I devotional I wrote has been accepted for publishing on October 27. The article is called ‘Portrait’ and is going to be published online by christiandevotions.us. So check it out and continue to read the blog. Thanks
We’ve all had one of those days. Everything is going fine as we drive down the interstate of life with the radio high and windows down when squealing wheels and car horns bring us down to earth in a blazing crash. David was nothing but a shepherd for years until Samuel showed up and anointed him as the future king. Nothing happened for a while until he began serving King Saul as a harpist. Suddenly, he was a conquering war hero parading through the streets of Jerusalem. Life was great. Crash!
David could have been bitter and angry about Saul’s betrayal. He could have turned his back on God. After all, wasn’t God the one who declared him to be the future king? Shouldn’t there have been a warning before he was anointed? Though there was initial frustration after Saul’s betrayal, David did not ostracize God. He did not demand an explanation. Keeping the Lord his refuge, even in times of uncertainty and crisis is one of David’s defining qualities. He rushed God’s feet even when God seemed to be abandoning him, putting his trust in God’s love in spite of his circumstances.
Whether you’re cruising or in survival mode now, I pray that you will make God your refugee. In this lifetime we will never see God’s full plan, but we can trust in His love and compassion, the compassion that put Jesus on the cross. If we are committed to having faith in His love, we will never be mastered by the collisions and crashes of this life.
When is the last time you saw a custard pie plastered to someone’s face on TV? Pie flining has become one of the greatest cliché of slap stick comedy. Its as old as the silent movies and Saturday morning cartoons brought the tradition to an artform. But before Mabel Normand launched the first pie, the pastry was invented to serve a sweet tooth.
Life is often a misused gift. Many spend their lives to gain happiness, glory, wealth, or power. David realized that life was meant for worship. In Psalm 6:4-5, he begs for God to save him because the dead do not praise the Lord. He doesn’t plead for his life for the sake of more time on earth, but more opportunity to worship. (Remember this was pre-Messiah and the Jewish concept of the afterlife was vague.)
As I look at my life, I realize how little I approach problems and decisions with God in mind. “What would praise the Lord?” should be constantly running through my head. Taking up our crosses is daily, hourly, commitment to worship God. If we had a perspective like David, how much would our lives change? Surely our lives would more purposeful and less like the used and abused punch line custard pies.
“The greater danger for most of lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”- Michelangelo
I love the quite before the start of the day, being able to sit and pray with no distractions after the coffee has done its work. This prayer was written by King David. Some think this may have been offered during the time of the morning sacrifice (Ex. 29:38-39). I can just picture David standing on the roof of the palace in the rosy peach light of dawn. The quite of the morning is interrupted here and there by the sounds of wooden carts creaking as they transport goods. With his arms raised, watching the smoke from the tabernacle rise to heaven. Here there was no court pomp, no campaigns, no politics…It was just him and God. Here he waited in expectation for God to answer.
We all have expectations. It’s what we expect that matters. Many people spend their lives expecting a certain kind of car, house, etc. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these things, but they are very insignificant. Why do we not approach things like prayer with the same determined anticipation that we have when in more material aspects?
Prayer is more precious that we will ever be able to comprehend. It is our gift to be able to come before the throne of God and speak with Him. We should pursue prayer fervently. After all, a relationship with God is what we were created for. How strange to give our eternal calling less attention than earthly perks.
There is no specific formula for digging into your prayer life, but here are a few suggestions. Try keeping a prayer journal. You can write prayers and requests along with dates. Always thank God when a prayer is answered and take time to think about all He Has. Lastly, pray for the Holy Spirit to speak in your life. Fix your attention skyward like David. Let us not expect boring ceremony in our prayers, but communion with God. Will be praying for you, God bless,
There is an idea spreading like dandelion seeds through the western world. People believe that if they maintain basic morality and are compassionate toward others they will go to heaven. No confession of faith, no acknowledgement of God, not even a basic code of conduct. Not only does this theory provide no assurance besides personal belief, but it fails to address the meaning of righteousness and God’s role in salvation. It is completely incompatible with Christianity and any other religion.
