Anticipation

Ephesians 1: 18             Amplified

And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people).

I love the expression “confident expectation.” It is the image of us leaning forward, fully assured of God’s continuous attendance to our needs and desires.

When we hear this odd language like “eyes of your heart” it kinda makes sense but not completely. Perhaps the Amplified version provides some clarity. I would like to offer an additional way to think of it. You know how sometimes your sensitivity is heightened and you pick up on things better than at other times? Or, sometimes you know something but you aren’t sure what you perceived. We say, “In my gut, I just knew.” You see, your internal mechanism is operating all the time. Some of us are better at listening to it than others of us, but even the most unreceptive of us have those times when our perceptions are heightened. You pick up a little something in a person’s tone or your mind takes note of a word they used when there was a friendlier synonym. Perhaps you pick up on body language or a cast of the eyes. A plethora of data is flying by you at an enormous rate and you take in more of it than you know. Down in your core, in the very center of your being this data is processed and for those who listen to it, there comes revelation. It is a matter of listening to your inner you. That is what Paul was praying for, that the Holy Spirit would flood your inner being with his light to shine upon that information which available but undiscovered.

The Father is speaking with us continually. The Holy Spirit is whispering into our spiritual ears. Paul prayed that our sensitivity to these things would be improved so we would discern the blessing which is constantly flowing to us from the Trinity. Paul knew that when we allow the Holy Spirit to tune us into the Divine frequency, we receive hope of a kind that has us not only leaning forward but jumping out of bed in the morning. We receive such encouragement from the light of the Spirit that we are absorbed in confident expectation.

Isn’t that exciting? This hope that Paul wants for us is what we are called to. You may have known that you are called, well, this is your calling. Father is calling you to be immersed in the assurance of the rich inheritance which is yours, right now, as a child of God.

Your inheritance is for today. You don’t have to wait for God to die to receive your inheritance. He made it available at Jesus’ death. Father has called you to the confident expectation of your glorious inheritance which is yours in Christ Jesus, our Lord and savior. All of the dying has been done. Now is the time of light and life. Pray this simple prayer with me: Father, I receive all you have for me. Open my eyes and ears that I hear you daily and I see your loving hand everywhere I look. Lead me, Holy Spirit, into this confident expectation of my inheritance through Christ. Father I thank you as I receive this, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

It’s yours. En-joy!

Answer my Prayer

Psalm 20: 3 – 4             God’s Word

He will remember all your grain offerings and look with favor on your burnt offerings. Selah. He will give you your heart’s desire and carry out all your plans.

Do you know that there are some people to whom it is difficult to give? I had a friend that way. You couldn’t bless her. She refused kindness or just would not receive graciously. After a while, I just got tired of trying to be a blessing to her. She just made it too painful. I wonder if God has the same problem giving to us. Do we make it difficult?

Today’s psalm is a psalm of David. If you were to read the whole thing you would recognize his writing. One of the things I find most interesting in this selection is the “Selah” at the end of verse three. What is there about the content of verse three that should cause us to stop and ponder? Is it reasonable that God’s memory of all of your offerings inclines him to giving you your heart’s desire?

This would appear to be the operation of the covenant relationship between David and Yahweh. David contributed to the temple. He gave his tithes and offerings and God was aware of David’s faithfulness. David was bolstered by his gifts too because he understood the covenant. He knew that because he did his part, God would do His. There was a trust relationship between them. Of course David could boast in the name of God. He understood covenant relationships and he stood on his covenant. God proved time and again that He would do as He promised. Why then, does it seem that He isn’t fulfilling His promises to us?

If I had the answer to that I would write the book and all Christians would get all prayers answered. It is a question worth pondering though. Why would God even bother make us promises if He didn’t intend to keep them? It’s not like we had some sort of leverage to force Him to make a bargain with us. So, if He so charitably makes promises, will He not also keep them? What then marks a difference between those who receive of God and those who do not. I can’t help but think that it is this confidence that David shows in God keeping His covenant. Does that bold trust and unwavering assurance put David in a better position to receive? In verse 6 he wrote, “I know God gives me all that I ask for,” (Passion). Do you think most of us can say that with the same level of confidence? I want to be able to as I am sure you do also.

