Category Archives: Christian

Have Mercy, Lord

Psalm 51:1-3

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

I can only begin to imagine how David felt when Nathan left the room.  He had just been told that God had seen his sin with Bathsheba. David thought that he covered it up pretty well.  I mean, after all, Uriah was killed in battle.  As far as anyone else and he did go and sleep with his wife while he was home on leave. So her pregnancy wouldn’t be too much of a shock. But Nathan said those words – “You are the man”.  David’s heart must have sunk deep down – way deep down. And over the next few hours I’m sure the grief mounted before he started to pen these words. It’s hard to say whether he wrote this all out at one time or if it came pieces.

It comes as no surprise to me that the very first words out of his mouth would be “Have mercy upon me oh God”. We’ve seen countless times already David crying out for the mercy of God. David knew that God is the God of mercy. There was no doubt in his mind. And there was no doubt in his mind that he needed mercy right now. He had taken a woman in adultery and had her husband killed so that he could have her. He could have anything and any woman he wanted, but he had to have this one. He needed mercy.

According to your loving kindness, God give me mercy. We have a tendency to think that God is going to be merciful to us according to our sense of mercy.  I think we expect God to do what we want him to do. It doesn’t work that way. God does what He wants to do. And whatever He does is the best for us. When we pray and ask God for mercy according to HIS loving-kindness instead of our own thoughts of what mercy might be in this situation, it’s a different prayer.

For example let’s say I have a financial difficulty and I need money quickly. I pray to God have mercy upon me and help me in this situation. Now according to my own definition of what the answer would be to that prayer, mercy would be somebody showing up at my door, or a check arriving in the mail for the money that I need to take care of the situation. But God’s form of mercy in that situation might be to keep my car from breaking down when it’s due to break down, or it might be to keep me healthy so I don’t to go to the doctor and I’ll save money on that, or it might be that I’ll get offered overtime at work. You see we expect God to do it our way but God has His own way. I think sometimes that’s why we don’t recognize the mercy of God when it comes in.

“According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions”. The word transgression means pretty much what we think it does.  it’s the Greek word Pesha and a few other translations of the word could be a breach of trust or rebellion. All sin is rebellion against God. So this transgression of David’s is not just against Bathsheba and Uriah, but it is against God.  Do you realize that when you sin against someone else, it’s a sin against God?  If I lie to someone, or deceive them, or hurt them, the transgression against them is also a transgression against God!  This scripture is one that shows that truth.  The other portion of scripture I can think of that really stresses this is found in Matthew   25:31-46.  Here Jesus teaches that if we do something nice for someone, it’s the same as doing it for Him.  And if wed refuse to do something nice, we refuse to do it for Him.  So the next time you’re tempted to be mean to someone, or to “transgress” against someone, remember – God is watching,

David is bold enough to ask God to blot out his transgression – get rid of it make it so it can’t be seen. God did not do that.  It turns out that the baby was very sick after he was born and David mourned and wept over him while the baby was still alive.   It was a very public thing. David kept asking the Lord to heal the child and God did not. When the child died, David stopped mourning.  Everybody asked him why because usually people mourn after the child dies. David said what can I do now?  While he was still alive perhaps God would have healed him. David’s prayer was according to the multitude of God’s tender mercies. I’m sure this didn’t go the way David would have wanted it to.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Again David ask God to wash him completely from his iniquity and cleanse him from his sin. David realized that God was capable of doing this. We need to have this same prayer. We know that Jesus wiped away all of our son at the cross. The gospel says if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive them and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1st John 1:9). It doesn’t change the fact that we have to ask him.

In verse 3 he acknowledges his transgression. He makes himself accountable. We live in an age of people that don’t feel like they’re accountable or responsible for their own actions. It’s always somebody else’s fault or somebody made me do it. People don’t take responsibility for their own actions anymore. Well I’m sorry but you need to acknowledge your own transgressions. When you do something wrong, it is your fault. You cannot point the finger at somebody else and blame them when you do the wrong things you do.  The sooner we take responsibility for our own actions the closer we will be to God. This is why David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). It’s not because he was a perfect man – far from it. It’s because he took responsibility when he did wrong, he repented, he asked for forgiveness and he just went right on praising God. This is the heart we all need to have in our walk with the Lord. Ready to repent and ready to take responsibility for our own actions.  We must never try to place the blame on somebody else. God wants us to be honest with him. and with ourselves.  If you don’t think a sinful act is completely your fault, you can not truly repent from it.  When you take ownership of your sin, as David did, then you can truly repent.  And this is what God  desires from you.  True repentance.

