Pastor Brent's Blog

Lessons in Grace

Posted on September 9, 2011

Through this lingering trial I’m discovering the ever-fluctuating tendencies and emotions of the human heart and mind. Living in this fallen world we are subject to pitfalls and snares that don’t become apparent until you are faced with challenges that are outside of yourself. In addition, our “spiritual Antagonist” is crafty, deceptive and a master manipulator of the scriptures. Therefore in seasons of vulnerability he wages his greatest attacks.

Yet as strong as our enemy is, and as inconsistent as our human shortcomings might be, our Advocate (Jesus Christ) is greater (Much greater). There is peace inspired comfort in knowing that Jesus lives always to make intercession for His saints. If this weren’t the case, we would be hopeless and with out strength to endure the tempestuous storms of this life.

The humble reality is, no man or woman respective of age, gender, race, or social status has the strength to endure the torrent of temptations and trials that their confronted with through-out their short-pilgrimage here upon this earth. The only hope for any individual that has ever existed in human history of reaching the shores of eternal bliss with success is the “unchanging” and “ever-faithful” grace of God that has been abundantly poured out upon them through the person of Jesus Christ.

This is why John records in his vision of heaven, the gloried saints casting their crowns at the feet of Jesus. This divine revelation asserts that “Future Recognition” will demand the absolute acknowledgment that Jesus Christ has secured for each and every redeemed saint all benefits that will be enjoyed when they reach their eternal and final habitation. There will be no question Who has wrought complete and total victory on behalf of those who stand before the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world; that no flesh would glory in His presence!

Stillness in the Storm

Posted on July 13, 2011

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

In times of difficulty it’s the human tendency to frantically pursue an avenue of deliverance that would set us free from the pains of our suffering. Yet there are times that the Lord clearly speaks to the sufferer a word that opposes this nagging inclination. What a test of faith it is when everything inside of us wants to reject this divine declaration and lean upon our own understanding for direction and deliverance.

Therefore it’s imperative in times like this to remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways and they are past finding out. When God gives us counsel, He gives counsel based upon eternal and infinite wisdom. He knows the beginning from the end, and because He loves us He wants us to trust that His promises and plans for us are always ordained for our greatest interest, the interest of others, and ultimately for the glory of God.

I know as I have been personally faced with this inner turmoil, writing about it is so much easier than living it. Stillness of mind and action as we wait upon the Lord for deliverance when the storms of life are raging around us is one of the most difficult attitudes that anyone can possess. Obedience to this charge requires nothing less than an impartation of God’s supernatural grace. God give us Grace!

Delighted in God’s Word

Posted on June 15, 2011

“I will delight myself in Your statues; I will not forget Your word” - Psalm 119:16

The Word of God is often viewed as a rulebook that increases the misery of the one who is under its authority. Yet in direct contrast to this thought process, the psalmist testified that the truths found in God’s Word were the source of His personal delight.

No doubt this man of God, though inundated with false claims that promised ultimate satisfaction, discovered that the further these promises were embraced the fuller their emptiness was revealed.

Therefore having experienced the satisfying and sustaining power of God’s word, he was able to persuasively assert, “I will not forget Your word.”

This powerful testimony reminds the reader that there is nothing of an earthly origin that can satisfy their inner longings the way that God’s word does. The treasures that are uncovered in the boundaries of Scripture, without contradiction, leave the human soul completely satisfied yet always longing for more.

“The Ministry of Comfort Through Our Suffering”

Posted on May 21, 2011

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort , who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

After two weeks of radiation treatments I have noticed, in my observations of other cancer patients, the despair and gripping fear that plagues those who are experiencing the physical and emotional strain of having cancer, while in addition enduring these treatments (Chemo and radiation) that can have severe side affects on the body.

Yesterday when I walked in to the waiting room my heart was moved with the compassion of Christ unlike it has ever been since I started my treatments. I felt like the Lord opened my eyes to how much His heart is broken over the hopeless state of humanity apart from Him (Spiritually and Physically).

