Tuesday, September 30
A FIXED HEART – Reflections from Psalm 57
My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Psalm 57: 7, KJV
One of the greatest choruses any disciple of Jesus of Nazareth is blessed at some stage during his or her pilgrimage through this life to sing is this song of praise: My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: Let me repeat this chorus: My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I believe this with all my heart that when we are able to sing this chorus, all the angels in heaven will sing this praise with us as well. I started this Gratitude Journal on July 8, 2014 as a broken person with a broken-world experience. I know that this chorus has a deep, personal song in my own heart and my prayer is that someday soon, I too, like King David of Israel, will be able to shout to the Lord in glory: My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. † What is important is that I do not keep any broken pieces to myself but give it all to the LORD so God Himself can fix my heart by the power of His Spirit. Only then can I AWAKEN THE DAWN to worship God in spirit and in truth. Amen!
† But one of the most tragic personal statements ever recorded in the Scriptures concerning the grieving heart of the Creator God Himself is in Genesis 6: 5-6: The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD grieved that He had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. † Should it not be that our first and primary purpose in life is to get our hearts fixed to please God and bring joy to the heart of the Father through true repentance? A broken and contrite heart God will not despise (Psalm 51:17) because only such a heart God can and will fix.
∼ A Fixed Heart: What is a fixed heart? The term ‘fixed’ is used as a term of ‘preparation’; it suggests a constant state of readiness to receive instruction and walk in obedience to the commands from a Commander. † A fixed heart is anchored in the faithfulness and love of God. King David of Israel was serious in apprehending his heart to get it right before God. David is determined that whatever the outcome, whether captured or set free by King Saul, David wants God to be exalted and glorified. PRAISE ALWAYS BEGINS FROM THE HEART. David could have killed Saul while Saul was in the cave and gained victory in the eyes of the six hundred men who surrounded him but he chose to allow God to be victorious in his life. David knew WHO GOD IS and was assured of his salvation in the LORD. At the back of the cave, his heart is overflowing with thankfulness that God will save him and be merciful to him. David wants all the nations to praise and exalt God. From the superabundance of a grateful heart shall our mouths sing praises. Only a fixed heart is in a state of preparedness to enter into the presence of the Holy One of Israel.
† A crisis reveals where a man’s heart is. A crisis reveals where a man’s true faith is. A fixed heart is able to see the full recognition of WHO GOD IS: holy, sovereign, almighty, loving, forgiving, merciful God. It creates within the heart of the worshiper a hatred for sin and a desire for holiness, obedient submission and repentance to God. As a result of this vital intimate encounter with the LORD, there the heart of worship responds in exalting the Name of Jesus above all the heavens and in all the earth. Praise is the spontaneous response of a grateful heart in the presence of the Almighty God.
Coming ‘Out of Egypt’, the children of Israel when they crossed over the Red Sea, on the banks of the sea with a cry of victory they sang the ‘Song of Moses’ in praise to the LORD God Almighty (Exodus 15). So too, when our hearts are fixed and steadfast in victory, at the foot of the Cross of Christ on Calvary, we too will sing this song of praise from our hearts: Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. Psalm 57: 5 Amen!
♦ Reflect: Galatians 6: 14-15
∼ Matthew 12:34: For out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.
≈ Philippians 3:12, KJV: Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Monday, September 29
FACE TO FACE WITH GOD – Part 3/3 – Reflections from Psalm 57: 5
Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. Psalm 57: 5, 11; KJV
(Reflections from September 27: A Time to Worship – Part 1/3)
- God wants us to worship Him before the trials and troubles are over.
- Without repentance and faith, we cannot enter into a time to worship God.
- Praise opens our eyes to see God for WHO HE IS – ADONAI YIREH: The LORD Will Provide.
(Reflections from September 28: A Time to Lose and A Time to Gain – Part 2/3)
- Only after we experience the loss of all things that we may gain Christ, and may be found in Him.
- True worship allows us to see beyond our calamities and ascribe greatness to God our Rock.
∼ July 1997: The journey to Maui, Hawaii was a long one, approximately 20 hours (Kota Kinabalu – Kuala Lumpur -Narita, Japan – Hawaii, Honolulu – Maui). I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen and could only trust in the grace of God to guide me. The emotions of feeling lost, lonely, dejected, unable to come face to face with friends and family was overwhelming. I can recall every bit of emotion I went through because those milestones in life are engraved deep in my memory. † But deeper still was the joyful expectancy that I knew I will meet with God face to face.
On the evening of Thursday, July 31st, 1997, Dr John Haggai, founder and Director of the Haggai Institute challenged me with these words: “Attempt something so great for God that it is doomed to fail unless God be in it!” ‘Attempt something so great for God’ – was he serious? Was I in a position to ‘attempt’ something so great when I was just about to loose everything in my life as a result of the Asian financial crisis – self dignity, possessions, pride, personal feeling of not being able to achieve anything, a failure to my family and friends? What would people say? I had received many arrows and spears but that night, alone in my room, I prayed and sought the face of God. God spoke and I wrote down the vision of APCOD (pronounced A-P-COD). For the 10 days in Maui, it was a time of daily praise and worship to an ever-forgiving, loving God. Attempt I did because I knew ‘God was in it‘! For ‘God to be in it’, I had to come face to face with God with a repentant heart.
∼ David could see Saul ‘face to face’ while Saul was in the cave (1 Samuel 24:4). When he came out of the cave and showed Saul the piece of robe he had cut off while Saul was in the cave, he came face to face with Saul and three thousand armed, fierce men of Saul’s army (1 Samuel 24:8). † Yet, in the face of his calamities, in the face of great danger and turmoil and worry for his own life, David turned his face away from all his troubles and came face to face with God. † That is where the true heart of worship takes us: face to face with God in spirit and in truth. In the face of God we see the plague in our own heart, our own sinfulness and the only response is to beg for mercy and forgiveness. Acknowledging his own sinfulness, David was a man after God’s own heart. He knew he will find peace and rest in the shelter of the Most High God. † David was able to praise God and acknowledge with joyful acceptance of all that God had provided by His grace to save him and deliver him from all his adversities. In the face of God, all his troubles faded away and in God he saw the majesty of the Holy One of Israel. His response was one of praise from a grateful heart: Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
∼ We should never face any difficulty thinking reasons why God should not deserve all our praise. We should enjoy the times we have to praise the Lord, both privately and publicly in worship. There are times I have lost the attitude of praise in my heart because of the plague in my own heart and lack of appreciation of the merciful activity of God’s grace in my life. Yes, this happens when I turn my back away from God and face the pleasures of the world. † Only in repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can we enter into an intimate relationship with God in worship. David experienced the boundless grace and mercy of God in his life and responded with a heart of worship and praise. Spontaneous praise is always authentic praise from the heart of a grateful person when face to face with God. Amen!
Sunday, September 28
A TIME TO LOSE AND A TIME TO GAIN – Part 2/3 – Reflections from Psalm 57: 5
Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. Psalm 57: 5, 11; KJV
† Reflections from September 27: A Time to Worship – Part 1:
- God wants us to worship Him before the trials and troubles are over.
- Without repentance and faith, we cannot enter into a time to worship God.
- Praise opens our eyes to see God for WHO HE IS – ADONAI YIREH: The LORD Will Provide.
∼ A Time to Lose: In July 1997 the Asian financial crisis hit this country Malaysia like a storm, raising fears of a massive world economic meltdown. I was in dire straits because my medical practice was hit badly and to help furnish my bank loans I had to put up all of our three properties for sale. It was a critical time for me. All I had in my hand was an invitation to go to Maui, Hawaii to attend a ten-day evangelical Leadership Training Seminar from 25th July to 4th August organised by Haggai Institute (GJ September 25). I was in a dilemma – to go or not to go? As a family, we had just moved into our new home but this ended up being sold! I had just moved into my own private practice and this ended up being sold! My mother who was 75 years old at that time had to support me monthly to help pay for my bills! I had never been in a more deeper pit (except for the one I am currently in) than this. What would you do? I lost everything – personal respect from my own family members; my own dignity that professionally I could not provide for my own family even though I was a specialist surgeon; humiliation that my own aged mother had to use her savings to support me and my family. What would you do?
∼ A Time to Gain: God had spoken to me. That was all I knew. Although I had rejected two previous invitation letters from HI (Haggai Institute), I was convinced in my spirit that the third invitation was ‘His Invitation’ to go. Against all personal insults that I was a failure, I went praising God in my heart that He had called me by my name. It was in Maui, Hawaii, on July 31st 1997 I received the vision from the Lord to bring Christian leaders from the Asia Pacific region to address the urgency for authentic discipleship to Jesus of Nazareth and APCOD – The Asia Pacific Consultation On Discipleship was conceived. Today, more than 2000 Christian leaders from 32 nations have been blessed to know the man Jesus of Nazareth in new light as Yeshua HaMeshiach ben David, our Hebrew Lord. † I count ALL things but loss that I might gain Christ and be found in Him, and in Him alone.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and may be found in Him. Philippians 4: 8,9
∼ Be exalted O God: † Praise opens our eyes to see the providence of God to provide through afflictions and turmoil. The more King David of Israel praised God, the more his eyes were open to WHO GOD IS and the deliverance of God to save him. Even as he took refuge ‘at the back of the cave’ (1 Samuel 24:3), David was able to see in the darkness of the cave that God will send forth His mercy and deliver him. He trusted in the saving grace of God. David was able to see beyond his calamities and ascribe greatness to a great God.
David was an armor-bearer, a warrior and leader of high rank in Saul’s army (1 Samuel 18:5) and had led them into many successful victories against the Philistines. But when Saul entered the cave, the men chided David to kill Saul but he refused because Saul was an anointed leader chosen by God (1 Samuel 24:4-7). David feared God above his own pride to exalt himself in front of his men. †David was willing to loose his own pride and dignity in order to gain the mercy and grace of God to be saved from his enemies and troubles. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34
∼ Job who in the midst of intense suffering and hardship lamented before God: “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The LORD gave me everything I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the Name of the LORD!” (Job 1:20-21) Job lost everything but God blessed the latter part of his life and made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10).
∼ The whole duty of mankind is to exalt God above the heavens and in all the earth. Whether we have almost nothing or we are blessed with everything we need, our first calling as children of the resurrection is to exalt the Name of Jesus, give thanks and worship the King of Glory. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. Amen!
Saturday, September 27
A TIME TO WORSHIP – Part 1/3 – Reflections from Psalm 57: 5
Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. Psalm 57: 5, 11; KJV
On Thursday, September 25 I wrote about meeting two leaders, John Bachman and Tres Rice, from the Haggai Institute in Maui, Hawaii. The purpose of their visit was to video record my journey with the Lord these past seventeen years since my time at HI in July 1997 (see GJ September 25). The interview was about one hour long and as Tres had his hands on the video camera, John had all the questions rolling in one after another. As I reminisced over the seventeen years, I recalled that the number of times I was in the valley and pits was far more than the mountain top experiences. But through all the trials, tribulations, despair and sorrows, there was always a time to worship God, always. In fact, His Name is Always – always there, always present, always blessing, always forgiving, always gracious, always loving, always calling.
Do we know how to worship God even if we live with a little or much in our lives? Should we accept our trials or expect only blessings? Do we only worship God when we have the time to do so or is the attitude and inclination of our hearts always in worship with God, even when we lie down or when we are awake? When is the right time to worship God? Do we wait and sort out our troubles first and then worship God?
† 1. GOD WANTS US TO WORSHIP HIM BEFORE THE TRIALS AND TROUBLES ARE OVER:
∼ Open your eyes, Turn your hearts, to the Power of God: When trouble and calamities come our way, many of us will collapse, buckle in, give up, and perhaps feel overwhelmed at the sense of failure that the darkness of the situation we are in has overtaken us into defeat. King David of Israel was in a dangerous situation and running away from king Saul. † But in the darkness of the cave in En Gedi and with despair in his soul, even while he lay in the midst of his enemies and ‘lions’ (Psalm 57: 4), David recalled the many times the God of his forefathers had delivered and rescued His people Israel from all adversity and afflictions. Surrounded by six hundred men who were equally discontented, David was able to open his eyes in the midst of adversity, turn his heart from the darkness of his troubles to the source of light of God’s salvation (‘and save me’ Psalm 57:3) and from the power of Satan to the Almighty God. Only then was David able to enter into a time to worship God and sing: Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. Psalm 57: 5.
∼ The Lord Jesus appearing to the Apostle Paul (Rabbi Sha’ul) in a heavenly vision on the road to Damascus said these words to Saul regarding his calling in Acts 26:17-18: 17 Delivering thee from the people, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. † Repentance and faith are the twin truths in Scripture. Jesus said, “Repent and believe” (Mark 1:15). There is no faith in God without repentance. When we enter into a time to worship God, deliverance and the forgiveness of sins takes place.
† 2. WITHOUT REPENTANCE AND FAITH, WE CANNOT ENTER INTO A TIME TO WORSHIP GOD.
† 3. PRAISE OPENS OUR EYES TO SEE GOD FOR WHO HE IS – ADONAI YIREH – THE LORD WILL PROVIDE.
∼ Dear Lord, grant us Your grace this morning to open our eyes and see the plague in our own hearts and turn us from the darkness of our trials towards the source of light in God and from the power of Satan to the Almighty merciful God. Then hear from heaven and deliver us from all evil and forgive us our sins. Be exalted above the heavens and in our lives dear Lord, always, we pray, Amen!
