Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Refuge - Psalm 7

Psalm 7:1 O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, 2 or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

1 Peter 5:8b Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

God is our refuge. In David’s case there was a literal ‘in the flesh’ enemy…in our case, the enemy is Satan, and he takes many forms. Either way, David is keenly aware that the enemy is like a lion, who seeks only to steal kill and destroy.

My daughter LOVES to sleep in our room. She doesn’t have to….she just likes to. If Jenny and I aren’t paying attention, when we go to bed at night, there she is. She doesn’t even care to sleep in our bed…she will sleep on the floor….with a blanket and a pillow. Our room, where we are…is where she wants to be. She has a perfectly good, expensive mattress in her room….yet she yearns to sleep on the floor near her mom and me.

She isn’t scared, yet she longs to be safe. There are no apparent threats, yet she longs to be secure.

David a mighty king….could crush his enemy, by his mighty army’s sword, yet he chose to take refuge in the Lord. Tate could sleep in the comfort of her own bed, 30 feet further away from her mom and me, yet she chooses a more uncomfortable (unnatural) pallet next to our bed. Maybe these examples of ‘childlike faith’.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tug-O-War - Psalm 6

Psalm 6:3 My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long?

David, I think is playing this massive game of ‘tug of war’ with the world. Like all of us do….wrestling with the desires of a sinful heart and a yearning to be ‘the man after God’s own heart’. This is the daily struggle of those man enough to admit it.
What a transparent look at a king who poured out his heart, his tears and emotional capacities, not afraid of who would notice….and even realizing that even his enemies would be troubled by his state of emotion, to the point of confusion or possibly their conversion. Whatever the case…..David knows the Lord will glorify himself.

This verse took me back…to a time of brokenness, a time when all I desired was God. What’s wrong with me…when I have other desires?

1 Peter 2: 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

Better is One Day- Redmon
my heart and flesh cry out
for you, the Living God
your spirit's water for my soul
I've tasted and I've seen
come once again to me
I will draw near to you, I will draw near to you

Matt 5:3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

God I know you claim my heart….take it over. God, break my heart…because I am selfish, because I am sinful, because I am never close to you. Draw me unto yourself….I want to be where you are…..

Friday, December 26, 2008

Enemies - Psalm 5

Psalm 5:12 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

I love the favor and shield of God. I am, however, only Righteous only by the blood of Christ. So the Lord gives favor on those he saves.

Romans 5:19 For just as through one man's disobedience many people were made sinners, so also through one man's obedience many people will be made righteous.

I praise God for my righteousness…for it only through him that I am. I guess that is as simple as it gets.

My neighbor, doesn’t believe in that man is sinful. He doesn’t believe that Adam brought sin into the world. By his own admission, he picks and chooses “what works for him” from the bible. Apparently.

I think if a man calls himself a believer, yet doesn’t believe in sin, Satan or hell…..he must then not fully believe that he is in need of a Savior…and therefore Righteous on his own….or Self-Righteous.

The Self-Righteous is who David is speaking of when he calls them ‘enemies’ and says;
9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit.

God, I lift up your enemies this morning. Allow someone to speak truth to them. Allow them to see your goodness…and their own depravity. God continue to allow the opportunities to tell your Simple Story of Christmas…throughout the year.

Our Simple Christmas

I don't know about you, but Christmas has always been about presents. We 'say' that Jesus is the reason for the season, and we give a weak connection between the presents and Jesus being the ultimate present....or the Maji and their presents being the tradition of gift giving. But we literally spend ourselves into a hole at Christmas. We totally consume everything out there, and build debt that it takes several months to dig out of.
And not because we are cheap, and not because we don't love people, but because we believe, that's not what God intended. This Christmas, we decided, that we would have a 'simple christmas'. Simple in the way we celebrate, simple in the way spend, simple in how we show what is important to us.
First of all, we followed a great guideline for presents for our kids, and ourselves. Each of us got 4 presents. Something we want, something we need, something we wear and something to read. The something we wear for the kids... became a few somethings... but by and large we help pretty well to this. What we found is that we could (and our kids could) grasp this.... and it freed us up to give to others like we have never given before.
We went in with several other families and we were able to financially bless, give gifts and food to 3 families and an orphanage....the families we gave to, were not going to have gifts at all....nor were they going to have a meal. There are organizations out there...that make these connections....or you can just keep your eyes and ears open. One of the families, was a family at the school one of our friends works at.
Another thing we did was give our time to 'a cause' that we believe in and have come to love, helping the Homeless. Christmas Eve, we intentionally left of late afternoon and evening open. As a family, we made sandwiches about 40-50 and delivered bags with a sandwich, chips a piece of fudge and a water....to guys and girls around town on Christmas Eve.
The highlight of my Christmas may be that as we delivering the sandwiches, we were pulling up to a parking lot, near where we serve burgers about once a month. And I hear my name being yelled....by one of the guys we have been ministering to. I get out, he greets me again...shakes my hand and ask me "how you doing, Tray?"
Christmas morning we decided to get away from it all being about us and presents and get up early, joining Mobile Loaves and Fishes and making a truck run. This consisted of cleaning and making ready (loading with food) the trucks...then going out with them and interacting with those we were ministering to. I got to spend some time with a new friend Robert, who is from New Orleans and is homeless. He works when he can get it, but by his own admission, he has problems with girls, money, and alcohol. He is a professing believer, saved by grace, same as me. He loves his family, and respects his uncle. He has several children and borrowed Benton's cell phone to call one of them to wish them a Merry Christmas.
I told him we were going to Alabama for New Years and he said.....you should stop and see my uncle...and pray for him. He has cancer and Robert hopes his Uncle finds peace before dying. He said he is a Christian...but he is still mad about things. Mad about cancer......which I understand. I get his phone number from Robert and I plan to stop by. This was a simple request, from a simple man, who simply wanted to bless his uncle.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mary's Christmas - Luke 2

