Archive for the Word of the Day Category

The Voice of the Lord

Psalm 29: 3 – 9

The voice of the Lord: is powerful, is majestic, breaks the cedars, hews out flames of fire, shakes the wilderness, makes the deer to calve and strips the forests bare.

This psalm begins by directing us to ascribe to the Lord the glory and strength due His name. In other words, attribute to Him, give Him credit for, the power and might of who He is. David is reminding us, that although Yahweh is our love and Father, even our most intimate friend, He is still God Almighty, with the emphasis on All Mighty. The Passion Translation reads, “Be in awe before his majesty. Be in awe before such power and might!” It is a good reminder that even in our intimacy, there can still be reverence.

God is closer to you than a friend, closer than your relatives or even your spouse. I encourage you to call Him Dad and to bask in that close, personal relationship. We do so, though, not minimizing how enormous He is. In other words, in order to have a very close kinship with the Father, we do not need to make Him smaller. The task is to raise our self-image up to His throne room not to bring Him down to human size. He sees us enthroned with Him. The dichotomy of God’s power and majesty and His willingness to abide with us can be challenging to the human mind. As much as I wish for you to embrace Him as your own Dad and your very best friend, the thing which makes this so marvelous and miraculous is that He is so powerful, beyond comprehension powerful. That is your own Father and He doesn’t need to be small to be with you.

Sometimes I think we conceptualize God as just another person whom we can accept or reject. We speak with such arrogance. It is laughable at times when I hear people talk about Him. “I don’t believe in Him, there is no God,” you hear people say. However, there is coming a day when He will show Himself and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, the first born of the Almighty. People will kneel in awe and the splendor of our Father.

Did you ever wonder why God whispers to us? He is so powerful that the mere sound of His voice shakes the earth. If He were to yell, I suppose the earth would disintegrate. There is a comic book character named Black Bolt. Black Bolt is the leader of the Inhumans. He is so powerful that he can’t speak around mortals. His voice is destructive in its might. I wonder if Stan Lee got his inspiration for this character from today’s psalm. If God walked the earth today and spoke with a loud voice, there would be no one on the planet who would doubt any longer. The trees would be stripped bare, the mountains would crumble and rivers would change course. We have this arrogant attitude that we get to deny God’s existence, but a day is coming when we will see Him as He is. You will be overjoyed but others will quake in fear. You will marvel at His beauty while the foolish will cower. God won’t have to do anything threatening, and that is not His nature, but His mere presence will reduce the doubters to quivering piles of jelly. His voice will cause them to shudder at their own mortality.

When He comes, He is coming to gather all the sheep into His arms as a mother. He will show you incomparable love. However, don’t doubt for a moment that He could speak and end this earth and all life upon it. You shouldn’t fear because He is love and made all of this for you to enjoy. I wonder, though, if we might show Him a little more respect, acknowledge that for all His might He is so very gentle with us. Even to those who speak poorly of Him, He is kind and generous. He has withheld judgment because humanity couldn’t survive His voice, much less His judgment. He is doing all just so every human being can avoid judgment. God wants everyone in heaven. He didn’t sacrifice His son so that people would go to hell. He sacrificed him so we would all end up in heaven with Him. So, don’t worry about your unsaved family and friends. Pray for them. Show them God’s love for them but don’t forget how powerful our God is. One day He will speak and the earth shall bow its knees before Him and then all people will know that God reigns supreme and that Jesus is Lord of all.

Trusting Heart

Psalm 28: 6 – 7                  God’s Word

Thank the Lord! He has heard my prayer for mercy! The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusted him, so I received help. My heart is triumphant; I give thanks to him with my song.

These two verses capture David’s relationship with God. Praise is on David’s lips. Our Lord heard his prayer and answered from His mountain. David doesn’t stop with praise though, he declares the greatness of the Lord, extolling His strength and protection. God is a shield about us and He is our strength. If you are tired or feeling weak, no need to worry. The Lord supplies us with strength, giving us His own might to fuel our days.

