Tag Archives: Serve

Singing with the King (86) – I Love You (2/2)

I love you, Lord; you are my strength. (Psalm 18:1)

Shout to the Lord2Last time we looked at the nature of God and how He loved us—like a Father. We also camped on those three little words: I Love You, and how we shouldn’t hesitate saying them, because it may be too late and the privilege of bringing reconciliation or hope or joy or belonging (and a myriad of other accompanying characteristics with love) is lost.

But I think that the silence and hesitation of saying “I love you” may be very natural. Why do I say that? Do you know how many times someone in the Bible says to the LORD “I love you?” ONCE. UNO. In all of Scripture, only one, single, solitary time does someone say to the LORD, “I love You.” And you know who it is right? It’s gotta be David right? A man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14); and if he knew God’s heart, then he knew that God would love to hear “I love you” from His child. And so the verse at the top of the page is from Psalm 18:1. The first thing out of David’s mouth in this song, in this prayer is: “I love you LORD.”

One of the first theological tenets that is learned by every kid in Sunday School is: God is love. The whole verse goes: We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. (1 John 4:16) Don’t you think that a God who IS love, would want to hear that He is loved? And yet all we can muster up in the Bible is one time?

Now there is a time in the New Testament where words “I love you” appears, but it’s kinda coaxed:

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)

Now Peter is not hurt by the fact Christ asked him the question three times. It has to do with his level of commitment, and you discover that, when you look up the Greek word for love. The first two times Christ asks: Do you agape love me? And twice Peter responds, “You know I phileo love you.”

The J.B. Phillips translation reveals the nuance that is missed in most other English translations:  When they had finished breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others?” “Yes, Lord,” he replied, “you know that I am your friend.” “Then feed my lambs,” returned Jesus. Then he said for the second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” returned Peter. “You know that I am your friend.” “Then care for my sheep,” replied Jesus. Then for the third time, Jesus spoke to him and said, “Simon, son of John, are you my friend?” Peter was deeply hurt because Jesus’ third question to him was “Are you my friend?”, and he said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I am your friend!” “Then feed my sheep,” Jesus said to him.

In the end, Peter appeals to Christ’s omniscience, and Christ knowing that Peter was not there—yet—Jesus still gives him his assignment. And that should speak volumes to all of us. There are times and places and people when we cannot summon enough love, but Christ still calls us to serve.

Back to David. Although Psalm 119 has no author mentioned, people much smarter than I seem to think this is indeed a Psalm of David. That being said, there are 5 verses in this Psalm which fall into the “Close Call’ category.

This little one picked up her dad's Bible on the way out of church.O how I love Your law!  It is my meditation all the day. (v. 97)
I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Your law. (v. 113)
You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross; therefore I love Your testimonies. (v. 119)
Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold. (v. 127)
Consider how I love Your precepts; revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness. (v. 159)

The psalmist tells us that he loves God’s law, testimonies, commandments, and precepts. You could just say that he loves God law. That aligns itself clearly with what Christ tells us in John 14:15 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments. That’s what love does—it not only speaks love, it lives love in a life of obedience. And that’s what keeps you and me from falling into the “Talk is Cheap” trap. It’s not just saying that we love Him, it shows that we love Him.

One other Psalm:

I love the LORD, because He hears my voice and my supplications. (Psalm 116:1)

Here we find the Psalmist not talking to the Lord, but talking about the Lord. Do you? Do you tell others that you love the Lord? The are watching, and they might just listen.

So, if “I love you LORD” is not in your vocabulary, may I suggest to take a page from King David and begin your prayers with “I love you Lord.” Love be doing, by being obedient. And tell someone about it; that you love the LORD. It will radically change your life, and the lives of those you love.

Singing with the King (56) – Like Them #2

Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them. (Psalm 115:8)

Last week we talked about the nature of their makers.

valley of bonesThe next phrase in the verse is one of scope: Everyone who trusts in them. I have said and written on numerous occasions, when there is a sweeping generalization, if it is God doing the sweeping, then it must be taken literally, for He alone can address or accomplish those generalizations. So when the Father says everyone, He means everyone. No wiggle room.

