Posted 15 hours ago

Can Miracles Make You Believe?

Will a miracle make someone believe?

The answer is no. A miracle does not make you believe. The obvious evidence is that after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, those who did not believe in Jesus saw it and doubled down on their efforts to kill him and now the resurrected Lazarus!

Psalm 78 is proof positive of the stubborn heart of man when it comes to faith and miracles.

The first 31 verses recount all the miracles God had done for Israel… rescuing them from slavery, feeding them in the wilderness, water from the rock… splitting the sea… amazing wonders. But no matter what God did, they kept rebelling and refusing to trust Him…





Psalm 78:32 (ESV) In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe.

So if miracles and wonders do not cause belief, what does? 

Look at what it says two verses later!




Psalm 78:34 (ESV) 34 When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly.

What? When things went badly they decided to come to Him? Does that even make sense? Can we correlate this with modern life?

Yes.

America is the most comfortable nation on Earth. And in America, Christianity is fading fast.
Sub Sahara Africa, China and India pale in comparison to our wealth; South America is a far cry from our standard of living. Yet these are the exact areas where Christianity is growing leaps and bounds.

The reality is, we think we are made to thrive in comfort. But we usually get complacent and lazy - taking things for granted.

When the chips are down, when life is confusing and chaotic, we get more perspective than we could imagine! We tend to look to God or for God only after we come to the end of ourselves. Consider the Prodigal son. Only after the famine and the fair weather friends fled did he think of his Father and the care he showed toward his servants. The story ends with the well-to-do older brother mad, angry, resentful and outside of the party.

It is not God’s job description to miraculously solve your problems so that you’ll believe in Him. It has always been his method of operation to give His children wisdom, grace and gifts for whatever they may face.

Jesus told us He is the vine. We are the branches. When we are abiding, we are thriving. When we drift, we fade like a fallen leaf in early winter.

Let us draw near… and stay.




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Posted 1 day ago
Posted 4 days ago

From I To Thy

Psalm 77 is a Psalm that begins with distress and ends with praise. There is a specific movement in this Psalm from an inward focused groan to an outward focused praise of God.


In the first 2 verses the Psalmist mentions himself six times.
I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. (Psalms 77:1-2 NLT)

How often we do this when we are in distress. We focus on our feelings, on what we experience, on what is going on and happening to us. Many prayers begin this way. Talking all about what we need, what we think, what we lack.

Slowly the Psalm moves towards a focus on God. Albeit a wrongful thought toward God.
I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude… I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude (Psalms 77:3, 5-9 NLT)

Notice how he is shifted his thoughts towards God only to blame or find accusation against him. This is our habit. It is been our habits is the garden of Eden in the fall. Adam and Eve both blamed God in a subtle way for how they now felt.

Many times are prayers do this as well. We start to blame God for how we feel, question where he is in our lives, wonder if he’ll ever help us out again.

A little more self pity…
And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” (Psalm 77:10 NLT)

How easy it is to fall into self-pity when we pray. To play the “woe is me” card. But let’s not stop there - just like the Psalmist didn’t stop there either…
But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. (Psalms 77:11-12 NLT)

He starts to think biblically. He starts to think about what God has done in the past. His thoughts are going to lead him away from self and toward the mighty Savior.

We can all do this. We can all spend time thinking about God’s good work for us in the past and His great works for His people in the scriptures.  This will do two things… Get us to focus on something other than us, which is right because we are NOT the center of the world. And secondly, it will get us a wider perspective to remember we are a part of God’s greater plan for creation.

O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude (Psalms 77:13-15 NLT)

This is how time with The Lord should end… On a praise note! No longer obsessed with how we feel… No longer focused on what we think we need right now. But rather thinking about the goodness of our God. Remember how Jesus ended the model prayer? “Yours is the kingdom (not mine), Yours is the power (not mine), Yours is the glory (not mine again) FOREVER!”

Prayer time that doesn’t move you from your self to Your Savior is just grumbling. Look up and give Him praise.

Amen.



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Posted 2 weeks ago

Human Defiance





Psalm 76:10 (NLT) Human defiance only enhances your glory, for you use it as a weapon.

What a crazy thought! Even the rebellion of humans brings glory to God. Yet this is consistent with the rest of Scripture. Paul writes about Pharaoh…


Romans 9:17 (ESV) For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”


God gets glory from the defiance of human pride. 

If Pharaoh hadn’t hardened his heart, God’s miracles would not have been necessary Yet consider that it took 400 years for Israel to see those days. I imagine in the middle of that generation, many Israelites wondered at all if God cared that His people and His name were being disregarded by the powers that be. Even in our own generation, we can wonder the same. 

Yet God is not asleep. And God is not quiet forever. It may not happen in my lifetime, but somehow God will get the glory from the Nations - even the nations that defy Him and His word. 

I look at Western Civilization sliding further and further into self-reliance and Godlessness. I ask when God will rouse Himself as the Lion of this Psalm. Yet God undoes in one day what humankind seeks to do in lifetimes and generations. From the tower of Babel to modern arrogance and scientific discovery, God always inevitably humbles the proud.

Psalm 76:8–9 (ESV) From the heavens you uttered judgment; the earth feared and was still, 9 when God arose to establish judgment, to save all the humble of the earth. Selah

Perhaps you wait and wonder when God will have had enough. The times and seasons are not for us to know. It is for us to humble ourselves before Him, trust Him, and serve Him. 



