Pastor Mike Impact Ministries

Michael L Grooms


A daily chat with Pastor Mike and other resources to encourage listeners to connect with the Word of God and grow in their faith.

Available on


1014 episodes

Psalm 41:10-13 - A Plea For Mercy and Grace

As we close our meditations on Psalm 41, we need to remember that  David is writing Psalm 41 during a very difficult time in his life. They were born out of his time of dealing with the rebellion of his son Absalom, and the betrayal of his counselor and friend Ahithophel. David was prompted by these circumstances to take spiritual inventory and basically ask himself four questions. All four of these questions deal with our relationships with God and others. Years ago, I heard someone say, “When God created Abel, He created an individual. But when God created Eve, He created society.”  When you think about it, life is really all about relationships. First and foremost, it is about our relationship with God, and secondly our relationship with others around us.  The first and great commandment teaches us that our greatest responsibility is to; “Love the LORD your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength, and with all of your mind… and the second is like it, (of equal importance), you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ((Matt. 22:37-40; Luke 10:27).  That is why these four questions are so important.  They deal with how do we treat others (vv. 1-4)? How do others treat us (vv. 5-9)? How does God treat us (vv. 10-12)? And how do we treat God (v. 13)?  We are all on a spiritual journey, and as on any journey, you must know where you are before you can take the next step in going to where you should be. David wanted to please and glorify the LORD (vv. 11, 13), and that should be our goal also.  How does God treat us (vv. 10-12)? God in His mercy doesn't give us what we do deserve, and God in His grace gives us what we don't deserve, and He does this because of Jesus Christ His Son who died for us on the cross. David prayed for mercy because he knew he had sinned (v. 4). He also affirmed his integrity (v. 12), for he had walked before the Lord in humility and submission (Psalm 7:8; 18:19-25; 25:21; 78:72). When David was confronted with his sins, he confessed them and sought the face of the Lord (2 Sam. 12:13). David wanted mercy for himself but not for his enemies, except for his son Absalom (2 Sam. 18:5). Why? Because his enemies (especially Absalom) had committed treason against the Lord's chosen and anointed king. This was not a personal vendetta on David's part, but a concern for the future of the nation of Israel and the dynasty of David. As ruler of the land, David wielded the sword of justice (Rom. 13:1-4), which is God’s way of maintaining order, security, and peace in any society.  But more than anything else, David wanted to please God (v. 11). (See also; Psalms 18:19; 22:8; 35:27; 2 Sam. 15:26). He had confidence that the Lord would heal him, restore him to the throne, and deal with those who opposed him. Even more, he was certain that one day he would be in the presence of the Lord and serve in His holy courts in heaven forever; “And set me before Your face forever (v. 12). (See also Psalms 16:11; 17:15; 21:6; 101:7; and 2 Sam. 7:16).  Verse 13 deals with how we treat God. It is possible that this verse was added later by an editor to mark the end of book one of the Psalms. Each of the first four books ends with a similar doxology (Psalms 72:18-20; 89:52; 106:48), and Book Five ends with a praise psalm (150). Verse 13 reminds us that the main thing in our lives must be the eternal praise and glory of the Lord. "Hallowed be thy name" is the first request in the Disciple's Prayer (Matthew 6:9), and it governs all the other requests. God answers prayer, not to make us more comfortable, but to bring glory to His name.  The Lord still had more work for David to do, particularly the preparation for the building of the temple, and for His glory that one day would move into that holy sanctuary (1 Kings 8:1-11). We all have more work to do for the Lord Jesus and for His glory!  Can we also honestly say, "Amen and amen!" to the prayer in verse 13?  God bless!

Mar 30
Psalm 41:5-9 - God's Disobedient Servant

Remember David is writing Psalm 41 during a very difficult time in his life. It is the last of the four Psalms that close out Book One in the book of Psalms that were born out of his time of dealing with the rebellion of his son Absalom, and the betrayal of his counselor and friend Ahithophel. David was prompted by these circumstances to take spiritual inventory and basically ask himself four questions in this Psalm. Before we can claim God's promises, we must examine our own hearts to see if we have sincerely met the conditions the Lord had laid down.   The first question had to do with his integrity and how we treat others (vv.1-4). Today, we will look at the second question in verses 5-9. This question deals with the treachery and deceit of others and how they treat us. The greatest hurts and pain in life usually comes from people around us, and it especially hurts when they appear to be a close friend or family member, but we find out that they have been secretly against us and are really someone who hates us.     Well, this is exactly what happened to David.  It wasn't enough that David was sick in bed, but he also had to deal with treachery among his own family and friends, including men like Ahithophel, his official counselor, who sided with Absalom. It might surprise you to know that Ahithophel was Bathsheba's grandfather, and he no doubt secretly hated David for what he did to her and to her husband Uriah. You find this relationship in 2 Samuel 11:3, “… And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Along with 2 Samuel 23:34, in the listing of David’s thirty mighty men: “…Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite”.     When you read these verses (vv. 5-9), you see how these false friends visited the king and lied to him ("We hope you'll get well soon"), but they really wanted David to die and even plotted against him. They knew that if Absalom became king, that would be the end of the Davidic dynasty, for Absalom had no son (2 Sam. 18:18). God promised David that his descendants would sit on the throne of Israel forever (2 Sam. 7:11-16), a promise ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Luke 1:31-33). David was gifted at reading people (2 Sam. 14:17-20) and knew the truth.   Psalm 41 is also considered a Messianic Psalm because Jesus used verse 9 when referring to the traitor Judas (John 13:18-19; Matt. 26:63; Mark 14:18; Luke 22:21; Acts 1:16-20). You read similar phrases that make this connection in Psalm 55:12-14; 69:25; and 109:8. We should note that our Lord didn't quote the phrase "whom I trusted" from verse 9, for He knew that Judas had no saving faith (John 6:70-71).   This psalm opens with a statement about the poor, and Judas tried to identify himself with the poor (John 12:4-6; 13:26-30), but he was really a selfish thief. David's enemies wanted the king's name to perish, but it was Judas who destroyed a good name. "Judah," which means "praise." We call our sons David, but we would never call a son Judas. You can read 2 Samuel 16:15-17:23 for Ahithophel's part in the rebellion. The phrase "lifted up his heel" pictures a deceptive and underhanded attack.     We need to remember that even “Satan is God’s disobedient servant”.  Remember Job’s friends. God allows the deceit and treachery of others around us to test and try our faith. And we soon realize that we need to always keep our eyes on Jesus as the One who will never betray us or forsake us! (Hebrews 12:1-6)   I trust that if you are going through this kind of suffering today, you will be encouraged to read the parting words of Paul to the church at Rome: “For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16:19-20).   God bless!

