Monday, September 26, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
The psalmist (psalm 73) begins:
Surely god is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart!
A pretty good start, focusing up on God's goodness is a wonderful way to start our day and even each prayer.
But there is something else going on there as he quickly shifts his focus.
But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no pains in their death, and their body is fat.
They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace; the garment of violence covers them.
Their eye bulges from fatness; the imaginations of their heart run riot.
They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; they speak from on high.
They have set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue parades through the earth.
The words seem to just pour out of him as he lets loose is pent up thoughts. It is very easy for us to envy the wealthy. It is even easy to envy those who are seemingly free from moral and ethical restraints.
Before we are too harsh on the writer let us first consider the honesty of his message. It does no good for us to keep the poison inside. As we will see as we proceed through this Psalm, releasing our troubled thoughts toward God is often the beginning point for true healing.
let's continue his travail:
Therefore his people return to this place, and waters of abundance are drunk by them. They say, "How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?"
"They don't even know you God! How can you allow such injustice". It is so easy to identify with the "justice" issue. You know, kind of like, "God, I've been living my life for You and what good has it brought me"?
Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and washed my hands in innocence; for I have been stricken all day long
and chastened every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,” behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children. When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight
Can you sense his angst? He is struggling greatly with the concept of God's justice but the real weight of the issue is that he must not let down the whole group of people who are depending upon him!
I hope that you can identify with the heavy load he is carrying. His consideration of the wealthy and the unjust has dropped him into despondency but the greater load is the guilt he carries about having the thoughts and how it might effect the other people in his life.
What is he to do with all of this? He found the answer:
Until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.
Everything became clear for him "in the sanctuary".
We live in a busy culture! As a matter of fact, we often view those who are not busy as lazy.
This busyness carries over into every area of our lives.
Sanctuary is a word that we may know about but one we are not quite in tune with. Sanctuary is vital part of a spiritual life and that is why the Church in America is so bankrupt today! We have lost the message of Sanctuary.
This is not about finding a "quiet time" or a "devotion time". No, this is about investing some time simply in the presence of the One who is called the Great Lover of our souls. There is no book you can read, no guide other than the capable guidance of the Holy Spirit that is required!
Find Sanctuary regularly but particularly when you are burdened or when you are struggling with the heaviness of your perceptions! God will meet you there; that is where He dwells!
Monday, September 12, 2011
I found this note written in response to a person who used the Bible to condemn homosexuality. It makes a point far better than I can:
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
Romans 8:2-4For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Monday, September 5, 2011
I, even I, am He who comforts you. And the son of man who is made like grass, who are you that you are afraid of man who dies that you have forgotten the Lord your Maker Who stretched our the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor as he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor?