Qualified

Colossians 1: 12

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

You are already qualified to share in the inheritance of God. Isn’t that good news? You do not have to earn it. It is done. So, give thanks. Praise the Father. He has arranged everything so that you could be His heir. Even if you do not pray every day, get in the habit of praising every day. That is really more important because God has already done everything He needed to do to bring you into the throne room of grace. He has already provided for your every need. He has already bestowed on you the blessing of Abraham.

You have been pre-qualified. Now enjoy the fruit of what God has supplied you but always remember that as His child He has an expectation that you are not going to use all that He has provided you on your own lusts. He is not increasing you so that you can have a new boat. You can have the new boat and a jet ski too but remember that your job is to feed His children. You are to use your inheritance to spread God’s love and prosperity around. It is not only about you and how much of your inheritance you can spend gratifying the pleasures of the flesh. It is not just about a new vacation and new shoes. God wants to bless you, but He also wants you to bless others. He wants you to be like Him. He is not using up all of His resources on Himself. Otherwise, there would be no inheritance for us to receive. Don’t use up all the blessing that He is giving you on yourself. Thank God and praise Him from the bottom of your heart and then show your appreciation by blessing His kids. Find someone every day that you can bless. Then you will really see the manifestation of God.

Structural Integrity

Psalm 69: 31 – 33

For I know, Yahweh, that my praises mean more to you than all my gifts and sacrifices. All who seek you will see God do this for them, and they’ll overflow with gladness. Let this revive your hearts, all you lovers of God! For Yahweh does listen to the poor and needy and will not abandon his prisoners of love.

There is a lot of good news in this passage. David was tormented when he wrote this psalm, but he resolved into praise and praise boosted his confidence that Yahweh would, indeed, rescue him from his then present peril.

No matter how troublesome our present we, too, can have confidence that our God will never abandon us for we are bound to Him by His love for us. Though we may feel alone and that our prayers fall upon deaf ears, David confirms that Yahweh listens to us. Father hears our every whisper, every cry. His heart hears our prayers.

However, there is an important lesson we can learn from David. David might spend some time whining and even more complaining but when you read his psalm you discover that he never remains in the moaning stage. His victory is found in praise. He reminds himself of God’s love and might. When one combines the love of God with the power of God the only possible outcome is victory.

Our problem is that the construction of our prayers often fails to follow David’s. Sometimes you need to complain and grumble a little just to expunge your soul of despair. That is fine but it is not final. Eventually prayer needs to move to stage 2. Praise, then stage 3 confident statements about God’s grace for every situation.

I would encourage you to read this entire psalm and see for yourself the transition from despair to confidence. God continually showed up in David’s life and I believe his prayer composition is, at least, part of the reason why. Praise and confident expressions in the faith and loyalty of our God bring out the victory that is laying still within us.

Let All Praise

Psalm 67: 1 – 5

God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us— Selah.
2 That Your way may be known on the earth, your salvation among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for You will judge the peoples with uprightness and guide the nations on the earth. Selah.
5 Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You.

Indeed, let all the people of the world praise the Lord our God. He will judge righteously. Remember judgment isn’t just a negative. Someone wins a judgment in a lawsuit. Our God has already decided that we will win when He passes judgment because He has chosen to see us through the blood of righteous Jesus.

He will guide us all, all the peoples of all the nations. He will show himself to all the people of the earth and they will revel in His glory and majesty. All the nations will praise Him and sing of His glory. We will shout for joy at the revealing of His grace and beauty. The glory of His face will shine upon us all, for it is luminous, the light of the world. And we shall glory in His presence.

This is the description of the real end of days. When God shows Himself all the world will recognize Him as the one and only true God. They will see His beauty and majesty and will delight in His presence. There will be no unbelievers. There may be some people who choose not to follow Him but no one will be able to doubt His majesty.

He is gracious and kind and will lead all the nations in love. He will lead all people in delightful paths that will fill their hearts with joy and fulfillment. Then the people of all the earth will honor and praise Him. Selah.

