Monday, November 8, 2010

Put your money where your mouth is

Psalm 5:11-12

But let all those who rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them. let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.

Sometimes it is easier to talk about faith than to actually have it. Some many times in today's culture we have fun little statements about faith and bumper stickers that proclaim our beliefs, yet when life takes and unexpected turn, it is hard to put into practice.
My family has been going through a hard time lately. It is one of those things that you really don't know why it is happening the way that it is, and just when you think it can't worse, it did or still does. In times like this it is easy to continually imagine what else could happen. That is what is really hard, it seems like the possibilities of evil are endless. When the strength of the enemy becomes your focus, despair is usually the result.
It becomes a tidal wave of worse case scenarios and you wonder what is going to hit next, living life in a fetal position hoping that you can "just make it".
This is not how God wishes us to live. Let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them. How big is God to you? For me sometimes I see the strength of the opposition so easily, yet secretly doubt the ability of God to defend me. As a result, I live in despair instead of joy. If we don't accurately have perspective as to the power of God then our joy will be lacking. We must remember that nothing is bigger, stronger more powerful than God. Yes sorrow may come but joy comes in the morning. Yes things may hurt, but God is the one who heals and restores. It may not be instantaneous but joy will come.
When I lived in Slovakia we were able to go to the Nazi prison camps in Auschwitz, Poland. Your heart breaks as you take in the scene and you realize the great atrocity that happened there. The thousands that were in pain and suffering. One of the things that struck me most is as I walked around the barbed wire fence at the perimeter, there among the rubble were dandelions pushing through. Amongst the evil, beauty was pushing through. With God, there is always hope. I am not trying to minimize the pain that happened, but I am saying that if you just focus on the pain, you will neglect to see the full picture. I don't know why hard or bad things happen. I just know that God does defend and that He is there.
I have recently started thinking that God may allow the rials to increase in my life so that He may be revealed as a rescuer all the more. In hard times our focus should be on God, not on the circumstances. The circumstances lead to despair, God leads us to hope.
I am also reminded of the verses: We are pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.
There will be times when you have to put your money where your mouth is. You may talk like a Christian or have some witty bumper sticker or T-shirt, but what really brings glory to God is in the middle of the hard times, You place your faith in Him and live in confidence, not fear. Confidence in Him and His ability to save. I pray for His blessing and for His favor on you as you walk through life with Him.
Thanks for reading. May God bless,

Monday, September 6, 2010

Psalm 5:8-10 Our Part vs. His Part & Discernment

"O Lord, lead me in Thy righteousness because of my foes; make Thy way straight before me. There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself; Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue. Hold them guilty, O God; By their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, for they are rebellious against Thee. "

Sorry that it has been awhile since I wrote last. My apologies.

In these verses there is a transition from God's character that we saw in the earlier part of this Psalm, to the character of the wicked/rebellious. I hope that you enjoy reading and remember that I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for taking the time to read.

"O Lord, lead me in Thy righteousness because of my foes" - I'm not very righteous in and of myself. In fact, at times I feel like I have more in common with the wicked, rather than the righteous. Its in these times that I am most reminded that righteousness doesn't come from me, it comes from God through Christ. I don't naturally drift towards God. Give me a free day and instead of spending time with God, I will watch several hours of HGTV. What I'm saying is, is that my need for God is to the core. There is nothing good in me, that is why I need a Savior. This is further seen by the fact that given opposition, my knees buckle and I can lose focus on where to go. We get distracted easily. Kind of like spiritual A.D.D. . We have to be led to God's righteousness because I can't find it on my own.

"Make thy way straight before me" - How many times do I try to self justify and make my ways straight? I think that if there was an award for self justification, I would win. I will act impulsively and charge off into the jungle of self justification of actions rather than stay on the road of repentance. I then spend the next, however long, hacking through the jungle trying to say that this is still God's way and people should follow. I need Him to make His ways straight before me. One of these days I pray that I learn in my core that His ways are better than mine and remember it.

The Character of the Wicked

"There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself; Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue."

The first part can clearly be seen in any late night infomercial. Big boast of shortcuts to your desires, you go for the product and are severely disappointed. The world boast of great things, yet how much of it is reliable. I'm not saying to be a pessimist. I am saying be a realist. If you want what is good, go to the source, not some cheap imitation. Check out James 1:17. Now compare that to this verse. Pretty clear huh?

Their inward part is destruction itself - what is at their core. Is your inward core life-giving, or destruction? If we have been restored by God through Jesus' death on the cross, then it is life-giving, however if we have not then it is destruction. We are still in a state of wrath that through our actions, intentional or not, we are in the process of dismantling and destroying the beauty and plan of God. You can see this displayed and described in Ephesians 2:1-3.

Their throat is an open grave - What is usually in a grave? Dead things. So if you ponder this for a moment? What comes out of them is death, instead of life. Are our words life giving or do they bring about death. If these are descriptors of the righteous then the righteous should be the inverse of this. If death is out of the mouths of the wicked, then life should be out of the righteous. Which best describes your words? Are you a life giver, or are they more characterized by death and destruction. Alot of times we try to self justify our words by saying that we are kidding with people and that it is all in good fun. But if you stop to consider reality. That the wicked out number the righteous. Then we must stop to consider that your words are better spent filling the need of edification instead of making a joke at someone else's expense.

They flatter with their tongue - The thought that comes into my head is the poison apple from the fairytale stories. It sounds appealing at first and may even look good, but their is always a hidden agenda and a selfish motive. I don't feel as bad about things if I can do it in a crowd.


This verse may sound harsh, but in reality it is justice. We don't often like justice when it pertains to us. Then we want mercy. The Psalmist is asking that people would see and receive the fruits and results of their actions.

The world we live in loves short cuts and trying to dodge consequences. Instead of eating healthy and exercising, we want to take a pill to lose weight, instead of going to bed early and getting the rest that the human body is designed to have, we take things like energy pills and drinks. We love to skirt the system. The psalmist is asking God to wake people up. To see the results of their ways.

The verse ends with the statement of "for they are rebellious against thee". It is such an easy thing to say about someone being rebellious, however what does it really mean? Upon reflecting on the surrounding Psalms, I think rebellion is not taking refuge in God. It is to try to satisfy, self-justify and exist outside of the provision of God. I tend to think of myself in the righteous camp, but I need to see that I can just as easily, when left to my own ways, end up in the rebellious camp.

I pray that we would walk in the reality of what Christ did for us on the cross and through his resurrection and how he has given us life. In turn, I pray that we would be life givers in a fallen world.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Psalm 5:5-7 - So, How did you get here?