♦ Reflect: ∼ 2 Corinthians 4:6, KJV: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Friday, September 26
STANDING BEFORE GOD
Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God;… Deuteronomy 29:10
Stand, Enter, Oath: A few years ago I was called to be an expert witness for a case of alleged irresponsibility and failure of a well-known hotel in the city to provide a safe environment for a particular outdoor activity. I was the plastic surgeon who treated the patient for injuries sustained on her right leg. It was my first time ever to enter a court of justice. The court attendant ushered me to stand before the Judge, acknowledge my name and only then I was allowed to enter into the witness box area. I took my oath and then sat down to give my testimony. As I gave evidence from my case notes, the Judge wrote down word for word what I was saying and would at times stop to ask me the correct spelling of some of the medical terms I was using. I was overwhelmed at the importance of my testimony given before the Judge and in the hearing of other lawyers and witnesses. The movements were: to stand before, to enter into, Oath-taking.
The Scriptures inform us that there is set a Day when we will stand before a man, Jesus of Nazareth, appointed by God who will judge the world with justice (Acts 17:31). This Judge has my ‘case notes’ and will call me to give an account of all I have done as a witness of His kingdom on earth. But for the grace of God, I can only beg for mercy before a gracious, forgiving God. The call to repentance and return to the Lord is a gift from God with a warning of urgency.
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17: 30
∼ Stand, Enter, Oath: In Deuteronomy 29: 9, 12; the prophet Moses makes the same movements, as if ‘standing with the people of Israel in the High Court of the Most High God’, forcefully reminding them of the consequences of walking in disobedience before a Holy God: “09All of you stand today before the Lord your God: 12 that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today,..”
The people of Israel are ‘standing in position’ as God’s witnesses to enter into covenant and enter into oath which the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is making with them. This covenant, being two-sided, is like a two-edged sword. The LORD laid down the conditions but knowing the hearts of man and His children, including us, to rebel and turn away, also built into the covenant the promise of grace to forgive. But thanks be to God! Today, He gives us the victory through the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
In ‘A Taste of Torah’ Keren Hannah writes: Moses forcefully reminds the people of Israel that God is Creator and Sovereign over all of nature and humanity. Ultimately, the world is governed only by the Father’s will, which is good, just and true, and thoroughly suffused with His perfect love for us, His children. Deuteronomy 29: 10-15 emphasize the importance of constant awareness of the One before whom we stand (the Hebrew word is Nitzavim, which means “standing in position” of ultimate grace). With grateful hearts we can rest in the shalom of salvation in Yeshua, in assurance that, when at last we come before His Throne of Judgment, we can stand in confidence and fully delight in His glorious Presence. Amen!
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. – 2 Corinthians 5: 10
♦ Reflect: Deuteronomy 29-30
♦♦ Adapted from ‘Hebrew Insights into the Weekly Parasha’: The desolate land (Deuteronomy 29:23-28) also bears witness to the unfaithfulness of the people, both before their own sons’ eyes, and before the foreigners, as does their banishment from it. All this is with view toward the end that the Hebrew people themselves will become a witness and a testimony nation. “You are my witness, declares YHVH” (Isiah 43:10), to the fact that He is the Elohim of Yisrael, the Elohim of creation, and the Elohim of the universe.
“For who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.” — PSALM 89:6-7 (NKJV)
Thursday, September 25
IN GOD’S TIME
And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. Habakuk 2:2, KJV
† The LORD is never before His time, He is never behind His time, the LORD is always on time.
Yesterday I was blessed to meet up with two ‘ambassadors’ from the Haggai Institute in Maui, Hawaii – John Bachman (Chief Global Information Officer) and Tres Rice (Director of Communications). Both leaders were visiting Haggai Alumni in the Asia Pacific region and tasked to record on video the experiences of these individuals and what the Lord was doing in their lives and ministry. It was God’s timing that this visit should come at a time when I was in a phase of ‘Restorative Grace’ in my life. I shared the journey the Lord has carried me through thus far since my time at Haggai Institute, 17 years ago, and at what point in God’s time was I right now in my faith and walk with the Lord.
∼ And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision: July 31, 1997 – Session 266, Haggai Institute (HI), Maui: 17 years ago, on this date, I was in my room in HI praying, and the LORD answered me to ‘write the vision’ of what God had placed in my heart for His people. I wrote the dates, I wrote the year and I wrote the vision: Towards authentic Christian discipleship in every believer in every nation in the Asia Pacific region. The dates: July 25-28, 2001; the place – Kota Kinabalu. The Lord was faithful to His vision and 4 years later to the month, 750 Christian leaders from 32 nations gathered in Kota Kinabalu to address the urgency for transformed lives with every disciple becoming a disciple-maker. Together, John, Tres and I thanked God for His faithfulness to bring more than 2000 leaders from the Asia Pacific region through 5 Consultations in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and India to learn about the man Jesus of Nazareth, our Hebrew Lord and God.
∼ that he may run that readeth it: Run? Yes, I did! For 17 years I ran with the vision to several countries sharing the urgency for transformed lives. John asked all the questions and at the end of the interview he asked me this: † What is the greatest obstacle you have faced since writing down the vision seventeen years ago in Maui? My answer was as clear as the vision: Me! The vision taught me more about myself than I had ever known throughout my Christian life. Run, yes. Fall, yes. I had gained all the experience and knowledge of organizing these past five consultations but limited knowledge of what the dark sides of the plague in my own heart could bring: failure and defeat. I was now a broken person with a broken world experience on a journey to make peace with God.
∼ Final question: † John ended the interview with this final question: “What are the final words you would like to say to the world at this stage in your life”? I replied, “I would want to be able to say these words that King David of Israel cried out to God in Psalm 57: 7:- My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise to God! The Lord in His mercy has appointed His time for the outpouring of His restorative gracious power to heal and forgive.
Gordon Macdonald writes in ‘Rebuilding Your Broken World’: Almost every personal defeat begins with our failure to know ourselves, to have a clear view of our capabilities (negative and positive), our propensities, and our weak sides.
If John and Tres had come this time one year ago, I would not have been able to put on record this lack of self knowledge that I can fall, and fall I did. But the vision lives on, and I know God’s grace is all sufficient for me to get up and start running again on a new road – a road with bright lights shining in those areas of darkness of the soul that only God knows. God makes ALL things beautiful, In His time. Amen!
Wednesday, September 24
FIRE REFINES, TESTING REVEALS
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9, KJV
† The Christian journey of sojourning through the wilderness involves two processes: REFINING and TESTING. Both processes are required to test the genuineness of our faith in God. The more I look back at the many trials and struggles that I have experienced; the valleys, the pits, the dark caves of despair, the wrestling with God, I have come to understand that FIRE REFINES for the purpose of purification and sanctification towards the worship of God and TESTING REVEALS the thoughts, purposes and attitudes of the heart towards total submission to God. Refining consists of purifying an impure material, in this case a metal, making it purer. The refining fire of a silver furnace is one of the very best for the removal of dross and produces pure silver. The alloy is placed in a crucible and the fire in the furnace is then turned on and the process of purging out the dross begins. A necessary method to produce a product that is not only pure but precious and can be used.
The question in life is: † Would we be rather counted as worthless and be like the dross purged from the silver and thrown away, or be willing to be placed in a crucible and cast into the furnace of affliction and be purified so the Lord can use us to bear fruit for His glory? Why are both these processes required in the call to be authentic disciples of Jesus of Nazareth? The prophet Jeremiah gives us the reason in word of the LORD: Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people? Jeremiah 9:7.
∼ I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God: In Zechariah 13:8, two-thirds of the people of Israel did not welcome this refining process and be cleansed from sin and impurity. They were not willing to have their dross purged and declare from their hearts: The LORD is my God. The choice was theirs. The judgement was final: “two-thirds will be struck down and perish;”. Only one-third was spared by the mercies of the One and only true, living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
† The Lord is gracious to only bring us through the fire of refining but will not leave us there. The Scriptures reveal to us that this is God’s way of purifying His people so that The Lord’s Name alone will be glorified both in heaven and on earth. Our Lord Jesus of Nazareth, although without sin, took our sins upon himself on the cross. When the hour of great testing and affliction came, he gathered His disciples together after the Passover meal in the Upper room, looked to heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You.” John 17:1.
Grace transmutes (change its form) us into precious metal, and then the fire and the furnace follow as a necessary consequence for purification. – writes Oswald Chambers.
∼ and they shall say, The Lord is my God: This morning, will we allow the Lord to cleanse us from all sin and impurity even if it means being placed in a crucible and into the furnace of affliction and allow the Refiner’s fire do His work in and through us? Will we allow the Lord to make us fruitful in the land of our own troubles and suffering and choose to be the ‘one-third remnant of the people of Israel’ God chose to be His people? I believe it in my heart that the response when we see the Lord in His glory will be that of doubting Thomas when he finally touched the hands and sides of his risen Savior and believed: My LORD and my God (John 20: 28). Even greater will our hearts burn to hear the LORD Himself say: It is My people. AMEN!
‡ Please listen to the Hymn: Have Thine Own Way Lord – written by Adelaide Pollard and sung by Deborah P. Kim
∼ Reflect: Saying “yes” comes with a blessing: John 20: 29 – Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
Tuesday, September 23
TESTING REVEALS YOUR HEART
And test you in order to know what was in your heart. Deuteronomy 8:2
Yesterday I had an appointment in the National Heart Centre to undergo a Stress Test that will reveal the condition of my heart, three years after open heart bypass surgery. I wrote in my Gratitude Journal (Reflections on September 22) I was going out from my home place but not knowing what would be the outcome of my visit. On my return flight last evening, God revealed Who He Is to me: ADONAI YIREH: THE LORD WILL PROVIDE! If I were to write down all the thoughts and emotions I went through from my awakening the dawn at 4.00 am to my return home at 10.00 pm, I can only say this:
† The fire of testing the heart only reveals; it does not destroy.
The technology we have today is so advanced that we can actually see the heart in 3D imaging. I was strapped up, all the chest leads were in place and away we went. The sonographer (medical professional who is trained to perform the ultrasound imaging) kept his eyes glued on my ECG recordings looking for any signs of ‘electrical distress’ from the heart as the incline plane of the treadmill automatically increased. The most difficult part came when I reached level 5 (which is the maximum for a ‘good’ test) and he kept saying during the final 1 minute countdown, “Come on you can do it…40 secs…30…10…doctor…5 secs more…finished”! The Cardiac Stress Test reveals the cardiovascular condition and function of the physical heart. † Spiritual testing of the heart reveals whether we spend the rest of eternity with Our Maker and Judge, the Lord Jesus of Nazareth, or in eternal damnation in hell without God.
∼ Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. Deuteronomy 8:2, NIV
And test you in order to know what was in your heart: In Psalm 57, God allowed King David of Israel to experience all the trials and struggles of his heart and faith only to prepare him for kingship over God’s people Israel. The LORD led the people of Israel for forty years through the wilderness of the desert only for one purpose: to test and know what was in their hearts. † Disobedience and rebellion against God revealed that they did not KNOW GOD. The LORD allowed them to hunger, thirst, suffer in the heat of the desert so their hearts will turn towards God and be totally dependent of His provision to supply all their needs. Their ‘discipleship’ in the desert was to trust and walk in the Word of the LORD. † Listening to God was as important as remembering the faithfulness of God in those forty years in the wilderness. When their hearts were prepared to listen to God, the LORD led them to victory.
† The Christian walk and life in God is to KNOW GOD for WHO HE IS. That is the singular purpose of all our trials, tribulations and struggles in our journey as strangers in the world, pilgrims of faith in the living Holy One of Israel. † The Lord brings us through the fire of the testings of the heart but does not leave us in the fire.
∼ After the Passover meal in the Upper room, before leaving with His disciples to go to the Olive Grove, Jesus gathered them all together and looked to heaven and to His Father and prayed this prayer for you and for me: This morning, let us listen to the words of this prayer and ‘remember how the Lord our God has led us all the way these many years through the wilderness of all our trials and struggles to reveal the plague in our own hearts‘ in order that we may know His reason for this testing of our hearts:
Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. John 17:3, NIV
† Spiritual nuggets from AWAKEN THE DAWN
You are my hiding place.
You always fill my heart,
With songs of deliverance.
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
I will trust in You.
Let the weak say,
I am strong,
In the strength of the Lord.
Monday, September 22
GOING OUT WITHOUT KNOWING
“And he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Hebrews 11: 8
Have you been in such a situation going “out” in this way? You have no idea how the day will end? You have no idea if what you have planned to do last night will come to pass and all will be well? Maybe you are going for a holiday this morning and as you go “out” you do not know if this holiday will be the best ever? Maybe you are going for a medical test this morning and as you go “out” you do not know if the results will be ‘all clear’? Perhaps you are about to leave for the hospital just now and as you go “out” you are hoping and praying that all will be well with the surgery, yet you have no idea if someone were to ask you, “What is going to happen?”
This morning my bags are packed and I am about to leave to the airport for a 2 1/2 hr flight to Kuala Lumpur. I do this twice a year but each time as I go “out” and make this trip, I have no knowledge of what the outcome will be or what I will have to do? Today is my Stress Echocardiogram Test at the National Heart Centre in Kuala Lumpur. After my open heart bypass surgery three years ago, these bi-annual tests will tell me if my vein grafts are still functioning, if my heart is still healthy and if my blood tests are within normal range. I go “out” without knowing if the Stress Echo Test will show I need further tests, if the ECG will show any changes suggesting some problem with my heart or worst still if I need another coronary angiogram. I do not know what I am going to do but I do know that whatever happens today, God knows what is best for me.
