Psalm 34:17-18 6/17/16

IBS

6/17/16

Psalm 34:17-18

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Lord, please speak to me as this verse has stuck out to me. Show me what you desire me to learn and take away.

The first four words of these two verses say, “The righteous cry out.” David does not write that everyone cries out and the Lord hears them. David says the righteous. And what else does he do for the righteous? David writes “he (God) delivers them from all their troubles.” I know I am not righteous, nor will I claim to be. As Paul says, I don’t do what I want to do and what I do I hate. God knows I am a sinful human being. I could go on and on about how I grieve the Lord every day, but I want the devil to take no victory from this writing. The battle rages, but the war is won! Jesus has already did it. He knows my heart. Do I fail to commune with him daily? Yes but he knows I desire to. Do I fail to take captive all my thoughts and give them to him? Yes but he accepts my apology and takes the ones I do give him. Do I say things and act in a way that displeases the Lord everyday? Yes but his blood washes all of that away. Praise you Jesus for the victory I have in you. “In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; Let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.” Psalm 31:1 says. Your righteousness, not mine. Because of Jesus death on the cross, as Romans 8:3-4 says, the righteousness requirement of the law has been met in me. Praise you Jesus you came, humbled yourself in the greatest of extents to show your love for me and to fulfill the law so that I don’t have to live a perfect life to get to heaven. Thank you Jesus that your righteousness has been imparted to me. Thank you Jesus that I am seen as righteous in Gods eyes because he doesn’t see me, but he sees you. So yes, I am righteous, but it is not me it is Jesus in me. So the Lord hears my cries; he does deliver me from all my troubles. I can attest to this first verse being completely accurate. Praise you Jesus for when you lead me to a valley of dry bones, you never fail to lead me through and out the other side having taught me countless things.
This concept from verse 17 flows right in and through verse 18. It says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” It doesn’t just say, the Lord hears the cries of the righteous and delivers them right away. Many times it’s a slow process of patience, perseverance, and learning. Often times its painful. When I cry out to the Lord I want him to rescue me from whatever I am going through right away, as soon as possible. But often times, like Daniel in the lion’s den, the Lord doesn’t necessarily deliver me out of the hardship, but he delivers me in the hardship. My heart breaks in those times rendering many times the unwarranted question why. My spirit takes on the weight of a thousand anvils. It crushed beneath the immense pressure. But as verse 18 of Psalm 34 says, the Lord is close to me as my heart is broken and my spirit is crushed. As he promises many times in his word, he will never leave me nor forsake me. He cares for me and will not let me go through those periods of my life alone. He takes my hand, and when necessary drags me through as I do everything I can to not let go of his hand. If I am honest, most of the time the Lord has to pick me up on his shoulders and carry me. As much as I want to credit myself with even the smallest amount of glory, it’s just not the reality of it. The Lord’s saving help, his salvation, is my shield. His help, as Psalm 18:35 says, has made me great. Not my own. It is the Lord who fights for me. He is the warrior I strive to be. He went up directly against the enemy as a human here on earth, and won. You know what his greatest weapon was? The Word of God. Nothing is stronger. It is “sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” as Hebrews 4:12 says. Recently my prayer has been asking the Lord to help me be more knowledgeable in the scriptures. I want to have every arrow in my quiver to be able to fire back at the enemy as he sets his aim on my heart, mind, and soul. It’s not going to happen enemy. I am the Lords and no being or entity can change that.

Thank you Lord, for reminding me that you are close to me when my heart is broken and you are close when my spirit is crushed. When I need you most, you are never far away. Your hand is always outstretched waiting for me to saddle the back of your horse to ride in battle, together.

Application: This verse was a beautiful reminder that I am not righteous, but because Jesus’ righteousness was imparted to me, the Lord hears my cries and he delivers me from all my troubles. Jesus is the reason, nothing I have done. Also as the Lord is delivering me from my troubles sometimes it is not instant so to realize that during those times of downcast heart and spirit, the Lord has never been closer waiting to pick me up and carry me along. Praise you Lord.

How: Today I will take time to praise the Lord specifically for how he has never left me and is near to me when I need him most, all the while being reminded that it is in fact not because of me or anything I have done, but it is because of Jesus’s righteousness that I can even have a relationship in the first place with the God and creator of the universe.

Thank you Jesus, may I always follow you closely behind into the battles of everyday. Praise you that though the battle rages everyday, You have already won the war.

