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Praise's Surety
Praise's Surety

PreacherJP.2004 • September 03, 2020


Day 245: Praise’s Surety

Psalm 79:9 (AV)

9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.  

Satan knows my name, but calls me by my sin; God knows my sin but calls me by my name. --Unknown

Is there a day that goes by in the believer’s life where his sin does not fly in his face? With the Accuser of the brethren (see Rev. 12:11) and the testimony of conscience (see Rom. 2:15) reminding us of our failure, it is no wonder many believers walk around with their heads down in defeat. Ah, but what saith God of thee?

Isaiah 48:9 (AV)

9 For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.  

Isaiah 43:25 (AV)

25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.  

Isaiah 44:22 (AV)

22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.  

Ephesians 1:6 (AV)

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  

In each case, God declares over His child that for His own name sake, for His glory, and for His praise He will defer His anger, blot out our transgression, forget our sin, and accept us.

He has redeemed us and paid for us with the precious, spotless blood of the Lamb, God’s only begotten Son, and in Him, we are accepted.

Jesus is our Surety.

Webster defines surety as Certainty; Security; Safety; Foundation of stability; support.

Jesus is all of this to a child of God. If we are in Jesus, then we are on Victory’s side because we are in the Victor.

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Praise's Progeny
Praise's Progeny

PreacherJP.2004 • September 02, 2020


Day 244: Praise's Progeny

Psalm 78:4 (AV)

4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.  

Are we passing our faith onto our children?

We should be careful that what we transfer to them isn't by our mouths only, but by our lives. Children observe their parents more than they listen to them. They watch us, our interactions, our times in prayer and meditation, and mostly, our praise. Emotions may not be the best guide, but they tend to create the most significant impact on the human psyche.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. --Maya Angelou

Praise penetrates the soul. It should engage the mind, emotions, and will. Our children need to hear our heartfelt giving of thanks to God, in good times and bad. If we haven't passed on our faith to our children, what kind of legacy are we leaving? Heartbreak awaits us when we realize we've allowed our children to play sports, go to college, and pass on a good work ethic (hopefully), but do not teach them the necessity of a meaningful walk with God. We should consider the reality that the child we are raising might be the next D. L. Moody or Billy Sunday. Whether that takes place or not, if we teach our children to be faithful to God, committed to His praise and glory, we're a success in God's eyes. If they decide that's not for them, that won't be our fault. 

Listen to Steve Farrar talks about the importance of godly child-rearing:

In the early years of his youth, David was obscure. He was also unappreciated by his own father. When Samuel came to the house of Jesse, he came with the purpose of anointing one of Jesse's sons to become the next king. God had chosen one of these boys to succeed Saul. When Samuel saw David's older brother, Eliab, he thought he'd found his man. But God said no. As Samuel looked at the rest of the seven older sons of Jesse, none of them rang true. Samuel asked Jesse, "Are these all of your sons?"

Jesse replied that they were, except for his youngest son, David, who was out minding the sheep. They brought him in and the rest is history. David was God's choice to be king. And David's own father hadn't regarded him highly enough to include him in the meeting with the visiting prophet. It's always a tragedy when a father overlooks the potential in his own son. Jesse was raising the future king of Israel under his own roof, but he didn't have the vision to see it.

Do you have a son? Whatever you do, don't make Jesse's mistake. God will choose leaders for the next generation. And that great leader of the next generation may be running around your house right now with a diaper that needs changing and a nose that needs wiping. So make sure you take good care of the kid.1

1 Farrar, Steve. Finishing Strong: How a Man Can Go the Distance. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 1995. Print.

I know that quote was lengthy, but please consider the reality and severity of the situation. We, as parents, have the tremendous responsibility to raise our children to know Jesus.

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Praise's Bruising
Praise's Bruising

PreacherJP.2004 • September 01, 2020


Day 243: Praise's Bruising

For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: — Job 23:16 KJV.

A chord must be struck to create music, and spices must be crushed to produce their sweet smell. Music would not be so beautiful without the minor chord. So, too, must our hearts be bruised and made soft to receive and exude God's word and praise in richness and beauty.

Job 23 is a sonnet of praise sung in a minor chord. 

