Seek the Lord! Before It’s Too Late!

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

David isn’t bragging about his own forgiveness in the Lord. He is using it as a basis to teach everyone about forgiveness. He basically says, “Hey you guys! Look at me. I sinned. I sinned big. I didn’t want to talk about it. I tried to cover it up. But the Lord saw. He disciplined. I finally confessed. You know what God did? He forgave me.”

Then, in vs. 6, he turns to his audience and says, “Be like me. I know you all have sinned. Let my forgiveness be an example to you. Our God forgives. Seek Him while He may be found.” Whoa! Wait a minute! “While He may be found”? Does that mean there will come a time when He won’t be found?

Yes! That is absolutely what that means.

Folks who are postponing their repentance have no idea the danger they are putting themselves in. While it is true that you will be forgiven any time you repent and for anything of which you repent, you need to understand that the longer you push off repentance, the harder it is for you to do it. It is never easier than today to repent and seek the Lord. The more you sin, the more you postpone repentance, the harder your heart becomes, the harder it is for that shell to be broken.

Further, you have no idea when the full judgment for your sins is actually going to take place. Trying to wait until just before that moment of judgment to repent is not actually repenting. The days are evil. Make the most of today by repenting and confessing right now. You may not have tomorrow.

But if you do seek the Lord while He can be found, then the great rush of waters will not reach you. Yes, that ought to call to mind the great rush of waters that came in the days of Noah. Once the rain starts to fall and the Ark is closed, its too late to seek the Lord.

Seek the Lord! Before it’s too late!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 32.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

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The Lord’s Hand Revisited

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

In Psalm 31, we were excited to place our spirit and our times in God’s hands. In Psalm 32, we’re back to the Lord’s hands. But this isn’t so exciting. “For day and night your hand was heavy upon me.” Oh man! That sounds tough. I don’t like that. “Ease up, Lord,” I want to cry out. “Your hand is too heavy.” But wait! Do I really trust the Lord’s hand with my spirit and my times, or don’t I? In fact, David is thankful for the Lord’s heavy hand here. He understands without that heavy hand, he wouldn’t feel the guilt quite as intensely. If he doesn’t feel his guilt quite as intensely, he will never come to confession. If he doesn’t come to confession, he will not receive forgiveness.

Entrusting our spirit and our times into the Lord’s hands means we believe God knows when to be heavy-handed. In fact, we are glad when He is because we know it is for our good.

It’s not that we enjoy the heavy hand of God, but we know where it leads. As Hebrews 12:5-11 explains, the Lord disciplines us for our good. Therefore, though it is painful in the moment, it trains us, and we yield peaceful fruit of righteousness. That is something we do enjoy. Praise the Lord!

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

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The Lord’s Anger

Today’s reading is Psalm 30.

Why should the saints praise the Lord and give thanks to His holy name? Because His anger is for a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Well, this doesn’t sound like the Lord’s anger at all, does it? God’s wrath and judgment are eternal. If we face the judgment outside of Jesus, it is going to be a forever issue. How can David say it only lasts for a moment? Is he saying God is one of those flash in the pan folks who can’t control His anger, it bursts forth like an eruption, but then He backs off? Is Yahweh fickle like Baal, Zeus, and other pagan gods? You never know what will cause Him to explode or how long it will last? No. David isn’t saying any of these things. David is remembering his own covenant with Yahweh that is also Israel’s covenant. In 2 Samuel 7:14-15, the Lord covenanted with David saying, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.” Look again at Psalm 30:4. This is the reason the Lord’s saints can praise and give thanks. Not just anyone can praise and thank God for this. Sometimes we, the Lord’s saints, do things worthy of the Lord’s anger. In these times, like a loving Father, He disciplines us (see Hebrews 12:4-11). However, He knows our frame. He remembers we are but dust (see Psalm 103:14). He does not carry on in His anger forever. He doesn’t bear a grudge against us. Rather, in love, He restores us and brings His favor to us. And the moments of discipline develop within us peaceful fruits of righteousness for which we can rejoice. In other words, we can give thanks and praise God because with us, His saints, He doesn’t use His anger to merely vent His spleen. He uses it as a tool for our discipline, our growth, our good which will lead us to rejoice in the long run. What an amazing Abba, Father God we have. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 30.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk podcast conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post!

