How To Get Back Up When You Slip Up

“Although your foot may slip often, yet your heart cleaves to God’s commands and will not let you lie where you fell, but you get up again, resolved to watch your step better. Know this, then, that your sincere respect for the commandment is ample evidence of your title to the promise.

“When David confessed to his love for God’s law he did not question his title to the promise: ‘I hate vain thoughts; but Thy law do I love’ (Psalm 119:113). He did not say that he was free from vain thought but that he hated them. And he did not say that he fully kept the law but he loved it, even though he sometimes failed in total obedience. Because of the testimony which conscience gave concerning David’s love for the law, his faith settled the question once for all: ‘Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy Word’ (Psalm 119:114).”

—William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor

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Revival God’s Way

T.M. MooreI am a part of a weekly gathering of pastors from around the country who are praying for revival. T.M. Moore, who organizes our prayer time, shared some fantastic thoughts about revival.

He said, “The better we know God’s word, way, righteousness, justice, and judgments, the more our prayers for revival will have the right focus, and be more likely to be heard and answered.”

By way of example, T.M. Moore shared some verses from Psalm 119. I think you will be able to spot the pattern pretty quickly—

  • …revive me according to Your word (v. 25)
  • …revive me in Your way (v. 37)
  • …revive me in Your righteousness (v. 40)
  • …revive me according to Your lovingkindness (v. 88)
  • …revive me, O Lord, according to Your word (v. 107)
  • …revive me according to Your justice (v. 149)
  • …revive me according to Your word (v. 154)
  • …revive me according to Your judgments (v. 156)
  • …revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness (v. 159)

Praying for revival never comes on our terms, it’s always on God’s terms. Revival is never focused on me, it’s always focus on God.

By the way, if you would like to join me and these other pastors in our weekly prayer for revival, please send me a message and I will get you all of the details.

God Stamps His Children

God's sealFrom the pages of history we see how kings would finalize or enact a new law by using their signet ring to make their unique mark on the decree. Think about: there was nothing but words on a page, until the impression from the king’s ring made it a royal decree.

The King of Kings stamps His children as well. Anyone who places his or her faith in Jesus Christ receives God’s seal, marking that person as God’s royal possession!

The Hebrew letter taw means a stamp or inscription. It’s the final letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Beth, and its message seals up all that God’s Word symbolizes. In the last section of Psalm 119 called taw (verses 169-176), we read of someone who has made God’s Word an integral part of his life. Check this out…

  • God’s word answers his cry for help and brings him understanding (v. 169)
  • God’s promise delivers an answer to his prayer (v. 170)
  • God’s decrees lead the psalmist to praise God (v. 171)
  • God’s commands cause him to burst into song (v. 172)
  • God’s precepts bring him help (v. 173)
  • God’s law leads him to salvation (v. 174)
  • God’s laws bring sustaining and reviving life (v. 175)
  • God’s commands rescue him (v. 176)

In the New Testament, God’s seal is described this way—Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

Here’s one more cool thing about taw. This letter is made up of two other Hebrew letters: daleth and nun. This spells Dan. When the Israelites were in the wilderness, the tribe of Dan went last. Their job was to make sure no one got left behind.

Christians who have God’s seal of ownership on them, should live as holy rescuers. They serve by going last, and making sure no one gets left behind, but everyone hears the good news of God’s love.

Do you have God’s seal of ownership on you? What are you doing with it.

Here’s the video of the complete message on taw

Live Blessed And Peaceful

SpockI think most people are familiar with Spock’s famous Vulcan hand signal that means “Live long and prosper.” But long before Star Trek, the origins of this idea were displayed in the pages of Scripture.

The Hebrew word for grace or favor is first used in relation to Noah: “BUT Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). The conjunction BUT at the beginning of this verse tells us that the favor Noah experienced is being contrasted to something exactly the opposite. Here’s what we read two verses earlier, “The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain” (v. 6).

Noah had to make a choice: would he fear God, or would he fear man. It’s a choice we all have to make today. We have to weigh and decide:

  • Fear of God vs. fear of man
  • Pleasing God vs. pleasing myself or someone “important” to me
  • Humble reliance on God vs. self-reliance
  • Objective obedience to God vs. subjective agreement when it feels okay

In the section of Psalm 119 called shin (vv. 161-168), the psalmist wrestled with this as well. He decided that he wasn’t going to be afraid of government officials that could persecute him, BUT “my heart trembles at Your Word.” He decided that he wouldn’t look for worldly treasures, BUT he would “rejoice in Your promise” (v. 162). That he wouldn’t praise temporary things, BUT “I praise You for Your righteous laws” (v. 164). That he wouldn’t try to find satisfaction in the temporary, BUT he would bask in the “great peace [for them] who love Your law” (v. 165). On and on it goes…

  • …I wait for YOUR salvation
  • …I follow YOUR commands
  • …I obey YOUR statutes
  • …I obey YOUR precepts (vv. 166-168)

People that live this way experience the same favor and grace that Noah experienced.

The Lord BLESS you and keep you; the Lord make His face SHINE upon you and be GRACIOUS to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you PEACE. (Numbers 6:24-26)

You can live blessed and peaceful by choosing God above all else!

Next Sunday we wrap up our series on the 119th Psalm, and I would love it if you can join us!

Here is the video from yesterday’s message—

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!)

Humility Misunderstood

Tsadhe [close up]Humility has gotten a bad reputation. Many people think of a humble person as someone who never speaks up for himself, someone that can be taken advantage of, someone who becomes a doormat for everyone else. But the picture of a humble person in the Bible couldn’t be more different!

We all have to bow to someone or something. A godly humble person has chosen to bow to God and to follow God’s righteous standards.

One name for God is Jehovah Tsidkenu which means God is Righteous (see Psalm 119:137). The Hebrew word tsadhe is a part of God’s Righteous title, and it’s how we are called to live. Tsadhe means the humble, faithful servant.

In the section of Psalm 119 called tsadhe, the psalmist points out:

  • Your laws are right … they are fully trustworthy (vv. 137, 138).
  • Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and Your servant loves them (v. 140).
  • Your commands are my delight (v. 143).
  • The way You tell me to live is always right (v. 144).

Jesus lists a whole series of rewards for those who are humbly, faithfully dependent on God for help in Matthew 5:3-12. But I especially love how tsadhe looks when we zoom in on it—the Hebrew scribes wrote it with the faithful, humble, kneeling servant depicted with a crown! Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven (Matthew 5:12).

Far from being pushed down, the humble person is the one God delights to exalt! God set the standard for righteousness, and then Jesus became our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30), so that we could receive the rewards of humble obedience to the Heavenly Father.

What a way to live!

(If you are near Cedar Springs this Sunday, please join me as we continue our series on the 119th Psalm.)

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