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Psalm 15:1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

Psalm 15:4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change.


When I was young, there was a period of time when my dad did not have a car. He did the shopping and he went to work on a bicycle. One day he was coming home while carrying groceries as well as one of my brothers on the bicycle. When he was almost home, he stopped and asked my brother to walk the rest of the way while he turned around to go back to the store. He told my brother that he had promised one of the younger children Ice cream and that he had forgotten to pick it up. But in his words, "you don't want to break a promise to a child, they will never believe you again!"

How many of us understand the importance of keeping the promises that we make, particularly when that promise turns out to be a promise that we shouldn't have made? Today people sign business contracts expecting to "renegotiate" the contract if the business expectations are not met. I had a lady sell a business on contract when I was in business as a CPA where I knew that the buyer intended to do just that. He gave her an unreasonably high bid to get the business and a year later told her that unless she renegotiated with him, she would get nothing. I had warned her not to sell to him because I could see that was his plan.

Some people seem to make promises with their fingers crossed so that in their mind the promise doesn't have to be fulfilled. I think some people take their marriage vows that way. Others make sure that their promises are so clouded by legal language that they have a loop hole out if they decide they want it.

A person of character keeps His promises. If we borrow money and cannot make the payments when due, we should honestly go to the creditor and tell them that we know that we owe the money and then ask them if there is any way that we can work out some repayment plan. We should not ignore the debt or find something wrong with the original promise that allows us to avoid our responsibilities. Our character is determined by how we live up to our promises.

I am glad that the Lord's promises are dependable. He says that He is Truth (John 14:6). We read that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). That is why I tell people that if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved (Acts 16:31), it works one hundred percent of the time. And if you are not saved it is because you have not trusted the Lord. That too is true one hundred percent of the time. God has no reason to lie and when He makes a promise, He has the ability and the authority to perform the promise. My assurance of salvation does not come from the decision I made or from the confession I made or from any invitation to ask the Lord in to my heart. It comes from the fact that God has made me a promise that, "while I was a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8)." If man had made me that promise, I would not be absolutely sure that I was saved. But since God has made that promise, I can know that my sins are forgiven and that I have a home prepared for me in heaven.

God keeps His promises. That is why I expect the Lord to return. That is why I anticipate an eternal home in the glory with Christ. If we are truly "born again" (John 3:7), we should also be known as people who keep their promises.

Meditation for the week of August 5, 2007

Ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (NKJV).


What are the fiery darts of the wicked one? Could it not be the doubts and questions that Satan puts in our minds about the goodness of God and his plans for us at times? Satan is a master at taking the Truth that gives us comfort and asking us if God has really made that promise to us. He did that to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan tries to turn our minds from praise to despair.

We sometimes think that people with proper faith in the Lord will never have times of discouragement. But many of the old testament saints did:

Elijah was discouraged in 1 Kings 19:4 where we read, "but he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, 'It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!'"

Jonah was discouraged after the Lord saved Nineveh. He said in Jonah 4:3, "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!"

David seems to discouraged when he says in Psalm 69:2, "I sink in deep mire, Where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me."

Even Paul could be downcast or cast down. In 2 Corinthians 7:6 he says, "Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus."

We all have times when we feel discouraged. Sometimes it is because we have tried to do too much like Elijah and we need to rest. Sometimes it is because we are stubborn and disobedient like Jonah. Sometimes it is because our friends have forsaken us like David. Sometimes it is when the work of the Lord seems to be attacked by everything and everybody as it was with Paul. Sometimes it is just because Satan is on the attack. Even the Lord in the garden of Gethsemane could say as He anticipated the cross, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matthew 26:38).

The mind is a wonderful thing and Satan knows how to attack it. He did that to the Lord when he was hungry and alone in the wilderness. He did it to Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. He does that to us. The shield that we need is not the shield of believing more earnestly, but the shield of the things that we believe. It is the shield that covers all the other armor that protects us in this spiritual battle that we are constantly fighting against the wicked spirits in the heavenlies.

When the Lord was being attacked, angels came and ministered to Him both in the wilderness and in the Garden (See Matthew 4:11 and Luke 22:43). Often friends are of no help when the attack comes. Peter and James and John slept when they should have been praying for the Lord. But sometimes we can be the angel or messenger that the Lord sends to bear the burden of one who is under attack. But above all, when the attack comes, and it will, we need to know the promises of God. When Satan says, "Yea hath God said?", we need to be able to say, "Yes He has made that promise and He doesn't lie." That will keep our minds protected by the shield of faith.

The promises that give us the assurance that God loves us and sent His Son to die for our sins so we could have an eternal home in the heavens, are likely the same promises that will give us peace when Satan goes on the attack. If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31.

Meditation for the week of August 12, 2007

Deuteronomy 33:26-27

"There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, And in His excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, 'Destroy!' (NKJV)


Life seems so temporary when you get older. When I was in elementary school, summer vacation seemed like an eternity. This summer has almost passed me by before it seemed to get started. James says life is like steam out of a tea kettle that rises and vanishes (James 4:14). Nothing on this planet is permanent. When we buy new cars, we think we will have them forever. Then when they begin to need repairs we are reminded that from the moment we drove them out of the showroom, we were driving a used car. Even the earth which seems so permanent is temporary and will one day be destroyed according to Peter (2 Peter 3:10.)

