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Archive for October, 2010

October 29.10 ethot

Psalm 146:3 (1-10) “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.

Most of us in the U.S. are aware that this is that time of year when we elect our new government representatives, whether mayor, governor, senators and so on. It’s unfortunate that so many of us take for granted this freedom, right and responsibility God has granted to us (usually just over 50% of the voting population actually votes).

I bring this up because in this passage we’re told not to trust in our political leaders as the answer to all of our problems. We’re to turn to God in and out of our need and He will direct us in the direction we should go. When God established the nation of Israel there was no king and no army. The average farmer was the army and called only when needed.

It would then seem as if we shouldn’t bother to vote and be examples to others of how we trust in God. The reality is that we are no Jews under that system. God has placed each of us as believers where we are to be the kind of representative that takes advantage of whatever political system we live under to share the Gospel.

Here in the U.S. we can make a big difference in how we represent our Lord even politically.

Decisiveness involves learning how to make decisions based on an understanding of God’s ways and God’s will.

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Psalm 145:8 (1-21) “The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.

As I was reading this psalm v. 4 stuck out in my mind as one of the weaknesses I’ve seen in the generations. We all pass on to our children the God we have experienced.

In the story of the Jews, too many times they failed to share those experiences in a meaningful way. It’s evident because the succeeding generation failed to obey the God of their fathers. It’s a phenomenon still evident today.

What I mean by meaningful is that instead of just telling the stories of God’s miraculous rescues of His people they forgot to tell of God’s daily mercies and graciousness, v. 8. They forgot to relate to their children (as many times we do) of God’s mercy (keeping us from what we deserve when we repent) and of His grace (giving us what we don’t deserve because of that repentance).

Some of us have also failed to be slow to anger (carefully following a plan of discipline) with our children, opting instead for quick inconsistent solutions, v. 8. We too many times forget that children need all of our time (guiding what they hear, what they see and what the say and do) not just some of it. This next generation, as mature adults, needs to know who they are and what God expects of them. After we’re sure we’ve taught them that in our lives and through our words can we feel we’ve done our job of passing on what we know. Yet, even then our children will always be our children.

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

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October 27.10 ethot

Psalm 144:15 (1-15) “How blessed are the people who are so situated; how blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.

David describes, in this psalm, a country where there is no hunger, where the quality of consumer goods is above reproach, vs. 13 & 14. This country is where the children have grown up both spiritually and morally as solid citizens of the kingdom, v. 12. The enemies of this country are easy to spot because they’re all outside the country, v. 11.

There are two reasons for this kingdom to exist in such a blessed way: Their God and their resolve. Verse 15 tells us they are blessed because they serve only one God. They are not that God!

But v. 1 tells us that the king of this country has not taken this blessing for granted. Like a good soldier he stands at the ready to protect what God has given him from all outsiders. And that good soldier has trained his children to be ready as well.

It’s a shame that in this country, today, we have apparently abandoned our God and the proper training of our children. The evidence is undeniable.

Alertness involves being fully aware of the consequences of present actions, words, attitudes, and thoughts.

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Psalm 143:10 (1-12) “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

In those times when we feel overwhelmed David seems to suggest what we usually forget.

We could say that the enemy David speaks of is a political or military enemy or maybe he’s talking about our common spiritual enemy Satan. Maybe he’s talking about all of the above. In any case David first calls on God, vs. 1-4.

Then he goes back to when he wasn’t overwhelmed and thinks, not just about the good times. As he’s recalling those days he remembers that God can be found in the morning, v. 8. When we first awake it is to Him we should turn and seek (in His word through prayer). Seek His direction where He has already spoken.

As we pray and read it is with our ears wide open looking for His direction because he’s about to teach, v. 10. It is His will not our relief we’re looking for. As we work to realign our wills with His we may discover that the relief we look for was already given.

Maybe the enemy David speaks of was not the Devil at all. Maybe the enemy he spoke of was himself. Sometimes we’re overwhelmed by things that shouldn’t because we have decided not to do God’s will but our own.

Review, Realign and Recommit.

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

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October 25.10 ethot

Psalm 142:4 (1-7) “Look to the right and see; for there is no one who regards me; there is no escape for me; no one cares for my soul.

In 1 Samuel 22 we have the story of how David had been helped by the priest of the Lord in a town called Nob (1 Samuel 21). Because the priest helped David in his time of need King Saul had him executed. The priest probably understood what was going on between Saul and David and although David did lie to him he helped him anyway for fear of the more immediate danger. (I wonder, though, if David wasn’t just giving the priest an excuse he could use in case the King inquired.)

When David heard the news, that the priest had been put to death, he felt like he was more alone than before. There were, in his mind, fewer and fewer people who were not running with him still in favor of him. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt alone in that sense, that your help to fulfill a mission has disappeared on you.

We should always remember that God will not abandon His commissioned servant. We are those commissioned servants of the Lord and there will be times when we will serve without trouble and times when we will feel alone, but we’re never alone.

Courage involves setting your fears aside so you can do what is right.

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October 22.10 ethot

Psalm 141:3 (1-10) “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.

In stark contrast to those we looked at yesterday (those who twist words), believers are to watch ever word so as not to do like the wicked. In their heart they plan to do harm, but our goal is to do good.

Yet, we need to recognize that our old nature (the one that wants to do harm) still exists in us and wants to be in control. David, recognizing this, begs the righteous to slap him on the face when that nature assumes control. Of course the he asks those good friends to be kind and not to forget to reprove him (let him know why).

One way we can keep a guard on our own mouths is to avoid the kind of company that will lead to thoughtless words, v. 4. It’s a lot easier to practice good when you’re with those who are practicing it and harder when you’re with those who’re only interested in doing good for themselves.

Alertness is not just to danger. It involves paying attention to opportunities God presents for real change, right now.

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October 21.10 ethot

Psalm 140:9 (1-13) “As for the head of those who surround me, may the mischief of their lips cover them.

Well it’s that time of year in the U.S., elections. We can tell not because I looked on my calendar and it was mark as a reminder, but because when I turn on my TV it is full of campaign commercials. And, as we draw closer and closer to Election Day they become more and more shrill.

This year more than ever I’ve noticed how the levels of decency are almost completely gone as the allegations become more and more outlandish. It appears as if the twisting of words is the new norm for campaigning. In David’s day advisors that twisted words to say or mean what was never intended had become a serious problem for the king.

His solution was to call down fire on their heads, not literally, v. 10. But I feel like doing that myself as both political parties have fallen to the same tactics to get voter attention. This kind of campaign strategy is doomed to fail on both parties because it assumes that we, the voters, are stupid enough to fall for all the lies being thrown at us.

So, I hope that you’re with me in calling on God to deliver us from all this noise and help us to fulfill our civic duty to the glory and honor of God, in spite of the outcome.

Wisdom involves discovering philosophies of hopelessness and rejecting them.

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