† The question is: WILL YOU GO OUT WITHOUT KNOWING?
The Christian life is about going out of everything and coming into trusting God entirely – Oswald Chambers.
∼ “And he went out, not knowing: In Hebrews 11: 8, the LORD does not tell Abraham what He is going to do after testing his faith and fear in the LORD but instead reveals Who God Is. The Scripture tells us in Genesis 22: 3 – Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two servants and his son Isaac. When they reached the mountain, Abraham built an altar for worship and was about to sacrifice his son, his only son Isaac when the LORD provided a ram instead. Abraham went “out” not knowing what was going to happen but returned knowing THE LORD WILL PROVIDE (Genesis 22:14) – The Providence Of God (Reflection September 18). † Abraham took no thought of his own life or his deep pain of loosing his only son, or his possessions, his family, his own needs or his body being of advanced age but instead trusted in the living God to raise his son from the dead (Hebrews 11:19).
As children of the resurrection (Luke 20:36) we need to take no thought of our life but trust in God entirely. Let the attitude of our lives be continually “going out” in total dependence upon the all-sufficient God whose nature is to provide, protect, preserve and prepare us for His good works.
♦ Oswald Chambers writes: You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God.
As I prepare to leave this morning, there is no denying that I am anxious, I am afraid at the outcome of my visit to the Heart Center but I know that I will trust in the strength of the Lord Jesus to provide the peace and hope that all will be well with my soul. THE LORD WILL PROVIDE. Amen!
You are my hiding place.
You always fill my heart,
With songs of deliverance.
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
I will trust in You.
Let the weak say,
I am strong,
In the strength of the Lord.
Sunday, September 21
RESTORATIVE GRACE – † Reflections from Psalm 57
My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, Psalm 57:4, NIV
Yesterday I greeted my first patient with the usual salutation: “Good morning. How are you today?” Her reply was an emphatic “Good”! I told her how I ‘envied’ people who always have this answer ready at the tip of their tongue as if no difficulties or troubles face them. She replied even more emphatically, “Oh Doctor! Then I must say I am ‘Very Good'”! She looked surprised that I should think otherwise. I then greeted my next patient with the same salutation””Good morning. How are you today?” And this time the reply was, “Great”!
I grew up with this folk song “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” by Peter, Paul and Mary and when I get replies like these: “Good”; “Great”; “Fantastic”, I often wonder “Where have all the lions gone” in the lives of people I meet every day who seem to have no problem and exuberate such an enthusiasm for life and perhaps rightly so.
Am I the only one whose soul is always among lions? Do you feel the same way too?
Recently I heard a message by a well-respected preacher and he had this reply whenever he was asked about the state of his welfare: “I am better than I deserve”. That is what I call ‘Restorative Grace’. “Better than I deserve” is the reply from a soul that lies prostrate before a Holy and Merciful God.The Scripture tells us that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If I really deserve what is due to me, I will not be alive today.
∼ “Better than I deserve”: Ever since I was born again in February 1995, my soul has always felt it is among lions. More so after I received the vision for APCOD (The Asia Pacific Consultation On Discipleship; http://www.apcod.net) in July 1996. There have been many times I wanted to throw in the towel and give up because the ‘lions’ were too many but the grace of God was all sufficient to sustain me even in the worst of circumstances and situations. But if not for the ‘lions’ in my life, I know that I would have continually slipped into the abyss of self-indulgence, pride and ungodliness. It’s when we let go of godliness and our focus on God and His abiding grace in His Son Jesus of Nazareth that we loose direction and let the ‘lions’ that surround us devour us.
The Apostle Peter writing to the Church comprising of strangers in the world, pilgrims of the faith, that is you and me, warns us against conforming to the patterns of the world: Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 1 Peter 2: 11. The Scripture uses the word ‘beseech you’ which means ‘asking someone to urgently and fervently do, to implore in prayer, to beg, to petition in prayer, to plead, to appeal, to call on with urgency’. I am recording and reminding myself about this warning because the Apostle explains why:
† Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
∼ My soul is among lions: † Restorative grace is operative grace that is comforting, preserving, sanctifying, directing, instructing and assisting grace which generously pours into the soul without ceasing. David is a man with human emotions that you and I can relate to. The situation he is faced with is dangerous and urgent. He is hiding in a cave in the Desert of En Gedi from King Saul and three thousand fierce mighty men of war, angry men and in the darkness of his soul he feels the danger and seriousness of the calamities that befall him.
Yet, it is this very person Saul that David confided to in 1 Samuel 17:36 how he killed the lion and the bear with his own hands and the uncircumcised Philistine Goliath was no match for him. But David also confessed to Saul to whom the victory really belonged to: And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:37
♦ At the foot of the Cross of Christ we are all equal. Faith in God to save us and deliver us from all evil and obedience to His word are the prerequisites for ‘Restorative Grace’ to flow abundantly in our lives. True repentance unlocks the key to this gift of grace from God. This morning we pray that even though there are ‘lions’ that surround us in any shape or form or kind, we have a Savior Redeemer who is all-powerful, all-gracious and all-merciful. His Name is Jesus of Nazareth and together let us proclaim what the Apostle John saw and heard in heaven: “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. Amen!
♦ ♦ Reflect: 1 John 2: 15 – 17; Romans 3: 23, 24
Saturday, September 20
THE REASON FOR SINGING – † Reflections from Psalm 57
“He sends from heaven and saves me,…God sends His love and His faithfulness.” Psalm 57:3, NIV
A Personal Statement: In the past few days my daughter has been drafting out her personal statement for application into University. She would show this to me now and then and together we would discuss the core issues she has written about herself, her character, what motivates her, her determination to succeed in life, her skills, her past and present academic achievements and most important of all is giving the reasons why she has chosen a career in dentistry. I explained that all she had was an A4 size paper detailing why a particular University should choose her, why she must stand out of hundreds of applications and be selected. Last night as I read through her draft and reflected on all the main points she had penned down on paper, we prayed together and I said, “Sarah, we thank God and celebrate your life in Jesus and this is EVERY REASON FOR SINGING praises to this wonderful, majestic, merciful, forgiving and loving God.”
† “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5, NIV
† This morning I asked myself what kind of personal statement could I write to God so that God would choose me into His Kingdom of light. Nothing! There is absolutely nothing that I can write or have done is worthy of His choosing me to be His son and child of the resurrection. It is only by the grace of a merciful God through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus of Nazareth that we have been chosen and called only for one purpose, and that is to bear fruit, fruit that will last to the glory of God. † A personal statement is a memorial to God for His love and faithfulness in our lives and this is ‘THE REASON FOR SINGING’ praises to God Most High. His love endures forever. Psalm 118:1
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my Name the Father will give you. John 15:16, NIV
∼ “He sends from heaven and saves me,…God sends His love and His faithfulness.” Psalm 57:3, NIV This assurance alone inspired King David of Israel, within the darkness of the cave, to sing praises to his Most High God. It should also inspire us to sing with peace and hope in our heart and soul that there is an everlasting God who sends His love, His faithfulness, His mercy, His salvation through the One and only living God, His Son the Lord Jesus of Nazareth. Treasures of boundless strength are stored in our God Almighty and therefore His people should shout for joy – Oswald Chambers.
This is God’s personal statement. A letter of introduction we can present to any living soul on earth that salvation belongs to our God. “He will save.” Throughout all eternity this song of praise is sung, “He will save.” Only an amazing God could love us and have joy in us and send His love and faithfulness to us, and assure us that He will never leave us nor forsake us…what more can we ask…what more can we do but to declare to the whole world: We have a “REASON FOR SINGING”!
♦ This morning I would like us to reflect the writings in my Gratitude Journal of the past one week as we seek God to speak to our hearts and enrich our souls through His word in Psalm 57: verses 1-3:
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
∼ Saturday, September 13: Psalm 57: To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.
אל תשצת Al-taschith, DO NOT DESTROY: There was only ONE posture that David took when he acknowledged the plague within his own heart and that was to pray and cry out Al-taschith: Do not destroy…me: ‘Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,..”
“You may be sure that your sin will find you out” Numbers 32:23 The Christian life is about making choices. God is sovereign and in His grace God allows us to make choices in life. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to make the right choices according to what is written in the word of God. However, God does not give us any right over the consequences of the choices we make because He is still the Judge. The Bible gives us two choices: Choose Life or Choose Death. Even when David committed adultery with Bathsheba and sinned before God, being remorse and pleading for mercy did not bring Bathsheba’s husband Uriah or their baby back from the grave. The grave still stands. There are consequences to sin.
∼ Sunday, September 14: Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: Psalm 57: 1
PETITIONING GOD FOR MERCY: Should not the posture of our entire human existence on earth be one of begging for mercy from a merciful God? It is in the sphere of despair and humiliation that we find our true worth to God, and that is where the condition of our heart and soul and our faithfulness and trust in God is revealed. David did not plead for grace, instead he begged for mercy. Obedience releases the grace of God but true repentance releases the mercy of God.
Firstly, David first petitioned God with a heart of sincerity: A Private Petition: Our calamities are a matter of time but our security and solace in God is a matter of eternity. While calamities threaten the peace and mind, we should continually seek after the safety of the Rock of Ages. David acknowledged the plague in his own heart and petitioned God for mercy with a heart of sincerity. When we petition God with a heart of sincerity and believe in this promise that we will receive the mercy of God, we bring the presence of God into our calamities and trouble.
Secondly, David petitioned God in public: A Public Petition: David was unashamed to make a public expression of his penitence in front of six hundred men. David knew that it was God’s character to always bring mercy to a sorrowful, repentant heart and love to a discouraged soul.
∼ Monday, September 15: Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge,:Psalm 57: 1
GOD’S SHADOW: The Scriptures draw reference to God’s ‘shadow’ as a type of His guarding presence. To seek refuge and find mercy from a throne of grace of a Merciful God and Father is the most sacred of all walks of the Christian life of a regenerated soul. To seek shelter beneath the ‘shadow of thy wings’ is :
- To partake in the glorious awakening desire of the human soul to dwell in the house of the Almighty God;
- To enjoy the favor of the Lord, for where the favor of the Lord rests, there the glory of God dwells;
- To rejoice in the hope of the glory of God and
- To be saved from the coming wrath of God.
∼ Tuesday, September 16: I will cry unto God most High; unto God that performeth all things for me. Psalm 57:2
GROWING FAITH IN THE SOIL OF YOUR TROUBLES:Even though his earthly hiding place was in a cave, David’s true hiding place was with God. The best time of David’s life was when he was running away from King Saul. It was the LORD God Himself who put an evil spirit in Saul (1 Samuel 18:10). Saul grew jealous of David, became afraid of David because of his popularity and skills. Saul pursued to kill David but in the storms of adversity and terror from his enemies, David grew closer to God.
God purposed all things in the life of David to prepare him for the throne of Kingship over God’s people Israel. David knew the answer to all his afflictions was in the faithfulness of God to hear his cry for mercy. Faith grows in the soil of our own troubles. If we truly believe what the Scripture says – ‘Unto God that performeth all things for me’ – then it must include our trials, calamities, adversities and afflictions. But when we count our blessings, one by one, and His nearness, all the sorrow and remorse flees away in the face of our Savior Christ Jesus of Nazareth.
∼ Wednesday, September 17: I will cry unto God Most High; Psalm 57:2; To the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,…Daniel 4:17
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, OUR CONFIDENCE: The Sovereignty of God is both Universal and Personal. God Most High is sovereign over ALL the earth but He is also personal. Sovereign in all things concerning your life and mine and yet God exercises His sovereignty in the universe working all things for our good. In Psalm 57: 2: On a personal level, David acknowledges his God as the Most High God: I will cry unto God most High. In Daniel 4: 17: King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon refers to God on a universal level, as the Most High God who is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth. “‘so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth…’ We must always have both views of our God.
When God sets us on high, Satan cannot pull us down. Our dangers and trials might be fearful but our security in the Most High God is joyful. The devil cannot hurt the man whom God upholds. God Himself, in Christ Jesus is our sanctuary of mercy. To trust the God Most High is to allow His mercies to encompass us and protect us from all evil and danger. God’s sovereignty is our confidence through Christ to approach the throne of grace and receive the mercies of God.
∼ Thursday, September 18: He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. Psalm 57:3,
GOD’S PROVIDENCE, OUR DELIVERANCE: Providence means God ordering our lives. God “seeing” our needs and “meeting” them by sending forth His mercies to deliver us from all our adversities. It is in God’s character to provide, to protect, to prepare and to preserve us for His divine purposes in time. What God has planned in eternity (His purposes), He carries out in time.
David found strength in the security of the Most High God. He did this by reminding himself of the providence of God to send forth his mercies to save him. In the acuteness of the danger David was in, in the gravity of his own trouble, David could display confidence in God’s providential care to deliver him from his adverse circumstances. How much we, in Christ Jesus, should be able to declare: I will trust in God who performeth all things for me.
