Psalm

Speak Out

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A believer once told me that it wasn’t his desire to proactively share his faith, but if someone were to ask him what he believed, he’d be happy to tell him that he is a Christian; a follower of Christ. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why any believer, especially at this time in our history, would be afraid to share their heart about the gospel of Jesus Christ; to proclaim that they are a believer and to associate what they believe with biblical truth, but that is what God wants us to do even if it costs us something. I believe that our heart should reflect the heart of Jesus who spoke openly about the Father’s faithfulness and the salvation that can only be found in himself. And I believe king David would agree. He wrote these words in Psalms chapter 40, verse 10:

“I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.”

It is human nature to fear rejection and persecution, but these things can, and often do, accompany the open proclamation of God’s word. Only in settings like church or Bible study is speech about Jesus expected and accepted. It is when we share about him outside of the context of a church or a Christian event do we typically encounter rejection. But Jesus both operated within the synagogue and in the houses of sinners and unbelievers. He spoke about salvation in love and grace, not with judgment and condemnation. But he spoke about it all the same. And I believe that we should strive to follow his example.

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When it comes to sharing about your salvation to those who don’t believe, I encourage you to be like David. Do not hide Jesus’ righteousness in your heart; Speak of his faithfulness and salvation. Do not conceal his love and his truth from the great assembly. If believers remain silent, how will the lost learn about the salvation Jesus offers? In his word Jesus told his disciples to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” I believe that command is for us as well. So I would encourage you to be bold, to share about Jesus in love much in the same way Jesus modeled for us in the Bible. I encourage you not to hide Jesus’ righteousness in your heart, but to speak out concerning his faithfulness and salvation.

Not Withheld

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If you are familiar with the scriptures you probably know that our God is a God who forgives. When we sin, there is forgiveness and restoration available to us. Because of his grace, even if we continue to fall, he still loves us and he still desires for us to restore our relationship with him through repentance. But Paul warns that even though we know that “where sin abounds, grace much more abounds”, we shouldn’t use that truth as a license to sin. And Psalms takes it one step further. In chapter 84, verse 11, we’re told that when we are right with the Lord; when our walk is blameless, there is no good thing he will withhold from us. It says:

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

In the story of the prodigal son, the faithful son was upset that his brother, who rejected then returned to his father, was celebrated with a fattened calf, a ring and new clothes. But the father reminded him that everything the father has belongs to the faithful son. In this statement we too are reminded that “no good thing does the father withhold from those whose walk is blameless”. So if you have sinned and disobeyed the Lord, or if you have turned from him, I want to remind you that there is forgiveness through repentance. But if your walk is strong with the Lord; if you are faithful and blameless before him, remember that there is no good thing he will withhold from you.

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Often times we focus on how forgiving our God is, as well we should. Because all of us have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God, we all need and depend on that forgiveness. You might be in need of that forgiveness today. If you are, I encourage you to humble yourself, ask God to forgive you and repent (or turn away) from your sins. But if your walk is blameless; if you are right before God, then remember this truth from Psalms: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Being blameless doesn’t mean that we are sinless. Everyone sins. No, being blameless is walking in step with the Spirit in as much as it is possible with us, which is a goal that everyone should pursue.

Made Wise

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There is great wisdom to be found in the Bible. So much so, that if we read it and do what it says, I believe that we are getting a better education on how to live life than any doctorate can give you from any university. If we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us through the word of God, we are made wise. We are wise with the kind of wisdom that teaches us how to live well in this life and how to prepare for eternity. But we need to read it, we need to think on it, and we need to follow what it says. Psalm 119, verses 97 through 99, encourages us with these words:

“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.”

Do you believe that claim? Do you believe that God’s commands found in the Bible can make you wiser than your enemies; that it can provide more insight than any teacher or professor? I do. I believe it because we are taught that the words found in the Bible are God-breathed. They are instructions and guidelines on how to live, given to us by our creator. The Bible points us to the Savior who points us to the Father; the one who has the power to bless us, to forgive us, and to save us. I encourage you to do what this psalmist did; meditate, or think, on his word all day long. Read it, learn it, follow it, and gain more wisdom than any man could teach you here on earth.

