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Archive for August, 2010

August 31.10 ethot

Psalm 119:42 (41-48) “So I shall have an answer for him who reproaches me,

As we live out our trust in God and His way of life we will encounter those who disagree. Whether it’s at work, in the neighborhood, school or even at home there will be those who look at some of the difficulties we face and ask, where is your God now?

The psalmist tells God that this is another reason he needs Gods provision, protection and direction (His loving kindness), v. 41. That is so he’ll have an answer for those who have suffered, called on God and got no help, v. 42. They got no help because they didn’t understand.

Let me explain, in Psalm 23:4 it reads, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”. Shepherds who wanted to take their herds to better pastures on a plateau would first have to take them down and up a valley. There would be shadows in the valley where there might be danger, especially if you don’t follow the shepherd exactly.

To get us somewhere better we have to travel the valley of what appears to be death, but only to get to something better for us. For this reason we need to “fear no evil” because God is always with us when we’re with Him.

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

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August 30.10 ethot

Psalm 119:37 (33-40) “Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in your ways.

I have been having a conversation with a number of people and I have noticed something. What I’ve noticed is how deep the notion that we must live out the American dream (retiring early and vacationing the rest of your life) is regardless of race, ethnicity or religion (I’m a little slow at getting things).

I mention it because of all the people in the world the ones who should be most alert to the danger of that dream are the ones clinging to it the most dearly. In this psalm the writer begs God to help him avoid two things dishonest gain and vanity, since he recognizes that vanity leads us to dishonest gain. So the best thing is to keep from a focus on things that are vain (leading us nowhere).

As believers we easily forget that we are here as Christ’s ambassadors. The only dream we’re to live out is His. No matter what our financial circumstances we are to be His representatives, doing His work with His people (the local church) and in His way to the best of our ability (remembering that the Holy Spirit is making us more capable than we think). It is His way that will bring us the most joy, v. 35.

Obedience involves doing what God wants me to do when He wants it done, in the way He wants it done and because He wants it done.

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August 27.10 ethot

Psalm 119:32 (25-32) “I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart.

In this section the writer admits that though he has decided to follow God completely (vs. 30 & 31) it’s not easy (v. 25). But, he trusts God to enable him (v. 32) to be the kind of person God needs.

I think this is what is meant by “enlarge my heart”. Because our task is to represent God in this world right where we are. Whether as a family member, a co-worker or citizen we do everything as His ambassadors. Everyone will look at what we do to see how faithful we are to the ways of God that they have heard us declare, v. 26.

So, in that sense, we are, an open target to all who are waiting to see us fail. And, sometimes we do fail. Yet, even when we fail, we need to get up the right way. This is when we need God to enable us to keep from being angry and throwing a fit or from getting all depressed.

So, to “enlarge my heart” is to give me the will, the strength and the wisdom to keep my wits about me and do the right thing even when it seems impossible.

Obedience involves doing what God wants me to do when He wants it done, in the way He wants it done and because He wants it done.

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August 26.10 ethot

Psalm 119:19 (17-24) “I am a stranger on this earth; do not hide Your commandments from me.”

In 2 Corinthians 5:20 Paul tells us that we are “ambassadors for Christ”. From that perspective we are aliens representing a foreign country. It’s not like we’re on vacation for a couple of weeks or on a mission’s trip for a month. In those cases we have the assurance we’ll be back home in a short time. But, as ambassadors we’re here for however long it takes to get the job done.

The young man in this psalm recognizes that to survive he’ll have to remain focused on who he is and what he’s there for. He also recognizes that the only way to do that is to follow the instructions for living that were given to him. Like him we have an ambassadors instruction manual. It’s full of directions on what we should do and not do and how we should do them. Plus, it’s full of illustrations, stories of how others implemented those rules.

So, like the young man we used to be from this planet and it’s easy for us to forget who we now are and why we’re here. The temptations are great, and this is why daily reading and studying the Bible (our instruction manual) is of absolute importance. Now I know some of you think that this is important for pastors, but we forget that they are just as chosen as the rest of us, not more, not less. We each represent God, in a fallen world, right where we are, the best way we can.

Diligence involves studying the scriptures to understand clearly the Holy Spirit and His counsel.

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August 25.10 ethot

Psalm 119:9 (9-16) “How can a young man keep his way pure?

This is not a question being asked by a parent of his child. Only the child can ask this question because it’s the question that follows a commitment to the Lord. As a parent we need to be alert to that decision so we can become part of our children’s life in helping them become the person God has chosen them to be.

The first thing this new believer must do is to memorize key scripture passages, not just passages he likes, vs. 10 & 11. He needs then to learn the lesson in those passages, v. 12. Whenever we learn something new, we like to share it with our friends. Sharing what we learn re-enforces it in our own minds, vs. 13 & 14.

When we share what we’ve learned we will always encounter those who don’t want to hear it. Here’s an opportunity to help your child to learn another lesson, the decision to follow Christ will cost a lot, in that he will loose a friend or two. But the friendships he will make with God, you and others will be more valuable than anything he will ever own.

Attentiveness involves looking, listening and learning the will of God, the way of God and the commands of God.

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August 24.10 ethot

Psalm 119:4 (1-8) “You have ordained Your precepts, that we should keep them diligently.”

David notes that there are those who are considered blameless before God because they walk in God’s law, v. 1. Many have tried walking in the law and have failed, but that was because they failed to be diligent, v. 4 (this lets us know that the law is keepable).

So David hails these people as note worthy. We should look at them and be happy for them because they have achieved something great in all our eyes. But my question is, who are these people? In v. 4 David tells us that those special, honored people are us, the chosen of God.

In David’s day the chosen were the Jews. Now today the chosen are those who believe in our Lord Jesus the Christ. Chosen doesn’t mean randomly picked. It means that God had a job He needed done, and so He selected certain individuals (and once even a certain nation) to do that job. That job was to represent Him in a world that wants to ignore Him.

So we are to be blameless in that we represent our God well.

Diligence involves focusing on the job the Holy Spirit has given us and getting it done.

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August 23.10 ethot

Psalm 118:5 (1-29) “From my distress I called the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.

Have you ever found yourself feeling hemmed in? You feel pressured from all sides and it becomes so tight that you can’t move. And, all you want to do is just scream!
In this psalm of David I’m reminded of all the times David was running from king Saul and how many times he found himself trapped. In those instances David found the best thing to do was to call out to God for help. Many of those times, just like us, David got himself into trouble. But this didn’t stop God from helping.

Most of those times God didn’t send in a rescuing army, what God did do was to give David the time or the peace of mind needed to think through his situation and then act. The large place mentioned in v. 5 refers to a battlefield where there is room to maneuver. When we call out to God and search for His counsel in His word or from His assigned servants He will give you the room you need to find the way or the angle from which to approach your situation.

Orderliness involves using the distractions of life to help you get your priorities straight.

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