Tag Archives: Faith

Have you Partaken Today?

Hi Friend,

Before we begin our descent from the Majestic Mountains of Purpose in Psalm 139 I want to visit King David’s spontaneous praise in verse fourteen.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

This outburst of praise was the result of David’s heart being washed with wave after wave of revelation of the LORD’s kindness and care. David has traveled through the understanding that God knowing him in every way and everywhere. He has found God to be faithfully gracious at every turn. Now as God describes David’s prenatal development in such intimate terms it is too much for his heart to sit still with a closed mouth.

King David, the psalmist of Israel, cries out to his God and King with the sweetest praise his mind can express. It is the last line that tells us why David exploded with joyous praise, “my soul knows it very well.”

Have the words of Psalm 139 begun to sink into your soul? Have you begun to pray it, sing it or memorize it? I ask this not to shame you but to remind you of the journey we are taking. My prayer is not for us to be amazed at David’s experience, but to engraft the love of God into our hearts.

The Apostle Peter in his second letter says it clearly. He explains why we need to intentionally process God’s word into our hearts as we had learned in Proverbs 2:1-5.

Partake“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature,” 2 Peter 1.

His promises are His truth as revealed in Psalm 139. God gave us His word to “partake” of His very being! The word, partake, means to share or for God’s nature to become part of you. If we eat the word like the Bread of Life and tend our hearts like a spiritual garden we will become more Christ–like. It happened to the shepherd boy, David, and it can happen to us too!

Reflect on this passage one more time….

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

I pray that through the word we all partake of Jesus deeply and often. Please pray for one another with me.

Observation: David’s praise was an expression of his soul being filled with God’s love.

Interpretation: God’s truth is of little value to us unless we partake of it through a meditative process. To be transformed into Christ-likeness we need His nature engrafted into our hearts.

Application Prayer: Father God, Thank you for your word. Teach me how to eat it daily. Help me to not just be a hearer of the word but a receiver of your very nature. I yield my heart and mind to your word.  … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

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Were You Predestined?

Meditation Journey Day 43   

Hi Friend,

In the sixteenth verse of this Psalm, David takes us up a difficult path in these majestic mountains of Purpose…

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16

This passage is difficult for us to understand because it implies God planned each day of our lives before we were born. The days were written down in God’s book and we did not get to choose one of them. This is the concept of being pre-designed or predestined. Paul penned a similar thought in Ephesians 1.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”

What is difficult for us to understand is the balance between God’s sovereign will and God's will Man's willman’s free will. Understanding how these two opposing positions co-exist is never easy. It is comforting to know no theologian has thoroughly figured this out either. While it is reassuring to us that God is in control; we like to think we are making our own decisions. Both processes are always operating in parallel. God is always in control and working all things together for the good of His beloved. At the same time God allows each person to exercise their free will; and they are totally responsible for every choice they make. We see this in the Bible in many events. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is a glaring example. When Judas betrayed Jesus to the Jewish leaders he was acting out his own desires. At the same moment God was using Judas’ sinful nature to fulfill God’s plan of sacrificing Jesus to redeem the world.

However, the Bible is clear that God does call and choose us. Rejoice that your decision for Christ began in the heart of God before you were born.

He is holding you; it is not your faith holding on to Him.

Verse sixteen is magnificent, because it tells us God has a plan for our lives. His design of our being, as revealed in verses 13-15, is perfect for the plan that He has set in process. The prophet, Jeremiah revealed the LORD’s plans for God’s people when he wrote, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, thoughts of peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29. How could God say this if He did not already have ultimate control of everything as a sovereign God?

This verse also speaks powerfully about our ultimate purpose for being on earth. The picture, in verse 16, is God looking at our prenatal substance and deciding how we will best impact the world for His purposes. It implies God designed us and sends us into this world as agents of His healing grace and love. We are prescriptions on a mission to reveal the healing love of God through the grace of Jesus Christ. He has prepared in-advance good works for us to do. Remember what Paul wrote, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2

Every person has a God-given purpose and reason for being alive. Human life is sacred because we are made in His image and designed to fulfill good works for His glory. You may or may not know exactly what your purpose is at all times, but trust Him. He is working all things together to accomplish it in your life.