Mar 29
Psalm 41:1-4 - Leaning on God's Promises

In today’s video chat you might notice the white paper taped on my desk behind me.  My granddaughter Abigail has been in my office and posted a note: “I love you so so so so so so so so so so so so much Paw Paw, Abigail Grooms - Can you find three hearts near your desk?”  Well, I found two.  I will have to ask her later today where is the third one!  How sweet is that? She and her sister Alyssa are visiting us on spring break.   David is writing Psalm 41 during a very difficult time in his life. It is the last of the four Psalms that close out Book One in the book of Psalms that were born out of his time of dealing with the rebellion of his son Absalom and the betrayal of his counselor and friend Ahithophel. David was prompted by these circumstances to take spiritual inventory and basically ask himself four questions in this Psalm.   The first question had to do with his integrity and how we treat others (vv.1-4).  Before we can claim God's promises, we must examine our own hearts to see if we have sincerely met the conditions the Lord had laid down. David no doubt based his prayer on the stipulations given in the covenant (Lev. 26:1-13; Deut. 7:13-16; 28:1-14). He knew that he had no right to claim mercy from the Lord if he himself had not shown mercy to others. “Blesses is he who considers the poor…” (v. 1).    Most of God’s promises to His people are conditional. In other words, God promises to do something on our behalf if we have hearts of integrity in keeping His commandments. Even in the New Testament the Lord Jesus taught us in the Beatitudes, that “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7). In Psalm 18:25, David had previously written when he was fleeing from Saul, “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful….”.   No doubt these promises were foremost in David’s mind as he is looking to the LORD for help in this difficult time. David had fully obeyed the Lord's rules and had shown mercy to King Saul, to Saul's grandson Mephibosheth, and to the needy in the land. (See Matt. 5:7 and Luke 6:37-38.) "Poor" refers to the helpless, the miserable people whose lot was difficult and who depended on the help of others. To "consider" these pitiable people meant being attentive to their needs and assisting them. It also meant not judging and blaming them, as Job's friends blamed him, and the disciples blamed the blind man (John 9:1-4).   We have every reason to believe that David sought to care for the poor and needy in his kingdom and therefore was praying with integrity. Notice it said, “considers the poor”.  To consider the poor involves more than just giving them some money, food or clothing. It means that we consider what their real needs are and take time to help them. Remember the old saying, “You can feed a man a fish and feed him for a day. Or you can teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime”. Have we truly considered the poor?   In verse 1, David referred to himself in the third person, a true mark of his humility before the Lord. In verses 2-3, he listed the blessings God would send because he confessed his sins and asked God to be merciful to him (v. 4). God would protect him from his enemies and prolong his life in the land. That in itself would bear witness to his enemies that David was a man favored by God. God would also heal him of his sickness and raise him up from the sickbed. "Sustain him on his sickbed" (v. 3) simply means "heal him and raise him up." This would be the gracious and merciful act of the Lord, undeserved by David but lovingly granted by Jehovah.   "If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (Psalm 66:18), so it's important that we confess our sins to the Lord. If we haven't been merciful to others, how can our heart be right to ask Him for mercy? (James 2:13). God bless!

Mar 28
Psalm 41:1-4 - “LORD, Be Merciful to Me; Heal My Soul”

