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Monthly Archives: March 2010

“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” //psalm 126:5

Cornel West once said, “I have a sad soul, but a cheerful disposition.”

Disposition means, “A person’s inherent qualities of mind and character” or “An inclination or tendency”.

I think we are called to be cheerful and have joy, but it’s ok to be sad. In fact, I think if we are truly following God, then there should be a lot of things that make us sad.  If we’re not sad, we’re not seeing what He is seeing and trying to love where He is loving.

This is the essence of blues music. Realizing that there are truly things in life to be sad about (A single mom trying to make ends meet for her and her kids, an elderly, recently widowed woman, an orphan on the streets…the list goes on and on), but looking at this and realizing that there is hope not despair. Christ is found in these broken places.

Are we sad enough to see Him there?

May we sow fields with tears and reap the joyful harvest!

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Psalm 122:1 “I rejoice with those who said to me,  Let us go to the house of the LORD.”

Check this out. It’s pretty simple but has an amazing truth within it. David writes this others were encouraging him to go to the house of the LORD. I am picturing David being pretty distant at this point. Maybe he had not read his bible in a few weeks/months, he is has been watching some stuff that he should not have been, drinking too much, sexing inappropriately, etc.  He catches the scent of pure delight from fellow believers. Their passion/love for the Lord is contagious. Those fellow believers were not asking David to go on a mission trip or sell all of his belongings. He simply said would you like to go to the church and praise God with us?  For David, going to the temple to worship allowed him to find fulfillment and gladness. Praise God for He uses common activities to bring us close to Him.

Throughout the Bible, I read passages such as Psalm 113:7 “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.” Scripture is laced with the poor being blessed. My question is, do they recognize this? Do they appreciate their status? I wrestled with this for some time, thinking would I? And is scripture referring to the poor at heart, in their check book, spiritually, emotionally? Which poor? All? Or is it a stripped down version of life in which one surrenders their life to Christ and disregards the worldly possessions of corporate America? I just feel that it cannot refer to our typical poor (Federal Poverty Income Guidelines).  I say this because I do not see that in America. Maybe that is a short sight on my part. I have “tamed” Jesus to sit next to me in Church on Sunday and I am too ignorant to see Jesus’ love for the down and out. Pray for my eyes to be uncovered. I want to know Christ.

Psalm 119:1 “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless” – Are mine?

Psalm 119: 2 “Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their hearts” – Do I?

//psalms 113-119//

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” //psalm 119:9

Apparently it was hard for a young man to follow God, even back then…not much has changed. This Psalm spells it out bluntly. “Want to follow God? Live by the word”.

“Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.” //psalm 119:133

The correlation is clear. To walk the path of righteousness; to follow in God’s footsteps we must live by the word.  That’s the only way we can conquer sin. Nothing I do by my own might or desire can break the chains of sin. It is only by submitting to Christ and his passion for me that can I begin to break the fetters.

This last part is beautiful.

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” //psalm 119:130

None of us are Bible scholars and even theologians still struggle to follow God…maybe even more so than us at times because of their knowledge getting in the way of simply following God. The point is, we are simple and need understanding. We get that only by unfolding the words of God.

I think of it like getting dressed in the morning. I wake each morning and walk to my dresser, withdraw a shirt, unfold it and put it on.

May we wake each morning with the same necessity and habit of getting dressed and unfold the ancient, mystic, and beautiful words of the one we call Abba.

Psalms 106-112//

The Scriptures that really speak to me are the ones about water and wine. Not that I don’t hear from other verses, but the ones that give me goosebumps and stir the waters of my heart and ones about ships & sailing…wine and vineyards.

“Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters.  They saw the works of the LORD, his wonderful deeds in the deep.  For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.  They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away.  They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits’ end.  Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.  He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.  They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired have.  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.” Psalm 107:23-31

An amazing story that encompasses a lot of our relationships with God: We see his glory and praise Him, then it all hits the fan and seems dispairing, then we call for Him, he answers ever so graciously and saves us, and then we praise him for all that he has done.