 

The Attitude of Gratitude.

Philippians 4:8 Part 8

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

think on these things.

 

 

How thankful are you?  Are you someone who rarely says thank you to those around you?  Do you tend to find fault everywhere you turn?  I bet if you’re not that person you know someone who is.  There are plenty of people who fit that description.

 

I bet there were the same type of people back in Paul’s day.  Ungrateful, not responsible, not accountable.  They refuse to acknowledge the good deeds of others, preferring instead to find the one thing that wasn’t done right.  The scribes and Pharisees in Jesus day are a perfect example.  Look at all the good Jesus was doing, yet all they could see was the people following Him instead of them.

 

If there be any praise, think on these things.  Now we start out by giving praise to God, of course.  And there is NEVER a time that He is not worthy of our praise – NEVER.  No matter what is going wrong in your life, there are a million things going right that you can praise Him for unless you are dead, and then hopefully you will be praising Him in heaven.  There is always reason to give Him praise!  Are you breathing?  Praise Him for the sair He supplies.  Can you see? Praise Him for the sunlight, even on the cloudy days it’s still there!  Are you sick?  Praise Him that your blood is still flowing through your body.  Do you have cancer (Yes, I do)?  Praise Him that your breathing, that He gave the doctors amazing knowledge, that you still have sight, hearing, taste, touch, the list is endless of things I can praise Him for, not matter what my situation.  Give Him praise.

 

But this verse goes beyond that.  If there be any praise!  What about that janitor in your church who does such a good job – doesn’t he deserve some praise?  How about the grocery clerk who helped you out with your groceries?  Or the bank teller who helps you with a transaction?  Or the convenience store clerk who assisted you today?  Don; these people deserved praise – in the way of a thank you?  A simple thank you is praise in it’s simplest form. And we as a church need to be doing more of it.  An attitude of gratitude is what it is often called.

 

Our world today has lost a lot in this area, and we need to show the way.  We as a church should be the most grateful people alive.  We should never have reason to gripe and complain.  So many blessings have been lavished upon us by our Heavenly Father.  Let’s let the world know that gratitude is he way to go!

Choose the Good, the Bad Gets Ugly

Philippians 4:8 Part 6

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

think on these things.

 

How often do you watch or listen or read the national or local news. It seems bad reports run rampant, especially since the recent elections.  Riots, police killings, bus rollovers, earthquakes, tsunamis- the list goes on.  How do we think about a good report with all this going on?

And then there are everyday troubles in our own lives. Maybe gossip against us, maybe financial problems,  maybe trouble at home or work, maybe health issues -again the list is long.  Maybe I’m bringing you down with all this.  Can we think on a good report with all the garbage life throws at us?

The answer is a resounding YES.  If we know Christ as our Savior, we should always – always be able to overcome the adverse things life throw at us, because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).  And whatever might come up, He will use it for our good  (Rom 8:28),  He is always with us (Matt 28:20).  He is interceding for us in heaven (Matt 28:20). How can we not think good things?

Think about the blessings you have, not the ones you want!  The good health that you have, not the bad health that hinders you. The possessions that you have, not what is out of your reach.  The friends that you have,  not the people who bring you down.  There are so many good things to consider, it should be easy to crowd out the bad.

It’s up to you!  You are being transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2).  The bad thoughts you use to dwell on can vanish away if you put your mind on it.  You can do it.

Are You Sure?

Psalm 49

Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:

Both low and high, rich and poor, together.

My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.

I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.

Dacd first acknowledges that this word is for all the nations,not just Israel.  Previous Psalms have mostly been addressed to Israel if any nation is mentioned.  Of course, as Christians we know that the Word is timeless and has life applications for us today, not matter when it is written.  David tells them He is going to share wisdom and understanding with them, and it doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor, or of low esteem or high, this word would apply to them.

I sometimes think this psalm is prophetic in verse 4. He talks about teaching in parables, and Jesus taught in parables throughout His ministry.  I don’t see David too often speaking in parables.  Jesus spoke in parables so the common person would better understand His message.  I love pastors who can speak in  parables – today we often call it storytelling instead.  They take everyday situations and bring a lesson from it that can help us grow in our faith.  This is something I strive to be better at.

Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?

They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;

None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:

(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)

That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.

