Posts Tagged passion

Impassioned Cry

Psalm 7: 1 – 2

O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge; save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me, or he will tear my soul like a lion, dragging me away, while there is none to deliver.

This psalm is headed with, “A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjamite.” I find these words as important as the song itself. A Shiggaion is a particular type of song or poem. Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines it as, “a lyrical poem composed under strong mental emotion; a song of impassioned imagination accompanied with suitable music; a dithyrambic ode.” Ah, but what is a dithyramb? A google search led me to this definition, “a Greek choral song or chant of vehement or wild character and of usually irregular form, originally in honor of Dionysus or Bacchus. Any poem or other composition having similar characteristics, as an impassioned or exalted theme or irregular form. Any wildly enthusiastic speech or writing.” This begins to show more clearly the characteristic of Psalm 7. The Strong’s concordance has this to say about Shiggaion, “perhaps a wild passionate song with rapid changes of rhythm.”

When we read the words of David having been translated into Greek and then to English, we certainly lose a great deal of his passion. The English language is not known for its ability to convey strong emotion anyway. Apparently, this psalm was wildly passionate and yet the words read as dry as week old bread. Can we put ourselves in David’s shoes and touch his passion?

David knew his only refuge was the Lord. His enemy was so powerful and venomous that David was not only fearful for his bodily survival but more so for his immortal soul. Can you imagine being that threatened, scared that your enemy would, with the force of a lion, rend your soul?

Let me take you a bit further. We learn from the definition of Shiggaion and dithyramb that this would have been a wildly impassioned lyric with similar accompanying rhythm. The melody might well have been irregular, perhaps even discordant. Now add dance movements to this concoction. Everything David was and everything he felt got poured into this song to the Lord. It was an expression of his body, soul and spirit. He emptied out his heart to the Lord as expressively as a human being can. His spirit wailed within him and he gave vent to that strong emotion.

It will be impossible for us to appreciate the poetic rhythm in the translated version. We would need to read it in the original language to see the meter. However, we can, perhaps, reach into our own souls and feel the anguish David felt and sought to express. His song cried out from within him, seeking the solace that he knew he could only find in God. He laid out his problems to his father, lord and benefactor and called on God to save him. Then as he so often did, he praised the lord. Seek the Lord, petition the help you need, praise the Lord; this is the formula we learn from David. Let your trust have the last word. Here is how the Passion translation records the last verse, “But I will give all my thanks to you, Lord, for you make everything right in the end. I will sing my highest praise to the God of the Highest Place!”

That is how we should remember David and it is a powerful lesson we can learn from his life. No matter how dire the circumstances, David always ended his impassioned, even desperate plea, with thanksgiving, praise and faith. Oh that we might be people of faith. Would that we might pour out our hearts as did David. Though many of us may fall short of David’s gift of expression, we all have the ability to fully believe in the saving power and grace of our dear Lord. Give Him praise. He is worthy indeed. Get crazy and shout out your trusting confidence in your Lord. Reach into the deepest part of your heart and find what is most passionate within and share it with your beloved God and Father.

Fire

Matthew 3: 11

As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire? What does a person who has been baptized in fire look like? Why does the prophetic word teach that Jesus’ baptism is not only in the Holy Spirit but also in fire?

Many days when I sit down to write the Word of the Day I ask the Father, “What can I possibly write that will ignite people? What will awaken their former zeal?” Too many of us have fallen asleep in our faith. I preach to myself as well. Am I aglow with the Holy Spirit as I once was? I believe Jesus wants us baptized in fire so that we will burn with devotion and passion. I keep thinking of people who are “on fire” for God. Where has our passion gone? Have we abandoned our first love?

This verse always reminds me of Moses and the burning bush. The bush was not consumed. It wasn’t a natural fire, it was the Holy Spirit. It got Moses’ attention and he turned aside to observe it. That is exactly what I think the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire is supposed to do for us. We become those burning bushes which attract people. Look at this story more closely for a moment. “So Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am,” (Exodus 3: 3 – 4). What an amazing encounter. Observe the dynamic though. The bush afire garnered Moses’ attention. When Moses took the time to turn aside and look at the bush, the next thing that happened is that God spoke to him. Wow!