 

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Isaiah 26:3-4 6/10/16

IBS

6/10/16

Isaiah 26:3-4

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”

Lord, I am listening.

“You will keep in perfect peace…” Perfect peace, one the most wanted things in this life. Everything is go go go. Everyone is stressed out. There is no time to waste only rushing and anxiety, no such things as perfect peace let alone peace at all. This verse contradicts the mindset of the majority of the human beings with just the mere mention of perfect peace. Isaiah says “You,” being God, “will keep in perfect peace those, whose minds are steadfast…” Steadfast. What is steadfast? Unwavering, unswerving, unfaltering, dedicated, committed. Steadfast is straight ahead. You know what you’re focused on and you do everything in your power to not move from chasing it. In this case it’s my savior. Jesus Christ. God himself. Isaiah says those whose minds are unmoving on God, He will keep in perfect peace because they trust in Him. I’ve been holding on specifically to verse 3 for a couple years now. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the busyness of this hectic life that no peace can dwell within my soul and I miss the opportunities and blessings that God has for me in the present moment. I get stressed out by things that don’t matter. I worry about situations that will get resolved. I put too much weight in what people think of me. My mind so easily gets consumed by meaningless things. God says keep your mind on me and let me take care of every situation in your life. When my mind is focused on the Lord, when it is “steadfast” as Isaiah talks about, I experience perfect peace. Verse four cements this concept of keeping your mind and it’s trust on and in the Lord. It says, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” The Lord is the Rock eternal. When you’re in a ripping current, the only thing to hold onto is a rock. The rock saves you from having to succumb to the rushing power of the water. The rock keeps you unmoving amidst the ripping current. That’s what I picture when I read these verses. When my mind is swirling with the worries of the day, I can honestly say I have found peace in letting it all fade away and focusing on God in the moment. I have not mastered this by any means. I get bogged down by stresses everyday but this verse reminds me the greatest weapon I have in combatting the enemy when he tries to stress me out. Unfortunately, so many times I entertain and dwell on the lies the enemy gives me to make me worry or stress. I neglect God’s help and wallow in my anxieties. I refuse to look up for help. I let myself drown when help is offering me a life raft and towel. “You make your saving help my shield.” Says the first part of Psalm 18:35. Satan offers a ring buoy made of lead. It looks like a regular ring buoy but when you grab it, it sinks you down to the depths of the ocean. The more you try to let go the fast and faster it sinks. God offers a life raft actually made of life. New life. Renewed life. Praise you Lord thank you for always throwing me the raft no matter how many times I fall, or jump off of the boat.

Application: The only way to find peace is to fully fix my mind on Jesus. Thank you Jesus that all I have to do is trust in you.

How: I drew a ring buoy on my hand so when the enemy tries to drown me in anxieties and worries I will remember where perfect peace comes from, and how God is always reaching out to pull me from the raging waters.

Thank you Jesus that you will always pull me out.

 

Psalm 51:8 6/3/16

IBS

6/3/16

Psalm 51:8

“Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.”

Please speak to me Lord. Reveal to me the secrets of Your Word.

“The Joy of the Lord is my strength.”
It’s the truest of trues.
The salvation of Jesus is priceless.
He has paid all my dues.

I can’t get through just one day without him.
Though I try daily,
He never leaves my side;
He never leaves my heart or my mind.

A war for my mind wages every second of every day.
A battle over what to dwell on, what to do and say.
I need you to fill me with you.
Don’t let any part of me be lacking truth.

Your truth, surely not mine.
Speak to me your words of Life.
The knowledge that comes from your lips,
Is the sweetest of honey as it drips.

Fill my mind with thoughts of you because
I confuse myself daily.
The spirit is willing but my flesh overtakes.
I fail but you’re never failing.

What do you truly want?
You want my whole heart.
That I would not withhold anything,
Giving myself, giving my whole heart.

God you want my heart,
And that means change.
Change means pruning,
And pruning means pain.

Give me strength to fight God,
I’m tired of relying on my fleeting strength
You died for me so I could rely on yours
For me you went to the greatest length

I’m tired fighting like I have to alone
Though I refuse your help time out and time in
You don’t stop coming every time
And showing me that when I let you, I win

“Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.”
This is what your word has said,
“Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid.”

I don’t want to fight alone any longer.
Spill into every crevice of my life,
Fight not only with, but fight for me
Because fighting alone leads only to strife.

Drown me in your blood
Carbon monoxide
Because it’s for this very reason
That for me, you died.