It is a great feeling to be back in my home office in Sneads Ferry North Carolina again after a brief and wonderful trip to the Holy Land.  We had an awesome time with the students and the parents from Virginia learning together more about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as we walked where He walked. Thanks again for your prayers and support as we traveled and for your patience as we obviously had to miss several of our daily chats!   Today we begin a new Psalm which is the last Psalm in the first book of the five books that the Psalms are divided into.  We will explain a little more about that when we finish Psalm 41. From the title we know that David wrote this Psalm, as we believe he also wrote the first 40 Psalms. It appears that Psalms 38, 39, 40, and 41 were all born out of the same circumstances. Each of them was written around the events which surrounded the rebellion of Absalom against his father David.   No doubt many fathers have rebellious sons but not many have sons who have hated them as much as Absalom hated David. No rebellion takes place in a vacuum. Behind Absalom's rebellion, and ever haunting David's conscience, was David's sin with Bathsheba and the consequent murder of her husband. These hideous crimes had been forgiven, but the human consequences pursued David through the remaining years of his life.   Think about it! This all began as a family crisis! Absalom and Tamar were David’s children by one of his wives.  Amnon was the son of another wife. Amnon had raped his half-sister Tamar, and in revenge Absalom killed Amnon his half-brother (2 Samuel 13-19). How could David impose the death sentence, required by the law of Moses, upon Amnon, for his wicked seduction of Absalom's sister, Tamar, when he himself had been guilty of the wicked seduction of Bathsheba? How could David impose the death sentence, required by the law of Moses, upon Absalom for the murder of Amnon, when he himself had been guilty of murdering Uriah? So, from that one evil seed the whole Absalom rebellion flowered, flourished, and bore fruit. Truly, what we sow we eventually reap.   You also get a hint of how Absalom is able to raise a rebellion against his father David. It also appears from many of the Psalms that David experienced a physical sickness as a result of his sin and was not able to effectively and efficiently rule his kingdom. It was in this void that Absalom took advantage of the absence of his father and stole the hearts of the people. 2 Samuel 15:2-6 “Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, "What city are you from?" And he would say, "Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel." Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you." Moreover Absalom would say, "Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice." And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”   One of David’s closest friends and counselor, Ahithophel, is referred to in this Psalm (v. 9), as the one who betrayed David (2 Sam. 16:15). Jesus quoted verse 9 in the upper room when referring to Judas (John 13:38), so the Psalm has Messianic overtones. When we find ourselves in difficulty, we may use this Psalm to take an inventory of our spiritual condition by asking and answering four questions we will look at over the next few days as we meditate on this Psalm.   God bless!

Mar 27
Psalm 40:11-17 - "Yet the LORD Thinks Upon Me"

Believe it or not, I’m on my way to Israel again. By the time you are probably reading this blog or watching this Pastor’s Chat, I will be on a plane somewhere between here and Israel. I’m meeting my son Jonathan and a group of students and parents in Jerusalem for a three-day tour.  We will have a walking tour of Jerusalem, visiting all the major sites that we can get to on Wednesday and Thursday.  On early Friday morning we will take a tour bus to Tiberius. On the way there we will stop by Caesarea by the Sea, go by Megiddo, view the Jezreel Valley from Mount Precipice just outside Nazareth, drive through Cana of Galilee and then visit the Mount of Beatitudes and Capernaum.  We will complete our day with a boat ride on the sea of Galilee. Iwould really appreciate your prayers, as I travel there and back and as we spend time with these young people.  Our prayer is that the Lord will work special in their hearts and lives as they experience the very place where the Lord lived and minister for His thirty-three years on earth. I prerecorded the chat for today so I could have something to post before I leave on this trip. We have been looking at Psalm 40 and David’s prayer as he closes this chapter. David is crying out to God to help him. “Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD” (v. 11). Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me! (v. 13). And then he prays about those who are seeking to destroy him (vv. 14-15). This reminds us that we have a great adversary who is out to devour and destroy us. Peter instructs us to: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9). Jesus gave a parable telling us how to pray against this adversary in Luke 18:1-8; “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 'Get justice for me from my adversary.' And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.' " Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" God has equipped us with the mighty weapons of prayer and His Word to stand strong in our faith when we are attacked by the devil. We either pray or we will faint, lose heart and go down in defeat.  God is a just judge who is ready, willing and able to help us in our times of trial and temptation. Paul spoke to this same subject in Ephesians 6:10-18 and he tells us to stand with both the sword of the Spirit and hold up the shield of faith! Psalm 40 is a great passage to read often in our days of adversity and trials. If we really believe that the LORD is thinking of us, we can trust Him to be our help and deliverer (v. 17). “Do not delay, O my God”! God bless!

Mar 20
Psalm 40:11-17 - "But I Am Poor and Needy"

What a wonderful Psalm to reflect and meditate on as often as we can. I find that it relates to us in so many ways.  In the first five verses of this Psalm David is looking back and remembering how the LORD brought him up out of a horrible pit and out of the miry clay and set his feet upon a rock and established his steps (v. 2). As he reflects on God’s wonderful works (v. 5), he realizes that he can’t begin to count them and is encouraged to always put his trust in the LORD (vv. 3-4), and he has a new song to sing every day (v. 3)! In the middle verses (vv. 6-10), David looks up in worship with the “great assembly” and is reminded that God wants our hearts and devotion more than He wants our sacrifices, no matter how great or many they might be. David is actually prophesying of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, Who will come in humility and obedience and Who delights to do the will of the Father (John 5:30; 6:38-40; 8:29; 12:49). David desired to proclaim God’s good news of righteousness without any restraints to anyone and everyone who would listen (vv. 9-10)! Now in these last verses (vv. 11-17), David is looking within his own heart and realizes that he has a heart that is still filled with iniquities, sins, and failure. He is so overwhelmed with his shame and guilt that his heart fails him (v. 12). This should remind us no matter how close we might get to the Lord in our love and devotion, that we still have a long way to go!  We never arrive spiritually!  Paul makes this very clear in his epistles and in his own testimony. As you read the latter epistles of Paul, he seems to proclaim that he is the greatest of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Paul stated this best in Philippians 3:12-15, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.” You will find that the closer you get to the LORD and His light, that the more sin you will see in your heart and life that you will need to confess and ask forgiveness for!  We find this lesson in 1 John 1:7-10 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” Yes, David’s life was filled with tremendous difficulties and trouble. Even though he was a man after God’s own heart, he still had to deal with the hardships of life in a very deep and personal way. As he closes this chapter, he cries out that “he is poor and needy” and is in desperate need of the LORD’s attention and of His help and deliverance (v. 17). Can you relate to this? I sure can, and I’m sure you can too! But what a great Psalm to encourage us to keep looking up to the LORD for our daily strength and sustenance! God bless!