Especially after talking with a woman like May. She sat down next to me as we were both waiting to start our treatment and I could tell she was extremely discouraged. I asked her if she was fatigued because of chemo and she said that she was a combination of both chemo and radiation. There was no joy in her eyes; only discouragement and pain. I asked her if I could pray for her and she was taken back by my request. After staring at me for a moment she allowed me to grab her hand and ask the Lord’s grace to sustain her for the remainder of her treatments. It was wonderful to watch how a simple act of compassion could impact someone so radically.

I left my appointment thinking that I never would have had this opportunity unless the Lord had allowed me to be in this situation. Yet at the same time “May” only represents one of many who are in the midst of personal tragedy without any joy or hope.

This reminded me, in a very tangible way, that our sufferings (In one aspect) are God ordained, as a platform to express the love of Christ toward those who are unaware of His perfect love; to comfort others with the same comfort that we ourselves have been comforted by God.

Divine Guidance Through Trials

Posted on May 16, 2011

Over the course of these last few months the Lord has revealed to me the deep significance of this eternal principle as was penned by the hand of Solomon. I have found myself in a season where my human reasoning has been forced to submit to its own finiteness. Yet the Lord has been faithful to remind me of the divine principles that are to govern my life while I exist upon this earth. One of which is, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

Not only has the written promise provided great comfort to my soul, but experiencing the truthfulness of this claim has been overwhelming as well. What I am continuing to discover as I walk with God, is how His promises in every way correspond with “reality” and are applicable to me and everyone else who will walk in them by faith!

I am learning through this season that God’s ways are above my ways and they are past finding out. Therefore when I don’t understand I must fall into the arms of the One who knows all thing from beginning to end.

This is a lesson that every child of God must learn if they are to enjoy the blessedness of walking with the One who promises to guide His children with His eye (Presently) and afterward receive them into glory (Future).

“For I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure…” - Isaiah 46:9-10

A Work of God and Not of Man

Posted on April 28, 2011

“The works of the Lord are great studied by all of those who have pleasure in them!” – Psalm 111:2

These words have recently become a greater reality to me and my family. On April 26, 2011 me, my wife, and my two sons (Jaiden and Micah) went to my post operation appointment with my Nero surgeon (Dr. Steiner). The appointment was something that I will never forget for as long as I have breath.

The moment that we sat down with him he began sharing with us how my situation has affected so much of the medical staff at Kaiser Fontana. He told us that during their weekly meeting my surgery was the topic of their conversation for two out of the three hours that they met. The dept. was in shock of how the events turned out. He continued to tell us that because my situation was so severe they were all expecting the worse (But God…) He said that the battle for my life was so intense that he couldn’t even sleep at night.

Then after a few more comments he told us that human preparation and wisdom couldn’t have been the answer to the outcome of my surgery.

Then Andrea asked him if what he experienced was miraculous and that Someone (God) outside of the operating room was guiding and directing the procedure. After hesitating for a moment he answered, “Yes”

Now I don’t know exactly what was going through his head at that moment, but I do know that what he experienced was supernatural in its extent. Now, you have to remember that Dr. Steiner removes brain tumors for a living. I remember asking him before he did surgery on me how rare brain tumors were, and he said, “To me every one has a brain tumor :) ” So when he told us that my case was extremely rare and unique this comment helps put things into perspective.

Andrea and I were sitting there astounded by what we were hearing. We knew that God had guided the surgery every step of the way (and that He is still guiding us). The outcome was the result of Divine intervention! God answered the cries of the saints and moved on our behalf. He showed Himself strong in this instance in a profound and powerful way.

Human logic can not reconcile what occurred in the operating room on March 25, 2011. It can only be explained as a work of God and not a work of man. Yes He used human instruments, but for those who have a living relationship with the God of the universe, we know that it was the Lord who worked in that operating room that morning. Whenever God moves it’s obvious because there’s no room for man to boast in the outcome.

We still don’t know what the future holds. Dr. Steiner didn’t tell me how long he expected me to live or what my life would consist of in the future (Because only God knows that). But I do know that the this appointment and the things that were shared in that little room in Fontana Ca. were and will continue to be a testament to God’s miraculous power and the reality that He is still actively involved within the lives of humanity! TO GOD BE THE GLORY IN THE CHURCH BOTH NOW AND FOREVER!

