Monthly Archives: June 2011

A Good Warfare

Psalm 27

The LORD Is My Light and My Salvation

Of David.

1The LORD is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?

2When evildoers assail me

to eat up my flesh,

my adversaries and foes,

it is they who stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me,

my heart shall not fear;

though war arise against me,

yet I will be confident.

4 One thing have I asked of the LORD,

that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD

and to inquire in his temple.

5For he will hide me in his shelter

in the day of trouble;

he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;

he will lift me high upon a rock.

6And now my head shall be lifted up

above my enemies all around me,

and I will offer in his tent

sacrifices with shouts of joy;

I will sing and make melody to the LORD.

7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;

be gracious to me and answer me!

8You have said, “Seek my face.”My heart says to you,

“Your face, LORD, do I seek.”

9 Hide not your face from me.

Turn not your servant away in anger,

O you who have been my help.

Cast me not off; forsake me not,

O God of my salvation!

10For my father and my mother have forsaken me,

but the LORD will take me in.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD,

and lead me on a level path

because of my enemies.

12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;

for false witnesses have risen against me,

and they breathe out violence.

13I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD

in the land of the living!

14 Wait for the LORD;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

wait for the LORD!

The church of Jesus Christ shall conquer. That is a simple Christian axiom which is true and which will prove itself out over time and is not being denied in any measure anywhere in the world today. Psalm 27 is a war Psalm. David claims that he shall not be afraid of his enemies because God is on his side. The enemy may surround him (verse 3 ), assail him (verse 2), and war against him (verse 3), he will not fear.

The full application of this is not warfare, at least not warfare in the sense we normally think of it. This Psalm is for the church of Jesus Christ in its battles against principalities and powers in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-19). The warfare we are in is more serious, more deadly and its consequences more dismal and exhilarating than mere physical warfare.

Our goal is the house of the lord (Verse 4) and the enemy’s plan is to ensure that we do not make it. We are in a war for our souls (I Peter 2:1). Our weapons are not the weaponry of warfare (II Corinthians 10:3-4). Our enemies are not human beings or countries or armies (Ephesians 6:10-13). Our tactics are not the well learned lessons of thousands of years of battle (II Corinthians 10:5). Our protection is not armour or battlements (Psalm 119:114; Ephesians 6:16).This war is real and it is fierce and it has severe casualties. And for all those who are truly His the outcome is guaranteed victory.

Every battle verse in Psalm 27 relates to the spiritual warfare we are in against the enemy of our souls. We do not need to fear him (verse 1, 3), for God has already defeated him and we are safe. He stumbles when we resist (verse 2 and James 4:7). We can be confident in this war for the outcome is certain (verse 3). We must never lose sight of the goal in this war (verse 4). God is our protector (verse 5). The devil may be the prince of the power of the air but we shall turn his territory into a place of worship (verse 6).

There is another legitimate way in which to take these verses. It is true that they speak of our spiritual warfare against the evil one. But they also tell us about Jesus who has defeated him. He has no fear of Satan. He has already dealt him the death blow. He has no fear at all. When He was here winning the war for us He looked ahead to the reward awaiting Him and was able to finish His work (Verse 4 and Hebrews 12:1-2). He is now enthroned as the reigning king of all things (Verse 6).

What a glory it is to be a child of God, or, in the metaphor of this Psalm, a soldier of the King. We follow the Captain who has already guaranteed the victory, who still fights for us, who works out everything out after the counsel of His own will and for our good.

Not Korny

The testimony of former Korn guitarist Brian Welch. If you’re interested in reading more his web site is here

Spiritual Warfare

Psalm 27:1-4 (ESV)

The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?

[2] When evildoers assail me

to eat up my flesh,

my adversaries and foes,

it is they who stumble and fall.

[3] Though an army encamp against me,

my heart shall not fear;

though war arise against me,

yet I will be confident.

[4] One thing have I asked of the Lord,

that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

and to inquire in his temple.

The church of Jesus Christ shall conquer. That is a simple Christian axiom which is true and which will prove itself out over time and is not being denied in any measure anywhere in the world today by the troubles that plague it.

Psalm 27 is a war Psalm. David claims that he shall not be afraid of his enemies because God is on his side. The enemy may surround him (verse 3 ), assail him (verse 2), and war against him (verse 3), he will not fear. The full application of this is not warfare, at least not warfare in the sense we normally think of it. This Psalm is for the church of Jesus Christ in its battles against principalities and powers in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-19).

