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May 27, 2003

Facing Failure and Discipline

2 Samuel 12:20
So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate.

(Jayme gave me some insight into this passage already today - she did her devotions before me this morning. Her thoughts have added a lot to my own application of this passage.)

Because of David's sin with Bathsheba. God's judgement and discpline was measured out to David. It almost appears to be flat justice - the child concieved in adultery by David and Bathsheba would die as a price for Uriah's life. But it's how David respons that is very interesting.

When confronted by Nathan with his sin, David immediately took responsibility. Because he did so his own life would not be required for Uriah's, but the life of his child would be (v. 13,14). (Note, Bathsheba is referred to as Uriah's wife until this child concieved in adultery has died.) It says that David pleaded with God for the life of his child. His servants were even afraid to to tell him of the child's death because of the desperate way he contended for God to be gracious in the situation and to spare the child's life. the response they recievved from David was not only unexpected, but confusing. for instead of going off the deep end, David ceased his contenting and grieving, and immediately moved on.

I think there are some lessons about enduring a season of God's discipline here. First, that instead of just "taking your swats," it is acceptable to show your sorrowful repentance by contending for God to reverse His course of action. I wonder if a true measure of our repentance is really the sorrow that we feel for our wrongdoing and it's effect on those around us.

But the other lesson has to do with how we respond when the discipline is over. do we whine and carry on about how difficult and unfair it has been? Or do we dust ourselves off and get going again? the first thing David did was to clean himself off, and begin to worship. Instead of asking God why He did what He did, he chose to aknowledge God's goodness to change him. When it all is said and done, God can be trusted. We don't have to live in our failure forever. Worship keeps sorrow from fermenting into ander and bitterness.

Lord, I don't want to live in the failure of my past. I will aknowledge it, learn from it, and move into the future in worship.

May 28, 2003

Confession and Mercy

Proverbs 28:13
He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

Secret sin is a shameful matter. the weight of it in your life gets compounded like interest increases debt. Most people deal well with sin over all, recognizing it and avoiding it. But for most, there are 1 or 2 fatal areas that anchor us to pain. Dr. Ted Roberts calls it "cherished sin." It's what we turn to for momentary relief from other pain or pressure in our lives. Often it is some self-indulgent activity (e.g. shopping, eating, porn, even sleeping too much as a way to avoid stuff, etc.) that seems to provide momentary relief, but really compounds the guilt and shame, increasing our pain. Our failure to overcome it only send us into a hopeless repetitive cycle of bondage which effects our soul and spirit.

But there is a way out - confession. First there is the cry from a broken heart to a loving God for mercy and forgiveness. Second, it the comittment to transparency with others. James 5:17 says confession is the the way to healing the bruise of sin. Confession releases fortitude to resist the gravitational pull of "cherished sin." Confession calls us to change our fleshly response to the stimulus of our lives and forsake our want for immediate gratification. It frees us from the weight and entanglemnt of sin (Hebrews 12:2) and allows our soul to prosper.

Lord, let me walk in the freedom and health that comes from confession. Let it release it's healing in my life as I walk transparently with others and forsake the call of "cherished sin."

May 31, 2003

Set Up For Disaster

2 Samuel 17:14
...For the Lord had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring disaster on Absalom

In the story, Absalom had taken rule over Israel while David has fled Jerusalem and is hiding. In his quest for the hrone, Absalom recieves advice from two advisors on what to do. Most interesting is not the detail of the plans, but what God's plans were.

I'm not quite sure how God's purpose overrules our own free will. I'm not sure that it does. Butbecause He knws the condition of our heart and the intent of our thoughts, the outcome has been determined. Because of thecondition of Absalom's heart, his pridul and rebellious quest ffor the throne, he chose a course of action that was immediate rather than patient. For when our hearts are set in rebellion, we hear only what we want to hear, and as a result set ourselves up for disaster.

Lord, guard my heart from pride and rebellion. Letme find my counsel inYour wisdom and not in man's.Correct me so that You don't have to bring judgement and disaster to my life.

June 1, 2003

A Life and Death Choice

Proverbs 1:28-29
"Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord,

1:7 describes the foundational principle in the book of Proverbs - "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge." For me, someone who wan to become wise, it starts with having the right perspectiveof God - His awesomeness and His greatlove. It produces a humble and teachable attitude in me. It make me hungry for His attention and produces in me a desire to please and obey Him.

This Proverb says that there are those that the LORD will not respond to. It is because they have developed a pattern of rejecting His counsel and ignoring His correction (v. 30). Idon't think that God witholds from them as much as they become unable to recgnize His voice, or find Him becase they don't know where to look for Him.