Hand

Here are three things that are His will everyday of our lives: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” 1 Thessalonians 5. As we confidently rejoice, pray and give thanks; we will enjoy His plans for our lives. He has designed each day to give us the hope we need to rest in His Sovereign authority and love.

 

Observation: Verse 13-16 reveals God has pre-designed us for purpose each day. His plans are for our welfare and to give us hope. God’s will and man’s will, may at times be opposite, but God is still working all things together for His beloved.

Interpretation: This truth gave David peace and assurance that God had a divine purpose for his life. It should encourage us too. Our minds, limited by time and space, cannot fully understand how God executes His will without violating man’s free will; yet God constantly works this way. We should rest in the knowledge that He is in control. He designed us to do good works that will glorify Him and bless us. Our focus should be on praying, rejoicing and giving thanks to Him each day.

Application Prayer: Father God, my faith is in you and your loving kindness. I do not completely understand how you ordered my life to give you glory, but I trust your design and purpose for my life. Help me to rejoice each day with prayer and thanksgiving for your Sovereignty and grace. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

You are Wonderfully Made!

Meditation Journey Day 42                         

Hi Friend,

Did you know you were intricately woven in the depths of the earth? I did not either until I read verse 15 of Psalm 139. David is writing beautiful Hebrew poetry about our prenatal development: My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” In these words of wisdom the Holy Spirit is revealing another facet of our unique purpose.

Shine 3The “depths of the earth” is our mother’s womb. The term “frame” does not just describe our skeletal structure. It is metaphor for the frame in which a beautiful tapestry is woven together. Medical science tells us that each person has between twenty to thirty thousand genes that determine everything about their physical make up. Our genes are like the strands of fabric that, in the secret place of the womb, God wove our being together as an artist would weave a masterpiece. Each strand of fabric He chose is of a different color and strength. We are uniquely made and created by God for our moment on the stage of life. He intricately” wove into our makeup just the right strengths, weakness, talents and abilities to give us an exclusive way to glorify Him and serve others.

The application of this truth to our lives is immensely important. All too often we disregard our uniqueness and compare ourselves to others. The Bible says comparison thinking is unwise “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise 2 Corinthians 10.

When we compare ourselves to others it is easy to come to the conclusion we are deficient in some way.  Or just the reverse happens. We compare ourselves to others, and we assume we are in some way superior. Both are traps of Satan and lead to rejecting ourselves or rejecting others. God says, in Isaiah 45, that when we reject ourselves we reject Him. When we reject other people on this criterion we are assuming a position of arrogance that is unwise.  We must stop comparing ourselves to other people, because God has really made us all different. There is no one like us and there never will be anyone just like us!

By design, He created us to reveal His workmanship. This is exactly what Paul wrote: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2. How could we compare ourselves to anyone when we are all designed differently to glorify God in distinctive ways?

It is also unwise to compare yourself to any one because God is the only one that knows all the twists and turns your life will take. He designed us to shine for Him in the mist of darkness, trials and tribulation that we cannot imagine. We may envy someone’s strength or beauty thinking they are so healthy looking not knowing they are filled with cancer! Only He knows the health issues we will experience. Only He knows the people we will meet and places we will go. There are no circumstances we will encounter that God does not know. He prepared us in advance to face all of life with His grace.

This is the key to appreciating our individual differences. Every strength, weakness, talent Shine 2and ability God has “intricately woven” into our being was given to glorify Him through His grace and strength.  We fulfill His purpose for our lives when He is living and loving through us. We are like light bulbs of different shapes, sizes and colors that only glow when the electricity of His Spirit radiates through us. If you think you have limitations, flaws or special “birth marks”, commit all your weakness to Him and allow them to become reminders of His design. Do not be distracted from His grace by comparing yourself to others. Allow the strong points and the weak points of your humanness to turn your heart to Him in humble gratefulness. We need to remember He works all things together for our good and His glory Romans 8. Then we will sing with David the song of the redeemed, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Walk in peace today knowing your Father prepared you in advance to glorify Him in the mist of your joys, trials, and struggles. Pray for others too and share this post; we all need this encouragement.

Observation: David wrote a beautiful poetic description of our prenatal development in verse 15. We are uniquely created. We show how unwise (ignorant) we are when we compare ourselves to others.

Interpretation: This verse reveals how God wove into our lives all the special strengths and weakness that makes us unique. We are designed to glorify Him at all times and in all places. We need to allow our strong and weak points to remind us He especially created us.

Application Prayer: Father God, thank you for making me. I do appreciate and thank you for designing my strengths and weaknesses. Help me to turn my focus to you every time I am tempted to compare myself to others. Help me to allow the electricity of Your Spirit to flow though me so that I can shine Your light into the darkness of this world. I am grateful for the way you wove me together. I accept myself as a gift from you. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

 

Who are You???

Meditation Journey Day 40                            

Hi Friend, ready to break camp and move on? This meditative journey into Psalm 139 has been exciting to me even though I have been walking through it for many years. This is true of all God’s Word. It never becomes boring when He walks us through His beautiful Kingdom of grace.

Ahead on our journey, in verses 13-16, are the  majestic mountains

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Majestic Mountains of Purpose

of Purpose. From their heights we will see the amazing and wonderful way God made us. David, the author of this psalm, will break into spontaneous praise and thanksgiving as he marvels at God’s creative work. I pray that we too will have eyes to see God’s beautiful purpose in us. God, help us to have ears to hear the whispers of Your joy in us in the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit.

Today, please pause and read through these four verses of Psalm 139:13-16 several times. Allow the Holy Spirit to begin to engraft them into your soul.

 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

The world says we are simply biological accidents that emerged from the slime; just smart Hex coil 1germs. God says we are His beloved children made for a holy and high purpose. We have been formed to be His instruments of grace and love.

Remember, God’s word is “living and active.” (Hebrews 4) As you humbly receive His word you allow it to work in your heart. Receiving the truth that God has a divine and unique purpose for some people is very hard to believe. Please pray with me that each of us reading this today will began to see the distinctive and very special person God created us to be.

Observation: David gives us the revelation of how and why God created us in verses 13-16. He is overwhelmed by the purpose and plans of God for his life.

Interpretation: Knowing we are created by God with purpose is a powerful understanding. The world says people are just naked apes that come and go like any other animal. God’s word shatters that lie as we receive and believe the truth through Psalm 139.

Application Prayer: Father God, Thank you for making me. I am in awe that you take such interest in me. I am sure I will never fully understand why you saved me, but please help me to glorify you each day. Please help me to fulfill the purpose you created me for in this world. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

The Wicked Weapon of Rejection

Meditation Journey Day 39    

Hi Friend, Though you might like to read a comment about last weeks Meditative Journey:

Hey Pastor Neil,

I’ve wanted to thank you for all the messages that you send, they are great to read. I appreciate the time you take to help those of us who don’t understand the word of God as easy as you do. Thank you for all you do to help me get closer to the Almighty!!!

JM

Now back to Psalm 139……..

Rejection is a wicked weapon in the hands of our Enemy. The need to know we are unconditionally accepted by God is vital to our spiritual growth. Satan will use people and circumstances to slam our hearts with the feeling we do not belong and are unloved. Knowing what God says and thinks about us becomes our shield of faith. It gives us strength to face the rejection that we experience in our world. Psalm 139 verses 7-12 express very strongly God’s truth about our place of belonging in His heart.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol (hell), you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

The eleventh verse of this section again focuses on David’s rebellious choice of trying to run and hide from God; this time it is in darkness. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night.” Hiding in darkness is the natural bent of mankind. In John 3, Jesus had a piercing commentary on why people like the darkness, “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”  

When we sin, our human nature wants to hide.Adam

We become afraid. We got this bent from our first parents Adam and Eve. “They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.  And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3

They tried to conceal their nakedness with fig leaves and then when God approached them they ran into the darkness. We still act the same way.

What David finds in hiding is the consistent presence of God, even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

Rejection 2We know God is everywhere because He is omnipresent, but what these verses reveal is the attitude He has toward us everyplace we go. In all places, but hell, we will find the loving kindness of God. In our last meditative entry (38) we learned when we take the wings of the morning and rebelliously run away He is there dancing with us. At our deepest despair and most wicked moment, God’s attitude towards us is never condemnation and further rejection. For His children, it is unconditional love, mercy and grace. His love for us is not determined by our behavior, but by His patient enduring mercy given to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

I trust this truth about God’s grip of grace on you will help you to turn to Him continually. Satan wants us to hide in fear; God calls us to walk with Him in the light of His confident love. Christ is with you in the great times, the good times, and even the really bad times! This even includes your worse choices and decisions.

I pray that you continually allow your soul to soak in the truth of these verses. The message of God’s gracious love can be easily pushed aside when we are hit by the fiery arrows of our Enemy. Please humbly tend the garden of your heart with the confidence of God’s loving presence in your life.

Observation: David, like Adam and Eve, ran and hid from God. In verse 11 he tried darkness, but even there God was with him. As His children, there is no place in our existence where we are ever away from our loving God.

Interpretation: God’s gracious love extended in unconditional terms is astounding for all who trust in Jesus Christ. That He takes our worse choices and works them together for our good and His glory is comforting. We will always face the consequences of our choices, but never will we face them without His gracious presence. This is all because of the love poured out on us through Jesus Christ!

Application Prayer: Father God, I am so grateful you sent Jesus to die for me. I may feel alone, but I know those feelings are never true. You are always with me, always holding me. I humbly surrender to you and trust your love to guide me.  … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

 

Does God Dance with you?

Meditation Journey Day 38

Hi Friend,

Psalm 139 is a very condensed communication of God’s mercy and loving kindness to each of us. It is reasonable to believe God loves me when I am doing well, but to think He still loves me at my worst stretches my faith.

Consider verses 9 & 10 in our journey: “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” They tell us of the tender and reassuring love of God even when we are very sinful and rebellious. It is reasonable to believe God loves me when I am doing well, but to think He still loves me at my worst stretches my faith. In Psalm 139 this is exactly what David, the writer f this Psalm, is reporting.

First, I need to tell you why I can say God’s love is so consistent even when we are willfully disobeying Him. The very simple answer is Jesus’s sacrifice. Jesus Christ died for all our sin; all our past rebellion, present willfulness, and even our future wickedness. Trusting His sacrifice pays for all the moral debt we owe. When we put our faith in His righteousness we also receive His merit of goodness. From the moment we exchange our rags of self-righteousness for His moral purity, God looks at us differently. Paul said it this way,

What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did…  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5

Now read the verses again, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” David is remembering times when he willfully and rebelliously ran from God. He wanted to fly away and find a place where he could live his own way. No matter where David went he found God there! What is remarkable to David and should be to us, is God’s attitude and actions towards David. Notice God’s one hand is leading David and the other, God’s right hand is holding David. Allow me to suggest this is a dancing position. God is facing David looking at him directly in the eyes and God’s left hand is holding David’s right hand. God’s right hand is around David’s waist and holding him.

Knowing more about the hands is very important in our meditation. The right hand is a term in scripture that refers to the power and might of a person.  The right hand of God is a metaphor for all the power of God! Consider with me the placement of the hands in these verses.  David’s right hand, all his human strength, is being held and directed by God’s left hand. It is when David’s strength is finally rendered powerless that he realizes he is in the hands of God. He is at the end of his rope and yet God is leading him. God’s right hand, His power and might, is holding David. Just like David, at our most wretched moments when we are in rebellion to God, he is still holding and leading us. This is hard to Dance 3imagine but the placement of Father God’s hands resemble the placement of someone dancing! Is it possible that when we are at our worst God posture is to dance with us!!!  Grace says this is true, but our minds resist this kind of grace.