We are to be those burning bushes. When we are on fire for God, people turn aside to attempt to discover what is so amazing. When they do, God speaks. We are called to be the catalyst though. When we burn brightly, people are drawn to God. I am concerned that our flames are beginning to go out. We just don’t seem to be red hot anymore. What does it take to get dying embers to burst into flame? Is it something I can give you? Is it something God needs to do? Is it something only you can do for yourself?

You have heard it said that Paul told Timothy, “Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands,” (2 Timothy 1: 6). This is from the King James Bible and it’s a good word. However, many other translations, reflect back to the fire that was to come to us through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is how the Tree of Life version reads, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” The Passion version says, “I’m writing to encourage you to fan into a flame and rekindle the fire of the spiritual gift God imparted to you when I laid my hands upon you.” The fire and passion of Paul’s heart is heard in these words.

I wish I could lay hands on every single one of you and breathe upon the spiritual gift that has been imparted to you through Jesus’ baptism. However, I can’t, just as Paul couldn’t at the time he wrote to Timothy. We are going to have to fan the flames of the Spirit ourselves. I pray you become an inferno for God. I pray you and Jesus stir up those embers and rekindle the roaring fire you once were. And, if you have never been on fire for Jesus, if you have always been a bit lukewarm in your passion for Him, I pray right now, in the name of Jesus that the Holy Spirit touch you and love you into an unquenchable fire. Jesus, send your Spirit to breathe on each one of us. Refresh our anointing and our fire Lord. Amen!!

Lovers of God

2 Timothy 3: 1 – 5

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

This is the second half of yesterday’s scripture. The unholy truth of this passage is that Paul wrote to Timothy about believers. He wrote specifically about people who were supposed to be, even professed to be, lovers of God yet they loved pleasure more than they loved God. Sound familiar? Again, we are living in these days. We want all the creature comforts. There is no problem with that, but we are to love God more and seek Him rather than seeking the comforts. That is where we sometimes fail.

We know and believe that our God makes us prosperous (Deuteronomy 8: 18). We have believed and because we do, we ask God to give us the new car, new phone, etc. We follow the patriarchs who were rich, but we have missed one bit of their success. Their prosperity was embedded in their seeking out of God. We have loved the goods more than we love the one who is good. Our hearts seem to have grown cold. Our zeal for God has waned. However, Christ is alive and we can stir up that devotion and adoration for the Father, Son and Spirit.

Then there are those who “hold to a form of godliness” though they deny the power which should accompany all who believe. To my great chagrin, that statement describes the modern church. We have lost our passion for God and we have begun to live a weak form of Christianity though I stumble over the word for is it true that we are even living a Christian lifestyle when there is no faith, no power and no passion for God? Who are we? If we are as Paul describes, then I mourn for us and for the church. Paul told Timothy to avoid people like that?

Why do believers deny the power of God? Are we afraid, lazy, content? Do we worship at the altar of “being busy” so that we do not have to expend the energy to learn faith and to walk in it? When was the last faith project we stood for? In denying the power of God, do we not deny God Himself?

The sinful behaviors are problematic only because we have lost our zeal for God. Those who would serve God with all their hearts are saved from the passions of their flesh. They are raised up in the glory and power of the Holy Spirit to a life of love for the Lord. We have become a people who don’t know how to give worthy praise to our Father because we have lost our passion. We make deals and contracts with the Father as if we have something worthy of a bargain. We hear less about serving a benevolent Father than perhaps we should, but pastors know well that we want to hear about what God will do for us. Sermons about what we should do for the Father are not popular.

None the less, I cry out to the Father, who is King and the great architect, to revive our souls. Stir up our passion, O Lord, so that we become a people who gratefully serve you and for whom the appetites of today’s scriptural passage hold no sway. Give us a heart of deep desire for you. Mold us into true believers, and Father, honor those who are serving you with all their heart. Lead the rest of us, Holy Spirit, into a passion filled life in Christ Jesus. Amen!