"The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thous dost hate all who do iniquity. Thou dost destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. But as for me, by Thine abundant lovingkindness I will enter Thy house, at Thy holy temple I will bow in reverence for Thee."

In these verses we see the holiness of God and His righteousness. He does not mix with evil, bloodshed, deceit or pride. Yet so often I find myself hanging out with all of these. I'm not talking about the people. I'm talking about desires. These verses so often can become and us or them kinda thing. Oh the Lord doesn't like them, yet if you read the verse, it says all those who do iniquity. Um, that's me. I have done iniquity. I fought with my brother, I suckerpunch people in the face in my head at times who make me mad. I make sure people know what I contributed to something. Yet so often, when I read this verse, I separate myself from these people/desires. I have a tendency so often to do that. I always identify with the good guy in scripture and not the bad. Yet you can't get around words like ALL fall short, or ALL have sinned.

If you were to look in Ephesians 2, you see that we were all dead and in darkness, but God reached out and saved us.

That is why I like verse 7, it says "but as for me, by Thine abundant lovingkindness I will enter Thy house"

Lord know I am not supposed to be here because of what I have done. And it's not that He showed us "some" lovingkindness, He showed us "abundant". Yup, hate to say it but we are just one hot mess in need of grace, alot of it. That is why I am here, not because of anything I have done. I didn't earn it, I was separated from Him, He saved me.

That is how I got here, in His house, in His temple. Via grace. Once inside, I bow in reverence. Kinda interesting when you think about it because we don't bow to much these days in our American culture. On the contrary, we get stiff necked and talk about our right to be here and why we deserve it. Yet when it comes to God and dwelling in His presence, I don't have the right to be here. It is by grace I am here, that any of us are, and I need to act accordingly. I need to bow, in reverence and submission and surrender of my own efforts. I need to say thank you. The only reason why I got here, where I am, in a relationship with God, dwelling in His grace.

Hope you are doing well. God bless,


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Psalm5:4 - Why is the front door always open?

"For Thou are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with Thee"

This verse seems very straight forward, and it is. If God is perfect and holy, which He is, then no evil thing delights Him or dwells with Him.

This verse prompted me to think that if we are supposed to be like Christ, and this verse describes Him...does it describe me?

Do i take pleasure in wickedness? Do i live with evil or allow it to live with me?

Our saintly attitudes love to say no to this question and then keep rolling on. Yet, if i look at my life, and what I allow into it, then i see the truth.

The truth that i do like to laugh at stuff i shouldn't, or i'm ok if the cussing in the movie isn't that bad. I tend to make compromises for my entertainment purposes. I tend to take pleasure in things that i shouldn't. I am not talking about being a prude or anything. I am an artist and i see the need to portray realistic situations in order to accurately convey a story. However, this is a line and there is excess. I like to pretend the line doesn't exist, especially if it's funny.

The next phrase talks about dwelling with evil. I've talked before about how dwell means to "live with". What am I ok living with? I tend to allow alot and many times unfortunately, welcome things into my home. It is like my front door is always open. I am not protecting it. I am allowing bad morals, perverted ways of thought, the devaluing of God's creation and people be beamed right into my living room or to my computer screen. I'm realizing i need to shut the door, and also ask some things to leave. Again, I am not talking about a holier than thou, attitude. But my mind goes back to verse in Proverbs 4:23 "Guard your heart, for from it comes the wellspring of life".

So, I am gonna ask God to help me shut the front door and show me where I am gonna need to change. This won't be fun. If things weren't funny, enjoyable or entertaining then the Christian life would be a piece of cake. So, i am praying for perseverance and for strength. I will be praying the same for you.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Psalm 5:1-3 - I need to be proactively sketchy

"Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to Thee do i pray. In the morning, O Lord, Thou wilt hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch"

It is a cry for help, yet at the same time it is worshipful. The psalmist is being worshipful because it is to God that he is praying. He doesn't lift up his request to an idol or an emotion or an action. You can see that the psalmist believes and has faith from the get go that the Lord is even interested in His plight.
So many times I act like God doesn't care. I try to distance him for the majority of my life and time yet when something bad happens, I want him there and aware. Kinda like an on call doctor. This is a very Reactive way of relating to God. This does serve a purpose at times to help wake us up in our actions or sin, however I don't think that it is a sign of maturity.
For some time here the Lord has been working on my heart about being Proactive.
Instead of waiting for things to happen, set God as our priority. You see here that it could be a possibility that the psalmist is reacting (which sometimes we do), yet we also see shortly there after that becomes proactive in his times with God.
"In the Morning, O Lord, Thou wilt hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch"
By starting in the morning, he is taking a proactive approach of walking with God for the remainder of the day.
He also says I will "order" my prayer to Thee. This word is basically the opposite of word vomiting your request to God. Which we so often fall prey to doing. This word had the heart of systematically thinking through it. No this isn't a robbing of all emotion or intimate connection, I say just the opposite. It is taking this emotion and connection and fully seeing where you need God's help, healing and direction. It is coming before Him asking specifically and then waiting to see him work. This word that means eagerly watch also means to spy out. So it is to look at things intensely to see what God is doing.
I need to be more Proactive in my walk with God. I know alot of the artistic souls out there are worried that I am being to structured and that the concern would be that you would become to formulaic in your approach to God. In being an artist myself, I understand this concern, yet I also see that when the masters painted, it was seldom freehand. Could they do it. Oh yeah. But have you ever seen all the sketches that they did before hand, discovering how the composition came together? I think in ordering our prayers, being proactive, we are sketching and seeing where we need help. I have learned the value of this many times when I am trying to draw faces especially. You have to sketch it to get your proportions right. In the same manner in coming before God and laying out our life, we see where we need help and where we need to ask Him to work. Sometimes this will look more put together than others, but such is the nature of developing a masterpiece.
We need to be proactive in our relationship with God, because He is proactive in His relationship with us.
Eph 2:10 - "For we are His workmanship (translates poema or masterpiece in the original language), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. "
I pray that we would be proactive in our relationship with God as it becomes our priority.
May God bless!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Psalm 4:6-8 - Contentment and safety vs. comfort

"Many are saying, 'Who will show us any good?' Lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us, O, Lord! Thou has put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me dwell in safety."

Sometimes we desire affirmation. We long to have sort of validation or affirmation that what we are doing is worth it. That walking with God is worth it, and that our lives are making a difference. Unfortunately, that is very hard to come by. I have been in ministry for over 10 years now and there aren't alot of thank you's. You do hear some. But, there are times when things are so overwhelming, that you just cry out "Can I please get some encouragement or something!"

