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

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?

John Bradford, 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.)

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 Delight In God’s Word

Psalm 119Psalm 119 is a loving poem to God because His Word to us is so amazing! All 176 verses of this psalm say something special about God’s laws, statutes, decrees, precepts, or commands.

Like this psalmist, we too can discover 176 praiseworthy things in God’s Word. Things like…

  1. Blessing by walking according to His law
  2. Blessing by keeping His statues
  3. Blamelessness when walking in His ways
  4. Full obedience when obeying His precepts
  5. Steadfastness because we obey His decrees
  6. No shame in following His commands
  7. Uprightness in learning His laws
  8. His continual presence when obeying His decrees
  9. Purity in living by His word
  10. Direction when following His commands
  11. A sinless life by hiding His word in our hearts
  12. More reasons to praise Him when He teaches us His decrees
  13. Joy in recounting His laws
  14. Rejoicing in following His statutes
  15. Joy in meditating on His precepts
  16. Delight in attending to His word
  17. Life and goodness in obeying His word
  18. Wonderful things in His law
  19. God’s companionship in His commands
  20. Our soul’s longings fulfilled in His laws
  21. No curses by keeping His commands
  22. No scorn in keeping His statutes
  23. Immune to slander in meditating on His decrees
  24. A delightful counselor in His statues
  25. A preserved life in His word
  26. God’s answers in His decrees
  27. Understanding wonderful things in His precepts
  28. Strength in His word
  29. Grace in His law
  30. Truth in His laws
  31. No shame in His statutes
  32. Freedom in His commands
  33. God’s counsel in His decrees
  34. Deeper understanding in His law
  35. Direction and delight in His commands
  36. A strengthened heart through His statutes
  37. Eternal life in His word
  38. Fulfillment in His promises
  39. No dread nor disgrace in His laws
  40. Preserved life in His precepts
  41. Salvation in His promises
  42. Answers for enemies in His word
  43. Hope in His laws
  44. Eternal security in His law
  45. Freedom in His precepts
  46. Influence in His statutes
  47. Delight in His commands
  48. Love in His commands
  49. Hope in His word
  50. Comfort in suffering in His promises
  51. Steadfastness in His law
  52. Comfort in His laws
  53. Proper emotions toward the wicked in His law
  54. Songs in His decrees
  55. Nighttime comfort in His law
  56. Healthy practices in His precepts
  57. Complete help in His word
  58. Finding God in His promise
  59. Course corrections in His statutes
  60. Motivation in His commands
  61. Rescue in His laws
  62. Midnight thanks in His laws
  63. Friendship-strengthener in His precepts
  64. Seeing His love everywhere through His decrees
  65. Blessing in His word
  66. Knowledge and good judgment in His commands
  67. Healing in His word
  68. Goodness in His decrees
  69. Immunity to slander in His precepts
  70. Enlivened emotions in His law
  71. Help for affliction in His decrees
  72. Riches in His law
  73. Understanding in His commands
  74. Encouragement for others in His word
  75. Godly paradigms in His laws
  76. The comfort of His unfailing love in His promise
  77. Delightful compassion in His law
  78. Justice in His precepts
  79. Influential friendships in His statutes
  80. Blamelessness in His decrees
  81. Hope in His word
  82. Comfort in His promise
  83. Preservation in His decrees
  84. Perseverance in His law
  85. Victory in His law
  86. Trust in His commands
  87. Staying power in His precepts
  88. Life and love in His statutes
  89. Firm foundation in His word
  90. Generational faithfulness in His word
  91. Enduring glory revealed in His laws
  92. Delight in affliction in His law
  93. Preserved life in His precepts
  94. Salvation in His precepts
  95. Peace in His statutes
  96. Perfection in His commands
  97. Love in His laws
  98. Wisdom in His commands
  99. More insight than your peers in His statutes
  100. More understanding in His precepts
  101. Avoiding evil through His word
  102. Personally taught by God in His laws
  103. Sweetness in His words
  104. Understanding in His precepts
  105. Light in His word
  106. Direction in His laws
  107. Preservation in His word
  108. Praise in His laws
  109. Safety in His laws
  110. Avoiding snares in His precepts
  111. Joyful heritage in His statutes
  112. Developing an obedient heart through His decrees
  113. Strong love in His law
  114. Hopeful refuge in His word
  115. Repelling evildoers through His commands
  116. Sustaining power in His promise
  117. Deliverance in His decrees
  118. Acceptance in His decrees
  119. Purity in His statutes
  120. Awe and reverence in His laws
  121. God’s constant presence in His word
  122. Victory over oppressors in His law
  123. Salvation in His promises
  124. Loving treatment in His decrees
  125. Discernment in His statutes
  126. Justice in His law
  127. Riches in His commands
  128. Knowing right from wrong through His precepts
  129. Wonder in His statutes
  130. Illumination in His words
  131. Fulfillment in His commands
  132. Mercy in His word
  133. Victory over sin in His word
  134. Redemption in His precepts
  135. His favor in His decrees
  136. Passion in His law
  137. Righteousness in His laws
  138. Confidence in His statutes
  139. Zeal in His words
  140. Throughly-tested truths in His promises
  141. Enhanced memory in His precepts
  142. Everlasting truth in His law
  143. Peace in trouble in His commands
  144. Fuller understanding in His statutes
  145. Answers in His decrees
  146. Salvation in His statutes
  147. Hope in His word
  148. Peaceful meditation in His promises
  149. Preservation in His laws
  150. Peace around enemies in His law
  151. God’s presence in His commands
  152. Eternity in His statutes
  153. Deliverance in His laws
  154. Defense in His promise
  155. Finding God in His decrees
  156. Compassion in His laws
  157. Victory over persecutors in His statutes
  158. Satisfaction in His word
  159. Love in His precepts
  160. Eternal truths in His laws
  161. Learned reverence in His word
  162. Great riches in His promise
  163. Love in His law
  164. Reasons to praise in His laws
  165. Great peace and stability in His law
  166. Salvation in His commands
  167. Great love in His statutes
  168. Blessed paths in His precepts
  169. Understanding in His word
  170. Answers to prayer in His promise
  171. Praise in His decrees
  172. Songs in His word
  173. Ready help in His precepts
  174. Delight in His law
  175. Sustaining praise in His laws
  176. God seeking me out in His commands

Oh, how wonderful is God’s Word!!

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