Forever, and Ever

Psalm 66: 22          TPT

I will forever praise this God who didn’t close his heart when I prayed and never said no when I asked him for help. He never once refused to show me his tender love.

As I look back on my journey of faith, I notice how my attitudes have changed. I recall the zealousness of being a new believer. That was a fun time. I so well remember the new awakening when I became spirit filled and how that changed my life forever. Then a conference, a prophetic dream and an emergence that was as a new birthday to me. Again, this new chapter with Yahweh changed my life substantially and forever.

Now, I am like an aged cheddar cheese or an aged wine. The flavor of my faith has definitely changed. I am steeped in my faith and praise is, perhaps not as loudly jubilant as in my youth, but is devoutly anchored in my soul. I sometimes have fewer words for Him because I am more overwhelmed by His graciousness and love than ever before. Words fail me. I find also that He is more Father to me than ever before and the depth of that relationship grows every day.

I have become a Christian vigilante. Maybe that is not a good thing but I find myself quick in response when someone talks bad about my Dad. People may find me perplexing as a pastor of the flock because some of those who speak most negatively about my beloved also call Him Father. Only last week, did I find myself with an internal reaction to someone who wanted her son to know that all the bad and challenging things in his life were God leading him to be stronger. Is that how we help our children to grow and be stronger, by beating them up? I find myself, instantly, armed for battle with the fierce courage of a lion.

He never fails to show His tender love, never! He is perfect love and unfathomable affection. I have not received everything I have prayed for. There is much I still long for but I have unshakable, absolute belief that my heavenly Father is alive and well. He is watching out for us every minute of every day. He is not asleep, is not inattentive. He has never once closed His heart to anyone of us when we have prayed. No amount of evidence is sufficient to prove otherwise because the evidence is simply incomplete until it shows a picture of ultimate love.

I will praise Him forever. He is on my heart and my mind. I may not jump up and down in the exuberance of David, but praise and gratitude shall never leave my heart or fail to be upon my lips. And, who knows, when I get to heaven, maybe I will learn to dance like David danced and maybe I will be able to sing as David sang. Regardless, from now through eternity, I shall praise the God of my heart who has never failed to hear our prayers or ceased in showing His tender love.

Confident Heart

Psalm 57: 7 – 10       NLT

My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Again I find myself understanding why God said David was a man after His own heart. We might say, “He touches my heart,” and how could the Father’s heart not be touched from such an outpouring of love and gratitude?

Personally, I am stirred by David’s confidence. Continually the trust that David had in God appears in his songs. This confidence, or trust, was very real for David. He hung his life on that confidence. Even as a youth, David believed God and His word over the circumstances in the world. That was evident when he faced Goliath for he said to King Saul, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” (1 Samuel 17: 37).

It also seems that David’s confident trust goes hand in hand with praise. Which came first, I wonder. Did praise strengthen his heart? How does one grow into the depth of faith David had in God’s faithfulness? He wrote that his confidence inspired praise, but from where did the confidence originate. One might say, “David was able to exhibit confidence in facing Goliath because he had overcome both bears and lions,” but where did he get the confidence to face a lion?

David was the youngest of all his brothers. His older brothers were experienced, strong soldiers while he was still tending sheep and yet he had the faith of a giant. When he faced Goliath, he wasn’t tall or strong, he wasn’t arrayed in the finest battle armor. Instead, he said, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts.” Now that is some confidence!

I find myself envious of that depth of faith and my soul yearns to stand as tall as that young shepherd boy. Not only did he shame the Philistine army but imagine the reaction of the army of Israel? His own brothers were part of that force, a force that was afraid to march out against Goliath and his cohorts. Were they inspired by David’s heroism? Were they ashamed of their lack of faith in the mighty hand of the Lord? Let us hope that most of them took inspiration from his confidence in God’s unfailing deliverance. What of us? Can we look at this lad and from his faith and actions draw strength into our own spirits? Are we bolstered by his praises and confidence?

