Tuesday, December 12, 2017

SING TO THE LORD!

 

Ps. 30:4-5  Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones!  Praise his holy name.  His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!  Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.

     Do you have a song in your heart that you find hard to contain?  As a pastor of over 40 years who has absolutely zero musical ability within me, I have found it difficult to be quiet when singing God's praises.  I try to be sensitive to those around me, but it's hard.  My wife, who has lots of music within her, has to now and then let me know when I get too loud.  One of the great things I look forward to in heaven is that there it won't matter.  There will be no restraints and I will be able to sing our Lord's praises to all of my heart's content.

     Dear child of God, praise the holy name of Jesus.  Praise Him for your salvation, for His faithfulness, goodness, kindness, love, grace and mercy.  Praise the Lord for your eternal life with Him.  Praise Him for the fellowship of believers.  Praise Him for His revelations to us through His Word and through His created world.  Praise Him for we shall be with Him forever and ever.  It will indeed be joy unspeakable and full of glory!

    Sing to the Lord, dear friend, for His anger lasts only for a moment.  Our God is a merciful and gracious loving Father.  Yes, He can and does get angry when we sin, but His anger does not last when He sees the righteousness of Christ in us.  Praise Him, for there is now no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus.

     In this life we may go through seasons of weeping.  It may seem like the days of weeping will never end, but end they will.  No matter what your life may be like now, it shall pass and then comes our eternal day with the Lord where there will be no weeping or sorrow.  On that day there will be eternal joy and praise will be a continuous song ascending unto the throne of our God.

     Sing to the Lord all you who are godly!  Praise His holy name!  

Monday, December 11, 2017

GIVE HONOR TO THE LORD

 

Ps. 29:1,2  Give honor to the LORD, you angels, give honor to the LORD for his glory and strength.  Give honor to the LORD for the glory of his name.  Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

     What does it mean to give honor to the Lord?  I believe it means we show respect for Him by acknowledging Him for who He is.  It means that we give way to Him because of who He is.  It means we submit to His rightful place as Lord over all our lives. 

     It's interesting to note that the Psalmist is addressing the angels of heaven here.  We have limited knowledge about the angels, but one thing we do know is that they are kept very busy worshiping and serving the Lord.  They are constantly in the presence of God and they have no problem honoring God.

     We, on the other hand, struggle with honoring the Lord.  We tend to take God for granted.  We tend to be lax on how we worship Him.  We are lax on how we use His name.  We are lax on how we represent Him in the world.  We are lax on how we think about Him.

     The heavenly hosts are keenly aware of God's holiness.  I wonder how many of us are aware of God's holiness.  Does the fact that God is holy do anything at all for you?  Does it bother you to think about His intolerance towards sin?  Does it bother you that you struggle with sin as much as you do?  Do you even think about it?  Does the fact that God is holy affect the way you approach Him?  It should.  God declares that without holiness no one shall see Him.  He commands us to be holy, even as He is holy.

     We give honor most to those whom we know and respect the most.  And, you can't really know God without knowing Him in His holiness. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

THIS ONE THING I DO

 

Ps. 27:4  The one thing I ask of the LORD--the thing I seek most--is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his Temple.  For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in the sanctuary.  He will place me out of reach on a high rock.

     When was the last time you asked the Lord to keep you in His presence so that you wouldn't sin against Him?  It is good for us to long to linger in God's presence.

     Our heart passion ought to be to delight in the Lord's perfections.  Have you ever paused to appreciate our perfect God?  God is perfect in all that is good: perfect love, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and peace.  Because He is perfect, He is perfectly trustworthy and perfectly able to help us with whatever we lack in our life in Him.

     We ought to consider it pure joy to linger in the presence of God's holiness.  Instead of seeing holiness as a negative thing, we should see it as a positive thing.  When we delight in God's holiness we are able to resist the temptations of sin.  We will have the desire to not sin against God. 

     Our heart passion ought to be to meditate on God and His Word.  Whenever you draw near to God, you should be in no hurry to leave His presence.  We should think often on who God is.  We should meditate on the Word and let its truths sink deep into our souls.

     When we dwell in the presence of God, we are kept safe.  The Lord protects those who are in His presence.  We need to always keep the Lord before us.  We need to always stay close to the Lord, never moving out of the reach of His protection.  We need to always be mindful of God so that we will have the will to not sin against Him. 

     Keeping God on our minds doesn't just happen.  We must work hard at keeping our focus on Him.  Life is full of distractions.  The soul has a natural tendency to be distracted.  We must make our connection to God the priority of our lives.  We must take responsibility for our souls by doing the things we must do to keep our eyes fixed on Him.  We must never let our passion for God dim or grow cold. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

WHY SHOULD I BE AFRAID?

 

Ps. 27:1  The LORD is my light and salvation---so why should I be afraid?  The LORD protects me from danger---so why should I tremble?

     We fear the unknown.  When we don't know what to expect and there is a sense that it might cause us harm, we begin to get afraid.  Fear can cripple us to the point that we don't do anything.  It can also protect us so that we don't do something that would harm or endanger us.