It is in these times that we need a perspective check. If you reread vs. 6, he says "lift up the light of your countenance upon us." I think it is interesting that he refers to the light of His countenance. Something must be in darkness to need light. You need light to see things that you are missing. This verse is driving home the fact that in God's presence, clarity is given and purpose is seen.

The honest answer to "Who will show us any good"? ...maybe nobody. Are you ok with that? Are you content with the light of the presence of God or do we long for some kind tangible pay off. I will continue to walk with God if i see fruit come from it. I will walk with God as long as good things happen to me. When verbalized like this, it becomes a bit more clearer to see. We need His presence, and that is it. He promises that He is enough to meet our needs, the question is, do I believe that?

"Thou has put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound"

Our happiness isn't tied to circumstances. Our peace and satisfaction, our joy comes directly from God. Sure you are happy when you are profitable or you see a bountiful harvest for your efforts, but does it last? Things come and go. If we lived our life chained to circumstances then we will be dragged around all over the place. Will you have joy when the crops fail? Do you know your worth doesn't come from them? Even if there is no more new wine, no more grain, you are still loved, accepted and cherished by God. In our performance driven society this is a hard thing to grasp because we so often don't see it modeled. In our desire for newer, bigger and better, we have harnessed a spirit that determines contentment based on things. Here the psalmist is calling us to remember that contentment, gladness is placed in our heart from the Father, who loves us and cherishes us.

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me dwell in safety"

You don't rest when you are fearful, you don't lie down when you are agitated, you don't sleep when you are stressed. If we live in fear: fear that we will not be accepted or loved, fear that if we mess up then everything is going to come crashing down, fear that this will never be over - then we will be robbed or sleep, or rest.

The Lord makes us dwell (live in) safety. Not just visit safety, like here is a postcard of what it would look like to live in safety. But He makes us to dwell there, to live there. We are robbed of this whenever we have an inaccurate view of God or an inaccurate view of our importance. The reality is that God is sovereign and in control. The truth is that God is our only constant. He loves us, values us, provide for us and in Him we are safe.

Safe and Comfort are not the same thing. Safe means that when hard times come, you have a refuge and you are protected and provided for. Unfortunately, we expect comfort. Comfort is a life void of difficulty or action, this is not promised. In fact, the opposite is promised. We will endure hard things, but as we see in this verse, God allows us to dwell in safety.

I pray that God's light would shine in both of our hearts, that we would realize He longs for us to dwell with Him in safety, not stressed out and in fear. I pray that God would place gladness not based on circumstance in our hearts, and that we would be a light to those around us.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Psalm 4:4-5 Care bears and the Mechanic

"Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord"

Be angry, and do not sin - I find this verse very interesting, because alot of times I think that we are to view Christians like Care bears who run around in a world void of hard things. We are given emotions for a reason. We are not to be ruled by them, yet they also at times help us to see what is wrong or right in a situation. To only use emotions alone to guide you is alot like getting rid of your other senses and just trying to smell your way through life. You may be able to smell smoke from a fire, but you wouldn't know which way to go. In the same way if we just let emotion take over, we may very well fall prey to sin. We may take control instead of letting God do what he promises he will do. Does this mean that the wrong done is validated...No. It is ok to to feel, just don't let your feeling lead you to sin. So what do you do with it?

Ponder in your own hearts on your beds and be silent - Emotions may help reveal that action is needed, but they also may be an inaccurate source as to the amount of action needed. You are supposed to ponder in your heart. What is the difference between pondering and obsessing? I think that pondering is done with right perspective. You measure the wrongs done or situation against scripture and objectively - realizing that you are both not perfect, so what went on? Obsessing is just that, you make the offense the obsession, it is the only thing you see and it voids scripture from your thought process. The charge is also to be silent. This is also backed up in Psalms, a rash word spoken is very seldom profitable, and my favorite proverb : better to be silent and considered a fool than to speak rashly and prove it to be true.

If you read in James 3, you see that our tongue is extremely hard to control. If you add emotional trauma to that, then you have a very volatile situation. A harsh word could ignite a fire that destroys much more than you intended, much like a forest fire.

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord - The wrong done does not give you the validity to stop doing what you are supposed to do (make right sacrifices). You are never justified in sinning or taking matters into your own hands. This is sin because it basically removes your trust in the sovereignty of God and promotes yourself to judge. Don't get me wrong, restitution may need to be made, and God will provide that in His time. It may be different than what you seem to think, but God has a bigger view and plan than yours.

It is ok to feel, don't invalidate feelings so easily. The issue is what do you do with them. Think of it as a maintenance light coming on in your car, it is a sin that something is wrong. If you start yelling at the car, it doesn't do any good, you may have to take it to someone else to see what is wrong, or give it time to see the pattern before dealing with it. But you are supposed to take it to the divine mechanic or creator if you will and trust Him to put things rightly back together.

I pray that God would grant you wisdom and insight, and draw you ever closer to His side.

in Him


ps - please comment, i would love to get some feedback on this topic and this blog.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Warning Signs: Psalm 4:2-3 Bad Art & Diet Pills

"O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him"

It is a warning and an affirmation of truth. It is a question of perspective and a call to awakening.

How long will my honor be turned into shame? It is hard to continue to do something when people don't value it. It is even harder when they directly oppose it or devalue it's significance. That is what is going on here. A person's honor or their character is the essence of who they are. When it is not valued, despised or diminished, it is held in shame. I know that a lot of times we as Christians/believers play the martyr card here and talk about being oppressed. Mainly that is usually because of our Christian bubble is being threatened. There is a difference between something being shamed and something not being respected. I think that honestly we put out second rate work or incomplete work and say we are oppressed because it is not respected or does not sell. That is not what this verse is talking about at all. This isn't about someone not liking your Thomas Kinkade painting. This is about someone going against the essence of who you are as a believer. This is about looking at what God calls us to, and then doing the opposite. It is promoting the things not of God (see Romans 1) and instead promoting things of self. It is trading the truth of God for a lie, for things that are empty.

How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Diet pills don't work, if they did, think about it....there wouldn't be overweight people? If there was a true diet pill then society would change drastically. Yet, people buy them and they are a million dollar business. Why? because people are suckers for empty promises. We hope for a lot of things, especially things that promise to better us with out much cost. But the reality is, you can't escape hard work. There is no easy way, there is just denial of reality. I am not meaning to sound like a pessimist, but a realist. We love comfort, we love things that are easy, so we are suckers for things that promise to satisfy and cheat the system. This is a verse that challenges us to wake up. STOP! Stop chasing after lies and realize that God is the only truth and thing that satisfies. There no life apart from Him.

In juxtaposition to this is the promise that God does value the godly man, so much so that He sets him apart for Himself. In most cases in scripture this phrasing is usually plural, talking about Godly people. Here it is singular which shows that there is an emphasis on each individual. So God does not just lump us together, but He has set each of us apart for Himself. You have a purpose and you have a connected relationship with the Father and Creator of all.

The Lord hears when I call to Him. I love that this is a statement of certainty. Not one of condition. He does not say the Lord hears my prayer because I have done (insert good work here). But instead it is because of a relationship. It is showing that the Lord has set us apart and we are connected to Him. This is certain and is true regardless of the shame or opposition from the world.

I think it is interesting that this verse is a warning, the desire is that people would wake up, not just follow lies. I am continually amazed by God's pursuit of us, even when we love what is worthless and exchange the truth of God for a lie. His grace is there, He loves us, disciplines us and restores us, in short, He redeems us. And Redemption is a beautiful thing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

False Entitlement - Psalm 4:1

"Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! Thou has relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer."

We have a false sense of entitlement. That just because we are having a hard time, people should help or pay attention. Don't get me wrong, we are commanded to love one another and to bear on anothers burdens. But what i am talking about here is different.

We are, in an of ourselves: sinful, unrighteous, children of wrath and dead. Great pick me up thought! The truth is that if we fail to realize this, then we will fail to realize how much grace God gives and how He provides.

O God of my righteousness! - Our righteousness comes from God. The reason why he listens to us is grace, not because we did the spiritual checklist for the day. I often forget this and think that God owes me. "You have to listen because I have lived for you so pay up!!" Bold statement, but how often does this reflect my attitude? I think what it does reflect, is my heart and my sin. God is redeeming me, He is my righteousness and I need him.

Thou has relieved me in my distress; - this enforces something I have heard for along time. God will not call you somewhere and not provide for it. As you may know, Brooks and I have been in ministry for awhile. The danger that we face is expecting God to always relieve or meet our needs in the same way. For many years it was the same - mail out letters and ask people to help support us for the summer and they would. A few summers ago we sent out about 120 letters and only got 6 back. The months went on and nothing happened. I was getting frustrated. I was like, "Come on God! Do your trick that you do, that everybody likes." It was like I was holding a hoop for God to jump thru like He was some kind of circus poodle for my entertainment. The months went on. I kept getting frustrated. Then one day as I was realizing God wasn't performing like I thought, an image came to me. Picture holding the hoop, and the poodle suddenly changes to a lion. A big lion. One that isn't happy that you are trying to make him go through a little hoop, and he is growling.

I set my hoop down.

I realized what I was trying to do, and apologized. I realized that God does not perform for me, He gives me grace. Grace does not equal entitlement. If you are entitled to it, then it isn't grace.

Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. - You know he doesn't have to? He would be totally justified in shutting off all communication. Just because you sit down to read the Bible doesn't mean He has to speak to you. Just because you pray doesn't mean He has to listen. Thankfully, He does hear us, and that is because of grace. I get nervous around Christians sometimes, because they carry around alot of hoops. "Jump God! Jump!" I realized that I do too. I challenge you to think about what hoops you are carrying around and to lay them down. Hoops breed disappointment and rob you of intimacy. Grace and living via grace, will restore it.

I'm sorry for delaying in writing. Maybe i didn't want to jump through a hoop. :O) Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Psalm 3:7-8

Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God!

For Thou has smitten all my enemies on the cheek;

Thou has shattered the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord;

Thy blessing be upon Thy people!

Perspective and Hope

That is what I believe these verses are talking about. I love the phrase "Arise, O Lord". I believe this is the same idea that we covered yesterday. When we utter the phrase "O, God!" when something happens, although this is in a more direct reverent way. Arise, or take your position and show yourself. The acknowledgment that when God reveals himself, the situation will change. This is the cry for God to glorify himself, and the acknowledgement that only He can save us.

Alot of times we are tempted to run to other things to try to save us. Friends, Family, Relationships, or retail therapy. Yet all fall short and are limited. In this verse the cry is targeted towards the one who is limitless and all powerful.

The next phrase is a strong one. Some may think it disturbing because of the violent imagery. I love the insight that Matthew Henry gives in his commentary on the verse: "That God had often broken the power and restrained the malice of his enemies, had smitten them upon the cheek-bone (v. 7), had silenced them and spoiled their speaking, blemished them and put them to shame, smitten them on the cheek reproachfully, had disabled them to do the mischief they intended; for he had broken their teeth". The teeth in this culture and still in many cultures in the region are a symbol of pride and of strength. For one to shatter the teeth of another is to remove this symbol. This verse shows the supremacy of God and His ability to frustrate, incapcitate the efforts of the enemy.

I love the closing of this Psalm - Salvation belongs to the Lord; Thy blessing be upon Thy people!

This is were our hope rest. Hope during this time was defined differently the how we use it now. Hope now is basically the equivelent of wish. I hope it doesn't rain, for example. However during this age and in the way it is used in scripture it is better defined as a future certainty rather than a wish. Salvation does belong to God, this is certain. Not something that you have to wish for. His blessing do rest upon His people, we don't wish that they would. So, we have a fixed hope in Christ, a certain future and reality that helps us to persevere during trial.

In this Psalm God has granted us perspective and hope. I pray that these truths would be certainties in your life and change the way you live, not just merely nice things to remember occassionally.

Soli Deo Gloria

Only for the Glory of God!

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Psalm 3:4-6

I was crying to the Lord with my voice,

And He answered me from His holy mountain.

I lay down and slept;

I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.

I will not be afraid of ten thousdands of people

Who have set themselves agains me round about.

There is a difference between whining and despair. The crying that it is talking about here isn't the crying of someone who just didn't get their way. This is the cry of desperation. A cry for help because the opposition is overwhelming. You only cry like this when things are really bad. When faith has run dry and you are in the desert of despair and hope is fading. You cry out to God, who at times honestly you think may have abandonded you or is not around. Yet even in your cry of desperation is the thread of worship, for you realize that there is one higher who can help. This has always amazed me cause usually when something bad is about to happen to someone (a car wreck, they see something bad) their response is usually, "O, God". Some may say it is just a saying, however having lived in other countries, it happens there as well. I think it is the innate condition of a person realizing there limitations and appealing to the unlimited God. Although they may actively supress this belief in God, in a moment such as this, it comes rushing to the surface. Their usually defenses or issues quickly tossed aside when they realize the futility of their ability to control, save, or rescue.

