Archive for April 2008

“… give me an undivided heart …”

April 30, 2008

Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
(Psalm 86:11-13; NIV. Please read Psalms 83-86.)

The Lord is my teacher. He has been trying to teach me His ways … every day of my life. He created the heavens and the earth, so that they could declare His glory to me all day and night … every day of my life. He revealed His Word by the Spirit to apostles and prophets, so that my mother (and other teachers in time) could read (or teach) His Word to me … every day of my life.

All that God has done in this world … from creation to this very day … He has used to be my teacher. Now it is up to me … to walk in His truth. How could I ignore His words … forget His promises … or resist His will?

Please forgive me, Lord.

But Lord, as you teach me, will you please give me an “undivided heart”. Every sin of my life … every shame in my heart has come when my heart was divided. I have seen the consequences of such distraction in your Word – in the lives of David, Solomon, Peter, etc … even in my own life. I want to live my life in the fear of your Name, O Lord … praise you with all my heart.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Another stanza I would lay up in my heart is Psalm 84:10, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Those words speak my heart. I do not deserve to be a son in the house – but I would be willing to be a servant to the house. Sing this song for me … pray this prayer for me. 

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“Restore us, O God …”

April 29, 2008

Restore us, O God;
make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.
(Psalm 80:3, 7, 19; NIV. Please read Psalms 79-82.)

His people are suffering …

They are suffering from the consequences of their own sins … and the sins of others.

I am sure – if they are like me – that they have a long list of prayer requests: blessings for family – friends – health – finances – etc. But in the midst of suffering for my sins, I had just one request, worded differently than this Psalm but with the same intent. “Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.”

Even now it is my primary plea.

Sing this song with me … pray this prayer for me.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Another stanza I would lay up in my heart is Psalm 81:10, “I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”
My mouth is open … as is my heart. Sing this song with me … pray this prayer for me.
 

“… the next generation …”

April 28, 2008

We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our forefathers
to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
(Psalm 78:4-6; NIV. Please read Pslam 78.)

My mother and father taught me about the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.

I taught my son and daughter about the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.

My son and daughter (and me too) have taught their children (my bright and beautiful grandchildren) about the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.

May God give me life and strength to see that my grandchildren teach their children and their children’s children … even unto the next generation.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Another stanza I would lay up into my heart is Psalm 78:9-10, “The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle; 10 they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law.” When fighting in the Lord’s battle … when plowing in the Lord’s field (Luke 9), we must never turn back … never give up … never give in. Sing this with me … pray this for me.  

“I will remember …”

April 27, 2008

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.
(Psalm 77:10-12; NIV. Please read Psalms 74-77.)

When your soul refuses to be comforted …

When your spirit grows faint …

When your eyes cannot sleep …

When your voice cannot speak …

When your heart fears that God’s love has vanished forever … sing this song – pray this prayer.

Remember the mighty deeds of God – the miracles He did long along. As you meditate on His wondrous works, you will find hope – if God could do that for them, surely He can do that for you … you will find faith – God did that for them, so you know that He will do that for you … you will find love – from the creation to the cross God has confirmed His unconditional love for you.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Another stanza I would lay up in my heart is Psalm 74:2, “Remember the people you purchased of old, the tribe of your inheritance, whom you redeemed-Mount Zion, where you dwelt.” What was true of His chosen people, Israel, is true of His chosen, the Church. We have been purchased. We have been redeemed. We are His inheritance. Remember us, O God. Sing this song with me … pray this prayer with me. 

“Since my youth …”

April 26, 2008

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.
(Psalm 71:17-18; NIV. Please read Psalms 71-73.)

Since my youth … God has taught me:

of His power … as I heard the Bible stories of the creating heaven and earth – crossing the Red Sea – raising Jesus from the dead.

of His righteousness … as I heard the Bible stories of driving Adam and Eve out of the garden – burning Sodom with fire and brimstone – striking Ananias and Sapphira dead for lying.

of His love … as I heard the Bible stories of painting a rainbow in the sky – raining bread from heaven – giving His only begotten Son at Bethlehem and Calvary.

But He also taught me of His power by raising me to a new life … of His righteousness by allowing me to reap what I sowed … of His love by running to meet me when this prodigal came home.

He taught me these things in many ways – but in none better than the godly men and women, who opened their Bibles and their hearts to me, e.g., my mother and father … Ila … Mickey and Molly Blake … Maxine Nichols … Cecil Foster … Doyle and Theresa Chapin … Calvin and Jane Wiseman … Pudd and Kay Wiseman … Willard Cox … Jerry Ray … Wayne Swart … Don Williams … Mike White … Eugene Clevinger … Neil Lightfoot … Lemoine Lewis … Lynn Anderson … Ed Wharton … Richard Rogers … C.W. (Abe) Lincoln … Jim McGuiggan … Richard Baggett … Ted Kell … Dayton Keesee … Nat Cooper … Gerald Paden … Cline Paden … Milton Caraway … and more. 

I thank God for them and want to be a person like them, willing to open my Bible and my heart with yet another generation.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Another stanza I would lay up in my heart is Psalms 73:23-24, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.” It is true – we live our lives in His grip! Please take me home, Lord. Sing this with me … pray this for me.    

“You know my folly …”

April 25, 2008

You know my folly, O God;
my guilt is not hidden from you. 6 May those who hope in you
not be disgraced because of me,
O Lord, the LORD Almighty;
may those who seek you
not be put to shame because of me,
O God of Israel.

(Psalm 69:5-6; NIV. Please read Psalms 68-70.)

I am sure that I had read these words before today, but I had forgotten them. But I prayed this same sentiment before my shame became known. I had repented of my sins … had removed myself from opportunities to sin … had apologized to others that were affected by my sin … but I lived with the shame of my rebellious and selfish behavior. I also lived in fear that my shame would bring dishonor and damage to my family … to my favorite church … to my “soul-knit” friends … to my former co-workers … to my ex-students around the world.  

I was right to ask God to protect those that I love from the disgrace and shame of my sin … and I continue to pray it.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Another stanza that I would lay up in my heart is Psalm 69:13, “But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.” Are there any more comforting words or promises to a bruised and broken heart than “favor” – “love” – “sure salvation” … all of which we have promised and provided in Jesus. Sing this with me … pray this for me.

“On my bed …”

April 24, 2008

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
(Psalm 63:6-8; NIV. Please read Psalm 62-67.)

The truth is … I don’t sleep much (at least not for any significant stretch of time). I get plenty of sleep, but I wake up off and on through-out the night. Sometimes it’s nature …  sometimes it’s “other stuff”.

Too often it is past guilt … with all the nightmares of regrets, shame, and questions.

Too often it is present pressures … with the stress of bills, credit cards, and student loans.

Too often it is future fears … with the anxiousness of mortgages, retirement, and wasted years.

But occassionally, more now than due to “my daily bread”, I lay on my bed and remember all that the Lord has done for me … and as I reflect … I also relax; and I find rest in His presence.   

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Another stanza I would lay up in my heart is Psalm 66:16, “Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” Bring a lunch when you come, because  it is going to take me awhile. Sing this with me … pray this for me.