In a wicked world its good to know we have hope

Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry!
    Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
From your presence let my vindication come!
    Let your eyes behold the right!

You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
    you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
    I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
    I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
    my feet have not slipped.

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
    incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show[a] your steadfast love,
    O Savior of those who seek refuge
    from their adversaries at your right hand.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who do me violence,
    my deadly enemies who surround me.

10 They close their hearts to pity;
    with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11 They have now surrounded our steps;
    they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
12 He is like a lion eager to tear,
    as a young lion lurking in ambush.

13 Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him!
    Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
14 from men by your hand, O Lord,
    from men of the world whose portion is in this life.[b]
You fill their womb with treasure;[c]
    they are satisfied with children,
    and they leave their abundance to their infants.

15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
    when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness  —-Psalm 17

its been a month since we cut off the TV, and limited the endless drone of bad news, tragedy, fear breading flashes of a culture and a world sliding ever farther from its moorings, and ever more from the world a perfect and loving God created and said was good.    I’m not sure how these constant waves of negative and life taking information affects you, but as for me i can say it profoundly affects me.  Hearing news of perfect strangers is one thing, but as bad things happen to good people around us the news becomes more personal, and the reminder that we are just travelers in this life, heading for a city who’s builder and author is our great God.

Psalm 17 was penned by David in the height of his struggle with King Saul, who was hunting him like a dog.  Hiding in caves, and on the run to preserve his life, David literally knew two very clear things:

  1. He knew the character of his God, our God  – God will hear him, and will answer him, he gives loving kindness to him, preserves him from evil and wicked people,  Delivers him. and satisfies him.  He knew and understood his place in God’s Kingdom – apple of God’s eye.  If we can just wrap our minds around the thought that we are chosen, called, and so very much loved it would change our perspective, wouldn;t it.
  2. He recognized there is a war, and there is a very real enemy that is seeking to destroy him.  That same enemy is alive today, working hard to tear us apart, shred us… whether it is physical, spiritual, mental, financial – David knew he must be on guard, girded for battle, not letting down the guard.  While we are not physically being chased about the country by an army, we are in a real sense being pursued by the enemy of our soul.  If he can knock us off our blocks, invalidate our testimoney, reduce our capacity through insecurity, disbelief, anger, or any of the thousands of ways he tries then the work of reflecting the glory of God, and sharing the hope of Jesus will be limited.

I must tell you that since I began to plan the ladies conference at our church the war came home to my head, and my heart.  Insecurities I have never experienced before have visited me, trying to draw me into the vortex of doubt.  And people around me have been going through deep challenges, spiritual struggles, physical battles.  In my own heart and head i have run to Jesus to just clear the fog, disable the fears, and clarify again what I believe he called me to do.

So I have been praying hard, and spending more time with the Lord, seeking wisdom for life.  And here is what i have found:

  • Just like any relationship, thoughts and words have only as much power as you give them.  When the doubts, disbelief, misunderstandings, and confusion creep in the best idea is meet it head on, call it out for what it is – UNTRUE, and give the thought, idea, words, emotions to Jesus.  Give no room for the thoughts to grow, or develop – turn them over to Jesus and leave them there.
  • Spend some time assessing your heart.  Here are a few questions to ask:

– What have I allowed to creep into my heart or mind that might raise this doubt/disbelief/emotion?

                               – Have i invited the enemy in through some involvement with something or someone that is not a believer?  or an evil practice?
                               – Have i confessed anything that needs to be confessed, and repented of all that needs to go?
I heard a wonderful and clarifying teaching by Tony Evans, of the Urban Alternative and the sum of what he said is this – The war is real, and the enemy of our souls will continue to try to pound in, entrench in.  But he will only have what we allow him to take.  So take back your heart, your mind, your emotions and yield them only to Jesus, and give NO ROOM for doubt, mistrust, discouragement, or any other thought or emotion that will break you down.  Repent, give it to God, and fill the void with the words, thoughts, songs, sights that bless, build up, strengthen, and grow your heart.   We may be powerless, but our Great Savior is All Powerful to overcome anything the enemy would bring.
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