Luke 2:19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Can you imagine. A young unwed girl, who has been told by an angel, she has been chosen by God, to have His son. Her husband to be, Joseph, has been ‘talked to’ by the same angel….so he believes her and stays.
Now Mary has a natural pregnancy….with the small exception that Jesus jumped in her womb as she met Elizabeth.
Mary has had this ‘normal’ experience, except she knows that God is the father of her baby. She knows she will name the baby Jesus.
Now it is all coming to pass. Mary and Joseph, had to have her baby in a manger, I guess the verse could have read….and Mary was completely overwhelmed, exhausted and tried to control herself…and I would have been okay with her response. But she sat back, listened to the shepherds….as they gave the account of the angels…..and she treasured the things they said, and she pondered their words in her heart.
I might have stood up and said…..”I told you so!”
Happy Birthday Jesus…and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Now I lay me...down to sleep - Psalm 4

Psalm 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Safety, peace and sleep would not be “the Norm” for a king on the run. If things had gotten so bad in the kingdom that it’s very own king can no longer assure his safety, then times are pretty insane.

For David to lay his head down at night, and find solace and comfort as God removed the worries of the day, and allowed him to feel safe as he slept was a great blessing. There isn’t much worse than a night of worry, as you try to sleep. David recognizes this as he is saying his evening prayer to the Lord.

The old kids prayer goes;
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep……
Its really that same type of prayer, it’s basically comforting for David to know, that he can trust God with his safety. Whatever God decides to allow to happen in the night….God’s in control.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Loser's Lean - Psalm 3

Psalm3:3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift [b] up my head.

When I used to play football…there was a point in the game, where one team would begin to dominate to the extent, that it affected the posture of the other team. You could see it…..my coach called it, “the loser’s lean”. It was pretty easy to see…and once you saw this on your opponent, it was over.
You had not only dominated him on the scoreboard, but his heart and soul was no longer able to fight.

You also, always hear coaches after the game….or at the very end, telling their men, “keep your heads up!” and “you have nothing to be ashamed of!”.

This is the posture I think of when I read this verse.
David, it is thought, is being pursued by Absolum, at this point in time. He was unsure who to trust, who to flee from, so he fled from everyone. You can imagine how mentally exhausting it must be, to always be ‘on guard’. Well that was the situation.

At this point and time, David must have begun to see that ‘loser’s lean’ posture in himself and recognized that only God, could lift his head. When all your enemies rise up around you, God wants our focus, our affections, our worries and praises. Ultimately, when we are being persecuted and we aren’t beat down….it gives us the opportunity to honor and praise our Heavenly Father.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ferocious Judgment - Psalm 2

You know last night, Brandon mentioned that every time the angel of the Lord appeared to someone….the angel had to say, “fear not!” because the “glory of the Lord” was on them. It must have been very awe inspiring. It must have been, brilliant, shocking, scary, beautiful and moving. And that was THE GLORY of the Lord.
How much more then would you be terrified of the Lord’s wrath?
Psalm 2:5 Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying. 6 "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill."
Guys, as Christmas is upon us….I am humbled that Christ came to earth to bear the brunt of God’s wrath and anger. Admittedly, I am not as fearful of the Lord as I should be. We should never forget that the anger of God, that frightens men to death and makes kings quake….is still directed at us….Christ’s atonement and redemption stands in between us God’s ferocious perfect judgment.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

That's Twice

2 Samuel 24:10 David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done.

2 Samuel 23: 17 "Far be it from me, O LORD, to do this!" he said. "Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?" And David would not drink it.

