Tears And Humility

History of ReshJust has God sent His holy Son “below the line” to rescue us, so we who are in Jesus have been sent below the line to those who are staggering to death. If we are going to be effective rescuers, what must our attitude be?

George Whitefield, when he saw a convicted criminal on his way to the gallows said, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” He also said to those who questioned his deep emotional response when preaching, “You blame me for weeping, but how can I help it when you will not weep for yourselves, though your immortal souls are on the verge of destruction?”

Isn’t a humble, empathetic rescuer going to be more effective in reaching those staggering to their eternal demise than one who stands aloof, saying, “You got yourself into this mess”?

Resh (Psalm 119:153-160) shows us our posture: It signifies a head bowed; it means we are confidently humble. Confident that God delivers us, defends us, redeems us, preserves us, and saves us (vv. 153-154); but humble enough to know that we could never have earned this!

We have to have this confidently humble posture in order to be effective as His holy rescuers. We grieve for those who are without God because of what they face—

  • “Salvation” is only gibberish to the wicked because they’ve never looked it up in Your dictionary. (v. 155, MSG)
  • They don’t know His compassion is great (v. 156), nor how great is Your tender mercy and loving-kindness (AMP).
  • They become the foes who persecute Christians (v. 157). How they will grieve on Judgment Day, if they don’t repent!
  • Their actions are loathed (not them as a person!). What God said of the Israelites who went into captivity will be true for those who don’t accept Jesus before they die—Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember Me—how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices. (Ezekiel 6:9, emphasis added)

Tears and humility will keep us in the proper position to reclaim these lost treasures for our King! 

I will be continuing our series on Psalm 119 in our P119 Spiritual Workout next Sunday. Hope you can join me!

If you are interested in watching the entire message, the video is below—

Holy Rescuers

QophThe Hebrew Aleph-Bet is nothing like the English alphabet. First of all, in English, letters are just letters; they don’t really mean anything. In Hebrew, every letter has its own definition and imagery. Second, in the English alphabet, the order of the letters doesn’t have any significance; but the order in Hebrew is of vital importance.

It is significant that qoph (vv. 145-152) comes after tsadhe (vv. 137-144) in Psalm 119. Tsadhe tells us about God’s righteousness, and how the Word gives us a reliable way to approach All-Righteous God as a humble, obedient servant. This must come before qoph, which encourages us to stay in the presence of Holy God for a specific reason.

Qoph is the second of two Hebrew letters that has two pen strokes that don’t touch. This is a reminder for us to stay close to God. But qoph is the only Hebrew letter that goes below the line. This is a reminder that God came down to rescue us!

Qoph is the first letter in the Hebrew word for holy. When Isaiah saw God, and heard the angels shouting, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty,” he saw himself unworthy to come into God’s presence, until his sin had been atoned for. After that, he was ready to be sent out as God’s messenger. (see Isaiah 6:1-8).

In the last book of the Bible, the picture in Heaven is similar, with angels still crying, “Holy!” (Revelation 4:8). As Christians, Jesus Christ has become our Atonement, so we can approach holy God’s throne with humble confidence.

Not only that, but Jesus sent us out as holy witnesses. He sent us “below the line.” Just like He came down to rescue us, He has commissioned us as holy rescuers (Proverbs 24:11-12; Jude 21-25).

As you stay close to God’s holiness, you become a more effective witness for Christ, a holy rescuer! What a privilege to be used by God in this way.

If you would like to watch the message I delivered yesterday on being holy rescuers, check this out—

(Next Sunday I will be continuing our series on Psalm 119. If you are in the Cedar Springs area, please come join us!)

10 Blessings From Obeying God’s Word

Wonderful WordThe entire 119th Psalm is a love song to God for His amazing Word. Quite simply it is “far exceeding anything conceived by man” (v. 129, AMP) and “a miracle Word” (v. 129, MSG).

In the 8-verse section called Pe, the psalmist says, “I can’t think of any better response to Your Word than to obey it!” In Pe, here are ten blessings that come with that obedience—

  1. Light … this is the discernment that allows for the “Aha!” revelations of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Understanding … the blessing of comprehending what God is saying to us.
  3. Longings fulfilled … nothing but God’s Word will ever satisfy like God’s Word!
  4. More clearly seeing God’s face as He shines upon us.
  5. God’s mercy and favor.
  6. A greater understanding of God’s love.
  7. Secure paths that keep us from sin’s snares.
  8. Freedom from satan’s extortions … this is literally what the phrase redeem me from the oppression means in verse 134.
  9. Greater obedience.
  10. Learning God’s Word so that I can teach it to others.