At this point in his life, Job has lost everything. There is no answer as to why. His friends tell him its because he's a great sinner and that God is punishing him to bring him to repentance. But that isn't why Job is suffering. What Job cannot see is the unseen conflict between God and Satan. Satan's desire is clear: to cause Job to harden to God and renounce his faith. God desires to purify Job and to awaken him to a righteousness that is beyond his own. But Job doesn't know that, yet. 

First, Job resists the urge to complain. 

Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. — Job 23:2 KJV

My stroke is more massive than my groaning. The King James translators placed in the margin here, My hand is heavier than my groaning. This meant he was resisting the urge to grumble and complain. He desired instead to appeal to God than to complain about God. 

Praise and complaining don't mix.

Then, Job seeks his case to be heard by God, but cannot find him. 

Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! — Job 23:3 KJV

Job may not have known where to find God, but God knew right where Job was--in the furnace! 

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. — Job 23:10 KJV

It's easy to praise when the path is understandable, but to receive God's song in the night--that is faith. the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. — Psa 42:8 KJV

Job recognizes he's stuck in his circumstances. 

God appointed this furnace. Job may have been seeking a hearing with God to present his case, but God had more to teach him. Try as he might, he couldn't get out of the trial. 

But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. — Job 23:13-14 KJV

Job could not see from God's perspective, but he could tell God was doing something in his heart--God was making it soft. This was the opposite of what Satan desired, but God was in charge of the furnace's thermostat. A soft heart toward God is the equivalent of a toiled field, ready to be sown by the farmer's choice seed. 

There's a pain in the breaking, but joy comes in the morning!

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. — Psa 30:5 KJV

Job's bruising was painful but necessary. Up to this point, Job had been presenting his own righteousness that was established upon doing what is right. That is good for oneself and others, but it's not enough in the sight of God. God's righteousness is bestowed and not earned.

Job declares this once he finally gets his meeting with God.

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. — Job 42:5-6 KJV

Can you hear the praise in that? I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee! 

Job no longer asks why. That is when praise matures. 

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Praise's Victory
Praise's Victory

PreacherJP.2004 • September 01, 2020


Day 242: Praise’s Victory

Romans 16:20 (AV)

20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.  

The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. -- John F. Kennedy

Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Evil didn’t like his resistance.  The tide of evil is swelling in our world today. Fires burn across our land. Cities are being torched to seek justice for the criminal and to criminalize the just. Wickedness prevails while the truth is fallen in the street.

Isaiah 59:14 (AV)

14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.  

Is hope losing the war? Has love for righteousness been defeated? How can truth prevail in a world that loves lies, and how can light shine when people love darkness rather than light?

Enter the God of peace.

The God of peace must not be confused with the convoluted idea of peace that has supplanted truth. The word peace has come to mean to acquiesce to tolerance for all sin and intolerance for that which is right and good. But the Bible definition of peace is the annihilation of all enemy factions.

God is allowing evil to have its day, but that day is going to be cut short. He allows men to lay down their arms of rebellion and surrender willingly to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is giving a parley of sorts, a conference to enemy mankind to plead with them to turn back from destruction.

Isaiah 1:18–20 (AV)

18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 

19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 

20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

The time to discuss terms of surrender is nearing its close. God’s children may have to suffer while Satan’s defectors come to God’s side, but we are still given the promise of final and sure victory. 

Satan shall be bruised under our feet. 

Our Tempter will be no more. Our soul’s enemy, who has vexed us for so long, will be no more. What a happy day! But until then, 

The grace of Jesus Christ will be with us. 

We may be no match for this unseen enemy, but Jesus has already defeated him. As long as we rest in Jesus, we, too, will experience victory over the enemy. 

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When All Else Fails
When All Else Fails

PreacherJP.2004 • August 30, 2020


Day 241: When All Else Fails

Jeremiah 8:18 (AV)

18 When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.  

The word depressed is not found in our King James Bibles. It's not that we don't suffer from depression, it's just that other words were used to describe that condition of spirits. According to the Webster's 1828 dictionary, the word means to sink; to lower; to deject; to make sad; as, to depress the spirits or mind. 