∼ Friday, September 19: “for my soul trusteth in thee:” Psalm 57: 1
IN GOD I TRUST: Life’s experiences help us to look back and see that after each cataclysmic event in our life, it is crucial if not critical to reestablish our walk and trust in God. When we trust the LORD, He will intervene in our impossible situations with His grace and mercy. God never fails us. His mercies always prevail. David’s confidence in answered prayer stemmed from his trust in the providence of God to hear his cry for mercy. David’s foundation for victory was trust in a warrior God who was all-powerful and trustworthy. How David’s soul must have grieved to have this trust of friendship and love broken before him as King Saul pursued to take his life. Despite all that David had gone through in his life, his heart and soul was fixed on his Most High God.
As we look back this past one week and meditate on God’s word through the psalmist David in Psalm 57: verses 1-3, let us remember with prayer and thanksgiving in our hearts this word of Scripture written by the man himself, David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13: 22):
Psalm 34:22 But the LORD will redeem those who serve Him. Everyone who trusts in Him will be freely pardoned.
Friday, September 19
IN GOD I TRUST – † Reflections from Psalm 57, KJV
“: for my soul trusteth in thee:” Psalm 57: 1, KJV
During a recent Skype conversation with a freelance editor and journalist, she commented that the title ‘A Slice from the Heart’ sounded too ‘surgical’ as if surgery was being performed on the heart, one slice at a time! I replied, “Yes, indeed”! I explained to her that circumcision of the heart is “Spirit-surgery”, taking one slice at a time from a callous, hardened heart of sin and rebellion and molding it in the Potter’s hand to become a heart that will be fixed and steadfast to love and serve God only. One such ‘slice from the heart’ that takes a long time to heal is broken trust.
One of the most painful, hurtful, afflictions of the heart and soul of any human being is when trust in a person is broken. Be it a family member, friend, pastor, colleague or spouse, the pain of being disappointed and let down by someone you trust can be one of the deepest wounds inflicted on any human being. Especially when you are at your wits end. In the miry clay of a horrible pit, you confide your deepest struggles to someone you can trust to walk with you, pray with you and keep the secret of your pain in their heart for you and then that trust is broken. There is no anesthesia I know can mask the pain of rejection of that investment of trust you have placed in that person to share your troubles with. Broken trust hurts. The wound becomes deeper still when the person you trusted in confidence interferes in your devastating situation and works against you to bring your own downfall and further humiliation. That kind of broken trust grieves the soul and I know it.
♦ Life’s experiences help us to look back and see that after each cataclysmic event in our life, it is crucial if not critical to reestablish our walk and trust in God. When we trust the LORD, He will intervene in our impossible situations with His grace and mercy. God never fails us. His mercies always prevail. The prophet Jeremiah speaking the word of the LORD to the people of Judah: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man…But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.” Jeremiah 17: 5,7
∼ In God I trust: † Trusting God is a spiritual discipline. David’s confidence in answered prayer stemmed from his trust in the providence of God to hear his cry for mercy. Pursued by King Saul and his army of three thousand able young men from all Israel (1 Samuel 24:2), David’s foundation for victory was trust in a warrior God who was all-powerful and trustworthy. David might have brought to memory the ‘Song of Moses’ (Exodus 15) when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea and their deliverance by the Most High God from Pharaoh and his armies: The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is His Name.Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Exodus 15: 2, 11.
David was Saul’s armor-bearer and harp player. The Scriptures tell us in 1 Samuel 16: 21 Saul loved David and David attended to the King. Saul sought the permission of Jesse, the father of David, to allow David to stay in his courts. There was trust in the household of Saul until an evil spirit sent by God (1 Samuel 18:10) turned the heart of Saul against David and Saul pursued to kill him out of jealousy and envy. How David’s soul must have grieved to have this trust of friendship and love broken before him. Broken trust hurts. The Scripture says David remained Saul’s enemy for the rest of his days (1 Samuel 18:29) . Jealousy, envy, slander, malice can break trusted relationships in life. Despite all that David had gone through in his life, his heart and soul was fixed on his Most High God. Again in Psalm 56 we read of David fleeing from King Saul and he sought refuge in the city of Gath, in Philistine territory. Although afraid of his enemies, David trusts in the mercies of God and writes: In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me? God in His providence allowed David to experience the pain of broken trust so he could fix his heart and trust in God as the LORD prepared him for kingship over His people Israel.
† The fear of ever trusting anyone again can keep you in a cave of self-recrimination forever. I am learning how to let go and let God be God enough for me to trust the Lord that He alone will heal the pain of broken trust in others. When we look to the Cross of Christ we feel the disappointment of having let the Lord down because of the plague in our own heart. The psalmist David felt the same. In Psalm 34:22 David writes: But the LORD will redeem those who serve Him. Everyone who trusts in Him will be freely pardoned. Yes, everyone.
Are you going through a a personal crisis and you confided in a friend or family member or pastor or colleague or church member thinking they will be there for you in this moment of great strife and difficulty only to have that trusted relationship broken? Take heart! It is safe to trust in God – we can count on it. Jesus expects us to trust Him in all the storms of our lives. Will we?
∼ Psalm 56; Jeremiah 17
Thursday, September 18
GOD’S PROVIDENCE, OUR DELIVERANCE – † Reflections from Psalm 57, KJV
He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. PSALM 57:3, KJV (1 Samuel 24)
King David of Israel was in the pits! Have you been in a situation where you are running away scared of something and find yourself in the pits and nowhere to go? Are you running from someone today? Maybe a responsibility? A relationship? Maybe you are running away from a blood test report that you are afraid may reveal the worst? Are you in serious trouble that you feel right now you are running away thinking the problem will not find you? A financial crisis perhaps? A medical report perhaps?
Take heart! There are two occasions I found myself running away scared: The first one was during the Asian financial crisis in 1997 when I was truly in the pits! The banks would call me every day for three months. “Your loans are overdue. Your interest payment is 3 months overdue”! Each time the phone rang, I would say in my heart, “Oh God, please not again.” It was embarrassing, it was humiliating, it was emotionally heart-breaking. Here I was running scared because I did not know what to do. I felt a total failure and I had let my family down. The second time I felt running scared was when I received my medical report that all three blood vessels to my heart were blocked. I needed open heart bypass surgery. A medical man myself, yet, I was running scared of the possibility I was going to die.
Like a severe infection, both situations were acute. In the gravity of my own troubles I found myself turning to God. My faith grew stronger in the soil of my troubles and I allowed God to be God enough for me, to save me and lift me up out from the pits. † In yesterday’s reflection I wrote: Our dangers and trials might be fearful but our security in the Most High God is joyful. Faith doesn’t say, “Courage is with me,” but rather, “God is with me”.
∼ “God shall send from heaven and save me”: David was in despair. He had been running scared and away from Saul. David’s life is recorded so you and I can learn from his mistakes. In the darkness of the cave and in the company of six hundred men, he was able to “see” that God would “send” His mercy on the wings of angels to deliver him from his troubles. David reminds himself of the faithfulness of God to save His people Israel. By bringing to mind that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God who delivers His people from all their adversity, David had his confidence anchored in the providence of God to save. How did he prove it? † The greatest ground for proving the providential care of God is to trust in the Most High God. “for my soul trusteth in thee” Psalm 57:1.
♦ What is the meaning of ‘providence’?
The word comes from Latin providentia which comprises of two words: pro- “before” + videre “to see”. Closely related to the word ‘provide’ meaning ‘to see before’. The word has the sense of “knowledge of the future” or omniscience which is understood as an attribute of God. † Providence means God ordering our lives. God “seeing” our needs and “meeting” them by sending forth His mercies to deliver us from all our adversities. To ‘Trust in the LORD’ is to engage in God’s character to provide, to protect, to prepare and to preserve us for His divine purposes in time.
† What God has planned in eternity (His purposes), He carries out in time. David found strength in the security of the Most High God. He did this by reminding himself of the providence of God to send forth his mercies to save him. In the acuteness of the danger David was in, in the gravity of his own trouble, David could display confidence in God’s providential care to deliver him from his adverse circumstances. How much we, in Christ Jesus, should be able to declare: I will trust in God who performeth all things for me.
Let us pause for a moment this morning and take the time to read Psalm 40 together and remember to allow God to be God in our lives. To surrender all things to the Creator God Himself who holds all things and does all things for the good of those who love Him. God will deliver us from all our pits of despair, anxiety, distress, calamities, afflictions and mistakes through Christ Jesus His Son. Amen!
♦ Footnote: Dear friend, I would love to hear your heart and know if AWAKEN THE DAWN speaks to your soul. Please do share your comments with me. I would love to hear and learn from your walk with the Lord too.
♦♦ Psalm 40, KJV
I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.
I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: O Lord, make haste to help me. Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil. Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha. Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified. But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God. Amen.
Wednesday, September 17
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, OUR CONFIDENCE – † Reflections from Psalm 57, KJV
I will cry unto God Most High; PSALM 57:2, KJV
To the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,…DANIEL 4:17, KJV
∼ I will cry unto God Most High; Part 2:
The sonographer (a medical professional trained in ultrasound imaging devices) who works with me in the Medical Center is a 28th year old young man of another faith. Just two days ago he came to say goodbye as he was going to perform his pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. I was fortunate to have this intelligent young man work with me for the past 4 years and I would often share the goodness and mercies of the Lord in my own life to him. But when he entered my room to bid farewell, I broke down and cried. As I hugged him I asked permission if I could pray for him. He looked shocked and shaken to see me crying and he came running over and said,”Don’t cry doctor. I am only going to meet my god”. I was crying because in my heart I remembered the cry of David: ‘I will cry unto God Most High‘. If only this young man acknowledged that there is only One God who is above all other gods, the God Most High, Christ Jesus of Nazareth. It was a humbling thought to remember God as the Most High God. An awesome biblical truth that we need to constantly remember through our trials and day to day life. In John 3: 31 we read: The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. Amen.
∼ I will cry unto God Most High; ∼ God Most High:- In Psalm 57: 1-2, the psalmist King David of Israel found that secret place under the wings of the cherubims of glory and there he sought the mercy of God under the shadow of His wings: The Psalmist writes in Psalm 91:1, NIV:- He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Running away from King Saul, the cave of En Gedi was David’s earthly hiding place but his true hiding place was with God. † On a personal level, David acknowledges his God as the Most High God. Because God Most High is a living God, He hear’s the cries from the heart of a single soul in need. God’s sovereignty as the Most High God was David’s confidence to seek after the heart of God, trusting in His mercy to deliver him from all evil.
In Daniel 4: 17, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is driven from man to a condition and behavior of a beast in order to humble him. † In his ‘Dream of a Tree’, he refers to God on a universal level, as the Most High God who is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth. “‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’
♦ These are the ‘Twin Truths’ in Scripture: Daniel 4:17 & Psalm 57:2
† The Sovereignty of God is both Universal and Personal. God Most High is sovereign over ALL the earth, universal, but He is also personal. Sovereign in all things concerning your life and mine and yet God exercises His sovereignty in the universe working all things for our good. We must always have both views of our God. The Bible begins with these words of Scripture: Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God: hence the glorious Most High throne of God is there from the beginning. In Jeremiah 17:12 we read: A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. Our sanctuary, yes, for you and for me. A secret place of hiding we can safely go to in time of trial and need. † God’s sovereignty is the reason for our confidence to walk through ALL our trails and difficulties trusting in His mercy to deliver us from all evil. What a glorious assurance of our confidence in God’s sovereignty.
♦ ♦ Can we get to this glorious high throne of God Most High and make it our sanctuary?
God’s High Places: The psalmist in Psalm 91:14, KJV assures us of this: Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My Name. This is the promise of God Most High. † If we do not forsake His Name, God promises us that He will set us “on high” if we make His dwelling place our refuge and home. In fellowship, in leadership, in service to God’s people, in usefulness with gracious anticipation of eternal glory. When God sets us on high, Satan cannot pull us down. Our dangers and trials might be fearful but our security in the Most High God is joyful. The devil cannot hurt the man whom God upholds. God Himself, in Christ Jesus is our sanctuary of mercy. The ark of the covenant, and Aaron’s rod, the pot of manna, the tablets of the law, are all in Christ Jesus our sanctuary. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory.† The writer to the Hebrews records this fact in Hebrews 1:3 that the risen Lord is seated at the right hand of the Most High God and Himself has purged our sins, upholding all things by the word of His power so you and I can come through faith in Christ Jesus and be set “on high” with God in glory:
Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
† The same God who created this world uphold’s all things by His power. This is called the Providence of God. To trust the God Most High is to allow His mercies to encompass us and protect us from all evil and danger. God’s ways are not our ways and through all our trials we may grow in faith to trust and have confidence in the Lord while in the soil of our troubles.
Before we begin this day, let us take a moment to read this poem ‘One Solitary Life’ and pause for while to thank God for the Cross of Christ. Because of this ‘One Solitary Life’ in Jesus of Nazareth, you and I can come with confidence before the throne of grace of the Most High God and beg for mercy to follow us, not only for today, but for all the days of of our lives to the glory of God, Amen!
♦ Reflect: Acts 17: 24-28; Psalm 91
One Solitary Life by Dr James A. Francis (1864-1928)
He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty when public opinion turned against him
He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself
He was only thirty three
His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth
When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend
Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind’s progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life
Tuesday, September 16
GROWING FAITH IN THE SOIL OF OUR TROUBLES – † Reflections from Psalm 57, KJV
I will cry unto God most High; unto God that performeth all things for me. PSALM 57:2, KJV
∼ Unto God that performeth all things for me, Part 1:
If I recall the soul-enriching occasions when I have found my faith to grow, it was in the soil of my own troubles. Those most difficult and adverse circumstances brought me to my knees begging for God Almighty to intervene. To be honest, they turned out to be the best of times of my life because I found myself drawing close to God. It did not mean I started to behave like an angel, but, my heart, soul and mind was at peace. Calamity after calamity, distress after distress, it was at those times when I was in the pits and down in the valley when I found His divine presence was ever so close and real for me. † When we petition God with a heart of sincerity and believe in this promise that we will receive the mercy of God, we bring the presence of God into our calamities and trouble (G J September 14).
