Friday, February 26, 2010

Psalm 14:1a "Atheism in the heart"

"The fool has said in his heart, there is no God." Psalm 14:1a

Foolish people have foolish thoughts. The great insight into the foolish mind is the non-existence of God. They may possess a fine education and hold many degrees, but when it comes to spiritual truth they are bankrupt. "Claiming to be wise they became fools and they have exchanged the truth of God for a lie" (Romans 1). The Great Lie of the ages, "There is no God." All who have ever held to this position find their conscience warring inside against their Maker. If you want to see an unhappy person look at him. They deny the basic fundamental reason for their existence and as a result they lose their heading. They have gone out of orbit and have become asteroidal-running the gambit of the world till they burn and fizzle out. You dig them a bit about God and you'll find all sorts of angers, resentments, hostilities. They will actually become prideful in their speculations about God and his non-being. But all the while, since they are not omniscient, the phrase "what if" beats consistently in the back ground. They are terrified at the prospect and rightly so.

The fools heart speaks to him making false declarations of unholy things. Reason has been denied and rationalism and been forfeited. His reason has led him to unreasonable conclusions and his rationalism has been rationed out. This is the way in which the carnal/unregenerate mind functions. Human depravity affecting the heart. The also pat themselves on the back for "freeing" themselves from the chains of religion and traditonalism. The atheist/agnostics “coming out” is really a “going into.” He moves from one sphere to the next, a sphere that has already has been established and articulated for centuries, but as it progresses becomes more refined and defined. The attraction is actually a distraction to another matrix (mold, template, environment, atmosphere)

I've also heard that the text in Hebrew actually reads, "The fool has said in his heart-no God!" God continues to ask them questions in the heart, "Turn from your sin"-no God! "Believe on me"- no God! "Pick up and read"- no God! "I am the way, the truth, and the life"-no God! The ultimate defiance. The pot yelling at the potter, "you did not make me!" The painting telling the painter, "you did not paint me!" The watch telling the watchmaker, "you did not design me and wind me!" The apex of idiocy. They are stunted creatures, mere animals who are dwarfed in their ideas about God; retarded in growth. In everything else in life they pride themselves in being "well-rounded individuals"-in their studies, travels, music, culture, careers, relationships, but without God as the key component they lose the meaning behind it all, they lose their moral compass. Their compass spins and points to themselves, they believe they are true north; and the whole time they are on a terrestrial planet spinning through the galaxy going 67,000 miles per hour. Foolish conclusions because they have a foolish premise.

Atheism clouds the mind with a dense fog of satanic lies; it keeps man from seeing and apprehending the truth of Gods existence. Dead hearts (Eph 2) don't arrive at Living Truths. Jesus told the church at Laodecia, "I advise you to buy from me gold refined in the fire"; they think they have gold but its fools gold, they need the golden truth of Gods word. Only through rebirth (salvation) can man be brought up out of the quagmire of ignorance. Once a person is transferred from darkness to light (Col. 1), from dead in sin to alive in Christ he moves into the realm of spiritual awakedness and truth. Instead of speaking and thinking foolish thoughts he can now speak truth in his heart. Only the Spirit of God can cause this chain reaction, this metamorphosis to occur. He awakens the heart from a dead slumber and causes it to beat with the beat of Gods presence and existence. He sees with new glasses through the lens of faith with the frame of truth. The rebellion has been lifted and the pardon of forgiveness applied. Once he hated God, but now he loves God. His allegiance changes and his fist clenched at the heavens is opened. We were all fools once but love breaks through even to fools and our hard defiant disposition changes and now we are pliable, rational, logical lovers and thinkers. God has given us new hearts to think Gods rational after him, to mediate on the logic of God, to love and think with a new grid that is honoring and glorifying to Him. We no longer say no God!, but yes God! Will you go love that person that is hard to love? yes God; will you go speak my word to a people who were just like you? yes Lord. Will you fight against the injustices of the world? yes Lord. Will you take my name to the ends of the earth? yes Lord. Will you sacrificially love your wife and children without reciprocation? Yes Lord. Yes, Lord; yes Lord. It's a life characterized by this statement. The fool fights an unwinable war, a treaty has been declared 2000 years ago and through grace we now fall under this new treaty.

We are all fools till we come to Christ, we are all spiritual morons till Christ is formed in us. We are now given a new teacher with a new curriculum. We have entered into a unique apprenticeship as a spiritual pupil enrolled in divine studies where the mysteries of God are unfolded and Christ is treasured. Atheism is not just an intellectual resistance in the mind but it starts in he heart. There is atheism in the heart of all men and until God quickens us we all remain in this state. We don't claim superiority to the atheist for we know its only by grace that God has drawn us out from ourselves. God has declared the atheist a fool in this text. He is a fool because of the thoughts that flow in his heart. And how you define God is what defines you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Psalm 15:1b "Walk, Work, and Word"

"He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart." Psalm 15:1b

The answer to 15:1a is given in 1b. O' Lord who may abide/live in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?"

