Word of the Day

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.

Blessed Refuge

Psalm 5: 11 – 12

Let all who take refuge in you rejoice. Let them sing with joy forever. Protect them, and let those who love your name triumph in you. You bless righteous people, O Lord. Like a large shield, you surround them with your favor.

I hope you are enjoying this sojourn through the psalms. David reminds us, today, that there is blessing, success, victory, protection, joy and favor for those who take refuge in the Lord.

David found his respite in the Lord.  He had a way of intertwining his existence with that of God and that was an uncommon space for the Old Testament believer. I love reading David for this reason. He had an enviable relationship with the Lord. We get to peer into this relationship through the songs written by David. Can’t you almost hear his heart soar as he sings, “Let them sing with joy forever.” As he wrote these words, I believe he was basking in the presence of the Lord. You can hear the praise and reverence in David’s lyrics but you also sense the deep intimacy he had with Yahweh.

As you read this psalm, you hear about the favor of God surrounding you. You may even rejoice at the simple acceptance that God blesses us, His righteousness. Most of all, though, today I hope that you will not only hear the substance of David’s song but even more so the tone of his conversation with the Lord. I hope that through these words, you will glimpse the heart and passion of David seeing the inspiration of his affection for the Lord. I think if we will take our time with these words, we will find our own hearts stirred. Maybe we will raise our voices or pen a beautiful lyric of our own. Maybe you can write a love song to the Lord. If you do, I hope you will share it with the rest of us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord. Rejoice in Him.

Good Sleep

Psalm 4: 8

I fall asleep in peace the moment I lie down because you alone O Lord, enable me to live securely.

This psalm is titled, “Evening Prayer of Trust in God.” That is a sermon unto itself. This is a good way to end the day, but it also makes me think of bookending my day with a companion prayer in the morning.

I hear two promises in today’s verse. First, there are the obvious trust expressions. David rested in the security that he had in the Lord. He was so convinced of the Father’s protection that he could lie down and sleep without fear. Of course this is from a man who was hunted so it is a loud representation of trust he enjoyed in the Lord.

The second promise is one of sleep. This passage is literally about the trust David had in the Lord’s protection. None the less, I pull this first phase about sleep out separately because I believe it is a promise from my Father to me. I have had trouble going to sleep all my life. As a child, I used to play music at night to help me fall asleep. I even tried singing myself to sleep once. Now, I have a promise from my father that I lie down in peace and fall asleep the moment I lie down.

Theologically, you have to deal with the context of David’s message. His message is that he can fall asleep easily and quickly because he knows the Father protects him. When I saw this passage, though, the Father quickened in my heart that I can have this and use this as a sleep passage, apart from trust issues. If I have any qualms about that at all, I can take it to Him in prayer. I can also journal it.

That is a big lesson about understanding of scripture and its use. We must begin with the passage in its context. We can’t just rip sentences out of context and retain the meaning. We can, however, rely upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit quickens something to your spirit you can see and appreciate nuances from the original text and assumptions. It is okay to follow where the Holy Spirit leads. In this case, there is an implication that David has no trouble sleeping apart from the potential of enemies disturbing his sleep. That is the issue he answers in his faith statement.

Also, the Spirit will always confirm the Word to you and if you are unsure, you can always ask him to confirm it. He is the Spirit of revelation. The Father wants to reveal Himself to you. There is life and joy in the Word and much richness. Dive into it and enjoy His feasts.

Shield of Faith

Psalm 3: 3 – 4

But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.

In verses one and two David decries the number and aggressiveness of his enemies. This psalm was written when David’s son was chasing him. How forlorn David must have been. His own son had turned against him in a grab for power. Though David spent the first two verses lamenting his dire situation, by verse three his spirit arose to declare the goodness and faithfulness of God.

He recognized Yahweh as a shield which surrounded him, guarding him from the menace of his many enemies. Though he must have gone around for some time with his head hanging low, God embraced him and held his head high. There is no shame because our God is our Father. He causes us to hold up our head when others would be bowed low.

