Waiting on the Lord!

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!

2 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.

8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. – Psalm 130

Ponder the watchman how he had kept watch through the darkness of night and how he longed for morning to dawn. Then hear the psalmist say that his souls waits on the Lord more than that. What a beautiful image!

Indeed, why would one wait if there is no forgiveness. The psalmist cries OUT OF THE DEPTHS. The night can be long and cold. It can be lonely and frightening. But there is hope in the darkness. His mercies will dawn like the morning sun!

Wait for him. You will not be disappointed.

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A Prayer for July 4, 2018

Dear Eternal Father, Creator of all things

I come this day, Your creation, in the Name of Jesus Christ my Savior and King to give you praise and thanksgiving for Your tender mercies on America.

We don’t deserve to live in such a land but you have given us good gifts of freedoms. Men and women have fought and given their lives for the liberties we enjoy this day. The armed forces of this nation guard them even now.

We pray for the leaders of this country to lead us in righteousness. We know the endurance of a nation exists under Your divine power and providence. May we seek justice always and stand against evil.

We know that absolute power is Yours alone. You, O Lord, are good and holy. We know that only Your Kingdom is ultimate and eternal. And in Christ Jesus our King through repentance and faith do we have complete rest and peace forever.

May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Until it does, may we live as good citizens of the United States in submission to that which is good but resist that which violates Your holy Word.

To the Only true and living God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit may You protect us. May we use this great gift of freedom to do good in this world. Thank You for 242 years. May this country live for Your glory until Jesus Christ comes again.

In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.


Promise and Warning

Psalm 125:1 A Song of Ascents.

Those who trust in the LORD Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever. 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people From this time forth and forever. 3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous, So that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong. 4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good And to those who are upright in their hearts. 5 But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways, The LORD will lead them away with the doers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel.

The simple promise is that those who trust in the LORD cannot be moved. To trust in the LORD is to be protected by the LORD. He is like mountains surrounding Jerusalem–the city of peace. And He will do this forever!

King Jesus holds the scepter. He leads us in righteousness and he will lead us forever! Those who trust the Lord Jesus are in an immovable Kingdom!

The simple warning is that those who turn aside to THEIR crooked way, the LORD will move them away with the doers of iniquity. To distrust the LORD is to be movable and unprotected. To distrust Him is to do things your way and not God’s way. To distrust the LORD is to have no peace.


We Will Arrive

Songs of Ascents

(Ps. 121) They are traveling to Jerusalem. Mountains stand between them. They long for help on their hard journey. They know the dangers but they also know that their foot will not slip on the mountainous journey because God will not allow it. He will protect them always for He does not sleep!

(Ps. 122) They arrive and they are glad! Their feet are standing within the city because the Lord did not let them slip. He was their help. He was their shade. He was the Keeper of their soul. He guarded their going out and their coming in.

This is what it will look like for those who travel to that great city, the heavenly Jerusalem where there is peace forevermore and God reigns upon the throne. We are sojourners in a foreign land. The journey is hard. But we have a faithful and powerful and holy King! We will arrive because of Him!


Might Cannot Make Right

Might cannot make right.

In light of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, it seems that one central issue is being missed. The media – and people on both sides of the political spectrum – are making this a state issue when it is first a domestic issue. Of course, legal measures can be taken to combat such tragedies, and if laws are broken, then the state must get involved. However, President Trump is not the first line of defense on this issue – nor is the military or the police department. The front line in dealing with this issue – and those with the most power to change things – are PARENTS.

Parents, your children are not in charge. They do not know what is best – which is one reason they have parents. Recognize your responsibility to provide for, lead and protect your children from others as well as your responsibility to protect others from your children.

Take steps TODAY to try to prevent such disasters. Sit down today and read your children’s social media posts and messages. Look in their closets and under their beds. If you find something disturbing, deal with it NOW. If my mom had ANY idea I was going to do something like this (and trust me…she would have known because she loved me and got in my business) it would have only happened over her dead body. If you have young children, be involved like this early. If you already have teenagers, get involved now. Love your children…be nosy…sit down and talk to them…know what is going on in their life.

Ultimately, those with the most power and responsibility to stop this are parents and not government officials. I do not mean to say I have it all figured out, and parental responsibility is not the only answer. But it is an important and immediate response to the crisis we have in this country.