I really love the part about trust. Day after day as I read these psalms, I see David writing about trust. Trust was an integral part of his bond with Yahweh. It was an important tie between them. David tells us in this psalm that the reason he received the help he needed was because he first trusted God. David vocalized his trust. It isn’t just something he thinks about. It isn’t restricted to a hopeful heart. He boldly declares to all the world that his trust is in the Lord. There is a secret in there for those who have ears to hear. The bold declaration precedes the help. David followed the answered prayer with thanksgiving and song.

You might not have liked David if you knew him. He was over the top in love with God and from what I can see from his writings, he really didn’t care who knew it. He danced before the Lord without a care for what anyone would think. I would have probably thought he was a bit of a freak but now that I have the benefit of history, I can see that his outrageous proclamations of love and trust were the recipe for success. Now, I want to be more like David. I want to lose my inhibitions and boldly declare that my God is the king and the love of my life. I want to stop hedging in my exaltation of his greatness. You might not enjoy being around me either because if my Christmas wish comes true, I am going to be a lot more like David.

Slumber Party

Psalm 27: 4

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.

It is no wonder that David desired to spend every day at God’s place. It is the place of perfect peace, perfect healing, of joy and rest. Of course, there is also the privilege of beholding the beauty of our Lord and savior and the magnificent splendor of our Father.

We know David’s son, Solomon asked for wisdom, and received it, by the way. David’s wish was to hang out with God. They are both terrific requests. Solomon knew he needed the wisdom of God if he was to rule God’s people. Do you see, though, what made David’s relationship with Yahweh so unique and special? His grand desire was to abide with the Father. It’s no wonder Yahweh said of David that he was a man after His own heart. He really was. David pursued God relentlessly.

That is only part of the story, however. Once David entered God’s place, he came to know fullness. I imagine he felt complete in God’s presence and that fullness and sense of being complete was something he could take with him to the battlefield, to the throne and into the rest of his life. Outside the Father’s presence, I think we all feel a bit incomplete. Once David experienced God’s house, there was never anything that could eclipse the feeling he received there. Pure joy lit his features as he gazed upon the glory of the Father and songs erupted from his heart.

Perhaps I sense an answer here to another interesting note about David and his writing. David was the one Old Testament writer who sounds like a New Testament believer. He wrote as if he knew Jesus. And now, I think I know why. He was hanging out at Jesus’ dad’s house. I think David met Jesus. He wrote about the Holy Spirit too so I guess that is what comes from hanging out with Dad. But then, that is exactly what Psalm 25 taught us. The private place is “where they sit near him and receive the revelation.” You may want to go back and reread Monday’s Word of the Day to let all of this sink in and meld together. There is a theme running through these psalms and they all lead us to the private place with Yahweh, His home, our abode. We, like David, can seek to spend time there with Father, Son and Spirit. There is no want or desire in our hearts (Psalm 23) when we are in the Father’s house. We are filled and have perfect peace in every area of our lives. Aspire to live with Dad. Seek, above all else, time in His home. It’s the image of comfort and He is the perfect host. But don’t just visit. Take your bedroll and move in. He has plenty of room for all and provision for a life time.

God’s Place

Psalm 26: 8              Passion

Lord, I love your home, this place of dazzling glory, bathed in the splendor and light of your presence!

Yesterday we were introduced to the private place our Father has reserved for us, a place where He meets with us and discloses the secrets of the universe, and even of the earth and your life. Today we get a picture of that private place that only those who love God get to enjoy. It literally glows with the glory of His presence. His glory saturates the wood and upholstery so that everything in His home radiates the joy and splendor of who He is. It is a place where the glory of Jesus synchronizes in a melody of warm colors. Music emanates from every surface and angels join in a holy chorus of perfect harmony.

The splendor, the light, the absolute glorious radiance of His presence floods our bodies and spirits as we hang out in the dazzling glory of His holiness. It is a place where we are welcome, so welcome, in fact, that you will feel even more at home than in your house, even more comfortable than at your mother’s hearth.

It is said that everything vibrates, and each material vibrates at a specific frequency for that substance. The resonance of God’s place is the perfect frequency for your heart. It is the rhythm of your spirit. That is why you feel weightless, light, in God’s presence. There is no weight upon your spirit when you are with Him. Your spirit literally floats on His.