When you enter into college typically there are prerequisites that must be accomplished before you can move on into a program. These classes are necessary before he next phase of your education can be tackled. Likewise, there are certain qualification that man must meet in order for him to move on to the next phase and finally reach his goal. The goal- the tent, the holy hill.

God answers: The 1st prerequisite is that he must walk with integrity. God is concerned with the walk of man. This is an integral part of his character development. He is a man of his word, he does what he says he will do and people know that he will do it. People can rely on him and they know that his word is his bond. He has a fixed determination because he understands that his character is at stake and he doesn't want to mare that. Gods man takes it one step further, he knows that his God is always on display and his integrity reflects God in the world. He desires to adorn the Gospel through his walk of integrity. His walk is steady and consistent even when no one is watching. He does not alter his step, either in his work, family, or ministry; in which he seeks to be industrious, frugal, on time, and even tempered etc...

The 2nd prerequisite is that he works righteousness. This man is employed by God. He is created unto good works and seeks to fulfill the works that have been apportioned to him before the foundation of the world. As an adopted son of the king his righteous deeds are no longer filthy rags, but foreordained predestined works that rise up as a fragrant sacrifice of praise. He is a righteous worker working for righteousness for the One who is all-together righteous. He is known for his good deeds and he gives all praise to Him who works this in him to do according to His will.

The 3rd prerequisite is that he speaks truth in his heart. He is a truth speaker. Notice, It is first in his heart before it ever crosses his lips. The truth first circumnavigates his heart like an captain on the high seas before it reaches the shore of his lips. Or just as each chamber of the bees honeycomb is filled with honey so is truth in the heart before it is cracked open and spills out. Truth does good to this mans heart. The heart needs it, longs for it, survives on it. Gods Word has entered into the fray and is directing the traffic. Truth is bubbling on the inside and it orders the heart. Truth enters in and causes the lips to aligned with the heart. Truth pulsating like a quasar till it flashes forth like a glowing asteroid in the mind showing forth its consistency as it runs its course.

The tragedy is that we flunked out, we failed to meet the standards to this degree. We've cheated and are caught. We've used the rubber ruler of our own standards. We've designed the test and have received and failing grade. The great news is that Christ fulfilled all the prerequisites for us, and has given us of Himself, the Holy Spirit who is our power. So now we have the ability to walk, speak, and work in a way that pleases and glorifies God.

Jesus is the model: He walked in perfect integrity. He said, "which of you can convict me of sin?"; Pilate said of him, "I find no fault with this man." In all his dealings with man he always shone forth the highest level of integrity. He is the greatest worker of righteousness the world has ever seen-'par excel lance.' And he spoke truth in his heart for this is all that ever came out of him. The question is answered by the work of Christ as he now works those things in us. As a result our tent is sure, the stakes are secured, the holy hill awaits our step, the King awaits our arrival. Then we will thank him for His walk, work, and word.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Psalm 15: 1 "The Tent on the Hill"

"O' Lord who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?" Psalm 15:1

The psalmist has two questions but they are really one. He's concerned about his future habitation. He knows that God has a tent (metaphorically speaking). He has in past dwelled among his people, the Israelites, for many years in the tent covered in a cloud by day and a fire by night. God was the Shikinah glory hovering over the mercy seat within the holiest of holies. He was their nightlight in a dark foreboding wilderness. He was the one who guided, guarded, and provided.
He also knew that God once dwelled in the temple in Jerusalem upon mount Moriah-the holy hill. Wherever God has tabernacled throughout history, whether in a tent or in a Temple the psalmist wants to be there. He wants to experience God within the tent upon the holy hill. He understands that to be away from God is to be away from home. There's no place like home, because there is no one like God. The deepest longing of his heart is to be in the tent on the holy hill. It's not the tent that draws him there-the beauty of it, the kingly articles inside of it, the fine linens and colorful display of fabrics of various kinds. As great as this sight would be that's not the main reason. Neither is it the location that makes it the biggest draw. It's God himself. It's the Person in the tent, its the Person who is on the holy hill that makes it attractive and savoring. The tent is a marker pointing to the tent maker; the holy hill is a marker pointing to the holy One. This is the angst in the heart of everyone who loves Jesus. He longs for the day when he can ascend the holy hill and enter into that tent and see not only the throng of all the saints- alive and smiling, but his master who waits for him so that he might join him for a grand feast in honor of the Lamb.
His tent was destroyed so that we might enter into His eternal Tent. He ascended the Holy Hill so that one day we might follow in his steps. And now as we travel throughout this world as aliens and strangers we are called to mimic the Master to copy our Commander, so that the excellencies of Christ might be plain for all to see.
The answer to the question comes in verse 2, the next blog :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Psalm 16:3, "The majestic ones"

"As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight." Psalm 16:3

Our God is God of delights. He is eternally happy. He delights in many things: His perfections, his attributes, His creative powers, His intellect, His love relationship within the Godhead, His plan and purposes for His people, and every other thing that is good, pure, and holy. He delights in his delights. Some scientist believe that cold fusion is possible- an ongoing source of nuclear fusion-like the sun, or any star; so also I envision Gods delight- a vast infinite amount of joy beaming forth from his presence. A perpetual flow of unceasing delight.
He does not delight in all things; those things which are contrary to himself. He does not delight in sin, evil, or in the death of the wicked.
We see in this verse that God delights in His Body-the Church, the saints, his majestic ones. Reason: we are in Christ; we are the body of Christ. And since the Father delights most in his Son it makes perfect sense then that God delights in us because we are in him, and He in the Father. He is delighting in Himself, as we are in Him and belong to Him.
Majestic means: regal, royal, imperial, noble, best, magnificent, sensational, princely, finest.
1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen race, a royal; priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession..." Christ has purchased this title for us- "his majestic ones." He alone is altogether Majestic and matchless in his power and dominion. Now through the cross-work of Christ we become the majestic ones in whom is all Gods delight; we are the regal ones, the royal ones, the imperial guard, the nobleman, the best of God, his finest, the sensational ones. We inherit this title because it has been won by Christ for us. We are majestic because Christ Jesus represents us. We fall under his title as He is the Majestic Son of the Father. Majestic in beauty and holiness and worthy of our deepest affections.
Though often I don't feel this way, I need to trust in the truth of the Gospel-repent and believe that this is how God perceives me. As a majestic one I now partake in all the benefits won for me. This title is great and glorious, but what is just as sweet if not sweeter is a word that brings great joy to my heart- it is the word delight. God actually delights in me. Through Christ I am literally delightful in Gods sight. Often I look at Christ and say with Peter, "Go away from me for I am a sinful man Lord" but I am now reminded that I have a new label, a new identity- majestic.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Psalm 16:6a,b "dropping lines"

"The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me." Psalm 16:6 a,b
God drops lines. He is a line dropper. To his people (the Church) these lines fall in pleasant places. As the text would indicate that these lines are tied to his heritage, both nationally and spiritually. The psalmist looks back on his life and sees Gods faithfulness, he reflects on Gods goodness. He knows his line runs all the way back to the patriarchs- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He realizes his place among Gods men. He knows his attachment to ethic Israel and he loves her.
Even through difficult times, severe hardships, and trials nevertheless, Gods lines have fallen to him and his people in pleasant places. The boundaries of his habitation, the place where he was born, his family, his up-bringing, his friends etc...he can look back on Gods providence and declare, "indeed my heritage is beautiful to me." His heritage is rich and glorious, it starts with God, and these lines in history are positioned by God-the good ones as well as the bad.
These lines are designed by the Great Architech-laying out the blueprint for his life. They have stretched from eternity past all the way to the present. He also realizes that future lines of grace await him in eternity. These are the lines of redemption; lines of salvation; lines of mercy; lines of grace; lines of justice; lines of judgment. These lines have built a fortress around him. He is protected by the King, he is loved by the King. These lines fall in pleasant places because God is pleased with him. Wherever he goes God is there, and where God is there is pleasant place.
God is his dwelling, his habitation, therefore it is not only pleasant it is beautiful.

These lines not only lead him but in him are building a super-structure, a monument unto God. He is part of this great edifice that is rising up in the world; a tower engraved with the names of the saints. There is a banner that flies high declaring his supremacy. God is his heritage, and it is beautiful because God is beautiful. Even in death the lines fall in pleasant places. The line doesn't end in death but stretches out into eternity future. It is here, upon our arrival we enter into the Pleasant Place. It is where Jesus is, he is our pleasant place, he is our heritage. He is where we find our rest. It is in him that the elect heritage will be gathered together as one.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Psalm 16:7b "Counsel by night"

"Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night." Psalm 16:7b

The Counselor is at work in the mind as the Great Professor teaches; laying out truth, training us to think Biblically, instructing in righteousness, building powers of discernment, line upon line, verse upon verse. Yes we walk by faith, but God deals diligently with the mind. This amazing counsel goes into the 'wee-hours' of the night. This in a sense is night-school. The mind tends to wander like a man lost in the desert, like a dog off its leash. The psalmist knows what its like to 'camp-out' in the night hours with his God. It is a time when all is quiet, silent, the world and all its noise/commotion have temporarily ceased, and it's just you and Him. There is sweet fellowship as the heart is captivated, the mind engaged as the God of the Universe gladly condescends to our lowly estate and begins to teach. The man who is born again enters into this high honor, this esteemed privilege, this glorious right. Omnipotent God training his children to walk in his way. A tender Father rearing his own to love, fear, obey, speak, act, listen. We have pitched our tents with him, the fire is lit, truth illumines the darkness. The effects of light are seen and felt. He whispers truths that are wonderful and awesome. Just as Moses went to the rock, seeing the burning bush, we too can go to the Rock where the eternal verities blaze forth in giant power. He proclaims it in our hearts that we might proclaim Him to the world. Let us stay awake just a little longer today that he may instruct us in the night. Let us learn by way of nocturnal instruction so that when we do wake up we are refreshed for the days challenges.

Psalm 16:7a "counsel by day"

"I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;" Psalm 16:7a

Before Jesus departed this world he made a promise to his disciples that he would not leave them as orphans, but that he would send the Counselor, the Holy Spirit who would lead them into all truth. He also said my peace I give to you, my peace I leave unto you. This person of peace would remain with them to lead, guide, direct, teach. The psalmist here experienced this reality, this person, this counselor.

Within this intimate relationship between man and God divine wisdom is dispensed. As a result, he cannot help but give thanks by blessing God. He blesses God for truth given, knowledge imparted, wisdom obtained,revelation revealed. We are bought into this inner sanctum of Gods secret chambers where spiritual truths are uncovered, where the bread of Gods word is broken, eaten, and taken in. We find ourselves tabernacling within the most Holy place gazing at the blood covered mercy seat, prostrate with the angles, arms outstretched, and we praise God for his secret council. The mind of omniscience speaking directly into the heart, not by some ethereal/mystical process, but through holy scripture breathed out by God and applied by his Spirit. For this is the Counselors handbook, guide, map, the tool by which the heart is converted and the souls of righteous men made perfect.

His counsel is always true, always good, always on time. There is always a timely word in a time of need. We cling ever so close to his council because we know that man lives by every word that proceeds from his mouth. We who know this will bless him.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Psalm 16:8 "Setting the Lord"

"I have set the Lord continually before me"

We usually set/place the thing before us that we love. Work, hobbies, sports, relationships, etc...these and much more do we set before us. The Israelites would often, throughout their history set before themselves false idols and raise up the high places, and serve false gods. What they set before themselves became their undoing. God eventually raised up a pagan nation to take them into their pagan land and sought with great success in transforming them into pagan citizens. God was essentially saying you want it you got it and now you must drink the cup of your ways.

This type of 'setting' is such that whatever is placed before you becomes the centerpiece, it takes first place, the focal point. Vision is obscured, true spiritual sight is eclipsed. The very thing that you thought would bring you greater freedom and enlightenment actually brings greater bondage and darkness. You end up resembling the dumb idol that is worshipped. The Psalmist knew that the best thing (person) to be 'set' in front of him was the Lord.

So here we see the frequency of his actions- continually. Time and experience validated Gods record as faithful and true. Like a wood burning oven in the dead of winter, it is set there to warm the family, it is set there for their survival. So too, David knew that God was their for light and heat. He knew that to have God set before him continually was the best thing for him.

When the text says that God is set before him it doesn't mean that God is not an objected to be moved or shuffled around. He's not like the Ark of the Covenant where you pick him up and move him into some tent. He is not stationary by mans lack of movement nor does he become mobile when man is on the go. This setting of God was a conscious awareness of God in everything he set out to do. It's having God in your direct line of sight as well as in the peripheral, it is to have a mindset that is aimed at pleasing God and living unto His glory.

Just as David was a man filled with the Spirit, so we too, as New Covenant saints can mirror what David did. This was written down as an example for us to model. As Christians we know that we need to readjust our minds, align the telescope of our hearts so that they point due north, honed in on the brightest star in the sky (Jesus). He is in our gaze, and if we are to shine forth we must continually set Him before us in active loving obedience. Likewise, not to set Him before us is to miss the whole point of the Christian life, to forgo favor and temporal blessing. This is not an option for the true child of the Kingdom; he must do this, it is the best thing that he can endeavor to do, and his chief pursuit.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Psalm 16:11a "The Path of Life"

"You will make known to me the path of life." Psalm 16:11a

There are some things in scripture which God has sealed and man is not permitted to know until the appointed time. There are other things that God makes known, or plain. By nature God is a disclosure of truth, he's a revealer of revelation. This is part of his plan for his people- that they might know, not just facts, but within the facts the self-disclosure of Himself. One of those facts is that God makes known the path of Life. It's the path of life that leads to the giver of life. The path that has been established is laid with the precepts of sand, the statues of gravel, the commands of stone, the laws of design. This path leads through a fallen world and that is why it is often fraught with dangers, illness, persecutions. Those who stay the course are not guaranteed that they won't be scaved but they are assured that they will meet their destination.

