Let Me Tell You a Story – All Things

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Have you ever went through a week where it seems you are right on the cusp of dropping one of the balls you are juggling, right on the edge of loosing some control, walking the precipice of a bad experience, of experiencing a serious fear?

A bit of a long winded question, but I wanted to give you a feel for the week I went through. I will not bore you with the specifics, but looking back, the week was a great week, with none of the perceived and expected failures falling on me.

I am sure I am not alone, and this is a further reminder that I need to press in on the Savior for the calmness He promises in the midst of my day. This is a lesson I am realizing more each day.

But this story has to do with “the hangover” from a week like I described. You see, I had been carrying this nervousness and not dealing with it correctly, until the week was over and then I simply relaxed. But I didn’t deal with the frustration I had inflicted on myself. And because of this frustration, I was ticked Saturday morning!

I mean, my attitude was completely incorrect, unwarranted and super confusing for my favorite wife to understand. She didn’t deserve the friction and when my son came over to chat, he must have walked away thinking that something is wrong with ol’ dad.

Fast forward a couple hours later, when I am over to my son’s new home, painting the inside prior to his family moving in. We were making good progress and the radio was on, with Creedence Clearwater playing in the background. The song “Lookin Out My Back Door” came on, and the phrase “take a rest on the porch” struck me.

This is a song about the imaginations of a young child, watching a carnival come through town.

Immediately, when the porch phrase came on, I realigned my attitude. It was very unexpected, and seemed to be the very trigger that the Lord used in my weakness, frustration and anger. My perspective changed, and I am thankful to the Lord for His kindness

Let me ask you if you have been ministered to by the Lord by words or thoughts not directly from the Scriptures. This may seem like heresy to some, but I am seeing the pervasiveness of the Spirit working through All Things for His intent and goal in our lives

Let me know what you think. Has the Lord spoke to you through secular messages? Has He used a common message and provided you a heavenly meaning, one that aligns with the Word of God and His nature?

I am convinced He is big enough to take All Things, even an old song about a child and a carnival, and use them for His purpose.


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Let Me Tell You a Story – Cry Baby

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My wife and I did some baby sitting this Sunday and it reminded us of the many times we just didn’t know what to do with a child.

As a reminder to my reader, my wife and I have raised five kids, and have had our challenges, some of which we may have succeeded at, some we failed at. But with all of the child rearing, we can look back and see the grace of God in giving us many blessings as a family.

But back to the intent of the story.

We had a little baby with us for close to 7 hours, and when the little one is not asleep, she cries. Cries cries cries. Until she is picked up, but then, after a brief respite, she goes back to crying crying crying. Wow. So much crying.

Prior to experiencing the joys and trials of parenting, I had the attitude of “Make the kid obey” for every parent out there.

Parent the child.

Make em obey!

But with a child comes a will, and with that will comes a difference of desire. After the birth of our children, I slowly (too slowly) understood the concepts of training the will of a youngster, of directing the youth to better things. Telling a child to obey does not work (for long). Sure, they may conform, but that is not the goal is it?

This little one we cared for, she just cried cried and cried some more. She wanted something and in my heart of hearts, I wanted to just figger a way to make her stop. The incessant crying only to get what she wants. Terms like spoiled, coddled and pampered raced through my head, but I fought against such judgmental thoughts, since I know my broken nature is the source of that reactionary thought.

Still, is there no way for this little one to just quit crying?

Eventually I became numb to the crying, sat still and let my thoughts wander. (Oh nooooooo….)

How often have I known a young (in the faith) believer that cries incessantly over some issue. One who claims the name of Christ and yet is divisive, full of gossip, a backbiter and continually complaining.

With both scenarios, discipline is required. Of course with the little one, this is kind of a moot point, since she has such little capacity to understand any type of discipline. (BTW, when I mention discipline, please do not default to understanding corporeal punishment.)

With the young believer, strong biblical verses need to be applied, speaking of the danger their behavior is leading them towards. Grace needs to be understood properly, and wisdom is needed when discussing an immature believers actions and attitudes. Growing up necessitates direction and discipline.

With a young child, as the child understands the discipline, it needs to be administered consistently and under the constant attitude of love. Before a child is one year old, the concept of “NO” should be firmly understood by the child.

Remember how I mentioned my mind wanders a few paragraphs back. You have just entered the “Simpson” Zone, where strange and weird thoughts connect with one another to try to communicate a general life truth. A general life truth of relating to others in their situation.

This bit of a story all started with a little one crying crying crying. And my reactionary thoughts. Golly, if I had just a bit more patience, I would have understood that this little one is only 6 months old, and she is cutting her first teeth.

Can you blame her for crying? Not at all. No discipline required, of course (as if it would have been of benefit!!!) Just an adult that needed to understand the facts.

By the way, when you come into contact with a young believer, understand his or her situation prior to throwing those danger verses out there.

Wisdom my friends. It runs on knowledge and understanding.


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Let Me Tell You a Story – Scars

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Chatting with my daughter a few weeks back and she told me of her friend that is a new parent.  The young couple  are dedicated to providing a safe and loving environment for their baby to grow up in.

Maybe too safe? 

You see, my daughter spoke of this little baby having a walking helmet.  Yes, a walking helmet.  Their little one is starting to venture to the vertical method of travelling, but the parents, in all good intentions (I think) are seeking to protect their little one from bumps and scrapes.

Is this wise? Does past experience teach us the wisdom of being overly protective?

When my grandbabies come over, I wrestle with them, throw them over my head, tickle em till they are crying and swing them around to make them fearless, instead of fearful. When they (and I) are dizzy and stumble, even fall down, I distract them from any pain they may experience. (Of course if there is blood squirting, or a bone sticking out, I will call the mama – I’m not that heartless!!!)

If they inadvertently experience a bit of pain, I see it as a necessary experience in life, and that protecting them from all pain is actually detrimental to their successful voyage through life.

