I Will Praise

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Psalm 138:1-3

I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.

 

The Psalmist says that before all the inanimate false gods, that are not even living things, I will sing praise unto thee, the living God who made all things. The Psalmist understood that Divine rescue was not the result of the psalmist’s virtues but of God’s loving fidelity.

Wherever the Psalmist ended up and in whatever circumstances he found himself in, it was his decision to worship towards God’s House and to praise the LORD’s Name for His lovingkindness and truth. It was not a private negotiation but a public act that would stir those around him to praise God’s greatness and care with him.

Instead of looking at whatever false gods or false images that would attempt to set themselves up and distract the Psalmist in the midst of life’s daily struggles, the Psalmist confesses that my focus is going to be towards where the LORD’s Name is and the LORD’s Name is above all the false images produced in this world.

In a world where we are continually more interconnected with electronics of every shape and form imaginable we are more relationally challenged than we have ever been. We spend way more time with our phone, computer or tablet than we do communicating with and interacting with the person sitting next to us. We live in an interconnected world filled with constant distractions.

In this world of distractions we must make an intentional choice to put the Living God of all in His proper place in our life by praising and worshipping the LORD, not for what I can receive from Him but for who He is and for what He has already done in my life.

Do Well

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Isaiah 1:16-17

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

 

To wash, as used here, is to wash oneself, to bathe or lave, it differs from washing one’s clothes. So it has to do with the person being clean and not just the clothes they are wearing.

The LORD is rather stern with His people here and tells them earlier in the chapter that I am tired of your feasts, your worship and all these great prayers you are making. In so many words, you stick your hands up in my face in worship and they are full of blood. What an accusation against God’s people. It is hard for me to imagine that the LORD would tell me, I don’t want your worship because when you lift your hands to me I see blood.

The LORD then tells them where the innocent blood in their hands came from. God’s people were oppressing others and they were ignoring the fatherless, orphans, and the widows. The oppressed, the orphans and the widows do not have anything to offer us. When we help them they will still be dependent upon us afterwards. They can not reward us for coming to their rescue.

In Luke 14:13-14 the Bible says, “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Jesus said very clearly in Matthew 25:40 that when you’ve done it unto the least of these, you’ve done it unto me.

It’s not so much an issue for us to help someone when we feel like we will be recognized or rewarded in some fashion for doing so but it becomes an entirely different matter if it’s going to cost us time, effort or resources and nobody is ever going to know how good we are. We make much public display of having on clean clothes and looking right and yet our hands are dirty and full of blood before the LORD because our actions don’t match our words.

Dear Jesus please forgive us and help us to put away the evil of our doings and learn to do well instead.

Joseph’s Dream

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Genesis 40:8

And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.

 

It was a dream that began the sequence of events that caused Joseph to end up in prison in Egypt to begin with. Joseph had dreamed that the sun, moon and eleven stars had made obeisance to him and his family had interpreted that as meaning that Joseph felt like the entire family should come under him. This provoked much jealousy and his brothers ended up selling him into slavery when a camel train of Ishmeelites passed by on their way down into Egypt.

Years later when famine brought Joseph’s brothers to Egypt and Joseph revealed himself to them, the brothers were, of course, afraid that Joseph would extract revenge upon them. Joseph’s response to them is recorded in Genesis 45:5, “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.”

There was another Joseph once upon a time, who was married to Mary, the mother of Jesus. This New Testament Joseph was sent into Egypt by a dream for the purpose of preserving the life of the child Jesus from the jealous murder that was in Herod’s heart. Matthew 2:13, “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.”

The dream of both men came from God and because of the dreams both men ended up in Egypt estranged from their country, their family and God’s people.

Family and even the church will tell you that you have missed God’s plan for your life and ended up in some foreign place because of your bad choices and because you didn’t do it like they thought you should have. Regardless of others jealousy and murderous rage we are still children of the King of kings and servants of the Most High God. Many times the LORD will drive the good seed into foreign soil with tumultuous winds of other’s jealousy and rage and the reason He does that is to preserve life.

Don’t ever allow the circumstances of life to rob you of your dream. Without a doubt you will suffer persecution and separation because of it but rest assured that you have been scattered by the wind into seemingly foreign soil for the purpose of preserving life.

In Distress

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2 Samuel 22:7

In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.