Man naturally tends to think that in his better judgment he can find it on his own. These same people believe that they decide truth for themselves and whatever path you construct, whatever trail you blaze is equally valid and equally true. This path is laden with a worldview-beliefs and opinions that form the reason for their existence and their reason for living. These captains-of-self feel (passionately) that if you just look inside and tap into your inner spirituality that you will arrive at correct conclusions about life, the world, and others etc... all the answers are inside you, and you have to draw them out through some mystical process or living by some kind of moral code. Most people will quote the borrowed "golden rule"or "10 commandments" as the standard norms for mankind to follow; but as adamant as they are to follow these supreme standards they are not concerned with any of Gods other imperatives or for that matter any of the indicatives from which the imperatives are drawn out from. This position is actually prideful and arrogant. To think that truth rises and falls with you, a finite mortal creature. In your superior wisdom your actually telling the Creator of the Cosmos how he should have done it.

Jesus had something to say to these constructicons. He said there was 2 paths-one narrow, and one wide. As you notice that the word 'path' is singular not plural 'paths.' The narrow one leads to life, the other to destruction. He said there actually is a wrong road to travel down, a path that lead to a dead end. Talk about narrow-mindedness. But if its the truth than your narrow-minded to the truth. You've extended your borders to expand beyond the limits of theological rationality which is irrational and theologically dangerous. Hells boundaries are wide and to expand your ideas beyond there proper limits is to move into dark territory and to invite others to join you, not to mention the damming confusion it causes.
The answers are external, outside of you, top-down, Heaven to earth. The phenomenal realm breaking into the nomenal realm. The truth of Gods word applied to the heart of man, the conscience affirming this truth. The external word becoming internalized by the enabelment of the Spirit's free work of grace. Now the path of life begins to unfold. The path is shown, the way is offered, but to the sinner turned saint it is revealed to him and is lit by the lamp of God. As we traverse this dark world God sets us on his path and lights our way. If the path is singular than all other paths are wrong. It's Gods way or no way. This path is exclusive, one entry point, one way. The path that leads to death, is called 'easy street', 'death Dr', it's an eight lane highway, no speed limits, no rules- unfortunately it narrows to a dead end in an eternal jam.
To be on the path of life is to follow Jesus Christ. This was the path that the Savior traveled. Ultimately it took him to the cross but it lead to resurrection victory. The body is not promised a injury free journey, but we assured that this path leads to unending joy forever.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Psalm 16:11b "His Presence = Your Joy"

"In your presence there is fullness of joy;"

Nowhere else in the existence of the Universe is joy to be found. There is heat around the most distant stars, but soon as you travel away from its presence there is cold black space. So it is with Gods joy; its found within him; it's apart of who He is, in his essence. You cannot buy it, bargain for it, or make it appear by sheer will power. Only in his presence is joy to be found. The human race seeks for joy as they work hard and "play hard." Big kids who are sophisticated in their sins. They seek for joy in the weekends because they are miserable on their jobs. Joy to them is found in the profane, the tongue n' cheek sexual wise cracks all to common in the work place, the base music of a corrupt culture, the club scene where the body is flaunted to allure the overly-cologne man with cool hair. Maybe its found in the one night stand, or the occasional high. The list goes on and on in mans hunt for joy, but it evades us and when we think we have it, it slides through our proverbial grasp. Joy is allusive apart from God. God may grant momentary happiness through common graces and providential decrees, but happiness comes and goes as we continue to reach for it in a fallen world. Joys fullness is in God alone. Our God is full of joy just as the oceans are full of water. It is deep joy, fresh joy, sustaining joy, expansive joy. God guards his joy. It's not for everyone. Gods joy is in Himself as He delights in Himself. And for those who are truly born again we now begin to partake of this fullness. As we delight in God, God then dispenses it to us. And as God is infinite so are all his attributes. So this means his joy is infinite, and he has an infinite amount of joy at his disposal for delivery. Just as the sun continues to burn perpetual heat without depletion so also is Gods joy, it never burns out, there is plenty to go around.