Even though life is temporary, society is constantly changing. This last century has seen more changes in the way we live than in all of the preceding history of man since Noah. We can now fly. We also travel in automobiles and trains and motorcycles . We now communicate around the globe almost instantaneously by email, or by cell phones. Space ships travel to the moon and probe the outer reaches of our solar system. Along with these changes, many would like to believe that God has also changed, but God is eternal. According to Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He says that He is the One who always has and always will exist (Revelation 1:8). God is the one constant in life. He has revealed Himself in different ways at different times. He has worked in different ways at different times, but He Himself is the one great constant in life.

Philosophers have questioned the existence of God because they cannot understand how someone who has no beginning can exist. I don't understand that either but I can see that God exists. The fact that His creation exists is evidence that He exists. The fact that He could tell us all about Christ and how He would be born and die long before it happened indicates that He not only exists but that He tells us all about Himself. He says that He is eternal and that He is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2).

Knowing that God is eternal means that we who are temporary can not put Him in a box and understand Him. We cannot make Him Who we want Him to be because He is Who He is. But only an eternal God could give us eternal life. And when this temporary body fails and when this temporary life ends, those of us who have made plans for eternity have a place prepared for us that is eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1). That place will not be like our new cars. When that place would normally be considered old, it will still be new. A mind that is constrained by time cannot fathom the concept of eternity. Even the Bible describes eternity by using time. In Revelation 20:10, those who rebel against God are tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Since eternity is so long and time is so short, preparing for eternity would seem to be the prudent thing to do. Most who do not believe in a Creator God would likely admit that they expect something to continue forever after they die. They would just like to believe that they will not be conscious or held accountable to God during eternity. I personally think that is a terrible mistake to make.

So when life seems to be going faster than I would like it to go; and when changes occur that I am not ready for, I am comforted by the fact that I am just that much closer to the eternal God who sent His Son so that I might have my sins forgiven and enjoy eternal life. Since God does not change, I am confident that I can count on the eternal God with the everlasting arms to meet me when this temporary life is over.

Meditation for the week of August 19, 2007

Psalm 22:6 But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. (NKJV)


We often think that the wealthy and powerful never experience rejection. However, that wasn't the case with David who wrote this Psalm. David had two times of great persecution in his life. The first was when Saul was trying to destroy him so that he could not be king. Saul was trying to establish his dynasty and wanted his son to be king. That persecution was completely undeserved because David had been totally loyal to Saul while he was king. He considered Saul to be the Lord's anointed and he wouldn't touch him (1 Samuel 26:11).

The second persecution was when his own son Absalom rebelled against him and tried to take his throne (2 Samuel 15). This second persecution was the result of David's sin with Bathsheba. When Nathan confronted David about his sin, David confessed the sin. There is no doubt that God forgave Him, but there were still consequences associated with what he had done. In 2nd Samuel 12:11-13 we are told that the Lord had put away David's sin after he confessed it, but that an adversary would arise from within his family.

We don't know for sure when David wrote this Psalm, but it would make sense that it was written during the first persecution that was not deserved rather than during the second which was deserved. This is a Messianic Psalm which means that the authors of the new testament quote it to show that the Lord Jesus fulfilled some of these experiences prophetically. Since the Lord did not deserve his persecution, I would like to believe that David wrote this Psalm before he sinned with Bathsheba.

If David considered himself to be a worm (or more appropriately, a maggot), and if the Lord also experienced total rejection, why should we consider it unusual as the Lord's people to feel totally rejected at times? David had as many as six hundred men with him when he was fleeing from Saul (1 Samuel 25:13) and yet there were times when he felt totally alone and forsaken. He was a leader of men and yet felt like he was a maggot.

Rejection is a powerful tool of Satan because Christians need to have friends and fellowship. That is one of the functions of the new testament church. Satan knows that if he can isolate and discourage us, he can render us powerless and ineffective. When those who reject Christ reject us, that hurts, but we expect that. But Satan knows that his best weapon is to have those who claim to be be Christians reject us. The Lord experienced that when his disciples forsook Him and fled (Matthew 26:56). Finally, God also forsook Him (Matthew 27:46). All this was done so that we might have One who could not only save us, but Who has promised that He will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Those of us who have trusted in Christ are unconditionally accepted in the beloved, that is we are accepted by God because of our trust in Christ (Ephesians 1:6). And that is what really matters!

When we feel like a worm and not like a man, it is easy to think God's relationship with us is the same as that of our acquaintances. But we who are trusting in Christ need to understand that God's love is not fickle. His acceptance of us is not conditional but unconditional. We are often told that we should be happy if we find one really good friend during our lifetimes. If we are saved, we have that friend in the Lord Jesus!


Meditation for the week of August 26, 2007