There is healing in His presence because every molecule of your body is caused to vibrate and its perfect frequency. It is like molecular song, every organ pulsating at its perfect rate, at its specified wave length. Disease and malfunction are jarred lose and sent away. They can’t exist in the perfect rhythm of life which flows from Father, Son and Spirit.

I’ve seen some beautiful homes in my life, as I am sure you have, but nothing compares with the splendor of God’s place. It’s not that it’s palatial. It’s not the beautiful furniture and ornate décor. God’s magnificence, His beauty and brilliance make His home the most delightful and comfortable place to be. And the good news is, because you love Him and are called by Him, you have an open invitation to visit Him anytime you desire.

To some unapprised people, this sounds allegorical, but you know it is not. This is literal, and God’s place is a very real place where you can abide as King David well knew. It is the place where your heart is at home and at perfect peace. And the best news of all, you can access this special place from anywhere in the physical universe. So, come, all who are weary and heavy laden. Come, all you lovers of God. Come rest and refresh in God’s presence, in His home.

Private Place

Psalm 25: 14              Passion

There’s a private place reserved for the lovers of God, where they sit near him and receive the revelation-secrets of his promises.

There were several verses I thought of using for today’s selection before I settled on verse fourteen. For example, in verse one, David again, declares his trust in God. I could have written a lot on these words from verse three, “For how could anyone be disgraced when he has entwined his heart with you?” I’ve written quite a bit in the last few years about being intertwined with Jesus. It seems I was not the first person to be convinced on that idea.

Verse fourteen holds such promise and paints such an encouraging picture that it eclipsed even the intertwining. Although . . . isn’t there the inference of intertwined hearts in “lovers of God.” This does not speak of a far away, detached adoration. This “private place” is a love nest where those who love God gather with Him to share our joint passion. That passion is a love for all that God loves. We will gather around His Word and He will share His passion with us. We learn what is important to Him and He reveals the secrets of His promises. His love for us abounds in gifts and the treasures of His heart. He longs to have more people with whom to share them. In this private place with Him, He reveals all. It is His desire to reveal the secrets of the universe and in this private enclave, He can do just that.

The coolest thing about this private chamber is that it is open to whom ever desires to enter in. He does not have a gate keeper whose function is to keep people out. All who love Him, whose heart is intertwined with His, may freely enter and partake of the glories of His Heart. How cool is that? Why didn’t anyone tell us about this earlier. We could have been hanging out in the secret place for years. Now we know and only our own hearts can prevent us from lounging in the private place with God.

Look into your heart. Your passport to the revelation room is right there. Enter in and find the answer to every question you have. Receive the revelation of all His promises. He wants to give you all these revelations so you can enjoy the fruit of all His benefits. Come – hang out with God in the private place of your heart. Come into the garden He has set aside just for people like you where all the secrets of the universe are being revealed daily. Your spot has been reserved.

Veracity

Psalm 24: 3           Passion

Who, then, ascends into the presence of the Lord? And who has the privilege of entering into God’s Holy Place?

How would you answer this question? Which of us is qualified to stand int God’s presence, of entering His throne room?

Here is God’s answer from verse 4, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully” (NASB). Perhaps this doesn’t fully explain. The Passion translation reads, “those who never deceive, whose words are sure.” Verse four reveals the importance of clean thoughts and clean words which we heard in Psalm 19. This goes just a bit further, though, because it culls out those who speak falsehood or deception. What is falsehood? It is a nice way of saying lying. Deception is more insidious than lying. One can actually speak the truth and yet intentionally mislead, deceive. This is done by leaving out key data or even sometimes by the inflection in the voice. According to God’s Word, people who do this are not fit to enter His presence. That’s a pretty big deal.

We live in a time when lying has actually become, not only commonplace, but acceptable. For example, some people, even some Christians, think it is okay to lie on tax forms. What do you think God would say? For one thing, it demonstrates a complete lack of faith if you feel you have to withhold what is due. Another common example is the “little white lie.” Let me tell you, there is no such thing as a white lie. They are all dark because they all originate with the father of lies, Satan. God has never told a lie, will never tell a lie and, in fact, lacks the ability to lie. So, tell me, how is it that Christians can lie? It astounds me. Satan is also known as the deceiver. He is the master of telling a half truth. That is what he did with Jesus in the desert and Adam and Eve in the garden. He tries to get us to sin by questioning the truth or by leaving it half hidden.