Gods joy is central to he is and critical for our survival. If this was not a core characteristic of God, if joy did not emanate from his person the world would have died a thousand floods over with no bow hung in the sky. The earth would be filled with the plagues of Egypt, and revelation tribulations would descend upon this globes inhabitants with fearful power. This is what separates God from the pantheon of Greek and Roman gods. These gods lacked immutability. They were emotional deities that were in constant flux with mans performance. Therefore, these gods needed to be appeased or they would unleash a leviathan upon you. God is immutable and does not change, he is consistent with man, and consistent in his nature. He never veers from himself and we would know if he did because the Universe would collapse in on itself.

All of life seems to center around the pursuit of joy. But the best fallen man can do is create a plastic version usually centering around momentary gratification in the entertainments and the arts, recreation and hobbies. We might experience temporal satisfaction in relationships and family, but usually it is short lived as the stresses of daily living mount and the pressures of life build. Usually by the end of the day we are fried and looking for some sort of outlet because our worlds have squeezed all the juice out of us. This is where Gods joy is essential. As we live coram deo (before the face of God) we are constantly sustained afresh. We are always being infused with eternal joys. The fractured image of man has been restored in Jesus and we begin to mirror Him in his joy. The most important part about this psalter is this: joy is not connected to any creaturely thing, nothing in this world, but it is connected to a person, that person being Jesus Christ. Without Jesus joy is impossible. Deep, lasting, tangible, sufficient, real, sustaining joy. Here and now Gods people begin to experience Kingdom joy, and we will partake of the full measure of this joy as we enter into Gods presence where we will be dazzled by the sight of the One whose eyes are like burning torches and whose voice is like the sound of many rushing waters. Without Jesus you will continue down the same rapid river of life's disappointments heading for a great waterfall. Only Jesus can lead you down a different river and redirect you down joyful stream that opens up into a sea of peace and joy.

Psalm 17:8 "The Apple and the Shadow"

"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings."

1. Keep me 2. Hide me
The psalmist asks two things of God, that he might hide him and keep him. The apple of the eye seems to convey the thought, 'don't lose sight of me God'. The "apple of the eye" communicates position or station. As God looks through omniscient eyes he views the psalmist always. He is front and center at the cross hairs of Gods scope. An apple denotes sweet flavor, an aesthetic quality that is-full of color, symmetrical, and shapely. God in his sweet and favorable disposition keeps his children (the Church) always at the fore-front of his eternal eye. The worm of sin seeks to invade and destroy from the inside out, but in Gods keeping we are always preserved-fresh, ripe. The apple could also mean the iris of the eye. When a person sees with the eye, he is seeing the world through the window of the iris. God metaphorically peers through the iris of infinite wisdom and sees his beautiful Bride. In redemptive history God has positioned her at the center of the new creation which God has initiated. The bride is swept into the unfolding drama and God is keeping her as the apple of his eye as she fulfills her calling. He not only is keeping her but he hides her in the shadow of his wings. The imagery is that of a mother bird hiding her young under her pinions. This is for warmth, protection, comfort. They are sheltered from the adverse weather and lurking prey. The wild weather of false doctrines and cults which seek to uproot and destroy the Church; the prey from within and without-those buzzards and wolves who are attacking Gods word and Gods people. Even as Christ church is moving about the eagle of God is soaring above and we are continually kept in his shadow. He is not only our defense, swooping down in times of trouble and duress, but he is there ever flying with us in times of joy. The Sons pinions are unbreakable and the predators and purveyors of false religion cannot harm her. She is the apple of his eye and she is under his shadow. We have nothing to fear.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Psalm 17:15a "The Face"

"As for me I shall behold Your face in righteousness."

This verse seems reminiscent of Moses' request if he could see Gods face. The response: Moses you know that no man can see my face and live. Moses lacked one thing-righteousness. Moses had a glimpse of Gods glory (His back-parts) and his face lit up like a light-bulb. Just as one cannot stare too long at the sun for fear of going blind so too no person can look at the white burning star of holy hot light without incineration. The vital component of righteousness must be there in the person if he is ever to see the face of God. Man just doesn't have the tools, the equipment, to harness this pure light. Just as a plant must have chlorophyll to absorb the properties of sunlight so man likewise must have the properties of righteousness to absorb Gods shining. So we must die. Scripture says we must put off the corruptible and put on the incorruptible, we must shed our mortality so that we may be clothed in immortality. We must put on a new garment to view God. We must have new eyes so that they don't melt like wax in their sockets (Raiders of the lost ark had it right). No righteousness-no face. To miss out on the greatest spectacle the world has ever seen is to miss the face of Christ. He spoke in a future tense "I shall." This is a bold pronouncement because of his bold position. God will remove the veil of this fallen world and behind it all will be the face of Christ. The psalmist knows that he will be arrayed in righteous raiment, clad in holy attire. The atmosphere will be righteousness and like the verse says he will be 'in' righteousness. Just as a new born moves from one environment into the next so too will we be transported and submersed in righteousness, only to behold the face of majesty. The great and glorious continual show of all eternity. We will be beautifully and eternally devastated by wonder and awe.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"I stand"

