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Friday, September 30, 2016

PSALM 119

verses 44-48


"So I will keep Your law continually ,
Forever and ever.
And I will walk at liberty ,
For I seek Your precepts.
I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings
And shall not be ashamed.
I shall delight in Your commandments,
Which I love.
And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments,;
Which I love;
And I will meditate on Your statutes."



The Psalmist exudes joyfulness:
keep, seek
forever and ever.
walk at liberty,
speak before kings,
not be ashamed.
I shall delight
I love
I shall lift up my hands
I love...



This song/Psalm was not a dirge and makes me want to know what the music sounded like.
This is a little "I will dwell in Your house forever"-ish.  Forever and ever-ish.  In other words, I will keep it together down here, but there is more, a forever and ever. 



"A joyful song I will raise;
But oh! eternity's too short
To utter all Thy praise."
(Addison)




Then the outstanding verse to me is,
"I will walk at liberty."



"Walk at liberty, the spirit of holiness, a free spirit,
freemen out of slaves in Egypt.
Perfection of obedience,
the more shall we enjoy complete emancipation
from every form of spiritual slavery."



"Whenever God pardons sin, He subdues it.
If a jailor comes and knocks off his chains and fetters
and lets him out of prison,
then know him pardoned."
(Thomas Watson)




As I've said many times before, my favorite hymn is "And Can It Be," by Charles Wesley
with the verse that has been redone lately into another beautiful song...

"Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray--
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee."



"There is a state, brethren, when we recognize God, but don't love God in Christ.
It is the state when we admire what is excellent, but we are not able to perform it.
...we are under the law, and not converted to the love of Christ.
And then there is another state,
when God writes His love upon our hearts by love instead of fear.
The one state is 'I cannot do the thing that I would;'
the other state is this, 'I will walk in liberty.'"
(Frederick William Robertson)





"Free walk with God.
Free talk about God.
Free love unto God.
Free exercise of the soul.
(William Durbin)




There's this little verse,
"I will speak before..."



I have not spoken before a king.  Have you?  However, I am a woman of a certain age that means I am a little freer to say what I think.  Even though I am an introvert, I am not inhibited really.  I am opinionated as you surely have noticed and not afraid to speak my mind.  My chains fell off a long ago.  It helped me to stand alone in high school, to be friends with the crowd, but not be one of the crowd.  It helped me to speak to administration to report sexual harassment long before those terms were familiar about my main professor in the degree I was seeking.  There were uncomfortable moments when it got back to him what I had done.  He later was terminated for propositioning a fellow faculty member at our Christian college.  It helped me to speak about abortion to a state senator, a local doctor who later became a governor of Oregon.  He was mean and nasty in his reply, not a nice man.  It helped me to sing on courthouse steps, to hold signs on the street in silent protest even though I was accosted.  It helped me to speak to leaders in the denomination we left about ungodliness that was not dealt with in the church.  I am free.  The king I speak to is the King of Kings!




The Psalmist here is thought to be referring to David who instructed King Achish of his faith.  It is a hint of Daniel in the lions den who was not afraid to speak to a king, nor was Ezra or Nehemiah..  Even Queen Esther spoke to the king "for such a time as this." It is opposite of the crowd who said, "We have no king, but Caesar."   



"Public profession, I will speak.
Private delight in His word."



"I shall delight in Your commandments,
Which I love.
I shall lift up my hands to Your commandment,
Which I love."



"He who would preach boldly to others
must himself delight in the practice of what he preaches."
(George Horn)



"Thy commandments, which I loved... 
With hearty affection...
O shame to Christians who feel so little affection to the gospel of Christ;
when we see such cordial, conscientious, and inviolate attachment in a Jew
to the laws and ordinances of Moses,
that did not afford a thousandth part of privileges!"
(Adam Clarke)


"Scripture in the hand for reading,
In the mind for meditation,
In the heart for love."


"I will lift up my hands...
I will meditate."



Prayer is a lifting up of the hands and the heart.
Have you talked to your King today?




















Thursday, September 29, 2016

PSALM 119




"May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O Lord,
Your salvation according to Your word;
So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.
And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
For I wait for your ordinances."
(verses 41-43)



There is nothing like a ripe, crisp apple. 
Once you've bit in, an aroma is released.
We stopped at a fruit stand recently. 
Their apples weren't perfect looking,
 but they were taste perfection!
What's in your mouth?




Lovingkindness and mercy are one in the same.  So how does this mercy come to us in the battles of life?  We are not left defenseless.  Galatians 5:11ff says that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  The Psalmist  declares here that salvation is according to the Word.    So become a sword- swallower: let that flaming sword go down deep in your mouth, then pull it back out ready to battle.
  

Jesus Himself used Scripture to defeat the Devil in His temptation. 
This is how you will have a ready answer. 
Trust in His Word.  It is your weapon of choice. 



Then comes this verse I like so well,
"Do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth."



Notes from The Treasury of David Commentator...
"we should always confess the avowed Truth boldly and manfully." 