 

How do we react in the midst of distress? In the Bible the word distress is also used to describe an adversary, foe, enemy or oppressor. For example when Abram returned from battle in Genesis 14:20 the Bible says, “And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” The word distress in 2 Samuel and in Genesis 14:20 are the same in the Hebrew. I think it would be easy for nearly everyone to agree that our enemies cause distress.

How do we react in distress? King David said, “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God…” Previously in verse 4, King David had said, “I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” Note that David said “I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised…” David knew that the LORD was worthy to be praised when we call upon Him.

Whether in pleasure or in pain, when we call upon the LORD, He is worthy to be praised. When people are treating us right and with respect, kindness and concern, we should call upon the LORD because He is worthy to be praised. Likewise when our enemies are coming against us and causing all kinds of distress and unpleasant emotions and feelings we should call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised.

The LORD is worthy to be praised and it doesn’t depend upon my emotions or feelings at that moment. The LORD is worthy to be praised and it doesn’t depend upon how I am being treated at that moment. My love for the LORD of my life and His place of preeminence and Rulership in my life is because He loved me so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son to die for me on Calvary’s cross and it’s not because I happen to be feeling good and everyone is treating me right.

In my distress I will call upon the LORD for He is worthy to be praised!

Spirit of Truth

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John 14:16-18

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

 

The Comforter is the Spirit of Truth that dwelleth within us. John 8:32 says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Unfortunately it seems that the first place we human beings go when we find ourselves in some unpleasant situation or circumstance, is any place except to the Spirit of Truth that lives within us. We get on the phone, text somebody, email someone or pour it all out on someone close to us when the whole time the first place we should go is into the LORD’s presence and start seeking the truth within. It is no wonder that the Bible says that the Kingdom of God is within in Luke 17:21.

The Spirit of Truth dwells within us and is an inward restraint on the part of us that is still unlike Jesus. Now I know that some Christians will claim that they have it all under control and figured out but my testimony is that when the pressure is on I don’t always respond perfectly and sometimes the wrong emotions and feelings come boiling up and the wrong words spill out of mouth. It is at those times that the Comforter pleads my cause before the Father and reveals the truth to me. It seem a paradox to the finite human mind but when I allow the Spirit of Truth to restrain me on the inside I experience total freedom. Freedom is knowing that the LORD Jesus Christ is in complete control and rules and reigns from Heaven above in mercy, love and forgiveness.

As important as relationships with my fellow human beings are, my answer and the freedom I need in life is found within when I am in fellowship with Spirit of Truth.

Glory and Virtue

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2 Peter 1:1-3

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

 

We have been called to glory and virtue by Jesus Christ. Glory is an outward thing and virtue is an inward thing. Many people desire the glory of recognition and reward on the outside but not many are willing to submit that recognition and reward to inward virtue.

Power on the outside that is not accompanied by and controlled by the proper virtues on the inside is ruthless, self-serving and destructive. You have most likely known someone in your life that had been afforded some type of outward power or position that did not have the inward virtues to control that power and use it in a constructive way that benefited those exposed to it.

Simon Peter teaches that we have been called to outward glory but that glory must be accompanied by inward virtue. It is apparent that there are plenty of ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing in the world today. We see outward glory and power without inward virtue on the job, in the government, in churches and anywhere else you care to look. I would suggest that the reason for that is because as a world or civilization we have rejected Jesus Christ, the source of all beauty and virtue. Righteousness, grace and peace come to us through the unconditional love and forgiveness afforded by Jesus Christ. Yet so many times we assume the Judgment Seat ourselves and decide who is worthy of our time and who is not.

May Jesus Christ, the King of kings and LORD of lords have mercy upon us and teach us how to love as He does.

God is Light

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1 John 1:5

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

 

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. God can appear in the darkness but the darkness is not in God. Throughout eternity, in the New City, there will be no night there neither need of the sun or the moon to shine in it because the glory of God does lighten it. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. However, God does appear in the midst of darkness. In Genesis 1:2 when the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep, God said let there be light and there was light. We see the same principle again when Jesus’ disciples were on the sea in the middle of a storm once upon a time and in the middle of that storm Jesus appeared to them walking on the water. Likewise when I accepted Jesus as LORD of my life He came into my darkened heart and saved me but there was no darkness in Him.