And He answered me from His holy mountain - I think this is an interesting phrase. This verse was written before Jesus came. God's presence (the Holy Spirit) cannot dwell with sin. There is a seperation -the perfect God and the imperfect man. Yet even in this, you see God's desire for relationship. God does not abandon the despairing man. He answers from His holy place. His ultimate answer was when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us, making away for us to live in the presence of God. He heard our cries and He answered. We have the choice whether or not to accept that answer.

I lay down and slept - Ok this seems like a bit of a curve ball. Why does this guy let us know his nap or sleeping schedule? I have come to two conclusions or thoughts. Many times we use sleep as a form of escape. I have said during this past year, which was really hard, that often wished I was in a medically induced coma. When we sleep, we don't have to deal with things. The second part of this verse focuses on God sustaining us. You can also view this as God giving us the capacity through Him to quit trying to escape and actually to deal with issues. Not out of our own resources but out of His.

The second thought is that sleep is not possible without some level of peace. So in this you see God's provision for us to have peace and rest even in the midst of trial. All of this made possible because it is the Lord sustaining us. I often think about how God sustains us in ways we don't even realize. How the athiest denies the existence of God with the very breathe that, that God has provided. If you were to fully realize how God sustains you, in every moment, in every day, even when you sleep, worship would not be a hard thing to do.

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about. - We have a choice. Fear or Faith. Faith is not denying the circumstances and pretending ignorance. Instead it is acknowledging them yet also acknowledging the supremecy of God. So proper perspective accompanies faith. If you focus on the people and how they are all around you, in opposition to what you hold true, then you will be overwhelmed. Yet remember that in those moments, when you utter the phrase "O, God!", your soul still cries out for you to acknowledge the supremecy of God over this situation and over these people.

I pray that you would have perspective and faith. That though you may be surrounded, you realize that there is a God who has heard from His holy mountain and provided a deliverer for you.

May God bless you and keep you, may God cause His face to shine upon you.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Psalm 3:1-3

O Lord, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
"There is no deliverance for him in God."
But Thou, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My Glory, and the One who lifts my heard.

Opposition, we don't always think that it will come. Many times we are surprised that it does. Yet in living the way that God calls us to, we will.
In moments like this we have a choice of what to focus on, either we focus on the adversary, or we focus on the Deliverer.
Opposition will find us, and at times it will increase. Many will be vocal and say "they are hopeless" or "there is no deliverance for him in God".
If we listen to these voices, and if we shift our perspective to only be these people, this is what we begin to believe.
That is why I love vs. 3 and decided to include it today. I love the phrase "But Thou, O Lord". Any times you see a but in the Bible it usually leads to a big contrast. In the first half of this you see the hopelessness and despair of only focusing on adversity. Then enters "The Lord". Who reaches in and is our Deliverer, despite what people say.
I love the comparison of the Lord being our shield, yet not only that, a shield that is all about me. There is nothing left unprotected.
Something else to realize is that in this culture a shield was not only a defensive weapon but also an offensive one. The had hooks on the sides of them and could be hooked together to form a wall and to take ground against the enemy.
I love the thought of this. The Lord not only defends me, he also helps reclaim the ground that the enemy may have taken.
The Lord is also my glory. God is everything good about me. He is the source of all things good and the source of all praise.
The Lord is the one who lifts my head. You can take this to mean that He is the one that gives us strength. This is true but there is a bit more. In this culture when one went before the king, they would bow and expose the back of their neck. If the king was not pleased with them, then the king would take a sword and that would be the end of it. However, if the king was pleased and had a purpose for the person, he would place the sword under their chin and lift their head. It signified purpose and acceptance.
The Lord is the lifter of my head. He grants me purpose, acceptance (through Christ). He is my defender, protector and helps retake the ground that the enemy has stolen.
May your perspective be on the Lord and not on the opposition. Please pray the same for me.
May God bless!
Thanks for reading,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Psalm 2:10-12 Amazing Grace

Redemption and the call to Repentance

"Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Worship the Lord with reverence,
And rejoice with trembling.
Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all those who take refuge in Him!"

In the past few verses we see how God has warned against the ways (kings) of the world. He has spoken about our feeble efforts of control and satisfaction. He has revealed to us His desire to take us deeper and to provide for us. And now, now we see an amazing God of grace.
In calling out to abstain from the worlds ways, He turns and offers a hand of grace to the very ones who were leading the rebellion against Him.
Show discernment O king. Take Warning. He doesn't just blast them away although you see in verse 4 that He could very well do that. Instead you see Him give hope and a way out.
Sometimes people become so defensive because they feel trapped and think they have no way out. Think about a cornered animal, the more it feels threatened the more hostile it becomes. In this same way, so is the world. When people see the truth and light of the gospel, alot of times the response is hostility. They feel trapped because now the light shows that their ways have been in vain. Yet, God extends an invitation to worship. He doesn't say, "OK come on in, but you are gonna pay for that whole fiasco that happened last week."
Instead, you see the grace and redemption of God that one has the chance to go from the king of the rebellion to now becoming the child of redemption. There is a warning, there is a clear stating of God's wrath and how He isn't someone to just take advantage off, instead you see The power of God and the mercy of God. This verse doesn't say Jesus is my homeboy and I can just take advantage of Him. This verse is calling sinners to repent and providing away to do so, all the while, realizing that the Almighty Lion of Judah is just and will reveal His wrath and sin will not go unpunished.
Even in the ending you see the provision and grace of God. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him. Not just some, not just those who grew up in church and never did anything wrong. The word is all, the offer was extended to the kings of the rebellion. So, if Osama bin Laden was to trust Christ and see the light of the gospel and repent and call out to Jesus as His Savior, then he too would be one of those who would find refuge. I admit that I don't always like this, a kind of violent grace, because honestly I would be picky about who I handed it out too. Which means that I would not be just and then it would not be grace because people would have to earn it. When I think about it, it all comes down to me realizing that in reality, I am just as wretched as Osama bin Laden, I was a child of wrath (Eph 2:1-7). We are all on equal footing and we all need the Savior.
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch, like me"

May I not be stingy with grace and may I pray for the kings of the rebellion to repent, for such is the heart of God.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Psalm 2:7-9

"I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son,
Today I have begotten Thee.
'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.
'Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron,
Thou shalt shatter them like eathernware.'"

This passage is telling of the promise of the Messiah, the Deliverer, that God would provide in Jesus. We see it fulfilled in John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever shall believe in Him, should not perish but have eternal life.