In 1997, I faced the worst financial crisis of my lifetime. The Asian financial crisis affected my practice severely. The interest rates for our bank loans rocketed sky high and I had to sell our brand new home to furnish the loans. There was only one posture to take: on my knees begging for mercy from God. The Spiritual warfare against me, my family, my possessions, my work, everything was so intense that even suicide was an option I considered. The Lord not only walked with me through the adversity of the storm but put a vision in my heart to walk after Him and make disciples of all the nations. I remember crying all the way to Eastbourne, England in September 1999, 15 years ago to the month. All I had in my hand was a piece of paper detailing the APCOD vision from the Lord. Asia Pacific region –too big for a beggar like me but too small for this great I AM. † Today, from the furnace of that adversity, more than 2000 delegates from 30 nations have participated in the 5 APCOD Consultations held in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and India. All glory to the God most High who performeth all things for me through Christ Jesus of Nazareth.
It has been in the interval between those moments of deep distress and calamities that I have found myself drifting away from God. We forget the mercies of God in our lives so easily. Now, after a devastating sideturn that led me on a road of forsaking my first love and into a state of total rebellion against this merciful God, I find myself once again feeling the weight of conviction of the plague in my own heart. Looking back, I know deep within my soul that God had orchestrated all things for me for His purposes alone, not mine. AWAKEN THE DAWN has brought the best within me to glorify God through this trial of deep remorse, regret, humiliation and pain. Allow me to encourage you to do the same. Start a Gratitude Journal this morning, today and together, a year from now, 5 years from now, let us see the Lord Jesus Christ’s hand ‘performeth all things for us’ for His purposes alone. Faith grows in the soil of our troubles. Amen!
King David of Israel had the answer to all his afflictions. It only takes a moment to remember the mercies of God throughout our lifetime. Even though his earthly hiding place was in a cave, David’s true hiding place was with God. The best time of David’s life was when he was running away from King Saul. It was the LORD God Himself who put an evil spirit in Saul (1 Samuel 18:10). Saul grew jealous of David, became afraid of David because of his popularity and skills. Saul pursued to kill David but in the storms of adversity and terror from his enemies, David grew closer to God. The best recordings of his conversations with his own soul and with God was when he was running away from adversity. Today we have his Gratitude Journal in the writings of the Psalms. † God purposed all things in the life of David to prepare him for the throne of Kingship over God’s people Israel. David knew the answer to all his afflictions was in the faithfulness of God to hear his cry for mercy. In Psalm 34:19 he writes: “The righteous face many troubles, but the LORD rescues them each and every one”. Amen!
Do you feel as if God is far away and not in the midst of whatever trial or storms you are facing right now? In the loneliness of the moment of despair, God is nearer to you and me than we can ever imagine. If we truly believe what the Scripture says – ‘Unto God that performeth all things for me’ – then it must include our trials, calamities, adversities and afflictions. But when we count our blessings, one by one, and His nearness, all the sorrow and remorse flees away in the face of our Savior Christ Jesus of Nazareth.
Together this morning, let us ‘Thank The Lord’ for all the trials that come our way and let us pray this doxology from Jude 1:24-25:-
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Monday, September 15
GOD’S SHADOW – † Reflections from Psalm 57, KJV
Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. Psalm 57:1
From 1980 -1981 I served two years in military service as a Captain in the Malaysian Armed Forces. As the Medical Officer in-charge of the Medical Unit, one of my key responsibilities was to ‘set up camp’ for my medical staff and equipment in the front lines. At that time the Communist threat in East Malaysia was still alive and there were many sightings of communist insurgents in the jungles of Bau, Sarawak, where I was stationed.These areas were designated as ‘black areas’. In a mock ambush one night, my medical camp was ‘attacked’. It was sudden and frightening and the ‘enemy’ opened fire with blank bullets. We all ended up as casualties including the doctor! The camp we set up failed to protect us and the Commander warned us that if the attack was a real life situation, we would have all been killed. The trenches we dug out and the camouflaged leaves we surrounded ourselves with did not protect us. There was no place to hide and no choice but to surrender. A lesson well remembered.
King David of Israel was a warrior and strong military leader who led his men into battle on many occasions with the advice of his army commanders. On a national level he knew how and where to ‘set up camp’ and bring victory to his people, but on a personal level he knew the plague in his own heart. The only place he could ‘make his refuge’ and seek shelter and protection from the storms of adversity from the evil within his own soul and from his enemies without was with the God of his forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
God’s Shadow: The Scriptures draw reference to God’s ‘shadow’ as a type of His guarding presence. In Isaiah 32: 1-2, the prophet delivers an oracle of the coming King who would provide protection and shelter for His people from the storms of adversity as a “cool shadow of a large rock” in a hot and weary land. God is the Rock. David knew he could rely on God’s rocklike qualities, eternal strength and stability as a refuge. In Isaiah 49:2 the prophet draws reference to the hand of God as “..in the shadow of His hand He hid me”.
In Psalm 91: 1, 4 the psalmist draws reference to rest “in the shadow of the Almighty’ and refuge as under “…His feathers and under His wings”. We read in Matthew 23:37, when Jesus of Nazareth walked on earth, the Lord described the people of Israel as “baby chicks” scattered in every direction. How the Lord longed to gather the men and women like a hen gathers her chicks and under His wings provide the shelter, love and protection they needed.
† Where in the house of the LORD did King David of Israel make his refuge and find mercy?
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge: Psalm 57: 1-2
In The Shadow Of Thy Wings: The writer to the Hebrews (Hebrews 9: 3-5) talks about the arrangement of the Tabernacle of the Old Testament. The Tabernacle was the portable sanctuary used by the Israelites from the time of their wandering in the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt to the building of the temple in Jerusalem. Within the tabernacle was the ark of the covenant. On top of the ark was a lid called the mercy seat (atonement cover) on which rested the cloud or visible symbol of the divine presence. Here God was supposed to be seated, and from this place He was supposed to dispense mercy to man when the blood of the atonement was sprinkled there.
And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; Hebrews 9:3-5, KJV
† Overshadowing the mercy seat (Atonement cover) were the cherubims of glory. The prophet Ezekiel describes the cherubims as having wings of angels with many faces and appeared to have ‘the form of a human hand under their wings‘, Ezekiel 10:8. When one seeks shelter under the shadow of the wings, it is a place of divine protection and there you will be guarded by the wings of the cherubim, a fortress with defences where no enemy can enter.
† DAVID KNEW THAT IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE WINGS OF THE CHERUBIM WAS THE DIVINE PRESENCE OF THE MERCY SEAT AND IT WAS THERE HE WOULD SEEK REFUGE AND FIND THE MERCY OF GOD.
♦ Reflect: To seek refuge and find mercy from the throne of grace of a Merciful God and Father is the most sacred of all walks of the Christian life of a regenerated soul. To seek protection, shelter and rest under the ‘shadow of thy wings’ is :
1. To partake in the glorious awakening desire of the human soul to dwell in the house of the Almighty God;
2. To enjoy the favor of the Lord, for where the favor of the Lord rests, there the glory of God dwells;
3. To rejoice in the hope of the glory of God and
4. To be saved from the coming wrath of God.
“God forbid that I should boast in anything save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. What counts is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:14-16 Amen!
∼ In The Shadow Of Your Wings – Jason Upton
I’ve Been Running Trying To Find My Refuge
Never Stopping Long Enough To See
All The While You Were Right There Waiting
To Hide Me In The Shadow Of Your Wings
Under The Shadow
Under The Shadow
Under The Shadow Of Your Wings
I Will Find My Rest
Under The Shadow
Under The Shadow
Under The Shadow Of Your Wings
I Will Find My Rest, In You
I Get So Thirsty Trying To Find Your Presence
That I Forget To Stop And Take A Drink
All The While You Just Right There Wanting
To Pour Your Healing Water Over Me
It’s Only In You
It’s Only In You Lord
Sunday, September 14
PETITIONING GOD FOR MERCY – † Reflections from Psalm 57, KJV
To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: Psalm 57: 1; KJV
I remember telling my nurses and some of my colleagues that I was going to visit the Mulu Caves in Sarawak recently. These were some of their replies: Caves of all places? said one. That’s the pits! The smell of the Bats’ dung will kill you! Another one said this: “Don’t take too long!” If only, if only they knew that it was I who was in the pits. My heart and soul was in a state of preparedness and ready to go to any other pit if that is where I would meet with God and find mercy. It is against the pride of man to beg for mercy.
Yet, one of the most heart-wrenching portions of Scripture that has always humbled my spirit and soul are these two verses recorded in Genesis 6:5-6: And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.6 And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. † Should not the posture of the entire human existence on earth be one of begging for mercy from a merciful God?
Unless God intervenes, it’s all over: David knew his Bible, the Hebrew Scriptures, well and in keeping the Word of God close to his heart, David knew his God well. In the depths of despair, David sought refuge in a cave and in the company of hundreds of men who were also in a state of anguish, discontent and mental confusion, David knew where to seek refuge and find the mercy of God. It is in the sphere of despair and humiliation that we find our true worth to God, and that is where the condition of our heart and soul and our faithfulness and trust in God is revealed : for my soul trusteth in thee: David did not plead for grace, instead he begged for mercy. † Obedience releases the grace of God but true repentance releases the mercy of God. The gift of repentance engages two principles:
Firstly, David Petitioned God with A Heart of Sincerity: A Private Petition: David understood the urgency of the situation. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: Why beg for mercy? We find ourselves in difficult situations, in crisis, because of our own doing. Because we are such sinners we deserve every bit of chastisement from God and it is in such a situation in our lives when we beg for mercy from God. Our calamities are a matter of time but our security and solace in God is a matter of eternity. While calamities threaten the peace and mind, we should continually seek after the safety of the Rock of Ages. David acknowledged the plague in his own heart and petitioned God for mercy with a heart of sincerity.
Secondly, David Petitioned God in Public: A Public Petition: David was unashamed to make a public expression of his penitence in front of six hundred men. He led a corporate Prayer of Confession. In the Anglican and some Protestant eucharistic liturgies , we make this public confession every Sunday: We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: David knew that it was God’s character to always bring mercy to a sorrowful, repentant heart and love to a discouraged soul.
Again I write: † Obedience releases the grace of God but true repentance releases the mercy of God. King David of Israel lived a life of true, sincere, repentance before the living God of Israel and he wrote this down in his own Gratitude Journal which today is recorded in Psalm 23:6: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me ALL the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever. Amen
† When we petition God with a heart of sincerity and believe in this promise that we will receive the mercy of God, we bring the presence of God into our calamities and trouble. This is the question I want to leave with us till tomorrow: † Where in the house of the LORD did David know where to find mercy?
Let us pray The Prayer of Confession on this day, the LORD’s Day together and sing this Hymn: Merciful God and Father, Loving Us Like No Other. Hear Our Prayer the Cry of Our Hearts. Amen!
♦ Footnote: My study of Psalm 57 took me to the Mulu Caves in Sarawak. I wanted to sense the emotional anguish of the soul of David as he wrote these Psalms while hiding in the cave and amidst the stillness and darkness within the cave. Please read ‘Featured Posts’ on Caves: A Hidden Tapestry In Stone.
Saturday, September 13
אל תשצת Al-taschith, DO NOT DESTROY – † Reflections from Psalm 57, KJV
To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: Psalm 57: 1; KJV
The Christian life is about making choices. God is sovereign and in His grace God allows us to make choices in life. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to make the right choices according to what is written in the word of God. However, God does not give us any right over the consequences of the choices we make because He is still the Judge. In the month of ELUL – August 27- September 24, (see ‘Featured Posts’), there is the distinct call to ‘Return To The Lord’; to seek God and live. Why? Because God is still the Judge and the Apostle Paul speaking to the Athenians in Acts 17:30 reminds us of God’s command to all people everywhere to come to repentance: “For He has set a Day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
The Bible gives us two choices: Choose Life or Choose Death. The cry for mercy and forgiveness from a living God in whom all His ways are upright and just is to choose life and not be destroyed. To spare someone’s life even though you are persecuted or harassed or abused by that person is a choice for life not to destroy that person who belongs to God. Vengence belongs to God (Romans 12:19).
“You may be sure that your sin will find you out” Numbers 32:23
Al-taschith, DO NOT DESTROY: There are 4 occurrences in the Psalms, inspired by the Holy Spirit, when this Hebrew word Al-taschith is used: Psalm 57:1; Psalm 58:1; Psalm 59:1; and Psalm 75:1. All 4 Psalms were written at a time when Saul was in pursuit to take David’s life. This expression ‘Al-taschith’ can be traced back to David’s command to his followers in 1 Samuel 26:9 not to destroy King Saul: And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not; for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless? David could have also prayed for himself that the LORD God would be gracious and merciful to him and spare his life before his enemies. David believed that even in the darkness of the hour, there is triumph in the hands of a merciful God. But, even when David committed adultery with Bathsheba and sinned before God (2 Samuel 11), being remorse and pleading for mercy did not bring Bathsheba’s husband Uriah or their baby back from the grave. The grave still stands. There are consequences to sin.