This is twice in the last two chapters that David has twice had to go back and repent. The first one in chapter 23 was over water. He sent two mighty men to fetch him some water from a well. Not just any well, but the well he used to drink from as a child. Maybe he was being a little nostalgic, but as him men returned….decided that it wasn’t worth the blood of men to drink from that well.

Now, he has gotten out in front of God. Israel has really pissed him off…and he is wanted to impose his own justice, but first he wants to count the men to see if he, based on numbers, has an advantage. One, God didn’t direct him to attack Israel and two if God wanted David to fight Israel….he doesn’t need a certain number of men to win the battle.

David’s sin is obviously great by the number of people who the death angel avenged….so how great a sin, are those sins that fester in OUR minds. God have mercy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mighty Men

In 2 Samuel 23, there is a list of the ‘Mighty Men’ of David. I think it is significant from the perspective that David was a great leader, but he also assembled a great support system. These men listed are the men that stood beside David BEFORE he was king…..after Samuel had anointed him, but before Saul was removed from the throne.
Remember this was a very tough time…..thus making these men even more ‘Mighty’.

These are the men that worked behind the scenes, with little or no recognition. Yeah they got a mention here at the end of 2 Samuel, but never received the accolades or were rewarded for their actions.

There is such a great correlation between being a Mighty Man of David and church work. Church leaders and workers, roll up their sleeves every day, go to battle, teach a class, stack a chair, load a trailer, fold a bulletin, change a diaper, set up pipe and drape…and not too many people are going to notice. But God does.

These men who served David, may have never been noticed by a single person…..but God recorded them in His Holy Word.

God, I want to be a Mighty Man. Give us the strength and courage to do your work. Give us eternal perspective and make us see the ‘bigger picture’. It’s not about us…..may you be glorified!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Lord's Delight

2 Samuel 22:20 He brought me out into a spacious place; 
 he rescued me because he delighted in me.

I am reminded this morning, that our Lord does delight in us. He rescues us…and puts us in that spacious place.

A couple of other verses backed this up for this morning.

First is the 23rd Psalm. “he makes me lie down in green pastures” is that spacious place, where I am safe, taken care of, and have plenty.

One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is Zephaniah 3:17:
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
Again here, the Lord rejoices over us with singing….because he takes such delight in us. This verse was part of a benediction I did… several weeks ago, and I’m sure it will be again.

Friday, December 12, 2008


2 Samuel 20
"We have no share in David, no part in Jesse's son!”

Was the battle cry of Sheba, a trouble maker. He set out to cause division and disloyalty among those (Israel) who had most recently joined David. Israel in chapter 19 had even argued with the tribes of Judah who honored David more.

2 Samuel 19:43 Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, "We have ten shares in the king; and besides, we have a greater claim on David than you have. So why do you treat us with contempt? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?" But the men of Judah responded even more harshly than the men of Israel.

I think about T.O. (Terrell Owens) of the Cowboys. It was less than a year ago that he stood in front of a camera, weeping on behalf of “his quarterback”….saying that the media should lay off him for his part (a botched snap) in the playoffs.
Now, the same T.O. is pretty much slamming “his quarterback” as a guy who is scheming to keep T.O. out of the offense.

T.O. is also trying to poison several of the other receivers, if not his teammates because of Romo’s supposed favoritism.

In my opinion, Jerry Jones should act with the swiftness and ferocity of David and his men…and remove the ‘cancer’ that is T.O.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's never too late

2 Samuel 18:33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!"

I had a good friend of mine, who’s son was a trained hunter and competition trap and skeet shooter. He was competing against grown men as a child. He won all kinds of shooting competitions by the time he was 11. He was a state champion by the time he was a teenager. He was great with a gun and very knowledgeable about them.

When he was 13, he and one of his friends, came into the barn after an afternoon of hunting, as they were we rehashing the game they saw (but didn’t kill), they were cleaning their guns, and one went off. My friend’s son could only watch his best friend slump to the ground with a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

I met my friend, his son and the family at the hospital and just watched. There wasn’t much I could say, or offer. I did pray with them, but I saw two men weep for their sons. One who has lost his in this horrible accident and the other, obviously for the dead young man but also for the pain his son would endure his entire life.

I am sure this was the kind of weeping David did over Absolum’s death. The kind that wished he had done something different. Maybe had I been there, maybe if I had better supervised, maybe, maybe, maybe…. What if David hadn’t indulged his son, what if he’s have been a better parent…. I think David’s desire to swap places with his son, was out of the guilt he felt…and I think that is natural for a parent in this situation.

