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Archive for September, 2010

September 30.10 ethot

Psalm 125:3 (1-5) “For the scepter of the wicked shall not rest upon the land of the righteous,

Years back, at a pastor’s conference, I remember listening to an auditorium of over 5,000 men singing, sometimes in four part harmony, it was amazing. It literally shook my spirit. So I can only imagine hearing the men singing this psalm as they would wind their way through the city to the temple.

The message they sang for all the people to here was that on occasion the enemies of God would get the upper hand on them, yet not forever, only for a time. Hopefully any time the enemies of the righteous have over us will be restless as well.

Just as the city of Jerusalem sat in between two mountain ranges with a river running through it, believers (the righteous) are permanently cradled in the hands of God from all sides as the Holy Spirit runs through us. Our enemies will never rest or have rest over us for long.

We should sing these songs not to convince ourselves of its truth but to remember. Because Satan’s best trick on us is to make us forget.

Endurance involves staying focused on our God given objectives in spite of all the distractions Satan will throw our way.

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September 29.10 ethot

Psalm 124:1 (1-8) “Had it not been the Lord on our side, let Israel now say,

Some commentators say that the first statement is abrupt and I would agree except I might better use the word refreshing, in view of our day, where we would rather brag about our own brilliance.

I say this only because we’re all looking for that key advantage in business, play and just plain living, but we seem to forget or assume or even ignore that the Lord is on our side. And, sometimes even when it doesn’t appear we’re on His.

I think we forget because we get distracted through the course of the day, week or month from whom we are. The psalmist says that if it wasn’t for the Lord, who’s Lord? OUR LORD! We forget that we’re here only as representatives of our Lord (2 Corinthians 5:20). And, we’re not here to seek a pleasure that will be given to us when the job is done.

Endurance involves sticking to God’s goals in God given responsibilities when you would rather give up.

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September 28.10 ethot

Psalm 123:3 (1-4) “Be gracious to us, O Lord, be gracious to us, for we are filled with contempt.

From Psalm 120 through to Psalm 134 are psalms of ascents. This means they were designed to be song by the people as they drew near to worship in Jerusalem (the city of peace).

In this song the singer is asking for a break because he feels that he’s been singled out for undeserved persecution. He is looking to God for direction on what should be his next steps like a waiter in a restaurant.

When the waiter has a difficult customer he has to call the headwaiter to handle the matter. But at times the headwaiter has been watching and can give direction from a distance. In the same way, as believers, we will find it difficult to serve our Lord in a world dead set against Him. We need to keep our eyes on the Lord (reading and studying our Bibles) to see if He is giving new or different direction than what He has already given.

Of course we should always be looking at Him for direction, but at times, we should be aware that the Christian life, in this ever increasing hostile world is not easy, and to expect it to be otherwise is foolish.

Joyfulness involves looking past present difficulties to what God might be doing.

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September 27.10 ethot

Psalm 122:3 (1-9) “Jerusalem, that is built as a city that is compact together;

From what I understand the city, in David’s time, was built partly on a hill, so there was a lower and upper section of the city. The really unusual part of the city was that the houses in the city were all connected to each other. With the wall complete it made the city more defensible.

The symbolism was that there was unity among the people of Israel and since the city was both the seat of political and spiritual life there was unity of purpose in both as well. So if you had been out of country for a while and were invited to return to the city, Jerusalem, your heart would be glad too, v. 1.

Today in these United States the houses have been separated more and more everyday. Our way of life is under attack and the walls broken down. The enemy is in the city and establishing itself in both the spiritual and political houses of this nation who were once united under God.

While there is still some joy as citizens of this nation we should get our own houses in order first. Then we can through out the enemies of God and this nation. Then we can through the enemy out of our spiritual and political houses. This nation was once united in its belief that there was but one God in the universe and He is the only basis for all moral behavior.

Deference involves putting a hold on my freedom in order not to hurt God and those He has called me to serve.

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September 24.10 ethot

Psalm 121:2 (1-8) “My help comes from the Lord, who made the heaven and the earth.

When I was in Vietnam and out on maneuvers we always knew that if we got into serious trouble, we couldn’t seem to get out of, all we had to do is call headquarters and they would send the gun ships (helicopters). They came with guns and rockets and room to carry us out.

We could always count on them, because they were always ready. In a similar way believers can count on God being there to help us achieve our mission. He knows exactly where we are and what it will take to make the mission a success. What we need to do is be sure that our effort was worth the mission.

Sometimes, when the gun ships came, it was not to take us out but to bring reinforcements. The job we’re doing as believers is very important and although there are times when we want out, out is the worst thing that can happen.

Determination involves not allowing difficulties to cause me to change right decisions.

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September 23.10 ethot

Psalm 120:7 (1-7) “I am for peace, but when they speak, they are for war.

Every time I read this psalm it reminds me of my time in Vietnam as a Marine. There were only a few kids there that liked what they were doing (killing). The rest of us couldn’t wait to get home to our boringly safe lives. We were there because it was the right thing to do, despite what others thought.

We spent our free time thinking about the good times at home and getting back. Professional soldiers understand their job, they don’t like it, but they know they have been equipped, like no one else, to do it. It would be so simple if we could just reason with each other, but we know that’s not the issue.

The issue is always about getting your own way, whether it’s right or wrong. It doesn’t matter whom or what is hurt in the process, those who are for warring, are that way because there are those of us who are for peace. And, when we are for war, they are for an alleged peace.

The answer, of course, is first to be reconciled with God (stop fighting Him) and then we can begin the process of being reconciled to one another. Peace can only be achieved when all the parties involved are willing to do whatever it takes to resolve a matter according to God’s word (what is right).

Humility involves not letting your emotions and pride dictate your decisions.

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September 22.10 ethot

Psalm 119:169 (169-176) “Let my cry come before You, O Lord, give me understanding according to Your word.

Finally the conclusion of the psalmist in this 176-versed psalm is that he needs to understand. Since he’s already seen the difference between the way man understands life and the way God (the creator of life) understands life his choice seems to be easy.

But life according to God’s way is not always that easy, v. 170. That’s part of the reason we have so many weak religions that take no stand other than to be all-inclusive, to them, all men are children of God.

God has determined that His true children, the ones who’s character He is changing, will face hard times that will help them build that character until we look like the very Son of God Himself. We know that a sculptor must chip away at a block of marble to get to the true image buried inside.

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

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