It Is Written – Psalm 40

            What is written about you? When I was a kid I always wondered what my teacher would write about me on my report cards. As I got older I dreaded it, because I knew that I had been lazy and not worked up to my potential and I knew that my teachers knew it as well. But have you ever wondered what is written about you in God’s book?

            In Psalm 40:7 David says, “Then I said, ‘Here I am, I have come—It is written about me in the scroll.’” He’s saying, “I’m here; I’m ready. Write that I came when you called and I’m ready to do whatever You have for me to do.” Verse 8 goes on to say, “I desire to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.” He was ready, willing, able, and present for whatever task God had for him to do.

            In the book of Colossians, Paul tells the Christians at Colosse, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Whatever you do, do it for God’s glory. Then only good will be written about you.

            David goes on to use some very strong words to describe his behavior in verses 8 & 9: “I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as You know, O Lord. I do not hide Your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal Your love and Your truth from the great assembly.” Proclaim, seal, hide, speak, conceal. He was open and shouted all about God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness, salvation in front of the great assembly. He wanted everyone to know.

            There was a chorus we sang when I was a kid, “Pass It On”. There was a line in it, “I’ll shout it from the mountaintop, I want the world to know, The Lord of Love has come to me, I want to pass it on.” This is the was David felt about God; he wanted to let everyone know the kind of God he served. And he shouted it out.

            Are you “Passing it on”? Or are your lips sealed because of fear or doubt. Shout it from the mountaintop and let the whole world know that our God is great!

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The Word – John 1

Have you ever tried to talk to someone who doesn’t speak the same language you do? It can be very frustrating! I work in a medical facility and we have several interpreters because it is extremely important that they are given the information they need in a language which they understand. It is the same with our relationship with God. For us to understand Him He needed to meet us on our terms and on our level.

Hebrews 1:1-3 says, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” Jesus was God’s love language to us! John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Jesus is, always has been and always will be God. Who better to show us God, than God?

I heard a story a long time ago about a believing wife and an unbelieving husband. She asked him to attend a Christmas Eve service with her and he responded, “Why would God want to become a person on this earth? I can’t understand it!” And he refused to go with her. While she was gone, he heard a crash and a thump on the front window. He ran outside into a storm to find a bird lying stunned on the front porch. He picked it up and it awoke and flew away only to once again fly into the front window and land stunned on the porch. Repeatedly this happened, and he tried to tell the bird that it was a window and not the sky it was reflecting. Suddenly it dawned upon him that the only way he could communicate the message to the bird would be to become a bird and tell it in its own language. A light blinked on in his mind and he finally understood why God would become a man, to communicate His message of love to mankind who could not understand it any other way.

God speaks to us through His Son, who came to earth to show and tell us His message of love, grace, forgiveness and eternal life. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 KJV) If you want to see what God is like, just look at Jesus.

Jerusalem – Luke 19

 

Prayer for Peace  This is my favorite painting by the artist Thomas Kinkade. It is called “A Prayer for Peace” and depicts Jesus weeping over Jerusalem as He approached on Palm Sunday.

            In Luke 19:42 Jesus says, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—” On Palm Sunday the crowds hailed Him with, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” But He knew that in only a few days this same crowd would be yelling “Crucify Him!” Jesus saw their hearts and wept for the city named “Peace”.

            In Matthew’s Gospel, he records Jesus words, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling.” (Matthew 23:37) Jesus loved His people and was about to pay the ultimate price for that love. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

            He looks on the city and weeps for God’s chosen people as He sees the persecution, defeat and desolation they will face: “The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls.” (vs 43-44) And He saw the destruction of their beloved temple: “They will not leave one stone on another.” (vs 44)

            Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. Have you turned to Him for peace? He longs to give you the “peace of God that transcends all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) I would encourage you, urge you, to look to Him: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6) He longs to give you peace just as He longed to give it to Jerusalem.

Three Pictures – Luke 18

            I love to people watch. People are fascinating: their dress, their walk, their actions and reactions, their interactions. I think it would have been amazing to watch Jesus and His interactions with people.

            In this chapter from verses 9-17 Jesus interacts with two groups of people on opposite ends of a spectrum. “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else” (vs 9) were the first group. He told them a parable giving the first two pictures: a Pharisee and a tax collector going to pray.