The warfare we are in is more serious, more deadly and its consequences more dismal and exhilarating than mere physical warfare. Our goal is the house of the lord (Verse 4) and the enemy’s plan is to ensure that we do not achieve it. We are in a war for our souls (I Peter 2:1). Our weapons are not the weaponry of warfare (II Corinthians 10:3-4). Our enemies are not human beings or countries or armies (Ephesians 6:10-13). Our tactics are not the well learned lessons of thousands of years of battle (II Corinthians 10:5). Our protection is not armour or embattlements (Psalm 119:114; Ephesians 6:16).This war is real and it is fierce and it has severe casualties. And for all those who are truly His the outcome is guaranteed victory.

Every battle verse in Psalm 27 relates to the spiritual warfare we are in against the enemy of our souls. We do not need to fear him (verse 1, 3), for God has already defeated him and we are safe. He stumbles when we resist (verse 2 and James 4:7). We can be confident in this war for the outcome is certain (verse 3). We must never lose sight of the goal in this war (verse 4). God is our protector (verse 5). The devil may be the prince of the power of the air but we shall turn his territory into a place of worship (verse 6).

There is another legitimate way in which to take these verses. It is true that they speak of our spiritual warfare against the evil one. But they also tell us about Jesus who has defeated him. He has no fear of Satan. He has already dealt him the death blow. He has no fear at all. When He was here winning the war for us He looked ahead to the reward awaiting Him and was able to finish His work (Verse 4 and Hebrews 12:1-2). He is now enthroned as the reigning king of all things (Verse 6).

What a glory it is to be a child of God, or, in the metaphor of this Psalm, a soldier of the King. We follow the Captain who has already guaranteed the victory, who still fights for us, who works out everything out after the counsel of His own will and for our good. There is simply no better place to be than in this army of rescued soldiers.

Remaining Faithful

Psalm 26:1 (ESV)

Of David.

Vindicate me, O Lord,

for I have walked in my integrity,

and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.

I do not know when Psalm 26 was written. If there is any chronology to the Psalms at all, then we might be able to assume that it was before the sin with Bathsheba and the sins surrounding it. Was it before he married badly and let work manage his life so that he neglected to raise his sons? We are a frail lot. Sin sneaks up on us. We can start out so well and assume that doing well is our default position and neglect to guard our hearts and minds. When David says, in Psalm 26, that he had trusted the Lord without wavering, he knew that he was not perfect. In verse 11 he asks God to redeem him and be gracious to him. But he could honestly say that in whatever circumstances he had been in to this point he had not forsaken God or forgotten about Him. He has been faithful and his faith had not weakened through things that had tempted it.

We can surmise a few things about some of the temptations that had come David’s way that helped prompt this psalm.

a)He had opportunity to align himself with liars and hypocrites and enjoy the fruits of their deceit (verse 4-5). One pictures a group of young men planning or discussing sexual escapades or shady business deals or simply partying themselves into a stupor. David distanced himself from such things and no doubt paid the price of being ostracized.

b)What David chose to do instead was evangelize those he could have consorted with (verse 7). One can only imagine how well that would have gone over. David would have been ridiculed. His peers would have rolled their eyes when they saw him coming. “Here comes Mr. Goody Two-Shoes”.

c)David’s response was to find solace in the tabernacle in Jerusalem. Who knows? Perhaps even then he began thinking how good it would be if God’s house was a more permanent structure than a tent.

d)David was a real man with real feelings and real temptations and he felt the longing for acceptance that all of us feel and so he prayed that he would not be swept away into the sin that others were immersed in (verses 9&10). It is so hard not to give in to the pull to be accepted by the crowd and by one’s peers. So he resolved not to fall into their ways (verses 11-12).

David was a remarkable young man. And yet we know that after he became king he became a little less vigilant and got infected somewhat with the sense of entitlement that being the head honcho can bring. He took a man’s wife, a man’s life, a woman’s integrity, a country’s trust, his own heart and more.

Psalm 26 is an amazing example of what God can do in even a young man. We do not have to go with the crowd. God can and will enable all who trust Him to endure with joy. But we all need to remember that yesterday’s victories cannot be borrowed from for today’s battle. We need to keep our armour on and keep our weapons ready and know that our enemy is relentless and devious and smart. It is easy as we get older to think that there are some sins that we have mastered and will not commit. We can think that because we are more experienced or more knowledgeable than we used to be that there are certain sins that we cannot commit. This is the height of foolishness. We may grow more mellow, but we do not become more holy simply on the basis of age and experience. We are in constant need of the grace of God.