Mar 19
Psalm 40:6-10 - "I Delight to Do Your Will"

In the first five verses of this Psalm, David gives us a beautiful example of why and how we should praise the LORD for all that He has done for us. The LORD lifts us up out of the horrible pit and miry clay and sets our feet on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ! When this happens, we have a new song to sing in praise and worship of our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now in verses 6-10, David moves from the rock, and he goes to the sanctuary of God. After all God had done for David, how could the king express to the Lord his appreciation for His mercies? He knows that he could bring sacrifices to the altar, as was required under Old Testament Law.  But David knew that wasn't God's first desire. This doesn't mean that such sacrifices were wrong, or that God didn't want His people to offer them, but that God wanted their hearts first of all. Throughout the Old Testament, the Lord made it clear that He could not accept sacrifices unless the worshiper showed sincere devotion, dedication, and obedience. No doubt David heard how Saul learned that important lesson after a victory over the Amalekites. Saul made excuses for his disobedience by saying he kept the animals for sacrifices.  But remember Samuel told Saul, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).   The Old Testament is full of verses that repeat this important truth (See Psalm 50:8-15; 51:16-17; Prov. 21:3; Isa. 1:11-17; Jer. 7:22-23; Hos. 6:6; Mic. 6:6-8). In the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament we are taught this same lesson. “So the scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Mark 12:32-33). In verse 6, sacrifice means any animal whose blood was offered at the altar, followed by a communal meal. Offering refers to the meal offering that could accompany the sacrifices, and the burnt offering symbolized total dedication to the Lord. The sin offering was given to cover specific offenses and bring reconciliation between the offender and God. All of these were fulfilled in Jesus Christ whose sacrifice on the cross satisfied the justice of God once and for all, for time and eternity (Lev. 1-7; Heb. 10:1-17). “My ears You have opened", refer to David’s readiness to hear and obey God's will (1 Sam. 9:15; 20:2; Isa. 48:8; 50:4-5; Matt. 13:9, 43; Acts 7:51, 57). The passage is paraphrased in Hebrews 10:5-10 as "a body you have prepared for me,".  This is the body in which Messiah served the Father here on earth. An open ear means a yielded will and a surrendered body. When the heart delights in God's law, the will has no problem obeying (119:11; Deut. 6:6; 11:18; Prov. 3:3, 7:3; Jer. 31:33). "Behold, I come", means "Here I am, ready to obey" (see 1 Sam. 3:4, 6,8; Isa. 6:8). This of course is a prophecy of Jesus the Messiah coming to earth to be the sacrifice for our sins in a human body (Hebrews 2:14-15; Philippians 2:5-11) David was enthusiastic about telling others what the Lord had done for him, and he is a good example for us to follow (22:25; 26:12; 35:18; 111:1; 149:1). Among the worshipers at the sanctuary, “the great assembly,” the king gave glory to the Lord. This also reminds us of our Lord's resurrection praises (Psalm 22:31; Heb. 2:12). Today, we should also “delight to do His will” and go to the “assembly” of believers to declare “the good news of His Righteousness, His faithfulness, His salvation, His lovingkindness and His truth”, so that others may come to know and love the LORD too! God bless!

Mar 18
Psalm 40:1-5 - "A New Song in My Mouth"

Psalm 40 has been a favorite Psalm for so many of us over the years because we can relate to it in our own personal lives and experiences. This morning as I was preparing to do this chat, I was thinking how that the Psalms never grow old. For over 50 years I’ve been reading and memorizing them on a daily basis, but each time I read them they are refreshing, comforting, encouraging and very enriching. Sometimes it seems that the Psalms say the same thing over and over again, but it doesn’t matter to most of us because that is the way life is. We basically deal with the same issues, challenges and problems over and over again. They just come in different forms, from different people, and from different situations and circumstances. I’ve said it before, but I need to say it again, “I love the Psalms!” And I especially love this one! One of the great lessons we learn from this song is that we should remember the blessings and deliverances of the LORD, especially in the difficult and tough times. One of my favorite songs over these past few years is “I Will Remember” by Tommy Walker. We need to remind ourselves of how great our God is and how He always keeps His promises! No matter what our trouble or trial, it's always good to look back and recall the goodness of the Lord. David remembered how long he had waited before the Lord delivered him from his enemies and from Saul, but the day came when God inclined His ear (Psalm 31:3), heard his cries, and lifted him up from the pit. If David learned anything from his exile years, it was that ultimate success depends on faith in the Lord and patience during His providential working (Psalm 5:3; 33:20; 37:34; 38:15; Hebrews 6:12). We are not to take the description of the “horrible pit” literally (slime, mud, mire), but figuratively, as a picture of those difficult years David endured. "The pit" is also a term for sheol, the realm of the dead, and David's life was certainly in danger. A quaint country preacher used verses 2-3 for a sermon text, and his "points" were: God brought him up, God stood him up, and God tuned him up! David had a new beginning with a new song of praise in his mouth (Psalm 18:49; 22:22; 33:3). God helped David because he trusted in the Lord, did not show respect to the arrogant who opposed God, and remained true to the God of Israel. "Lies" in verse 4 refers to idols. Unlike David, King Saul was a proud man who trusted in himself and made himself more important than God. In looking back on those years as an exile and a hunted man, David saw the greatness of God's works (wonders) and the wisdom of His plans (v. 5). David also recognized that others were watching him and wondering if his faith and trust was the real thing. And if the Lord would be there for him in the difficult times. That is why he wrote: “(v. 3). We need to remember that our children, our grandchildren, our neighbors, our associates, our friends, and many others that we don’t even know, are watching us to see how we will respond to the pain and suffering, the disappointments, and the challenging times that come into our lives. Our patience, our faith, our hope, and our trust in the LORD will encourage them to fear the LORD and trust Him also. If we truly trust Him, He will put a new song in our hearts and mouths and people will hear us praising instead of moaning and complaining! God bless!