 

“For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
And keeps my way secure
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
He causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
My arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You make your saving help my shield,
And your right hand sustains me;
Your help has made me great.
You provide a broad path for my feet,
So that my ankles do not give way.”
Psalm 18:31-36

Application: I cannot fight alone. But sometimes the Lord allows my bones to be crushed to bring me to a place of full reliance on Him, and not myself. So as the verse says, the bones that are crushed, are crying out to the Lord, “Fight for me.”

How: Today, I drew a sword on my hand so when I am waging war in my mind today I will be reminded of the greatest weapon I have, God himself.

Thank you Jesus that your Word is true and that you never fail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John 1:16-17 5/24/16

IBS

5/24/16

John 1:16-17

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, please speak to me despite my wicked heart. My flesh is strong, kill it.

We have all received grace. But not just grace, grace in place of grace already given. What does that mean? God, by sending his son, Jesus, to this earth demonstrated the greatest measure of grace ever given. I use the word given and not rewarded very purposefully. I have done nothing to deserve such an act of grace. The true light came to the world to give light to all. His people did not recognize him. His own creation rejected him. God’s grace says, “You are forgiven, go and sin no more.” But instead, my sinful nature lords over me. I continue to sin. I reject the grace and forgiveness that God has given me. How humbling a thought this is. I, constantly sinning, in doing so am rejecting the most beautiful gift my father in heaven has bestowed upon me. Thus, more grace is needed on a day by day, minute by minute, second by second, basis. We have all received grace in place of grace already given. The grace already given is Jesus’s victorious death and resurrection; and more grace is the daily forgiveness that he never ceases to grant me.

God I am so thankful for the grace in abundance that you show me constantly. Help me to live like am. So many times every day I reject your incredible act of grace; I reject you. I use your grace and forgiveness as a license. I think I am better than people. I have terrible thoughts. I do things that you abhor and I grieve the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to reject you or your grace. I want to live a life that reflects the gratitude I have for you. I want to live a life that points to you. I don’t just want to live like that in the open, but in the closed times, with no one around. Give me constant communion with you. Give me sober judgment of myself so I have to constantly come to you and line up my life. Line up my words, my actions, and my motives with your will.

Verse 17 says, “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Grace and truth, through Jesus Christ. Moses presented the Law, in the Old Testament, but Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law in the New Testament. Jesus fulfilled the Law in his perfect life here on Earth. He followed the Law perfectly so I don’t have to. So often though, I use that as a license. I know he will forgive me when I sin. I know you already have forgiven all my past sins and all the sins I will ever commit for the rest of my life. God help me. I don’t want to live in a way that grieves you counting on your forgiveness as if it were some kind of magic eraser that makes my sin as if I didn’t commit it. I know that’s what grace is. Your grace is making it just as if I had never sinned, but I don’t want to grieve your Holy Spirit. I don’t want to put you back up on that cross Jesus. I want to be holy. I realize that holy is not a destination but a journey Lord so help me stay the path. Sanctify me in your blood. Clean my stains with the permanent staining of your blood. Remind me every day of this Lord. Wash me in your blood. Cleans my spirit, as so often I desire to do the wrong thing. Overwhelm the darkness inside of me with radiant light. Fill me with your grace and truth. Keep my feet on the path you have set before me. I’m tired of looking side-to-side and falling into ravines on either side. I know your hands are on my face keeping it looking straight ahead. Give me strength to fight the desire to take your hands off so I can look away. David says in Psalm 18 that you make my feet like the feet of a deer so I can stand on the heights. Jesus stop me from jumping off. I know you steady me on the heights. I know you keep me ankles from giving way. Help me not give in to my appetitive fleshly desires to jump off the heights you have me on. This morning I experienced Psalm 18:35. It says, “You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.” You helped me fight the devils temptations. No, actually you fought the devil for me. I was ready and willing to fall into temptation. But you Lord, my gracious and all-powerful father fought on my behalf. You made your saving help my shield from the enemy. You blocked the fiery arrows from the enemy and you fired your own. Your right hand sustained me definitely not my own. “…Your help has made me great.” Certainly not my own. Your help, the only reason I can do anything. Your grace, the only reason I have the opportunity. Your love, the only reason I can keep going.

Application: In using God’s grace as a license to sin I am rejecting the death and resurrection of my friend, God, and Savior. I do not want to grieve my Lord. I want to live a life filled with life.

How: I drew a shield on my hand today so that all day I can be reminded of Psalm 18:35 in the trenches of war today.