Yet one of the things that rings in my heart in this section is 'Ask of Me and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance'. Now, I know that this is talking of Christ, and how God has granted Him all power and authority in heaven and on earth. But what sticks in my heart is the desire for us to ask. Not selfish materialism ask, but asking God to do what He desires.
We so often get caught up in asking for provisions or things, we forget to ask for God to give us what He desires. I cringe at the thought of dying and going to heaven and talking with Jesus and Him saying, these are all the things I longed to give you if only you would have just asked.
Yet, I find myself to busy or to scared to pray something like that. Scared because I'm afraid what He wants to give will be so different than from what I want, or, so busy with stuff that I am blinded by what God is really wanting to do.
If I believe that God made me, that He alone fully knows me (there are parts to me that I don't even know about yet), then it is only He alone that knows fully what I need to accomplish what He desires.
So I boldly some may say selfishly pray, Lord give it all! Please!! Forgive me for not asking for what you desire to give. Lord may you give me open hands and an open heart to receive what you desire to give. Not in materialistic ways but in the reality that you are the one who has made me, you are the one that knows me best. Lord help me to pray according to your desires and not my own.
For in that we see the fulfillment of verse 9 where you will break the wicked and shatter their efforts with your truth. Not because of my own abilities, but because of what you have granted.
So Lord please give it all, you already have in Christ and granted me access to it, but please give it, even when I am to ignorant to ask. For Your desire is for me to be perfect and complete lacking in nothing, that I would do the works that you have prepared for me beforehand. May you be glorified O' Lord.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Only for the Glory of God!

Thanks so much for reading.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Psalm 2:4-6

He wo sits in heaven laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then He will speak to them in His anger
and terrify them in His fury:
"But as for me, I have installed my King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.

I had a hard time reading this at first. The idea of the Lord laughing at somebody or scoffing at them isn't a pleasant thought for me. I wrestled for a little while about how this verse makes God appear at first reading. He is justified, you can get that from the context, however, it doesn't seem to sync with something.
So this prompted me to dig a little bit deeper.
I would suggest reading Matthew Henry's commentary on Psalm 2 if you have alot of questions.
In verses 1-3 you see basically a battle unfold. Heaven vs. Hell. In verses 4-6 it is not so much about the heart of God as it is about perspective. Basically, God is saying that the opposition to Him is laughable. We know the ending. God wins, heaven triumphs. So it isn't about His heart for these people (consider the verses about how he longs for all to come to repentance or John 3:16), this is more about the futile efforts of the world to frustrate the plans and ways of God. These verses are more about perspective rather than heart.
It ends with perspective as well.
But as for me.....
So regardless of what everyone else does, what will you do? What will you do with the ways, teachings and desires of God?
Will we install them and worship and follow them? Or will we trade them for laughable, feeble attempts to accomplish our own desires?

Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Psalm 2

Why are the nations in an uproar,
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand,
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His Anointed:
“Let us tear their fetters apart,
And cast away their cords from us!”

Did you ever wonder why the Pharisees got so mad at Jesus? Why they would be angered to the point of murder? I remember the saying, “an eye for an eye, a life for a life” and I think it somewhat applies here. Jesus in teaching about grace, took away their life of valued works. He leveled the playing field, tearing down the structures of self worth and glorification that they had built. In defense of their value of life the sought to silence His and to turn off the light of truth that exposed who they really were.

I believe that is why the nations are in an uproar and people are devising vain things. For some the thought of grace brings comfort, for others frustration. When frustrated people get together and take counsel together then things that were previously deemed unthinkable are now justified. In order to maintain our way of life we take life. You see this played out in spy movies all the time. The person who isn’t okay with what “the company” is doing and then the company goes after them to protect itself.

I like to think of myself as the good guy and not the company or the bad guys. However, how often do I get carried along in the uproar and start to justify a way of life that at my core I know is against what God desires for me. Yet in order to justify myself, I am willing to take life from someone else. No, I haven’t killed anybody. But, I have made fun of someone behind their back because they said something that really stung and I wanted to prove that they didn’t have the authority or credibility to do that kind of thing. I am afraid I’m a company man for more than I want to admit.

Yet there is hope. “let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us” We have been set free from what at one time used to trap us. Through Jesus’ death on the cross we have been set free. We no longer are captives trying to defend a fruitless way of life. We are sons and daughters of God that have been liberated and justified, set apart and anointed by God for a purpose that He has promised to provide for us to accomplish. We may get confused or have relapses but that is no longer the truth.

I pray that today, you would be set free or remember that you are set free. That you would realize that God has broken the chains, torn the fetters apart and given you a new name, hope, identity, strength and purpose. May we walk in freedom and humility helping others to find it as well through Christ.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Psalm 1:6

"for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish."

This verse seems very straight forward, but there is also an underlying complexity. Which I believe is faith.

Do you ever have those moments where you feel like God has forgotten about you? Maybe He got busy and you feel a bit neglected. Usually this happens to me when wave after wave hits me. Whether it be emotional, physical, spiritual or financial struggle, or all four at the same time. At times it can feel as if God has forgotten, that He must not have planned this out. For me to have faith that God knows my way and is all powerful, means that I have to admit that He has allowed these things to happen. And, in all honesty, that is really hard. There comes times where I have to pray for faith to trust God because this (insert trial here) seems like the total opposite of what is good for me.

This is further complicated when you look at the ways of the wicked and you don't think perish. You think, rich, successful and satisfied. All usually based on materialism standards. Their path doesn't look like it headed towards perish. So I must pray for faith to believe that the life God has called me to will not perish, but have life everlasting.

If you step back from these trials and look at them, you may start to get a glympse of perspective. Perspective is something that God grants from time to time to help grant us faith and hope. When you put your position to see beyond the riches and fame or success, and you aren't as enamored by it all. You begin to see the failed marriages, broken hearts, painful and tragic endings. You begin to see lives that are full of stuff but void of meaning. This isn't to say that God doesn't put believers in positions of wealth, He obviously does (Abraham, David, Solomon). However the wealth doesn't define the meaning of the life, the relationship with God does.

All that to say, at times, it takes alot for me to believe this verse. I have to pray for faith and for perspective. Trusting God isn't always easy, but it is alway necessary.

I pray that your faith would be strengthened to trust in areas that are hard. Even when we don't understand what God is doing and wouldn't define it as "good", we can still trust that even in the midst of that He is good, He hasn't forgotten and He knows our ways.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What the heck is chaff? and what in the world does this mean? Psalm 1:4

"The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;"

We don't often use the word chaff, and honestly if you just read over this verse, it doesn't make alot of sense to us. Why won't the wicked stand in judgement? It seems like they should. After digging around a bit, God allowed me to find out some things that really helped. Hope that they will help you as well.