Mar 17
Psalm 40:1-5 - Waiting Patiently for the LORDd

There is no doubt that Psalm 40 was written by David, but when he wrote it is another matter. Some place its composition during his outlaw years when he was the special object of King Saul's hate. For a number of years David must have felt that he was in a horrible pit of disappointments and even despair. It was during this time that he told Jonathan, Saul’s son, that (1 Samuel 20:3). In other words, David felt like he was only one step away from being killed by Saul. No matter how hard he tried to get out of this of his troubles and suffering, his loneliness and despair, he would slip and slide right back into it. David must have felt like a person who would not be able to make any progress out of a pit of wet and slippery miry clay. Do you feel like this is where you are today? Well, then this Psalm is for you! But this Psalm could just as easily have been written during the time of the Absalom rebellion when David had to flee for his life. He had to wait patiently for the LORD to reach down and lift him up out of a terrible time in his life. The words of Psalm 40 themselves, of course, are prophetic. They are picked up and quoted by the Holy Spirit in Hebrews 10:5, as speaking primarily of Christ. Along with Psalm 41, this is a Messianic Psalm predicting the crucifixion of Christ. These two Psalms conclude the first book of the Psalms. This is also a proper psalm to follow Psalm 39. All of these psalms go together; that is, you will note a continuity. But this Psalm is quoted in the Epistle to the Hebrews in a most remarkable way. In this Psalm the One who celebrates in praise and thanksgiving the Resurrection, the triumph and Ascension, is the Lord Jesus Himself. This is truly a Messianic psalm. It reveals that the death of Christ was not a defeat at all. It was a great victory. When He says, He is referring to His cry from the cross. Hebrews 10:5-9 quotes 40:6-8 and applies the passage to Christ. Some see the birth of Christ in verse 7, His sinless life in verse 8, and His sacrificial death in verse 6. However, it was first of all a psalm about David and his needs and how the Lord met them. Verses 1-5 picture his deliverance during the dangerous exile years, and verses 6-10 describe his dedication as the new king.  Verses 11-17 appear to be a record of his prayer for personal forgiveness (v. 12; see 38:3-5 and 39:8-9) and victory over his enemies following his coronation. It does seem that verse 16 is a royal prayer for God's blessing on the nation. You find verses 13-17 repeated in modified form in Psalm 70. From whatever experiences led to the writing of this psalm, David learned some valuable lessons and he gives us three important instructions to follow in the difficult times of life. First, we should praise God for all He has done (vv. 1-5). We should give God all that He asks (vv. 6-10). And we should trust God for all that remains (vv. 11-17). We live in a broken world and no doubt many of us today can relate to this Psalm. It is my prayer that truly we will “wait patiently for the LORD” to lift us up and set our feet on the Solid Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ! God bless!

Mar 16
Psalm 39:7-13 - "Hear My Prayer, O LORD"

In Psalm 39 David doesn't seem to be gravely ill, but he has been visited by some "stroke" from the Lord because of his sins (vv. 9-11). Also, the old problem of the prosperity of the wicked is in the picture (v. 1). It appears that the wicked ("the foolish" v. 8) were blaspheming God and maligning David in his affliction, and the king was greatly concerned lest he bring reproach on the name of the Lord. Recorded in this psalm are four progressive stages that we notice in David's overcoming his difficult experience that we might relate to in our own lives In verses 1-3, David was silent, and he had a burning heart. In verses 4-8, David seems to be despondent, and he has a burdened heart. In verse 7, David becomes confident as he turns to the Lord with a believing heart and finds hope. Now in verses 8-13, David was repentant with a broken heart. David acknowledges his sin and prays for deliverance. “He prays for forgiveness (vv. 8-9). When we feel God’s chastening hand upon us and He confronts us with our sin by His Word and His Holy Spirit, we tend to start making excuses for our sins and blame others. Sometimes we even blame God like Adam and Eve did when God found them hiding and trying to cover up their guilt. But when we are finally broken over our transgressions and admit our sin, like David, our mouths are stopped. Romans 3:19 says it so clearly.  Like every truly convicted sinner, David’s mouth had been stopped, and he admitted his guilt before God. “(v. 9). We don't know the particular sins that had brought this stroke from the Lord, and we don't have to know. We do know that God listens to the cry of the brokenhearted. (Psalm 51:17).  God always forgives us when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9). David was especially concerned that he does not give occasion to "the foolish" to ridicule his faith (Psalms 14:1; 69:7; 74:22; 79:4). Next, David the sufferer pleaded with God to remove the stroke and heal his body (vv. 10-11; see 32:4; 38:2). He used three images to get his point across: a plague or sickness, draining away his life; the blow of God's hand, like a loving parent disciplining a child; the rebuke of His Word, that cut deeply into David's heart. C. S. Lewis was correct when he wrote in The Problem of Pain, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to arouse a deaf world." The human body ages, decays, and dies; and the material wealth we gather gradually loses its value, like a moth silently destroying a garment. Vanity of vanity, all is vanity—unless we put our faith and hope in God. Finally, David the sojourner prays for God's direction as he makes his pilgrim way through life with its joys and sorrows. The world is a "vain show" (v. 6)—John Bunyan called it "Vanity Fair"—and God's people are aliens and strangers here (Ps.119:19; Gen. 23:4; Lev. 25:23; 1 Chron. 29:15; Heb. 11:13; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). In his closing prayer David asks God to turn away His frowning face and give him strength to return to life with its duties and burdens, and then one day enable him to pass into eternity. The phrase "no more" doesn't suggest annihilation or the absence of an afterlife, but that David would "no more" be on his earthly pilgrimage. (Psalm 23:6). What is the Lord saying to you today in your pain? God hears our prayers and cries, and He sees our tears. God bless!