"He who has once preached the Gospel from his heart is filled with horror at the idea of being put out of the ministry; he will crave to be allowed a little share in the holy testimony, and will reckon his dumb (mute) Sabbaths to be days of banishment and punishment." 



Being married to a preacher who spent nearly forty years behind a pulpit, I can attest this to be so true.  Though retired from pastoral ministry and while he has gone on to another kind of ministry, he misses the pulpit.  He is eager because he will soon be transitioning from being a Director at a Teen Challenge Crisis Center to being sent to their training center where he will be teaching the Word of God as well as preaching more often.   


Asking not to take the Word of truth out of the mouth is like saying please, please, please don't take food out of my mouth.  Even Christ said it was His food and drink to do the will of God.  He also said when tempted by Satan, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4) 




"Oh what a service can a dumb (mute) body do in Christ's house!...  Oh, I am a dry tree!  Alas, I can neither plant nor water!  'Sirrah, I will not send you; I have no errands for you...' My desire to serve Him is sick of jealousy, lest He be unwilling to employ me...Only my silence pains me.  I had one joy out of heaven, next to Christ my Lord, and that was to preach Him to this faithless generation, and they have taken that from me.  It was to me as the poor man's one eye; and they have put out that eye."  Samuel Rutherford.  Do you get the agony in this quote from long ago?




Why do I spend my entire mornings writing a blog?  Is it because I have that much too say?  Hardly.    Yet, over the past five years, in small doses of 20-50+ readers a day, I've had over 50,000 hits.  It is because the Word of God is too rich to hoard.  It must be shared. You don't have to be a preacher to share the Word of God.  You don't even have to be a blogger to share the Word of God, but share it we must.  Ask God what He wants you to do with that Word in your mouth.  Maybe it is to republish a Bible verse on fb or even feel free to share my blog at any time.  But ask how He wants you to wield that sword of the Spirit, His Word.  That's an offer He can't refuse.








Wednesday, September 28, 2016


PSALM 119



"Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statues,
And I shall observe it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law
And keep it with all my heart.
Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
Incline my heart to Your testimonies
And not to dishonest gain.
Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Your ways.
Establish Your word (Your promise) to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.
Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your ordinances are good.
Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me through Your righteousness."
(verse 33-40)


Sometimes we get re-ended in this life by somebody going 70 miles per hour and pushed in the way of a semi.  Things can change in a flash, just as it did for my son in his car in the Bay area in stop and go traffic.  His car looked like an accordion.  This is the second time in six months that he has been re-ended and walked away from a totaled care uninjured.  God is good.  But maybe the other driver had turned away to look at vanity in the form of his iPhone, and caused the crash.   We don't know.  The laws of the road need to be observed.  Those laws can be for our good, but only if they are followed.  If not, there are smash ups and somebody can be hurt.  Blessedly it was only my son's rear-view mirror that wound up under the semi's tires.   




David's Psalms are from the perspective of the one chosen to rule, yet he says he is "Your servant."  I'm thinking of our own presidential debates.  You can almost say our country is a wreck with two candidates playing bumper cars trying to smash each other.  Can you imagine if the candidates approached it in the manner of the Psalmist, the manner of King David?  Their vulnerabilities would become tolerable if they reached out desirous of observing God's statutes to the end, swearing to observe His law with all their heart,  purposing to walk in the path of His commandments, delighting in them, not seeking dishonest gain....hmm...and turning their eyes away from vanity.  What if they sought to be revived in the ways of God, with an honest dread of reproach.  What if their longing above all else would be for His precepts.  Oh, Lord, revive them!



It is a sad state of affairs when we have to choose from worse to worst instead of better and best candidates.  Bald faced lies were said smiling behind podiums.  Slurs and surmises took the place of honest discussion of the issues.  If it is an issue of true equality, we should not even consider a candidate because of their gender or race, but only qualifications.  We do not need token candidates, but someone who will lead our country back from the brink instead of staying behind the wheel heading for disaster.


But it is me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.  I need reverence for you, revival from you, longing after your precepts, delighting in them and understanding them in order to observe them with my whole heart.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done.



Yes, our nation needs prayer.  It would be so foreign in our country's discourse if a leader followed along parroting these words of King David.  It would be as tense and unwelcome as the Israeli Prime Minister in the Oval Office in the current administration.  But is there anything we need more than what this Psalmist is crying out for?  No, I don't think so.  One nation under God, indivisible is becoming a lost cause without God intervening.  Our only hope is "If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, then will I hear their prayers and heal their land."  That's how God sends revival. So there you have it.  


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

PSALM 119

verses 26-27, 29-32





"I have told of my ways, and You have answered me;
Teach me Your statutes,
Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
So I will meditate on Your wonders.
Remove the false way from me,
And graciously grant me Your law.
I have chosen the faithful way;
I have placed Your ordinances before me.
I cling to Your testimonies;
O Lord, do not put me to shame!
I shall run the way of Your commandments,
For You will enlarge my heart."




Teach me,
Make me understand,
Remove the false,
Graciously grant me,
Enlarge my heart.



