Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012 …. Pride Goes Before a Fall

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicles 1 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 72 … To study this Psalm, go to this link
Reference Passage: Reference passage for Today’s Bible Study: Deuteronomy 17: 14-20 … To study this passage go to this link

Highlight Passage : 2nd Chronicles 1: 7, 10, 12, 14-15 7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." … [Solomon’s reply] “10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?" … [God’s response] … “…12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have." … [Following God’s providence to Solomon] … 14 Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem.15 The king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones… 

My Journal for Today: Today’s read from the chronological reading plan has me reading the parallel passage to what I studied yesterday from 1st Kings, chapters 3-4; … today from 2nd Chronicles 1, and I’m asking that any reader with me here take the time to read the copied verses from this chapter which I’ve provided for your study.

And in doing so, I was stricken by how Solomon, with the bestowing of God’s grace of wisdom, wealth, and power, chose to let his own pride get in the way of sound judgment, even going against his own written advice to his own son and to other believers in Proverbs 16: 18, where he wrote, [NIV] " Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."

You know, it is not uncommon, at least for this Christian, that our pride can take hold, especially when things are going well. Have you ever experienced the feeling that you are in control and can do no wrong when things are going really going well for you? I sure have! … And that is what apparently happened for Solomon. As you can read above, God really unloaded a pile of wondrous grace upon Solomon when the Lord noted that Solomon had humbly asked for wisdom rather than asking for wealth and power when he was given that opportunity by God. And so, what did Solomon do with all that God provided for him? He went out, and in his arrogance, he ignored the instructions (i.e., commands) that God had levied on kings in God’s Book of the Law.

Again, as I did yesterday, I’ve provided any reader with a link to the passage in Deuteronomy 17 where God gives His rules for the kingship of God’s people. And in these boundaries, we see God saying that no king will accumulate vast numbers of horses, gold/silver, and wives; and Solomon, as we can read in 1st Kings 3-4 and 2nd Chronicles 1, as well as from history, did all of these things, blatently mocking God with his kingly choices.

And as we also know from Solomon’s own writings (Proverbs 3: 34), God resists the mockery of pride and gives His grace only to the humble. So, as I wrote yesterday, when one reads the reflections of Solomon later in life in the book of Ecclesiastes, it is not surprising that Solomon would proclaim [go back and read Ecclesiastes, chapter 2] for others who would come after him that his life had become wracked and ruined by his own VANITY and pridefulness.

So, my friend, if things are really going well for you; and you are being given a lot of good things in life from God’s providence, … BEWARE! It is so easy to fall into the same trap in which Solomon did, letting pride go before a fall. 

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to avoid my own deceit-ridden heart and to continue to see You in all things and at all times, even when I am being given so much by Your grace. Amen

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012 …. Using God’s Providence for HIS Glory

Passage of the Day: Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapters 3-4 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Reference Passage: Reference passage for Today’s Bible Study: Deuteronomy 17: 14-20 … To study this passage go to this link -

Highlight Passage : 1st Kings: 3: 11-12 11 So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this [i.e., wisdom] and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life." 
Highlight Passage #2: 1st Kings: 4: 29-34 29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.30 Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.31 He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations.32 He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five.33 He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish.34 From all nations people came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom. 

My Journal for Today: Today, in my chronological read through Scripture, I was led to read about Solomon’s early rule in 1st Kings, chapter 3-4; and this reading is filled with paradoxical contradiction. In the first highlight passage above from 1st Kings 3: 11-12, we read of Solomon being given the option by God’s providence of having anything that God could/would provide, including power, wealth, etc. However, Solomon chose to receive WISDOM from God; and God favored Solomon, making him the wisest man on earth as God’s king over His people. In fact, as we read in the second highlight passage, copied above from 1st Kings 4: 29-34 we read that people and rulers came from all around the middle east at the time to see how Solomon ruled with the HUMAN wisdom God had given the King.

 And yet, paradoxically, we read early in 1st Kings 3 how Solomon was already making ill-begotten decisions by marrying the daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh, … the first of hundreds of wives, all human (and selfish) decisions which breached God’s commands/laws which were laid out for any who would become king over God’s chosen people. Use the link above and go to the Deuteronomy 17 passage where these kingly rules were laid out by God; and you will see that even though God gave Solomon all the human brain-power it would take to rule over God’s people and to lead Israel as a nation, he (Solomon) did not exercise that God-given prowess wisely.

And isn’t that the same human paradox that we Christians have in these New Covenant times? According to the Apostle Peter, inspired by God in Scripture (see 2nd Peter 1: 3-4) … 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  ,,, And even with God’s imparting to us everything He gave to Solomon, don’t we blow it in life just like he did?

And if you’ve read the book of Ecclesiastes, which was Solomon’s chronicle of confession on how he did not choose to use his God-given wisdom wisely, we see that just because God gives us what we need to reflect His holiness and love in this world and our lives, we still have the responsibility to CHOOSE to use it as God instructs we use His providence … FOR HIS GLORY! And as God instructed Solomon (and any king or leader of God’s people), we need to use God’s Book of the Law, i.e., His word - Scripture, for us to be able to make Godly choices and live Godly lives. You can read those instructions, which Solomon most certainly had, in the Deuteronomy passage, linked above. And these were the same instructions given to Joshua when he was given God’s instructions for leadership in Joshua 1: 8; and that is to be in, stay in, and live by God’s word. Because, … when anyone, and especially God’s leaders, do that, God will bless them with His own success and prosperity in the tasks God lays out for us to accomplish (i.e., God’s will for our lives).

HOWEVER, my dear co-reader, the opposite is also the case. When we DO NOT annex and employ God’s word, gleaning His will, and living His way, we will fail in being His witnesses and shining His light in this ever darkening world. THEREFORE, it is my desire (and my prayer today) to be all what I can be – for my God’s glory – by doing all I can to live in/from His word so that I can seek His will and live by His way, becoming the light which my Savior commanded me to be (see Matt. 5: 16) so that I can glorify my Father in Heaven.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You for giving me what I need to live in Your purpose for my life. Now, help me to seek Your wisdom out in Your word, and to live by it EVERY DAY of my life. Amen

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29, 2012 …. An Obsession With God’s Word

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 119 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 119: 9-16 … To study these chapters, go to this link 
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 119: 105-112 … To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage : Psalm 119: 9-11 9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. … 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. … 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Highlight Passage #2: Psalm 119: 105-106 [NLT]105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 

My Journal for Today: And today in my chronological reading plan, I was led to read and meditate on one of the most powerful Psalms in our Bible, Psalm 119, the longest of the psalms [and the longest chapter in the Bible]; and one of the most poetic of the Bible songs, having been written as an acrostic, where the first letter of each stanza of eight verses is a letter of the 22 letter Hebrew alphabet. Therefore, 8 verses times 22 letters equals 176 verses, which is the length, in verses, of Psalm 119.

Long ago my mentor taught me of the tradition and supposed history of this psalm, possibly being written by Ezra, the priest, who reintroduced God’s word to God’s people after the walls and Temple were rebuilt, which is documented in Nehemiah 8: 1-12. Here, the remnant of Israel were gathered; and Ezra reintroduced the Book of the Law to the people. And hearing the word, especially with the help of the Levite teachers, God’s chosen were overwhelmed with joy and worshipped their Lord as they had not done in decades during their captivity by the Babylonians.

