Friday, October 26, 2012

Psalm 143:8, 10

"Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.  Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground."

 Little wonder the writer of this prayer is known as a man after God's own heart-- such humility, opening his soul to his LORD with a limitless willingness to be taught, with a fearless trust in his sovereign God, holding back nothing in his yearning to learn his Maker's ways.  

Notice, David does not put off meeting with the greatest Love of his life... it is the fresh stillness of the morning when best he can hear his Beloved speak.  "In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch," (Psalm 5:3).  Here is waiting without drudgery, waiting with undeterred delight, waiting with eagerness to listen, learn, and obey.

Why the morning?  Why the first thing of the day? For one thing, David couldn't help it!  His love wouldn't, couldn't wait to come into God's presence. What an indictment on our lukewarmness.  How often do we have such intensity & eagerness?

Too, very often there is spiritual warfare in the night...dreams come unbidden, flaming missiles of the evil one, turmoil of spirit that makes morning a welcome relief.  Nothing is more encouraging, more heartening, than to draw near to the throne of grace, with the cleansing work of the Savior's blood, and the filling of the Holy Spirit providing an almost tactile surge of joy in the inner man!

Also, the Lord Jesus, filled as His days were with ministries of healing, teaching, discipling and traveling, found the early morning most conducive to meeting with His Father (Mark 1:35).  If the Master knew it to be the best time for hearing the Father's lovingkindness, then we as life-long learners in His spiritual classroom should pay attention and emulate His modeling.  May He grant grace to humble ourselves and do so.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Laughing, Weeping, Blushing

"Therefore encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'Today', lest any one of you become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin..."

Recently, I heard a pastor on the radio make the assertion that humans are the only creatures on the earth who can laugh, who can weep, and who have the ability to blush. As it is that we are creatures and not animals, laughing, weeping, and blushing are reflections of our creature-hood.  For the Christian, these emotional responses should reflect the inner joy, compassion, and purity of the holy One who saved us.

First, our laughter... you can tell much about a person by what he/she thinks is funny.  One's sense of humor is a telling spiritual barometer of an individual's values.  When we laugh at sexually suggestive situation comedies, our soul's enemy is pleased, for he has an inroad of compromise established.  When we think it's funny for people to be hurt in "reality shows", we're well on the way to a calloused heart.  And, with Ephesians 5:4 in mind, we who name the Name of the Christ should never cause others to laugh at the coarse and crude by telling such kinds of stories ourselves.  Matthew 12:36,37 should produce shock & awe.

As for weeping..."Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." (Romans 12:15)  Men, in general, can find it more of a challenge to express emotion than women...yet our Savior, the perfect Man, is our Model in His weeping compassionately, manfully (John 11:35, 36).
Too, there are often tears which accompany grief over one's past (Luke 7:37,38).  Tearful repentance as a result of the Holy Spirit's work of brokenness has the winsomeness of godly sorrow that is precious in our Lord's sight. 

"Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?  No!  They were not ashamed;  Nor did they know how to blush.  Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;  At the time I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the LORD."  (Jeremiah 6:15  NKJV)  Loss of personal holiness, and with it the loss of shame and modesty, caused the people to fall into brazen rebellion and idolatry.  Mistaking the LORD's longsuffering for approval, they continued in their disobedience until His patience reached its limit.  Confronted with the depths of their depravity, they could no longer blush, so habitual was their practiced sin.

Such a needed word of warning!  Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Timing is Everything

"Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?" (John 6:70)

And being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, "Surely not I, Lord?" (Matthew 26:22)

"Now he (Judas Iscariot) said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it."  (John 12:6)

Judas Iscariot has always been an enigma.  Had he infiltrated the group as a spy, whether representing himself or some group which wanted to betray and assassinate Jesus, that would be one thing... had he slipped into the inner circle by "conning" the Master, ingratiating himself with the Lord through feigned teachability, that perhaps we could deal with.  But no.  Judas moved freely among the twelve, and was eventually even entrusted with the money box of the group, solely on the same basis as the others: a personal summons by the Savior Himself. Neither the occasion nor the circumstances is given to us in Scripture, but there must have been a moment when the Lord sought Judas out, called him to follow, and he found acceptance with the group.  Such acceptance, in fact, that when the Master sadly declares that one among them will betray Him, each asks who it might be, rather than knowing instinctively, "Oh, it must be Judas Iscariot... who else would it be?"  Nothing in the Master's demeanor nor attitude toward Judas gave His disciples any hint as to the identity of the betrayor...
Was it the Father's will that Judas be included?  Yes.  Did the Lord Jesus know all along that Judas was a devil... that he would betray Him?  Yes, there has never been a moment in time or eternity when the Lord Jesus has been deceived.  So then, the Lord Jesus knew all along that Judas was pilfering the money box?  Of course.  Then why didn't He expose him instantly?  Timing is everything. 
He not only did what the Father had for Him to accomplish in the years He walked among men, but when He was to do each task, as well.  And restraint was every bit as much a part of His will as activity. 

Ever been betrayed?  Trusted someone with your friendship, your secret, or special information (having been given their assurance of confidentiality), only to have it revealed?  Depending on what's at stake, the damage can be devastating.  In the shock of those moments when we're deciding how to respond, may the Holy Spirit bring the Lord Jesus to mind... His yieldedness, His willingness to entrust Himself to the Father completely.