Mar 15
Psalm 39:4-7 - "LORD, What Am I Waiting For?"

In this Psalm we find David somewhat despondent. He was dealing with the consequences of some sin in his life. Some commentators think maybe he had a stroke of some sort. He speaks of it in verses 9-11; David also had to face the criticism of those who wanted him to be defeated. Others were gossiping and slandering him. He was paralyzed with anger, fear and worry and couldn’t even speak. It is possible that the stroke had taken away his ability to talk. David is at a low point in his life but by God’s grace he knows the best thing to do! He turns to the LORD! We find this in verse 7: This is the central verse in the Psalm and the turning point in David's experience. "If life is short and goes past so swiftly," asks David, "what am I waiting for”? Then he answers his own question and basically says, “If the world is nothing but a shadow image, let me give myself to the Lord, who is the foundation of all that is real and lasting." Today we might ask, “What on earth am I here for?” What is my purpose in life? So many of us are “wandering” through life without a purpose. Someone said: “Nothing matters more than knowing God‘s purposes for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing them — not success, wealth, fame, or pleasure. Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning, activity without direction, and events without reason. Without a purpose, life is trivial, petty, and pointless.” “The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.” “Without a clear purpose, you will keep changing directions, jobs, relationships, churches, or other externals — hoping each change will settle the confusion or fill the emptiness in your heart. You think, maybe this time it will be different, but it doesn’t solve your real problem — a lack of focus and purpose.” “Without a clear purpose you have no foundation on which you base decisions, allocate your time, and use your resources. You will tend to make choices based on circumstances, pressures, and your mood at that moment. People who don’t know their purpose try to do too much — and that causes stress, fatigue, and conflict.” “Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.” The main concern is not how long we live but how we live. Life is measured not by how rich we are in material wealth, but whether we have values that last. Are we living with eternity's values in view? 1 John 2:17 reminds us that, When David by faith turned to the Lord, he moved from hopelessness to hope and from paralysis to action. “ The Puritan fathers in the Westminster Catechism said it this way: “What is the chief purpose for which man is made? The chief purpose for which man is made is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” What are you waiting for? The best time to turn from the temporal to the eternal is right now! The only place to find real life and hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone can restore you to a relationship with God who is waiting for you to come to Him! (John 4:23-24). God bless!

Mar 14
Psalm 39:4-6 - "LORD, Make Me to Know My End"

In the previous Psalm, David had been dealing with the terrible consequences of his sins. He had confessed them and found God’s forgiveness. But he is still down and needs support from those around him. Yet it seems according to Psalm 39, that instead of words of encouragement from his friends and associates, he finds out that people are gossiping and slandering him. Also, his enemies are using this as an opportunity to tear him down. David’s first response in dealing with this is to keep silent. To keep his mouth shut and not try to defend himself or argue with those who are maligning him. But while he kept silent (v. 2), his heart began to burn with anger, worry and fear. Do you ever feel this way? For years I’ve heard it said that Christians are the only ones who shoot their wounded. How sad! It should be just the opposite with love, support and grace given to those who have fallen and need help getting back up (Galatians 6:1-5). Not only was David silent, but he also became despondent, and he turned to the LORD in prayer (v. 4). When we find ourselves burying our true feelings and creating physical and emotional pain for ourselves, then it's time to talk to the Lord and seek His help. David knew that life was short and that the days would pass swiftly; he also knew that he was frail and that one day would die. He began to measure his days (Psalm 90:12; 119:84) and saw that they were but a handbreadth (four fingers) and his age nothing in God's sight. (See Psalm 90:1-11.) (v. 5). In OKJV, it reads, This sounds like a statement from Ecclesiastes by David's son Solomon. David repeated the thought in verse 11, The Hebrew word translated "vanity" means "a breath, emptiness" (see Psalm 62:9; 144:4; Job 14:2; Eccl. 6:12). Maybe James had this passage in mind when he wrote James 4:14; “W The best description for “vanity” is trying to capture a beautiful rainbow colored soap bubble that the children blow and when you touch it, it disappears! In verse 6, David compared life to an "empty show," with shadow people bustling about, trying to get rich. Busy for what? Wealthy for what? Years later, Solomon raised the same questions in Ecclesiastes 2:18-19: Life is swift, life is short, and for most people, life is futile. In modern vocabulary, people are living for the image and not the reality. We are busy and overwhelmed with the tyranny of the urgent and forgetting what is really important. And if we are not careful, we will look back over our lives and realize that we never really accomplished anything significant. Yesterday in my message at Friendly Community, I shared this quote: “Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.” My friend, a life with purpose is a life that is lived to glorify God. The Apostle Paul put it this way: (1 Corinthians 10:31). Today, does your life feel empty without meaning? Or, are you living a life of purpose and significance that is always glorifying our great God, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Mar 13
Psalm 39:1-3 - "While I Was Musing, the Fire Burned"

