2/12/09

A Kept Woman, or a Kept Man?



Most probably no one relishes being known as a “kept woman,” or even a “kept man.” In modern vernacular the terminology has its negative connotation and usage; yet this is exactly who you are in Christ, and for which a believer ought to be daily and passionately grateful!

Actively expressing personal gratitude to the One who keeps us, rests in understanding not only what you know and see with your eyes concerning your life, but also in what you do NOT see! Unfortunately, because our eyes are not ably focused on the whole reality of our life and world, gratitude neither shapes nor penetrates our daily thoughts and actions as it should. We take so much for granted, or we are simply oblivious, or we do not believe what He tells us. If our response is any one of these three, our faith is woefully deficient and needs “stirring up.” If in our spiritual journey we are sincerely intent on ascending “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:14) the purpose of these Psalms of Ascents, we must learn and live more thoroughly the truth of Psalm 121: the Lord is my keeper!

The real world picture of Job 1, exposing the Accuser for our benefit, is not peculiar to Job’s life. Satan is every believer’s constant accuser. And while Job’s trials are not exactly mirrored in every life, God’s Word does not give you one iota of confidence that Satan is not pursuing these same ends with each one of us; and doing it yesterday and today. Do you really know all that happened in your life today or last week? Or only what you saw with your eyes? Did you see the “stalking lion” by your path? (I Peter 5:8) Did you feel the heat of the “flaming, poison darts” as they just missed your chest? (Ephesians 6:16) Did you hear the Accuser’s lies on the tongue of a “friend?” (Matthew 16:23) Who kept the oncoming car from swerving into your lane; a “head-on” is always a few feet away. Who quelled the cancer germ from getting a foothold in your body? Who shielded your eyes from seeing something that could have led to an act of devastation in your life or marriage? Did you see through the masquerader who, “dressed” as “an angel of light,” almost got away with his subterfuge? (2 Corinthians 11:14) I just feel he, she, they, it, are so nice! There is much we miss of all that transpires in our personal world!

It is not that we do not know the nature of the battlefield (ala Psalm 120), but apart from vigorous faith we do not see or anticipate everything in our path; even with faith we do not always see how the spiritual battle rages. So much is hidden from our eyes, precisely that we might exercise the gift of faith. And mercifully, that we might not be cowed by fear every step of the journey, (when is the next shoe going to drop?), The Keeper of our souls is not silent. He is there, and He is not asleep! Even when we might think He slumbers. But then we do not always know, except when he chooses to make us aware, when He keeps us from evil. We know He has and He is and He will, because He tells us so; and we are still here; and we woke up this morning to another day.

It is a great loss in your life if you do not glory each day in personalizing the comfort of Psalm 121. It helps to substitute “my” for “your” and “me” for “you” throughout all 8 verses. You do not always need to know when He or His servants (angels) “keep” you. You just need to know and acknowledge that He does! It is enough!

by Stephen Leonard

2/5/09

What Do You Focus On?


Have you ever wondered how those ice skaters can gracefully spin in one spot at an enormous speed and not fall down? This is how they do just that. Before they begin their spin they pick a spot to focus on and as they begin to spin, every time they make a revolution they snap their head around and find that focal point. If they ever loose that focal point they spin out of control until they fall on their butts.

Our world keeps us spinning, sometimes slowly, sometimes with enormous speed. So what is our focal point that keeps us on our feet? Christ! If we take our eyes off of Him we will spin out of control until we fall. Sometimes we fall hard, real hard. Sometimes we take innocent people down with us. Either way, we will fall.

We must keep our eyes focused on our Lord no matter how slow or fast we spin or we are in great danger of falling and falling hard.

When an ice skater falls they may get physically injured. When we fall we are spiritually injured, or worse, we may trample on the Son of God. Even insult the Spirit of grace.

Psalm 25:15
My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Psalm 123:1
I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven.

Psalm 141:8
But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.

2/4/09

Do We Not Fear Him?

I find myself at a loss for words when I read this passage.

Hebrews 10:26-31
26 For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries. 28 If anyone disregards Moses' law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know the One who has said, Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge His people. 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!


Why do I continue to satisfy my earthly desires against His warnings? Why do I continue to do the things that I know He hates instead of doing the things that I know He loves? Even when I feel convicted, I do it anyway.

What does that make me? And don't say human! I am suppose to have new life in Him.

Romans 6:4
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.


Father,
Forgive me for the ways that I have deliberately sinned against you and the Spirit of grace. I know that I am a sinner and I always will be this side of the Holy Place, but to do unholy things with the knowledge of the truth is a disgrace to my LORD. Forgive me LORD, and give me the strength to be holy in all that I do so that I may bring glory to you, the Father. This I pray, for I am blessed to be a blessing.
In Jesus' name, Amen

2/3/09

God Says So...So Listen To Him




You say: 'It's impossible'
God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

You say: 'I'm too tired'
God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: 'Nobody really loves me'
God says: I love you (John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )

You say: 'I can't go on'
God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: 'I can't figure things out'
God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5- 6)

You say: 'I can't do it'
God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)

You say: 'I'm not able'
God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: 'It's not worth it'
God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )

You say: 'I can't forgive myself'
God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: 'I can't manage'
God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

You say: 'I'm afraid'
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

You say: 'I'm always worried and frustrated'
God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)

You say: 'I'm not smart enough'
God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: 'I feel all alone'
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)