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The Fool’s Prayer

Today’s reading is Psalm 14.

As we learned on Monday, our psalm is not merely about the avowed atheist. It is about the person whose heart and mind denies God even if he would never say it out loud. In fact, it can include the “faithful” church attender. This isn’t simply the person who declares and confesses for all to hear that there is no God. In fact, vs 4 explains who this person is. It is the person who doesn’t call on the Lord. The fool is not only the person who confesses to others that there is no God, it is also the person who simply doesn’t confess to God. This person may technically believe God is out there, but she sees God as inconsequential. God doesn’t actually have a meaningful impact on his life. And that comes out no place more starkly than in prayer. Or, perhaps I should say, in the lack of prayer. The fool’s prayer simply doesn’t happen. The fool postpones prayer because he thinks his effort matters more than God’s. The fool neglects prayer because she doesn’t see God as having a real effect in her day to day life. Oh, I’m not saying the fool never, ever prays. But the fool doesn’t recognize the absolute, utter need for God, and therefore, doesn’t see the absolute, utter need for prayer. Prayer gets put on the back burner. The practical atheist is just as much a fool as the avowed atheist, perhaps more so. At least the avowed atheist knows he is one. When is the last time you prayed? When will be the next time?

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 14.

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The Lord’s Love

Today’s reading is Psalm 6.

What is the basis for God’s grace even when he is angry? His steadfast love. That is how steadfast His love is. Even when He is angry, He still loves. Every time we read about God’s steadfast love, we should remember the proclamation of His name in Exodus 34:5-8. God is slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. It is really amazing to me how often His “name” comes up in Scripture. The faithful knew the name of God and their faith was anchored in it. God had revealed Himself to Moses and the faithful trust God that He was telling the truth. Not for the sake of my righteousness, not for the sake of my good deeds, not for the sake of my attempts to pay God back, not for the sake of my reputation, but for the sake of His own love, God delivers and forgives. That is, God loves even when He is angry because that is exactly who He is. It is His name. It is His nature. Don’t misunderstand. That doesn’t mean no one will be condemned. He will by no means clear the guilty. Those who linger in sin, keeping God at arm’s length, not seeking the grace and love He has to offer will be judged as they deserve. But why on earth would you want to be that person? Turn to God. Cast your sins and your cares on Him. He loves. He is gracious. He will forgive. He will deliver.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 6.

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The Lord’s Anger

Today’s reading is Psalm 6.

Anger and wrath. Today, these two words don’t often get connected to God. In fact, many believe the God of all the universe would never get angry. Anger is a strictly negative emotion, some think. God wouldn’t do that. However, David is not at all surprised that God would be angry. David understands he has even done things for which God has every right to be angry. And there is only one thing to be done with that realization. He can’t pay the Lord back. He can’t justify Himself. He can’t argue his way out of it. He can do only one thing. He can ask the Lord not to act based on His anger. Wow! Have you ever thought the Lord was angry with you? Have you ever faced circumstances that you believed were the discipline and rebuke of the Lord? Here is the great news. If that is what is going on, the Lord will let you seek an audience with Him. He will still let you pray. Don’t complain about it to others. Don’t try to run from it. Don’t work yourself up into your own anger as if you have the same right as God to be angry. Turn to Him. Talk to Him about it. He will listen.

Today’s reading is Psalm 6.

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Faith in the Midst of the Lord’s Discipline

Today’s reading is Psalm 3.

