Taw

Taw (Psalm 119:169-176)

May my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.

This beautiful psalm ends with a passage of beautiful prayer.  May it be so, Lord, for all time…..

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Sin and Shin

Sin and Shin (Psalm 119:161-168)

Rulers persecute me without cause,
but my heart trembles at your word.
I rejoice in your promise
like one who finds great spoil.
I hate and abhor falsehood
but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous laws.
Great peace have they who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
I wait for your salvation, O Lord,
and I follow your commands.
I obey your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
I obey your precepts and your statutes,
for all my ways are known to you.

Who do you fear?
God, or man…..
Do you worry?
Or do you bury?
Maybe a little of both?
I know I do…..
Worry or bury……
Maybe both, at times…
How often do you PRAY???
Bring it to the Lord?
I know I do….
But not enough….
Worry or bury…..
No more, Lord…..
Thank you that it’s not ok with you to stay in that rut….
Worry or bury….
Who cares if the world thinks I’m crazy…
Maybe I am?
But it’s not about me…..
It’s about YOU…..
Your glory….
Your truth….
Your beauty…..
In that, I do not worry….
Nor do I bury….
So I will not, in anything else….
Ever again….
Oh – Lord, you know I will….
But I thank you that you dig it up…..
To have me address it….
Before you….
Who do you fear?
I no longer will fear man…..
For I trust in the LORD

Resh

Resh (Psalm 119:153-160)

Look upon my suffering and deliver me,
for I have not forgotten your law.
Defend my cause and redeem me;
preserve my life according to your promise.
Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek out your decrees.
Your compassion is great, O Lord;
preserve my life according to your laws.
Many are the foes who persecute me,
but I have not turned from your statutes.
I look on the faithless with loathing,
for they do not obey your word.
See how I love your precepts;
preserve my life, O Lord, according to your love.
All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.

Tough to read verses, where the writer is confessing things such as “I look on the faithless with loathing”.  I’m supposed to LOVE the lost, not loathe them!

But what does love look like?  When you love someone, and they are destroying themselves – do you just say “that’s ok, I love ya!”?  Is that unconditional love?  Is that love at all?

No – you would loathe the action, because you love them.  Ever have a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol?  Caught up in an abusive relationship?  In prison due to some horrible crime?  Then you know what I’m talking about.

Still – I’m not sure the writer was talking about that.  The over-used line, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”.  I’m not sure he was confessing the hatred towards the sin – instead confessing his hatred towards the SINNER.

And I must confess that as well.  I may not be outwardly hating sinners – but inwardly, my heart can lead me towards judgment.  I have felt contempt for those who are lost.  I’m not proud of it, and I don’t often entertain it – but it comes up.  It’s a form of prejudice, when you see someone who doesn’t know the Lord, and think, “God, I’m glad I am not him”.

And God opposes me, when I think that way.

Lord, I confess often I look to the sin in someone, instead of looking at the sinner, through your eyes.  But YOU love all of us – every one of us sinners.  Help me to love the lost, Lord, as you do.  Help me to see THEM first, not their sin – that I might truly love the sinner FIRST, intead of hating the sin….

Forgive me, Lord, for my hard heart – and replace it with a heart of flesh.  Give me a heart for the lost, for those who refuse to know you – that I might show them you, that they might eventually see…..

For your eternal glory….

Qoph

Qoph (Psalm 119:145-152)

I call with all my heart; answer me, O Lord,
and I will obey your decrees.
I call out to you; save me
and I will keep your statutes.
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.
Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
preserve my life, O Lord, according to your laws.
Those who devise wicked schemes are near,
but they are far from your law.
Yet you are near, O Lord,
and all your commands are true.
Long ago I learned from your statutes
that you established them to last forever.

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:13 – “You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart”

I thought of that, when reading this passage.  “I call with all my heart….”

What does that mean, “with all my heart”?

Can I do that???

I certainly don’t.  But I believe it is possible, or God would not give us a promise like this.

So HOW do I do that?  How, in this age of instant gratification, constant entertainment, constant distraction?

I call out to you; save me……

There is my answer.  Without you, Lord, I won’t keep your decrees.  I won’t marvel at your ways, your beauty, your majesty.  The world is very compelling, and WILL distract me, without your Holy Spirit to guide me, to convict me, to protect me.

Heck, I wouldn’t even know you, Lord, without you drawing me to you.

But WITH you – BECAUSE of you – I CAN seek you with all my heart.  Though I will stumble and fall – you lift me up.  So BECAUSE you save me, I will lift you up.  I will praise you.  I will seek you with all my heart….

