Saturday In The Psalms—God’s Voice Of Peace

Lord, You have been favorable … You have forgiven … You have covered all their sin. Selah (Psalm 85:1-2).

God’s favor, forgiveness, and covering of sin. Justice would say that God doesn’t have to do any of these things. The people sinned—they violated the holy law—and thus deserve death. But pause and consider this [that’s what Selah means]: God instead shows His favor, deliverance, and forgiveness. All His anger has been turned away!

How do we respond to this? The psalmist asks for restoration and revival. Revival comes when we turn back to God and turn away from our sin, and here we see God initiating revival … making revival possible.

Listen to God’s voice: He speaks peace, which allows us to experience revival. Jesus didn’t say, “Go and sin no more; I do not condemn you.” No! He said, “Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

The removal of the wrath of condemnation makes the revival of the soul possible!

Once we hear God’s voice of peace, we can then know His…

  • … mercy
  • … truth
  • … righteousness
  • … goodness
  • … pathway
  • … freedom

God, You are so good! So loving, kind, merciful! Showing Your favor to all who will listen to Your words of peace!

9 Quotes From “Leadership Promises For Every Day”

leadership-promisesLeadership Promises For Every Day is a devotional book for leaders and aspiring leaders. A passage from the Bible is combined with a passage from one of John Maxwell’s outstanding books. It’s an excellent way to start your day! If you haven’t already, check out my review of this book here, and then enjoy a few quotes—

“How many leaders have ruined their lives and damaged the lives of others through immorality? Character has become a crucial issue today precisely because of the myriad of leaders in the political, business, and religious worlds who have fallen morally. No doubt they fall partly because the enemy has targeted leaders for attack. Leaders need to remember that they influence many others beyond themselves; they never fall in a vacuum. They also need to realize that replacing fallen leaders is a slow and difficult process.”

“Our goal among brothers should not be to punish or excommunicate, but to restore. Confrontation is a redemptive act of leadership.”

“Leaders need to respond to individuals based on their needs rather than their faults. … Good leaders do this well. They don’t lead out of a predetermined package of behaviors, but size up every situation and discern what must happen to reach the desired goal.”

“People rise or fall to meet our level of expectations for them. If you express skepticism and doubt in others, they’ll return your lack of confidence with mediocrity. But if you believe in them and expect them to do well, they’ll wear themselves out trying to do their best.”

“Leaders must constantly ask if their plans fit God’s revealed will for them and their organization. Then they must ask if their plans remain relevant to the needs of their mission, their values, their vision, and their long-range objectives. Finally, they need to ask if their plans fit the needs of their culture and time.”

“We need to remember that when people follow behind us, they can only go as far as we go. If our growth stops today, our ability to lead will stop along with it. Neither personality nor methodology can substitute for personal growth. We cannot model what we do not possess. Begin learning and growing today, and watch those around you begin to grow.”

“Servanthood is not about position or skill. It’s about attitude.” 

“People who blame others for their failures never overcome them. They simply move from problem to problem. To reach your potential, you must continually improve yourself, and you can’t do that if you don’t take responsibility for your actions and learn from your mistakes.”

“Laughter breeds resilience. Laughing is the quickest way to get up and get going again when you’ve been knocked down.”

I am always sharing great quotes from John Maxwell and others on Twitter and Tumblr. If you’re not following me there, please do so!

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!

Inconceivable

InconceivableThe “therefores” in Scripture always intrigue me. They are a signal that there is a natural conclusion to the words that just came before the therefore, so it’s important to look at both sides.

The prophet Hosea opens his book with these words: “…the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1:2). The picture is painted of God’s people acting like a wife that has not only abandoned her husband, but turned to prostitution as well. So the list of things that follow God’s therefore are what we might expect—

  • I will block your path
  • I will take away My grain
  • I will take back My wool
  • I will expose your lewdness
  • I will stop your celebrations
  • I will ruin your vineyards
  • I will punish you (Hosea 2:6-13)

Then here is what I find almost inconceivable: the very next word of the very next verse is therefore again, and God says things that, in my mind, are completely unexpected—

  • I will allure you and speak tenderly to you
  • I will restore our marriage
  • I will remove your stains
  • I will obliterate the past
  • I will betroth you to Me forever
  • I will answer your prayers
  • I will restore your crops
  • I will establish you forever
  • I will cancel your divorce
  • I will call you Mine (2:14-23)

This kind of love is mind-blowingly incomprehensible to me. It is so unexpected, so lavish, so overwhelming! This is absolutely the last thing I would have expected God to say, and yet His love is furious and relentless and boundless!

How could I ever slight such a love?!

Chambers & Murray Quotes

Reckless confidenceSeveral people asked me to share the two quotes I used in my message this morning. I am happy to do so!

“So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children.” —Oswald Chambers

“The father so often feels himself too sinful to be a blessing to his child; thus the home becomes a path to destruction rather than to eternal life. But—blessed be God!—what sin destroyed, grace restores. … Let God’s Father-heart and His Father-love be your confidence. As you know and trust Him the assurance will grow that He is fitting you for making your home, in ever-increasing measure, the bright reflection of His own.” —Andrew Murray

Links & Quotes

link quote

These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

Today is the day to END IT: Modern-Day Slavery By The Numbers

“If the very worst should happen, our God is still the greatest and best. Therefore we will not fear though the postman’s knock should startle us or a telegram wake us at midnight. The Lord liveth, and what can His children fear?” —Charles Spurgeon

Eric Cohen says embryo research is potentially more corrupting than abortion.

“No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of His presence.” —C.S. Lewis

[VIDEO] So Rep. Peters votes for Obamacare but he doesn’t want anyone sharing what it has (or hasn’t) done for them?! Check this out.

[PHOTO] How dictators keep their people in the dark. Literally.

Is Confrontation A Dirty Word?

ConfrontationJesus takes the church of Thyatira to task because they are tolerating someone with a Jezebel spirit to remain in a position of leadership and influence (see Revelation 2:18-29). This is still a message to the church today!

However, for some reason Christians have made “confrontation” a dirty word. We don’t confront people in error, especially those who are in leadership positions within their church. Perhaps equally as wrong: when we do confront, we do it in a way that is destructive.

The goal of confrontation is restoration, not destruction!

In Revelation 2, Jesus gives us five steps toward healthy, biblical, God-honoring confrontation:

  1. Don’t tolerate a Jezebel spirit by remaining silent (v. 20). Instead we need to follow the principles in Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Timothy 5:19.
  2. Allow the one whom you’ve confronted time to repent (v. 21a).
  3. If they don’t repent, don’t rescue them from God-inflicted punishment (vv. 21b-23).
  4. Run away from secrets (v. 24). If something more than Scripture is required by the Jezebel leader, reject it.
  5. Don’t run away from the situation, but hold on to Jesus until Jesus returns (vv. 25-28).

Not one human is infallible, but Jezebel not only claims infallibility, but also demands blind allegiance to her teachings. But it is just as wrong to tolerate Jezebel as it is to confront her unbiblically; Jesus opposed both. 

One way for us to always avoid these two extremes: Try to out-serve one another, just as Jesus directed us—

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

If you are near Cedar Springs next Sunday, please join me as we continue our series on The 7-Star Church.

%d bloggers like this: