Holy

Holy, holy, holy are You,
oh God,
though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye made blind by sin,
thy glory may not see.
Only thou art holy,
oh God,
there is indeed none beside thee.
Perfect in power are You,
oh God,
and perfect in love and purity.

And because You are holy,
oh God,
and I am not,
may you draw me unto thee that I may know You better.
Shine a light onto Your Law that I may delight in it more.
Lead me in the path of righteousness that I may glorify thee.
Bless my learning of Your Word
and embolden my going
so I may shine a light unto your holiness.
Through Jesus Christ I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Our Muddy Glory

Holy God,
the beauty of your glory is something to behold,
yet we seek after a glory that is dim in comparison;
a glory that only reflects from the muddy water of our sin.
And we have no idea how bad it is
until we drink from the water
and taste that we are drinking unto our death.

May we come to the well that is pure and life giving.
May drink that we may never thirst again.
May we seek to know Your Law better and better.
May we soak in Your precepts that we may shine forth Your glory.

Oh God,
You are the holy law giver
but you are also the glorious one
who redeems our lives through Jesus Christ.
May we taste and see that You are Good
and may we ever seek Your ways.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Symbol Man

Hebrew - Beth

No worries, I am not following in the footsteps of Prince and becoming symbol man or the blogger formerly known as The Pastor. But if I were to become a symbol man or something of the sort, I like this one. Not just for is aesthetic appeal but for what this symbol refers to. So I am keeping this symbol in front of me.

So why the symbol?

The symbol is called a bet, and it is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

O.K., that makes sense but that still leaves more questions.

Hold on, there is more.

Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem. It is broken up into 22 sections of 8 verses (one section for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet). Each verse within a particular section begins with that corresponding Hebrew letter. The section titled, bet, (the above symbol) refers to verses 9-16 which reads as follows:

(9) How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
(10) With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
(11) I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
(12) Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!
(13) With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
(14) In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
(15) I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
(16) I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

These verses caught my attention yesterday as I was preparing devotions for our local radio station; particularly verse 9 about how to keep one’s way pure.

You see, (and you really don’t need me to tell you this), our world is filled with so many distractions. Satan is on the prowl, looking for someone to devour. Just yesterday I read about a pastor who got caught up in prostitution and was arrested. He said he had a moment of “great weakness”. I am not judging him but I can’t help but wonder if that weakness was due to taking his eyes off of God; by not guarding his way according to the Word of God.

I am not suggesting that I am tempted to engage in prostitution (and I am definitely not tempted) but there are other temptations that Satan uses to attempt to draw me away from God. We all face these attacks. Some battles we win and many we lose. And in those defeats I look to another symbol; one that points to God’s incredible love and grace:

2012-08-12_07-10-08_314

Forgiven, I live to continue to fight the fight of faith.

How?

By guarding it a according to the Word of God; by loving God’s Law; learning it; meditating on it; memorizing it; reading it. And keeping at it, for when you drift away from reading scripture you quickly forget, because we all have very short term memories when it comes to God’s Law and the Gospel.

Guarding one’s way can not be done through clever tricks or strength of mind or simple human will power. Guarding one’s way is only done through the strength of God through the Holy Spirit. The Word of God.

And so I am going to keep this symbol in front of me as a reminder to fight the fight of faith; guarding my way according to God’s Word. And you too, Christian, fight on, going in the strength of God, guarding your way according to His Word and clinging to God’s awesome grace in Jesus Christ.

Holy God, may I always keep Your Word in front of me; that I may not turn away and go astray. But when I do go astray, retrieve me as a shepherd hunting down a lost sheep and restore me to life. It’s in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor (a.k.a. Symbol man)  -|—

Now what? (Psalm 119:14-16)

In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. [Psalm 119:14-16]

Last night I made my appeal to God for forgiveness; something we all need to do on a daily basis and then some. I appealed to God’s mercy through faith in Jesus Christ and then threw myself at his feet. And then in the words of Romans 5:10-11 I heard that I am reconciled to God through faith in Jesus.

Praise be to God, but now what?