So here is what I leave you with today. What do you think distinguishes David from most of us? He was on the wrong side of the cross even, yet he had such confidence in God. Secondly, do you think the covenant relationship had something to do with David being able to receive from God? We have a better covenant than he and ours is made on better promises with a better mediator (Hebrews 8: 6, 12: 4). How is it that God gave him all he asked for when his covenant was inferior to ours and yet we do not seem to receive all we ask? I have questions for you rather than answers but often I believe the questions to be more important. Only the right question will lead you to the right answer. So, will you ponder these questions in light of today’s verse? We would love to hear from you.

Run? I Think Not!

Psalm 11: 1

I have taken refuge in the Lord. How can you say to me: “Flee to your mountain like a bird?

I am happy to be back in a psalm of David. Not that the others are bad but there is a richness in his writing. I think what I like most is his authenticity and intimacy with the Lord.

Let me rephrase today’s verse just so you get the full flavor of it, “How can you say to me: ‘Flee to your mountain like a bird?’ I have taken refuge in the Lord.” Does it make better sense like that? I love the incredulity in David’s voice. “How dare you advise me, in your worldly wisdom, to flee. My sanctuary is the Lord!” I love his bold confidence in our God and his complete unwillingness to live below God’s covenant promises.

Why should we flee to the mountains? Why should we hide out in caves? Our hiding place is God Almighty! We reside in the palm of His hand. We little Christians are scurrying around all over the planet looking for help, looking for shelter. Fear and worry harangue our every move. It feels as though our enemy is as close as our shadow. That wasn’t David’s view though.

Listen to the words of King David as revealed from the Passion translation. He said, “Lord, don’t you hear what my well-meaning friends keep saying to me?” David’s reaction was,  “But don’t they know, Lord, that I have made you my only hiding place? Don’t they know that I always trust in you?” How could they advise David? They could not because they could not see from his perspective. In verse 5 we see David’s confidence because God is on His throne. All is under His eyes. Because of this, David knew all would be well.

Do you see why I love David so? I look forward to meeting him. I will tell him how his songs blessed me but even more how his faith in God and his absolute trust in the Almighty impacted my life. I hope you will let a little of David rub off on you as well.

Plea for Mercy

Psalm 6: 2 – 4              (TPT)

Please deal gently with me; show me mercy, for I’m sick and frail. I’m fading away with weakness. Heal me, for I’m falling apart. How long until you take away this pain in my body and in my soul? Lord, I’m trembling in fear! Turn to me and deliver my life because I know you love and desire to have me as your very own.

A friend of mine turned me on to the Passion Translation and I am so glad she did. I really love to read the psalms from it. I think you may be able to see why.

Have you ever felt like this, felt like you were falling apart both body and soul? I have and so I can relate to David’s cry for help. David had something many of us have not fully realized. He knew that God wanted him as His very own. Isn’t that a heartwarming thought? Can you truthfully say the same thing about yourself? I know it is true. God treasures you, but do you know it?

If you know that God loves you and desires to have you as His very own, does that give you greater confidence that He will answer your prayers? David was confident. Verses nine and ten from the God’s Word translation demonstrate this, “The Lord has heard my plea for mercy. The Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be put to shame and deeply shaken with terror. In a moment they will retreat and be put to shame.” He really did trust that the Lord would meet whatever need presented itself. I can imagine David standing before his enemies saying, “In a moment you will retreat and be put to shame!” I think he believed it that strongly.

What will you say? What will you declare when you look into the mirror this morning? Do you believe the Lord will restore your soul? Is He going to heal your body? Will your enemies turn and flee in terror? Your declaration determines whether these are truths in your life or simply wishes. What is God’s role in your life? Is He a partner or a spectator?

Get excited about the God of your life. Meditate on His love and desire for you. Let that thought fill you. He will hear your plea for mercy and help and rush to your aid. That is the Father, your real father, the one who created you before the beginning of time.

Selah

Psalm 32: 7 – 8       Amp

You are my hiding place; You, Lord, protect me from trouble;
You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance.
    Selah.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you.

This is a good time to learn about the word “Selah” because it impacts the understanding of this psalm. One of the primary ideas about this word is that it indicates a pause. We find this word mostly in the Psalms so one might ask if it represents a musical interlude or just a pause in the lyric or instrumentation. It turns out that it has more to do with ideas represented in the lyric than it does to the lyric or melody specifically. It calls the listener, or in our case, the reader, to pause and consider the immediately preceding lyric. Today’s psalm was written by David. When we hear or read “Selah” in the above passage, he wants us to stop and consider the meaning. He has just said something very important and he wants us to stop and be sure that we have taken in that important thought.