Did you ever fail, make a mess of things, and suffer the consequences of your sin or sins in a way that everyone is able to notice? You were hoping that your family and friends would be praying for you and helping you get back up spiritually, but you begin to hear that instead they are talking behind your back. They are gossiping and slandering you. Especially those who never liked or cared for you in the first place, are doing their best to bring you down. This hurts worse than if someone stabbed you with a knife. When you read Psalm 39, you get the idea that this is what is happening to David. In Psalm 38, David was confessing his sins and describing the painful suffering he experienced because of them. But now in this Psalm, David has people around him that are attempting to destroy him, and he can either react the wrong way in anger, or he can respond the right way and get grace from the LORD to deal with it. First, as we begin our study and meditation on Psalm 39, the title lets us know that David is the writer of this Psalm. There is a dirge-like quality to the Psalm, and we marvel that David gave the hymn to the chief musician to use in public worship. Jeduthun was one of three musicians David put in charge of the worship at the sanctuary; the others were Heman and Asaph (see 1 Chron. 16:37-43; 2 Chron. 5:12; 35:15). Jeduthun is also mentioned in the titles to Psalms 62 and 77. In both Psalm 38 and 39 David is attempting to remain silent in a time of trial, lest he say something that would offend believers or give ammunition to unbelievers (38:13-14; 39:1-3, 9; see 73:15). (For other parallels, see 38:15-16; 39:7-8; 38:1-3, 11; 39:10-11.) In this psalm, David doesn't seem to be gravely ill, but he has been visited by some "stroke" from the Lord because of his sins (vv. 9-11). Also, the old problem of the prosperity of the wicked is in the picture (v. 1). It appears that the wicked ("the foolish" v. 8) were blaspheming God and maligning David in his affliction, and the king was greatly concerned lest he bring reproach on the name of the Lord. Seeing the prosperity of the wicked and hearing their blasphemous words so angered David that he wanted to retaliate and say something to defend God, but he deemed it best to keep quiet. But this restraint only made his heart burn with intense pain (see Psalm 32:3 and Jer. 20:9) until finally he had to speak out. The two Emmaus disciples had "burning hearts" because of the way the Lord had expounded the Word to them, and Ezekiel had anguish in his spirit because of the difficult calling God had given him. David didn't even say good things; he just kept quiet as long as he could. There is (Eccl. 3:7), and wise is the person who knows the difference. David didn't argue with God (v. 9) or with those who reproached him, but he did pray to the Lord. We can learn a great lesson from this passage.  If we continue to “muse” on those who are slandering and gossiping about us, our hearts will burn with anger, fear and anxiety. To “muse” means to meditate on, to think about, to take it to heart. Or we can be like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we can “muse” on the Words of Jesus and our hearts will burn with hope and delight and be filled with joy and peace. For sure we sometimes can’t help but hear about those who are kicking us while we are down, and it hurts, but like David we can response by keeping our mouth shut and holding our tongue. May the LORD use this Psalm to guide and help us to turn to Him in our time of grief over those who maligned us. God bless!

Mar 12
Psalm 38:15-22 - We Can Experience God's Forgiveness

Today we are going to pick up from where we left off in Psalms before we went to the Holy Land. We were looking at Psalm 38, which is one of the Penitential Psalms. David is sorry for his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the scheme and murder he committed to try and cover it up. In verses 1-8, he focuses on himself and describes the painful consequences of sin that he is experiencing. His suffering is spiritual (vv. 1-2), physical (vv. 3-7), and emotional (v. 8). In verses 9-14, he begins to focus on others around him and describes sin’s loneliness. Both his family and his friends forsake him (v. 11). Now in verses 9-14, David does the best thing he can do and that is, he focuses on the LORD and experiences sin’s forgiveness. For the third time, David addressed the Lord, but this time he got down to business and dealt with his sins. He hoped in (waited for) the Lord, knowing that God would hear his prayers. He wasn't praying only for his own deliverance just so he could be comfortable; he wanted God to work so the enemy couldn't use him as an excuse for sinning (vv. 16, 19-20; Ps. 25:2; 35:19). When they slandered David's name, they also slandered the Lord (see 2 Sam. 12:14), and David wanted to honor the Lord. He felt like he was about to die (v. 17), and he confessed his sins to the Lord in true repentance and faith. As David closes his prayer, he is confident that the Lord has forgiven him and he makes three requests. First he ask that that the LORD would be with him. (v. 21). We find the answer to this request in Deuteronomy 4:30-31:  And also in Hebrews 13:5-6: He then prayed; LORD be near me. (v. 21) This request finds its answer in Psalm 16:8: And in Psalm 34:18: And in the NT, James 4:8: And finally, David requested that the LORD be for me and help me. (v. 22). This request in answered in: Psalm 28:7: And in Isaiah 41:10: '” Yes, my friend, we are a profoundly fallen people in a profoundly fallen world but we have a great God and Savior who will forgive us if we repent and confess our sins with a broken heart. We should also always remember these words of Paul in Romans 8:38-39: God bless!