The Passion translation of verse 4 is beautiful, “I have cried out to you, Yahweh, from your holy presence. You send me a Father’s help. Pause in his presence.” This is a good place to pause and consider. David had real trouble, real enemies. His problems eclipse most of ours. At least most of us don’t have people pursuing us to kill us. Despite his troubles, and in the very depth of them, he recognized the voice and hand of a loving Father. My point is that if David can receive the love of God in the midst of his dangerous circumstances, then we can too.

David triumphed over his enemies time and time again because he recognized that God was his hero. He trusted in God as his shield and that brought him the victory. Though he may have spent a little time mourning his situation, he never remained in that pitiful state. He would always put his mouth to work declaring God’s goodness. In the end, it was his belief in God’s faithfulness that delivered him. It will work for us too.

Rebellion, Ha!

Psalm 2: 1 – 3             (TPT)

How dare the nations plan a rebellion. Their foolish plots are futile! Look at how the power brokers of the world rise up to hold their summit as the rulers scheme and confer together against Yahweh and his Anointed King, saying: “Let’s come together and break away from the Creator.”

This psalm was written circa 1044 B.C. That is a long time ago, and yet, doesn’t it sound like it was written for now? I recommend you read the entire psalm in The Passion translation. It isn’t long. Despite these rulers’ intentional attempts to root Yahweh out of life and government, God has it well in hand. Verse four says He laughs at their vanity.

Let us not be fooled. There is intentional conduct aimed at tearing God’s influence out of our lives. For our part, the first thing we can do is pray every day for our countries and rulers. Don’t mislead yourself, or others into thinking, that every governmental official is an unbeliever. That’s just not true. What is perhaps true is that we probably do not support those believing governmental workers and officers sufficiently with prayer. I confess my guilt but today is a new day and we get a do over. We can start today praying for our government and countries. Secondly, pray for the leaders who are not saved. It’s not important that you decide who is who, just pray for them all. That makes it easy. Our efforts are best employed blessing people.

That is not to say, however, that we shouldn’t push back a little. How do we do that? It is never by speaking against someone. It is in becoming a blessing. If you walk around blessing people and flowing in the power of God then you will become an attractive force in your town. People want success. They want to be happy. If you can bring them that, then they will not wish to divorce themselves from God. This is the most important thing we can learn.

We have gone awry trying to flex political muscle by our numbers. We need to become a spiritual powerhouse rather than a political one, and this from a political science major and attorney. I have a new revelation of political power and it is minuscule and trumped by spiritual power. That is why Yahweh sits upon his throne and scoffs at the efforts of rulers and principalities. In the end their effort is in vain. However, in the meantime, people lives can be so much better if we will stand upon our covenant and proclaim the name and the favorable year of the Lord. If we will stand up and walk in the power, and the grace, of our dear Lord, then we will not have a political battle on our hands. We will only have the thousands of thousands seeking what we have. Let us come together and proclaim the good news of our Lord through demonstrations of his love and power.

The Righteous person

Psalm 1: 3

And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does he prospers.

An idea came to me today that I believe we will enjoy. Let’s take a trip, you and me, a journey of songs, as it were. Beginning today let us sojourn through the Psalms. Each day I will send you a verse out of a psalm beginning with Psalm One and continuing until Yahweh says, “Halt.” There are 150 Psalms. I do not intend that we do them all but perhaps we will do a couple of weeks’ worth. We’ll see but through this little adventure, I think we will get a better flavor of the Psalms. Sometimes you need to not bounce around so much in reading the Bible because you get a truer sense when you hang out in a book for a while. So, let’s jump in and see how we like this. Send me your comments. It might even be fun for you to anticipate which verse I will send the following day and who knows, if you send me your favorite verse in advance, well, maybe that will be the pick for the next day. So, tomorrow we will look at a verse from Psalm two. Which verse do you like?

Today’s verse is such a fun one. The psalms begin by characterizing the difference between a righteous person’s experience and a “wicked” person’s life. The righteous person is firmly planted. You can stop right there and shout. What image do these words paint in your mind? Being firmly planted means that the storms of life do not cause you to topple. You are not that tree that gets blown down in the storm. You have the ability to bend and flow with the wind all the while your roots, which run deep, firmly grasp the earth. They don’t strain to hold onto life in the tempest because you are simply rooted. You are so grounded that the winds of change or even turmoil do not disturb you.

You are firmly rooted near streams of water. That means that no matter how dry the season, or how infrequent the rain, you are planted at the stream where your roots do not have to search for water. You always have an ample supply because you are constantly resupplied by the flow of water past your roots. Go deeper in your celebration that you are planted by the stream because the stream represents the Holy Spirit of God. Meditate on that a little while.

You always produce fruit when you are supposed to. You are steady and reliable. Everyone knows they can look to you for fruit. You shall not wither and die. Your leaf remains young and supple. You provide shade and nourishment for all who come under your boughs.

Lastly, the piece de resistance, everything you do prospers. Write that one on a 3 X 5 card. Heck, make a poster of it. That is some good news, at least to all who believe it.

Foolishness and Power

1 Corinthians 1: 18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Let’s talk about evangelism a bit today. When you find something good, don’t you want to share it with others? The news about Jesus is good news and we often want to share it with others so they can experience his goodness as we do. Beyond that, though, there is a certain expectation in the church that we share this gospel of good news. After all Jesus did say, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” (Mark 16: 15). So, we try to do our part to share the gospel to those we know and people we meet. Unfortunately, it is utter foolishness to them. One version says it is nonsense. To the unregenerate mind the things of God cannot be understood. For that reason, people need to see Christ in addition to hearing of him.

Paul said that Jesus sent him to preach the gospel but not in cleverness of speech that the cross of Christ might be made void, or meaningless (1 Corinthians 1: 17). What do you think he meant by that? How can the preaching of the gospel void the testimony of the cross? In the second chapter of First Corinthians Paul wrote, “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power,” (v. 4). Using the word demonstration, he intimates that people need to see the Spirit of God at work, not just be preached to about it. This is where most of us fail in our evangelistic efforts. We don’t let the Spirit of God be seen.

You see, it really is the Spirit’s job to evangelize. We are, as they say, boots on the ground, but the master architect of salvation is the Spirit of God. Paul reveals in verse 2 of First Corinthians: One, that people are called to salvation. By whom are they called? They are called to Jesus by the Holy Spirit. We are the light which, going into all the world, people see and are subsequently called to Jesus.

You and I can save no one but we can be light bringers. We can have testimonies. We can tell of God’s goodness, but we can never convince anyone because it is all foolishness to them. Secondly, Paul said the gospel, to us, is the power of God. This goes along with verse 4 from chapter two, “My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power.” The power of God can be demonstrated; it can be seen. That is our part in evangelism. We are to demonstrate the power of God. Think about this for a moment and let it sink in. Does this make sense to you? Is this what Paul is saying? If you agree that this is the point Paul is making then we need to each ask ourselves, “When was the last time the power of God was demonstrated through my life?” I grant you this is a challenging question and I think most of us will have to admit we have been living powerless lives. Powerlessness in not God’s will for our lives. Would you agree with that? If so, then what are we to do? Are we to continue in our drab existence doing nothing to show God’s power and love to the world? Shall we simply continue going to church on Sunday but keeping our heads low all the other days of the week? Or maybe we will continue to convince ourselves that when Jesus told us to go into all the world he meant for us to preach at the unbelievers until they are persuaded. Do we believe we will find the persuasive speech which will evangelize the world?

It is time we, the church, each one of us, began to take this gospel seriously and allow it to rock us out of our comfort zones. It is time we call upon the name of Jesus to be Lord in this world. It is our time; time to lay hands on the sick and heal them, time to mend broken hearts, but not by persuasive speech, rather by the power of God. Jesus, it is not me who heals, mends, and saves, but rather you. We need to get ourselves out of the center of this dynamic so that Jesus can step in and wield his power. We need not be so concerned that we cannot perform but be convinced that he can. What would it take for you to pray for someone? What kind of miracle is required for us all to begin walking in the earth like the early disciples did? Are you a disciple of Christ? Are you filled with God’s Spirit? Let the goodness and the power of God flow from you. Don’t be a hoarder. God is the God of overflow meaning that He wants His power to overflow from you onto others.

Look, evangelism is easy when people get healed. It is not difficult to convince people of God’s love when you raise their child from the dead. Let’s all get busy. Let’s fulfill the commission Jesus gave us. Go into all the world and share the good news of Jesus.