But are like a chaff that the wind drives away - Chaff is the husk on the outside of a wheat kernel. You can't eat it, and it basically doesn't do anything. You have to take it off before you can make anything with the wheat. How they would do this is they would throw it up in the air and it would seperate from the kernel and the wind would blow it away while the wheat would fall back down. The chaff lacked weight. In this culture your name was closely related to your character, when it talked about respecting the name of someone, you can pretty much sub in character and be ok. Character was also often described as what gave a person weight. It is what the person is made off. When it describes the wicked here as chaff/weightless, I believe that it is saying that they are void of character. Easily blown away by the whims and influences of the world. So how much weight does our character have? Are we easily blown around and influenced by people or are we able to fall back down into God's hands so that He can make us into something useful?

The wicked will not stand in judgement - now when I read this I was like, WHY NOT? It didn't make sense to me at all because it seemed contrary to what scripture says elsewhere. The phrase to stand in this case is different then how we use it today. In courtrooms during this time you were able to stand if someone was behind you vouching for you. It ment that you had the support of someone, someone in your corner. What this verse is saying is that the wicked will have no one to vouch/defend/support them in judgement. I was reminded of this recently when a group of guys went out to party. One of them drank to much and got arrested for fighting. The friends just went home. Didn't go to the jail, just went back home and went to bed. There was no one to stand with him. So many times this happens, we are influenced to do the wrong thing but when consequences or judgement comes, all the people that were with us quickly flee, often in fear of their own lives. The wicked to not stand in judgement means that they don't have a chance. They will get the full weight of everything, the full weight of justice.

Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous - still going with the metaphor of standing here. Standing also means to identify with. I believe this is talking about how if you choose to do what you want and live "in sin" then you will not be able to identify with the righteous. Upon closer inspection the difference will be seen. Or, going back to the original example, when you are thrown up, you will quickly be blown away. A chaff cannot pass as a wheat kernel.

So, I am left asking myself how much weight does my character have and what is it based on. It has been said that character isn't defined in one or two major moments in your life, but in the countless daily moments that lead up to the big ones. What you do in secret will define who you will be when the light hits you. Just remember that God provides for us to walk with him daily and does not abandon us to live life alone.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Psalm 1:3

"And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields it's fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers."

I have heard this verse alot but if you were to ask me awhile back what it ment to me, i would say something like "it means God wants to bless me" or something like that. Which isn't inaccurate, but not the whole truth either. I think that the way he phrases things here is for a deeper meaning.

Firmly planted - Are our roots deep or shallow? If you have ever seen a huge tree after a storm that has fallen over at the roots, it will help drive this home. In order for stability a tree has to have deep roots, it has to be anchored. If you continually move a tree/plant, it will not develop the deep roots necessary. Alot of times I don't like to go deep. I would rather live at the surface level and not talk about issues in my life, marriage or walk with God. Just go to church and get out. Let me take care of me and totally miss out on community and sharing life with others. In doing so I prevent my roots from going deep. I get dangerously close to being one of those trees that when a storm hits and the ground softens I topple over. So the question I have to ask, is am I letting my roots go deep? If I keep moving around and hopping churchs or organizations or friends, I am not letting myself take root. But i think it is also good to note that you can plant a tree in a bucket in a forrest and it still not be part of the forrest cause it stays in a bucket. I see this happen alot, people come but they stay in their buckets of busyness or comfort and don't join the forrest so to speak.

Streams of Water - What gives me life? Is there currently anything in our lives that give us life spiritually, emotionally? Or are you trying to exist in the desert of materialism and busyness wondering why you don't feel like you are thriving or why you are feeling dry and choked out? I do this alot. I neglect to place myself by nourishing streams because there is always some seemingly justifiable excuse not to do so, or because i am to prideful to admit that I ended up in a desert. So what streams bring life and how do we need to move towards those?

Which yields it's fruit in it's season - People have seasons. There are times when we experience the joy of new things like Spring, there are also times we deal with the reflective quiet of Winter. The danger is when we compare. So often we compare ourselves. We look at somebody and think that they are better at something, did you ever think that it is because they are in Spring and you are in Fall? We don't all change seasons at the same time, and seasons last different lengths of time for people. The other promise to see here as that fruit will and should come. If you are a believer fruit should happen in your life. Sometimes we try to stay in a season because it is comfortable because it is what we are used to and we don't make the changes necessary because they are scary or uncomfortable. I don't know how comfortable new growth is for a tree, but i do know that having a baby isn't very comfortable. Yet, if you don't go through the pain then life will not be created. Are we choosing to stay in Winter's chill because we don't want to go through the awkward maybe painful process that it would take to move to a fruitful Spring/Summer?

It's leaf does not wither - Leaves are an outward showing of how healthy a tree is. If they start to die, you can bet that tree isn't doing well. It's interesting that he talks about seasons and then says that the tree's leaf doesn't wither. I think the lesson here is that our life doesn't depend on circumstance. We can still possess life even when we go through hard times/difficult seasons. It has been said that being a Christian doesn't exempt you from trials, but it does give you the hope to persevere. It gives you life in the middle of the Winter.

Whatever he does he prospers - It is very easy to misread this. You can read it and think that whatever he does he doesn't fail and succeeds. However that is not what it says. I think that it means that even in failure/trial he prospers. Not necessarily meaning materialistically but also spiritually/emotionally. This guy is walking with God. He is living fully surrendered to God. So what he does is going to be of God. If this guy decides to become a drug dealer it doesn't mean that he will prosper, because this guy is walking with God and wouldn't become a drug dealer. We can tend to read this verse and use it as a banner to justify all kinds of actions and try to call down God's blessing. But the underlying theme here is that this guy has deep roots and is walking with God through good times and bad. So prosperity will not look the same as it does from the worldly standpoint. I believe it means a life full of rich fruitful meaning.