There is a second use of Selah. It is used as a bridge or a connector. It alerts the listener that the stanza which is about to follow is thematically tied to that which has just preceded. In other words, the psalmist wants us to hear the next passage with the former still in mind. So stop and hear what has been said with a mind to integrate it with what comes next.

In today’s scripture selection, David confesses his confidence to God. He is able to hide himself in God, receiving protection and deliverance from trouble. He says, also, God surrounds him with joyous songs and exuberant shouts. That isn’t the end though, because in the next stanza, God answers him.

In the combination of these two verses we see a great deal of their relationship. Not only does God protect David but you hear David’s confidence in that protection. David is the one who proclaims that he is protected from trouble. His trust in God is the unspoken refrain. Yahweh answers his confidence and trust with, “I will lead you. I will counsel you. I will be your mentor and will guard your way and keep my eye on you at all times.”

There is a relationship between these two verses and these two people. That is what we are supposed to see in this psalm and that is what the word Selah reveals to us. These are not two independent ideas but rather a revealing of the intermingling of their lives. This is a model of how our lives are meant to be. We also have a hiding place, we are hidden in Christ. We should have the same confidence is the three persons of the trinity as David sang of here. I am hidden in Christ and thus protected from the danger and trouble of the world. God is my helper, my right hand and my deliverer. God, for his part, will lead me and guide me in the way that I should go because I have hidden myself in Him. Selah!

Beyond Expression

Psalm 112: 1, 7 – 8                Living Bible

Praise the Lord! For all who fear God and trust in him are blessed beyond expression. Yes, happy is the man who delights in doing his commands. He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him. That is why he is not afraid but can calmly face his foes.

Allow me to rephrase this, “All who revere or respect the Lord our God and trust in Him are blessed beyond words.” Surely, praise is in the house. Those who delight in following God’s words and His leading, and the title “God” here would include Father, Son and Spirit, are happy. They live in the joy that comes with unity with God.

There really is joy in following Jesus and delighting in his words. This verse goes on to say that these people do not fear bad news or live in dread of what may happen. Doesn’t that sound good? It is horrible and stressful living in fear. Jesus certainly wants you free of that. People who really trust God, believe He will take care of them. They even expect Him to look after them and to meet their needs.

These verses are joyous and they are not very complicated. To love God, to live according to His purposes, following His leading is to live a blessed life, a life free of worry and fear. We work ourselves into a deeper place of trust as we go. Each day you can enjoy more freedom than the day before. All of the keys are in today’s verses to help you go deeper. There is no reason for you to live in fear and dread when God has paved a way out for you. Delight yourself in His ways. Increasingly trust Him. Revere and honor Him. All of these lead to comfort and ease.

You may want to ponder these verses. There is great assurance in them and bold promises. Wrap your will, heart and mind around them and claim them, and their meaning, as your inheritance. Be blessed beyond words!

Confidence

Romans 5: 5           GW

We’re not ashamed to have this confidence, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Can we truly be confident in the Lord, so confident that it shows? The love of God brings hope and we will not be disappointed in our hope because God has given us the Holy Spirit. Did you know that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to pour love into our hearts? He pours, not dribbles. A great volume of love is available to anyone who will receive. This love brings confidence.

We have confidence that God will never leave us nor forsake us because He poured out His Spirit to us. His Spirit lives in us so God is bound to us. He has chosen to be bound to us. We cannot be separated from Him because His Spirit is in us. That is a powerful statement. Therefore, nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 39). Surely this truth yields hope, a hope which leads to confident expectation.

Look at this verse from the New Living Translation, “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Is that not special? Here is the Passion version, “And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!”

Just think, it was God’s choice that provides us with a never-ending flow of His love. No one coerced Him. He came up with the idea and the plan. So, our confidence is in His love because He offered it freely even while we were yet lost. When we did not love Him, He devised a plan to furnish us with an everlasting, endless supply of His love and His love never fails. We should have confidence in that love. It is reliable and we can trust in it.

Let your hope in God’s love fill your heart with confidence. There is no guesswork here. God has given Himself to you because He wanted to. If He would give you His Spirit, and His Spirit is constantly pouring the love of God into your heart, what would the Father deny you? He has given the best, why not the rest?