It’s funny when I think of my grandbabies, when they come over, that grampa is the neighborhood toy to play with, and they know the treatment they will get, the rough and tumble playtime, the chasing and wrestling, the tossing about, and yet they seek it, look for the “scary”, dangerous(?) and goofy fun

Folks, I am persuaded that scars build character, and that without some scarring in this life, it becomes obvious there is no battle being fought, no cause to seek for, no purpose in the existence granted to us.

This “safety first” consciousness that is so pervasive in our society speaks of a pampered, indulgent society, of comfort and ease at all cost, and the loss of a will to fight for anything.

You might think I am taking a minor item like walking helmets and blowing it up out of all proportion, and you may be right. Each parent has to determine their philosophy of child rearing and mine isn’t perfect, but my adult children are fighters, and they don’t give up after a disappointment. Each of them have had major setbacks in their lives and yet they are fighting to make the best of it, instead of sitting in a pity puddle, crying about how unfair life is.

Scars are evidence of a fight, of a battle fought, of a character being formed, even at very early ages.

As we grow into adults, (and even grampas!), the scarring may take many different forms, but each scar gives evidence of character. Character that is formed from adversity, (not prosperity) from suffering (not comforts) and from struggles (not a life of ease!)

The greatest scarring I can think of are the marks the Lord Jesus carries, even as He is praying for us in our battles. Jesus showed His disciples his hands and side, proving it was He that spoke and not some ephemeral spirit, but a flesh and bone resurrected man.

He fought for us, and for the glory and love of God. His scars give evidence of this.

What scars are you carrying?


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Psalms for Psome – 20

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Occasionally we will be reading through the Psalms and a passage will open up a wee bit for us. This happened last night as we were slowly reading through this psalm of prayer. Lets take a moment to read Psalm 20

Psalm 20

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.

David recorded the prayers of the congregation for the King, asking that David’s prayers be answered, and all his petitions be fulfilled. The congregation capped of their initial requests to God with an overarching request to God that all of David’s petitions be granted by the Lord

May the Lord fulfill all your petitions

What jarred us last light was the term “anointed” in verse 6. In David’s time, history tells us that the Lord rescued him in the day of battle. David was triumphal in his battles, not only saving David from defeat, but providing great victory. The anointed King David’s petitions were fulfilled.

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;

But as we considered this verse, it occurred to me that anointed is the same term as Christ.

As the Savior read the Scriptures, pondering on them, how would he initially relate to verse 6, reading that the LORD saves His anointed. When did He understand that the salvation David experienced would not be the same as the salvation He would experience?

It becomes obvious as we read through the gospels, that the salvation Jesus would experience was the salvation of the resurrected life, that He would have to enter the battlefield of sufferings and death to gain the victory.

He entered a battle field all alone, eventually being abandoned by the Father. All appearances of victory were demolished, and certain defeat was apparent. His suffering appeared to be for naught, the death of an itinerant rabbi that had simply crossed the lines of a jealous leadership.

Place yourself at the foot of the cross. Your hope in the Master completely crushed. Your shock at such a hateful mob, cursing the One who just days earlier was being praised by the crowds. The horror of the sight, of the One whom you had spent three years with, learning from and coming to love, being exposed shamefully for all to gape at. The teasing and the taunting, the fear of association with this movement.

And the disappointment. How could God save Him? He was doomed to an ugly death.

And yet on this side of the cross, we know of the result. He is victorious.

He is Jesus, for His very name means “The Lord is Salvation”.

Trust Him in the darkness, for He is ever faithful. Hang onto the promise, for He will supply a salvation that is greater than you expect.

But know that the darkness is very real.

Trust Him.


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Psalms for Psome – 19

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

It seems that every Psalm I come across is too full. Too full to address sufficiently in the arena of the blogosphere.

This particular Psalm is again an experiential psalm, a psalm to reflect Davids reviving’s, joys, desires, warnings and rewards. A Psalm that is to be shared with one another in our experiential relation with the God of the Universe and His Word.

Psalm 19

1 – To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 – Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 – There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
4 – Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 – which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 – Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 – The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 – the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 – the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
10 – More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 – Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 – Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 – Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

His Word. The psalm describes His Word as

  • The Law of the LORD
  • The Testimony of the LORD
  • The Precepts of the LORD
  • The Commandments of the LORD
  • The Fear of the LORD
  • The Rules of the LORD

Four of these descriptors of the Word has its resultant effect on the trusting believer. The last two are statements of fact, referring to the eternality, truthfulness and righteousness of the Word. Of Jesus.

He is the Word

He is the Law, Testimony, Precept, Commandment, Fear and Rule of the LORD, that we are to look to. He is the Eternal, Righteous Truth.

Let’s consider one of these phrases – that is

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.

But David – don’t we know that the law brings wrath?

Romans 4:15

For the law brings wrath…

David saw behind the rules and into the spirit of the law. The truth of the law is evident, and to those without faith, the law does brings wrath and condemnation.

Yet as a believer, the law of God, fully realized and expressed in the life of the Son of God, is the source and end of all life and blessing for the believer. He truly revives the soul, continually feeds the soul, directs the soul, guides the soul, loves the soul.

Need I go on?

To those who know the Messiah, I am “singing to the choir”. To those who do not know Him, wrath is the only thing the law brings, and it is evident that no-one wants to face judgement.

My friend – You may run from the Law, but it is eternal (and you are not!) Running will simply avoid the inevitable.

Unless – you change your mind about sin & rebellion against the God of the Bible (repent of your sin) and accept that the God of the Bible is the source of all truth, that He is a loving and gracious God who sacrifices Himself for His enemies (Trust/Believe in Him).

Follow His ways, for He is good.

Yes, He revives the soul. Without Him, there is no life. With Him, life, peace and joy.


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Psalms for Psome – 18

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 18 is a wonderful Psalm and David praises the Lord through out the Psalm, speaking of the deliverance afforded him by God.

There are a few verses that are special to me that I would like to bring to your attention.

Psalm 18

2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

In David’s deliverance, he cannot stop in his ascribing different aspects of the Lord’s provision to his life.

Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, God, Rock (again), Shield, Horn of my Salvation, Stronghold.

Each of these descriptors are possessions of the author. God is described as David’s God, David’s rock.

