Monthly Archives: August 2015

Singing With the King (52) All Times

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. (Psalm 34:1)

Hebrew PsalmsYears ago I remember Billy Graham talking about one of the ways he did devotions—5 psalms a day and one chapter of Proverbs. So at the end of each month, he would have read through both books. Whenever I am not in front of one of my computers doing my study/devotion/prayer (I am currently working on the Fruit of the Spirit) I use this 5 x 1 study to come into His Presence.

As a result, I have read through the Psalms countless times (at least for me), have been blessed by the LORD in those readings, and I can say that David and I have become best friends. And out of all of the books of the Bible, the Psalms are unique for me. Why?

Although these are songs/prayers that King David wrote, and historically speaking when we read the “I” in the psalm, it is David speaking, have you not put yourself in the first person as the “I” in that verse? David is not just writing about his experiences, he is writing about my experiences, which is why this book is so intensely personal for me.

So what is it that we are doing here? I will extol the LORD. The Hebrew word for extol is most often translated as bless. I will bless the LORD; and it is also defined as kneel.

TimeHow often are we blessing and extolling the LORD? At all times. In Hebrew all times means at all events, all occasions, and at all times. This word is more than a generalization, it can be absolute; and in its definition are “all for every”, and “all the everywhere”. When God says all, He means all.

How does this work out practically in our lives? We can’t just be falling on our knees and blessing Him every moment of every day can we? No, but for each event, every situation that arises, and each place that we are, we can take that as an opportunity to bless Him; and when we bless Him, anyone who is watching may see that we have a relationship with the Most High.

Along the same lines, His praise will always be on my lips.

The word for praise is always translated as praise, but it can be a song of praise, which is what David has given us here.

The Hebrew word for always seems to be even more demanding on our time. It means continuously, continually, in perpetuity. The imagery behind the word means to stretch. When you stretch something, there is no break, no interruption.

Perhaps a way of looking at this is, His praise should be the single strand which stretches throughout my entire life, upon which we hang all other events, happenings and circumstances. This is a radical change in perspective, but isn’t it worth pondering?


Singing with the King (51) – Foundations

“The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3 NLT)

Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for formal group photo in the East Conference Room in WashingtonThis is a great question, because it describes with uncanny accuracy what has been going on in our nation: the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same sex marriage; the rush to approve and even applaud transgender procedures; and the tolerance-screamers, who show no resemblance to what the purportedly proclaim. I could go on describing our upside-down culture, but I’ve made my point. The foundations have collapsed.

Now you may ask: “What foundations?” Those which have been laid since the beginning of our country which were based upon biblical principles and God’s law.

And you also may ask: “Who are the righteous?” Am I placing myself above those with whom I do not agree? Do I consider myself better than they?

No. In fact we are told to: Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

“Righteous” here means those who love and obey God’s laws, and are vexed by all the unrighteous laws and decisions which seem to piling higher every day.

Still, the question stands, and needs to be answered. “What can the Righteous do?” The good news is this is not a rhetorical question. The answer actually appears in the very next verse: But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven.

So what should we do? Well, the first thing is to worship, and come before His presence. The second thing is to wait, because the LORD still rules from heaven. The third is to live life in context—in HIS context. Love God, and love your neighbor. Show those who are watching what it means to be a worshiper of God, a follower of Christ, and a keeper of God’s laws. And four, because of all those things, be an influence for righteousness and right-thinking.

Regardless where our country goes or doesn’t go, remember the LORD is in His holy Temple.

Singing with the King (50) – No Secret

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. (Ps 65:8)

MLK1I love this verse because it brings hope to an entire world.

But we have assigned His wonders to random acts of nature or unintentional human nature. And once His wonders have been explained away or “de-miracle-ized”, why would we be inspired to offer shouts of joy?

I think part of the problem is that we have so “personalized” our faith, that those around us rarely get to see what God has done within us. But salvation is neither secret nor hidden. Note these following verses:

The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God. ( Isa 52:10)

I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found. I, the Lord, speak only what is true and declare only what is right. (Isaiah 45:19)

For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me. Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other. (Isaiah 45:21-22)

So now the question arises: Is salvation still noticeable? Is it still obvious and in plain sight, or have we become too cold or uncaring, or afraid? Has tolerance transformed the Gospel of offense to a mere suggestion of possible change (well, maybe, sort of, but only if you need to change)? That is not the way the LORD designed and ordained salvation. And that is not the way we are to live:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:14-16)

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.  (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Singing with the King (49) – 24/7 Integrity

You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. (Psalm 17:3)

staring at the computerDo you wish you could say that? That the LORD God has come to you in the night and found in you nothing wrong? What is it about the night?

They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil. (Psalm 36:4)

For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, They make ready their arrow upon the string To shoot in darkness at the upright in heart. (Psalm 11:2)

Violent enemies are hiding in every dark corner of the earth. (Psalm 74:20)

There’s just a few of the things we do in the dark, and because it is dark, we begin to think that: “The Lord isn’t looking,” they say, “and besides, the God of Israel doesn’t care.” (Psalm 94:7)

Sometimes we get stuck in the darkness: Some of you were prisoners suffering in deepest darkness and bound by chains. (Psalm 107:10)

Admit it or not, we intuitively know: If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. (Psalm 139:11,12)

But then something wondrous happens: “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)

broken chainsFor once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. (Ephesians 5:8-11)

What do your thoughts turn to at night? What do your actions betray? Whether gossip or greed, pride or porn, deception or destruction, don’t be what you were, be who you are in Christ—day and night.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)