Word of the Day

Long Life, Good Life

Psalm 34: 12 – 13             TPT

Do you want to live a long, good life, enjoying the beauty that fills each day? Then never speak a lie or allow wicked words to come from your mouth.

A friend of mine once remarked that we need to be reminded about the words of our mouth weekly if not daily. I so agree. We forget the power that is in our words and we forget the impact they have on our lives and the lives of those around us, like our families.

Don’t you like the idea of beauty filling every day? Of course, a long life and good life are attractive too. The psalmist here is David. He is teaching how to have a beautiful, long and good life. And, he ought to know. Never tell a lie, he tells us and don’t allow wicked words to come from your mouth. You have to decide for yourself what words are wicked and you may find that your definition changes over time but set a bar and make it your determined purpose to refrain from words you wouldn’t want to hear your mother saying. That is a decent test. I also think we can broaden our view by including vulgar words. There are terms we can use in place of words that may not be considered profanity but that are vulgar none the less. Civilization, in part, reveals itself in language. So I cast my vote for a more civilized lexicon, a vocabulary that gives honor to our Father instead of embarrassing Him.

What shall we say of lying? We all know, empirically, that it is wrong and yet do we refrain? Even from little white lies? I do not believe there is such a thing as a little lie. Either a statement is true or it is not. It may be phrased in such a way as to not be an outright lie but it isn’t the truth either. It is a deception and phrased in such a way as to be intentional misleading.

Here is the question I would like answered. Why do we lie? Is it that we are cowardly and cannot face up to the truth? Is it that we are embarrassed by our behaviors and thus attempt to paint a better picture of ourselves? Is it that we wish to avoid the natural consequences of our actions? I don’t know. Perhaps it is all of these and more but here is the bottom line, and I will not equivocate. Every lie is cooperation and companionship with Satan. Jesus is the truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. There is a very clear line here. We either line up with Satan or we line up with Jesus. Which shall it be? If we want the good life, a long life filled with beauty, then we must make the difficult choice to live in truth. I know it’s hard but everything about following Jesus is a challenge when you live in the world. His way is not the world’s way.

David teaches how to live in God’s blessing. It means we must guard our mouths. This is likely one of the most difficult tasks many of us undertake, but life and blessing are in the words of our mouths. Like my friend, said, remind yourself today about your words. Clean up your language and have a good life.

Ripe

1 Chronicles 29: 28

Then he died in a ripe old age, full of days, riches and honor and his son Solomon reigned in his place.

Well, if you are following the story this week, our friend, David has died passing, on the mantle of leadership to Solomon. What I find interesting in this passage is that he died at a ripe old age, full of days, full of riches and full of honor. My interest is especially piqued by the fullness of days. There is another passage in the twenty-third chapter that goes along with this. Verse 1 of that chapter reads, “Now when David reached old age, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.” There is a footnote at “reached old age” which tells us that he literally was “sated with days.” He was full of days, satisfied. Of course, that brings to mind Psalm 91: 16, “With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation.”

You should live on planet earth healthy and prosperous until you are fully satisfied. You aren’t supposed to die because you are sick. You are supposed to lay down your body and move to heaven because you are well satisfied. David was ready to turn over the running of Israel to his son and did. Everything was in place, his work done, his life full and satisfied. He left having fulfilled his mission in life.

Christians need a brain washing and this scripture is good for it. We have been coaxed by the world into sickness and death but Jesus is the life so we must adjust our thinking. Right now, each of us already has eternal life. The only difference will be that we will move to heaven at some point. However, for all we know, we may be back on earth someday. The point is, though, that we have begun to think like the world instead of like God and that is a problem. When people ask what you are going to die of you ought to say of satisfaction. When I am full of what this world holds, I will move on and it won’t be because I am sick or diseased. We’ll just lay down these bodies.

Get this mindset working in you that God has promised to satisfy you and don’t quit, don’t lay down until you are full and satisfied.

Seeker

1 Chronicles 28: 9

If you seek Him, He will let you find Him.