This is not a psalm where the nation is addressed, where the bulk of humanity is spoken of in relation to God. This is a personal, intimate experience we are entering into with David as he writes of his relation to God.

But as you might expect, this is also a view of the more intimate relationship between the Messiah and His Father. David’s relationship, though real and far superior to many during his time, pales in relation to the Messiah’s.

Psalm 18

3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me;

5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.

Both David and Jesus experienced this salvation from enemies, but as we know the enemies are somewhat different. David was saved from death, whereas Jesus was saved through death. His victory was over death, not from death. Lightyears different, yet the Psalm expresses praise for the God who saves.

Psalm 18

6 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

Both David and Jesus cried out to God. Both David and Jesus had their prayers heard, yet the greater Son had the faith to enter death to receive His answer. What faith, and trust in the Father, in the midst of such contradiction and confusion.

Psalm 18

30 This God–his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

After the deliverance is granted, and the struggle is complete, the Psalmist concludes, at least at the interim in the Psalm, that His way is perfect. This term is often translated as “without blemish”, or “entire”, “without spot” or “in accord with truth”.

This is a verse I ruminate on often, trusting that in all the struggles we go through, there is purpose and reason and that as we seek to serve Him, He is performing His good work in us. Paul may have been thinking of this verse, or at least the concept, when he penned the following.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Take refuge in Him.

His way is perfect.


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Psalms for Psome – 17

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book. Let’s take a few minutes in Psalm 17

Psalm 17:1-15

1 – A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
2 – From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right!
3 – You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
4 – With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5 – My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
6 – I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.
7 – Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
8 – Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9 – from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.
10 – They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11 – They have now surrounded our steps; they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
12 – He is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush.
13 – Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
14 – from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.
15 – As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

It is truly amazing that David could say the things he did, but for the fact that he was prophesizing of the Messiah. Consider verses 3- 5, where he declares his life as blameless and righteous, his heart clean, his speech without transgression and his actions pure.

Verses 7-9 speak of David’s (and even more so, the Messiah’s) confidence in answered prayer, and the protection for the One who is the apple of God’s eye.

10-12 speaks of the authors enemies and their hardened hearts, arrogant speech, evil walk and jealous vision. So unlike the King.

13-14 is the request for defense against the enemies, of deliverance from his enemies. David received deliverance physically. Not so with the Messiah, and yet both could claim the same promise of verse 15.

Satisfaction.

In this world of advertising and one-upmanship, I wonder if we, as believers understand the concept of satisfaction. Of true contentment.

I think the Rolling Stones stated a general truth when they sing about satisfaction, and the elusiveness of it. Of course I don’t refer to the Stones for truth, for that is some shaky ground, but a broken clock is correct twice a day!

So it is with the general message of this song. While we are on this earthen ball, satisfaction is an elusive friend, and the world system does all in her power to keep us unsatisfied.

But for one secret.

Verse 15, this verse describes the ultimate victory of the Messiah (in the midst of a seeming contradiction of verses 8 and 9,) this verse speaks of satisfaction, but after death.

My question to the reader – Is there satisfaction for the Christian in this life? Is there any promise on this side of the grave for the Christian to be truly satisfied?

I’m not speaking of that satisfaction when I get what I want, or when my needs are relieved, or when the satisfaction depends on my circumstances, environment or feelings. No that is not what I’m trying to get at.

Satisfaction that is not dependent on me, that is not a result of my actions or work, or effort, or lifestyle, or purchases, or….

Consider my question, and let me know your thoughts, or better yet, your experience in any struggle for satisfaction.

Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.


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Let Me Tell You a Story – A Proper Response

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Wisdom.  Oh how I lack it.

Recently, I was in conversation with a brother and found that I had offended him.  I was astonished at the claims he made, and found I was completely taken aback by the pain that he expressed.

I sat and listened to the pain he was experiencing, of the anger and frustration he was going through.  He is a dear friend and I love him, but I heard him say that I had failed him, that I was not the believer I should have been.  

Immediately, I wanted to rear my defenses and fight back, and yet this is not the Christian life. 

Romans 15:1-3

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

Did I commit some (or all) of the offences my brother was speaking of.  Yes, I may have, although I can frankly state that his perception of my actions are not in line with my intentions.  I will not defend myself any further, for that is fruitless. (This type of event seems to recur in my life, and I am such a slow learner – check out my “Story Time” portion of Commandments for Christians – No Murder)

The issue I would like to consider is the proper response to a brother coming to you, speaking of an offense of yours.  What is the Christian way to address this?

Romans speaks of not pleasing ourselves, but of pleasing our neighbor.

It is an interesting word, that is, to please

It is as it is translated – that is to please or to strive to please, to accommodate one’s self to the opinions desires and interests of others.

Of course in the midst of this definition, we need to remember the larger biblical context of obedience to the Master for us in receiving the offence, but also of responding to direct the brother or sister onto greater devotion to the Lord.  We cannot simply allow them to reside in bitterness or anger, but we need to direct them to the Lord Himself.

If they are speaking out of a heart of pain, and have forgotten the mercies of the Lord, our focus is to listen, and direct them to the One who is good.  Repentance of sin and a spirit of forgiveness needs to be expressed.

And this is the rub, where wisdom is needed!  In the midst of an often emotional discussion, truth needs to be discerned, and I struggle in this very act.  I want to defend myself and spend my energy either defending myself or attacking the claims being made.  I need to listen for the Spirit’s direction, for passages of Scripture that come to mind during the discussion, determine the appropriateness of the passage, and gently direct the conversation to the Lord.

Gently direct the conversation to the Lord.

Wisdom. Patience. Love. Humility.

All I know is that I am poverty stricken in these qualities, the very characteristics of the Messiah.  He is the One to look to. 

Help me in my dealings with those you love.


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Psalms for Psome – 16

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 16 – A psalm full of amazing truth. I can only promise that I will fail at even scratching the surface of this Psalm, but let us not keep from reading this psalm simply because it has so much to absorb.