And this verse is a clincher. This death is not just reserved for those who make the idols, it’s for those who trust the idols.

When you examine the Hebrew word for trust, there are some disturbing translations, especially when you’re trusting in the wrong god. It is such a trust to cause you to be careless and complacent. When that becomes the way you move, there will be little or no opportunity to change. You will be stuck. You will be dead in your sins and trespasses, and you will die in an eternity without God. Be sure you trust in the right God, the One True God.

Now there’s some good news, and bad news regarding who you trust.

Carelessness and complacency will never be an option for those who trust the living God. That is not in His nature, nor is it His desire for those of us who are His followers, His worshipers, His servants. We are in a never ending spiral upward to become more like Christ, pressing on, pursuing, and as the author says, “Following hard after God, and playing for keeps.”

Carelessness and complacency, is very much part and parcel to the nature of idols. Consider this: you can’t get much more careless nor complacent if you’re dead. Life, options, opportunities, decisions, all move by you minute by minute, day by day, but you don’t even see them, because you have eyes cannot see.

To illustrate how badly you are without Christ consider this description the Paul leaves us in the book of Romans: There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; they’re swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:10-18)

That’s a pretty bleak description, that is the nature of those who are without Christ. So whom will you serve? Whom will you worship?

Singing with the King (55) – Like Them #1

Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them. (Psalm 115:8)

golden imageLast week we talked about the nature of idols. This week we look at the nature of their makers. And this is a very scary verse:  Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them. In other words— dead. If you want to live, then you must believe in the living God. But if you don’t care about eternal life, then any idol serve its purpose, to lead you to death.

We must ask the question, who is doing the making? Is it the one true living God, or is  man getting it wrong again? The One Who lives, creates life. The one who is dead, can only manifest death. Actually, cannot manifest anything. The manifestations are left up to those who make them and worship them.

When being compared to idols we are way too similar. How do you feel about that? Go through that list of characteristics that describe them, and now apply them to you.

  • They cannot speak
  • They cannot see
  • They cannot hear
  • They cannot smell
  • They cannot feel
  • They cannot walk
  • They cannot make a sound with their throat

But you say, “That doesn’t apply to me! Why by my very objection, you can see that I can talk, and if I am of a more expressive variety, here I am waving my hands.” And physically, that is all very true. But spiritually, you are more like the idol then you understand.

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. (Ephesians 2:1)

It is a sad thing that we have become both the deceived and the deceivers; that we would choose death over life, and encourage others to join us.

But that is our nature. Consider what it is that God gives to us, and that which an idol never can. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) That’s what Jesus said, life abundant.

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length, and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, then you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)

I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things (1 Tim 6:13)

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of the regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)

This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. (1 John 2:25)

It is obvious to see by all of the preceding verses, that life is a result of loving, serving, and being in the presence of the Lord of life. But making, worshiping, and serving  idols will only result in one thing— death. Because Those who make them will become like them. Next week we’ll discuss the scope of these actions.

Singing with the King (27) – One Thing: (3) Purpose

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD. (Psalm 27:4)

Men greeting sunOne thing. This is a very unifying approach to life, to faith—to whatever. The Hebrew text could actually say: One one I have asked. It may sound redundant, but think about it. Life is filled with one things that we must do, that need our attention. But what is the one One? Or should I say, Who is the only One. Four areas of your life will be changed forever by making the Lord, The One: Priority, Perspective, Purpose, and Practice.


To Love , Obey and Glorify; and unto Salvation…

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? (Deuteronomy 10:12)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-5)

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20)

By the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. (2 Timothy 1:8-9)

We have been given a new purpose. We are no longer to look unto our own things, rather we are to look to Jesus. The Sovereign Lord and Creator of the universe has called us to obedience and good works; to fear, glorify and worship Him only. To become like Christ is possible because we have the mind of Christ, and we have His Spirit dwelling within. Indeed, we have for the first time life, not just existence. And with that new life comes new purpose.