The Teaching Ministry of God – Psalm 25:12

Posted on April 25, 2011

“Who is a man who fears the Lord? Him He teaches the way He chooses.” – To understand the essence of this statement we must first understand the quality of relationship between the two parties that are mentioned in this text.

The Psalmist, no doubt from personal experience, is acknowledging the reality that God in His mercy had assumed complete responsibility over his life from beginning to end. It is obvious from these inspired words that this child of the Most High humbly rested in the promise that God from eternity past, in His infinite wisdom, designed a unique plan for his life that would ultimately instruct Him in the ways of Divinity. Now as you consider the implications of this statement, ask yourself this question, “Who am I that the God of the universe would be so concerned to consider me in this way? Who am I that the One who holds all things together by the word of His power would willingly choose to unveil my mind and heart to the mysteries of His person and work?

What greater privilege is there than to sit under the tutoring ministry of the Sovereign God of the universe; to glean and learn from the One who possesses infinite wisdom and knowledge?

Therefore we would be wise to consider the gravity of David’s words and ask that God would stir our hearts to believe and embrace the fact that He is the Potter and we are the clay and that His plan for our life is infinitely and incomparably more wonderful than all the wisdom in the world could ever devise. To God be the Glory in our lives both now and forever!

Easter 2011 – Our Heavenly Inheritance

Posted on April 24, 2011

My heart is overwhelmed at the thought of preaching about the resurrection of Jesus just a few days after leaving the hospital. It is miraculous that I am able to walk, think coherently, drive, and even work out (Riding a stationary bike :) so quickly after such a severe experience. There is no other explanation than the grace of God! The Lord has heard my plea and has granted me another opportunity to do what I am most passionate about (Herald the Gospel of Jesus Christ). I am humbled that God has spared my life another day and I am even more humbled that He has spared me to testify of His goodness. “His Word is like a fire in my bones and I can’t not but speak it!” My prayer is that through this occasion souls would be saved, hearts would be revived, and ultimately God would be glorified! I am convinced that there is no greater privilege, than the privilege of serving the King of kings! (Psalm 73:25-26) Thank you Father for Your tender mercies which are new every morning!

Revived

Posted on April 23, 2011

“Behold I will do a new thing…” – After being diagnosed with a brain tumor on Friday March 4th 2011, my world was rocked with the sober reminder of my own mortality. Yet in the midst of this God ordained suffering I have found that God’s chastening hand is motivated by love (Hebrews 12:5-8); to the end that I would become a partaker of His holiness and be more conformed into the image of the Son.

God by His Spirit has given to every child of God divinely inspired desires that can only be wrought in the heart of that man or woman by God’s divine design for that individual. For each one of us He has preordained how He will complete that work in our lives. And as clear as this principle is in the scriptures I am still learning that His ways are above my ways; they are past finding out.

But there is great comfort in knowing that God’s plan for our lives (Which includes our trials and sufferings) is motivated by the undeniable love that was exemplified upon the cross. When we don’t understand “why” we must fall back up “Who!”

Therefore, knowing the unchanging attributes of God is essential to the Christian’s call to walk by faith and not by sight. For we must believe that He is and that He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek after Him (Hebrews 11:6) – To God be Glory in the Church!

Psalm 119:15

September 17th, 2010

“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate your ways.” – Psalm 119:15

The human mind is comparable to a bottomless pit that generates a diversity of thoughts and concerns that forcefully subdue its attention. Though meditation and contemplation are a common practice, the object of our concentration varies and is continually shifting like the ocean’s tide. Our emotions, irregular circumstances, and personal preferences are all variables that contribute to that which captivates our thoughts; which in return determines how we view and respond to life.

However, the psalmist discovered that stability of mind wasn’t found in the variables of everyday life; rather it was found in the unchanging absolutes of the inspired Word of God. Therefore, through this divine revelation, the man of God determined to fix his attention upon the unvarying words and works of God. He understood that it was through his meditation upon that which is constant and his contemplation of that which is sure, that he was able to view and respond to life with the matchless wisdom God.

How valuable this perspective is to those who have heeded the motivating testimony of this man of God. Peace, joy, surety, and comfort are the promised treasures granted to individuals who have wisely chosen to live according to this Biblical principle. Those who through personal experience can confidently proclaim with the psalmist, “I will meditate on your precepts, and contemplate your ways!”

Psalm 119:15

September 17th, 2010

“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate your ways.” – Psalm 119:15

The human mind is comparable to a bottomless pit that generates a diversity of thoughts and concerns that forcefully subdue its attention. Though meditation and contemplation are a common practice, the object of our concentration varies and is continually shifting like the ocean’s tide. Our emotions, irregular circumstances, and personal preferences are all variables that contribute to that which captivates our thoughts; which in return determines how we view and respond to life.

However, the psalmist discovered that stability of mind wasn’t found in the variables of everyday life; rather it was found in the unchanging absolutes of the inspired Word of God. Therefore, through this divine revelation, the man of God determined to fix his attention upon the unvarying words and works of God. He understood that it was through his meditation upon that which is constant and his contemplation of that which is sure, that he was able to view and respond to life with the matchless wisdom God.

How valuable this perspective is to those who have heeded the motivating testimony of this man of God. Peace, joy, surety, and comfort are the promised treasures granted to individuals who have wisely chosen to live according to this Biblical principle. Those who through personal experience can confidently proclaim with the psalmist, “I will meditate on your precepts, and contemplate your ways!”

Psalm 119:14

September 3rd, 2010

“I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.”

The world and its system promote material wealth as the source from which human delight and satisfaction are obtained. Affluence in our culture is an ambition that captivates the hearts and minds of the multitudes. To fantasize about what their lives might be like if only they possessed more, is a pursuit that provokes men and women everywhere; all the while convinced that greater prosperity is the avenue through which their hopelessness and heaviness of heart is eased.

Yet, all too often they forget, whether deliberately or ignorantly, how destructive the pursuit of wealth has become to those who possess this erroneous conviction. Instead of finding peace and contentment in their pursuits, this covetous attitude leads to a yoke of bondage that unmercifully enslaves their soul. Paul the Apostle testified to this fact when he penned, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”

Therefore it would be wise to closely consider this contrasting decree of the Psalmist. The pen that inscribed this statement was guided by a heart that had found joy and satisfaction from a heavenly source. He rightfully recognized that the accumulation of all riches couldn’t satisfy the deep longings of his heart the way God’s divine revelation did. Having discovered the incomparable worth of the Word of God, it became the joy and rejoicing of his heart.

Oh, that the people of God would diligently endeavor to unearth the hidden wealth located in the Scriptures that they might sing in agreement with the man of God, “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.”

Psalm 119:13

March 3rd, 2010

“With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth.”

On the wake of expressing a passionate plea to know the heart and mind of God more intimately, the psalmist, by way of personal confession, acknowledges the supernatural effect of sitting under the heavenly instruction of the “Blessed Lord”.

Throughout the Scriptures we find that when a human heart is exposed to the veracity and wisdom of the Word of God through divine revelation, it inevitably results in a determined declaration of those truths that have graciously been revealed. In light of this contemplation, I can’t help but think of the bold profession of the man of God who wrote, “I believed, therefore I spoke.”

There’s nothing more inspiring than being in the company of someone who has ears to hear what Father is speaking through the tutoring ministry of the Holy Spirit; for they, having partaken of divine instruction, can’t help but irresistibly and freely announce to others the righteous revelation that has been received from the mouth of Deity.

Therefore, may our prayer be that God would grant us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation through the knowledge of Christ so that we might faithfully proclaim the matchless Word of God and confidently sing with the psalmist, “With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth.”

Psalm 119:12

January 27th, 2010

“Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.”

The psalmist, with an overflowing heart and a few choice words, appropriately ascribes a proclamation of praise to his faithful Creator in this opening statement. No doubt, these words of adoration were birthed in the deep recesses of his heart as he received greater spiritual illumination into the infinite glory of his exalted God and King.

It is important to notice, however, that this man of God doesn’t conclude his thought with a proclamation of praise but, rather, he concludes with a personal petition: “Teach me your statutes!”