            “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself.” (vs 11) He wasn’t talk to God; he was bragging for the sake of those around him. He was not humble before his Creator, but proud and boastful before men. “Thank you that I’m not like other men.” (vs 11)

            “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” (vs 13) This man acknowledged the truth of his sin; he knew he had nothing to offer a holy God, but threw himself on the “mercy of the court”. In humility he came to beg from God what he knew he did not deserve. “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.” (vs 14)

            The second group is a group of children and parents. And the third picture is one of Jesus with children. Parents brought their children to Jesus for Him to bless them, but the disciples tried to send them away. “But Jesus called the children to Himself.” (vs 16) Jesus loved (and loves) children. “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter it.” (vs 16-17) We need to receive Christ with all the awe, wonder, excitement, joy and gratitude of a child entering Disneyland for the first time, gripping tightly to the hand of our Heavenly Father and knowing that nothing else could ever compare.

            So three pictures: the Pharisee who could not admit that “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), the tax collector begging for mercy he knew he did not deserve, and the children giving a picture of the awe and wonder with which we must approach the kingdom. Two of these will see the face of God. The other had become his own god. Which are you?

One in Ten – Luke 17

            How often do we say “Thank you,” when someone does something for us? In working in daycare, we tried to teach the children to say, “Please” and “Thank you”, but at one of the training sessions I attended, we were informed that this is something that is now only pushed in the South and the Midwest. I was shocked! To force someone to be grateful is not being truly grateful, and if what they are asking for is something that must be given to them anyway, (such as food) why should they say “please” or “thank you” at all? I’m afraid to see what will become of this generation!

            As Jesus travelled toward Jerusalem, a group of lepers saw Him coming. Normally these men would have called out, “Unclean!” as a warning to those who approached to steer clear of this deadly, extremely contagious disease. But someone had passed along the word that Jesus was coming and instead they stood at a distance and called out, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” (vs 13)

            “Jesus said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’”(vs 14) They trusted that His words were all it would take and they took off running. As they ran, they looked at fingers that had been diseased, at skin that had been scaly and scabbing and all was made whole, clean and new. They were healed! Ten men had been healed. But only one stopped, turned around and ran back to Jesus. He praised God as he ran. “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him.” (vs 16) Jesus responded, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” (vs 17) “Rise and Go; your faith has made you well.” (vs 19) He healed ten but only one returned to say “Thank You!”

            Are you that one in ten who returns to thank the Lord for all the good things He gives you? Or are you one of the nine, who continue on your merry way, taking for granted all the amazing gifts in your life? Thank Him for each sunrise, for each raindrop, for each breath given you. Thank Him for forgiveness of sin, hope of heaven, grace for each trial. Learn to say “Thank You” just like you did as a child.

Deliverance – Psalm 34

            From what do you need deliverance? Fear? Illness? Enemy attacks? Torment? Torture? Persecution? Oppression? Sin? There are many things in this life from which we would like to be delivered. David felt the same way.

            Because of Saul’s attacks, David had to flee and hide. When he wrote this Psalm he was in hiding behind enemy lines and to do so he had to act insane. The story is found in I Samuel 21. David felt trapped; he felt alone, in need of deliverance, saving. He uses the words deliver, save, protect and redeem eight times.

            Vs 4 – I sought the Lord and He answered me;

                        He delivered me from all my foes.

            Vs 6 – This poor man called, and the Lord heard him

                        He saved him out of all his troubles.

            Vs 7 – The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,

                        And He delivers them.

            Vs 17 – The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;

                        He delivers them from all their troubles.

            Vs 18 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted 

              And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

            Vs 19 – A righteous man may have many troubles

                        But the Lord delivers him from them all.

            Vs 20 – He protects all his bones

                        Not one of them will be broken.

            Vs 22 – The Lord redeems His servants;

                        No one will be condemned who takes refuge in Him.

            Where do you turn for deliverance? If you turn to man, he will fail you. But, if you turn to God, you will find rest and refuge. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” (vs 8)

The Eyes of the Lord – Psalm 33

            As a young mother I loved watching my children, even when they slept. It warmed my heart to watch them playing, learning and interacting with others; and it broke my heart when they were hurt, sick, or misbehaved. The same can be said of God.

            “The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love.” (vs 18) He watches us as we go about our daily lives, just as we watch our children. “From heaven the Lod looks down and sees all mankind.” He looks on all mankind, that He made, and loves each one.

            Since we know God sees and cares for us, what should be our natural response? Praise! “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him.” (vs 1) Praise Him with singing; praise Him with your words; praise Him with your actions.

            And since we know He sees, we can have hope. “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” (vs 20) Titus calls it our blessed hope: “while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” We have that hope that the suffering of this life is temporary and our hope, our reward, our rest is eternal.