Al-taschith, DO NOT DESTROY: There was only ONE posture that David took when he acknowledged the plague within his own heart and that was to pray and cry out Al-taschith: Do not destroy…me: ‘Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.’ Psalm 51: 1-2.
In my study of Psalm 57, I visited the Mulu Caves recently in our neighboring state of Sarawak for the sole purpose of seeking out the heart of David in his moment of emotional anguish and distress as he hid in a cave. David begins travailing in prayer within the labyrinth of his own soul with the Hebrew word: AL-TASCHITH: Do not Destroy. I stood in the ‘belly’ of the Deer cave and recited this Hebrew word quietly in the midst of the stillness and darkness of the cave: Al-taschith: Do not destroy… me, O God. Have mercy on me and blot out my transgressions. It is at moments like this when you are all alone, within the darkness of the labyrinth of your own soul, when you come face to face with the Judge of all creation, Jesus of Nazareth. There is only one posture to take, only one prayer to make: Al-taschith: Do not destroy me, O God.
Al-taschith: DO NOT DESTROY: Have you been faced with circumstances when there have been accusations, slander, abuse and lies said against you by those who are closest to you, friends, those whom you trust the most and you want to retaliate with vengeance and anger? Are you in a situation right now where you have done wrong before God and seek His forgiveness and mercy to spare your life and forgive? Pray this Spirit-inspired prayer in Hebrew: ‘Al-taschith’ and be reminded of the grace and mercy of God in your own life. When all seems lost because we have sinned before our Holy God and forsaken the Lord and we know that judgement before God is at hand, there is only ONE posture to take:
Let us pray this prayer together: “Al-Taschith, Do not destroy us O Lord. Be merciful unto us, O God, be merciful unto us: for our souls trusteth in thee, O God.” Amen
♦ Reflect: Deuteronomy Chapter 30
∼ Deuteronomy 30:15-20 NIV See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Friday, September 12
Going The Second Mile
“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13: 14, KJV
The Christian life is not difficult. This was the headline I read recently by a well-known author. If you agree with this headline then I would love to meet with you, and soon. Not for me! If you agree with me, then let’s walk on. How many of us would attend a dinner with the thought of having to wash someone else’s feet? Our church diocese was recently going through a leadership crisis and as a way of reconciliation, a special service of ‘Washing Each Other’s Feet’ was planned for the laity, not leaders. All the notices were sent out and everybody was encouraged to attend and let the act of ‘washing each other’s feet’ bring healing to the pain and hurt felt by many of the disgruntled members. At the end of a week of announcements, the special service was cancelled. The invitation was met with rejection. It is this calling of the Christian life of ‘Going The Second Mile’ as a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth that I am writing about this morning.
The disciples and Jesus had now arrived in Jerusalem and just finished the last Passover meal with the Lord. The first mile of their life’s journey as fishermen was about to be over and Jesus was now going to engage in an act of service that was directed to the heart of man. This act of ‘washing your feet’ would revolutionize their lives and prepare them for the second mile of their journey as children of the resurrection (Luke 20:36). Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Washing the feet of the betrayer Judas did not turn the man’s heart back to God. Washing the feet of Simon Peter did not turn the man’s heart from denying Jesus three times! Can this happen to you and me? Has Jesus washed your feet and yet as you walk the second mile of the new life in Christ has your heart denied or betrayed your Savior? Is this possible or only in the heart of men like Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter?
“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet,..” then Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well! This would have been my reply too if I was seated at the same table with Simon Peter (John 13:9). When we come face to face with the Lord, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and prepares us through the circumcision of our hearts for the second mile of our journey with the Lord. The first mile of my own life’s journey was without the life of God for 40 years till the Lord literally ‘washed my feet’ and gave me a new heart and new life in Christ on February 22nd 1995 at 5.30 am. Walking with the Lord with new ‘clean feet’, going the second mile, has not been easy. The unholy trinity of the world, the flesh and the devil has repeatedly waged a war against my soul. I know the number of times Jesus had to ‘wash my feet’ again and again and grant me more grace to get up and continue walking this second mile. That’s amazing grace! And yet, despite all the blessings and all the ‘washings’ and grace to walk right with God, my heart can still become hardened and forsake my first love for God. Yes, it is possible my friend, it is possible. Only by the grace and mercies of a loving and forgiving God can we get up, pick up the cross and continue to walk after the Lord and finish the second mile of service to God and others as children of the resurrection.
Has going the second mile with the Lord been difficult for you? Jesus gives us many invitations to come to Him and abide in Him as we walk the second mile with the Lord but many times the plague in our own heart hinders us from enjoying the full grace of victory of the Cross of Christ. That is why it is so important that we daily express our love and devotion to Jesus. In ‘Going The Second Mile’ one can feel the weight of conviction through repentance to God but this has proved a soul-enriching experience that can begin a spiritual legacy, making it a blessing to others for generations to come. We will never know until eternity all who have received a blessing because of your decision and mine to walk the second mile with the Lord. So, take heart! Before we wash the feet of others, let us allow the Lord to wash us clean by the power of His Spirit, create in us a clean heart, a fixed heart, so we may bear fruit, fruit that will last in service to God.
Dear Lord, may going the second mile of our new life in Christ create a memorial to God for future generations. Grant us the grace as we walk out into this sinful world to see beyond ourselves and restore in us the grace to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before our loving heavenly Father in heaven. Amen!
∼ John 15:16, KJV: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
∼ Acts 17:28, KJV: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.
Thursday, September 11
Going Out, Coming In – Ki Tetzeh, Ki Tavo
Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. Deuteronomy 28: 6, KJV
When your personal world goes to pieces and the whole structure of your existence before a Holy God is shattered and exposed before your family, friends and the world, is it possible to do more than just survive? Is it possible to leave the safety and refuge of your own house and go out into a sinful world without getting hurt and wounded? Is it possible to come in to your house and find joy, peace, love and forgiveness within your own household? The Word of God says, “Yes” and not only that, there is a blessing that comes with the confirmation that God is in control. So, take heart.
In Deuteronomy 20:1 we read: ‘When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.’ One of the ‘twin-towers’ of faith in Scripture is obedience and blessing. With obedience to God comes blessing from God. The Israelites were facing the biggest fight of their lives against their enemies yet there was a greater battle within their own hearts – a conflict of war between the command to love God with all their heart, soul and mind, obey His decrees and inherit the blessings of God to set them high above all the nations (Deuteronomy 28:1) or forsake the LORD, disobey His decrees and receive the curses, confusion and rebuke in everything they put their hands to resulting in sudden ruin and destruction. The choice was theirs and is ours too.
When we go out and face this otherworldly war of ‘horses and chariots’, are we strong in our faith to let God be God and allow the LORD to go before us in battle because ‘the battle belongs to the LORD’ (1 Samuel 17: 47)? In recent months as I faced my own personal crisis and battle, I felt my whole world had caved in. I was weary of going out and leaving my own safe-house because of shame, fear, humiliation, discouragement and remorse. I was afraid to face this otherworldly war. I felt I had lost the battle and the enemy had won. The Scripture today inspires us to ‘Take Heart”. We are on the winning side and there is a blessing that comes with courage to ‘not be afraid’ if, and only if, we walk right before God.
Also, if I keep the commands of my Lord, then I too will also receive blessings when I come in to my house. I will not fear any unpleasant situation that brings fear and evil news. I must allow the Lord to search my own heart and reveal any unpleasant way of conduct that is not pleasing to God. I must persevere to share Christ with all members of my household and together worship God. The Lord Jesus has promised to abide in me if I abide in Him.
Keren Hannah writes in ‘A Taste of Torah’: Ki Tetze, ‘When you Go Out’ and Ki Tavo, ‘When you Come,’ reflect God’s promise in Psalm 121:8, “The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” In the sixth Hebrew month of Elul (August 27 – September 24; please read ‘ELUL’ on ‘Featured Posts’) is a time of preparation of one’s heart, mind and spirit before the seventh month of Tishrei in which we celebrate the joyful Feast of Tabernacles (John Chapter 7). During this season we are forcefully reminded that God is Creator and Sovereign over all of nature and humanity. Ultimately, the world is governed only by the Father’s will, which is good, just and true, and thoroughly suffused with His perfect love for us, His children.Whatever is to develop in accord with His will on earth must be initiated by our Father in heaven.
With this covenant of assurance, we can again take heart that all will be well with our soul each time we go out or come in because the Lord will preserve His children for His glory on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
∼ Lord Jesus, turn in with me and be my Guest; then walk out with me, and cause my heart to burn while You speak with me by the way. – Oswald Chambers
∼ Acts 17: 28 For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.
∼ Deuteronomy Chapter 28; ∼ Psalm 121
Wednesday, September 10
I saw you while you were still under the fig tree…” John 1: 48
I Saw You: One of the most powerful revelations for any believer this side of eternity is when one has a definite conviction by the Spirit of God that the one and only living God Almighty, the Holy One of Israel, has His eyes on you and sees you. There is nothing more to add to this revelation from Christ. The response can be one of an overwhelming embrace to acknowledge the King as “You are the Son of God” like what Nathaniel did in John 1 : 49 or “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” which was the response from Simon Peter in Luke 5:8. Both responses reveal the heart of man.
The Lord’s answer “I saw you” sealed everything. Nathaniel had no persuasion in his mind that the man standing before him, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph, was indeed the Messiah and Redeemer that Moses wrote about in the Scriptures and whom the prophets also wrote would become the Savior of the world (John 1:45). Suddenly he was face to face with the one he had yearned to see! It is one thing to know about the truth and yet another thing to be convicted by the truth being worked out in your life. God’s truth convicts the heart of all sinfulness.
An exalted view of God brings a clear view of sin and a realistic view of self. A diminished view of God brings a reduced concern for sin and an inflated view of self. Nathaniel , whom Jesus described as one who had no deceit, may have been satisfied with his own personal state of holiness until he saw the Lord. He had a clear view that he was in desperate need of a Savior because he recognized the plague in his own heart. Simon Peter saw the Lord Jesus in His Holiness when he too recognized the plague in his own heart and cried out, “Depart from me, O Lord” in Luke 5: 8. There are times when we think we know it all. We think we have ALL the knowledge and education to face all our daily circumstances and trials until we come face to face with Jesus Himself and He declares the truth: “I saw you…’ and we are humbled into acknowledging the condition of the plague in our own hearts. The response is either one of exaltation: “You are Christ, the Son of the living God”!; or remorse, a state of moral anguish arising from repentance for past misdeeds : “Have mercy on me O God. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” Psalm 51.
In our journey with the Lord, we can record those moments when we have had an acute sense of acknowledging that the eyes of the Lord are upon us. I wrote in my Gratitude Journal (please read reflections in August 11-21) how I yearned for a ‘sign’ from the Lord that His eyes were upon me during my trial of anxiousness and distress while waiting for the date for my open heart surgery. Everyday, during the week from August 11-21, 2011, I would look out for a ‘sign’ to see the Lord. Me of little faith! For one week I was ‘sitting under the fig tree’ waiting upon the Lord to reveal Himself to me. My heart was prepared. Finally, on the morning of the surgery, August 20, 2011, I prayed one last time. As I was wheeled to the Operation Theatre on my hospital bed, we passed the door that leads to the Intensive Care Unit (I.C.U). Suddenly, I was face to face with Jesus: My eyes met His eyes when I read the sign: I.C.U!!! So many times I had been to the Intensive Care Ward as a surgeon to review my patients but this time it was different. The Lord’s eyes were on me. I See (C) You (U)! The Lord’s answer sealed everything for me and in me, just like He did to Nathaniel.
O LORD, as Your eyes watch upon us O LORD, grant us grace and mercy to hold on to Your word as it is written in Numbers 32:23:- and be sure your sin will find you out. Help us Lord to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you O God. Amen!
His Sight Is Never Dim – Anna L. Waring, 1850
In heavenly love abiding, No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding, For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me, My heart may low be laid;
But God is round about me, And can I be dismayed?
Wherever He may guide me, No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me, And nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh, His sight is never dim;
He knows the way He taketh, And I will walk with Him. Amen!
∼ 2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
∼ Numbers 32:23, KJV But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
∼ Micah 6: 8: He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with Your God.
Tuesday, September 9 at 7.00 am
Day of the Lord
“…and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. Isaiah 42:3
After my open heart surgery in August 2011, the two most frequent words I encountered from nearly everyone I met was ‘balance’ and ‘moderation’- keep a balanced diet, live a balanced life, do everything and anything but in moderation – exercise in moderation and eat anything in moderation. Three years now and I am back to my normal way of life, living and eating as before my heart surgery! I alone am responsible for the choices I have made and will have to accept the consequences of those choices.
In the Christian walk with the Lord, there is no balance or moderation or compromise – it is either the pursuit to seek after the righteousness of God or yield to the lawlessness of our own depraved hearts. The choice is solely ours and the consequences of our choice leads us to either eternal life with God or eternal damnation in hell. The Apostle Paul speaking to the Athenians said: In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17: 30-31
A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. Isaiah 42:3, KJV
“…and the smoking flax shall He not quench”: other translations read: a smoking lamp He will not extinguish; a smoldering wick He will not snuff out; He will not put out a flickering candle…(September 8 Journal) A bruised reed knows what it is like to not be broken and left only to be discarded and thrown away. A bruised reed knows what it is to have a Savior who conquers the guilt of sin with kindness and compassion. A bruised reed knows what it is to feel the pain of rejection, humiliation, loneliness, dismay, distress and worthlessness. A bruise reed knows when the music has left and the stillness of the darkness of the soul has set in. Yes, me! I know it but for the grace of God.