It’s obvious from the progression of this verse that the writer’s adamant request was driven by a longing passion to sit under the instructive ministry of his blessed Lord. Having personally experienced the benevolent and gracious nature of God in his life, he craved to know His heart and mind more intimately.

Thus, we can rightly conclude that the child of God will never sincerely utter this petition until they are first able to proclaim, “Blessed are You, O Lord!”

Therefore, in light of this searching revelation, it should be the supreme pursuit of every child of God to approach the Scriptures with a desire to commune with the Teacher of the Word before solely approaching the Scriptures to hear the teaching of the Word. To that end, our hearts might sing in agreement, “Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.”

Psalm 119:11

December 4th, 2009

“Your Word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.”

The human heart, in its fallen condition, is an unending abyss of moral darkness and corruption which, in return, motivates a lifestyle that is directly opposed to the righteous standard of God. Jesus affirmed this Biblical revelation when He asserted, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these things come from within and defile a man.”

According to the eternal Son of God, the immoral behavior of humanity is merely a reflection of the immoral condition of the human heart, which consequently, is the basis of humanity’s separation from God. Human behavior, which has often been the primary focus of reformation, is incidental in contrast to the deeper crisis of the condition of the depraved human heart.

Yet the psalmist, through Spirit-inspired revelation, discloses the remedy to the inescapable plague that has formed an eternal chasm between God and man – the quickening power of the Word of God. He had personally experienced that the Word of God, being living and powerful, possessed the capability to renovate and restrain the sinful tendencies of the human heart, thereby restoring fellowship between a holy God and unholy man.

For those who have come to know this truth and, in return, enjoy a heavenly intimacy with their Savior by grace through faith, there is nothing more frightening than the thought of that intimacy being interrupted due to unrestrained transgression. Therefore, being aware of the consequences of their choices, they, like the psalmist, have purposed to hide the Word of God in their heart that they might not sin against God.

Psalm 119:10

November 19th, 2009

“With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!”

It’s apparent from this confession that the psalmist, having experienced a personal encounter with the living God, responded with a passionate determination to fervently pursue his Creator with all of his heart. Yet, in the same breath, he discloses the unrelenting dilemma that plagues even the most devout seeker of God – the natural tendencies of the human heart to wander from the heavenly instruction that ensures uninterrupted communion with a holy God.

The desperation that resounds through this inspired proclamation reveals that the man of God had come to discover that his continuance upon the path of obedience wasn’t determined by means of human perseverance and passion but, rather, it depended upon God’s gracious provision of heavenly protection.

What we learn from this text is that man’s greatest and most resilient efforts to maintain a life that corresponds with the lofty expectations found in God’s written word will always result in failure if those efforts are not founded upon the strengthening and protective assistance of divine grace.

Although it is true that a pure expression of godliness begins with a heavenly-inspired passion for holiness, the continuance and completion of that passion will only be actualized in the life of the child of God if they live with a constant awareness that, without the continual provision of God’s sustaining grace, they can do absolutely nothing!

Psalm 119:9

October 6th, 2009

“How can a young man cleanse his ways? … By taking heed according to Your word.”

Many young men, due to a lack of wisdom, find themselves frequenting the highly-travelled path of immorality that inevitably leads to their future destruction. Their youthful lusts and self-serving pursuits in many ways exemplify the wickedness of the human condition while also affirming the scriptural truth that all men are born into this world with a sin-stricken nature that results in a lifestyle that adamantly rejects God’s righteous standard. Therefore, to discover a remedy that would successfully harness the excessive rebellion that is so apparent in the lives of young men would, consequently, result in a resolution that could be applied to the entirety of fallen humanity.

Thus, the psalmist, in a simple and concise statement, provides the solution to a problem that has plagued humanity throughout the ages — obedience to God’s Word. How clearly this proclamation echoes within the hearts of those who have experienced the purifying and protecting effect of walking in the way of divine counsel — those who have personally discovered the reliability of this undeniable proclamation.

No wonder that elsewhere this same worshipper of God would announce, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

Having personally experienced the harmful consequences of walking according to his own sinful ways, he had now found safety in the preserving care of God’s unpolluted guidance.