Psalm 16:1-10

A Miktam of David. Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Peter preaches the resurrection, giving Old Testament sourcing of Psalm 16 in his reference to the grave. I understand the Jewish rabbinic literature, written prior to the appearance of our Lord on the earth, also stated this Psalm to be Messianic.

There is so much in this Psalm, yet the reference to “the lines have fallen” grabs my attention in this reading.

During the establishment of the newly formed nation of Israel, upon entering the land of their inheritance, each tribe was assigned a portion of the land by way of “lots”. David is referring to this historical event and applying it to his life. He has indeed a beautiful inheritance, a wonderful situation, in which the Lord took a poor shepherd boy and exalted him to be Israel’s greatest earthly King.

Yet, this psalm is Messianic. It is a picture of the Christ and of His Passion, His life and death, and resurrection.

Let’s pull back and get a 30,000′ foot view of the psalm. Take a moment to read the Psalm once more.

Would you not consider the author to be expressing great joy, confidence and trust in the Lord? His general attitude of this psalm is of victory. Such victory that this psalm includes victory over the greatest enemy, death and the passage through it unto life.

Back to my focus verse. The lines have fallen (for the Messiah) in a pleasant place.

How can that be said?

Pain and terror await the Messiah on the cross, and during His ministry, He was rejected by the very people He came to save. His few disciples didn’t get the message, and He is described as a Man of sorrows, One who was acquainted with grief.

The psalm itself holds the key, for in Psalm 16, the psalmist directs us to the Messiah’s ability to enter each trial and challenge with joy.

Consider the Psalmists inner life.

vs 5 – The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot

vs 7 – I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;

vs 8 – I have set the LORD always before me;

On a personal note, I have often fallen into the miry slough of self pity and self examination, which drives me into comparisons with others and finally a deep sadness of experience. As I look back on my travels with the Lord, I find I looked to myself for strength, for knowledge and for joy. My accomplishments would provide me my worth, and my holiness would show my devotion.

This is folly. My only strength, wisdom and love is to focus on the One who claimed me so long ago, that suffered the cross, looking to the joy that was ahead. He is to be the focus of my affection, the One whom I bless, and the One whom I need to keep before me, in front of me.

As I look to Him, verse 9 becomes real in my life, a fruit of the Spirit.

 Psalm 16:9

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.

Brother / sister – where is the Lord Jesus? Is He ever before you?


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Psalms for Psome – 15

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

We have come to a psalm that I avoided for years and now look to it for encouragement, for a challenge and for a check on my spirit. Lets read this awesome psalm

Psalm 15:1-5

A Psalm of David. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

As many of you who have followed this blog may remember, I spent an extended period of time in a teaching that minimized the Old Testament, and the Ten Commandments. Oh, of course it would reach into the OT for a verse here or there to support its teaching (or was it me that wanted to avoid the Law of God?)

Nevertheless, once the Lord opened my eyes to some of the contradictions I was allowing my self to believe, I avoided the Decalogue and therefore the tremendous dependency of the OT on His law. How foolish. (Consider the influence the commandments have on the NT – check out my series of posts Commandments for Christians – Introduction and Jesus on the Sabbath – Introduction)

Psalm 15 is a stellar example of how the law of God is the heartbeat of the believer. David got the New Testament life if you ask me!

A couple of points that occur to me as I sit and ruminate on this precious psalm.

To Walk Blamelessly.

I am thankful that the term is not “sinlessly”, for I know I am unable to maintain a sinless life. But when I sin, (and who doesn’t?) I am responsible for making amends, correcting the error if possible, and communicating with any offended or hurt brother of my repentance and request for forgiveness.

Speaks Truth in his Heart

Do we sometimes seek to speak the truth, or at least to avoid lying, in order to “woodenly” obey the 9th commandment. One looking to the commandments can seek to “do the minimum” or do as this man of God desires, and that is to speak the truth “in his heart”, where no one but God can see. To speak the truth in our heart is a safeguard against deceiving ourselves, a very dangerous condition per many New Testament admonitions. But again, David was describing his positive pursuit of truth, even in his own heart, where lies have no competition in the race for capturing the man’s life. He is not simply doing the minimum, but seeing the depth of the commandment, the all encompassing effect it is intended to have on the follower.

Speaking truth in his heart. A challenge and a blessing for the believer, but alas, we need to know the truth, the absolute truth found in the Word of God, and more tentatively, that subjective truth that each of us experience with our relationship with the Lord Himself. And this is where love comes in, for we must not slander another believers subjective experience, but I am getting ahead of myself!

Does not Slander with his Tongue

How often have I slandered a brother whose experience is different than mine, and yet it is obvious he is seeking to know the Word of God for his life. Too often I fear, and it can be too easily justified by my claiming I was fighting for the purity of the gospel, when in reality my heart was dark and my intentions were evil. To slander, or to backbite is a tell tale sign in my life that I am NOT acting as a believer. The red bells should flash in your head and the sirens should blare in your heart, when you catch yourself devouring your neighbor, especially a believer for whom Christ died!

Who Swears to His Own Hurt and Does Not Change

For myself, this is the big one, the one phrase that got stuck in my “craw” when I first sought to internalize this chapter. This believer is not simply keeping his word, that is had made a promise but found out later that it may not turn out as he expected, but this follower makes a pact “To His Own Hurt”

How much more Christlike could the believer be by being self sacrificing, by following through and performing his oath, knowing from the start, from before making the promise, that it would cause pain for himself.

I said earlier that David understood the New Testament life. I want to clarify that statement.

David knew his Lord.


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Let Me Tell You a Story – Sharing

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Y’all know I am a foreigner, a transplanted Canadian that grew up in the 60’s and 70’s.  Much of my cultural baggage is from summers listening to music, predominantly Canadian based music, since the national government mandated a certain percentage of radio air time to be Canadian content.  (Sweet City Woman still echoes in my ears!)

Well, during this time, a Canadian band by the name of the Guess Who (ask me sometime how they got their name) published a song called Share the Land. It became one of their greatest hits and the music reminds me of the early 70’s, when the only thing that mattered was to beat, the rhythm, and the title of the song – Who cared about the message?  I was too “occupied” to be concerned with a message.  Take a listen to this ol song and tell me you don’t like the sound!

