His character and nature are such that there is nothing out of balance, or untrue.  He is right and true.  He is the level with which all rightness is determined, and so all the judicial verdicts that He hands down are right and true as well.

Life sometimes just seems harsh and unfair, even for the person who trusts in The One True God.  In times like those, it is most important to stop trying to make sense of what is going on around us, and to take up a Faith Filter through which we can properly view our experiences.  When circumstances are filtered through faith based on the Truth in God’s Word, they are placed within the proper perspective of Who God Is.  In any court system, the judge makes all the difference.  Get a corrupt judge and chances are good that his verdict will be corrupt.  Get a fair and impartial judge and the verdict will be equitable and just.  Our God stands as judge of all.  But, more importantly, He is a Good and Just Judge.  We need not fear His judgments because ALL His character effects them.  So, that He is not only righteous, but also merciful and full of lovingkindness.  That is not to say that His kinder character qualities overshadow His judgment, though, for His is Holy and never deviates from what is right.

 Jehovah both saith and doth that which is right, and that alone. This is a great stay to the soul in time of trouble. When we are most sorely afflicted, and cannot see the reason for the dispensation, we may fall back upon this most sure and certain fact, that God is righteous, and his dealings with us are righteous too. It should be our glory to sing this brave confession when all things around us appear to suggest the contrary. — C. H. Spurgeon

The Lord is not a judge who is just doing his job; He is THE Judge who knows all things and has all authority in heaven and earth.  And He is on our side.  That puts us on the Right Side of the Law through the redemption of Christ Jesus, our Advocate and Savior.  If the Righteous Judge is for us, who can be against us?

(Romans 8:28-32) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 

Lord, thank You that You are a righteous God in whom is no partiality.  Thank You that all Your judicial verdicts are right and true, even if I don’t always understand them.  Thank You for being faithful in all that You do, so that even in the face of things that feel unfair, I can filter my experiences through the truth of who You are.  I trust You to do right by me, for me, in me and through me because You are a righteous God.

 





Mouth Open Wide

21 07 2012

Psalms 119:131  I opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for Your commandments.

Last night while preparing dinner, our two dogs sat in the kitchen watching my every move.  Their body language suggested ready eagerness for even the smallest morsel to fall on the floor.  Their mouths were open and salivating, knowing that the fried chicken would be so amazing and they could almost taste it.  That is the way that the psalmist feels about the Lord’s commandments in this verse.  He knows that the Lord’s Word is oh so good and what he has already partaken of tastes a whole lot like MORE.  He is attentive, waiting, and ready for more.

 (Psalms 42:1-2) As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? 

The interesting thing about our sense of taste is how individual it is.  Some find strawberries a wonderful piece of delectable deliciousness and some find their taste repulsive.  Some cannot resist chocolate in any form, and others find it just isn’t all that of an allure to them.  I would like to suggest that our spiritual palate is the same way.  Not that the word isn’t appetizing in any form, mind you!  Often those who don’t think it is have never actually tasted of its goodness.  But, I think to conversations I have had with Christians.  Some find the Prophets in the Old Testament to be the tastiest treats they have ever had, while others think they are a bit hard to swallow.  Some feast often at the buffet of the New Testament because it is so much more scrumptious to their spiritual taste buds to them than the Old.  Whatever our personal tastes, the Word of God has just the  mouthwatering buffet we require and crave.  It is the perfect banquet.

That being said, the psalmist finds himself craving God’s commandments.  His heart and soul hunger and thirst for the things which God has called him to obey.  His palate is conditioned to humble servitude.  This thought is so antithetical to American thought processes that it seems foreign and odd to us.  We wonder why in the world his mouth would water for obedience when there are so many more “feel good” messages in the Word.  We have fed too long at the appetizer table and missed the meat and potatoes altogether.  The psalmist was willing to forgo the spiritual convenience store chips and soda to stand in the spiritual buffet line waiting for the steak and lobster.    This type of craving will not go unfulfilled for God has offered the promise to His kids:  Open your mouth wide and I will fill it (psalm 81:10).

 (1 Peter 2:1-2) Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.

 Panting for holiness. A rare hunger; the evidence of much grace, and the pledge of glory. — C. H. Spurgeon

Lord, my mouth is open and I wait for You to fill it.  Keep my palate hungry for Your Word so that it is not satisfied with any of the tasty morsels the world has to offer.  May I crave Your buffet and feast long at it.  Grow me fat in Your Truth so that I will not be thin on any part of it.

 (Isaiah 26:8-9) Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, O LORD, We have waited for You eagerly; Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls. At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently…





Turn On the Light

20 07 2012

Psalms 119:130  The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

  •  Unfolding:  opening, entrance
  • Light:  refers to light that comes primarily from heavenly bodies but also for light itself.
  • Understanding:  the ability to separate mentally; to distinguish between
  • Simple:  silly, easily seducible, foolish

I can carry a flashlight into the blackest part of the night and still be unable to see… unless I turn it on.  The same is true with the Word of God.  Many of us own multiple copies of The Bible and some even have copies of it readily available to them at all times on their smart phones.  Yet if they remain unopened, they shed no light and provide no understanding.  They are useless to us, unless we first crack the cover.

The same is true for our hearts.  If my heart remains closed so that the Word of God is not allowed within its walls, then it remains blinded by deep darkness.  However, if I open it and receive it with gladness, it will bring light and understand, though I know nothing else.

 The word finds no entrance into some minds because they are blocked up with self conceit, or prejudice, or indifference; but where due attention is given, divine illumination must surely follow upon a knowledge of the mind of God. Oh, that thy words, like the beams of the sun, may enter through the window of my understanding, and dispel the darkness of my mind! — C. H. Spurgeon

The more Word, the more light; which in turn, removes foolishness.  I can’t help but wonder how better off our parenting skills would be if our goal in educating our children began with turning on the light of their hearts by opening the Word of God to them.  We expose them to early reading and math skills.  We teach them to care for their teeth and wash their hands.  In today’s world, we teach them a lot about bullying and getting along with one another.  And all the while, we leave them in the dark so that they remain silly and foolish, unable to discern truth from lies.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

 If all the books in the world were assembled together, the Bible would as much take the lead in disciplining the understanding as in directing the soul. It will not make astronomers, chemists, or linguists; but there is a great difference between strengthening the mind and storing it with information. –Henry Melvill.

I think an important principle contained within this verse is humility.  One has to acknowledge the darkness and open the door to divine light.  One also has to understand its simplicity before it can receive understanding.  I can’t tell you how many times my youngest son would exclaim “I know, Mom!” when we were learning new principles while homeschooling.  He thought he knew and would have no part of my instruction.  Off he’d go, only to come back later with a failed attempt.  I am like that WAY too often with God.  “I know!” I tell Him and off I go.  And when what seemed like a good idea at the time fails miserably, back I crawl humbly opening the door of my heart to His wisdom and truth.  Oh!  To seek that light initially so that this simpleton will not be quite so foolish and rash in its decisions.

(Ephesians 5:13-16) But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

Lord, open the door of my heart and shine the light of Your truth on all its recesses.  Leave nothing in the darkness of pride in what I think I know.  Be my wisdom and discernment so that I will not foolishly follow anyone or anything but You.