Praise the Lord that we, as children of God, are also guaranteed a salvation and security from the contaminated paths of this world when we choose to walk in accordance with the pure ways of the Lord!

Psalm 119:8

September 17th, 2009

“I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly!”

In this brief statement the reader is given an intimate glimpse into the deepest recesses of a heart that had been conquered by and was now subservient to the kingdom of heaven. The psalmist, having tasted and seen that the Lord was good, begins his thought by confidently asserting his undivided loyalty to the righteous standard of God.

Yet in the same breath we find the confidence of the first proclamation suddenly ruptured as the psalmist quickly acknowledges his personal inability to perform this lofty vow apart from divine assistance. This man of God understood that his most resilient efforts to obey God’s statutes would undoubtedly end in failure if it weren’t for the enabling grace of his heavenly King.

It is this inspired fact that reminds the children of God that without the aid of sovereign grace, their soul stirring ambitions will never become an observable reality. A true manifestation of obedience will only flow from a life that has learned to solely rely upon the strengthening power of divine providence.

Oh, that our heart cry would echo the plea of the psalmist as our vow of loyalty to God would be tempered by the realization that apart from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we can do nothing.

Psalm 119:7

September 2nd, 2009

“I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments.”

Anyone who is conscience of the present condition of man’s heart will read the opening assertion of this verse and immediately discern the difficulty of this bold decree. The reason that this confident declaration of the psalmist may even be interpreted by the reader as arrogant, is due to the diagnosing statement found in the book of Jeremiah which seems to contradict this claim. Under the inspiration of the Spirit the prophet of God penned, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”

The question that begs to be answered is, “How is it possible for someone with an unclean heart able to stand before God with a clear conscience and pronounce, “I will praise You with an uprightness of heart?”

Well, the hesitant heart can rest assured because the answer to this perplexing inquiry is found at the conclusion of our meditation. The psalmist graciously completes his thought by disclosing that the prerequisite for a purity of praise flows from a heart that has been instructed in the righteous judgments of God.

How insightful this statement becomes when it’s understood in its entirety. First, we can rightfully conclude that an uprightness of heart is the result of it being tutored in the righteous judgments of God. This wonderful imagery portrays that the contamination found in the human heart is purged when it is subjected to the sanitizing treatment of the Word of truth. In addition, when we choose to hide the Word of God in our hearts it not only ensures the purification of our hearts, but it also guarantees its protection from pollution reentering once it’s been removed.

Second, we can conclude that the result of this purification process will always be expressed in a sincere praise of God. Comparable to an expression of gratitude that is offered by an ill patient after experiencing the healing care of a physician, so also the child of God can’t help but offer praise to the One who has provided the sure remedy to the terminal illness of a sin-stricken heart.

With this in mind, may we purposefully seek the instruction of the righteous judgments of God, to the end that we may be able to echo the bold proclamation of the psalmist, “I will praise You with uprightness of heart!”

Psalm 119:5-6

August 21st, 2009

“Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments.”

The desperate plea of the psalmist was the reaction of understanding the tendencies of his own wandering heart and how it had the ability to misguide him in His quest for obedience. This man of God was fully aware that no matter how vigilant he was in his pursuit of righteousness, he was still absolutely dependant upon the sovereign grace of God to preserve his life from the intrusion and corruption of his own sinful desires. True wisdom, as is observed in this text, foresees the shameful consequences of disobeying the Word of God and therefore fervently petitions God for divine assistance when it comes to observing His statues.

Just as the captain of a ship relies upon the certain aid of his compass to ensure a safe arrival at his pre-determined destination, so also the child of God must fully rely upon the certain aid of divine counsel to ensure their safe arrival into the heavenly harbor of eternal life. To pursue this destination without the assistance of heavenly direction will always result in the unnecessary calamity of a shipwrecked life.

Having received this admonition, our prayers should echo the heart’s cry of the psalmist, “Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments.”

Psalm 119:12

January 27th, 2010

“Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.”

The psalmist, with an overflowing heart and a few choice words, appropriately ascribes a proclamation of praise to his faithful Creator in this opening statement. No doubt, these words of adoration were birthed in the deep recesses of his heart as he received greater spiritual illumination into the infinite glory of his exalted God and King.