Mr. President, do not try to “help” by continuing to take rights from parents. The government does not know what is best for children, so it should stop trying to brainwash them and push its agenda on them.

At the end of the day, the root issue is sin. We are sinners in need of salvation. This world wasn’t meant to have school shootings. These things scream for answers. The ultimate answer is Jesus Christ. He has a new Kingdom that will not have school shootings. You might ask why doesn’t He stop them now? He will. Right now your response needs to be repentance and faith in Jesus.

The world turned their back on God and God loved the world by sending His Son into this world to save it. If you will believe He will save you NOW. Come to Jesus. He is your only hope.

Jesus will make it right!


Dear Small Church Pastor

I often listen to sermons by other pastors and benefit greatly from them. My soul is stirred and my mind challenged. I thank the Lord for the good gifts of these pastors to preach the word clearly and powerfully. 

However, sometimes the clarity causes me frustration. Some that I listen to are so good at word-smithing, their phrases are precise and memorable that it causes me to get down that I’m not as clear as I would like to be. 

Yet, many who I listen to are in a setting that allows them lots of time to prepare…and rightly so. They should be given to the word and prayer. With that said, not all situations are the same, hence the title. 

Furthermore, some of these pastors have researchers and assistants to aid them in their preparation. And it is this group that I probably listen to most. 

I have to remind myself that this is not my situation and that God can use the sermon prepared as he so chooses. But I have a suggestion to make for the pastor who feels frustrated like me. If you are married and have a family you do have researchers and aids. 

Every week I talk through the text with my wife and kids. Their questions and observations are so helpful. Just minutes ago my wife stopped where I was preparing to ask a question about the text. I’ve tried to create a culture of conversation about the Bible in our home for everyone’s benefit. 

Dear small church pastor, be content with your situation and use the means God has given you. Prepare in the strength that he provides and know that his grace is sufficient. Blessings my friend! Press on! He is worthy. To God alone be the glory! 


God Made His Light to Shine Upon Us

The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! – Psalm 118:27

Connection: 

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6

Result:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. – 2 Corinthians 4:7


Delivered…from…for

And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. – 2 Samuel 22:1

And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. – Mark 15:1

The only reason ANYONE is delivered from the hands of enemies as in the example of King David in the above text is because King Jesus was delivered into the hands of enemies.


Glory in the Details

Just a simple observation but one worth noting in Genesis 28 is how Jacob came to a certain place instead of any particular place. The focus of this passage is rightly on God passing on the Abrahamic Covenant to Jacob but this dream was to happen in a certain place. The text reads…

10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran.

11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. – Genesis 28:10-11

Jacob left Beersheba and stopped at the certain place ‘because the sun had set.’ There’s no need to try and figure out how he came to this certain place with time of departure and speed of travel. Rather with even more precise details than we know Jacob stopped at the very spot on the planet that God intended.

Glory in the details of God’s word. Be amazed that He directs our path. And be certain that He knows what He is doing. To God alone be glory forever and ever!


Discipleship Works

Did discipleship work? The short answer is yes. The following connection will clearly reveal that it did. Does it still work? I’m afraid it’s a simple plan that has fallen by the wayside. It obviously does not work if we don’t practice it. Let’s be encouraged by this picture of discipleship working and transferring on to others well after the death and resurrection of Christ.

Jesus teaching his disciples on the mountain:

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:11-12

Here we know Jesus was teaching his disciples about true blessedness. The teacher gives the information and the students listen. Will the teaching transfer into practice? The next text shows that it became the practice of Jesus’s disciples but also continued to be taught in discipleship. Look with me in Acts. 

8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.

9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen.

10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.

11 Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”

12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council,

13 and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law,

14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.”

15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel. – Acts 6:8-15

Obviously Stephen had all kinds of false accusations leveled at him. What would his response be? Was Stephen taught what true blessedness was? Well it seems clear that he was discipled and it became his practice because Acts 7 reveals his response. 

There the disciple of Christ does not debate whether the accusations are false but rather preaches the gospel. I would assume Stephen expected this and knew very well that they needed to hear. 

This type of response has continued because discipleship has continued. Jesus taught his disciples and his disciples taught more disciples. May we go and makes disciples of all nations!