Let 40 years slide by, and find me on my patio, working on some project, when this song comes on out of nowhere.  I crank it up, and start to get into it, when all of a sudden I pay attention to the lyrics.

Let me share them with you. 

Have you been around?
Have you done your share of comin’ down
On different things that people do?
Have you been aware?
You got brothers and sisters who care
About what’s gonna happen to you
In a year from now

Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand (Shake your hand)
Maybe I’ll be there to share the land (Share the land)
That they’ll be givin’ away
When we all live together, we’re talkin’ ’bout together, now

Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand (Shake your hand)
Maybe I’ll be there to share the land (Share the land)
That they’ll be givin’ away

When we all live together, we’re talkin’ ’bout together, now

Did you pay your dues?
Did you read the news
This morning when the paper landed in your yard?
Do you know their names?
Can you play their games
Without losin’…

My friends, this song has a message and this message is couched with great images – Sharing the Land, giving the land away, living together, shaking hands, being together…

Now, y’all know I am a believer in the Lord Jesus, and am looking forward to the day when King Jesus will have rescued us from the presence of sin, and provided us our home where sharing will be a natural characteristic of every redeemed soul.  Where worship will replace worry, and praise will replace pride.  Where honor of my brother is paramount in my mind and to serve (properly) will be realized perfectly.

“Sharing the land” during the future kingdom will be a natural, common, glorious expression of love and kindness, erupting from a heart of praise to the One who rescued us from ourselves.

Now I can’t speak for Burton Cummings of the Guess Who, or any of the other members of the band, but I don’t think they were thinking of the future kingdom brought to reality through the Lord Jesus.  

I fear the message would be realized via forced sharing, a sharing that would be required.  A sharing that is fueled by fear, domination and regulations, enforced with the end of a gun.  

This style of sharing is not a stranger on this earth.  Some, with good intentions I suppose, consider the forced sharing of goods to be a gateway to utopia.

Without the Lord Jesus Christ in the middle of the utopia, there is no utopia. When you hear a leader speak of sharing the goods of others (by legislation), or redistributing wealth (by force), or providing free services to the poorest (by regulations), please understand this is a deception.  

We are a sinful people on this earth, and without the Lord Jesus Christ, we have no ability to willingly share with others.  With family, sure.  With friends, at times.  But with strangers, and enemies – the human spirit cannot reach that far.

(But can it?)

He left us the Body of Christ to taste the glories of this life of sacrifice with one another.  Governments have since time immemorial sought to replace the genius of the love of God being spread abroad to others, through a mandated forced sharing.

Mans method of universal sharing cannot work, since it is born out of selfishness, fear and hatred.

God’s method works, yet many in the Body of Christ seem to be starving for the Christian life.

If you are rejoicing in your Christian life and enjoying Body Life with other believers, share your experience.  If you are struggling to find that experience of sharing, (in other words, fellowship), please comment.

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Psalms for Psome – 14

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Let’s take a few moments out of our day to consider Psalm 14.

Psalm 14:1 -7

To the choirmaster. Of David. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

This is a rich psalm, and is referred to in the New Testament to define the fallenness of the sinner. It is interesting that the pronouns used in the third chapter of Romans is indefinite, and that by reference back to this Psalm, we find they are describing the fool.

The fool says in his heart “No God!”

Per the reading of the Old Testament, it is important to remember that when a fool is referred to, it is not describing the person’s intellectual ability, as so often we think of in todays culture. No – back then, to be termed a fool was a description of a person in moral failure. David begins this psalm with the central claim of a fool.

“No God”

Most translations usually have the phrase as “There is no God”, and that may be the intent of the passage, but there is an alternate intent. The fool has said “No God”, as in – I refuse to confess You, I refuse to acknowledge You, I refuse to obey You. It is not simply a matter of claiming there is no God, but that the fool rejects God. To reject something implies a knowledge of that something being rejected.

Does this fool have knowledge of the God of the universe and yet says “NO” to God in his heart?

Much may be said about the results of this rejection of God, and David spells it out in the next few verses. Corruption, doing evil and not doing good (which are two different things!)

The fool appears to have all the power, and no conscience. They destroy the people of God, as if they are nothing. Yet the LORD is his refuge, the refuge of the generation of the righteous, those who are described as poor. Yet a few verses later, David speaks of the fortunes of the Lords people. The future is bright for the people of God. As darkness may descend, remember, dear brother, dear sister, that Salvation has come out of Zion, redeeming us from this evil world.

Look to the One who gave Himself for your foolishness.


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Psalms for Psome – 13

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Let us take a few moments and consider Psalm 13

Psalm 13: 1-6

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

As a believer, I have forgotten His mercies and grace too many times to recount. During my hectic day and to my shame, I find little time to think on His goodness. He is a constant Savior, even a Brother, that treats me better than I deserve, and because of that, I yearn to be of that character. The character of Christ, who exhibited a self sacrificial life, forgives me as I repent of my wrong thinking/doing and is constantly drawing me into fellowship.

As I consider His goodness, grace and kindness, I tend to hear the niggling doubts, the faraway thoughts that remind me of my fears and struggles, the enemies that are so real. And yet these two thoughts seem to be at war with one another.

It has been years since I learned that fear and faith cannot live together. Why can I not maintain this truth in my experience? Why must I be reminded of it so often?

It appears that the psalmist is going through the very same struggle that so many of us can identify with.

At one point in the first verse the psalmist states that God is ignoring him, forgotten His child, ceased from caring for His child. He claims that God has hid His face from him, a term that signifies absence. The Father is no longer available to the child.

Have you experienced this? Have dark times enveloped you, where the love of God is completely absent from your life, where the enemy is seemingly victorious, and that you have no helper, no resource, no experience with the Father?

I do not intend to minimize this, as I have in the past experienced very dark times of solitude, of living in fear and feeling abandoned. As many of my readers may know, I have known the Lord for over 40 years, and during that time have struggled with many battles.

If I were to admit to one battle that I seem to have recurring failure at is that of addressing my fear. My fear of rejection, my fear of loss, my fear of failure, my fear of shame…. Need I go on?