It is important to notice, however, that this man of God doesn’t conclude his thought with a proclamation of praise but, rather, he concludes with a personal petition: “Teach me your statutes!”

It’s obvious from the progression of this verse that the writer’s adamant request was driven by a longing passion to sit under the instructive ministry of his blessed Lord. Having personally experienced the benevolent and gracious nature of God in his life, he craved to know His heart and mind more intimately.

Thus, we can rightly conclude that the child of God will never sincerely utter this petition until they are first able to proclaim, “Blessed are You, O Lord!”

Therefore, in light of this searching revelation, it should be the supreme pursuit of every child of God to approach the Scriptures with a desire to commune with the Teacher of the Word before solely approaching the Scriptures to hear the teaching of the Word. To that end, our hearts might sing in agreement, “Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.”

Psalm 119:11

December 4th, 2009

“Your Word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.”

The human heart, in its fallen condition, is an unending abyss of moral darkness and corruption which, in return, motivates a lifestyle that is directly opposed to the righteous standard of God. Jesus affirmed this Biblical revelation when He asserted, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these things come from within and defile a man.”

According to the eternal Son of God, the immoral behavior of humanity is merely a reflection of the immoral condition of the human heart, which consequently, is the basis of humanity’s separation from God. Human behavior, which has often been the primary focus of reformation, is incidental in contrast to the deeper crisis of the condition of the depraved human heart.

Yet the psalmist, through Spirit-inspired revelation, discloses the remedy to the inescapable plague that has formed an eternal chasm between God and man – the quickening power of the Word of God. He had personally experienced that the Word of God, being living and powerful, possessed the capability to renovate and restrain the sinful tendencies of the human heart, thereby restoring fellowship between a holy God and unholy man.

For those who have come to know this truth and, in return, enjoy a heavenly intimacy with their Savior by grace through faith, there is nothing more frightening than the thought of that intimacy being interrupted due to unrestrained transgression. Therefore, being aware of the consequences of their choices, they, like the psalmist, have purposed to hide the Word of God in their heart that they might not sin against God.

Psalm 119:10

November 19th, 2009

“With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!”

It’s apparent from this confession that the psalmist, having experienced a personal encounter with the living God, responded with a passionate determination to fervently pursue his Creator with all of his heart. Yet, in the same breath, he discloses the unrelenting dilemma that plagues even the most devout seeker of God – the natural tendencies of the human heart to wander from the heavenly instruction that ensures uninterrupted communion with a holy God.

The desperation that resounds through this inspired proclamation reveals that the man of God had come to discover that his continuance upon the path of obedience wasn’t determined by means of human perseverance and passion but, rather, it depended upon God’s gracious provision of heavenly protection.

What we learn from this text is that man’s greatest and most resilient efforts to maintain a life that corresponds with the lofty expectations found in God’s written word will always result in failure if those efforts are not founded upon the strengthening and protective assistance of divine grace.

Although it is true that a pure expression of godliness begins with a heavenly-inspired passion for holiness, the continuance and completion of that passion will only be actualized in the life of the child of God if they live with a constant awareness that, without the continual provision of God’s sustaining grace, they can do absolutely nothing!

Psalm 119:9

October 6th, 2009

“How can a young man cleanse his ways? … By taking heed according to Your word.”

Many young men, due to a lack of wisdom, find themselves frequenting the highly-travelled path of immorality that inevitably leads to their future destruction. Their youthful lusts and self-serving pursuits in many ways exemplify the wickedness of the human condition while also affirming the scriptural truth that all men are born into this world with a sin-stricken nature that results in a lifestyle that adamantly rejects God’s righteous standard. Therefore, to discover a remedy that would successfully harness the excessive rebellion that is so apparent in the lives of young men would, consequently, result in a resolution that could be applied to the entirety of fallen humanity.

Thus, the psalmist, in a simple and concise statement, provides the solution to a problem that has plagued humanity throughout the ages — obedience to God’s Word. How clearly this proclamation echoes within the hearts of those who have experienced the purifying and protecting effect of walking in the way of divine counsel — those who have personally discovered the reliability of this undeniable proclamation.

