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Showing posts from September, 2014

Loving People

Love each other.
-John 13:34, 15:12 & 17, 1 Peter 1:22 & 3:8, 1 John 3:18; 4:11, 12 & 19

I had this experience at the church meeting where God was sharing with me how he loves the people.  I know and we know that God loves us and all the people, but this was an experience of God's particular love for each one.

I sensed God looking at various people and loving them.  I got the impression that God was gazing with love on this person and then that person and was sharing his loving heart for them with me.  I kind of realized that God was imparting his love for his people to me as well.  He was like a proud papa.

When Jesus told his first disciples to love each other, he said that the love they had for each other, would be proof to the world that they were his disciples.  In my Christian life, I have mainly participated in going vertical, to God, alone or with others.  I know something about worship and prayer.

I also spent a lot of energy in going vertical to know about …

The Time is Short

But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short.
-1 Cor. 7:29a

This past year, it has been hitting me hard, that time is limited.  Time is something that if we squander, it is gone for good, and we only get so much of it.  When you lose time, you cannot get it back.
I found the verse that says, "time is short", in 1 Corinthians 7.  The context is pretty much, marriage and singleness, in Corinth, in the first century.  We have to ask why Paul said this, before we know what it might mean for us.  
We could ask if Paul though the second coming of Christ would come soon.  If he did, there is nothing wrong with that, because Jesus warned all Christians to be ready, because he will come when we do not expect him (Matt. 24:44).  Are we in congruence with Jesus' warning and then Paul's admonition?
"Time is short", is a Biblical idea, that the Old Testament teaches.  Our length of life is like a vapor, wrote the Psalmist (Ps. 39…

Together - Psalm 133

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.
A Song of Ascents. (NRSV)
A Pilgrim Song of David (MSG)
A Song of Ascents. Of David. (ESV)
A pilgrimage song. Of David. (VOICE)
A song of David for those journeying to worship. (CEB)
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! (NRSV)
How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! (MSG) Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! (ESV)
How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in peace! (VOICE)
Look at how good and pleasing it is when families live together as one! (CEB)
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe.
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. (NRSV)
It’s like costly anoint…

My House is His House - Psalm 132

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

Lord, remember David and all that he suffered.
He made a solemn promise to the Lord.
He vowed to the Mighty One of Israel,
“I will not go home; I will not let myself rest.
I will not let my eyes sleep nor close my eyelids in slumber until I find a place to build a house for the Lord, a sanctuary for the Mighty One of Israel.”

We heard that the Ark was in Ephrathah; then we found it in the distant countryside of Jaar.
Let us go to the sanctuary of the Lord; let us worship at the footstool of his throne.
Arise, O Lord, and enter your resting place, along with the Ark, the symbol of your power.
May your priests be clothed in godliness; may your loyal servants sing for joy.
For the sake of your servant David, do not reject the king you have anointed.
The Lord swore an oath to David with a promise he will never take back:
“I will place one of your descendants on your throne.
If your descendants obey the terms of my covenant
and the laws that I t…

Jesus' Command To Love Generously

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unt…

Your God is Coming

O Zion, messenger of good news,
Shout from the mountaintops!
Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.
Shout and don't be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah,
“Your God is coming! ”
-Isaiah 40:9

Your God is coming!  This is good news.  One of my favorite messages, from my favorite preacher, asked the question of what to do while you wait for God to come.  It was an encouraging message.

The follow-up message, is, "Get Ready, God is Coming".  Here is what I believe and want to share.  I believe that God is an active God (John 5:17), who interacts with his people.  There are times and seasons (1 Thess. 5:1), and there are times when God moves (Acts 3:20).

Like a surfer catching a wave, we have to be ready to catch the wave, in order to benefit from it.  There are waves that God brings - waves of revival, refreshing, renewal, and awakening.  This reminds me of a book, called, "Another Wave of Revival", that is an eyewitness account of the Azusa Street Revival of 1907.

There hav…

Humbling Quiet Hope in God - Psalm 131

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.
LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.  
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD— now and always. -Psalm 131 (NLT)
Psalm 131 is more of a private prayer, than the previous psalms. After everything that the Lord has brought me through, I want to be able to say, "my heart is not proud and my eyes are not filled with arrogance". 
My flesh or my carnal self wants to be proud and wants to run the show.  It thinks it is superior to others.  Our sick selfish selves are grandiose.  We take the place of God, in our own and other's lives.
If we think we are better than others, and that is what 'haughty eyes' mean, then we are off-track, and the 'homework' from the p…

Deep Pain, Deep Redemption - Psalm 130

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

From the depths of despair, O Lord,
I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.

Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.

I am counting on the Lord;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.
I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.
He himself will redeem Israel
from every kind of sin.
-Psalm 130

I have been writing a series on the songs of ascent, as they are most commonly called.  I call them the songs of the steps.  In the Hebrew, we get the idea of  degrees and the NLT, calls them pilgrim songs.

Some Bible teachers have noted that the fifteen songs are grouped into five sets of three.  Psalm 130 is in the middle of the fourth set, which has to do wit…

Suffering Grows Us - Psalm 129

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me.
Let all Israel repeat this:
From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me,
but they have never defeated me.
My back is covered with cuts,
as if a farmer had plowed long furrows.
But the Lord is good;
he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly.

May all who hate Jerusalem (Zion)
be turned back in shameful defeat.
May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop,
turning yellow when only half grown,
ignored by the harvester,
despised by the binder.
And may those who pass by
refuse to give them this blessing:
“The Lord bless you;
we bless you in the Lord’s name.”
-Psalm 129 (NLT)
It came as a surprise to me that I had enemies.  I never learned that in church growing up, or from the older men who discipled me, nor from my parents.  Then, we had a song that I heard, that was based on Psalm 18, that had the words, "so shall I be saved from my enemies".  "My enemies?  I d…

Enjoying The Fruitful Life From God - Psalm 128

A song of ascents.

Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house.

Your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.

May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.

May you live to see your children’s children— peace be on Israel.
--Psalm 128 (NIV)
Psalm 128 is the third psalm, in the third triad, of the five triads within the fifteen steps or degrees of the songs of ascent, found in Psalms 120 to 134.  A man named Titus Chu, postulated that the five triads I mentioned are: VisionConsecrationEnjoymentEnlargementMaturity Psalm 128 is the third psalm in the enjoyment group.  Psalm 126 was about God restoring.  Psalm 127 was about God building.  Psalm 128 is about enjoying your life from God.  You have integrated v…

Building What God is Building - Psalm 127

A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless Yahweh builds a house,
Its builders labor at it in vain.
Unless Yahweh guards a city,
A guard watches in vain.
It is in vain for you who rise early and sit late, Eating the bread of anxious toil,
When  thus he(b) provides(c) for his beloved in his sleep.(d)

Look, children(e) are the heritage(f) of Yahweh; The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children(g) of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them.(h)
They shall not be put to shame when they speak with enemies at the gate. -Psalm 127 (LEB)(i)

Are you laboring to build what God is building in all your life?  Are you working under God's work?  What are you watching over?  Are you guarding what God is guarding?  Or, are you working so hard, laboring, so much so, that you are loosing sleep or anxiously worrying?

 Did you know that God wants to be very active in your life?  God is seeking to build, and we get to build with him.  …