The heading of this psalm claims it was written when David fled from Absalom. 2 Samuel 12:11-12 makes one thing painfully clear. Absalom’s rebellion was part of God’s discipline against David over his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah. As David flees Jerusalem, he seems to have a painful awareness he deserves these circumstances and it may be that God has decided to fully turn the kingdom over to Absalom (see 2 Samuel 16:5-14). In this context, David writes this psalm. Does that shock you like it does me? He knows he is being disciplined for his own sin. He knows he deserves everything he is receiving. But what does he do? He prays for mercy, deliverance, and salvation anyway. Because that is the kind of God he believes in. He believes in a merciful, saving, delivering God. Honestly, I don’t know what you are facing right now. I don’t know; you may be in a mess of your own making. You probably do deserve every bit of hardship, suffering, and trauma you are experiencing. Maybe not, but maybe. But our God isn’t one who saves people who deserve it. Our God isn’t one who delivers those who have earned it. He saves those who call on Him, those who know they have no place to turn but Him. Praise the Lord! He saves and delivers people like David, people like you and me.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 3.

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God Hears

Today’s reading is Luke 1.

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard.” Which prayer? When was it offered? The more I think about these questions, the more I consider two possibilities. Both possibilities teach us great lessons about prayer. The first is Zechariah had prayed for so long to have a child it had become a habit. Even at the point when he really no longer thought it was possible, he kept praying. Don’t be so quick to throw Zechariah under the bus if he had made this request so long it had almost become rote. Remember, despite being told no for years and year and years, he was still praying. And though it didn’t happen on Zechariah’s time table, God had heard the praying. Wow! OR (and this is what I think is more likely), Zechariah had prayed and prayed and prayed in the past, but he finally got to the point he believed God had said, “No.” That must have been painful. Though he was no longer praying that particular prayer, he kept faithfully serving the Lord. Now, years later, when the prayer is a distant memory to Zechariah, the angel proclaims, “Your prayer has been heard.” How long had Zechariah waited to hear those words? Long enough that he could hardly believe it or even how it could be fulfilled. Again, it didn’t happen on Zechariah’s time table, but God had heard. Please, don’t misunderstand the point. The lesson from Zechariah is not if you pray, eventually God will do what you ask even if it isn’t on your time table. We have to understand that sometimes the answer is simply, “No.” The lesson is God hears. Our praying is never in vain. When it is for God’s greatest glory and our greatest good, God will respond. Even if it has been years since we’ve actually prayed the prayer, God heard and remembers. Even if we’ve prayed it so long we are struggling with our faith in it, God hears and takes note. I’m so glad you are reading your Bible today, please don’t forget to pray. God hears.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 1.

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Discipline is Hard

Today’s reading is Hebrews 12.

I want life to be easy. But where would an easy life lead? If every day were a walk in the park, would I understand how much I need God? Would I figure out how messed up I am in my heart and mind? Enter discipline. Doing whatever I want without facing consequences is fun and easy, but eventually it is destructive. Discipline is hard and painful. I don’t like it. But God puts me through it in the hope of saving my very soul. I often wish there was an easier softer way for me to grow, but I’ve come to realize I’m pretty dense and thick-headed. If God is going to get my attention, He has to get my attention where it hurts. I can cry, whine, moan, rebel, but God’s painful discipline is what trains me and gives me life. Who knew that discipline itself is really the grace of God? Let’s thank God for His discipline today.

Monday’s reading is Hebrews 13.

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Everyone’s Sin but Mine

Today’s reading is Matthew 18.

We live in a day and age where if someone says something sexist, racist, homophobic, or does something that harms animals or the environment, society will rise up through social media and castigate them, belittle them, boycott them, and treat them like societal pariahs. The same society, however, will read Matthew 18:15-20, and declare the God of the Bible is awful, hateful, cruel, and evil. How could a loving God or a loving church ever discipline someone like this? How do both of these things exist at the same time? Because people don’t actually mean they don’t believe a loving God or church would ever behave like this. What they mean is simply this: “How could a loving God or loving church treat someone committing my sins like this?” Can you see the hypocrisy here? Of course, even now, if you’re like me, we’re thinking about all those people “out there” who need to hear this and not examining our own sins. There is no need to be ashamed of God’s plan for disciplining sin within the church, but there is a large need for honesty. Let’s work on that today.

Tomorrow’s reading is Matthew 19.

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