And so, I can just imagine Ezra, being captivated by the power of God’s word to bring God’s people back to Himself, then writing this beautiful and powerful song, which captured the compulsive love affair the author of Psalm 119 had with God’s word. And so, I really hope you’ve taken the time to read (or re-read) and meditate on this wonderful poem about the power of God’s word to reshape and guide the lives of believers. But today I’m going to highlight only two passages from this poem which express truths which are near and dear to me, personally, as well as to the mission and ministry purpose God has led me pursue in life, … Battle Plan Ministries, which, if you don’t know about, you can read about BPM at this link.

The second stanza of Psalm 119, the so-called “Beth” (2nd letter of the Hebrew alphabet) verses, declares a powerful prescription from God to help believers avoid sin in their lives. Is there any reader here today, declaring themselves to be “a Christian,” who doesn’t want do all we can to avoid our sin nature? Do I sense a strong “YES!” answer to that question? Well, if one is serious about being proactive to avoid sin, God gives his strategy – or “Battle Plan” as we’d call it in our ministry – to avoid our default to our sin nature; and that is investing the time and effort to get God’s word so deeply into our consciousness that this process gives us our one, strong weapon against sin and Satan; and that, of course is God’s word, the sword of the Spirit (see Ephesians 6: 17).

Hey, Jesus used this strategy to fight His arch enemy, Satan (see Matt. 4 and Luke 4); and I figure that if that battle strategy to avoid sin is good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me (and any believer!). I hope you agree, because Psalm 119: 9, 11 sings clearly that getting God’s word deeply into the heart (i.e., spiritual being) of any believer, even the immature disciple, is the way to glorify God by avoiding sin. Sure, Jesus (in Matthew 4 and Luke 4) was The Living Word; but we can wield the living word as our sword in battle when we live on and claim the sword of the Spirit.

The second passage to which I highlight any reader here today is the “Nun” segment of Psalm 119, which is Verses 105 – 112, especially highlighting verse 105-106, which I’ve copied above for my fellow seekers after truth. Here we see Ezra, or whomever authored this psalm, declaring that God’s word lights up the path of anyone who truly believes Scripture; and then, God uses His truth to guide that believer in life. And I hope you agree with this poet, and yours truly, that God’s word is truly a light unto our footsteps in life.

Often in ministry, I ask men, who are trying to walk through life with more direction, purity, and freedom from sin, if they’d rather be the first to walk through a minefield; or would they rather have a guide-map showing where al the mines are to avoid being wounded in making our way through the minefield we call life. … Duh!!! … The answer is a no-brainer, of course. And Psalm 119: 105 clearly states that God’s word is that path-finder through the minefields of life, lighting the way for us to walk through life without getting our emotional/spiritual “toes” blown away.

I hope you take in Psalm 119 in depth, my friend, … possibly doing a careful study of this powerful poem some day down the road. And I hope you let this Psalm guide you to get God’s word deeply into your heart and life so that it will become a light unto your path and a powerful weapon to avoid sin.

And as little Edith Ann [Lily Tomlin] used to say from her chair on Laugh-In (take 10 seconds to view her at this link) …

 “And ... THAT’S THE TRUTH!!”

My Prayer Today: … Lord, Your word is truth; and it always is a light unto my path and my sword in battle! Amen

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012 … To Know Him Is to Love Him

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings: 1-2 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day #2: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 37 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day #3: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 71 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day #4: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 94 … To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage : 1st Kings 2: 1-4 1 When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. … 2 "I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: 'If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.' 
Highlight Passage #2 : 1st Kings 2: 46b The kingdom was now established in Solomon's hands. 
Highlight Passage #3: Psalm 37: 4-5 4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: ...

Journal for Today: Over into the book of 1st Kings today in my reading plan; and historically King David passes his throne to Solomon amidst a lot of family and political intrigue. If you’re reading along with this, we see that David is still living out the consequences of his past sin with Bathsheba and God’s covenant with David, as well as God’s curse upon David’s family, is still working itself out during all the political intrigue occurring at the end of David’s life.

However, in today’s readings, God seemed to have me focus on the charge King David gave to his son, Solomon, as the power of the kingdom was passed from father to son in these troubled times. And the advice David gave to his son in this passing of the torch of kingship (see 1st Kings 2: 1-4 was much the same as the spiritual advice given by David in a passage of one of David’s Psalms, which we often hear quoted by Christian preachers; and that is Psalm 37: 4-5, copied above.

You’ll note, if you study the emboldened and underlined verses above, how the spiritual advice, given by inspiration of God from David, is much the same. If we are to be empowered and enabled by God and His will for our lives, we must “delight ourselves in the Lord.” David certainly wanted His son, Solomon, to prosper in the ways of the Lord; and from life’s experience, David knew that the only way this was going to happen for Solomon would be for his son to live out the life-leading instructions found in God’s word – for David and Solomon, which was the “Book of the Law.”

In other words, Solomon’s ability to receive God’s blessings would dependent on just how much David’s son would “delight” in doing God’s will as spelled out in God’s word. And so this was David’s charge to Solomon, as you can read above; and it was David’s charge to all believers in the lyrics of Psalm 37: 4 as well. We will only deeply experience the desires of our hearts when/if they are the desires of God’s heart.

If you’ve read here with me in my morning devotionals in the past, you quite likely have heard my chain of directives which I was once given by a mentor and which I have tried to live out in my own life, since I truly desire to be blessed by God. It goes like this … to know God is to love God; … to love God is to obey God; … to obey God is to serve God; … and to serve God is to be blessed by God.

David wanted Solomon to be blessed by the Lord; so, he charged his son to “delight” in the ways of the Lord and to do this by following those ways from God’s word, … knowing that if Solomon did this, he would be blessed by a delighted God who pours His grace upon those who obey His will and follow His ways.

Perhaps you see that David’s charge to his son is God’s charge to us as His disciples. Solomon later wrote to his son (in Proverbs 3: 5-6) in my wife’s life verse, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him; and He will direct your paths.” 

Doesn’t that sound a lot like the advice you read above in Psalm 37: 4-5? I think it does. And I plan to follow it; … how about you?

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I so desire to have You smile, knowing that I am delighting in Your ways to follow Your will from Your word. Amen

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27, 2012 …. Again, Sing Praises To Our Lord!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 111-118 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage : Psalm 111: 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise.
Highlight Passage #2: Psalm 112: 1 Praise the Lord [Hebrew “Hallelu Yah”]… Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in His commands.
Highlight Passage #3: Psalm 116: 1-2 [NLT] 1 I love the Lord because He hears and answers my prayers. 2 Because He bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!
Highlight Passage #4: Psalm 118: 1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!

