His Song

7 My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
8 Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn. Psalm 57:7-8

Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once said that a bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

You would think that by reading these verses that David’s clearly “a morning person.” But I think there’s more to these verses than just looking outside and proclaiming it to be a great day.

David was still hiding in a cave when he wrote this. But David, much like the Apostle Paul centuries later, didn’t let his confined surroundings stop him from being joyous. It wasn’t where they were that mattered, but in whose company they were in. It would have been easy for both to fret and worry and become exasperated at their conditions. To some extent, we see David going in and out of these emotions, but he ultimately knew where to put his trust and hope.

The fact that David, who was described as a man after God’s own heart, had “peaks and valleys” in his spiritual walk certainly gives me hope.

What about you? What’s your “song?” What is it about God that excites you? What has He done in your life this week?

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Still Not Fair

6 They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves. Psalm 57:6

If you think about it, it’s really unfair in a odd way.

The nations and rulers who desperately try to stamp out Christianity really don’t have a chance against the power of God. They torture pastors, burn churches, take women and children hostage, and still Christianity shines bright. I am not at all diminishing the sacrifices that these people make for their faith. After all, it’s extremely easy for me to write what I just wrote without ever having to experience those atrocities.

  • Families are devastated.
  • Innocent lives are ruined.
  • Churches go for months without their pastors and elders.

From a purely secular standpoint, nobody should be able to withstand such devastation for long. But somehow, those who remain find the courage and strength to carry on, and the church grows stronger still.

As you remember the Persecuted Church around the world today, would you pray for healing?

As mentioned, it’s easy for me to type out these words, but I really don’t know what it’s like to have my family ripped away from me because of what they believe. I really don’t know what it’s like to have my pastor tortured for his faith, and what that can do to your psyche and spirit. Pray for supernatural healing for those pastors who are enduring torture for Christ’s sake.

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Glancing at Problems; Gazing on the Lord

4 I am in the midst of lions;
I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth. Psalm 57:4-5

The old adage is true: “when you’re up to your neck in alligators and mud, it’s difficult to remember you just came to drain the swamp. Life can throw us curve balls at times. It can be hectic, frantic, and full of unexpected twists and turns. We barely have time to glance at the Lord, let alone gaze and stare for long periods of time. But why does it have to be that way? Why can’t it be the other way around?

In this passage, David seems to be seeing the clear problems he is facing and glancing at the Lord. In fact throughout these last few Psalms, David has made a habit of doing just that. I think the key thing to keep in mind is that the Lord wants to help us work through our problems. He doesn’t want us to face those “lions” and “ravenous beasts” alone. He never intended that we would face those enemies alone.

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Not Much Has Changed

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. Matthew 2:19-23

Joseph received two more dreams that gave him clear direction. The family ended up in Nazareth, which is where Jesus would have grown up. At this point in the story, Jesus would have been at least a couple of years old.

After a whirlwind adventure that took them from Nazareth to Bethlehem down to Egypt and back to Nazareth, they were now very changed people than when they first left Nazareth. Wise men from the East had visited, smelly shepherds had visited, the first crib for the baby boy was a cow’s trough, and they had escaped the clutches of and infanticidal ruler (and quite possibly his son). And all this because of their toddler, Jesus.

So it is with this scenario we find Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. What more can be said about the birth and travels of the boy Jesus in the first years of his life?

  • Wise men still fall on their faces before Him.
  • Smelly people still seek him out.
  • People who are persecuted for their belief in Him still do not have a place to lay their heads at night.
  • Many run for their lives because of homicidal rulers who want to see His people destroyed.

Not much has changed.

Merry Christmas!

Continue ReadingNot Much Has Changed

Two Dreams; Two Warnings

12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.” Matthew 2:12-18

The Magi and Joseph were warned and given direction in two separate dreams. Had they not obeyed, it would have been disastrous.

I imagine Joseph walked away puzzled at the dream, especially when it was revealed that Herod wanted to kill the child. But since Joseph was already obedient to a significant portion of the Messiah’s birth, he too obeyed.

On this Christmas eve we find ourselves in a very similar situation. The “State” (i.e., the government) has sanctioned the killing of the unborn. Millions cheer it on and are vehemently opposed to putting a halt to the butcheries.

The State (Pharoah) wanted Moses killed. The State (Herod) wanted the Messiah killed. Now the State kills millions and mostly for the sake of convenience (I know, it’s more complicated than that, but it boils down to the convenience of the mother).

There is a great mourning in the streets and will be until this national atrocity is stopped. It the one great blemish that nation may never recover from

Today there are abortion clinics all across this land that are open for business. Would you pray for one of the expectant mothers as she wrestles with that all-important life and death decision.

Pray also for the politicians who sanction this wholeheartedly. Pray for absolute clarity in the midst of the noisiness of the debate.

Continue ReadingTwo Dreams; Two Warnings