Jeremiah spoke about this when he said: "When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me." Depression happens to us and often is a condition of the emotions after the mind has been assaulted by thoughts that bring us low. Jeremiah said that he tried to cheer himself up, but his heart was not strong enough to lift his spirits.

Have you ever been in that frame of mind? No matter what you tried, you couldn't shake the depression?

You might be surprised to learn that even the famous C. H. Spurgeon, renowned for his excellent preaching in the Master's service, suffered great depression bouts. He had this to say about a particular fight he had with depression:

When I was exceedingly ill in the South of France, and deeply depressed in spirit—so deeply depressed and so sick and ill that I scarce knew how to live,—one of those malicious persons who commonly haunt all public men, and especially ministers, sent me anonymously a letter, openly directed to "That unprofitable servant C. H. Spurgeon." This letter contained tracts directed to the enemies of the Lord Jesus, with passages marked and underlined, with notes applying them to myself. How many Rabshekahs have in their day written to me! Ordinarily, I read them with the patience which comes of use, and they go to light the fire. I do not look for exemption from this annoyance, nor do I usually feel it hard to bear, but in the hour when my spirits were depressed, and I was in terrible pain, this reviling letter cut me to the quick. I turned upon my bed and asked—Am I, then, an unprofitable servant? I grieved exceedingly, and could not lift up my head, or find rest. I reviewed my life, and saw its infirmities and imperfections, but knew not how to put my case till this second text came to my relief, and answered as the verdict of my bruised heart. I said to myself, "I hope I am not an unprofitable servant in the sense in which this person intends to call me so; but I am assuredly so in the other sense." I cast myself upon my Lord and Master once again with a deeper sense of the meaning of the text than I had felt before: his atoning sacrifice revived me, and in humble faith, I found rest.

[Spurgeon, C. H. "Unprofitable Servants." The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons. Vol. 26. London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1880. 331. Print.]

Our souls' enemy knows how to use the moments of depression to send his fiery darts to pierce our hearts! What are we to do when we cannot lift ourselves out of the miry clay?

Ah, friend! We have a truth we can rest our souls on and find solid footing once again, though our bodies and minds might not follow for a season, our spirits can find a place to cast anchor. Spurgeon found it at Calvary.

He discovered that he might have very well have been an unprofitable servant. But Christ died for that unprofitable servant as much as He died for the most useful one. Yes, He died even for me!

One thing cannot fail when all else fails, and that is the Cross of Christ. He died for me. No matter my circumstance in life, no matter how far I stray from the Master and no matter how strong the fierce winds of opposition, Calvary conquered it all!

Colossians 2:10 (AV)

10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:  

Complete in Thee! no work of mine

May take, dear Lord, the place of Thine,

Thy blood has pardon bought for me,

And I am now complete in Thee.

Complete in Thee—no more shall sin,

Thy grace has conquered, reign within;

Thy voice will bid the tempter flee,

And I shall stand complete in Thee.

Complete in Thee—each want supplied,

And no good thing to me denied.

Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be,

I ask no more—complete in Thee.

Dear Saviour! when, before Thy bar,

All tribes and tongues assembled are,

Among Thy chosen may I be

At Thy right hand—complete in Thee.

Aaron R. Wolfe, 1884.

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Praise Arrest
Praise Arrest

PreacherJP.2004 • August 28, 2020


Day 240: Praise Arrest

Psalm 76:10 (AV) — 10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.  

Our nation and the world are experiencing great civil unrest. The seas are raging and roaring against authority. And it's just beginning. The world is attempting to throw off the shackles of "the man" when in reality, it's not "the man" that they are rebelling against. It's God's authority of righteousness. (See Romans 13:1-6) So let the seas rage. We know the One who can still the violence of the sea.

Isaiah 17:12 (AV) — 12 Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!  

Psalm 89:9 (AV) — 9 Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.  

The current civil unrest is just a tropical depression. We haven't reached the category five hurricane levels yet. The nations are in turmoil because at this very moment, Satan is working in their hearts, and man is blindly, but proudly fighting against his Maker.

Ephesians 2:2 (AV) — 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  

The children of disobedience are kicking and screaming and fighting their way to the top of the food chain. They want their piece of the pie, but what they need is God's peace in Christ. So they are going to rage, and they are going to fight, and the Man of Sin will come forward and rouse them to a fever pitch of hatred and murder and violence.