(My wife asked me to write on this simple statement that she read about in a book by Paul Tripp called "Broken Down House")

I stand: because He left Heaven, became a man, lived a perfect life, fulfilled the law, died and was buried, rose again on the third day, and ascended to the Father. He came to make men stand. His dissension was the beginnings of our ascension.
We are a fallen race. Adams decision brought us down. We were down in the dumps, beaten with sin, ravaged by Satan, playing in the sewer system of the world. We were down. Down without God, down without hope, down without peace, down without a leg to stand upon, down in death valley, down in wrath warranted, down in judgment deserved, down in man made pride. We were awaiting our final destination were we would go down to the depths of the pit. There is a 'downess' in us. Down on others, down on ourselves, down on our government, down on our teachers, down on our employers, down on our spouses and children. We are down and outers.
Christ Jesus comes and lifts me up from the pit of despair and makes me stand upon solid rock. My legs were too lame, but he made me stand. Sin had broken down my house and the Spirit of grace swooped in and renovated and redecorated it. I stand. The only way that anyone can ever truly stand is if he bows the knee to Christ in repentance. Brokenness is prerequisite to your standing. The knee must be bent before it can be straightened. I now stand. Standing with assurance of salvation, standing with the guarantee of His presence, standing with promises, standing with the hope for eternity. I now stand side by side with the mighty throng of saints of a by-gone era and saints who are still alive. I even stand with Gods elect angels who daily attend Gods temple. I stand in the building of God as a stone, grafted into a community of standers. I look forward to the Day when I will stand with the whole Heavenly Host and worship Jesus. Better to stand now by grace in the Kingdom of Light than to later be bent with a shattered knee in eternal gloom. The Spirit worketh this in his children.

Psalm 18:19b "The delighted rescue."

"He rescued me, because he delighted in me." Psalm 18:19b

He rescued me. I was a spiritual POW. Born into this captivity, this bondage. In my sin I nurtured and created my own captors. I invested in my own chains. I employed those who would run my self-contained prison. The iron bands which bind me I have smelted in the fires of rebellion. The dark dungeon of depravity became my home, my asylum. Then one night lights shadows danced off the cold walls and grace broke through. In a flash of light all my restraints turned to dust and I fled. I began to run and with my freedom I felt something I never felt before, I believe it was joy. Then I saw Him, my Liberator, my Emancipator shining as the noon day sun, illuminating my world. He rescued me.
Now He continues to rescue me because He delights in me. These are daily extractions from hostile situations and deadly environments. Why does He delight in me? Is it delight for delight sake? Does God want to be delighted because he is lacking in delight? No. He is eternally delighted in himself and has no need or lack in delight. Is this delight conditional based on my performance and obedience? No. The delight that God has is not contingent based on conditions met in us, but solely based on the conditions met in himself. He fulfilled the conditions of the Law through Christ Jesus. Therefore, this delight is guaranteed to us who belong to Christ. And as the Father delights in His Son, so He delights in us who are in Him. Because of Christ victory He can look upon all His people with heavenly delight.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Psalm 18:19a "The Broad Place"

"He brought me forth also into a broad place;" Psalm 18:19a

The confines of my small claustrophobic self-absorbed narcissistic world. The ever decreasing borders of my tiny universe with my plans, my goals, my dreams orbiting around self-driven desires and wants. Turned in on myself with self-rule, self-reign, self-supremacy, self-sovereignty. I have built my own throne to my tiny kingdom, a tiny crown, with few subjects who serve my ever-increasing demands. And then my miniature kingdom crumbles as He shows me his. What I thought in myself was great and grand was nothing by comparison. He then brings me forth into a broad place. My world now truly begins to expand. I have now stepped into the wide expanse of the hill-country of God. I now, with eyes turned up and off self, can see for miles. Placed in the open plains with limitless borders there is now freedom to move about; there is elbow room for my soul. The land is vast and beautiful. I love the broad plain.

Psalm 18:2c "The Horn"

Psalm 18:2c "He is my shield, the horn of my salvation..."

