Archive for April, 2012

30
Apr
12

A Time For Punishment

“You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the Lord abhors.”Psalm 5:4-6
More often than not, God is depicted in our society as a loving, all-accepting God, who would never inflict harm on anyone because of their actions. Indeed, that is what most of the culture would like to see, because it allows them to live life their own way, with no prohibitions, and still receive grace in the end.
There is certainly a need for grace, and there is a place where it will be applied – only God knows when and where the “line” exists. But there can be no doubt that God has limits, and He reaches them. He has displayed his anger over sin through events such as the Flood, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And the verses above make it clear that God holds strong feelings against those who will perpetually choose evil deeds. He is not a big cuddly teddy bear as much as He is an instructive Father who knows when punishment must be given.
And thanks be to God that He can restrain His anger and action when necessary. It must have been tempting to unleash it when His Son was hanging on the cross. Yet He withheld His anger, to accomplish a larger purpose – our salvation.
29
Apr
12

Eternal Security is God’s Desire For Us

“Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.”  — Psalm 4:3
Much of my Christian walk still deals with the issue of “knowing” with certainty that God grants me grace and salvation, without demanding perfection from my every move. Because of my early church upbringing, there is still a tendency for me to feel the need to “earn” salvation.
In many ways, I envy those who better understand the verse above. David tells us that we can know that God has set apart a people for Himself, and that He will hear us when we cry out to him. This is reminiscent of what the apostle John tells us in 1 John 5:13“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” To truly know and have confidence in God’s salvation is a true gift.  And I am sure that this is exactly what the Lord wants – for us to be secure in His love and forgiveness.  Any father wants that for his own children, right?
28
Apr
12

Peace, Even In Chaos

“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.”Psalm 3:5
We take for granted many of the small things in life, such as being able to sleep when we lie down. But I can speak from recent experience that this is no insignificant matter. Being able to lie down and fall asleep without being plagued by restlessness, worry, or even the extreme of “night terrors” is a real treasure.
This verse was written by David when he was being chased by the troops of his own son, Absalom. David had many worries to threaten him during this period – being captured and killed, losing his own loyal men and their lives, and the despair he must have felt by seeing all of this being carried out by his own flesh and blood. Yet, this verse indicates that he was able to rest because he depended on the Lord.
See also Psalm 4:8 – “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
27
Apr
12

The Lord’s Unchanging Ways

The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.”Psalm 2:2-3

I didn’t notice the implication of this verse the first time that I read it, but it finally struck me what is being said. Note the words and attitudes of the earth’s rulers toward God’s chosen people. They apparently see God’s laws as restrictive and a prison from which we must be freed. They see the life that we live as being akin to being tied and bound, and that we need to be “freed” from such thinking.

Isn’t this just like our world today? The government, our schools, and our public institutions all become progressively more lax in their teaching and their laws, moving further and further from God’s word and decrees. Take for example the approach of our government toward gay marriage. Or the nearly-mandatory “education” provided by our public schools on premarital sex and homosexuality. In these cases, the public institutions feel that they have a more “evolved” opinion, and that people need to be freed from the shackles of old, outdated ways. But God’s way is constant, and unchanging!

Christians need to constantly rise up against these ungodly ways, and proclaim the unchanging truth. And we need to strive to live according to God’s ways – because they are right and good, and they DO NOT CHANGE.

26
Apr
12

Chains….or Freedom?

“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?” Psalm 2:1

If we ever find ourselves asking the question, “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?”, or “Why do the wicked seem to receive a reward, while the righteous are punished?”, I think looking to Psalm 2 gives us a partial answer to that question.

The chapter opens with the question above, and then goes on to give a multi-part answer. The Bible warns those who conspire against God’s people to take heed. The setup goes like this – 1) Certain rulers gather against the Lord, 2) they believe that God’s people need to be freed from the “chains” of God’s law, 3) God rebukes them, and tells them that there is a greater King in place (and, thus, a greater Law), 4) God promises His people the right of sonship and an inheritance, even of the nations, 5) He provides a final warning to the rulers who have it all wrong that they should serve the Lord and accept Jesus, else they will be destroyed.

The chapter concludes with a blessing on those who take refuge in the Lord – a good ending.  By the way, isn’t it true that we see shades of this very pattern in today’s world?  I see this particularly in the area of other men thinking that we Christians need to be freed from the “chains” that bind us in God’s instructions. Our views on homosexuality, abortion, marriage, and child-rearing seem backwards and restrictive to many, and laws are being put in place in our land to undermine our beliefs.  Is God’s law a prison…or is it freedom?

25
Apr
12

God Is Watching

“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.Psalm 1:6

This verse might come as something of a surprise to many Christians. It seems in so many ways that Christians are overlooked, or even worse, persecuted in today’s society. We may not always feel that God is ALWAYS looking out for us.

But we should keep in mind that the Lord may have larger plans for us than we can fathom. Persecution may be necessary for us to grow, und ultimately be victorious. There are plenty of examples in the word of this phenomenon, the greatest of which is the story of Jesus’ persecution and death, and ultimately, his resurrection. God had the long-term view in mind when sending His Son, and He has the long-term view for each of His people, individually, too.

24
Apr
12

Distractions

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”Psalm 1:2

How many distractions are before me each day, which take me away from meditating on his law, day and night? Books, movies, television, the Internet, food, entertainment – all of these are present at almost all times, and all can pull us away from important moments with our Lord. Many of these things are not evil in their own right, but they can become “replacements” for time with God.

Also, it may not be readily apparent from the way we view most books, but God is telling us through this verse that there is enough in His word to keep us occupied all the days of our life. There is no other book like that.




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