My Journal for Today: Eight – count em! - … eight psalms in my chronological reading assignment today; and collectively in the book of Psalms my study reveals that they are called The Hallelujah Psalms. “Hallelu-yah” in Hebrew, of course, means “Praise Yahweh, the Lord;” And if you do read and meditate through these eight psalms, as I have this morning, you’ll note that several of them begin with the phrase, “Praise the Lord” or translated, “Hallelujah!” They are uplifting and express in song the need for believers to take time and purposely express what should be the attitude of the believer’s heart … and that is praise and thanks for a loving, caring, forgiving, AND saving God … the God Who saved His people from Egypt (all of Psalms 115-118, which are often sung at Passover); … the God who bends His ear to hear ALL believers (see Psalm 116: 1-2); … and the God Who is always good and Whose love endures forever (the recurring line in Psalm 118).

How often do we believers come to God, many times in crisis or in an emergency, with a plea for help or for His providence; and how often do we just come to Him, praying our love for God, our praise for His holiness and sovereignty, and our thanks for His mercy? I’m afraid all too often we do the former and all to few times the latter. Or maybe that’s just me!

Several personal observations from these Psalms; and the first is that all of these songs are attributed to anonymous authors. God, the Holy Spirit, is the only author to Whom we can trace these songs of praise; and isn’t that perfect, because their subject matter – i.e., PRAISE and THANKS – should be attributed to every man (and woman), not to some specific personality, like David, who authored so many of the Psalms.

Secondly, I’m convicted by the reality that my life of worship does not really seek my God out of pure reverence (i.e., the “fear of the Lord” spoken of in Psalm 111: 10). This was a lesson that apparently Solomon learned and expressed in Proverbs 1: 7-10; but unfortunately he didn’t live out in his life all what well under this admonition. We believers must always approach life with an awe of reverence for the ONE AND ONLY, totally sovereign, and HOLY God. And when we think of how He set aside His glory and was incarnate in Jesus to save us, how can we not revere His loving and forgiving nature? Oh, how my daily prayers fall short – so often – of the praise and thanksgiving my God deserves. [Oh, forgive me, Lord!]

And finally, in one of my favorite passages in the Psalms, Psalm 116: 1-2, we read of how our God so desires to hear us – i.e., to relate to us – that He BENDS DOWN to hear our expressions. But what are my expressions? All too often, I’m afraid, they are “Help me, Lord;” … “Heal me, Lord;” … “Provide for me, Lord!” And yet, my God still bends down to hear me … to pursue me … to love me. Go figure!!! … Do I deserve His attention? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But nonetheless, He still gives it to me, … especially when I come to Him with an attitude, like that expressed in these psalms today, to praise Him, to thank Him, and to obey His precepts.

It is the latter attitude of humility and seeking which show we truly love our Lord; and I’m convicted today to sing – or at least, say – a loud … HALLELUJAH!!!

My Prayer Today: … Oh, yes, Lord … HALLELUJAH!!! Amen

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26, 2012 … David’s Legacy Is Ours

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Chronicles 26-29 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 127 … To study this Psalm, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: … 1st Chronicles 26: 27-27 26 Shelomith and his relatives were in charge of all the treasuries for the things dedicated by King David, by the heads of families who were the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and by the other army commanders.27 Some of the plunder taken in battle they dedicated for the repair of the temple of the Lord. 
Highlight Passage #2: … 1st Chronicles 28: 9-10 … [David to his son, Solomon] ...  9 "And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. … Be strong and do the work."
Highlight Passage #3: … 1st Chronicles 29: 18-19 … [David’s prayer for Solomon] ”… 18 Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.19 And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided."  
Highlight Passage #4: … Psalm 127: 1 1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. 

My Journal for Today: There’s a lot in my chronological reading plan assignment for this date, … studying in the last four chapters of 1st Chronicles and Psalm 127, which I hope you take in with the links above. And your study will reveal somewhat of a last will and testament by King David in his later years as he turns over the building of the Temple and prays for the future of God’s people, the Israelites. And in these charges and prayers (even a prayer of Solomon’s in Psalm 127), we can glean a lot of principles for living from those who are truly sold-out believers in the one, true … the only, true … living God.

And David lays out a lot of these principles to his son, Solomon. Here are a few of them for our review and self inventory … [See 1st Chronicles 28: 9-10 above] …
1. Develop a deep and abiding relationship with God … i.e., see and know God
2. Learn life’s path and receive life guidance from God’s word (the Scripture)
3. Worship God in complete surrender … our 24/7 devotion to Him
4. Serve God willingly and faithfully … i.e., our service is our worship
5. Never give up on God

And apparently Solomon, at least at the time of taking over the building and completion of the Holy Temple and when he became King in succession of David, received this advice willingly and with surrender; because in Psalm 127, verse one, quoted above, we read Solomon writing the song, dedicating any building in God’s kingdom being in vain if it is not built under the guidance and with purpose coming from God Himself.

I truly hope, and will pray today, that my life is built in what I call “surrender mode” to my God. I pray that what I do each day is somehow building God’s kingdom, which according to my New Covenant beliefs is the utilization of all that I am – my body, mind, and soul [i.e., His temple] – for my worship of my God (see 1st Cor. 6: 19 and Romans 12: 1). And if I try to be a steward of and a builder of God’s temple (my body/mind/spirit) on my own, without the guiding principles from God’s word, as it says in Psalm 127: 1, the work will be in vain.

 My friend, if you’re reading here, please know that the reason why I’m here voluntarily at all on this beautiful Saturday morning is only to become a better builder of God’s temple, … where God resides in me, as a place of worship and a focus of my being one of my Lord’s kingdom builders. And so all of the instructions which I read from God in this morning’s devotional, passed along to Solomon, as to the building of God’s Temple and His kingdom, certainly apply as I do all I can (and you too in your life) to be a kingdom builder for God’s glory. That’s what David wanted for Solomon, having learned these lessons the hard way with many failures in his life; and that’s what God wants for me (and you, too!).

So, my friend, let’s go about building God’s temple for His glory today.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, that is my prayer today. That I follow your Scriptural guide and I lay a few bricks in the building of Your Kingdom … for Your glory. Amen

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012 …. Sing Praises To His Name

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 131 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 138-139 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 143-145 … To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage : Psalm 131 1 My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. … 2 But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. … 3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.  
Highlight Passage #2: Psalm 139: 13-14 13 For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. … 14 I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful; … I know that full well.  
Highlight Passage #3: Psalm 143: 10 Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. 

My Journal for Today: Six more Psalms from the life and pen of King David in my chronological read through the Bible; and they all take on one theme which is captured in a more modern psalm (song) written by Terry MaCalmon; and if you’re reading along with me today, I’d like for you to click on this link with your computer speakers or earphones on to hear MaCalmon’s song and get into the mood of my devotional journal entry today. Here is the YouTube link .

When we hear a song like that and we are captured by the message of the song – to praise our worthy and wonderful God – aren’t you set into an uplifting attitude of thankfulness and humility? I certainly am; and I can just image King David, who was driven to honor His Lord with the talent for music and poetry which God had given him, sitting down and writing songs which express his thankfulness and praise to a God Who created us all in His image, … created us WONDERFULLY MADE as David wrote in Psalm 139: 13, … and created for us to be led by our God for His glory [see Ps. 143: 10 above].