This is the advice King David gave his son, Solomon, as he began to turn over the throne to Solomon. I find it interesting to see what advice a leader gives in those moments. They always give the most essential bits of insight they have gleaned through their years in leadership.

David told his son, seek God and you will find Him. I like to say hide and seek with God is so fun because He always hides in plain sight. If we cannot find Him, it is generally because of one of two things: either we are not seeking or we are avoiding Him. I personally found that when I opened my eyes and heart to seek God, He was there. A friend of mine says of my journey, I chased Him until He got me. That is the truth. He was there all along reaching out to me, but I had to open myself to Him before I found Him. I was seeking a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him and I was sick and tired of not hearing His voice. It turned out He had been speaking and I just could not hear. Thankfully, seeking results in finding.

The problem David encountered at the end of his reign, I believe, was that he no longer sought the God of his youth. His hunger abated and he got comfortable. That is a peril we all face. We need to keep our goals so far out there that we must rely on God. I often think of the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. Do you think the water was two feet deep or over their heads? Of course, they were in over their heads. That is why Peter panicked. He called out to Jesus and was sustained. That is where I like us to be, in over our heads. Then we must rely on Jesus and Father. It keeps us humble but it also keeps us flowing in their power through the Holy Spirit.

Some people think of these seeking verses only in the context of salvation, but I think of them much more for the subsequent faith walk. It is not that difficult to seek Him and find Him for salvation but sometimes afterwards complacency attacks us and it becomes necessary to renew our seeking. I think this is what David intended to communicate to Solomon. Seek the Lord your God every day of your life and you will know how to proceed in this day. This is great advice for the ruler of a nation but every bit as important to you and me.

I encourage you to take some time today to seek God. Seek a new relationship with Him, seek time with Him or even a new aspect of your relationship. If you know Him mostly as your God, seek His Fathership. If you are comfortable with the Father, seek His Lordship. Maybe you want to know Him as friend. You can, you know. Seek His face, His voice, His hand. Seek and He will let you find Him. Seek and be found.

Go Get Gad

1 Chronicles 21: 9

And the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer saying, “Go and speak to David, saying . . ..”

I read this verse this week and it kind of bugged me. “Why did God speak to Gad,” I thought, “instead of speaking directly to David?”

David is a hero to me. He walked with God and talked with God as few people have. He is numbered among God’s personal friends. When I read the psalms, I see a revelation of the Holy Spirit that is completely unprecedented for an Old Covenant believer. In truth, David knew more about the Holy Spirit and followed his leading better than most New Testament saints. Besides that, his intimacy with God is inspiring. I soak in those words, longing for the same close fellowship he enjoyed. Then, this week, I read this verse and it caused me pause. Why did God speak to Gad instead of to David?

I found the answer and it does nothing to assuage my discomfort. 1 Chronicles 29: 2 reads, “Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God.” Do you see a problem here? David is now much older. He is the King of Israel but he is preparing to pass the throne to his son Solomon. He has laid up much gold, silver, wood and all manner of other materials for the building and equipping of the temple. By now he has sat upon the throne for many years and been very successful. And there is where the blessing can challenge us all. David’s success has gone to his head.

In the early days David depended on the strength of the Lord. God was his strong right arm. He followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and he trusted his God. He is a grand example of a person who demonstrated active trust in God.

He is famous for his praise and worship. Once he celebrated God so energetically that he danced himself out of his clothes. He was man who loved God, trusted in God’s ability and then praised God for the continuing triumph.

Now we see him at the end of his reign, very successful, very rich but also, a bit self-impressed. He says he used his ability to provide for the temple but the truth is, and he knows it, he would have had nothing if not for the provision of the Lord. Everything David dedicated to the temple project was given to him by God. David didn’t win the gold, silver or any of the other treasures in his might. God went before him and handed the enemies and their spoils into David’s hands. Then in his later years David began to believe his own press. He began to believe that he was mighty and strong. When he was young he knew he was small and weak but that his God was mighty. Oh, how it grieves the heart, but it also explains, so clearly, why God had to speak through Gad. David was no longer listening. He was too busy attending to people’s praises of him.