Forever……

Tsadhe and Brad Pitt

Tsadhe (Psalm 119:137-144)

Righteous are you, O Lord,
and your laws are right.
The statutes you have laid down are righteous;
they are fully trustworthy.
My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore your words.
Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them.
Though I am lowly and despised,
I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is everlasting
and your law is true.
Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands are my delight.
Your statutes are forever right;
give me understanding that I may live.

I recently read a post, quoting Brad Pitt, where he questions the fairness of Christianity.  His comment was this:

“A big question to me was fariness.  If I’d grown up in some other religion, would I get the same shot at heaven as a Christian has?”

Yes.  From John 3:16, “For God so love the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes shall not perish, but have eternal life”

God loves the WORLD – no matter what your location, status, religion, sexual orientation, political views, fill-in-the-blank, are.  He loves you.  Because he loves you, he has given you the same chance everyone else was given.  The same gift, through Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son.

But you have to receive the gift.  You’ve been given that chance – and you’ll possibly be given it over and over, until you receive it – or until you reject it that last time before physical death.

Mr. Pitt also assumes that someone raised “Christian” is immediately saved.  We’ve sort of been told that, taught that in some circles.  But nowhere does it say we are saved by religion.  Salvation is a gift from God, through Jesus Christ – not something I can give to my kids, my siblings, my mama.  It’s a gift from God, that each of them must receive.

To be clear – It does mention in Acts 16, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.”  I will suggest that is taken out of context.  It was said by Paul and Silas, to the jailer they stopped from killing himself.  It was in response to his question, “what must I do to be saved”.  I believe – and many can argue I’m wrong (would not be the first or last time I’ve been wrong) – this was specific to this jailer.  That he would be saved, and God would use him to point his family to Jesus.  To point, to share – not to himself save them.  That is a very powerful statement – and I think God does use us in that capacity in our lives – but it’s not ME saving them, just sharing.

Lastly – Mr. Pitt assumes we don’t have a CHOICE.  Or at least one could presume he thinks this from his statement.  Jesus is mentioned in virtually every religion these days – be it jewish, muslim, atheist, you name it.  Everyone mentions him.  The notion that someone in some remote part of the world, never hearing of Jesus – well, then “maybe” we have a problem. But you assume that God wouldn’t be able to reveal himself to them.  Either he doesn’t exist – which then makes the whole point moot – or he does and stands by his promise that “whoever believes shall NOT perish, but WILL have eternal life”.

To sum up – we ALL are given the same chance.  Have you seen that in your life?  What have you done with it?  Are you willing to consider it?  I’d love to chat with you, if you have questions – certainly reach out to me if you like.

With love,

T.

Pe

Pe (psalm 119:129-136

Your statutes are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of men,
that I may obey your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your servant
and teach me your decrees.
Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed.

I read that first line of this passage, and then the last.  They both apply to me…..
I love your ways, Lord….
Yet so many times I go my own way…..
Make your face shine upon your servant….
For your glory….

Ayin

Ayin (Psalm 119:121-128)

I have done what is righteous and just;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
Ensure your servant’s well-being;
let not the arrogant oppress me.
My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,
looking for your righteous promise.
Deal with your servant according to your love
and teach me your decrees.
I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand your statutes.
It is time for you to act, O Lord;
your law is being broken.
Because I love your commands
more than gold, more than pure gold,
and because I consider all your precepts right,
I hate every wrong path.

Do I REALLY hate every wrong path?
We live in an age of tolerance….
Which means I should “agree to disagree”…
Which really means “Leave me to my own devices”…..
In fact – if you believe something contrary to what is viewed as right by the world….
A world that admittedly is screwed up….
Admittedly has lost its way…..
Admittedly has no direction, and sorely needs a savior……
You are spewing hate……
Sadly – real hatred would be keeping my mouth shut….
Sadly – that is what I most often do……
Do you know what will happen when you die?
Do you…..
Really…..
Do you want to know?
Do you know why you are so miserable now?
Do you?
How are those programs, those self-help, inspiration speeches, those legal narcotics, working for you?
How many times have you thought that maybe, just maybe…..
You matter…….
Jesus doesn’t say that anything goes, when he says not to judge…..
Please don’t mis-read what he’s saying there…..
He’s saying “You have to REMOVE that plank from your eye…..
SO THAT you can help your neighbor with his speck”
Not to leave the speck alone……
Yet we so often want to keep our plank….
So we either ignore the speck – the speck that cuts deep into the eye….
Cause infection, blindness, death…..
Or we force ourselves upon your issue, slamming our plank into your head…..
I love you……
And I HATE what you are doing to yourself…….
Lord, help me to remove my plank……
So that I can help my brothers and sisters with theirs……
For your glory…..