Monday, 23 January 2017

A day with the Lord

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You! – Psalm 84.10-12

The world is certainly full of all sorts of allurements. So many of them try to draw our attention away from God. It reminds me of Vanity Fair in Pilgrims Progress. Christian is drawn away thinking that He is going to be able to find more satisfaction there that He did in the presence of God.

But he found out that there was no satisfaction in Vanity Fair. I remember times in my life and I remember things that allured me. Eventually I realises that there was no real satisfaction in those things. There was no peace there. There was no satisfaction and there was no joy.

I am finally getting to the point where I realise that the only place I find peace and contentment and satisfaction is not in the pursuit of the world, but when I am walking in sweet fellowship with God.

A day in the presence of God is better than a thousand days in the world. It is better to be a humble doorkeeper in His house than to dwell in comfort in the sumptuous tents of the wicked.

Why do I continue then to seek after the world and its ways? Why can’t I just rest in the comfort I find in God’s presence?

It’s because my flesh keeps lying to me trying to convince me that there is more satisfaction in the world than there is with my God.

But no, I need this reminder that the days with my God are far better than the time I spend in the world and may I seek out those days instead of my fleshly desires.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

That they may know you

That they may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord,
Are the Most High over all the earth. – Psalm 83.18

Why do we do what we do? Why do we live and serve and strive after godliness and love people and do good for them and be kind and all those kinds of things? Why do we bother? Why do we keep going despite trials and tests and opposition?

We do what we do for a clear purpose that we must keep in mind. We live and breath and walk and talk and love and care and strive after holiness so that the world may know our God. The must know the One whose name is Lord and who is the Most High over all the earth.

It is pretty obvious that the world we know does not know our God. It seems like nearly everything that happens is proof of that. This old broken world is also a wicked world. Evil reigns. Sin flourishes. Not only that sins and evil are exalted. Even God’s people may exalt evil if it suits and benefits their purposes.

And all that evil exists simply because people do not know our God. Creation gives all the evidence anyone needs to know that He is there. Many people know about God – but few know Him.

God could have chosen any number of methods to introduce Himself to man – but He chose to use us. Us, you and me, sinful men and women were chosen to bring others to a knowledge of our God.

So we keep going. We keep plugging away. We keep being faithful that they may know our God.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

God judges the nations

God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods. – Psalm 82.1

This is an interesting psalm. It doesn’t seem to have a lot of practical instruction and no encouragement and it even seems a little out of place.

He God stand in judgement of all the powers of men on earth. He examines the nations and their rulers to see how they measure up to His standards.

Here are some things that God says about the nations that sound a lot like the nations we know today.

How long will you judge unjustly,
And show partiality to the wicked?

And here are some things nations are supposed to do

Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.

Instead of giving hope I think this psalm points out the fact that nations are always going to fail us. It reminds me that politics and leaders and nations are not answer. That means that the only hope is with God’s intervention.

Our job is to introduce people to Christ as the only hope and remember that ‘this world is not our home.’

Friday, 20 January 2017

My people will not listen

"Oh, that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways! – Psalm 81.13

Being a parent and a grandparent and a teacher I am one of those people who likes to be listened to. In fact, I expect to be listened to. When we try to instruct people we are truly trying to help it is not easy to have our advice or instructions or ideas listened to especially when we know it is the best thing to do.

Imagine then what it must be like when God’s people will not listen to Him. God's word and God’s work and God’s way and God’s wisdom are perfect. He never makes a single mistake when He teaches and instructs us.

Despite that so few are willing to listen. It is bad enough when the world does not listen, but think about how it is when God’s people won’t listen. We know He is our God. We know He has saved us. We know that His was must be best. But still we don’t listen.

God does not want us to listen out of selfish pride. We wants us to listen to Him because He knows what is best for us. He knows what we need. He knows that if we listen to Him all will turn out best.

Yet we still don’t listen. God says ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ and we don’t listen. He says ‘I know the things you need’ and we don’t listen.’ He says ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart’ and we don’t listen. He says ‘I will provide all your needs’ and we don’t listen.

When we don’t listen we miss out on what God has for us. We miss out His blessing and we miss out on the peace that is ours when we trust Him.

O Lord, give me ears to listen and trust what we hear.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

No turning back

Then we will not turn back from You;
Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved! – Psalm 80.18-19

I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.

That’s what we sing. The question is that what we live? When we decide to ‘follow Jesus’ do we do so awe we committed to follow through or do we only consider it lightly?

Following Christ is not a thing to be taken lightly. It is not an emotional decision that passes quickly. We need to consider the cost when we decide to follow Him.

There is a great determination here to stick with it and not give up in our Christian lives. We must be steadfast and immovable and always abounding in God’s work. We need to not be weary in well doing. We must stick the the task God gives us and not lose heart.

Nobody said would be easy. In this world we will have trouble. It is bound to happen.

But if we don’t turn back God will cause His face to shine on our efforts and we will be delivered from all those troubles.

Don’t quit. What would we go back to anyway?

Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus. Anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Your people and Your sheep

So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture,
Will give You thanks forever;
We will show forth Your praise to all generations. – Psalm 79.13

We are your people and we are your sheep.

There is a lot of depth in those words.

We are God’s people. We are bought with a price and so we belong to Him. We are not our own, but His. Therefore we ought to give our lives to serving the Christ who owns us and dwells in us.

We are also His sheep. Jesus said that His real sheep know Him and the follow Him. Sheep may not and probably will not follow anyone else, but they will follow their Shepherd.

Because we are His sheep

We will not lack
We can rest under His protection
We are led in the best paths
We have our souls restored
We are led in righteous ways
We can find comfort even in that valley of the shadow of death
We don’t need to be afraid

We have a great shepherd – let's stop trying to wander off on our own and let's follow the One who gives His life for the sheep. Let's give thanks and show forth His praise.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

According to His skill

So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands. – Psalm 78.72

My goal this time through the book of Psalms was highlight only one passage in each psalm. I made it for 77 days, but I couldn’t do it today. This verse just needed mentioned.

This passage is one I think we all need in our troubles. He tells us how we are led, and how God guides our lives. He shepherds us according to the integrity of His heart, and He guides by the skilfulness of His hands.

God does His work by His integrity and by His skill.

And the thing is who has more integrity and more skill that God does. God’s integrity is proven because He is holy. He can do no wrong. It cannot be partial. His integrity is perfect.

But here I loved the phrase ‘according to the skill of His hands.’

My hands are not very skilled at anything. I can’t paint. I can’t play an instrument. The only things my hands have ever been skilled at was sheet metal fabrication. But I appreciate skilled hands. The things artists and performers can do amaze me.

Then I think about how all all of those hands pale in comparison to the skill of the Master Potter, and it is those skilled hands that we depend on every single day. God’s skill is the skill that created the world and parted the Red Sea and it is the skill that has cared for me every day of my life. It is that skill that alone can carry me through the rest of my life and protect me and provide for me and preserve me.

So I want to place myself in His hands and rest in His skill instead of mine.