I also think about the David/Christ correlation again this morning. David would have gladly gone to the grave instead of his son…..no matter the offense, no matter that Absolum was indeed an enemy of David’s…. he would have gladly taken his spot in the tree….where he hung…and died.

I guess the one thing I take away this morning…as a father, is that it’s never too late, until its too late.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

foolish pride

Matthew Henry’s Comentary brought me quite the ‘nugget’ this morning.
I was struck by the suicide of Ahithophel in verse 23 of 2 Samuel 17….was it as cut and dry as wounded pride? Could there be more….and it was a lot of pride and confusion.

23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father's tomb.

Henry said this;
That will break a proud man's heart which will not break a humble man's sleep.

Brandon talked a little bit about humilty this week…and I would challenge us all to bit a more humble.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Impetus

2 Samuel 14:13b When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son?

What a bold move, what a daring thing to say to the king. Having been given the words to say by Joab, it stick took guts to speak them to David. But words of truth David needed to hear.

Absolom in exile, banished by his own sin…. needed a mediator acting on his behalf before the king. WE know that the King longed to go after Absolom, but his compassion toward his son (the sinner) was kept in check by ‘Justice’. It wouldn’t be fair for the king to pursue and forgive his son just because he loved him, and longed to be with him. Reconciliation was put into motion by this mediator…and therefore the King could justify the forgiveness.

I praise my heavenly King, who sent his Son (the mediator) to the land we were banished to, to bring us back (putting into motion, being the impetus, saving us, electing) to God.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Country Club Amnon

2 Samuel 13:2 Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.

What a sick pup! Clearly the sins of the father are passed down in David’s case. I have always known that children take what they see their parents do, and expound upon it, take it another level.

Exodus 20:5 I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation

David’s sin, coupled with the guilt he had over the death of his son, was a recipe for disaster for parenting. I have heard guilty parents don’t make good parents. You see this today in divorce…where one of the parents get custody and the other parent just indulges the child. What good does that do the child?

I believe that is the case with David’s son Amnon. He has lacked guidance, he has been given everything his entire life, he felt entitled to take anything he wanted (including his sister) ….he might even be considered by my wife and friends, “Country Club Amnon”. But David’s sins were lust, adultery and murder….and Amnon not only committed adultery, but rape and incest, then murder.

David may have been a great king, but at this point in his life, he was a lousy father.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How far reaching is your influence?

2 Samuel 12:13-14Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die."

Wow! What a clear picture of repenting, grace and forgiveness. God forgave Davids’s sin, but just like in our case, there is no forgiveness of sin, without the shedding of blood. And as a precursor to Jesus, David’s firstborn son would die! Once Nathan had pointed out the hypocrisy to David via the parable….he repented. He didn’t make excuses, he didn’t pull rank, he didn’t cast blame….he owned it.

The key thing that I found in this passage, was that the adultery and the murder, were great sins (but I will submit secondary) and maybe these sins could require a burnt offering (maybe a HUGE one) …..but the sin that God judged David for….the one that caused the death of his son was the fact that David’s sin caused others to stumble. “but by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt” I like this translation better;
“However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”
His sin caused unbelievers (enemies of the Lord) to question God’s authority in choosing David’s selection as king. This may even be the cause of the Israelites not coming to faith in Christ.
So again, I believe we should always be aware of our influence to, not only believers, but non-believers as well. I believe we will be held accountable, even more strictly and a higher standard in this realm.

Monday, December 01, 2008

What was the Offense?

2 Samuel 11
You know, David has done so well….up until now. And we see in his story, how sin gives birth to sin…and sin to death.
I am trying to figure out, where that point was for David. What made him stay home, as his men went to war. Was his ‘initial’ sin reconnosence, of the rooftop of Bathsheba, or was his sin merely sending his men ahead without him? Either way, David found himself out of sorts, God was not in the forefront of his mind, and he entertained sin, called for Bathsheba and had sex with her.
I read through the chapter and it came to the end and it said.
Vs.27“But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.”
What was THE THING?
Staying home when the troops went to war?
Pushing God aside and doing his own thing?
Scheming and finding out about a married woman?
Using his influence to bed her?
Not repenting?
Conspiring to kill Uriah?
Killing Uriah?
Never once consulting God…with whom he had gone to regarding every decision till now? Isn’t that crazy?

In verse 27… other translations
But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD. (NASB)
But the LORD considered David's actions evil. (God’s Word Translation)

But notice that God’s anger didn’t burn against David…as it had Saul, or others (Moses, Israel, Uzzah) in the past. Wonder why? Was there a difference?