Have you ever wondered why lyrics, like those from David in these six psalms, which are put to music, have such a deep impact on our worship of God? The Psalms, especially those written by David, are some of the most quoted verses in the New Testament. Well, … songs, with understandable and meaningful lyrics, which are put to a soothing and scintillating melody, utilize ALL of the brain when they are heard by one who understands the lyrics and is touched by the accompanying instrumental music. If you go back and re-listen to the song I linked you to above, just closing your eyes and taking in the words and the melody line, if you feel identified with the message of the song, it will take you to a place which the lyrics alone cannot. Music with meaningful lyrics uses all of what God created in our brains to bring us closer to Himself.

When we read a poem or the lyrics to a song alone, we use mostly the left cortex of the brain, where the language integration circuitry lies in almost all brains. When we hear certain types of instrumental music alone, written into a soothing melody line, the right side of our brains are activated; and if the melody is an harmonious and pleasing one to our liking, the instrumental music will cause our body to become more relaxed and help to lower our heart rate and blood pressure. So, when we listen to a lyric, set to a melody line by instrumental music which is pleasing to our mind, both sides of our brain are active; and our complete neurological being is used to interpret and take in the song.

That’s why church worship leaders in church services use uplifting music, written with God honoring lyrics, to take a congregation in a Sunday morning service to what they would likely refer to as “The Throne of Grace.” And I know I’ve been a bit medical or scientific in describing this; but I feel God led David to write these six, and many other, psalms so that David could lead God’s people into God’s very presence when they came together singing his songs in corporate worship.

 Often, in my journal entries you find me linking you, my fellow readers, to songs as I did above; and all I’m doing is sharing how uplifted I feel when I do that in my personal quiet times; and I very often do so when I come to this quiet place to worship God – very personally – in my devotional time. And these songs take me closer to God and allow His Spirit to capture my countenance with feelings of thanksgiving and praise, … feelings which David was trying to capture with the Psalms he wrote.

So, I hope and pray that you can feel the loving arms of God wrapping around you when you listen to the song to which I’ve linked today; and when you read today’s Psalms from David, imagine him singing to His Lord, along with God’s people, his own expressions of praise … to the glory of our worthy and wonderful God.

My Prayer Today: … I sing glory to my Lord in praise this very day!!! Amen

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012 … God’s Body – His Glory

1st Chronicles: … Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Chronicles 23-25 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage of the Day: 1st Chronicles 23: 28-32 … 28 The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron's descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God.29 They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size.30 They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening31 and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the Lord regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them. 32 And so the Levites carried out their responsibilities for the tent of meeting, for the Holy Place and, under their relatives the descendants of Aaron, for the service of the temple of the Lord.  
Highlight Passage #2: … 1st Chronicles 24: 1a These were the divisions of the descendants of Aaron: …  
Highlight Passage #3: … 1st Chronicles 25: 1 …  David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service: … 

My Journal for Today: Today’s chronological read took me to the chronicles of how David, though he would not be the one to build God’s restored temple in Jerusalem, was certainly the King who prepared and planned for its rebuilding, it’s administrative organization, and pro-actively planned for how corporate worship was to take place after the Temple was built. And this is the subject matter of Chapters 23-25 of the book of 1st Chronicles, my study and mediation for today.

And in reading and meditating through these chapters, several things impressed me which are still apparent in God’s gathering church today, all things which had their beginnings in the traditions and principles established at this time of David. And the first principle becomes obvious that planning and organization is absolutely necessary for any building project or ministry effort for God’s kingdom. David’s function in delegating and supervising the roles of temple leadership, setting apart the priests and Levites, is very much like the roles of Senior and/or Executive Pastor leadership in today’s church. Leaders lead; and David set the patterns in motion which became the function and organization of God’s Temple; and that pattern is still in place today in a well organized body of believers [today’s church] who come together to worship God in the place built for that purpose as well as to go out from that place to serve the Lord in His kingdom. All of this was a pattern set in motion by King David and then carried out by his son, Solomon, after the Temple was built.

Next in these chapters one reads how structure and organization facilitate the works of God’s body of believers. Being organized, from leaders down to workers in God’s body (the Temple in David’s day – the church today) is a Godly trait; and David obviously had that gift of organized leadership. Some time ago in the church where I’m an Elder, we church leaders, having the responsibility for church organization and decision-making, recognized that we were putting too much of the burden of church organization and administration in the hands of our Senior Pastor, who was not spiritually gifted for organizational leadership. So, we created a position of Executive Pastor to do what David was modeling in these OT chapters. And in doing so, our pro-active planning has paid off. Now our body of believers, having hired a man with Spirit-anointed administrative gifts, functions with so much more efficiency and effectiveness, freeing up our Teaching Pastor to do what he was/is gifted to do, teach and preach. And this kind of leadership and organization is what was modeled by David and the Levites in David’s day.

Finally, in Chapter 25 of today’s reading, we see the principle that anyone and everyone has a place to exercise their individual gifts and talents in God’s body.  And this includes such behind-the-scenes work as carrying out the mundane functions needed to support Temple (Church), singing in the choir, or making sure that the Temple (i.e., Church) is kept clean and ready for corporate worship or service to God. In David’s day a lot of this was set aside for the Levites; but men and women of God were identified for their talents and gifts to carry out specific functions in the Temple to be built for God’s glory; and the same should be so today in God’s NT Church.

If you’re a member of a local church were you live and work for God and His kingdom (and you should be!), I hope you’ve identified your Spirit-imparted gift or gifts and know how your time/talents/treasures can be used in and through YOUR church, God’s body of believers, to serve and to glorify our Lord. All of that is modeled and taught in the chapters we read today; and I hope you are contributing what God has given you to do your part to be part of God’s body, working in the world for His glory.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, use me – even today – for Your Church and Your glory. Amen

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012 …. THE LORD Is My Lord

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 108-110 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Reference Passage: Matthew 22: 41-46 … To study this passage, go to this Link

Highlight Passage : Psalm 108: 1, 13 [NIV] 1 My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul. … 13 With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies. 
Highlight Passage #2: Psalm 109: 1-4 [NLT] 1 O God, whom I praise, don’t stand silent and aloof 2 while the wicked slander me and tell lies about me. 3 They are all around me with their hateful words, and they fight against me for no reason. 4 I love them, but they try to destroy me — even as I am praying for them!  
Highlight Passage #3: Psalm 110: 1 1 The Lord says to my lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." 

My Journal for Today: Three more Davidic psalms, Psalms 108-110, in my devotional reading plan today; and they are full of application for us as New Covenant Christians.

First, there is the wonderful and confident David who, having been beaten down so many times, even chased and pursued by first Saul and then later, his son Absalom, sings a song, in Psalm 108, about his steadfast love and faith in his Lord and Savior, whom he knows will be his Messiah; and not only claiming joy in that forward-looking faithful relationship with David’s Lord and Messiah, David holds on to the hope of His Lord coming for his people and establishing the ultimate and final victory (see Psalm 108: 13).

And then. in the first 4 verses of Psalm 109, we read, and we can imagine David singing, of how, in spite of so many coming to slander and rile hatred for David, he was able to continue to love God’s people and even pray for them, which is a lesson in forgiving faithfulness all Christians need to learn and apply in our lives. Do I sense a convicted “Amen” from the point made here by God’s word?