I meditate,
I cling,
I have chosen,
I shall run...

David had a teachable spirit, a man after God's own heart.  Those go together.  There is no other way to God's heart than to have a teachable spirit, the heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone.  Do you see in the condensed version of these verses that flexibility, that propensity of an open heart to receive the things God will grant?  The most beautiful declaration of the Psalmist here is the confidence that God would enlarge his heart.  An enlarged heart medically is not a good thing, it is a sign that one is not long for this world.  An enlarged heart in the biblical sense is that it is so full of God's love that it is near bursting, overflowing. 


"God by His Spirit, enlarges the hearts of his people when He gives them wisdom (for that is called largeness of heart, I King 4:29), when He sheds abroad the love of God in the heart, and puts gladness there.  The joy of our Lord should be wheels to our obedience." (Matthew Henry)



"Now God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much,
and largeness of heart,
even as the sand that is on the sea shore."
I Kings 4:29
(KVJ)



"God gave...wisdom
and breath of mind,
breath of heart."
(NASV)

"And hope maketh not ashamed;
because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost which was given to us."
Romans 5:5 KJV



The question is do you have room to grow?  Do I?  Is your heart flexible or hardened?  Is mine?  I've been feeling a little bit calloused of late, jaded, weary.  Perhaps that is cutting me off from some of the love that God wants to shed abroad in my heart.  I need God to soften my heart.  How about you?  


Monday, September 26, 2016

PSALM 119
verses 25 & 28




"My soul cleaves to the dust."

In these days as some people's thoughts turn to Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin, if I could pick a Charles Schultz character I most resemble, it would be Pig Pen.  I relate to David a little here.  I've never been squeaky clean.  As a little child, I've been told, I ate dirt.  I was raised as a kid back in the good ol'days when you didn't need a bath until Saturday night with only a little spit and polish from your mama in between.  In junior college the art professor stopped  the class and said, "Everybody look at Celia.  See how dirty she is?  See how she really gets into her art?"  He meant it as a compliment, even though I think he was truly astounded by my messy-me.  It was true.  I had oil paint all over me and used my fingers to spread paint at times.  Later at Point Loma, I had to walk across campus, past all those squeaky clean coeds, covered in clay dust or watercolors or acrylics.   Do I remember to ever wear gloves when I garden?  No.  My fingernails and hands bear evidence for days on end.  As for picking berries, pitting cherries, the stain last weeks.


But for David, this is a reminder that man was formed from the dust of the earth and will one day return to the dust.  David was down, really down, roll-me-over-in-the-dirt-and-forget-about-me  depressed.  He needed God to breathe new life into him.  That's why he went on to beg for "a cure for his spiritual deadness," as Matthew Henry called it.


"Revive me according to Your word."

The King James Version says, "Quicken Thou me..."  Life is brief, sometimes briefer than we can believe.  We are death defying, death denying in our culture.  People are still looking for the fountain of youth, but now look for it in vanishing creams or at the plastic surgeon's.  For most of us, however, God lets us get tired of these old bodies until we are anxious to get the newer models in heaven.  It's like exchanging Orville and Wilbur Wright's airplane for a U-2 spy plane or a rocket to the moon.  But us dust-cleavers want to still cling to our fragile Wright brother's version a little longer.  

If we were smart, we would realize that reviving can only happen through the  resuscitation God uses by His Word.  If someone were to see us in this desperate state, clinging to dust, they might hold up a mirror to see if there was any breath left with which to fog it up to know if we were still alive.  They might watch our chest to see if it rises and falls (like we stare at the dead person on T.V. to see if the actor's breathing is perceptible.)  The mirror God holds up to us is His Word. 




A little later on the Psalmist goes on to say...

"My soul weeps because of grief;
Strengthen me according to Your word."
verse 28

"Heaviness in the heart of man makes it to melt, to drop away like a candle that wastes.  His request for God's grace: 'Strengthen Thou me with strength in my soul, according to Your word.'" (Matthew Henry) 



 Strength in the Soul

Having autoimmune issues, I know what it feels like to be a little poured out with nothing left, like a puddle of melted wax, a hot mess.  Before I found help, I would wish that I could get an I.V. of melted chocolate or something so that I'd have enough energy to do my grocery shopping.  No kidding.  I'd daydream about it all the way to the store, but then despair, waking up to reality.  I needed something to strengthen me, to give me a little starch to get through another day. 




Grief can cause the soul to weep.  Isn't that what deep grief does, touches your very soul, not just the body and mind, but your deepest places, the inside of the inside of you where you truly exist in the who you really are?  That place can be very, very weak at times, unable to hardly lift a prayer, or call for help.  If you've poured out your tears from that well and it runs dry, you're in deep trouble.  You need to be strengthened, revived, quickened by God's word.  It is not just enough to read verses by rote, as if a rosary, but it must be breathed in and taken into your innermost being.  It's not just words, but the Word spoken by God personally to your heart.




Wait!  Look!  I think I saw her chest move and her finger twitch.  I think she still lives!  Yep.  That's me.  I live to blog another day.