If one young shepherd boy can rise from oblivion to the throne, overcoming titanic obstacles along the way, then what can we do, we who have not only the throne of God as our backstop but also the faith of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit? What prevents us from being the mighty warriors of our age? I hope you, like me, feel that longing in the pit of your stomach. I hope you find a voice of praise which rivals even that of David because I believe we will find strength, trust, confidence and might in those praises. Lift your eyes, lift your voices and be strengthened in the innermost parts of your being.

Trusting You

Psalm 56: 3, 4b               TPT

But in the day that I’m afraid, I lay all my fears before you and trust in you with all my heart. The roaring praises of God fill my heart, and I will always triumph as I trust his promises.

I am enjoying Psalm Mondays and I hope you are too. I wanted to stay with Psalm 56 for another day or two to soak in what David had to share. His experiences are different from ours but the trials themselves are common to us all and I think by reading David closely, we get some important clues as to how to deal with difficult situations. David also teaches us much about trust, praise and a personal relationship with God.

We have learned that fear is a very dangerous pastime. It is fear which nearly destroyed Job’s life. None the less, it is a state that every one of us will experience from time to time. There are several characteristics of David’s writing which I appreciate. First, his honesty and transparency are laudable. He isn’t so tied up with his image of himself that he won’t express the truth of his fear. The other thing that I value so highly about David and am so appreciative that he shares is how he works his way out of fear, despair or sorrow. He expresses the truth of his state and is eloquent in divulging the depth of his emotion, but we also get to follow along as he works his way back to faith.

In today’s passage we see that praising God is what lifted him out of despair on this day. Praise set him free from fear. He took his fears to God and he walked away with trust and the assurance of triumph. I am sure if we could have stopped David in that moment when fear turned to confidence, he would have expressed an unwavering, absolute belief in his upcoming victory.

We too can trust God’s promises and the trust itself becomes the catalyst for success. Trust begets belief and Jesus said we can have what we believe. It certainly worked for David and my bet is that it can work for us too. Be blessed my fellow believers.

Convinced

Psalm 52: 8 – 9              TPT

But I am like a flourishing olive tree, anointed in the house of God. I trust in the unending love of God; his passion toward me is forever and ever. Because it is finished I will be praising you forever and giving you thanks. Before all your godly lovers I will proclaim your beautiful name!

Yesterday I sent you the first seven verses of Psalm 52. I thought you needed to see how David finished this song. Not only is it beautiful but in the face of adversarial persecution, he stands in the love and the grace of his heavenly father.

The first seven verses have more to do with the wicked people and how God will deal with them. This second part is about us, those of us who put our faith, not in the work of our hands, our wealth or our righteousness, but only in the “unending love of God.” When David turns to thinking of himself his thoughts are filled with God’s love and his love for God. Praise and thanksgiving come immediately to his awareness. His trust is in that love, knowing that God’s love is not only unending, but also passionate. David had a real, palpable awareness of God’s love for him and it altered his life. I so look forward to hearing him sing his praises to our beloved Father and I am going to go stand beside him and join in. I imagine I will never experience any greater joy than I will in that moment. My God is so worthy, and it is an honor to get to praise him.

In this earth, we too can trust in God’s love the way David did and it will protect us. It will keep us calm in the midst of the storm. Even when your Saul or Doeg threatens, God will keep your peace. He will guard your heart and soon you too will be singing your praises to the Beloved One.

I wish we understood how much Yahweh loves us. I wish we understood how real the force of his love is. I wish we all understood how to stand in trust, leaning on our faith in that love. David was hounded and persecuted relentlessly yet a song was never far from his lips, praise in his wake. He says with confidence and conviction that though persecuted, “I am like a flourishing olive tree, anointed in the house of God.” Can you picture what image must have been in David’s mind when he wrote those words? Doeg did evil and of course it pained David. That is why he sought the Spirit and poured out this psalm. However, at the end of the day, David saw himself flourishing under God’s blessed anointing. He saw himself planted in the house of God where his roots went down deep and drew nourishment.

I am very grateful David gave us this psalm. I hope you will find comfort in it. Let all our enemies be on notice. God will rip them up by their roots, but we will be firmly planted in the garden of the Lord, enjoying his anointing.