And finally, we read one of the most quoted Psalms in the New Testament, i.e., Psalm 110, which is a Messianic song of prophesy about THE One Who would come, The Messiah, to save, redeem, and renew His people to all the promises God has made for His chosen Israel. Jesus even quoted the first four verses of this Psalm; and I have linked you to that passage in Matthew 22 where Jesus was using David’s prophetic song about the Messiah to argue with Jesus’ attackers, the Pharisees.

So, as we read and meditate on these three Psalms, I hope we’re all impressed with David’s faithful relationship which he had established with His Lord, knowing that The Messiah was coming to save all of God’s faithful; and in that relationship David could even glean the grace and mercy to love his enemies. Can we Christians of today feel and say what David was proclaiming as we have established our relationship with the One Whom we now know has come as our Messiah, … the One Whom David was waiting for, and the One into Whom King David was putting all His faith and hope?

I pray that all of us, who love the Lord, Jesus, can have the faith in THE ONE Whom David sung about so many centuries before His Messiah came to live, die, and be raised again for the Father’s Glory and to reclaim His Bride; … and PRAISE GOD, I am that Bride, preparing myself in faith for His return, … just as David sung about so many centuries ago.

My Prayer Today: … Oh, My Savior, … My Messiah … I relish in waiting for Your return. Come soon, Lord Jesus! Amen

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012 … Pride/Sin = Death; Humility/Sacrifice = Life

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Samuel: 24 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Chronicles 21-22 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 30 … To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: … 2nd Samuel 24: 25 David built an altar to the Lord there [on the threshing floor David had procured for his sacrifice to God] and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.  
Highlight Passage #2: … 1st Chronicles 21: 27-28 ... 27 Then the Lord spoke to the angel [who was about to use a plague to slay thousands more of the Israelites because of David’s sin], and he put his sword back into its sheath.  28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, he offered sacrifices there.
Highlight Passage #3: … 1st Chronicles 22: 6 Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel.  

My Journal for Today: Today’s chronological read at the end of 2nd Samuel, chapter 24 and repeated for emphasis for God’s exclamation in 1st Chronicles (chapter 21) is a clear statement from Israel’s history of the outcome of sin being death and God’s blessing of life for obedience and sacrifice in His Name and for His glory. Psalm 30 then was clearly written at the time that David dedicated the place where God’s temple would be built (i.e., on the place where he had dedicated a threshing floor) to praise God for His mercy and loving kindness in sparing God’s people when he repented and cried out for God’s mercy. I hope you go to the links provided above and take in these readings, as I have this morning, to get the full message from God’s word (HIS-STORY – i.e., history) about how we can be blessed by God when we choose to honor Him by avoiding pride and sin in our lives and by living in humility and obedience to His will from His word.

Then, as I was reading through this history lesson about David’s prideful sin in counting God’s people to build up his army; as well as about David’s repentance for the sin, even though it caused thousands to die of a plague, I was taken back to all those years of sinful living in my life before I became a Christian, which seemed so much greater a violation to my God than David following God’s command to count the people but for the wrong reasons; and I was deeply convicted and covered with gratitude for the mercy God has accounted to me and my family now that I have received His saving grace by my faith in Christ. Yes, I know there has been a deep accountability of consequences for my past sin; but no plague has been visited on my family or all of God’s peoples as it was with David’s sin. And this shows me just how much more accountability any church leader, … a pastor, teacher, or elder, … or any government leader, such as the President of the US, has upon them than does someone who is not in that kind of a leadership role.

When a leader sins, especially out of prideful arrogance, the result can be showered upon the people he leads; and that’s what happened with King David in these passages I was led to study today. And now that I am in a position of church/ministry leadership, I cringe at the reality of my responsibility to be a “man after God’s own heart” as was David.

I don’t know how this study today has affected you, anyone reading these passages and what I’ve blogged here today; but I pray we all take any role we have which influences or watches over others very seriously; and I pray we realize the truths brought out in this study which teaches that obedience (in Christ) equals life and disobedience (in sin) yields death. Nuff said!!  

My Prayer Today: … Lord, may I stand under these truths and be the leader You have called me to become for Your glory. Amen

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012 …. Worshiping God Is Our Life

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 95 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 97-99 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Reference Passage: Hebrews 4: 1-11 … To study this passage, go to this Link -

Highlight Passage : Psalm 95: 8-11 8 "Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. 10 For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, 'They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.' 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'"  
Highlight Passage #2: Psalm 99: 3-5 3 Let them praise Your great and awesome Name — He is holy. 4 The King is mighty, he loves justice — you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right. 5 Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His footstool; He is holy.

My Journal for Today: Today my reading plan takes me into and through four Psalms, penned by anonymous human authors (other than God’s Spirit, of course). All of them deal with our worship; and I could get off on this topic with a very long message here, which I’ve preached on before about how the concept of “worship” has become diluted and dumbed-down in our times … and has been inappropriately associated with church service styles and types of music, rather than taking on the meaning the word “worship” should … as being the way we live our lives, … i.e., our 24/7 recognition of our God by our life-styles and choices. But I’ll spare you, my reader here, with all of that, … except to make reference to the psalms I read today and one other passage (see Hebrews 4: 1-11 linked for you above).  

Psalm 95 got me back into my strong feelings about the concept of “worship,” as the writer pointed out that our worship can be diluted and diverted, even damaged, when we do what the Israelites did when they were wandering in the wilderness. See the highlight reference, quoted above, from Psalm 95: 8-11 where the song writer warned the people in his lyric to avoid becoming hard-hearted as their ancestors had become in the wilderness, grumbling and complaining as Moses led them to the promised land. Even the New Testament author of the book of Hebrews made reference to this psalm in his fourth chapter; and I have linked you to the first eleven verses of that chapter to allow you to read how this author was making the same point that we cannot appropriately and effectively worship God with our lives when we’ve become hard-heated complainers who’ve become untrusting and unfaithful with the way we live our lives.

And isn’t this so, so true these days? We come to “church” on Sunday’s for what we call our time of “worship,” and really all we want out of this Sunday morning time is to be entertained or to be soothed or to be given a sermon which makes us feel good. So many of us are not really looking for life-giving and life-changing truth, are we? And the real meaning of “worship,” i.e., how we live our lives in response to God’s love and His Gospel, becomes distorted by our hardened hearts, just as the Psalmist warned the Israelites in Psalm 95.

The other three Psalms are also important in that thy call on God’s people to see and worship God as GOD, not as some humanized concept of “god.” And this too is so often the case in today’s Christian world. We don’t really have a “BIG-GOD” concept of God in His holiness and righteousness. We desire to and need to reshape God into a smaller, humanized, hero figure. And even further, we find many, many people, especially young people today, trying to find human hero substitutes for the God Whom we should be worshiping with the way we live.

Oh, how I have to fight this process of making God smaller than He really is and trying to see that the choices I make and my witness of living being my WORSHIP of my God; and if I see God as smaller than He really is, my living will not be for a BIG GOD, but rather for some smaller version which I’ve created in my own mind.

