Happy To Welcome You To The Hallelujah Chorus

I will exalt you my God, the King, I will praise your name forever and ever. Every day I will praise you and exalt your name forever and ever. Psalm 145:1-2

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Love Never Dies"

As I have studied the 70+ Psalms of David all this year one of his favorite phrases is about God's "unfailing love". He uses that phrase several times just in Psalm 33 - "The word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love." Psalm 33:4-5 NIV
Love that never fails isn't a natural human trait. For most of us, love is a fleeting feeling that can evaporate with the right circumstances. That's pretty understandable with Hollywood types but it seems to be true with many people of faith also.
We can learn how it's done, keeping love alive and vibrant, but only from God. It takes patient commitment to pay attention to the word of the Lord because only he is "faithful in all he does". Learning to love the things God loves, "righteousness and justice", is a long process for the fickle human heart.
Paul wrote, "Love never fails", which Peterson in the Message states as "Love never dies." 1 Corinthians 13:8 I like that because love, the love of God (AGAPE) just keeps on no matter what. David wanted his nation to understand the commitment God had made to them and what it demanded of them. Sadly, even though they kept singing David's songs long after his death, they failed to recognize that love when God sent his Son to save them. The Holy Spirit wants desperately for all of the human family to get that same message today, which is why we have David's beautiful songs from centuries ago. But as in David's day, many today still ignore the God's "unfailing love" in Jesus Christ.
We are all born with the ability and instinct to love, but our practice of love can be fickle as we search for it's definition in worldly society. Only God, who IS love, can teach us how to do it. His love that never dies provides us with the perfect model to copy. HALLELUJAH!

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Stubborn As A Mule"

Through his prolific song writing and using his music as a teaching medium, David was the primary source of spiritual education for his nation. As both their political and spiritual leader, he brought together the best of both worlds, although that was a rather brief reality which his successors failed to live up to.
Speaking in the first person for Yahweh, David taught them this truth - "I WILL INSTRUCT YOU AND TEACH YOU THE WAY YOU SHOULD GO; I WILL COUNSEL YOU WITH MY EYE UPON YOU. BE NOT LIKE A HORSE OR A MULE, WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING, WHICH MUST BE CURBED WITH BIT AND BRIDLE OR IT WILL NOT STAY NEAR YOU." Then follows the "counsel" he wanted them to hear and pay very careful attention to - "MANY ARE THE SORROWS OF THE WICKED, BUT STEADFAST LOVE SURROUNDS THE ONE WHO TRUSTS IN THE LORD. BE GLAD AND REJOICE O RIGHTEOUS, ALL YOU UPRIGHT IN HEART." Psalm 32:8-11 ESV
All of us are by nature as stubborn as a mule, we have to LEARN TO LISTEN to our parents, our teachers, our spouse and especially our Maker and Father. Our instinct is to run away from what appears uncomfortable or in any way threatens our sense of self. Anyone who has ever spent much time around mules or horses understands why David chose them as an example of how not to be. We all need to listen closely to God's instructions and resist the instinct to run away.
I know of NO better words of advice than these few simple words from David. The Israelite people knew it then just like we know it now, but we too need to be reminded. All David did was re-state the ancient SHEMA of Moses from Deut 6, what Jesus called THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT at Mark 12.
Maybe you too will appreciate Eugene Peterson's interpretation of David's words - "God-defiers are always in trouble; God-affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around". Psalm 32:10 MSG I can only add HALLELUJAH!

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Stuck In A Dark Place With No Way Out?"

Over and over Yahweh has proven that he is about forgiveness and giving his children endless opportunities to correct and improve our lives. At any time we can turn our hearts to him and seek his face if we understand his forgiveness is never without some crucial conditions.
David prayed these words with absolute confidence - "DON'T THROW ME OUT WITH THE TRASH OR FAIL TO BREATHE HOLINESS IN ME. BRING ME BACK FROM GRAY EXILE, PUT A FRESH WIND IN MY SAILS." PSALM 51:10-12 MSG
Jesus is the only one of God's children who never had a need to pray David's prayer, but he always knew his Father's heart. In his first public teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave some very specific instructions about prayer and changing our heart to seek the Father.
I fear most of us think such change is hard, and it very often is. However, it can begin in an instant with a commitment to change my mind about whatever is causing the unrest in my spirit. That's called repentance, a change of mind that results in a change of actions. The hard part is holding on to that commitment on Monday and beyond.
We're never stuck in a dark place with no way out! Our Father is always a forgiving parent whose love/grace is stronger than any of our mistakes. Jesus proves that doesn't he?! God is always waiting for us to come home from the pigpen so he can throw us a party with the fattened calf. He will always put a "fresh wind in my sails." HALLELUJAH!