The world is crying for social justice, and God's going to give it to them. Justice for all. We don't get the option to cast the stone when we are sinners ourselves. That's the entire purpose of Christ's first coming: to take our judgment upon Him and pay our sin debt. Refusing that offer leaves the world exposed to the righteous judgment of God. Here's some irony, the verse social justice warriors throw at Christians will be used against them:

Matthew 7:1–3 (AV) — 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

But we can praise God for this reality: God's going to arrest them. Ironic, huh? "The remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." They're fighting police officers and authority, but let's see them try and stop the momentum and force with which Christ returns to this earth. Their only hope is to lay down their arms against God and yield to Jesus. The alternative is this: after the arrest comes the arraignment, after the arraignment comes the judgment, and after the judgment comes eternal punishment. It is not what God wants, but it is what the raging nations beg for when they refuse Christ's yoke. God will cause even the wrath of man to praise Him. How so? Because man's feeble rage exalts the reality of God's righteous judgment. The creature in sin cannot point his bony finger at the spotless Lamb of God and accuse Him of unrighteousness.

Revelation 19:11–21 (AV) — 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.  

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The Satisfaction of Praise
The Satisfaction of Praise

PreacherJP.2004 • August 27, 2020


Day 239: The Satisfaction of Praise

Jeremiah 6:16 (AV) — 16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.  

Satisfy: To gratify wants, wishes, or desires to the full extent; to supply possession or enjoyment till no more is desired. -Webster's 1828 Dictionary

Rest for the soul means that satisfaction has been met. It means that the soul has found it's home. Praise is the acknowledgment that our soul finds real fulfillment in God alone. 

Is your soul satisfied? It's going to depend on what you set your longings upon whether your soul will find permanent rest. 

Lettie Cowman's classic devotional Streams in the Desert quotes a godly woman named Margaret Bottome as she comments on Job 28:14,

Job 28:14 (AV) — 14 The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.  

I remember a summer in which I said, "It is the ocean I need," and I went to the ocean; but it seemed to say, "It is not in me!" The ocean did not do for me what I thought it would. Then I said, "The mountains will rest me," and I went to the mountains, and when I awoke in the morning, there stood the grand mountain that I had wanted so much to see, but it said, "It is not in me!" It did not satisfy. Ah! I needed the ocean of His love and the high mountains of His truth within. It was wisdom that the "depths" said they did not contain, and that could not be compared with jewels or gold or precious stones. Christ is wisdom and our deepest need. Our restlessness within can only be met by the revelation of His eternal friendship and love for us.

Our rest and satisfaction will never be found in the majesty of God's creation. They were not created to do that. They point us to the Creator. They tell us, "My Maker can give you rest."

Psalm 107:9 (AV) — 9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.  

Don't be like the people of Jeremiah's day. They refused to find rest in God. They believed the delusion that soul satisfaction could be located outside of God. 

Come, said Jesus' sacred voice,

Come, and make my paths your choice,

I will guide you to your home,

Weary pilgrim, hither come!

Hither come! for here is found

Balm that flows for every wound,

Peace that ever shall endure,

Rest eternal, sacred, sure.

Anna L. Barbauld, 1825

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Divine Tears
Divine Tears

PreacherJP.2004 • August 27, 2020


Day 238: Divine Tears

John 11:35 (AV) — 35 Jesus wept.  

Some of the most profound emotions of the heart utter themselves in chaste brevity of words, as when John tells us of Christ's sharp grief at the grave of Lazarus. He says simply, "Jesus wept." With exquisite good taste, the scholars who divided the Bible into verses allowed those two words to stand alone. Nothing more is needed to reveal the mighty depth of Christ's love for His friend. -- A. W. Tozer

Any kid who goes to Sunday school can recite this verse to you. It is touted as the shortest verse in the Bible, comprised of only two words. Jesus wept. Consider the revelation of these two words. Jesus. Son of God. Creator of the universe. The Maker of worlds and fashioner of hearts. Those are tears running down the Maker's face. Why is He crying?

Lazarus had died. His friend had died. Death breaks God's heart. It was not His original design that men should die. That was the express purpose of His coming to this earth and putting on the robe of flesh. That is why He was born in the manger, lived a sinless life, and went to the cross. To die for us so we wouldn't have to die--forever. There is a second death about which the Bible speaks. (See Revelation 2:1120:620:1421:8)

Notice at the beginning that Jesus is told, "Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick." Not "Lord, the one who is trying so hard to be faithful to you and love you and obey you is sick." Here, Jesus was known for one thing: loving his friend, Lazarus. The sisters didn't appeal to any favors that Jesus might owe his friend. Jesus is in debt to no man. Only the mention of his love is recorded....The pain, the agony, the undoing of what God designed in the garden, shook Jesus. He cried so intensely that even those standing by commented, "Behold how he loved him!" When words run out, tears speak, for they are oftentimes the language of the soul....But death would not get the last word. Requesting the stone be rolled back, and with the unnecessary comment about the stench of a decaying body, Jesus lifts up a loud voice and shouts into the cave, "Lazarus, come forth!" Jesus' voice undoubtedly echoed. Deep calling to deep, indeed. And when the disciples loosened Lazarus' grave clothing, what a sight it must have been for Lazarus to look out of the cave and see a tear-stained face, his friend full of love and limitless power, grinning at him, welcoming him back to life. Oh, the love and power of Jesus.1

Do you think Jesus still weeps on the throne as the world around us passes from this life into the next, hoping they'll make it? I believe He does. He cries because He never intended for man to be uncertain of where he will spend eternity. If we base our salvation on what we do and not upon the blood of Jesus that was shed on Calvary, we can be sure we won't make heaven. But praise Jesus for His tears! The heavens rend His heart is broken over the lost. Don't guess. Don't hope for the best. Know that the blood of Jesus will wash you from all your sin if you'll admit to Jesus that you're a sinner and call on Jesus to save you. 

Romans 10:13 (AV) — 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  

His heart was broken, mine was mended

He became sin, now I am clean

The cross he carried bore my burden

The nails that held him set me free

His life for mine, his life for mine

How could it ever be?

That he would die, God's son would die

To save a wretch like me

What love divine, he gave his life for mine

His scars of suffering brought me healing

He spilled his blood to fill my soul.

His crown of thorns made me royalty

His sorrow gave me joy untold

He was despised and rejected, stripped of his garments and oppressed

I am loved and accepted and I wear a robe of righteousness

His life for mine, his life for mine

How could it ever be?

That he would die, God's son would die

To save a wretch like me

Like me

What love divine, he gave his life for mine

--Rebecca Peck

1 Early, Alex. The Reckless Love of God: Experiencing the Personal, Passionate Heart of the Gospel. Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House, 2015. Print.

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Out of Focus
Out of Focus

PreacherJP.2004 • August 25, 2020


Day 237: Out of Focus

Psalm 73:1–2 (AV) — 1 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.  

I want to think that I keep a pure heart, with pure motivations and meditations. Truly God is good to those who are of a clean heart. But He is good to us even when we lose focus, and our perspective gets distorted. He knows our hearts and knows when they get askew. 

Can you hear that in the writer's voice? "Truly God is such as are of a clean heart, but as for me..."

Have you ever had a "But as for me," moment? 

This Psalm is written from a heart that had lost clarity, and discouragement clouded the writer's view of God. We sometimes filter life through the lens of impatience and envy. We question why others prosper so well, and we struggle. We shoot out our bottom lip, cross our arms, and say, "It just isn't fair."

That's what this writer expresses. Notice how his eyes were on his fellow rather than God:

Psalm 73:3 (AV) — 3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  

Psalm 73:5 (AV) — 5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.  

Psalm 73:7 (AV) — 7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.  

This child of God looked at the wicked and noticed their prosperity, their lives free from troubles, and their heart's desires were granted.

"Why God," you can hear him say. "Why do You bless them, and I struggle so?"

He goes further in his grumbling,

Psalm 73:13–14 (AV) — 13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.  

God, why can't I have that kind of life? Why go through all the trouble of living a righteous and holy life, and suffer when I could have it like them?

Psalm 73:17 (AV) — 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.  