My friends, we must live our lives as a worship of the One, True, and Living God … the BIG, One-And-Only God. And He is the God Who gave all for me on the cross; and the God Who desires that every thought I have, every choice I make, and every word I speak be a reflection of my worship of the wondrous God Who has saved me from myself. My Prayer Today: … Oh, my LORD GOD, … You are too big for me to envision; but please help me to worship You … as You are so worthy of my worship. Amen

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20, 2012 … God’s Mighty Warriors

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Samuel 22-23 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day #2: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 57 … To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage : 2nd Samuel 22: 32-33 32 For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? 33 It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. ============
Highlight Passage #2 : 2nd Samuel 23: 8-39 8 These are the names of David's mighty warriors:[warriors listed by name with some description of exploits] 

My Journal for Today: Today’s chronological reading is a bit confusing for me, especially since Psalm 57 was written by David back farther in David’s history than at the time he was described as escaping from Absalom, which we’ve been reading about more lately in the reading plan. . Actually, Psalm. 57 was written to describe the challenges David encountered when he was escaping from Saul, encountering him in the caves of Ein Gedi. But I can see that the psalm which was written as 2nd Samuel 22, was likely written/sung late in David’s life after he lost his son, Absalom; and it was likely a re-write of Psalm 18, which also commemorated David’s fleeing from Saul. And both of these songs express how David turned to God for his strength in times of trial.

Therefore, I charge my fellow readers here to go back and meditate on all of that song in 2nd Samuel 22, where David helps us to realize and remember many (certainly not all) of the qualities of our God. From verses 2-4, David writes of God being our “Rock, protector, shield, fortress and our strength and stronghold.”

When in your life has God been your Rock as He has been for me? Maybe it would be a good exercise to stop here and write a little prayer to God, thanking Him for being there for you when you felt like you were on the run from some oppressive event or force in your life. Forgive me for getting personal as I write one little prayer here reflecting one such time in my life.

Oh Lord, You are truly my Savior. When I was so undeserving and so wrapped in evil thoughts about You, … nonetheless You pursue me and scooped me up when I was so down and broken, giving me all the loving forgiveness I needed and that which You offer freely to anyone who can see their need for a Savior. And when I sought Your love, You gave it so me so generously, … allowing me to become Your Friend and a son of God, … being able to live forever with You in the family God. Yes, as David sings, Lord, You are the Rock to which my life-line of faith is attached; and it will hold me to You forever. Praise be to Your Name for being my strength when I am weak, … my guide through the minefields of life, … and my word of truth when I am faltering in my flesh. Oh, stay with me, Lord; and shine Your light on my path; and I will follow You all the days of my life. And I pray this in Your mighty Name … that Name is Jesus. Amen

You know, in 2nd Samuel 23 today, David listed the men in his life who stood by him when he needed these fellow warriors and friends the most. We often refer to them as “David’s Mighty Men;” and they were some pretty heavy-duty dudes! … And I would hope that you could write about some mighty Christian warriors, mentors, or friends who either have stood for you in your past or now are standing with you in this life. But even if you don’t have an archive of your fellow Christian warriors, … people who’ve lifted you up and helped carry your through the pitfalls of life, … I hope you can write a prayer, as I have above, about how our Lord has been there for you as YOUR MIGHTIEST WARRIOR, … coming to your aid when you were weak, … lifting you up when your head was down, … and saving you from yourself when you were mired in self pity.

Yes, we all need to have some fellow “Mighty Warriors” in our life who stand with us when things get tough; but we must always remember that the One we need the most is ALWAYS THERE for us when we need Him. As we see in both the OT and NT (see Deut. 31: 6, 8 and Heb. 13: 5) our Lord is ALWAYS there for us as our mightiest of warriors, giving us the grace of His strength when we’re at our weakest. That’s the message that David was conveying in all of the writings I hope you joined me in reading today; but it’s also the uplifting message of the Apostle Paul in 2nd Cor. 12: 9, where he wrote - "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” 

These last words are the red-letter words of our Lord, quoted directly from Paul, giving us the assurance of what God will provide for us when we need His strength to cover our weakness.

My Prayer Today: … Oh, Lord, You have lifted me up so many times when I was weak; and I will always attach my line of faith to You as the Rock of Ages. Amen

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19, 2012 …. Disciplined in Discipleship … Growing in Conviction

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 5 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 38 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 41-42 … To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage : Psalm 5: 1-5 1 Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. 2 Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. 3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. 4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. 5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong;...   
Highlight Passage #2: Psalm 38: 1-2; 18 1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. 2 Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me. … 18 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.   
Highlight Passage #3: Psalm 41: 4 4 I said, "Have mercy on me, Lord; heal me, for I have sinned against you."  

My Journal for Today: Here this morning, as I am every morning, pursuing my relationship with God in prayer and in His word; and this morning I feel in a kinship with King David as he wrote three of the four psalms I was led to study by my reading plan today. In Psalms 5, 38, and 41, … highlighted by the passages I have copied for you above, we read of a believer, David, who was desperately seeking after God’s mercy and forgiveness, being convicted by his own sinful nature. Psalm 42 is not a Davidic psalm, however; and it does not really fit with the other three today in theme. It’s a wonderful psalm about a believer seeking after his God; and I’ll leave it to you to mediate on its content. However, this morning I’m led to journal about the first three of the four psalms in my reading plan.

And right out of shoot today, I’m confronted by a truth which I discovered a long time ago and one which I’m exercising here this morning – as I do every morning; and that is to come to God with my voice of need EVERY DAY … EVERY MORNING. Apparently David had discovered the reality that starting every day by coming to the Lord in prayer and supplication was the only way to start each day; and years ago I discovered that reality as well. It’s really a personal discipline which fulfills the truth in Proverbs 3: 9, which says that we’re to honor God with the “first fruits” of all of our possessions or increase, … which says to me that we’re to give God the first part of each day, … that day which God has given to me for His glory. And I know that some of you are saying, “But I’m not a morning person!” And to that I would answer that giving the first part of YOUR day to God would honor Him all the more since it’s more of a sacrifice for you to spend it with Him since it’s more difficult for you to do so than for those of us who’re already “morning people.”

But that’s only a small part of what I got from David’s song writing this morning. The biggest portion was the attitude of David in these psalms as he was so broken over his own sinfulness. It’s obvious to me that these psalms seem to be written after the Bathsheba incident; because David, in writing these songs, is truly broken before God, recognizing his sin nature and confessing so openly, expressing his desire for mercy and forgiveness from his God.

 Have you noticed, as you have grown in your Christian discipleship, that you become more and more sensitive to your own sinful nature; … where sins that used to seem small now seem very large. And your conviction threshold is much lower now than it was years ago when it took a lot more to convict you than it does now. That, my friend, is a red flag of our salvation and a sign that God is doing business in our hearts through His sanctification process. David felt that; and he wrote about it in these psalms. And maybe you feel it; and like David, you feel the need to confess your sins, keeping short accounts – daily – before God as to your sinfulness.

Hence the need to begin each day with God, my friend, as did David. Each day we need to walk freely and humbly into the shower of God’s grace, confessing our sins, and being cleansed by the generous grace of God’s love and forgiveness. It’s the expression of a close and abiding love for God which would bring us into God’s presence EVERY MORING, recognizing our sinfulness and desiring the cleansing God has promised to us (see 1st John 1: 9).

That’s reason enough, in my estimation, to be with God, humbly, each morning and to start off my day as David sung about in the psalms I’m blogging about this morning. What are your thoughts about this? Do you devote “the first fruits” of every day to be with God, praying and asking for forgiveness? If not, is it because you don’t need to start each day with God or because you choose not to? Obviously it’s our choice; isn’t it? … But I’d be fearful to start my day assuming that I’m okay and can handle the day on my own. What about you?

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I come to You each morning, as did David, seeking Your forgiveness and direction for the day … TODAY! Amen

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012 … The Fickle World of Politics

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Samuel 19-21 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

 Highlight Passage : 2nd Samuel 19: 9-10 9 Throughout the tribes of Israel, all the people were arguing among themselves, saying, "The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies; he is the one who rescued us from the hand of the Philistines. But now he has fled the country to escape from Absalom;10 and Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?" 
Highlight Passage #2 : 2nd Samuel 20: 2 So all the men of Israel deserted David to follow Sheba son of Bikri. But the men of Judah stayed by their king all the way from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
Highlight Passage #3 : 2nd Samuel 21: 2-3 2 The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.)3 David asked the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the Lord's inheritance?".

My Journal for Today: My reading plan today took me through 2nd Samuel, Chapters 19-21; and it was not very exciting reading, exposing all the political workings and struggles King David had to reunite the twelve tribes of Israel, … ten in the North (i.e., Israel) and the two in Judah in the southern kingdom. I’ve highlighted three passages, one from each chapter, today to illustrate the fickle nature of worldly politics; and if you’re reading along with me, I think you would agree, seeing what’s going on in today’s world, that worldly politics is fickle at best … and absolutely ruthless at worst.

Hence the need for the people of any time in history, certainly now, to be united by something that transcends the politics of the world; and that, for the people of David’s time, should have been their common belief in the one true God, Yahweh, as well as their common values emanating from God’s Book of the Law, His transcendent truth – the Scripture.

However, as you read these three historical chapters today, one sees that David had great troubles uniting the Israelites because they were looking for political solutions as well as using human ego control for their answers, rather than looking to the overriding and immutable standard of God’s way … found in His word. Today we have the same problem in this country – and really, in the entire world.

Mankind is moving away from the worship of God and even farther away from His answer for the foibles and fallacies of human politics; and that is in His never-changing, overriding truth found in His word, the Bible. And it is clear, at least to this believer/observer, that we’ll always have – and likely increasingly – the divisions and political struggles that we see in the world (and this country) until we can come together by worshipping our Lord and living by His word, … the one, true standard for living.

I think of two passages in Scripture, one from the OT and one from the NT, which express this; and if you don't have these two memorized, I would ask you NOW to seek out (on your own) and meditate on 2nd Chronicles 7: 14 and Romans 12: 1-2, which I strongly believe have God’s prescription for our world to move away from the political solutions of the world and come humbly and prayerfully to God and live by His word. And then – AND ONLY THEN – will we find healing and unity in our world.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, forgive Your peoples for thinking that we can solve anything without You and Your word. Have mercy on us, Lord! Amen

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17, 2012 … A Place to Wait in Peace

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 26 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 40 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 58 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 61-62 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 64 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage : Psalm 26: 8 8 Lord, I love the house where You live, the place where Your glory dwells.
Highlight Passage #2: Psalm 40: 1-2 1 I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
Highlight Passage #3: Psalm 62: 1-2 1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. 2 Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

My Journal for Today: Today six more Psalms written by David, likely during his times of tribulation as he was being pursued and hunted by his own rebellious son, Absalom; and a few of the passages from these songs of faith were personally emboldened and become fodder for my journaling this morning. I’ve copied the three passages which are quite personal and reflect my own testimony of finding that place, during the trials and tribulations of life, where I can go, knowing that I’m on solid ground and that place where I can find peace while I wait on my God, whom I know is ALWAYS there for me and ALWAYS even going ahead to forge the way for me (see Deuteronomy 31: 8 for confirmation of that truth).

Take these highlight passages one at a time; and the first, from Psalm 26, verse 8, expresses a very personal truth which, like David, I have discovered, … that place, in the midst of the travails of life, where one can go to be with God, … and that place where one can find glimpses of God’s glory. David needed that kind of a place as he was being pursued unjustly by Absalom; and we all need such a place, a hiding place, because of all of the stresses and strains of our lives. And as I write here and you read along, I can sense maybe you’re saying “Amen!” to that.

Well, for any Christian, who truly believes in the OT truth of Isaiah 26: 3 and the NT truth of Philippians 4: 6-7, God’s strategy for finding peace, King David was always able to find that “Hiding Place,” as Corrie Ten Boom wrote about in her book by that title; … because like Corrie, David’s relationship with his God was always that hiding place, … that place where either of these two believers knew they could go to find peace.

I have such a hiding place; and I pray that you do as well; and I’m in mine right now. My place of peace is always found where I go in solitude to seek my God in His word. It’s where I go to the high ground of prayer; … and it’s where I’m able to get glimpses of His glory from His Spirit, quieting my heart and allowing me to wait on His light to shine on my path.

And that reflects the messages found in those last two highlight song passages (#2 and #3 above), where David confidently sings about having a “ROCK” to stand on when the world seems to be shaking all around him. And those of us who have Christ as the “Rock” to which we can affix our anchor of faith, know that our Lord often asks us to wait for Him to shine His light on our path; and it can be very uncomfortable in those times of waiting; because it’s then when we probably need that solid ROCK to allow us the stability to wait in such uncertain times.

My friend, I hope (and pray) that you have a quiet place in the storms of life where you can throw out your anchor of faith and have it lock onto the “Rock of Ages,” Who will always be there to provide us with His hiding place in the storms of life. …  

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee!” 

My Prayer Today: … Thank You, Lord, for being my hiding place and the rock for my anchor of faith. Amen

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012 … The Consequences of Sin

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Samuel 16-18 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage : 2nd Samuel 18: 32-33 32 The king asked the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" The Cushite replied, "May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man." 33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!" 

My Journal for Today: Well, today my Bible-reading plan took me through 2nd Samuel, Chapters 16-18, where one reads of a lot of the strategies and actions which resulted as David’s son, Absalom, plotted and pursued David to take over as the King of Israel, all of which ultimately resulted in Absalom’s death in a bizarre set of circumstances involving Absalom’s hair getting caught in a tree, allowing Joab and David’s soldiers to kill the king’s son. And when word of Absalom’s death finally got to David [see highlight passage above], he wept deeply. David, who had actually delivered an order that Absalom be spared, was broken to the core when his son was killed, and David wept and grieved the death of his son, who had rebelled against David, pursued him treacherously, and tried to have his father killed. So, … why would David grieve so deeply?

Well, the main reason was that David, being a model of God’s agape, loved his son unconditionally. Only God’s love, the agape exhibited by Jesus on the cross, can love another who is an enemy; and in David’s love for his son, we see that kind of love illustrated very personally and powerfully. Unfortunately, our “love” for our fellow man so often falls short of the love exhibited by David for his son, Absalom, and way short of the love of God illustrated by Jesus’ death on the cross.