The psalmist had physical enemies that were growling about his life, that were nipping at his heals. The victory of the enemy seemed inevitable.

Our fear seems justifiable in the appearance of the circumstance!

The believer is to rest in the steadfast love of God, in the constant truth of the salvation found in the Messiah. Does this resolve all specific aspects of all the circumstances being faced by the saint?

NO.

Circumstances do not necessarily change because of trust. (They may of course, due to His mercy, but that is not the point of this post!)

The psalmist states a fact, that is that he has trusted in the steadfast love of God. The circumstances are what they are, and yet in the past, the saint has trusted. The saint is trusting now, and this is obvious, since his heart is in rejoice mode. Fear is fleeing, and the rejoicing heart is victorious over it. (Consider 1 John 4:18!)

To trust is not to have all the answers, or to be experiencing “your best life now”. As a matter of fact, trust implies that there are issues that are fighting against our decision to trust.

Consider the concept Paul refers to in Romans 8:24-25

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

What we see with our physical eyes is often a distraction for our spirits eyes.

As you consider this, remember that the life of faith is truly a battle.

The turning point for the psalmist was his remembrance of the steadfast love of the Lord. Do not abandon your trust by concentrating on the appearance of life.

It is either faith or fear.

These two do not exist together.

Remember the steadfast love of God when the enemy rears its head and tells you to be afraid!


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Psalms for Psome – 12

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Let’s read this short Psalm in it’s entirety

Psalm 12:1-8

To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David. Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.

Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,

those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

The Psalmist is bemoaning the loss of the faithful man, the righteous and good man who spoke truth, who could be relied upon to provide wisdom and understanding. He cries out to the Lord for justice, for His justice to prevail upon those who lie, boast and flatter.

These boasters speak of thier ultimate power over everyone, since they boast of prevailing , and even question who is the master over them. Little do they know, they are the slaves to their own deception, they have no power over their own speech. These men are being led by the ring in thier nose to thier destruction

As I think of the New Testament teaching on the tongue, one passage comes to mind.

James 3:2

…And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

James uses the tongue as the ultimate test of perfection in the saint. Imagine, the implication is that the tongue is the greatest of our foes.

James 3:8

…but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James continues, stating that the tongue is the master of the man, the ruler of the body that is full of deadly poison. This counsel is for the believer, who has been forgiven of his sins, and provided the Spirit of God to empower godly living. And yet the tongue is a formidable enemy for the saint. How much more so for the poor sinner who is captive to its wiles.

The tongue plunders those who are supposedly weak. The tongue is a destroyer, the enemy of those who are in humble conditions, who are needy and are easily taken advantage of. Great swelling words seek to dominate those who are susceptible to the lies and deceptions of the proud and arrogant, godless man.

Where can we find a man who can be trusted? Where is there any hope of knowing a faithful witness, a brother who will speak faithfully?

Psalm 12:6

The words of the LORD are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

His words are pure.

This purity speaks of an article or material as being unalloyed, such as gold. It is common to think in our modern world of some precious metals as being 99.99% pure. This is a standard that is used within the metals industry. The concept of a percentage of purity was not considered in the Old Testament to this degree. When purity is spoken of, it is to an absolute.

Habakkuk speaks of the Lord’s eyes as being pure

Habakkuk 1:13

You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
the man more righteous than he?

James speaks to us again, informing us that purity is the first characteristic of the wisdom from above.

James 3:17

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

His words are pure.

John 17:17

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

It seems obvious to me that the words of the wicked draw them to the trap, to a destruction they do not expect, and shall swiftly fall upon them. Those who look to the word of Jesus, find a Brother who is worth listening to, a Friend who speaks the truth, (hard as it is to hear at times!), and a Savior Who is ever present to give direction and encouragement for those very folks who may be under the influence of the boasting liars all about us.

The psalmist closes this psalm, speaking of the wicked prowling about Peter also reminds the believer of an enemy prowling about

1 Peter 5:8 …Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Be sober, be vigilant, be aware of your circumstance and your resources. The Lord has not left us helpless.

It is common knowledge that the lion will devour the weakest of the prey. Do not be fodder for the adversary, by being the weakest of the body of believers. Much strength may be found in the words of God, pure words that are given for our edification and exhortation. For the building up of the saint, to increase our knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

His words are pure. Read them, memorize them, study them, treasure them and work them out in your life. Without them, you will only have one source of information. Let me tell you – that source of information is definitely not pure!


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Let Me Tell You a Story – Be Thankful

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A year ago, we entered the covid 19 pandemic era, with mass hysteria, mixed communications, multiple fears and major stress.  So many nights, we went to bed sensing a terror, a sense of foreboding, and yet all in my family have kept our employment, survived the pandemic, and experienced the mercy of God in our lives.

I want to tell you of a friend, who I want to be like when I grow up.  He is a humble man, and I will not seek to embarrass him by using his name, other than calling him JB.

JB is a brother I met while attending a sunday school class, him being the teacher of it.  It was a great class, since I came into it with a number of beliefs the class as a whole did not adhere to.  JB was very encouraging to allow my thoughts to challenge others, and to challenge my thoughts also.  A very healthy environment, without personal attacks or snide remarks, (at least from the class….)

Well, the church we attended, at the start of the covid crisis, shut it’s doors, and JB, along with his dear wife, were restricted to thier home.  You see, JB is 80 yrs old this year, and it became obvious early on in the pandemic, that the elderly were susceptible to the virus.  So, JB stayed in as much as he could.  Of course he went to work, until his wife needed dedicated care. 

At this time, he took his retirement, to care for his wife of almost 60 yrs.  DB (his wife) was suffering from her third attack of cancer, and this one was very aggressive.  During this, DB also broke her hip, and was required to have medical care in the hospital.  Through it all, JB rarely showed any indication of suffering, or “Woe is me” .  

Eventually DB came home and JB spent the next few months transitioning from part time care giver to full time care giver, and sought to comfort his wife with all he knew.  Eventually, he had to give up his vehicle to help pay for other bills, but after a week, he mentioned that, although a bigger adjustment than he estimated, it was something that was beneficial for all, and he was thankful.

