Tag Archives: Marriage relationships

the spiritually normal response

Meditation Journey Day 50       

Hi Friend,

What is the spiritually normal response to truth?

We are now in the Valley of Victory of Psalm 139:19-22. These verses are a pattern and process of how we gain Victory over evil and sin in our own life. They come after we have seen the beauty of the LORD in the preceding verses 1-18. David is displaying what our hearts will do when we have seen the Lord’s loving-kindness and gracious mercy.

This is the process of repentance and it is the spiritually normal response.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! Men of blood, depart from me!

What David is saying is, LORD I see your truth and hold your thoughts precious in my change-1heart. Now I know the wickedness around me and in me and I do not like it! Turning towards God, David asks, “God, can you please change my circumstances?” Then David turns towards the evil and says, Men of blood, depart from me!” David is sick of the sin his eyes see and his heart is burdened by the evil associations he has accepted. His expectations are that God will remove them and change the circumstance. David then turns to the men of blood and hopes that by simply telling them to leave the problem will be solved. It won’t.

The wicked and the men of blood, while they may have been real people to David, are metaphors of the lies and half-truths we believe.

The wicked and the men of blood, while they may have been real people to David, are metaphors of the lies and half-truths we believe. The wicked thoughts that we believe have been leading us to rebellion and darkness. They are the seeds of bitterness and rejection that tell us God does not love us. The evil thoughts are lusts of all kinds that sell us pleasure as a sanctuary of false peace. The men of blood are demon’s lies that murder our hope and slaughter our purpose. Friend, they will not go away simply because we ask.

The Holy Spirit is powerful enough to destroy them all independently of us, but He does not always choose to exercise His power.

repent-turnaround1Why, because He wants us to gain the victory from the inside out. He wants us to “stand strong in the Lord and the power of His might” with an internal confidence in God. How we stand in the Lord’s power will come clearer as we proceed on this journey. Just remember what you have learned to this point. The Holy Spirit has given us God’s precious thoughts in Psalm 139 and now He wants us to receive it, believe it and obey it. This is the only path the world, sin, and Satan will be defeated in our lives.

Observation: David sees the wickedness around him and he responds in the spiritually normal way of wanting freedom and change. His first two responses to the realization he needs change are typical and non-productive. David was expecting God to change his circumstances or he hoped they would just go away on their own accord.

Interpretation: The road to spiritual victory starts with the Holy Spirit revealing to us God’s loving kindness. He leads us to the foot of the cross to see the grace poured out on us. That is what we have been receiving through Psalm 139:1-18. Jesus Christ’ sacrifice on the cross obtained all the blessings we have received from God. As we become alive in Christ, the wickedness of this world becomes more uncomfortable. Our response typically is to expect God to change our circumstances. He could but He does not because He wants an internal and everlasting transformation of our hearts.

Application Prayer: Father God, Thank you for your gracious mercy revealed in Jesus Christ dying for me. I know all your grace freely flows to me through His death, burial and resurrection. As I receive your precious thoughts and obey them the sin in my life becomes more obvious. It challenges your word and resists your truth. Help me to take the responsibility to internally allow you to change me. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

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Slay the wicked, O God!

Meditation Journey Day 49     

Hi Friend,

Have you ever felt like David did in Psalm 139:19? He cries out, Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!” God, will you please get rid of the evil around me?

That cry begins the process for David to gain a victory in his spiritual battle. It is where we begin too! Keep in mind while David may have been thinking of literal bad people in his world whereas our spiritual battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battles are against the lies and half truths pressed upon us by the world, the devil, and our own sinful nature.

Keep in mind while David may have been thinking of literal bad people in his world whereas our spiritual battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battles are against the lies and half truths pressed upon us by the world, the devil, and our own sinful nature.

David has journeyed through the wonderful truths of verses 1-18 in his song of praise to God, Psalm 139. As he becomes aware that all the heavenly blessings are true he also realizes the wickedness he has accepted in his life. He has internalized God’s loving kindness, and it has changed his perspective of The LORD, himself and the evil around him. He now understands he has been living by Satan’s thoughts and the world’s values. Radical change is coming to David; he is beginning to be transformed as he puts off the lies of Satan and puts on the truth of God. This is also our first step to being transformed. When we see God as He really is and ourselves through the lens of His precious thoughts, we will change our direction and perspective to His way. The Bible calls this repentance.

Anytime we read, hear or see the kindness of God and do not breathe a prayer repentof humble thanks for His mercy; we are not receiving His truth into our hearts.

Repentance always happens in our lives when we receive God’s kindness and embrace His goodness revealed in Jesus Christ. Listen to what Paul wrote about repentance, “Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” All the truth of the first eighteen verses of Psalm 139 is God’s kindness to us. It was given by the Holy Spirit to lead us to change our direction and repent. Anytime we read, hear or see the kindness of God and do not breathe a prayer of humble thanks for His mercy; we are not receiving His truth into our hearts. We would then be presuming on God’s grace. The Holy Spirit is trying to transform us through God’s thoughts, and we resist Him by thinking they are not important! We assume God is not speaking about me, or we consider the Bible as a book just written by man and doubt its truthfulness. You may be presuming at this very moment I am not in need of this message! Remember the first step in receiving God’s Word is to realize it is a personal word from God to us (Proverbs 2). All our negative presuming about God’s Word is just a form of arrogance and pride.

David did receive God’s thoughts as precious, and now he sees the wickedness all around him. The prophet Isaiah experienced the same repentant attitude when he saw the Lord high and lifted up in the temple. He cried out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” All through the Bible, we have accounts of people who saw the Lord’s grace and kindness and they melted into a new perspective of God and themselves. It always happens when we encounter the Living God! I pray it begins to happen to you as you humbly receive the precious thoughts in Psalm 139:1-18. 

You will know you have begun to transform when you become aware of the lies you have accepted about God and yourself. David cried, “Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!” He was saying, God, please get rid of the evil I now see in me and around me! Are you beginning to experience a changing attitude toward God and yourself as you journey through Psalm 139?

This is the point where the spiritual battle rages all the time. What we believe about God and ourselves is the critical point of us gaining freedom. Psalm 139 paints a grace-filled picture of Father God’s love and kindness. The more that becomes clear the more we can see the evil we have believed and accepted into our hearts. Then we too will become very uncomfortable with the world’s evil that we accept and the secular thoughts we embrace. We will also begin to cry out, O God take away the wickedness in my heart and in my world!

Observation: Verses 19 is David’s cry as he becomes aware of the evil around him. This is the first step of transformation when we have actually received and internalized God’s precious thoughts.

Interpretation: Verses 19-22 are a model of the process of repentance. It may be somewhat different for each person, but it contains the basic process to walk us through repentance. Each step is another layer of transformation in our walk of faith. If this process of internal change is not happening in us; then we are assuming that the message is not true or not for us. We are probably not nurturing our spiritual garden. Have you hidden any of Psalm 139 in your hearts ?

Application Prayer: Father God, I see you in a different light through the words of Psalm 139. I view myself different too. I am ashamed of the lies I have believed, and I pray that you will remove the evil from my life. Please slay my sinfulness and the wickedness in me  … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Got Anxiety?

flat-tire-700x466Ever felt trapped? There is so much to make a grown person cry these days. Worries come from a variety of sources: personal problems, family issues, health concerns, and money problems. Add to this the constant stream of negative national and world news and the anxiety can eat away at your confidence and steal your joy.  Yet our worry changes nothing but our present attitude; it destroys our peace and produces fear.

Does the Bible have a solution?

Very much so! Anxiety and worry are addressed in many passages of scripture.