It goes on to say that these are left to suffer the consequences of ther own choices - "filled to the full with thier own fancies" (v. 31). Eventually, thier complacency- thier lack ofpursuingGod and governing thier own lives will kill them (v. 32).

Lord, I want to be in proper alignment with You. To fear You, to know You, to hear You, to be led by You. I want to have knowldge and gain wisdom.

July 16, 2003

Captain Backfire

Proverbs 16:23
The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips.

I was invited by one of the young guys in our church to play on his softball team. It's been a lot of fun. I'm getting to know all this guy's buddies and they are getting to know me. But it seems like every week I come home frustrated. Not because of something done or said by someone else. Because of something I said or did stupid. Thirty-six years old and I still can act like an arrogant/ignorant fool. I'm still concerned wih being cool or macho. It just looks stupid on me. And 99% of the time it shows up in something I've said.

This past Sunday I came home so embarrassed and disappointed in myself. I was asking for a ruling on something from the ump and one of the players on the other team (probably about my age too) made some comment to me from the dugout. So I had to "defend my manhood." After the game as the teams shake hands, I intentionally did not shake his. He started making more comments about my poor sportsmanship. So again I had to say something smart back. It's not that what I said was so bad. The issue for me is why do I let myself walk right into these traps that let put my flesh on display.

If I would let my heart teach my mouth, my life would be really different. Instead of being concerned about how I am percieved, I want the Lord to beclearly evident in my mouth. John Mayer has a song called "My Stupid Mouth." I has a great lyric that describes how I'm feeling -

So maybe I try too hard
But it's all because of this desire
I just wanna be liked, I just wanna be funny
Looks like the jokes on me
So call me captain backfire

Well, I don't want Captain Backfire anymore. I want my heart to teach my mouth. Lord, help me. My desire is that "the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in Your sight" (Psalm 19:14).

October 27, 2003

Looking In The Mirror

Proverbs 27:19
As in water face reflects face, So a man's heart reveals the man.

Yesterday, I used Proverbs 19:21 as my launch text for a message about God's purpose for each person's life - Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that will prevail. Today's passage reminds me that the plans I make reflect my heart for God. My heart reflects what kind of man I am; my integrity, my love for God, what my priorities are, etc. These things are reflected in what I say (out of the abundance of the heart...), the choices I make for obedience, even how I process and think about my life (as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he...). All of these things are clearly visible - as clear as my reflection in a mirror.

Lord, what do you see? Does my life reflect more than a desire to honor you, but actually does it. I don't want to be a man who is all talk, a man who thinks more highly of myself than I ought (or not walking in my authority either), and whose plans are based in the flesh not in the Spirit. Let me reflect the work of the Holy spirit which is conforming my life to the image of Christ.

January 19, 2004

Takin' Care of Buisness

Genesis 34:3-5
And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. 5 So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake...

There seems to be a simple formula for promotion that is found in Joseph's life: faithfulness ("all he did..") - favor ("So Jospeh found favor in his sight...") - responsibility ("made him overseer...") - blessing (the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake..."). This pattern was repeated in in prison too.

It's just like I tell Justin his role is in our family - TCB ("take care of business"). It's a reminder to me as well. And Joseph is a good model of TCB.

February 10, 2009

Worthless

Proverbs 6:12-14 (ESV)
12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
continually sowing discord;

What struck me this morning while reading is the term "worthless." It's translated differently in other other versions, but this term I think best defines the kind of person this proverb is speaking about. This is someone who only looks out for themself. The don't bring anything of value to a relationship or community. In fact it's just the opposite - thier life revolves around taking. So they "talk out of both sides of thier mouth" (MSG translation) saying what ever the person they're speaking to wants to hear, or what ever will get them what they want (even if what they want is just attention).

Another trait is the wink. I've been winked at before. It usually start with a statement like, "Now I'm not supposed to be saying this, but if you'll keep it a secret, I'll tell you..." It is a tool of seduction, a "come on" of sorts, that implies or invites an illicit intimacy that doesn't exist.

Then there's the "signal" giver; the person who will always give you up and point you out. This is a dangerous person because the results of thier actions result in your injury. This is also the kind of person who will make promises to you while having thier fingers crossed behind thier back.

Because they have no honor and only look out for themselves, eventually they burn bridges. The only way to keep control then is to turn those around them against each other. This is nothing more than a distraction method intended to shift the attention from them. But thier selfishness destroys community.

I know I'm not this kind of person. What I need to know is if there are people in my life who are. I've not known many people who are intentionally malicious like this. For most people who act worthless is because they feel worthless and are trying to compensate for thier insecurities. The need of self-importance is a destructive force.

Lord, help me to see if there are those in my life who are worthless. Guard my heart from them. Help me protect my family and community from them. Keep me from falling into the trap of self-importance.

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