As covid raged, DB got weaker from the constant attack of the cancer.  JB persevered through the trial, showing a commitment to his wife that I only hope I can match.  A few months ago, JB called to let us know that DB slipped into the arms of the Savior that night, and that they would be planning for a very small service.

Next thing I know, my friend is in the hospital due to a fall, where the doctors suspected a brain aneurism.  During his stay, it was discovered that he had contracted covid.  Personally, I held out only hope for him, due to his advanced age, the stress he had suffered for the past year, and the loss of his partner of nearly 60 years.

He called me a few weeks ago, telling me he was out of the hospital, and recovering, but not as quickly as he would like.  His family are circling around him and he is surviving.    

Just a few days ago, he informed me that his foot is sufferings from a serious infection, where some of it may need to be removed.  After that, he ended the discussion with a number of things he is thankful for.

That is what I want to settle on in this post.  He has went through a prolonged period of testing, some of which I haven’t described, and is thankful. He has lost much that many would consider central to their life. Yet he is thankful. He admits he is challenged in his daily chores.  He isn’t sugar coating his experience.  Yet he is thankful.

Psalm 106:1

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

Be thankful. It’s good for the soul, and is only the right thing to be! Consider who our God is, and it won’t be difficult to give thinks!

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Psalms for Psome – 11

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 11 contains a verse that a brother used in discipling me, and in training me in how to approach those that preach beyond the limits of orthodoxy, that is, those who are clearly heretical.

First, though, let us read this psalm.

Psalm 11:1-7

To the choirmaster. Of David. In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

My brother George spent time with me as a young believer and during one of the informal sessions we had, (for they were always informal – he always seemed to have time to discuss the Word and of the Savior), he drew my attention to verse 3.

Psalm 11:3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?

At the time, I was not an engineer, but I understood the importance of foundations. A fancy roof is not good if the footings are made of mud. But if the foundations are strong, any roof will do, any color, any shape, any pitch, any material.

In our Christian life, the foundation is critical. I have spent much too much time focusing on the roof, those things that are not foundational, but merely window dressing in the Christian life. Hair splitting of minor doctrine, when Jesus has told us to love our neighbor, to love one another, to care for the weak and provide for the widow and orphan.

So, in our Christian life, what specifically is our foundation? The apostle Paul gives us direction through his letters.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

This is the foundation, the Person upon whom all the church, and creation depends on, whether they understand it or not. He is the bedrock of all that is created, and has been recreated. Without Him, there would be no church, with Him the Church can not be destroyed – They killed Him once and now He is invincible. (Big mistake on their part!)

Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

Paul refines the concept of the foundation of the church as being the apostles and prophets, upon whom we can trust due to their dependence on the Chief Corner Stone, Jesus Christ. The teaching of the apostles and prophets can be relied upon as they were directly commissioned by the Savior to give instruction for His followers

2 Timothy 2:19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

This passage speaks of relationship. When I first read this verse over 40 years ago, I glibly consumed the syllables and moved on.

Not so fast Carl. God’s foundation stands. It is branded with an inscription, with two statements.

The Lord knows those who are His – This is obvious, but in my thinking, I feel Paul is speaking of God’s experiential knowledge, of a knowledge “gained” through relationship with His people. Please don’t call me out as a heretic on this, where it seems I am claiming God is gaining in knowledge and therefore deficient in some way. I don’t understand, and I may be out in left field, but the term ‘know” has the connotation of learning, or perceiving, understanding.

Relationship of our Heavenly Father and His children includes our time based condition. I do not understand how He relates to us through eternity while we are present in this evil world. But it is the first seal on the foundation, and it is how I understand it currently.

The second statement is of those who identify with the Lord, they depart from iniquity. Claiming to be a believer and continually refusing to repent of wrongdoing is, at the least hypocrisy, but I fear in reality is self deception. The Christian life is a life of continual repentance and renewal, or changing your perspective on every topic in life, of being re-educated from the dirt of the world to the truth of the Word.

My friend, if you are being challenged in an area of your life that is scary, or that will be difficult, trust in the goodness of God. If I read this verse properly, it is merely a matter of time before you repent, unless of course…

The foundation of Christianity is solid, since it is the Lord Jesus Christ. Trusting in a religion, a denomination, a way of life, a philosophy, a leader, a political party, or whatever you lean on other than the Lord, will disappoint you. If you think you are a Christian because of something other that a living relationship with Him, you will be disappointed.

Thanks for dropping by and considering the Bible with me. I do hope to hear from you in the comment section, and to


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Psalms for Psome – 10

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

First, lets read the passage and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

Psalm 10

Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.
He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.
The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

This psalm, in the Latin Vulgate, is the second part of Psalm 9, where David is describing the wicked, and the traps they build, for themselves. Whether this psalm is to be connected directly with the 9th or not, the theme is identical.

The wicked are described as being prosperous while cursing the Lord, of being unmoveable, of a mouth full of cursing, deciet and oppression, of setting traps for the innocent and helpless and of telling himself that “God has forgotten”, that “He has hidden His face” and that “He will never see it”

Psalm 10:11

He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Why? Why do the wicked seek to convince themselves? Their conscious thoughts will be deadened eventually, by fighting against the truth of a God that will be answered to.

It is a choice to be in this condition. If you are fighting your conscious, give up before you win, for in winning against your conscious, you lose so much!

Psalm 10:16-18

The LORD is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

There will come a time when the man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.


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Psalms for Psome – 9

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 8 is a wonderful psalm, full of contrasts and comparisons. Throughout the psalm, David is in awe of the greatness of our God, of the creation he has provided, and the position God has placed man in .

First, lets read a portion of this Psalm, and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

 Psalm 9:15-16

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.

The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. 

My momma used to say “You are your own worst enemy Carl!” Truer words were never spoken. She had a way of being blunt that I didn’t take offense at, since I knew she loved me and was simply speaking her mind for my benefit.

This psalm is speaking the author’s mind for our benefit.