But, please hear my heart now. The most devastating truth of the human condition is when a bruised reed, who is in great darkness and infirmity, knows that the light from the fire of the first love for God is slowly flickering, dimly burning, smoldering, smoking and is about to go out because of the plague in one’s own heart. It is at that endstage of total rebellion against the heart of God: when the light is about to go out and the glory of God is set to depart from the temple of the Holy Spirit within the body of the sinner that the Lord Jesus Christ then blows up the sparks of grace into a flame, rekindles the first love for God and never utterly leaves the sinner to eternal damnation.“…and the smoking flax shall He not quench”. Like a forest on fire, the words of Scripture begin to burn afresh in the heart of the bruised reed:
‘But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world’. Galatians 6: 14
In Matthew 12:15-21 Jesus fulfills the prophesy of Isaiah 42: 3. With kindness and compassion Jesus heals the sick and mends the ‘bruised reeds’ of all who followed Him. All believers are like ‘burning wicks in oil lamps’ shining the light of Christ to a broken world of darkness. The oil in the lamps represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit who teaches us all truth in Scripture (1 John 2: 20, 27). Sin snuffs out the light from the wick of the sinner and the smoking flax causes darkness within the soul to prevail. The call of repentance is to submit to God, resist the devil and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Sin is hostile to a Holy God but God loves and gives grace to a repented sinner.
The Day of the Lord is near. Do we have just enough light in our lamps such that it barely burns for the Lord? Are we still bruised and unable to receive the healing grace of God because we are still haunted by the sin and plague in our own hearts? We have a Savior who will never leave nor forsake us. A bruised reed He will never break and a smoking flax He will never extinguish. Amen!
∼ Romans 8: 7-9, NIV: “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.”
∼ 2 Peter 3: 9-14, NIV “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”
∼ Zephaniah 1:14,2:3, NIV “The great day of the Lord is near–near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.”
Monday, September 8 at 7.30 am
Conquering with Kindness
A bruised reed shall He not break, … Isaiah 42: 3
A reed is a plant from the grass family that grows in marshland. By itself it has not much use and if an animal were to walk through or over them, it will become bruised and if left alone will eventually break. If not broken, reeds can be used to thatch roofs or in skillful hands baskets can be made out from them for good use. The mother of Moses when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch and placed him among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. (Exodus 2:3) .
What is a bruise? Is when we have knocked or received a bump, hit ourselves against a hard object and injured a part of the body that has resulted in a contusion (area where the blood has ‘oozed’ out into the surrounding tissue) or an area of discoloration and swelling called ecchymosis. A bruise can take 10 to 12 days to heal. Although the person can usually go about doing their work, the affected area hurts and is tender to touch and the pain is deep-seated. However, a bruise can go unnoticed for days until suddenly we are reminded of the area because we have knocked it again.
Who is a bruised reed? Is an individual who is fully aware of his or her sin and fully affected by the grief, the pain, the shame, the humiliation, the anguish of the soul that the sin has brought to them. The bruised person may be still haunted and in bondage by their sin but inside their soul, they are hurting, wounded people. However, just as a bruise can go unnoticed for days or even weeks, we too can live in sin and not be concerned about it. We can live in adultery and not be concerned about it. We can live in idolatry and not be concerned about it. This reprobate state of the heart living in sin brings forth the judgement of God.
BUT a sinner who repents and returns to God and pleads for mercy and begins to walk right with God, that bruise reed God will not break but forgive and conquer the plague in his own heart with kindness and compassion. This is a bruise reed that Jesus is always concerned about. Why? Because such a heart is repentant and seeks after the mercies and heart of God. Jesus came not to break that bruise reed but to mend it and mold it so the reed may be used to bring glory to God the Creator of all the earth.
Yes, Alas! I am worse than a reed when it grows by the river, for that at least can hold up its head. – Oswald Chambers
I know the pain and humiliation of a bruise reed and although it is now six months, the wound still hurts and I am still haunted by the sin. I have tried to hide the deep pain by putting on a hardened facade, keeping a ‘normal’ looking front but still hurting and wounded inside. Yes, in the words of Oswald Chambers, ‘I am worse than a reed when it grows by the river, for that at least can hold its head’ but if not for the healing grace and mercies of God there is no hope and light for forgiveness and eternal life.
Reeds growing in the marshlands have no use by itself but in skillful hands can be made into useful baskets. So too in the hands of the Potter, the Great Physician, we too can be healed, mended and made into useful earthen vessels filled with the power of God to do His will. We need bruising before we can be mended. But the initiative must come from us. We must first recognize the sinful condition and plague in our own hearts. We must have the faith to believe that God will conquer our guilt with kindness because the the victory over sin has already been accomplished on the Cross of Christ. However its our motives to continue to have hardened hearts and live with unrepentant sin that breaks the reed and renders it of no good use to the Master.
Dear Lord, have thine own way Lord. Rekindle our hearts, heal our bruises and mend us anew this morning to go forth in Your power of grace and forgiveness to do Your will Lord God for Your Namesake, the Name of Jesus of Nazareth. Amen!
♦ Reflect: Isaiah 42:5 – 7; Luke 7: 36 – 50
∼ Isaiah 42: 6: I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.
∼ Luke 7: 47, 50: “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7: 47, 50)
September 7 at 8.30am
River of Life
“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7: 38
In my field of practice, I see patients with chronic (longstanding) disease of the veins in their legs. I explain the diseased veins in terms of a river that has now failed to bring ‘healthy living water’ to the skin and muscles of the legs because the connection of the veins to the source of the ‘living water’, which is the heart, has been damaged. Because of this lack of “healthy living water”, skin disease sets in with extreme cases of ulceration and even death from the deep veins becoming blocked by clots. Veins have valves and the function of these valves is to prevent any back-flow of blood into the legs. This allows a fixed direction of blood flow from the legs to reach the heart, receive oxygen from the lungs and then this oxygenated blood returns to the legs to supply ‘healthy living water’ to the skin and muscle. When the valves become diseased or incompetent or the deep veins become blocked, this results in loss of function of the veins to maintain healthy legs for life.
Just as veins are blood vessels transporting blood to the heart which is the main source of life to the body, we too are earthen vessels being channels of the power that comes from God the Holy Spirit through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin, which is the plague within the ‘earthen vessels’ of our own heart, breaks this connection with the source of living water, Jesus of Nazareth, and the end result of the wages of sin is death and destruction (Romans 6:23) . Just as veins have a fixed direction of flow to the heart, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith in God (Hebrews 12:2).
Like the diseased veins in the legs, even though they are large and swollen yet the blood within the blood vessels is not healthy. So too in our own lives. We need to guard our hearts against the pride of life, the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh (1 John 2: 16) because this will lead to our own earthen vessels to swell and get blocked with sin that only leads to disease, destruction and death.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4: 7, KJV
A river touches places of which its source knows nothing. – Oswald Chambers. Recently I visited the Mulu Caves in Sarawak, Malaysia with my son David. At the bottom of one of the caves was a beautiful river with pristine clear water. The Clearwater Cave derives its name from the clear water that serves as the source of the river at the foothill of the cave. Tourists would go for a swim in the river after walking for miles through the caves and the local inhabitants of the surrounding villages believe that there are healing properties in the water in the river. We cannot see the source of the river but it brings such joy and a refreshing touch to multitudes of people who swim in it. However small the visible measure of our faith in the Lord Jesus may be, the outflow of our lives as a witness to the saving grace of God will be a blessing to the nations. We may not know where the outpouring of our lives will reach but God, the Source and Giver of all Life knows and all our labor will not be in vain (1 Corinthians 15: 58).
The context of this statement of faith that Jesus makes in John 7: 38 is during the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The priest drew an urn of water from the pool of Siloam and carried it through the Water Gate while the people recited Isaiah 12:3: “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Once inside the city, they paraded the urn of water to the altar in the temple of the LORD accompanied by a choir singing the Hallel Psalms 113-118. At the conclusion of this ceremony, the priest then poured the water on the altar as an offering to God. On this last day, they would march seven times around the altar before pouring the water and it is then when Jesus of Nazareth stood and proclaimed the truth that all mankind will see salvation through faith in Him as the Messiah and Savior of the world. There is no outpouring of the Holy Spirit from our hearts until there is the circumcision of the heart to believe that Jesus is both Lord and God. You must be born again (John 3:3)
Jesus promises us that if we believe in Him, mighty rivers of living water will flow from the depths of our soul and our lives will be witnesses of the Source and Giver of all of Life, the Lord Himself. We need to stay in communion to the Source and Author of life. If anything is obstructing our connection with God, we need to come before God in repentance and seek the mercy of God for forgiveness. If there is sin within our earthen vessels, then we need to seek God to heal the plague in our own hearts.
♦ Reflect: ∼ Titus 3: 4-7, NIV:- But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and the renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.
∼ 1 Corinthians 15: 58, NIV Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
September 6 at 8.20 am – FAITH’S checkbook – Charles Spurgeon
A Strong Heart
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. – Psalm 27: 14
If anyone were to interview my clinic nurse and inquire what is the one word she would use to sum up my character: This is what she would probably say without hesitation: “Impatient”! If there is a CCTV in the clinic and one were to play back the recordings of the entire working day, the most frequent words from the clinic counter would be: “Wait doctor, wait!” We belong to a ‘generation of the instant’ where we want everything ‘instant’ – instant coffee, instant tea, instant Wi-Fi and tolerance for delay is in short supply. To ‘wait’ is now a sacred virtue. Yet, in the biblical context, Patience is a fruit of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22). The concept of ‘waiting upon the LORD’ is always a winning strategy. The Lord’s delays are never His refusals to intervene in whatever circumstances we are faced with. Never.
To ‘wait on the LORD‘ is always a test of faith in God. To be of ‘good courage‘ is to have a heart that is strong in the faith because to fear failure is faith in Satan. In yesterday’s devotion, we read one of the most common commands in all of Scripture: Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Take courage!” “Fear not!” “Be strong and courageous and do not be afraid!” To ‘wait on the LORD’ is ‘strength to the heart’ just as ‘to surrender’ is ‘victory in the Lord’.
David’s conversation with his own soul: David is a psalmist who can relate to us in human terms. In his Gratitude Journal recorded in Psalm 27, David writes about the fearlessness and focus of his faith in God. Even though he knows and has tasted the goodness of the Lord (verse 13) and greatness of the strength of God to deliver (verses 2,3), the sovereignty of God, he even records his one desire is to dwell in the house of the Lord (verse 4), yet, like all of us, when the going gets tough and he sees the enemy pursuing him (verse 12), David falters in his faith and cries out for mercy to God. Instead of looking to the LORD whom he acknowledges in the first line of his Journal as ‘my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear’?, he looks at his enemies and fear steps in. David has a strong desire to live for God but he is not ready to surrender all to God and die to himself. “Dying to self “ is the key to unlock the gift of faith to “take courage”.
When defeat becomes personal and brokenness of our own world is the order of the day, then keeping some of the broken pieces to ourselves leads to fear and discouragement. I am no stranger to this and learning to ‘wait upon the Lord‘ is a gift of the fruit of the Spirit – patience. The courage to follow the Lord through all our battles in life requires a readiness to surrender and die to self because the battle belongs to the Lord if we just learn to wait on God.
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live, taking the form of a readiness to die.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
Charles Spurgeon writes in FAITH’S checkbook today: Wait! Wait! Let your waiting be on the Lord! The Lord never disappoints a waiting soul. Expect a great deliverance, and be ready to praise God for it.“He shall strengthen thine heart.” If the heart is sound, all the rest of the system will work well. A forceful heart rests and rejoices and throbs force into the whole man. It is at the heart where one needs help most. No one else can get at the secret urn of life, the heart, so as to pour strength into it. God is full of strength and only He can impart His strength to you, and you will be calm in tempest and glad in sorrow. “Wait, I say, on the LORD.” I do, indeed, say it. I know by long and deep experience that it is good for me to wait upon the Lord.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31, KJV
Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16: 24, KJV
September 5 at 8.40 am – FAITH’S checkbook – Charles Spurgeon
WITH ME WHEREVER I AM
The LORD will be with you. 2 Chronicles 20: 17
Our journey of faith takes us along many milestones and check points that remind us of the faithfulness of our loving God. There is never a moment, a day, a month or a year when we look back with thankfulness and yet do not see the hand of the Lord in mercy delivering us out from dire circumstances. Many scriptural verses have served as milestones of faith and one in particular that is deeply engraved in the Limbic system of my memory reservoir is 2 Chronicles 20: 17. When you are faced with a battle on your hands, you will remember the time, month, year and the circumstances that brought you to your knees and cry for mercy. The year was 1997, month of October and the time was 11.00 pm at night. We were going through a storm as the Asian financial crisis was at its peak, and all three children were very sick. David, my second son, was 4 years old and having a severe asthmatic attack with high fever from infection of his adenoids. There was spiritual warfare of a kind I had never seen or faced. It was as if our whole world had caved in. We called out to our three intercessor friends to come and pray for us that night. Before they left, brother Tony Yew (now with the Lord in glory) left a small white piece of paper on our dining table. I remember his words, “This is for you!” While travailing in prayer, Tony received this message from the Lord: 2 Chronicles 20: 17. I read the whole chapter that night. King Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise Him for the splendour of His holiness as they went into battle and that is just what I did: I took my guitar and sang my favourite worship song: Father in Heaven how we love You! David’s fever broke in the morning and we tasted the victory of the Lord in battle. I write this event in detail because we always remember the battles we face and the mercy of God to deliver. Corrie ten Boom said these words: There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.