I know that you know that lying is wrong and I hope you aren’t convicted because you do know better, but it is wise to be on our guard that we be not swayed by popular culture. Truthfully, this psalm is not a reprimand. It is good news. David is looking to enter God’s presence and to show us that we, too, can stand confidently in the very presence of God. David asks who can enter God’s presence. He did not phrase the question as, who is forbidden to enter the throne room. The answer is people who have not lifted up their souls to falsehood. There is nothing in their souls which is attracted to lies, misconceptions or deception. These people, honest people, get to hang out with God. However, that is not all.

Verse 5 says, “He shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” The honest person gets to enter into the Father’s presence and when you are in God’s presence, He gives you a blessing. I want that, don’t you? How would it be if every day you entered into the Father’s presence and every day He gave you a blessing? That would be okay wouldn’t it?

So here is what I ask of you. Practice being very forthright and honest. If someone asks you a question that you do not wish to reveal the truth of, then rather than lie, refuse to answer the question. Eliminate even the little white lies. Most of all, since I believe you do this already, help me to teach others that no lie is acceptable. Help us to stand on firm soil as Christians and depart completely from the ways of the devil. Let us distinguish ourselves by our honesty. I admit it is tough, but it is what our Father requires of us. It is the way into His presence and that is a good place to be.

The Good Shepherd

Psalm 23: 4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

This is many people’s favorite psalm. What is it that folks like about it? Is it knowing we have a shepherd who cares for us? Verse 1 from the Passion Translation reads, “The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough.” If this is your favorite psalm, do yourself a favor and read it from the Passion Translation. You are really going to love it. If you don’t own a Passion Translation just go to Biblegateway.com.

It wasn’t easy choosing one verse from this psalm but this one seemed louder than the others and thinking about it I realized you and I walk through the valley of the shadow of death almost daily. One of the points which has resonated with me over the years about this passage is that David was walking through the valley. He didn’t set up his tent and camp there. He kept moving forward, out of danger, through the challenge to glory and victory.

We recognize there are times when we must go through a troubling situation. There is no way around it, you just have to go through. We generally encourage one another that Jesus is with us even through those tremulous times. David takes it up a notch though. He says that even though he must walk through this foreboding valley, he shall not fear. David knew God was with him and being a shepherd boy himself, he recognized the devotion and care of the good shepherd. David killed both lions and bears to protect his flock (1 Samuel 17: 36). He knew God to be an even better shepherd than he. He trusted God to proactively deliver him from any evil that threatened him.

David said he was comforted by the Great Shepherd’s rod and staff. Here is where our image of God may depart from David’s. David saw the rod as comfort whereas some teachings cause people to fear God. Yahweh does not wield a rod to beat the sheep into submission. That is the image some people carry of God. We must put in the forefront of our thinking that our God is the good shepherd. He cares for the sheep as did David. If David was willing to face a lion and a bear to protect those in his care, won’t our Father do the same for us? Could David be a better shepherd than the Lord?

The rod and staff were for protecting and guiding the sheep. With the staff the shepherd could gently lead the sheep. When they went the wrong way, he could redirect their path. It could also be used to defend the sheep. David understood this and because of his understanding and his trust in the Lord, he could walk through the valley where death’s shadow looms without harm and without fear.

Fear is a crippling disease. In its grip we don’t walk through the valley. We don’t valiantly and confidently march through. The message of this psalm is that the good shepherd is with us and taking care of us. Therefore, we can lift our heads, throw back our shoulders and march through whatever peril appears on the horizon. There is no occasion for fear because the Lord God is your guide and your guard, and you couldn’t have better. You know that, but fear is an tricky thing. Our challenge is to live our life fearless and we can when we know our Father is with us. When we have true awareness of His presence with us and His guiding hand on us, then we, too, will walk through the valley and have no fear of evil befalling us.