When the writer got into the presence of God, he understood. It was a light bulb moment. It just clicked. I'll spend eternity with the Creator of the universe and enjoy the perfection of His creation, without sin, Satan, and death. What do they get?

Psalm 73:18 (AV) — 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.  

Because the wicked refuse to turn to God, they are cast down into destruction. 

Psalm 73:20 (AV) — 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.  

The wicked are living the life they create for themselves in this life. It's called an "image" in this verse. God will despise it. Why? Because they built a life that did not include God. Their life rejects the plan God has for them found in His Son Jesus Christ. They were made in the image of God, but they deny that image. Therefore, God will reject them. They are leaving the dream now, but they will wake up to find their worst nightmare: they will be judged for their sin and their refusal to accept Christ's payment on their behalf. 

The writer was brought back to the correct view. His heart had once been focused on God, but he got his heart focused on those around him. He took his eyes off of God. It cost him his peace until he got it right with God.

Psalm 73:26 (AV) — 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.  

To keep our focus correct, we must remember that God is our portion. That phrase means He is our inheritance. We get God. Let them have the world. We get God. Ultimately, we'll get this world, too. Just not now.

  I do not know what better world, in many respects, there could be than this, so far as material nature is concerned. It is so full of the beauty and loveliness that God pours upon it on every side. It is a wonderful world.

But I could not reconcile myself to the idea that this world would be Heaven. It will do well enough for the thousand years of glory if it shall literally be that we shall reign with Christ upon it during the millennial age. But it is a drossy thing, and if it is ever to be the scene of the new heavens and the New Earth, it must first pass through the fire. The very smell of sin is upon it, and God will not use this globe as a vessel unto honor until he has purified it with fire as he once did with water. -- C. H. Spurgeon

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The Prodigal Love of God
The Prodigal Love of God

PreacherJP.2004 • August 24, 2020

Day 236: The Prodigal Love of God

Luke 15:20 (AV) — 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  

The passage of Luke 15:11-32 has come to be known as The Parable of the Prodigal Son. 

To be prodigal, according to Webster's 1828 dictionary, means "one that expends money extravagantly or without necessity; one that is profuse or lavish; a waster."

This parable is perhaps the most famous of all, giving hope to many who have wasted their lives on sinful living because it reveals something about God that is just so hard to believe: He is prodigal in His love.

Alex Early, in his book, The Reckless Love of God, comments on this parable of Jesus:

Though more space in Scripture is dedicated to describing the son, this story says a lot more about the father than the rebel. The only thing more reckless than the son's rebellion is the father's grace. This is what grace actually looks like—it's extravagant and completely over the top. It appears wasteful, excessive, and totally senseless.

Did you catch that? "The only thing more reckless than the son's rebellion is the father's grace." Think about that for a minute and let it sink in. 

God's grace has been lavishly poured upon you saint of God. Undeserving wretches that we are, God loves us although we waste so much of His grace by living lives that are so unthankful and unthoughtful of His tremendous and magnificent love! 

Contemplate the depths of God's love. It's unfathomable. That's the perfect word to describe it. A fathom was a form of measurement used to sound the depth of the sea. A fathom was usually the length by which a man may extend his arms. Try it. Try to fathom the love of God. Paul said that we could comprehend with all the saints the capacity of God's love:

Ephesians 3:17–19 (AV) — 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  

And we do: It is limitless. It is prodigal. Extravagant.

Allowing the reality of God's love to transform us is a lesson God wants us to know concerning Him, 

Jesus loves me this I know,

for the Bible tells me so. 

That immeasurable love is something, not to check off a list of facts, but to break our hardened hearts, and cause us to weep that God would love even us. But it does us no good while we stay away from the Father's house and play in the pigpen. No, we need to come home, back to the Father's arms of love. That poor son spent all he had in the far country trying to buy what the Father already had for him: love, companionship, and provision. 

Proverbs 10:22 (AV) — 22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

God's blessings bring contentment and joy. The only difference between the two was sorrow. Sorrow is always attached to the pleasures of sin. 

'Love to miserable sinners,

Love unfathomed, love to death,

Was the only end and motive,

To resign His gracious breath.'

--William Williams

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