No wonder that elsewhere this same worshipper of God would announce, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

Having personally experienced the harmful consequences of walking according to his own sinful ways, he had now found safety in the preserving care of God’s unpolluted guidance.

Praise the Lord that we, as children of God, are also guaranteed a salvation and security from the contaminated paths of this world when we choose to walk in accordance with the pure ways of the Lord!

Psalm 119:8

September 17th, 2009

“I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly!”

In this brief statement the reader is given an intimate glimpse into the deepest recesses of a heart that had been conquered by and was now subservient to the kingdom of heaven. The psalmist, having tasted and seen that the Lord was good, begins his thought by confidently asserting his undivided loyalty to the righteous standard of God.

Yet in the same breath we find the confidence of the first proclamation suddenly ruptured as the psalmist quickly acknowledges his personal inability to perform this lofty vow apart from divine assistance. This man of God understood that his most resilient efforts to obey God’s statutes would undoubtedly end in failure if it weren’t for the enabling grace of his heavenly King.

It is this inspired fact that reminds the children of God that without the aid of sovereign grace, their soul stirring ambitions will never become an observable reality. A true manifestation of obedience will only flow from a life that has learned to solely rely upon the strengthening power of divine providence.

Oh, that our heart cry would echo the plea of the psalmist as our vow of loyalty to God would be tempered by the realization that apart from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we can do nothing.

Psalm 119:7

September 2nd, 2009

“I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments.”

Anyone who is conscience of the present condition of man’s heart will read the opening assertion of this verse and immediately discern the difficulty of this bold decree. The reason that this confident declaration of the psalmist may even be interpreted by the reader as arrogant, is due to the diagnosing statement found in the book of Jeremiah which seems to contradict this claim. Under the inspiration of the Spirit the prophet of God penned, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”

The question that begs to be answered is, “How is it possible for someone with an unclean heart able to stand before God with a clear conscience and pronounce, “I will praise You with an uprightness of heart?”

Well, the hesitant heart can rest assured because the answer to this perplexing inquiry is found at the conclusion of our meditation. The psalmist graciously completes his thought by disclosing that the prerequisite for a purity of praise flows from a heart that has been instructed in the righteous judgments of God.

How insightful this statement becomes when it’s understood in its entirety. First, we can rightfully conclude that an uprightness of heart is the result of it being tutored in the righteous judgments of God. This wonderful imagery portrays that the contamination found in the human heart is purged when it is subjected to the sanitizing treatment of the Word of truth. In addition, when we choose to hide the Word of God in our hearts it not only ensures the purification of our hearts, but it also guarantees its protection from pollution reentering once it’s been removed.

Second, we can conclude that the result of this purification process will always be expressed in a sincere praise of God. Comparable to an expression of gratitude that is offered by an ill patient after experiencing the healing care of a physician, so also the child of God can’t help but offer praise to the One who has provided the sure remedy to the terminal illness of a sin-stricken heart.

With this in mind, may we purposefully seek the instruction of the righteous judgments of God, to the end that we may be able to echo the bold proclamation of the psalmist, “I will praise You with uprightness of heart!”

Psalm 119:5-6

August 21st, 2009

“Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments.”

The desperate plea of the psalmist was the reaction of understanding the tendencies of his own wandering heart and how it had the ability to misguide him in His quest for obedience. This man of God was fully aware that no matter how vigilant he was in his pursuit of righteousness, he was still absolutely dependant upon the sovereign grace of God to preserve his life from the intrusion and corruption of his own sinful desires. True wisdom, as is observed in this text, foresees the shameful consequences of disobeying the Word of God and therefore fervently petitions God for divine assistance when it comes to observing His statues.

Just as the captain of a ship relies upon the certain aid of his compass to ensure a safe arrival at his pre-determined destination, so also the child of God must fully rely upon the certain aid of divine counsel to ensure their safe arrival into the heavenly harbor of eternal life. To pursue this destination without the assistance of heavenly direction will always result in the unnecessary calamity of a shipwrecked life.

Having received this admonition, our prayers should echo the heart’s cry of the psalmist, “Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments.”

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