What imagery or Scripture speaks most to you?

“For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity.” -Psalm 102:14

God’s people loved Zion so much that even the stones were dear to them…the very thought or sight of the dust of the land moved them to pity.

Pity is defined as the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others.

Is there a place that does this to you? I suppose we should ache for the broken everywhere, but has God placed a specific place or people on your heart that moves you like the Israelites were moved?

For me, there lies a city that brings me the most profound joy and also tears in me the deepest heartache. I cry tears of joy from the electricity it brings me when I step out the door and tears of sadness to see God’s children broken and strewn about or busily rushing to their death in their business suits.

May God plant a place in our hearts that moves us to love like He so graciously does.

I can only imagine the exponential greatness that would result from us being so moved by a place that even the stones are dear to us.

“All who worship images are put to shame.” -Psalm 97:7

I have been doing well with not masturbating. Whenever I felt the temptation, I would avert my thoughts and eyes and pray to God, read His word, or listen to some music.

I’ve slipped up over the past couple days.  Subsequently, as I’m sure almost all of you could attest to this, my time in the Word, praying, praising, & sharing God’s word has been minimal at best.

I notice that temptation often comes right after times of triumph.  When I am already battered & broken, I no longer seem a threat to satan (lower case s=middle finger). But when I am killing it, you know, really serving Him wholeheartedly, satan freaks out.

I shared the Gospel with my sister for about 3 hours the other night. It was one of the most amazing experiences. I thought she at least understood things and chose not to follow God. Man, was I wrong. I basically explained the whole Old Testament for her, outlining who the Trinity is, some of the miracles God performed for His people, and ultimately the debt we had accrued and the necessity for something to be done about it.  We will be continuing part two this week, where I get to bring the Word about Jesus paying the price that our empty pockets couldn’t bear (please pray 🙂

I say all this, because the next night I was overwhelmed with an intense lust for women and masturbation, unlike anything I’ve had in a long time.  I don’t put it all on satan. I certainly handed myself over to him willingly, but it was a clear sign to me.

Then, I read the verse, “All who worship images are put to shame.”

That’s what masturbation (or just lusting after women/porn) is. Worshipping an image. We rationalize it a million ways, but it’s worship…of a different kind.  Even if you merely fantasize and don’t look at any porn when you do it, you are still projecting images of Kim Kardashian up on your mind’s screen.

I pray that we can all be armed with this verse as a reminder of the consequences of our sin in this way. We will be put to shame.  I hope that we can draw on Him when we feel we are slipping.

“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, suppported me.” -Psalm 94:18

“They slay the widow and the alien” -Psalm 94:6

I think this is scriptural evidence for the legitimacy of the epic game, HALO….

No, it’s not the title of the next Twilight film, but a command given to us throughout the book of Psalms.

“Sing to the LORD a new song.” //psalm 96:1

When I first read this, the word ‘new’ stood out significantly to me.  The verse stirred in me an awakening.  Like climbing into the pools by the temple and stirring the waters; the waters of my heart were stirred.

God is telling us to sing a new song to Him. Our Father is dynamic.  Never changing, but always changing if that makes sense.  He understands the necessity for us to have newness in our lives. We too often get stuck in the routines that the Church tells us to do.

Step 1: wake up, read the Word

Step 2: Pray

Step 3: Listen to Rob Bell’s podcasts on your way to work

Step 4: Go to small group on Monday. Bake brownies. Repeat on Wednesday

Step 5: Dress nicely. Wash the car. Attend Worship on Sunday. Go out to eat afterwards.

Step 6: Repeat steps 1-5

This is not the life God intended for us. Sure there are rituals and habits that are OK, but if they are preventing us from “proclaiming his salvation day after day“, then maybe we need to sing a new song…

May these words I have written stir in you an urgency of newness. May we break the mold and serve our God in the way the Holy Spirit is guiding us each day.