God can appear in the darkness but the darkness is not in God. The answer then to the overwhelming darkness that sometimes is so heavy and oppressive that you wonder which way is up and which way is down, is to step into your relationship with Jesus Christ and trust Him to complete that which He has begun in you.

Instead of causing me to question God and His intentions and purposes for my life, the darkness rather should cause me to draw closer to the lover of my soul. When I reach that new place of relationship in Jesus, in the midst of the darkness, I am flooded with God’s love and goodness.

When we reach this place of walking in the light as He is in the light we will have fellowship one with another. 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” This deal of division is all outside Christ. In Him there is no such thing as Pentecostals, Baptists, Catholics or any other group. There is only light. The only reason we can’t walk with one another is because we aren’t in the light as He is in the light.

Dear blessed Jesus please teach us to walk in the light as you are in the light!

Elect of God

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Colossians 3:12-14

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

 

In that Christ is all and in all, we as the elect of God, are to put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness and longsuffering while forbearing one another and forgiving one another. Additionally we are to forgive as Christ forgave us which was completely regardless of the offense. Above all that we are to put on charity or love.

We can have all kinds of beautiful and good things and still use those beautiful and good things to profit ourselves. Christ is all and in all and He must rule all the beautiful and good things He has given us for His glory. Jesus did a lot of beautiful and good things when He walked this earth. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, raised the dead, cast out devils and preached the truth but the climax of everything He did was when He went above all of the beautiful and good things He did and died on the cross for all. The crowning achievement of His whole ministry was the unconditional love for all when He was crucified at Calvary.

Matthew 10:24, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.” Although we are the elect of God, holy and beloved, we are not above the Master and our Lord. Everything we do is to be crowned with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. He said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32.

We are the elect of God. Let us therefore put on love and lift up Jesus Christ before all men and above all our works.

Desire of Thine Heart

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Psalm 37:4

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

 

To delight is to be soft and pliable or to live softly and delicately. In so many words, to walk softly before the LORD with an humble and pliable attitude and mindset so that He may use us in whatever situation and in whatever way He wishes. It doesn’t matter how much we know if our attitude and spirit is one of agitation and unrest.

The same word is used again just a few verses further down. Psalm 37:11, “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” So when the LORD sends abundance, those that delight in the LORD don’t become proud and lifted up but rather remain soft and pliable knowing that it was the LORD that accomplished the thing and it was not because they were so great.

The LORD will give thee the desires of thine heart? How much greater than that can it get? The LORD can give us the desires of our heart when we are soft and pliable because He knows His gift to us will not destroy us and cause us to forget Him. Would anyone give their child a gift if they knew it would destroy them? Surely not.

There was a woman once upon a time by the name of Hannah who wanted a child. She besought the LORD to fulfill her desire to have a child. When she learned how to delight herself in the LORD, He gave her the desire of her heart. The proof that she delighted in the LORD was proven when she brought her child, Samuel, to the Temple and gave him to the service of the LORD as soon as Samuel was weaned. The fulfillment of her desire did not destroy her but rather enlarged and benefited the Kingdom of God.

May the LORD help me to become ever more pliable before Him and learn to delight only Him.

Iniquity

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Matthew 24:12-13

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

 

Iniquity really comes down to meaning moral distortion, crookedness or to crook the truth. Iniquity is crooked truth or something that started out as truth and then was crooked or changed. For example, Ezekiel 28 prophetically describes Lucifer who was a covering cherub and perfect until the day that iniquity was found in him. Ezekiel 28:15, “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Lucifer crooked and distorted some of the truth that he was created with and then followed that crooked truth to the creature that he has become today. Likewise when he came into the garden and began a conversation with Eve, he crooked the truth just enough to deceive her and thus bring about the fall of mankind.

The love of many shall wax cold because iniquity shall abound. The love of many shall wax cold because the crooking of truth shall abound. Are we living in that day or what?! But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. He that hangs onto the truth and doesn’t allow it to be crooked or distorted until the end shall be saved.

Crooking the truth starts out with one small step off the path of straight truth and then eventually down the road that one small change in direction has caused a huge difference in where the truth once was and what is now accepted as truth. How did Lucifer go from perfect in the day he was created to the creature that he is today? By taking one small step in a different direction.

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” It’s not always a pleasurable experience holding onto and standing for the truth but it always pays eternal dividends.