This psalm speaks of the traps we lay for each other, and how the traps take us. The psalmist is looking globally, or nations falling into dissolution and destruction, but as believers fall, so fall families, and so fall communities, and cities and states and nations.

To set a trap for a fellow is to condemn ourselves to being ensnared.

David goes so far as describing those who are snared in their own traps as wicked. To set a trap for a fellow human is to become wicked, and will result in self damage. This is obvious as we watch the dissolution of great civilizations, but lets be applicable for a moment, lets get to the personal level.

Consider.

At the office, you see a peer getting ahead by hard work and long hours. You consider spreading some harmless innuendos – nothing actually specific, but enough to start someone else on the path to a conclusion.

This is a wickedness.

Ephesians 4:20-21 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

You are out with your friends for a night of fun, and happen upon a friend that is not so popular with the others. You seek to avoid him, but he approaches the group. What is the right thing to do? Calculate the repercussions of aligning with your not-so-popular friend and decide against it? Determine to shame him, mock or ridicule him, in order to find acceptance of the in-crowd?

This is a wickedness.

Ephesians 4:20-21 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

A friend has abused his body most of his life and he seems to refuse to change, to care for his own life. You have sought to minister to him with gentleness and humility, seeking to encourage and exhort him to change. You come to the end of your rope, and consider abandoning him to his decisions.

What think ye?

Psalm 9:18

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

God is so much different than I. (Is He different than you?)

He is truly good, and His name is to be praised.


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Psalms for Psome – 8

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 8 is a wonderful psalm, full of contrasts and comparisons. Throughout the psalm, David is in awe of the greatness of our God, of the creation he has provided, and the position God has placed man in .

First, lets read the passage and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

Psalm 8:1 – 9

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

As you read through this passage, did you notice it sounded somewhat New Testamental? This psalm is quoted multiple times in the New Testament and the way that the New Testament authors used the Old Testament statements have always challenged my thinking. It is a worthy endeavor to seek to align our thinking with the Lord and His apostles. See end of the post for verses to consider.

With that challenge for you, let’s consider one verse out of this psalm. My wife and I settled on verse 4 to discuss as we read through the psalm. Given the littleness of man in relation to God’s majesty, what is it that man can claim that would draw the attention of the Creator God, the One who created the heavens and the earth.

If the stars and the moon, in David’s mind, caused wonder, imagine the expected multiplied impression as we moderns understand the expanse, not only of our own universe, but of the billions of universes that God flung into existence with the mere expression of a word. How insignificant in comparison to the created universes is lowly “man”, not to mention in comparison the the One who created all.

What is man? David informs us, through creation, that we are insignificant, and yet God is mindful of us. Mindful is the thought of remembering us, recalling our condition and existence, of calling to record.

God thinks on us. His concern and remembrance of a tiny part of His creation can not be based on our relation to the extent of the universe. The universe, and all universes were created at the pleasure of the Godhead, and man is the one who God has thoughts on.

Yet the psalm continues with speaking of the son of man. The Old Testament writers used Hebrew poetry, where they would repeat a thought in a second line, as opposed to our modern simply poetry of ending the line with a rhyme. David was linking “man” with “son of man’ in this next line. Yet we know that the New Testament author in Hebrews applies this passage to the Son of Man.

What is the Son of Man, that you (God) care for Him. That is a striking thought, if I am understanding the text. Of course, looking at it from one perspective, the Son of Man is the Father’s great love, a “caring” that is limitless.

From an opposing view, as He hung on the cross, and the Father looked away, the constant “care” of the Father was broken, ruptured from all of eternity. Darkness descended and relation was broken.

As believers, in the midst of darkness, we are to look to the Savior. Consider the contrasts the Psalm provides and how different He is from our base understanding. We are insignificant, and yet consider ourselves to be of utmost importance. He knows our frailty, weakness, and brokenness and yet thinks on us, loves us and gives all for us.

Truly a psalm that speaks of contrasts, of a love that is showered on insignificant man, and of a love that was severed for the Significant One.

Consider the blessing of knowing our God and give thanks.

He is majestic!


Mat 21:16

and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”

Hebrews 2:6-7

It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?

You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,

1 Corinthians 15:27

For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

Ephesians 1:22

And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,


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Psalms for Psome – 7

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book”, passages come alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Its been years since we dealt with Miles. He was a big ol’ fella, our neighbor for about 5 years, and at the start, was pleasant, friendly, aw shucks he was even neighborly.

But something “broke” in Miles, or more likely, his true colors came out, and he started to attack our family. Specifically my sweet wife. My sweet little wife.

Miles eventually poisoned the neighborhood against us, dragged my wife into court, had the police and the RCMP (federal Canadian police – similar to the FBI) come to our door, and berated us on the local radio station.

Meanwhile, in the Simpson home, we were reading through the Old Testament, connecting with David when he was being chased by that King Saul. David never retaliated, threatened or caused Saul any harm. He had opportunity to seek revenge – that is for sure, but he trusted the Lord, which meant no revenge.

Me and that sweeet wife of mine decided to pray and seek no revenge. To be fair, most of this burden fell on my wife since she was a stay at home mom, home schooling our children, and Miles was on disability, at his home all day long. She sought a peaceful life and after close to three years, the Lord delivered us from Miles.

Psalm 7

14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.
15 He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made.
16 His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.
17 I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

You see, Miles dug a pit for us to fall in, to trap us and to cause us pain. Please do not think that we were without temptations, anger, frustrations and fears. Much frustration!

But the Lord worked it out for Miles to give up, sell his home and move to a new community, which eventually filled up with young families. By the way, did I tell you one of his major complaints were the number of children we had? No? Well, lets just say he didn’t love our youngins, which always shocks me, since they are the bestest youngins!!!

When we look back at that time, I think the Lord also added wee bit of humor to the situation, in that I received a job offer in another city and sold our home just months after he moved. Poor Miles. He loved that home and wanted us to leave so he could have “peace”. Eventually his anger and hatred forced him to give up and move away.

He fell into the hole he dug for us.

Sometimes the Lord just adds a bit extra “justice” to the way He takes care of His people.


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