In Psalm 121 of the Old Testament, the Psalmist cries out, “I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

This reminds us that the mountains (meaning our troubles and obstacles) may be huge and seem insurmountable, but OUR HELPER is the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

In the 6th chapter of Matthew, Jesus teaches us how not to worry. “Therefore I tell you, do not Anxiety 1worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Your Heavenly Father Knows

Jesus tells us to change our focus from us to our Father in Heaven, from our problems to His solutions. It is this change of focus that reveals our trust in Him. God is in control of everything, every circumstance and every person. He is the Sovereign LORD of all creation. Focus on this and worry will leave.

When worry comes knocking at our mind’s door, it steals away our peace.  We must turn to Jesus and trust His promise that He is in control. Isaiah 26:3 gives us the secret in applying this positive truth to all our negative worry: “You (Lord God) keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.” When we focus on what God has said, light shines and darkness flees.

Finally, Christian friend, remember Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. These words are assuring because they cover all the circumstances we face. We need to rest in the confidence that God, in His wisdom and Sovereign Grace is working all our circumstances together for His glory and our good.

Do you love God? Have you trusted Jesus Christ’s death on the cross to open the door to God’s grace for you? If so, look toward God not your problems. He is and always has been working out your circumstances. Humble your heart to trust His care and power, and anxiety will be replaced by peace.

Got Guilt?

forgiveness

The Bible says we can be forgiven through Jesus Christ. He redeemed us to love us and to love through us. All the guilt and shame of our past is removed it is over and gone.

Psalm 103 declares: “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

 Your past has past. Let it go. God has forgiven you and you need to forgive yourself. Yet even though we know we have been forgiven guilt can keep us focused on past mistakes, poor choices and wrong decisions.

In his book Devotions for a Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas tells this story:

“A relationship from my teen years still makes me wince -whenever the girl’s name comes to mind and I think about the hurt I caused her. One day recently I was wondering and praying about looking her up to tell her how sorry I felt for how I acted twenty-five years ago. One of my best friends — a marriage and family therapist from San Diego — adamantly opposed the idea.

“Gary,” Steve said, “I’m thinking this is more about you than it is about her.”

In his counseling experience, Steve has discovered that looking up someone after two and a half decades can be dangerous; you don’t know where he or she is coming from or what’s happening in his or her life.The potential for hurt is just as great as the potential for healing. But the clincher came when he said, “Look, why don’t you take all the energy you’re using thinking about this and spend it on planning how you can love your wife today.” That’s when it dawned on me: Guilt attacks us by using a dead relationship to distract us from a living one. Some things in our past can’t be “fixed.” 

You can repent, you can ask for forgiveness; but you can’t always go back — nor should you try. Some of us are more introspective and hold on to our guilt in such a way that we become blinded to our present obligations. When guilt comes knocking on your door about a failed relationship from the past, start praying about how to love your spouse today.”

And I will add not only your spouse, but everyone in your life. Don’t let a dead relationship pollute or weigh down a living one. Forgive as you have been forgiven; love as you have been loved. Christ has set you free from the past so live and love in the present.

I’m so glad my wife likes coffee.

Coffee cupI’m so glad my wife likes coffee. Not just because there are some healthy reasons to drink the brew, but because it is an easy simple gift I can give her every morning, every day. I have a routine of making the coffee either the night before, or as soon as I awake, and then I bring it to her while she is still in bed.

It’s the perfect time to tell her she is beautiful, I love her and thank God for her.

Yes, everyday if I can. When she is away on a trip, I send her a morning text with “here is your coffee, I love you” just to remind her.

Why? ….. because she so insecure that she needs that reassurance each day? Not at all! She is a very confident and competent woman. I just happen to enjoy loving my wife, and this is a simple easy way to let her know I cherish her each day. I also know I need opportunities to express the truth about her and our relationship. This is a simple and easy way to serve her and keep my heart focused in God’s direction towards my wife and our marriage.Coffee together

So what are the little rituals you have practiced in your relationship? You need them. Look for the routine moments of your life and turn them into rituals of grace to nurture your love for each other. How do the two of you say hello or good-bye? What do your children observe in how you cherish each other?

Keep it simple and easy to do each day. The impact will be little each day, but great over the years.