The Lord is with you: These words of Scripture are powerful when the battle is from without and equally powerful when the battle is from within – against your own soul. When you are going through difficult times and when all seems lost and everyone seems to have deserted you, that’s when these words of comfort and assurance mean everything, I mean everything. As I walk through these current crossroads in my own life, they are truly cross-roads but as the word implies, the Cross is the pathway to take because that road, although painful, will ultimately lead us to the Lord Himself. As I wrote in my Journal yesterday, God will conquer the battle outside of us only after He has conquered the battle within our own soul. The solution is only one: Surrender all to Jesus! For the battle is not yours, but God’s – 2 Chronicles 20: 15.
Charles Spurgeon writes in FAITH’S checkbook today: This was a great mercy for Jehoshaphat, for a great multitude had come out against him (2 Chronicles 20:1-2); and it will be a great mercy for me, for I have great need, and I have no might or wisdom. If the Lord is with me, it matters little who may desert me. If the Lord is with me, I will conquer in the battle of life; and the greater my trials, the more glorious will be my victory. How can I be sure that the Lord is with me? Certainly, He is with me IF I am with Him. If I trust in His faithfulness, believe in His words, and obey His commands, He is assuredly with me. If I am on Satan’s side, God is against me and cannot be otherwise; but if I live to honor God, I may be sure that He will honor me. If I have placed my soul in the hands of God’s only begotten Son, then I may be sure that the Father will put forth ALL His power to preserve me, that His Son may not be dishonoured.
Reflection for today: 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17: Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel…”This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’ “
Come, join me and let us sing this age-old hymn ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ and let us thank the Lord God our Father for His faithfulness in every battle that we have faced together all these many years. His Name is Jesus of Nazareth. It is His Name that Moses and all the people of Israel sang together at a time of great deliverance: The Song of Moses in Exodus 15: 3 The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is His Name. Amen!
September 4 at 8.30 am –FAITH’S checkbook – Charles Spurgeon
VICTORY WITHOUT BATTLE
But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen. – Hosea 1: 7
Whenever we think of battle we think of an enemy, right? In yesterday’s reflection I wrote about the ‘out of spiritual darkness’ experience of being born-again on February 22nd 1995. I remember going to my first cell group meeting a few weeks later and everyone was speaking in tongues and I thought I had entered a war-zone! Honest! With raised voices they (this ‘platoon’ of Christian soldiers) were rebuking the enemy and casting out every demon that was in the room and it looked like the only casualty of war still standing was me. Everyone else was on the floor! Now, as I look back these past 19 years there is only ONE verdict: WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US! As a ‘stranger in this world’ I have come to know and realise that the forces of the enemy that surround me have their ‘Trojan horses’ within me and their habitat is in the dark areas of my own soul.
I can write a book about this subject of ‘War against the Soul’ (which I am doing, by the way. titled ‘A Slice from The Heart). The Apostle Peter nails this battle right at the foot of the Cross. Writing to God’s elect, strangers in the world, the Apostle urges us in 1 Peter 2:11: ‘To abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul’. It is a war. The battle is on from the moment we are born again into the Kingdom of Light.
THE ENEMY IS WITHIN: IT IS THE PLAGUE WITHIN MY OWN HEART.
One of the most precious gifts of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is the fruit of self-control (Galatians 5:23). The word used in Galatians is “enkrateia” which refers to being strong in something; to master one’s behaviour. Self-control means to take dominion and have victory over my sinful desires that wage war against my soul – to bring every area of my life under the Lordship of Christ. There is no area in life, not one, that does not need this fruit of the Spirit ‘self-control’ for victory to take place. Every night I cover myself with a blanket and how I pray I can blanket my whole body with this fruit so the devil outside cannot join forces with the plague in my own heart residing in the ‘Trojan horses’ within and cause destruction and death. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6: 23).
So where do we begin? Self-control begins with ‘self’ There is only ONE source of victory and that is the mercy of God. If our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) then the mercy of God must reign and dwell in the temple within. That is our starting point. A W Tozer said it well: God will only conquer the enemy without after He has first conquered the enemy within. My prayer is to always have an acute sense of my sinfulness before the throne of holiness and beg for mercy to enter into a communion with God. Thanks be to God for the victory in the Cross of Christ. He gives grace and mercy through His Son Jesus of Nazareth. A ‘Victory without Battle’.
Charles Spurgeon writes in FAITH’S checkbook today: Look, then, my heart, to the Lord alone, and not to man. Expect to see God all the more clearly when there is no one else to look to. The Lord Himself is on my side; let me be glad if He gives victory over battle. Why do I ask for horses and horsemen if God Himself has mercy upon me and lifts up His arm for my defense? Why do I need bow and sword if God will save me? God Himself will deliver His people in the greatness of His mercy, but He will do it by no ordinary means. Let me trust and not be afraid, from this day forth and forevermore. Amen!
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15: 57, KJV
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4, KJV
September 3 at 7.00 am – FAITH’S checkbook – Charles Spurgeon
OUT OF SPIRITUAL DEATH
And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves. Ezekiel 37: 13
In the medical profession we are trained to confront two events concerning human existence: Life as when a child is born and death as when a person dies. As a doctor, the emotions of both situations can be overwhelming. I remember as a newly confirmed medical officer in 1978, one of my first rural postings was to a remote place called Tangkak in the state of Johor. Alone with no proper facilities and the nearest referral hospital was 2 hours away, I was faced with a medical emergency of prolonged labour at 2.00 am one early morning. The full term foetus was facing eminent death with meconium stained liquor suggesting foetal distress and my clinical diagnosis was a breech (buttock) presentation. Everyone was in distress – mother, nurses, family members…and of course…the doctor. The shadow of death was real, for both mother and foetus. I had never confronted such an emergency before because in any other circumstance with proper facilities, an emergency caesarean section would have been the right process of management. There was no time to refer the patient to the main referral hospital. I cannot forget this incident because this unborn foetus faced imminent death and ‘an open grave’ lay in wait for the baby. By God’s grace, the hand of the Lord delivered this child under dire circumstances. Life out of the shadow of death – that is how I felt when I heard the baby cry. I stretched out my hands and legs in the doctor’s room with no one to share but an engraved memory till this day. When one is faced with such a grave situation, there is only ONE answer: There is a living God. I remember the place, the time, the event and the outcome.
Out of Spiritual Death: The only other ‘out of the shadow of death’ event I can vividly recall is when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I know the date, the time, the place and the outcome. On February 22nd, 1995 at 5.30 am I was burning. My eyes were ‘on fire’ and I was immediately speaking in tongues!. I was set free, born again into a new life in Christ. I remember walking along the corridor of our condominium in Lucky Heights, Kota Kinabalu and going down to the carpark and touching the leaves of the potted plants. Everything was so bright. I was truly out of the grave of spiritual death, from the captivity of spiritual darkness into the kingdom of light. Recently, this ‘coming out of the grave’ born-again experience was re-lived when I visited the Mulu Caves in Sarawak. One of the most awesome experiences that I will never forget is walking out from the deep darkness and mysterious stillness of the Lang Cave into the bright sunlight of the early morning glare. I remember telling my son David who was with me, ”David, it is wonderful to be free and walk from darkness into His light son”. Yes, the prophet Ezekiel still speaks the Word of the Lord till this day:
“And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves. And shall put My spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD”. Ezekiel 37:13 – 14
Charles Spurgeon writes in FAITH’S checkbook today: Indeed it must be so: those who receive life out of death are sure to recognize the hand of the Lord in such a resurrection. This is the greatest and most remarkable of all changes that a man can undergo – to be brought out of the grave of spiritual death, and made to rejoice in the light and liberty of spiritual life. None could work this but the living God, the Lord and Giver of life. Ah, me! How well do I remember when I was lying in the valley full of dry bones,as dry as any of them! Blessed was the day when free and sovereign grace sent the man of God to prophesy upon me! Glory be to God for the stirring that the word of faith caused among the dry bones. Truly God is a living God. My new life, even in its pinings and sorrowings, is clear proof to me that the Lord can kill and make alive. He is the only God, the great I AM. All glory be unto His sacred Name. As long as I live, I will praise Him.
The Song of Moses: Deuteronomy 32:39, KJV See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand.
Footnote: Please do share your ‘out of spiritual death’ experience. I would love to hear from you too.
September 2 at 8.00 am – FAITH’s checkbook – Charles Spurgeon
FOLLOW TO KNOW
Then shall we know; if we follow on to know the LORD. Hosea 6: 3
Ever since I started my blog AWAKEN THE DAWN on July 8 this year, I have come to know the power of these two words now used ever so frequently in cyberspace: ‘Follow me!’ These two words have literally changed the face of civilization this past decade and the amount of information we get from following any one of these icons can be overwhelming. The end result can either be rewarding with the wealth of information obtained or it can be devastating with loss of any sense of purpose or dignity or even life. I have been a victim of one of these icons (reflections on July 14) so I know the power of its abuse, but, I also know that there is so much to gain in ‘following’ if the intention is to grow in the knowledge of a person and in particular in the knowledge of God and His Son, Jesus of Nazareth. The concept of ‘to follow’ is ‘to know’ in contrast ‘to believe’ is ‘to become’.
The month of Elul (27 August – 24 September) is a call to return to God (reflections August 27; ELUL: New Post on Homepage) in repentance and ‘to know’ God for who He is: ‘Be ye holy; for I am holy’. The prophet Hosea is calling on the people of Israel to: “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us” Hosea 6: 1. ‘Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD’ – Hosea 6:3 – in several other translations ‘we follow on’ is substituted with ‘to strive’, ‘to pursue’, ‘to acknowledge’, ‘to press on’, ‘to persevere’. In my journey to make peace with God, I know that through the process of chastisement there is healing. The key to unlock this gift of the healing grace of God is true repentance and to expose the plague in my own heart. The only response that comes out of knowing God is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Two words that have changed the face of civilization these past 2000 years are the words of Jesus: Follow Me! (Matthew 16: 24) My walk of faith ‘to believe’ in Jesus of Nazareth as my Lord and Savior is ‘to become’ a disciple of Jesus in Christ-likeness. The ultimate goal ‘to follow’ Jesus is ‘to know’ the LORD our God: John 17: 3:- The Prayer of Jesus:
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent”.
Charles Spurgeon writes in FAITH’S checkbook today: We will attain to holy knowledge, not all at once, but by degrees, and our business is to persevere. We do not need to despair, though our progress may be slow, for we will yet “know.” Our duty is to keep to our main topic and “follow on to know” God Himself. To know Father, Son, and Spirit, the Triune God, is life eternal. By continuing on to know the Lord, we learn healing after being torn, binding up after smiting, and life after death. Experience has its perfect work when the heart follows the trackway of the Almighty LORD. Rely on God to fulfil it.
Reflection for today: Hosea Chapter 6: “Come, let us return to the LORD”. (a Slice from the Heart-August 27)
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16: 24
September 1 at 8.45 am- My Utmost for His Highest
DESTINY OF HOLINESS
“Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1: 16
As I reminisce on my years as a born again Christian, one of the most difficult challenges I have faced and still do is just this: “Be ye holy; for I am holy”. It is so easy to wake up every morning, read the Scriptures, write the blog, make commitments to walk right before God for the day, walk out the door to go to work and there, staring right in my face, is a world of sin, lust and passions the world offers. But for the grace of God, this journey to make peace with God will be an unfinished tragedy until the plague within my own heart is fixed. Driving to my workplace every morning is my earthly destination but my spiritual journey from being to becoming a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth has only one ending: A Destiny of Holiness. Proverbs 20:9 gives this challenge:
“Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure, I am clean and without sin’?”
Oswald Chambers writes: Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is. The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. The one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God who will make him holy. At all costs a man must be rightly related to God. Do I believe I need to be holy? Do I believe God can come into me and make me holy? God has one destined end for mankind, which is holiness. God created man to be holy. The Atonement means that God can put me back into perfect union with Himself, without a shadow between, through the Death of Jesus Christ. Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, unsullied thinking with the mind – every detail of life under the scrutiny of a Holy God. Holiness is not only what God gives me, but what I manifest that God has given me.
Holiness breathes life, the life of God. Justice is life. Where the Spirit of God is, there is life. The biblical theme establishes the priority for righteous judgement at all levels of life – personal, social and national levels. How much more should we be conscious of standing before a righteous, holy God on Judgement Day. The wrath of God is a sobering reality. I know it and I have tasted it. But it serves as a personal motivation to get it right with God, no matter how long the journey takes because we can never change our destiny to be a holy people, a holy nation of priests, as long as we are children of the living God. Without the holiness that pleases God, we cannot please Jesus our Lord.
On June 27, 2010, I wrote this prayer on the last page of my bible and I pray it will be your prayer too this morning: Dear God, Always enable me to have an acute sense of my sinfulness in the presence of Your Holiness that I may worship you in spirit and in truth, always. Amen!
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Psalm 96: 8-10