     We learn to respect that which we fear.  We understand the danger to us if we don't and become cautious.  We stay alert so we don't put ourselves in harm's way.  We do all we can do to keep as safe as possible.  Fear protects us by keeping us alert and ready for whatever may be before us.

     A healthy relationship with God instills in us a fear of Him.  To fear the Lord involves a reverence and respect for Him.  We acknowledge who God is and humble ourselves before Him.  We don't take lightly God's holiness and justice.  We don't take lightly our need to present ourselves to Him with pure hearts.  We don't take lightly the fact that God holds us accountable for our sins.  We don't minimize our constant need for Him.

     In Christ we are no longer afraid of our standing with God because He is our light and salvation.  We no longer fear God's wrath because we know we can trust Christ to protect us as we draw near to God.  We understand that there is great danger to our souls away from Him so we stay as close to Him as we possibly can. 

     If fear grips your soul, turn to Jesus and wait before Him.  Abide in Him.  Let Him light your path and protect you.  Perfect love, Christ's love, casts out every fear. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

STAYING PURE BEFORE GOD

 

Ps. 26:4-5  I do not spend time liars or go along with hypocrites.  I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked. 

     The Psalmist shows us a sure fire way to keep our souls out of trouble with God.  We stay away from those who would lead us into sin.  When we choose carefully those whom we spend most of our time with, we can avoid many of the pitfalls of sin.

     It is a waste of time to hang around with those who are liars.  You cannot trust those who do not have the integrity of heart to tell the truth.  You can be easily deceived by them.  Listen to them and you will find it difficult to distinguish that which is true from that which is false. 

     It is not a good idea to spend time with those who profess one thing and live another.  One can easily fall into the trap of justifying one's own sinful behavior by believing that if it's okay for someone who professes to have faith to do it, it's okay for us to do it.  It is never okay to do what you know God says not to do just because someone else is doing it.  Sin is sin and will always be sin even if the whole world does it.

     We can keep our souls pure before God by not hanging around where sinners hang around.  We should despise being in places where we know people are sinning openly.  It ought to shame us to be where sin is displayed and promoted.  When we hang around in the cesspool of sin, we will more than likely fall into it.

     A pure heart takes charge of his soul.  He refuses to compromise the truth.  He refuses to expose his soul to the ways of the wicked.  He surrounds himself with people who can help him stay pure instead of hindering him.  He just says "no" to sin and means it.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

EXAMINE ME, O GOD

 

Ps. 26:2-3  Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me.  Test my motives and affections.  For I am constantly aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth.

     Dare you do it?  Do you have the guts to ask the Lord to cross-examine you?  If not, what are you afraid of?  No sin escapes His notice.  He knows your thoughts and deeds.  It is better to welcome His examinations than it is to fear or resist them.  If you don't deal with sin now, you will deal with them later and later may be too late to do anything about them.

    What motivates you?  The only motivation a child of God should have is to honor Christ always.  We should determine in our hearts to please Him.  We should never let self be our motivation.  Life is about promoting and exalting Christ for as long as we live in this world. 

    Are your affections in the right place?  If you are longing for and loving the things in this world, your affections are in the wrong place.  The Lord, our God, must always be our first love.  To love anyone or anything more than God is spiritual adultery.  If you love Him, it will be evident in your priorities, how you live, and how you speak of Him.

     We should always keep our minds on how much God loves us.  Everything God does is an act of love.  Because He loves us He gives us standards to live by and we must do them.  We must determine in our hearts that we will always be governed by His revealed truth. 

    If you can't honestly say that you are living according to the truth and that you fear facing God's cross-examination of your heart, you need to get alone with God and let Him change you.  You need to confess all of your sins before Him and vow in your heart that you will obey Him.  You need to stay there alone with God until you know that your heart has been restored to a right relationship with Him.  You need to stay there until you know that it is God who moves you and it is God whom you love first and foremost. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

INNOCENCE AND INTEGRITY

 

Ps. 26:1  Declare me innocent, O LORD, for I have acted with integrity.  I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.

     The Lord does not condemn those who act with integrity of heart.  We may not always get it right, but if we do what we do wanting to do what is right, God understands and honors our heart's intent.  He knows we are not perfect and does not hold that against us. 

     Now if we deliberately don't do what is right, that's another story altogether.  There is accountability for those sins we deliberately sin against God.  We are held responsible for willful sin.  If you are a child of God and deliberately sin, are you not being spiteful towards Christ?  It is defiance and should God let you get away with it?  Of course not. 

     There is no condemnation for those who have an unwavering trust in the Lord.  This means that we don't fall into the trap of relying on our own wisdom or understanding or that of others.  We turn to the Lord and listen to what He says.  We acknowledge Him in all we do.  We seek to obey Him because we love Him.   

     When our hearts are firmly set on the Lord, we know all is well with our souls and there is a peace that governs our lives that holds us steady and makes us strong.  Satan may try to cast doubt on our souls but we stand firm because God declares us innocent.  It matters not what Satan thinks or what people think; it only matters what God thinks about us.

     Live with integrity of heart, trust in the Lord without wavering, and all things will be well with your soul both now and forever.