Thanks so much for reading.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Psalm 1:2 Delight, Despair and Fast food

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night."
I don't know about you, but for me delight and law seldom go together...for example, I recently got one of those photo stop light tickets, i broke the law , the $50 fine does not equal delight.
The word delight here also translates desire. His desire is for the law of the Lord. I don't think the law itself is the object of His desire, we seldom want more rules to follow. I think the focus is the intimacy with God that living in God's law brings. That is his delight or desire. So what happens if we don't desire that? What happens when you loose desire and loose connection and intimacy with God and begin to drift. I think it comes down to one word, despair. Despair is the abscence of hope. Hope comes from knowing God and experiencing his prescence. This grants you perspective, comfort and peace. Without it, you are left to your own devices, which prove futile and empty, lacking hope. So either we choose desire/delight or despair, God's ways or our's.
Meditate - now I usually chalk this one up to a hippy, yoga thing and move on thinking that i read my Bible and that is how a person that grew up Baptist meditates. Everything else seems a little mystic. However, when you dig a bit deeper to see what he means by meditate, it means to mull it over, to chew on it. I don't really treat scripture like this alot of times. I prefer the drive thru version of a quiet time were I list of my order of ways I wish God to speak, He says thank you please drive around and I'm out in 15 minutes. So I like to live on the surface, I don't like to sit and ponder or stare at scripture because then I start to see things. I start to see that instead of seeing the "Pharasees" as the dark side if you will from StarWars, they begin to look like me. I start to realize that I don't apply what I read and I have alot of McDonalds bags in my car but nothing to show for it so to speak. I don't like to meditate not because it is mystic, in all actuallity it is because it is intimate and personal and God gets all up in my business. Yet, if i stop to ponder and actually look and listen, God engages me in ways that I would have never forseen or considered. Can you survive of off fast food, yes. Will you be healthy? No. And usually the more you eat fast food is directly proportionate to the amount of time you work out. So we eat fast food, grow spiritually obese and complain cause we didn't get it our way right away. I don't think this is God's desire. God's desire is that we would sit down, look at the recipe and take the time to cook, savor and enjoy. Jesus didn't really rush, yet I try to get him to stamp my busy time sheet all the time.
So choosing to meditate is choosing to cook instead of eat fast food. It is choosing to delight instead of despair.
Thanks so much for those of you that read this, I don't know who is or why God is having me do this, but I pray it is a blessing.
ps - i also think it's funny that i am writing this in panera, i plan on working out later.
Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Psalm 1:1

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!"

This is one of those verses that I usually just read over and keep moving till I get to something that has to do with godly people cause I don't think I am this guy. Yet, a few days ago God hit me with a brick of understanding with this verse.

If you notice there is a progression or a pattern if you will. The guy goes from walking, to standing and then to sitting. Here are some thoughts on this and how this verse applies a whole lot more to me than I thought or would dare to admit.

Walking - Walking is a daily activity, and everybody does it. This guy walks (daily lives) in the counsel of the wicked. How often do I let the influence of the world and what it deems important, significant counsel my daily life? Alot more than I care to admit. This counsel affects what i think and what I say. This guy is carried away, I don't think this is intentional, he probably goes to church on Sunday. However, in his daily life he is counseled by the world and carried along on the streams of worldy desires, that take him farther away from God.

Standing - If you are standing somewhere, you pretty much aren't doing anything. You stand when you wait for something or can't make a decision. I think that this guy has grown passive. He stands in the path of sinners. He doesn't turn and move towards God. He may actually get in the way of people that are trying to see God. To me, standing represents passivity in our relationship with God. This guy has/is growing cold. He may be tired, or something may have happened that he doesn't like. For whatever reason he has chosen to stop. This is a critical juncture in our life where faith is key. Faith in God, even when we don't understand, grants perspective. Perspective grants hope, lack of perspective/faith breeds despair.

Sitting - In this culture when you sit somewhere, it was understood that you were identifying with it. So this guy has moved from being counseled, to growing passive and now he is identifying with a scoffer. Now if you were to think of a scoffer you would probably think of a heckler at a comedy club that is being rude. However, I think we scoff at things everyday. When you scoff at something you deny it's power or value and diminish it. How many times do I do this with God? This guy has moved to a place perhaps from despair or lack of faith, perhaps from disobedience, where he identifies more with a scoffer than a believer. If you look at how he lives, you would identify him as a scoffer. You can't distinguish between the two. Not because he is in the back of the church heckling the pastor, but because his life if void of faith and instead filled with actions that show he does not trust God in any way shape or form.

So take some time to think about a verse that we would usually skip over. Don't be afraid to see yourself in it, because that is when life change happens. Remember that if God is showing you something it is because He loves you and wants to draw you closer to Him, not because he is out to make you feel miserable.

Application ?'s take a few minutes to process through these:

- How am I letting myself be counseled by the world instead of God? Usually i try to justify these things, I am a terrific justifier, unfortunately.

- How have I grown passive and why? At the intersection of faith, doubt and unbelief, which way am i headed and what needs to change?

- How have I started to identify with a scoffer? Is there something that I think God's power is limited in? If somebody looked at my life, what would they identify me as: a scoffer or a believer?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Beginning

It would take an act of God for me to become a blogger, and it did. A few weeks back God laid it on my heart to start sharing some of the things He has been teaching me. Not that they may be earth shattering revelations, but maybe a help or encouragement to you. So what about the name. The Bohemian and The Bible. Here is a little bit behind the name and the purpose of the blog.
When I lived in Slovakia, I would often venture up to Prague in the Czech Republic. It is known as the region of Bohemia. The area is beautiful, the natural setting is amazing with farms and rolling hills and people who are gifted in the arts. The people of this region actually played an important part in Christianity.
Alot of people know Martin Luther, what alot people don't know is that Martin Luther was inspired by the teachings of a man named John Hus. Hus was a pastor of a church in Prague who began teaching that you can have a personal relationship with God that doesn't have to go through a priest. He taught that you can read the Bible on your own (a foreign concept at the time) and challenged his parish to do so. They did, and it exploded. People began to read the Bible for themselves and the truth began to set them free. This did not escape the eyes of the powers that be and Hus was removed from his position and killed.
So, why did I name my blog "The Bohemian and The Bible"? Because I feel as if we in today's society have lost the ability to read and meditate on scripture. We listen to other via podcast and read alot of books, but we don't savor scripture for ourselves. Bohemian has come to mean free spirit and one who pursues beauty. I have always been told that my view of things is a little different, and I think that has come from God's desire to increase peoples understanding of who He is. As an artist, I try to mirror and convey God's love, creativity and beauty and put that on a common level for people to see, value and appreciate. So my hope is that through this, people may come to value and appreciate the beauty of scripture and meditate on it in their daily lives.
My goal is to blog all the way through Psalms, this may take awhile and i'm not promising there will be one a day, but i will try. I believe that God causes our hearts to pause when we read scripture but often times we are so consumed by schedule we fly past and ignore the pause that God was teaching. So there is no deadline or goal. This is just a reflective walk through scripture to listen to God and hang out in the garden with Him once again.
I don't know where this will end up, but thanks for those of you who even took the time to read this, and I pray that God would bless you.