 Secondly, David realized and recognized that Absalom’s sinful rebellion was the prophetic result of David’s own failure and selfishness, which historically came about when David made all those bad choices involving Bathsheba and the death of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. And so, David grieved as much over his own past sins which had muchbib to do with Absalom’s rebellion. Hence, we read of David deeply desiring that somehow he, David, would have died rather than Absalom.

And the application for us all from this biblical history is that when we make choices to sin, selfishly and in rebellion against God’s will and His way, we sin against God; and there ALWAYS will be consequences. Most certainly, God is a merciful God; and He is a forgiving God; but sin is an affront to God’s holiness and it will always – ALWAYS – have consequences which will likely cause grief and pain in our life. So, recognizing that we’re all sinners; and we do sin; … is there any hope for us?

And that question is all wrapped up in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, and our Messiah. And we do have hope in the reality of that New Covenant declaration (found in 1st John 1: 9), If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. And I don’t know about you, but I know first hand of the reality of the consequences of my sin; and I also can give witness to the veracity of this latter New Testament truth.

Yes, sin does ALWAYS have consequences; but God also ALWAYS extends His grace of forgiveness for those who’re willing to humble themselves before His throne, confessing and truly repenting, and receiving God’s everlasting, forgiving love. … And for the latter, do I sense a “HALLELUJAH!!!” from any of you reading with me here?

My Prayer Today: … Yes, Lord, HALLELUJAH!!! Amen

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012 … Oh Lord, You Lift Me Up!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 3-4 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 12-13 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 28 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 55 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage : Psalm 3: 1-3 1 LORD, how many are my foes! … How many rise up against me! … 2 Many are saying of me,… “God will not deliver him.” … 3 But You, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. 

My Journal for Today: Have you ever felt like the world, or maybe even those around you, were pressing in against you? Maybe you felt spiritually, or even personally, oppressed by those about you or maybe even those who had been close friends or family in your past? Well, that’s where David again found himself as I have been reading about his challenges of late in my chronological read through 2nd Samuel and in some of the Psalms David wrote. Currently, I had been reading about how the outflow of his past sins (described in 2nd Samuel 11-12) had him trying to escape from the pursuits of his own rebellious son, Absalom, who was out to kill his daddy.

And then, today, we read of six songs (Psalms), all of which express David’s reliance, trust, and clinging to the one place the King knew to go, to trust, and to be lifted up; and that was going to his God. And in these songs we read that David had no doubt learned of how God lifted him up in his times of trials back when he was being pursued by King Saul. Now, historically, David is the king; and again he’s being pursued, … this time by his own son. But David goes back to a place where he knew he could go when he was stressed and oppressed … and that was to His Lord, … Yahweh!!

And immediately as I read all six of these Psalms (which I hope you do if you’re following along), a passage from the New Testament resonated with me, written by the Apostle Paul, who, while under great oppression in prison himself, was trying to get an oppressed Christian people in Philippi (as well as you and me) to realize that at NO TIME should we be anxious; but when we feel oppressed or stressed, we should take our feelings to the One, … the only One, … Who will hear and will lift us up; and that, of course, is our Lord. I hope you have Philippians 4: 6-7 memorized. If not, look it up, mediate on it; and ask yourself if that is your M.O. when your stressed out by life. I’ll leave it to you to do that self-analysis.

But that’s why David was able to handle life the way he did; and he wrote songs about where he went – ALWAYS – when he was down-and-out. And when he did, his head (i.e., his attitude) was lifted up. And to help you be lifted up – no matter where you might be in life right now – I want you to go to the link I’m going to provide here and listen to the great Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, under the direction of Carol Cymbala, as they sing Thou, Oh Lord, Are a Shield For Me.   Go to this link;  And as you listen to this song and mediate on the highlight passage from David in Psalm 3 today, be lifted up by God and know that you can always go to the Lord, as did David and Paul, and be lifted up in your prayers to our LORD.

My Prayer Today: … Oh, my Lord, You are my shield and the lifter of my head! Amen

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012 … Leaders and Fathers

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Samuel, Chapters 13-15 … To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage : 2nd Samuel 15: 5-6 5 Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.

My Journal for Today: Reading through the chronological chapters which my reading plan has led me into this day, Chapters 13-15 of 2nd Samuel, one is impressed with the family turmoil within David’s family. We know that over the long haul of history and in the renown of Jewish history, David is consider one of her greatest leaders and kings. However, when you examine and put a microscope of analysis on David’s life as a parent over this same long haul of history, we see that there are a number of foibles and failures, … not the least of which is how he parented and fathered sons like Absalom. And in today’s highlight passage (see above) we see the result of David’s parenting of Absalom actually resulted in his son plotting to undermine David’s authority as king.

The upshot of all of this is the reality that being successful as a business, career, or political leader does not make one a successful husband, father, or family man in God’s eyes. I don’t think I’ll have to write in depth or any length about what I relearned from today’s reading about David’s family life. In a nutshell … David’s parenting and life as a husband/father sucked [as the kids would say these days] !!

Just because David was a great king in Israel did not make him a great family man; and the result of David’s poor leadership in his own household, his son, Absalom, becomes the son every father would consider a nightmare. So, if you’re a father and reading this, and you still have sons (or daughters) in their formative years, I pray that you’ll realize what David apparently didn’t … that he first exercise of Godly leadership should have been in the home; … and then the leadership of others, outside the home – as in one’s professional, business, or political career – should have been David’s secondary priority of Godly leadership.

David apparently did fine over history in his extra-family leadership; but in his own home, he simply didn’t lead well as a father; and Absalom became one of the measures of that failure. I pray today that those of us who have experienced a measure of success in our worldly careers have been the Godly leaders in our homes that we should have been. In God’s eyes and in His economy of our time spent on this earth, being a leader in the family is priority #1 when it comes to time devoted to life’s endeavors. Then being a leader in the world can be exercised well as to our glorifying God with our time. That is why in God’s church, in these New Covenant times, leadership in the home is considered to be a priority criteria when one is considered to be a leader in the church, such as an Elder, Bishop, or Pastor. One can read the biblical criteria for church leadership spelled out in 1st Timothy 3: 1-7, where one can see that the God, through the Apostle Paul, delineated that a man should not be considered for church eldership or pastoral leadership if he has been a failure as a father. So, what goes for church leaders should go as well for any Christian parent in leadership in the home as well.

Being an Elder and a ministry leader in my church, I have been called upon a number of times to evaluate candidates for church ministry; and I’ve learned that looking at the fatherhood of such a candidate becomes one of the most salient ways to judge that candidate’s leadership potential as a church leader. As fatherhood in the home goes, so the leadership potential of a church leader can likely be predicted.

So, if you’re reading this and you’re a younger father with young children, it would be wise to see that your ministry and leadership in the home should be prioritized over one’s time and talent investment in your extra-family career.

 And I believe that’s the primary, and very important, conclusion and application from my Bible reading today.

My Prayer Today: … Heavenly Father, I thank You for helping me through those formative years of our parenting of two daughters, both of whom have become devoted Christian wives, raising Christian kids the right way – Your way – in my later years. My gratitude is overwhelming this day. Amen