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Archive for July, 2010

July 30.10 ethot

Psalm 102:12 (1-28) “But You, O Lord, abide forever, and Your name to all generations.

The psalmist (an important leader or even a king of Israel) here describes how while he has become very ill (vs. 3-9), his enemies have taken advantage of the situation to criticize him even more. And, I’m sure that many of us have found ourselves in similar situations where our critics take advantage of our illness to make us look bad. And, we wonder, what is God doing?

But at the same time the psalmist keeps his perspective, and doesn’t let him self think that God has actually abandoned him, v. 12. He understands that although, in the moment, things don’t always look like they make sense, in time they will, v.18. And, sometimes they’re happening for the benefit of those we will only know in heaven.

So, while we suffer through a situation let’s keep our perspective realizing that God knows what He’s doing. He’s been doing it for a long time and will continue long after I’m gone, vs. 23-28.

Wisdom involves recognizing how God is using my story to influence the lives of others.

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Psalm 101:6 (1-8) “My eye shall be upon the faithful of the land,

Somewhere long ago I remember learning that there are 4 types of friends: Acquaintances, Casual Friendships, Close Friendships and fellowships, finally Intimate Friendships and fellowships*. They range from very casual to very intimate and should move from one end to the other. An acquaintance is like those you meet at the bus stop or the check out line. An intimate friend is one in whom you trust the secrets you only trust with yourself.

So what David is really talking about in this psalm is the kind of friends he would surround himself with; the kind of friends that would help him to continually sing God’s praises (v. 1), to listen to Him only (v. 2), to walk in the right way (vs. 2-3) and to run from evil (v. 4).

Whether any of them would wind up being an intimate friend or not was not as relevant as to whether their goals would be that same as his, to please God in everything he did. I think that if that kind of thinking was good enough for a king then we should carefully consider what kind of friends we have as well.

Cautiousness involves recognizing the consequences of the decisions I make today.

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July 27.10 ethot

Psalm 99:3 (1-9) “Holy is He.

Three times this psalm tells us that God is holy, vs. 3, 5 & 9. The word holy generally means to be separated from that which is common or impure. It implies that the separation is with a purpose. But when it is applied to God it means that He is uncommonly different from everything and everyone else.

Yet, He remains a person like us (actually we’re like Him). We’re like Him in that we too have purpose. We discover that purpose when we act creatively and it results in a sense of having done the right thing and done it well. I find it interesting that the most satisfying manifestations of creativity are our efforts to meet each other’s needs.

I mean the things that make our lives easier to handle; things that bring us peace and joy. These things can include music, art, poetry and such but not limited to that. These expressions are evidence that we are God’s creation (holy) and that He is.

Wisdom involves recognizing and rejecting my natural inclination to explain away what I know to be true.

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July 28.10 ethot

Psalm 100:4 (1-5) “Enter His gates with thanksgiving.

As I had mentioned in Psalm 99 God is our creator. As such we have much to be grateful for. If He had not created us we would not know the beauty and complexity of His creation.

The other day Judy, a friend and myself went up to the Rain Forests of Puerto Rico (El Yunque). It was a long drive up so that we could hike down to the bottom a cool and refreshing waterfall. It was a long, winding trail and hot. When we got to the falls there were lots of grateful people splashing around in the water.

We finally got out of the water to return to the car, understanding that it would be a hard steep and hotter climb back to the car. On the way up it rained (imagine that). Yet, it was so refreshing! I’m sure that when we go through the gates of heaven we will feel that same refreshing after our long and winding road of a life.

Wisdom involves recognizing and rejecting my natural inclination to explain away what I know to be true.

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July 26.10 ethot

Psalm 98:1 (1-9) “O sing to the Lord a new song,

I have probably mentioned this before but I think it might be worth saying again. There is a higher purpose for music than we tend to think.

Although this psalm sounds like a victory psalm, it actually is anticipating a victory yet to come. I say this because we haven’t seen a battle from which all of nature (vs. 7 & 8) applauds its liberation from the consequences of the sins of man (Romans 8:18-30). This is the battle of Armageddon from which we will see the beginnings of the millennial kingdom.

During this millennial reign Jesus will be here to rule and judge rightly. We will experience a government without error or excess. Can you imagine that? For this reason it is worth singing about it now, rather than wait. This is why I like to emphasis that that higher purpose of music is to keep us focused on our God and His purposes for our lives and the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Faith involves acting on the knowledge that our trust on His name will keep us on the Day of Judgment.

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July 23.10 ethot

Psalm 97:6 (1-12) “The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples have seen His glory.

In vs. 1-5 we’re told that God has revealed Himself through nature. In vs. 7-9 we’re told that since there are no gods anyone who seeks to worship what doesn’t exist or only exists in the mind, should be ashamed of themselves for not perceiving the obvious. In vs. 10-12 those of us who have figured this out need to consciously hate evil (to reject anything or anyone who seeks to take the place of God in our lives).

When v. 6 tells us the heavens declare His righteousness it is telling us how right God is for presenting Himself this way. Man is more intent now to discover nature and how it works. But they have excluded God from the equation and are coming up with the most insane ideas for any rational human being. When man thinks that the only good life is a happy life and so death is an option all logic is lost. We don’t even see that, as a rule, in the animal kingdom.

What man’s investigation and comparison of the human and animal kingdoms should find, is that the mess man finds himself in, is caused by man himself. To kill man off is not a remedy. It’s like throwing the baby out with the bath water. Man should find in nature how God has delicately balance every aspect of life. Life out of balance is what man faces because he has refused to recognize God in it.

Faith involves seeing and accepting what God has to offer.

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July 8.10 ethot

Psalm 96:9 (1-13) “Worship the Lord in holy attire;

When David finally returned the Ark of the Covenant to Israel there was a big celebration. Asaph was assigned to write and coordinate the festivities, 1 Chronicles 16.

In Matthew 22:1-14 Jesus presents to us the story of a king who was having a wedding for his son, but none of the invited guests wanted to come. So, the king decided to invite anyone on the road and many came. But as the king looked over the crowd he noticed that there was one who wasn’t wearing the proper clothing for a wedding. It seems that the king had provided clothing and he wasn’t wearing what was provided. So, he was thrown out.

In the same way God has invited us to a celebration, which will occur in due time. But to attend, there is certain attire we must be wearing. It’s not something we go out and buy or borrow; it is something He has provided. He has provided for us His own holiness. We come to the wedding in Him (Faith is our trust that only in Him will we be accepted before the Lord.).

Faith involves seeing and accepting what God has to offer.

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