He asks again why he should fear those that are coming against Him.  They trust inn their riches and possessions on this earth. But those things will never save their family or ransom them from their sin.  They think they will live forever and not see corruption.

Are you trusting your riches of possessions or good deeds will get you eternal life in heaven?  Do you think your family will be saved because you will pass these things on?  They may be helped along on this earth, but the future will still be in doubt, as is yours.  Read on.

10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.

11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.

12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.

13 This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.

14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.

15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.

David now explains the folly of the thinking of those rich, prosperous men in the previous section.  This man sees other like him die and then says to himself that his lands and houses will surly survive after him.  But he is going to die nonetheless, like a sheep which never has any earthly possessions.  He says death shall feed on them  and their beauty shall be consumed.

Here, David  begins to paint quite a picture of hell, a picture which Jesus finishes in His preaching.  First, he says death shall feed on them.  In Matthew 9:47-48, Jesus says the worm will eat them in hell.  Second, he says heir beauty shall be consumed.  In the same verses, Jesus says the fire is not quenched.  We also know that hell is a place of utter darkness.  Imagined having worms eating you and fire burning you  that  you cannot see.  I know hell is a place I do not want to go for any  reason.  Do you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are headed to heaven?  There is  only one way.

The Bible teaches that no one does good – no  one (Psalms 14:3, Rom 3:12), and that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).  Then it says  that while we were yet sinners,  Christ died for  us (Rom 5:8).  We are told that the wages of sin is death, but  the gift of God  is  eternal life through Christ Jesus (Rom 6:23).  Then the promise that if we confess Jesus with  our mouth, and believe in our heart God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved (Rom 10:9-10).  If we confess our sins, He will forgive their sins and cleanse us (1 John 1:9).  Jesus even said no one can go to  God except through Him (John 14:6)

16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory in his house is increased;

17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.

18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.

19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.

20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

So we do not need to worry when  someone is made rich  and their family  is honored.  Death will take  him just  like it does us, only he will go  to a place we don’t want  to  go if he  does not  have Jesus in his life.  Jesus talked about a comparison of a rich and  poor man in a story  (Luke 16:19-31).  If  you’re not familiar with it, it’s worth the read now.  We need to stand firm in our faith  and remember that life on this  earth is just a vapor in the  scheme of eternity, and eternal life in Christ is our goal  while on this earth.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Philippians 4:8 Part 5

“8 Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

think on these things.”

When I see the word lovely I think of something that’s pretty or beautiful, like a pretty lady. I wondered to myself how this fits in with the rest of these things we have to think about because it seems so limited.

So I looked up the word lovely in Strong’s Concordance and what it means is pleasing or acceptable. Now looking at it that way I can see a lot of applications to the way that we think.

When I first got saved back in 1976 I had a terrible attitude. I was very good at cutting people apart with my tongue in an instant. I had a very sharp wit and it was mostly negative. I started going back to church once I get saved and also started talking to the pastor on a regular basis. He introduced me to a book that was very popular back in the seventies. It was written by Norman Vincent Peale and was called “The Power of Positive Thinking. That book changed my life.

Basically, It taught that we have to think about the best things in life, and shut out the worst things in life. As we re-frame our thinking our mouth tends to follow. So, reading and studying through this book helped me to start thinking about things that are pleasant and acceptable, or lovely. And that pattern was never more true than it is today. If you ask people around me they will tell you that I’m about the most positive person they’ve ever seen. While it’s true that my faith and love for God plays a big part in that, it was definitely spurred on by those two years studying that book,  I want to thank my former Pastor for the lesson well taught and learned.

To think on things that are lovely means that we will have positive words and positive attitude flowing through our mind on a regular basis. And when that happens the negative has no place to land.  The first step to a realization of this thought process is to find the type of faith that trusts God implicitly in any situation.  How do we find that?  Well faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Ro 10:17).  Get into the word and study scriptures on faith.  See all the times God came through I impossible situations.  And remember that God does not change (Heb 13:8).  If He did it before, He can do it again.

Secondly, know that God always works all things for your good (Rom 8:28).  You have to KNOW this, not just know the verse.  When you come to know this is true, negative thoughts will vanish when it comes to your life.

Third, practice Ephesians 4:29, which tells us not to say anything except what will edify someone else.

And fourth, meditate on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and practice what Christian love is all about.  This is a starting point.  I also suggest this book to you. I’m sure you can find it on Amazon or in your local library. If you’re stuck in depression or just have a lousy attitude towards life, this book can change everything for you. I pray you will find it today.