As a young man David prayed for grace and redemption and was therefore able to claim that he stood on good ground (verse 12). Somehow he let go of that God given confidence and fell. The whole episode of David’s sin and rescue is testimony to the great grace and mercy of God. Even when we are doing well spiritually, we are in need of God’s redemption and grace (verse 11). But we can easily fall into thinking that our sins are small and that we will never fall into “big” sins. It is the devil’s lie. Let us resolve to stand faithful and never forget that the day we let our guard down is the day that we will start drifting away from our God and into a life that is being run without him. The result will be ruin and rebellion. God will be there for us and His almighty grace will rescue, but only if we truly repent and who can say that we would want to do that? The best thing is to make sure that we never relax until the war is over. And that is when we see Him face to face.

The Goodness of God in Suffering

This video was posted on a friend’s website (http://keepingchristcentral.blogspot.com/) a while back. It’s pretty powerful. An amazing testimony to the goodness of God.

God is God…and God is good.

Adultery and the Fear of the LORD

I came across this post from Dr. Russell Moore of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I thought it was appropriate in light of the infidelity in recent headlines.

Russell Moore:

Almost every adultery situation I’ve ever seen includes a cheating spouse who honestly believes that he or she is not going to get caught. The cheater often doesn’t want the marriage to end in divorce. Instead, like the characters in today’s headlines, he or she instead wants to keep everything the same: spouse, kids, and lover too. That’s irrational and completely contrary to the way the world works. Anyone can see that.

But you can convince yourself…or be convinced…that it will work for you. You’re special, after all. That’s the way temptation functions. We put consequences out of our minds, both temporal and eternal consequences. We start to believe that we are gods, with power over good and evil and life and death. And then we do crazy things.

This doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence. Satan is hyper-intelligent. And yet, even knowing that he will ultimately have his skull crushed, he rages all the more against Christ and his people, “because he knows his time is short” (Rev. 12:12). In terms of the most basic principles of military strategy, that’s crazy. What we need is not intelligence, but wisdom. Wisdom includes seeing where the way I want to go will lead (Prov. 14:12).

I don’t know who you are, reader, but I know you are probably not smarter than Anthony Weiner or Arnold Schwarzenegger or John Edwards. And neither am I. Both of us, you and I, are on the verge of wrecking our lives. We’re probably not on the verge of a situation quite like any of those men, but the gospel tells us we have vulnerabilities just the same, and they all can lead to destruction.

The answer isn’t found in talent or in strategy or in brilliance. It’s found in fear, the fear of the Lord and the vision of his future.

Lord have mercy.

Read the whole thing here: http://www.russellmoore.com/2011/06/06/are-you-smarter-than-anthony-weiner/

Preach the Only Gospel There Is

2 Tim. 4:1-5 (ESV)

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: [2] preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. [3] For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, [4] and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. [5] As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

There is great temptation when it is denied that God punished His own sinless Son for the sins that others, to gloss over that aspect of the Gospel for the sake of keeping an audience. In a day when saying there is only one way to God is misunderstood in many ways, there is great temptation to conveniently leave that out when we speak of Jesus to lost people.

II Timothy 4:2 says “…preach the Word…” and then verse 3 says “for the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching…” This is mind warping stuff. Paul says that in view of the fact that there is coming a time when people will not listen then we better preach what they do not want to hear. This could mean that the Gospel better be preached before the time comes when no one will listen any more. It can also mean that in view of the fact that people will not listen to sound stuff that we better be committed 100% to delivering it even when they do not want it. It must mean the latter as well as the former.

If there is only one Gospel and it speaks of the only way to peace with God, then we must preach that and nothing else. It does not matter what people’s reactions will be to the preaching – we have nothing else to preach. We must not allow the unresponsiveness of people to stop us from giving the Gospel.

The days are here when people do not put up with sound doctrine. So what shall we do? Preach it and then watch in stark wonder as God takes the message preached and brings people who did not want to hear it into belief in the Gospel. It is a miracle.

Do not believe that delivering the Gospel is useless in the face of all that works against it. The Gospel is the power of God and you will see it in the lives of some who hear it. You will see it in all those the Father chooses to give to the Son, for Jesus shall lose none of all that the Father gives Him. Go with hope and confidence in the Gospel that is such power.