You know you have gone off track if you are reveling in the praises of people. Only the humility of the truth will keep you or I in power of the Lord. As soon as we start believing we have done something in our own power rather than acknowledging it was the blessing of the Lord, we are bound for disaster. Jesus said, “I can do nothing on my own,” (John 5: 30 TLV). What makes any of us think we can do better? Any success any of us have is because of the grace and blessing of the Lord. David knew that, but he forgot. He became enamored with his success and could no longer hear the voice of God. What a shame.

Look, God wants to bless us. He also wants to speak to each one of us personally but our big egos get in the way. We are so busy trying to feel good about ourselves and pump up ourselves to others that we are losing the intimacy with God. Adam did the same thing and look where that led. God will bless you and keep you in the protective and loving safety of His embrace. He will give you good success. However, as you are blessed, just remember that He is the author of every good thing you have. All good things come from above. It is He who blesses the work of your hand and you could do nothing without Him. So, keep your heart tender towards Him, or make your heart tender if need be. Get you out of the way so you can hear God. Don’t make Him speak to others in order to reach you. Give Him the glory for everything you have. Get off the throne and let God be a Father and best friend to you.

More

2 Chronicles 25: 9

The Lord has much more to give you than this.

God has so much more he wishes to give us. The subject of this story had to have his mind expanded by the prophet of God sent to minister to him. We are all in the same shoes at one time or another. We often have low expectations of what God is willing to do for us; what he is able to do for us. Since we have such low expectations, we don’t even bother to pray. Then a servant of the Lord comes along to remind us that God is all powerful and that he loves us intensely. Then hope is reborn; our faith is renewed.

Let us all renew our hopes today. Let us make new plans and revive old dreams. Take all of your desires, wants and fervent prayers to the Lord. Take your disappointments and failures as well. And dare to believe that God can and will fix every problem you have and bless you with all the good things you desire.

Judgment Day

John 5: 24

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

I have already had my judgment day. How about you? Do you hear Jesus’ word? Do you believe He who sent him, i.e. God, do you believe God? Jesus said if you hear his word and believe God then you have passed out of death. You have passed into life. You have eternal life. You have it now. There is another part of this verse, though, and something we need to hear. All you hear Jesus’ word and believe God have already passed into eternal life and do not come into judgment. That is a big statement and a momentous idea. You will not face judgment. Jesus has already paid your way with his blood. Hallelujah!

Many Christians have their eyes focused on judgment day. That is not where our focus ought to be. Our focus is to be on Jesus’ word. Will there be a judgment day? Truthfully, judgment is already in the world which is why Jesus came, to save us from the judgment that was upon the world, but you have passed into life.

The thing which is most troubling about Christians who worry about their result on judgment day, is that they work to earn a good judgment. They believe that on judgment day their deeds will render them either a good judgment or a bad one. Here is the unabashed truth of that. They are hardly Christians because they are not wearing the mantle of Christ. They are actually humanists because they are trying to win God’s favor by their good works rather than the sacrifice of Jesus. They believe there is something they can do to woo God and it is, in reality, a stench in God’s nose.

The only thing that makes any of us worthy of gaining heaven is the blood sacrifice of our beloved. There is nothing you can do to make yourself one bit more saved than you are now. You will not face the judgment seat because you have already been judged and passed onto eternal life. You made a choice. You chose Jesus and that choice is the dividing line. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil,” (John 3: 19). A negative judgment is on those who love and choose the darkness. For those who choose the light, they are saved and passed on into eternal life. So, you have reason to celebrate and praise the Lord for you have been spared judgment.

There is one other thing of note in this verse. It is interesting that Jesus did not say this good news is for those who have “heard” his word. He said it is for those who hear his word. Think about that for a moment. What is the difference. Also, Jesus did not say that eternal life is for those who believe “in” God. That is what we read but not what Jesus said. Jesus said heaven is for those who “believe Him who sent me.”