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Posted 2 weeks ago

Thank Him for being Him

You ever take time to thank God just for being who He has decided to be?
That’s what Psalm 75 is.





Psalm 75:1 (ESV) We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.

No petition, no thankfulness for what God has individually brought about in the Psalmist’s life. Just acknowledgement that God is holy and just in every way. That there is no help apart from Him. That He is going to bring recompense on the wicked and shelter to those who hid in Him.

God is in charge:




Psalm 75:6–7 (ESV) 6 For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, 7 but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

And then almost as soon as it starts… the Psalm ends with more praise:




Psalm 75:9–10 (ESV) 9 But I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. 10 All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.

What an interesting way to come to the Lord. No personal agenda. No long list of requests. And its not that we shouldn’t present our requests to God, we should. The Bible tells us to. But what I love about this journey through the Psalms is that sometimes we need to approach God for who He is and what He does apart from our subjective reality. He is always good, righteous true and just. He is God and we are not.

This is why we need to read through the Bible. Left to ourselves we will cherry pick the parts we like and never let the Word have authority and speak to our lives. This is why we need to sing different kinds of songs from different generations. They tell us about God from an entirely different perspective. 

Let us go to Him and thank Him… just for being Him.

Amen.



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Posted 2 weeks ago
Posted 3 weeks ago

Culture Got You Down?

Psalm 73 is something you have to read every now and then especially in this celebrity obsessed culture of constant instant entertainment.


Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. (Psalms 73:1-3 NLT)

Who doesn’t feel like this at times? Who doesn’t wonder why people with no fear of God seem to get ahead? Who doesn’t look at the world and its trajectory and wonder if Christianity is true and the guy the Bible is real why does it seem that his enemies are winning?

Answer: things aren’t always as they seem.

This is a Psalm about whether we’re going to go by what we see about who we know? On the outside anyone’s life and look better than yours. On the outside anyone can seem to have it together. That’s what he says in verse 4:

They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. (Psalms 73:4 NLT)

But things are not always as they seem.

Where does the Psalmist find the answer? In the presence of God and His Word. In the perspective life after death brings… The resurrection of Jesus changes everything.

Verse 20: When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning

What an amazing verse. Dreams in the morning. What a phenomenal way to look at this life. Right now it seems like heaven is a dream and this is the reality. But right after we all take our last breath this life will seem like a dream and the life to come will be the final reality. 

You guide me with your COUNSEL, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. (Psalms 73:24-25 NLT)

We need daily doses of the Word of The Lord. He gave it to us for a reason. By His Word we live and all things hold together. When we feast on His Word, our hearts are opened to it and we come to desire what we were made for.

But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do. (Psalms 73:28 NLT)

I think about how the turning point in this Psalm was his decision to go to church. We can avoid church if we want, but we will be the ones who suffer with frustrating depressing lives. What a blessing awaits for those who choose willingly to get there and listen and hear from Him.

It is good to be near Him.








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Posted 3 weeks ago

A Prayer for the King to Come

Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly. May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful. Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors. May they fear you as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon remains in the sky. Yes, forever! (Psalms 72:1-5 NLT)


This psalm is a prayer of David for his son Solomon to take the throne of Israel. It’s a wonderful prayer of a father for his son. Do you pray for concerning your children? Do we pray over our children regularly? We should.

Everything David prays for his so that Solomon will help other people. He doesn’t simply pray for success and notoriety or fame. David prays that Solomon will live a life that helps others and defends the poor and those who are oppressed. In the beginning of his reign Solomon does this but things fall apart in the end leaving us looking for another son of David who will rule with justice and righteousness.

The king we find in Jesus is someone who rules and rains over all - yet feels pity for the week and rescues the oppressed.

All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him. (Psalms 72:11, 13-14 NLT)

This is what we want for our leaders. This is what we hope for in our Presidents. Unfortunately no one man or woman could ever fulfill the role as Jesus does and will ultimately do. The world is full of oppression and violence. We look forward to the rule and reign of Christ. We seek to live it out in our daily lives.

We pray for these things, they are in accordance with the will of God.


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Posted 4 weeks ago
Posted 1 month ago

Word That Saves

So often we act as if God’s commands were against us. Nothing could be further from the truth. God for us. We are made in his image. He desires Close intimate relationship with us.

The Psalmist writes:




Psalm 71:3 (ESV) Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

I like that particular line: “you have given the command to save me”…

God commands for the national or spiritual out there to protect us and save us. We can’t stray we tend to walk off the cliff of our own destruction. We can to walk and live according to the patterns that lead to disaster.

Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)  There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.


Like the law of gravity. We ignore it’s boundaries to our own peril. So too the laws of nature and relationships are ignored to our own pain and confusion.

It’s proof of the Bible’s reliability that the commands of God both insult and inflict. They insult us because we naturally don’t want God in charge. But then they inflict upon us when we ignore them.

This is what the Bible is for: God, in His mercy gives us the commands life. And in Jesus, He comes as the Word made flesh. The Word that saves! Jesus - our “salvation” is the living breathing walking, talking Word of our salvation.

Listen to Him, look to Him.

Be saved.

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