Paul writes that righteousness is not determined by standing with men (Romans 3:10,23,24). We are compared with God’s majesty, not with man’s failures. Perfection is the standard (Isaiah 64:6). In our own strength we are hopelessly inadequate to justify ourselves. That is why Jesus came to die for us. That is why we have the Holy Spirit.
It also completely ignores god in any religion. Being kind cannot in anyway completely satisfy any deity if you never acknowledge his existence. Kindness as a religion is a bit of an oxymoron in that kindness and goodness are left undefined or are defined by other religious movements. There are systems like Buddhism, which do not necessarily acknowledge a god. Personally, I define them as religions because they attempt to answer life questions like ‘is there a god’, ‘what am I here for’, ‘is there hope beyond death’…etc. and requires a decision. The ‘Nice People’ philosophy either doesn’t answer these questions or gives very foggy rational for its answers.
Yes, I believe that Christians are required to reflect their Lord Jesus and not only be kind, but love. However, salvation is strictly within the realm of God’s grace. The ‘nice people’ philosophy does not stand very well next to any religious or faith ideology because it really leaves all questions unanswered. Though they may say they believe in a god and heaven there is no answer for why and why does it matter. Its tenants clearly fail to match up with Christianity and it does not stand very well on its own. It comes down to can you go to heaven if you’ve never tried to pursue God or a god and why exactly should you be allowed into heaven? The obvious answer is because I’m not a bad person’. But, the ’nice person’ philosphy fails right here. If it is asked, how do you define a good and a bad person or when did God say that he only punishes ‘bad’ people and not the ones who do not worship him, they are led into a religious context either way. It must become defined and if it becomes defined a choice must be made to either to pursue God or some form of salvation according to certain tennents or not.
I need that piece of cake. I only need five minutes of your time. I didn’t do it. I understand.
Lies are everywhere. They have been a part of this world since the fall. But it’s not just the lies we tell, but the lies be believe about ourselves, others, and God: He doesn’t love me, I’ve messed us too much, there’s always tomorrow, I’m fine on my own. Satan is the father of lies and if we give him the opportunity, he’ll obscure our paths. The real stronghold though is when we want to believe lies. Delusions allow us to justify our behavior. When I am tired or irritable, I will justify my impatience with what I imagine I deserve. Do I really deserve to be fully rested if people expect me to be polite and decent, let alone Christ like? But there are far greater lies concerning the origin of the universe and nature of God and so on.
God of truth and when the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, we are able to overcome the lies of this world. The belt of truth is a part of our spiritual armor.
Truth is not a principle or a point or view, it is a person. Let us passionately pursue the truth and stand up for it, because without truth, we are nothing. Please pray that God would give us strength to stand up to the lies that keep people imprisoned in this world.
The Un High Commission for Refugees reported there were over 10 million confirmed refugees in the world in 2011, that’s 10,000,000. David wrote this at a time when he was fleeing from his home, not from Saul this time, but from his son (2 Samuel 13-18:18). After so many years of stability as king, it must have been so strange to be on the run again.
He begins the Psalm crying out to God about his enemies, saying how great and boastful they are. By verse 3 though, David seemed to remember all the things God had done for him. He remembered how God had protected him from Saul three times and how God had kept him safe in the land of the Philistines. David had learned a lesson that a few disciples, hundreds of years later, had a hard time processing.
The disciples expressing doubt before Jesus fed the five thousand is understandable, but what is remarkable is the dialogue in Matthew 15:29-39. This time a crowd of four thousand comes to see Jesus, but when he tells his disciples that he wants to feed the crowd, the disciples say, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” (Mt. 14:33 NIV). I can just hear Jesus saying, “Where do you think!?”. The circumstnaces were even less remarkable this time, yet the disciples still doubted. When we remember what God has already done, our ability to place faith in Him becomes much easier.
God has already conquered death. He has already saved us from eternal punishment, but often we have trouble trusting Him with our relationships, finances, and (fill in the blank). How ridiculous? I am as guilty as the next person, do not misunderstand me, but the very idea is perverted. God can save us from hell and spiritual death, but He can’t handle my immediate problems. If God can reconcile fallen humans to His holy presence, how easy must everything else be? Just like in David’s life God has already done greater things. He has already done more for us than we can possibly imagine. We can trust that His judgment in these earthly things is best no matter our circumstances, secure or exiled.