The psalmist also gives us good insight into how to respond to those who reject God’s Word: Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey Your instructions” (v. 136). With all the blessings that come from obeying God’s wonderful law, why would you ever want to try to live any other way?!

I will be continuing our series on Psalm 119 this Sunday. If you are in the area, I would love to have you join us!

Our P119 Workout

P119Three summers ago I began a series of messages on Psalm 119. Since this psalm provides a pretty strenuous spiritual workout, I entitled the series The P119 Workout. I have had so many positive comments on this series, that we are continuing our workout again this summer.

The 119th Psalm is unique is several ways: it is the longest chapter in the Bible (176 verses) divided into 22 eight-verse segments. Each one of these segments starts with the same Hebrew letter of that section. And this chapter is totally devoted to the life-changing power of God’s Word.

Each week we’ll look at a new 8-verse segments to learn how to apply the principles to our daily lives. I will also share some on-your-own spiritual stretches you can do following each lesson.

I am really excited to continue this series! Please join me this coming Sunday and throughout the rest of the summer at 10:30am to get spiritually fit. (And if you want to get a little head start for this week, read Psalm 119:129-136.)

The Life-Changing Power Of A Father

Fathers DayThe Bible uses the phrase “a father” quite often, but it doesn’t always refer to a biological father. Whether it’s an emotional father, a spiritual father, or a biological father, the message in the Scripture is quite clear…

Fathers have the God-given power to change a life forever!

This Sunday we are going to be celebrating Dads. If you are in the Cedar Springs area, I encourage you to come join us and learn more about what God is saying to our Dads today about their power to change a life, a generation, a nation forever!

Hope to see you at 10:30am this Sunday. Click here to get directions to Calvary Assembly of God.

The Counselor Helps Renew & Restore

Straighten up2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God does four things. Each of these things is also part of the definition of what the Holy Spirit does as our Counselor: teach, reprove, correct, and train.

The word for correct in this verse is the only time this Greek word is used in the Bible. It is the word epanorthosis. The prefix ep- means upon, at, by, across; and the root word -northosis means:

Do you notice the “re” words in this definition? The Holy Spirit wants to come upon us and use His inspired Word to (a) restore us to an upright state, and (b) renew the life and character of Christ in us. This is part of the meaning of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Jesus lived on earth as a human being, and as such He did not use His God-ness. As a man Jesus could know God’s thoughts (see Matthew 11:25-26, where Jesus is speaking to God in obvious answer to what the Spirit had been speaking to His mind). Jesus also could know men’s thoughts (see Luke 6:6-9) because He was perfectly attuned to the Holy Spirit.

As Christians, this should be our normal life too.

When we discount our worthiness for The Counselor to restore and renew us—we begin to accept sub-normal as normal, and the normal become miraculous and only obtainable by a few “spiritual giants.”

The Father’s desire is for all of us to bear a strong, unmistakable family likeness to Jesus. Christ relied on The Counselor to tell Him God’s thoughts and men’s thoughts, so we must as well. If you would like to receive all that God has for you, ask Him to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. Then you, too, can enjoy the unbroken fellowship—the restoring and renewing—of The Counselor just as Jesus did.

I will be continuing our series on the Holy Spirit as The Counselor this Sunday, and I would love to have you join us!

T.M. Moore On Prayer

T.M. MooreThen the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. (Revelation 8:5)

Commenting on this verse, noted theologian T.M. Moore wrote—

“What the angel threw to the earth were the prayers of the saints, offered to God as a sweet offering of incense for His pleasure (cf. Psalm 141:1-2; Revelation 5:8). God intends the prayers of His people to fill the earth, to pervade it everywhere and at all times, to make the entire earth a sweet offering to Him, and to bring about the earth-shaking realization of His will (cf. Revelation 4:5), is this the way we pray? Are we as earnest, constant, and resolute about prayer as God intends we should be? Do we believe for our prayers what God holds out as expectations for them? We must allow Scripture to teach us how to pray, for then our prayers will be filled with holy fire, great expectations, and emboldening power to guide us in our daily lives. Lord, teach us to pray!” —T.M. Moore (emphasis added)

We have our monthly prayer time this Sunday at 5pm. If you are in the area, I’d love to have you join us. If you cannot be with us, please comment below if you have a prayer request and we will be sure to lift your need up to God in prayer.

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