“You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.” Psalm 18:35

Thank you Jesus for your help, your grace, and your love. Give me the aptitude to channel your strength. Remind me constantly to rely on you. Not my strength but yours Lord.

 

James 1:22-27 4/22/16

IBS

4/22/16

James 1:22-27

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight reign on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Reveal to me your Word Lord. I am listening for you to speak.

“Do what it says.” This statement always sticks out to me when I read James 1. Don’t just listen to what the Bible says and deceive yourselves, James says, but do what it says. James then goes into describing an interesting yet accurate metaphor explaining this concept. Anyone who only listens to what the Bible says and doesn’t apply it to his life is like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and, after he walks away, forgets what he looks like. Now, what does this mean? For example, I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror. I have gross morning breath, crusties in my eyes, and my hair is everywhere. If I walk away without changing anything what good was looking in that mirror to me? None! So is the same for hearing the Word of God. If I wake up in the morning and read, or hear a teaching or sermon, but then proceed to doing nothing different, I am deceiving myself James says! Reading God’s Word is like looking in the mirror. The difference of this mirror however is, instead of seeing my flawed self, I see the epitome of perfection, Jesus Christ. Obviously there are things in my own life that do not line up with Jesus. That is where, as I read and hear the Word of God and see that a change needs to be made, if I do not make that change, if I do not apply the word to my life, I become that man who looks in the mirror and then immediately forgets what he looks like. It is of no use. Biblical wisdom is Biblical knowledge applied.

James continues. He makes a serious accusation against those who claim to be “religious” yet do not have a tight reign on their tongues. What does that mean? As a follower of Christ I am called to be like Him. Christ did not lie, he did not gossip and he did not wrongly represent God in heaven in the things that he spoke. So if I do these things, James says I am deceiving myself because at that point calling myself a Christian means nothing. And often times, I do just that. I read the Bible, then I forget what I read. I hear a teaching, and I do nothing to change. I know the Bible, but often times I refuse to accept it in a way that I live by it. The only thing I’m good at applying is Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” So many times, every time, I wreck myself. I know what I want to do. I know what God wants me to do; but those are the hardest things to do. I end up doing exactly what I hate. I think I’m good, then right then and there the devil sticks his foot in the door and then proceeds to open it as wide as he can. Why God? Why do I always do what I hate? Why? I’m so sick and tired of it! The things I want to do are so hard to continue in. They are the things that I want to do. I really do. God you know I do. But why is it so hard? I know it’s because of my sinful nature. But I wish it could get easier. I want to follow you. I want to know you, know the intimate things about you. I want you to reveal to me your Word. Reveal to me the secrets in your Word. I want to grow completely reliant on you. Not my strength, but yours.

James closes chapter 1 with these powerful words, “Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I want to be pure and faultless. But how? Caring for widows and orphans. Caring for those who cannot care for themselves. It is the greatest command, Love. Unfortunately most people stop after that statement but James continues saying, and to “keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” What does that mean? The world constantly does everything in its power to suck me in. The devil is the tempter, the world is the temptation, and I am the tempted. Every day I wrestle with the enemy in my mind. I am bombarded every second of the day with thoughts that are clearly of the enemy. Toxic thoughts. Sexual thoughts. Negative thoughts, constantly. I get so tired of getting wrecked by the enemy in my head that often times I don’t do what I should, “what I want to do.” 2 Corinthians 10:5, Take every thought captive. God knows I try. Sometimes I just get tired of failing at this all the time. God help me take these awful thoughts constantly thrown at me to you because I can’t do anything good with them on my own. They tear me apart. They tear me away from you! I feel far from you. I feel like I disappoint you constantly. I feel worthless.

God I know this is wrong thinking. I’m just tired of myself and need to share these things out loud with you. To kill my pride. To squash the misconception that I’m always okay. Thank you for your forgiveness. Remind me every day of that sacrifice you made for me. You came to earth for me. You died, the most gruesome of deaths for little me. Thank you Jesus. Wash my mind with your blood. Drown me in it. I want to be filled with you and nothing else. Grow in me the desire to do just that. I love you. Thank you for never leaving me.

Application: I’m sick of my mind being polluted by the world under my own supervision. I’m tired of sitting back and letting the devil abuse and dominate my mind.

How: Today, every time I am battling the enemy in my mind not only will I actively give my mind to the Lord in each moment, but I will tell Sean or Matt so they can pray for me. Why drown when I can call for help.

 

Thank you Jesus.