After we have made our confession; after we have appealed to God’s mercy through faith in Jesus; after we have thrown ourselves at God’s feet, what next? Of course we will hear a word of forgiveness, but after THAT; after the absolution of our sins? We certainly shouldn’t go away unchanged or unfazed. There must be something next.

And there is…

In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
Take delight in learning God’s ways.
Take delight in knowing what God desires.
Take delight in following God in all things.

Take delight in God’s law, for in God’s law we see a holy wisdom that is far above anything of human understanding. God’s ways and thoughts are indeed above our ways and thoughts, so desire God more than all the riches ever known in the world and will ever be known.

I will meditate on your precepts
Don’t just read and study God’s law, but meditate on them. Think about them. Ponder them. Reflect on them. May they not be a passing thought. May reading God’s law never be cursory. May God’s law sink in and take up residence in your heart.

and fix my eyes on your ways.
And as you are walking with God; as you are meditating on God’s ways; fix your eyes on the object of your desire. When I take my wife out to eat, I am not staring and gawking at other women. That would be rude and unfaithful. My desire is for my wife and so I fix my eyes and attention on her. In the same way and much more, fix your eyes on God and His ways. Don’t be unfaithful.

I will delight in your statutes;
Delighting in God’s statues will only come through diligent study and appreciation of who God is through faith Jesus Christ. If your faith and trust is not in God through Jesus, then you are never going to truly delight in God’s ways. It’s only through understanding what God has done for you that you can appreciate what God is up to and wants for you and desires for you and commands you to do.

I will not forget your word.
Make your meditation of God and His ways a daily habit that you will not forget. Even one day off can cause our simple and weak minds to go astray. You may think you are smart and have a good memory, but when it comes to God we have the attention span of a flea. Mediate often and seek God continually.

But what if I fail?

You will fail.
You will fall short.
You will turn away from God.

Just don’t accept this sin condition of yours but rather keep running to God, for God’s mercy is great. His faithfulness is endless. His love is all encompassing. His grace is amazing.

Keep running to God and appealing to his mercy through faith in Jesus Christ, and start all over again; desiring to truly learn and desire God’s ways more than anything. Don’t take advantage of God’s faithfulness but desire God’s faithfulness with all your heart and being.

May God be praised in your learning and meditation of His holy Law.

The Pastor -|—

Guard your way

If you haven’t spent time with Psalm 119 let me urge you to do so.  I know it is a long one (176 verses).  I know there is much to take in, but it is well worth the time.  Take it in sections (there are 22 stanzas of 8 verses each).  Meditate on a stanza at a time and then move on as the Spirit leads you.

I never cease to be amazed at how the Holy Spirit leads me to various places in Scripture.  I know it is not a random thing; that God has a plan.  All I can say is: Wow!
and
Praise be to God!

Verse 1 sets the tone:
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!”

Now — before anyone thinks I am saying MY way is blameless, let me say this:
I AM FAR FROM BLAMELESS…
…but I am trying to walk in the law of the Lord.  I am trying to seek the Lord with all my heart.  I am trying to learn His precepts.  I am trying to store up His Word in my heart.

MY way is not blameless, but GOD’S way is blameless.  And that is the way I am seeking.

But I also know that in all my efforts to walk in the way of the Lord I will fall down.  I will fail.  I will let God down.  I don’t want to, but I know it will happen.  After all I am sinful (but that’s still no excuse).

What a wretched person I am…

…but through Jesus Christ, God is merciful.  Praise be to God!

So I continue my journey.  I continue my walk with God.  I continue my exploration of God’s Word. I continue to seek GOD’S way and ask God to keep me from the temptation of following MY way.

Why?

Verse 9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your (God’s) word.”

YOUR way will never be pure through your efforts.  Your way is only pure by guarding it through God’s Word.  So…

Seek the Lord.
Mediate on his precepts.
Guard your way that you may be pure and that God may be glorified in your life.

With your whole heart seek God; wander not from his commandments. [paraphrase of verse 10]

May God bless your day as you walk with Him 🙂

edh -|—