That my friend is the kind of love I need and have found in Jesus Christ. I find this overwhelmingly kind and precious of God to be so patient with my failure and sin. This Psalm made it real to me at my worse moments, and God will reveal the depth of His great love for you as you fill your mind and heart with His Word.  Remember Proverbs 2, “My, Child if you will receive my word…”

Have you taken the wings of the morning? Do you wish to run away from life and are you struggling against the grip of God? Know that at your worse He is still dancing with you. Please turn to Him now and trust Him so the dance can be enjoyed by both of you!

My your day be filled with grace and peace…. from the Lover of your soul…Jesus!

 

Observation: David finds even when he willfully runs from God, The Lord never leaves him. He also realizes that when he is in rebellion God is still holding him.

Interpretation: God’s attitude and actions at David’s greatest failures is pure grace and love. The way God is holding David appears to be a loving and kind posture. This is a picture of great grace and mercy at our lowest moments.

Application Prayer: Father God, thank you for sending Jesus and covering my sin. I was so afraid that when I chose my own way you would leave me in my brokenness. Knowing that you are always there holding me helps me trust you and relax in your faithful love. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Do you know where your going to?

Meditation Journey Day 35                         

Hi Friend,

OK, lace up your boots and pick up your back pack we are moving on into the next section of Psalm 139. This next section many be rough for some of us. Verses 7-12 are all about going. It starts with a question, “Where shall I go from your presence? It ends with the conclusion the LORD is with me everywhere I go.

VastWe really are only going in one of two directions. The only variable is how fast we are moving. Either we are moving towards God or away from Him. That is always the choice we have in every major decision we make.

The author of this psalm, King David had a lot of experience in moving towards and away from God. If you know King David’s biography in the Bible you are aware he was on the run for many years before he ever became king of Israel. He was being hunted by King Saul and at one point actually ran away to live with the enemies of God for safety. He hid in caves in the wilderness and barely survived. He did not always make godly choices; you can read David’s entire story in 1st & 2nd Samuel. Knowing his struggles, fears and his flight adds depth to this passage.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol (hell), you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

RuunnerJust like David we can run towards or away from God.  Are you running towards the Lord or away from Him? Remember it is not so much a physical direction as it is an attitudinal posture. Here are some questions to help you decide which direction your heart is heading. When truth about your behavior is presented to you do you embrace it or resist it? Are you wishing you could get away with things you know are wrong? When circumstances do not go your way do you give thanks to God quickly, slowly or not at all? When things go well do you thank God? When things go bad do you blame God or think He is punishing you? When you accomplish remarkable things to whom do you give credit…you or God? Are you mentally arguing with people from your present or past? Is there anyone you have not forgiven?

These are just some questions that reveal to ourselves what direction we are going. The Apostle James says we all stumble in many ways so do not think you’re the only one who is challenged by these questions.

If this inquiry felt a little rough to your spiritual knees and you realized you have stumbled and fallen down; I suggest you stop and evaluate what we have learned in verses 1-6. He really does love you and value you highly. Choose to humble your heart in surrender to Him. Go deeper in your faith by trusting His grace to lead you back to His path. Oh yes, if your knees hurt, do not forget to ask for His forgiveness.

Observation: We are all moving towards or away from God. David learned from his experiences that the Lord God is always with him.

Interpretation: Since we are always in route, it is important we keep focus on the right direction. We choose every day which direction we are going. Our repentance is God’s plan to get us back on His path.

Application Prayer: Father God, thank you for your word. It helps me to get up after I have stumbled. Your grace reminds me you will forgive my waywardness. I do want to go your way. Teach me your paths. I will walk in them… in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?