The horn was often sounded in battle. As the regiment of soldiers would march onto the battlefield the horns would announce their arrival. This is the horn of salvation...the sound of victory for it pertains to our redemption as Kingdom citizens. But just as God was shield he is also horn. It is God who sounds forth the victory blast. He has gathered his Bride militant, the horn is heard, we stand at attention and receive our marching orders. We move out apologetically in love.
The horn is also an allusion to the altar of incense. If a man had committed a crime he could flee to the altar and grab one of four horns and plead his case before the high priest and his accusers, thus escaping certain death. The greater reality points us forward to Christ who is God's horn. He is our Horn of Salvation. We flee to Christ and cling to him for our rescue, he being our High priest/lawyer who will deliberate our case and defend our cause. When the great accuser heaps accusations upon me I cling more closely to the Horn. For I know that it is here that I am acquitted and pardoned. And just as the altars horn was sprinkled in blood for remittance of sins offense, so too, do I need remittance as I cling to Jesus, my only hope in this world. I now wait and look to the sky and listen for that final trumpet blast which will cause everyone to look up and drop their mp3 and ipods and for some of you your walkman's. God will have the last note.

Psalm 18:2b "The shield"

"The Lord is my shield..."

The Lord is my shield. He has given me defensive weaponry and capabilities to fend off the foe. This is no ordinary shield. It is not crafted by the hands of man but designed in the Heavens. It is gilded with a spiritual alloy that makes it impenetrable. It is made for heavy warfare and can withstand the fiery dart by day or by night. Hells ramparts are no match against the shield. There is an inscription upon its edge, "The Lord is my defense." When the battle is heavy and the smoke thick I can take shelter under Gods shield. I sit there and smile. God not only gives the weaponry but He himself is the weaponry. God works both sides of our field in offense and defense. The shield looks as if it glowing red metal for it has been dipped in Calvary's blood and was purchased for his elect children. The under belly also has writing upon, "Fear not, be strong and courageous. Just as it was a reminder to Joshua the commander of the Lords army, so too it reminds a simple soldier. Even as I sit under my shield when all hell breaks loose Gods word is above me, reminding, comforting, protecting, defending.
Many years ago Jesus became our shield. He deflected the wrath of the Father. My minature man made shield could not expunge Gods fury, but when Gods grace came He covered me with His Son, His shield. I sit under Christ and surely if he could deflect holy justice, he can protect me from any onslaught.

Psalm 18:2 "My fortress"

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge; My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

The Lord is rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, horn, stronghold. God is portrayed as a military out-post; solid, secure, well armed, well defended. The man who has God as his fortress is well protected. He need not fear the enemy even if 10,000 skilled warriors beat their shields and wave their swords because the man who has God as his fortress is held safe and secure. God could easily send a blast of wind sweeping them all away or he could make them turn on themselves as he has done in history past. God's fortress is impenetrable. His walls are the highest, his stone the hardest, his army the mightiest. No creature can break his defenses; surely the man of God can take refuge here without fear or hesitation. While the sounds of war can be heard outside he can dine with the King inside. Not only is God an invincible fortress, but he is also a rock. A rock communicates strength, stability, sturdiness, foundation. Just as Moses was hid in a cleft of rock so now as new covenant believers we are hid in Christ who is the Rock of Ages, the Ancient Rock. We are surrounded by rock on all sides, with rock under our feet. We are living stones built into this fortress. Blood and water make up the mortar which seals us to Him and the whole structure of saints throughout all time.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Psalm 18:1 "Love and strength"

"I love you O'Lord my strength"Psalm 18:1

The affections of the heart well up and spill out in beautiful statements. If you love someone you tell them. The psalmist is not ashamed. Its a private love that makes itself public. The strength of this statement finds its energy in the strength of God. The psalmist would not even be able to voice his love unless God had granted the strength. There is strength in love-true genuine biblical love. Christ Jesus reflected both strength and love. In his strength he lived a life without sin in perfect obedience to the Father. In his strength he calmed a storm; transformed water into wine; multiplied bread and fish for thousands; he cast out devils; brought sight to the blind and regenerated the lame; he raised the dead. He proclaimed the most powerful message the world has ever heard and his words have not lost a single drop of there power. In his passion/suffering he exuded the most strength as he held back legions of angels from worldwide retribution; he overcame sin, Satan, death. In his strength he rose from the grave by resurrection power and now he sits at the right hand throne of power ruling the cosmos in power. In blazing glory he will come again with the title deed to the earth and renovate the real estate and in this power create a new heaven and earth. He does this for all those who can and have said, "I love you O' Lord my strength." Only the Spirit can cause man to speak this in his heart and to have it upon his lips. This is a declaration from heaven. This is extraterrestial love, a supernatural affinity. It doesn't find its origin in the will of man. Only when God overcomes our resistance to the Gospel and renovates the heart can man truly love God. We behold his strength and speak tenderly.