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I don’t think we, as human beings, understand how powerful the word of God is. If we did; if we truly believed that the Bible is the inspired word of almighty God, why wouldn’t we become scholars of it? Why wouldn’t we do everything we could to know everything we could about it? Why wouldn’t we do what the psalmist did; love it and meditate on it all day long? I want to remind you that the Bible is, in fact, the inspired word of God. If you read it, and allow the Holy Spirit to help you understand it, and if you follow what it says, you will be exceedingly wise. Proverbs teaches us our first lesson; that it all begins with a reverent fear of the Lord. It says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I encourage you to be made wise today. I encourage you to study the Bible.

Because He Loves

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If you are a believer, you are aware of God’s love and faithfulness to us. It is legend, spoken of throughout the Bible and displayed through many historical accounts, parables and psalms. There is a popular hymn titled, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, which highlights how reliable God is and how he is relentless in his love and true to his promises. We depend on his faithfulness, and maybe, at times, we take it for granted. But have you ever considered that God desires our faithfulness as well? As a matter of fact, the Bible explains that when we love God back, and are faithful to him, it makes a huge difference in our relationship with him. Psalm 91, verses 14 through 16 says: 

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Jesus says, “if you love me, you will keep my commands”. And the words of God reflected in this psalm explains that if we love him, he will return our faithfulness with love that manifests itself into action. It says that God will rescue us, protect us, answer us when we pray to him, honor us, and it even says that he will give us long life. All of this, while continuing to hold us close to him. If you think about it, it makes sense. When someone returns your love, doesn’t it inspire you to perform acts of love on them? The same can be said about our God.

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Psalm 91 shows how God responds to those who love him; to those who are faithful to him. He lavishes them with love that manifests itself into blessings and promises. God is a living being, with feelings and desires. The Bible tells us that God is jealous for us. And like us, when his feelings of love are returned, it only makes him love us all the more. So I encourage you to remember that yes, you can disappoint God when you disobey him, but you can also stir his love for you when you are faithful to him.

Vile Honored

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In America we are in the midst of experiencing a monumental shift in the nation’s moral compass. At an ever quickening pace what was once considered vile is now honored. And what was once honored is now considered vile. As this pattern continues, believers may find themselves in harms way as identifying with Christ becomes less and less popular. If we look around the world at nations where belief in Christ is opposed, we understand that our Christian brothers and sisters suffer great persecution. Will we experience that here in America? Will we see that level of persecution in our lifetimes? Will we have to hide while the wicked strut about freely? Look at these words in Psalm chapter 12, verses 7 and 8 which says:

“O Lord, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever. The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.”

This verse is as true today as when it was written. When what is vile becomes that which is honored, the wicked will freely strut about. And as the tide continues to turn in our nation, I’m sure believers will feel what David felt when he wrote these words. Earlier in this chapter, in verses 1 and 2, David says:

“Help, Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception.”

Even if you feel as if you are the only one left who honors the word of God, I encourage you to stand strong. It might be a good idea to examine your dedication to the Lord now; to decide what you might do in the event that our nation fully turns its back on God to the point where it seems that “godly men are no more”, as David puts it. If this happens, would you be willing to stand alone? I hope you would, and I hope I would too.

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David prayed that the Lord protect him from those who are vile; those who openly sin and strut about with pride as their sins are honored by men. He laments that his world has turned dark with sin; that there are no more godly men and that everyone around him are liars and deceivers. We may not live in that world now, but we should know how we will respond if, some day, we find ourselves in that world. Yes, some vile acts are honored in our country. But at least, right now, people of God can be found, and we are still free to live out our faith. As things get darker, I pray that we, as believers, become the beacon of light; the light on a hill as the Bible describes. Are you willing to be that light? I encourage you to consider how far you are willing to go for the Lord.