I believe Jesus is communicating a dynamic relationship to us. He wants us to hear, and continue hearing, his word, the word that he is speaking today. Then we are supposed to believe it. We are supposed to believe what God is saying and believe what He has said. Satan believes “in” God. That is no big thing. We are called believers because we are supposed to believe God. We are to believe His Word and even act on it. We believe He is faithful, kind and that He is present right now in our own environment. We believe He is alive and active. We are believers in all Jesus’ words. That separates us, especially when our actions show our belief. We act on our beliefs. Everyone does, so when we act on Jesus’ words, our belief system shows.

If you believe Jesus and hear his words. If you believe God and all He has said throughout the centuries, then you have already passed out of death and into life. You are already living in eternity. Eternal life is yours. That is some good news and perhaps encouragement too.

I am Perfect

Matthew 5: 48

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

I bet you have heard or read this verse before. What does it mean to you? Do you know who said it? These are words from Jesus? So here is the question we must first deal with. Did he mean that we are to be perfect now, here on earth, or is this mandate reserved for heaven?

A lot of folks will argue that this only pertains to our life in heaven. I would argue that makes no sense. First of all, Jesus was not preaching to a group of heavenly residents. He was preaching to a worldly group. Second, what would be the point of preaching this message here on the earth if he meant for it to apply in heaven. Further, why wouldn’t he say, “Someday, when you have ascended to heaven who will have to work on being perfect because your Father in heaven is perfect.” He had the opportunity to clarify himself if he meant to describe heaven. Also, look at the context of all the words around this sentence. This is taken from the Sermon on the Mount. Would you argue that the Sermon on the Mount is about life in heaven? Of course not. Therefore, we must take this verse exactly how Jesus meant it and deal with it, but this is what we often do with difficult passages. We find ways to explain them away.

I tell you that you have the ability to be perfect now. It is a choice but here is the secret, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing,” (John 15: 5). Jesus is perfect. Wouldn’t you agree? So, as long as we are in him, operating through him, obeying him, we too can be perfect. Of ourselves, yes, we have no hope. These are more than words though. There is a big difference in Christians who try hard and those who have given themselves completely over to Christ. This latter group seeks to hear Christ in every step of their day and they hearken unto the Holy Spirit. It isn’t a Sunday prayer. It is a daily pursuit. It is a devotion and dedication which is realized in every waking moment. And when any of us allows ourselves, truly, to be led by the Spirit of God and allows our lives to be hidden in Christ, then there is perfection, in him. In those moments of clarity, we are without blemish, just as he is.

Our goal, then, is not in seeking perfection but in seeking the perfect one. There is a calling to all Christians to abide in him 100 percent just as he lived in perfect union with the Father. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you,” (John 14: 20). This life in Christ is Jesus’ wish for us but it does not come from a once uttered salvation prayer. You cannot even get it by going to church for twenty years, never missing a Sunday. As Jesus spoke these words to his disciples, he was pointing them to the deeper life. He was showing them that though they were about to be parted from him in the flesh, they could live integrated with him, the Father and the Holy Spirit. He told them the Holy Spirit was come and would lead them into all truth. Jesus is the way, he told us that, but the Spirit is like those guys on street corners holding the big signs directing shoppers to sales. The Spirit is the one who leads us and teaches us. He will teach you to live completely immersed in the Father and Son when you seek Him.

This is today’s Christianity. We are in the days when going to church even a couple of times a week isn’t enough. We need to bury our lives in Christ. Each breath is delivered by God’s Spirit. Jesus is calling us to be perfect by living completely in him. You can do it. You can be perfect, and I tell you that you are perfect because the perfect one lives in you and you in him. We have to stay in him though and that is our challenge.

Think about what you think it means to truly be in Christ. Remove all the religion for a moment and strip it down to the basics. What does it mean to be “in Christ” and how do accomplish it? I can tell you this, it has a whole lot less to do with what we do and a lot more of what we allow him to do in us. I say to you that this is the key to end time faith. This is the sweet spot and our hiding place. We need to know what it means and how to get there. Be perfect because Jesus told you to. Be in the perfect one.