Mar 11
Psalm 122:1-9 - Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Welcome back to Pastor’s Chat! Thank you so much for your patience these past two weeks while we were away on tour to the Holy Land with a wonderful group of 16 people. There was at least one person from each of the four churches I’ve been privileged to minister to as a pastor. We had a glorious experience as we went to the places where our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ lived and minister to the people during His thirty-three and half years on earth. At the end of my video chat today I’ve included a collage of pictures that highlight the last three days of our time in Jerusalem. Please watch it to the very end. Psalm 122 was written by King David as one of his three “Pilgrim Psalms.” No doubt this Psalm was written after he had captured the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites, built the City of David, and set up the Tent of Tabernacle on Mt. Moriah for the Ark of the Covenant. David hears the people as they voice their desire to go and worship in the house of the LORD and he is eager to join them. In this Psalm we first see people with a “Heart for God” (vv. 1-2). The people that joined me on this trip had this same heart in seeking to worship the Lord. And now can say We also notice that the people in David’s time had a “Heart for Praise” (vv.3-5). The Lord had told His people that one day there would be a central place where they would worship (Ex. 23:14-19; Deut. 12:5-7, 11-14, 17-19; 14:23; 16:2, 16), and that place was Jerusalem. The Lord instructed David that the place on Mount Moriah where he had built the altar was to be the site for the temple (1 Chron. 21-22), and He also gave David the plans for the structure (1 Chron. 28). His choice was a wise one, for not only was Mount Zion an almost impregnable citadel, but it was located on the border of Judah and Benjamin and helped to bind the northern and southern tribes together. King Saul was from Benjamin, and David was from Judah. When the psalmist looked at the city, he thought of unity and security. Just as the stones of the walls and houses were "bound firmly together," so the people were bound together in their worship of the Lord and their respect for the throne. The church today already has spiritual unity (Eph. 4:1-6), but we must endeavor to maintain it and demonstrate it before a watching world (John 17:20-23). As for security, Jesus promised that the very forces of hell could not stand before the onward march of His church (Matt. 16:18). But it was the praise of Jehovah that was central (v. 4). God had commanded that His people go to Jerusalem for the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Ex. 23:14-19; John 4:20-21), and the people went as worshipers and not sightseers. Yes, there was much to see in Jerusalem, but giving thanks to the Lord was their most important task and their greatest privilege. The third thing that David and the people had was a “Heart for Prayer and Peace” (vv. 6-9) that would produce “prosperity”. This prosperity mentioned in verse 6 does not refer to material wealth but primarily to the spiritual enrichment that comes to those who love God, His Son (born a Jew), His Word (a Jewish Book), and His chosen people! Our awesome team truly experienced that these past two weeks and we will never be the same! Maybe one day you can join us on a trip to the Holy Land!

Mar 10
Psalm 38:9-14 - Experiencing Sin's Loneliness

This morning I am on a non-stop flight to Amman Jordan! I prerecorded our chat for today so that I would be able to post them before I leave. Thank you for your prayers as we lead this wonderful group of people on a spiritual journey these next 14 days to get more acquainted with the Lord and His Word! Psalm 38 is indeed a very interesting Psalm as David is writing out of an anguished heart that is hurting as he is experiencing the chastening hand of the LORD for his sin. It might be good to mention that even though we are suffering from the consequences of our sins, if we are children of God, He is not chastening us because He is mad and angry at us, but because He loves us. Read these verses in Hebrews 12:5-13 very carefully and thankfully! We not only hurt ourselves when we sin, but we bring so much pain and suffering to those around us. We can also lose our witness and there is the loss of those who could have been won to Jesus that might now turn away because they have no respect for us. But in some ways if we humble ourselves, as David did and be willing to share the shame and pain we have experience because of our sin, the Lord might use that to bring many to Christ. God sure took the evil and consequences of David’s sin and turned it into good that we might be strengthened and encouraged by it. So now in verse 9, after David has focused on himself and the experience of sin’s suffering, he briefly turns to the Lord and acknowledges that really all he desires is before Him! He knows that the Lord sees and hears his “sighing” and knows the loneliness of his heart. “The light of David’s eyes has gone out”. The brightness of his countenance is gone and you can see it in his downcast eyes. The loneliness of sin begins to set in for David! No one wants to be around him in this condition. It is if he has leprosy. Even his close family and friends don’t want to be with him. His other relatives that were always there for him before, are not supportive and stay away from him (v.11). Then David’s enemies start coming out of the woodwork conniving deceitfully against him (v. 12). He is so dumbfounded that he can’t even speak to defend himself (vv. 13-14). Yes, my friend, sin can bring loneliness into your life. It is not a place you want to be. But remember, David lives to write about it as a warning to us, and an encouragement to trust the Lord for his mercy and forgiveness. God bless!

Feb 24
Psalm 38:1-8 - The Terrible Consequences of Sin

This morning I am on my way to Dulles Airport to catch our flight to the Holy Land! I prerecorded our chat for today and tomorrow so that I would be able to post them before I leave. Thank you for your prayers as we lead this wonderful group of people on a spiritual journey these next 14 days to get more acquainted with the Lord and His Word! King David is writing Psalm 38 out of an anguished heart that is hurting as he is experiencing the chastening hand of the LORD for his sin. In this chapter we get to see first hand the terrible consequences of our sins up close as David describes his physical condition. James 1:15 informs us that, In Galatians 6:7-8 we read, Sin has its consequences! In this 38th chapter of Psalms, David is admitting that he has sinned that he is dealing with the awful consequences of them in so many different ways, and he is asking God to have mercy on him and help him. Some commentators call these verses “David’s complaint” as he moans and groans in his suffering. Remember David was a man after God’s own heart. He was a righteous and upright man. He was a man of impeccable integrity! But David got a little lazy one day and became careless. Instead of fulfilling his responsibilities as king and leading his army to war he stayed home and was lounging around on his roof when he saw his neighbor’s wife bathing on a roof nearby. He might not have been able to help that first look, but he made the mistake of taking the second and third look, and began to desire and covet something that was not his to have. Someone said, “You might not be able to help that first look, but it is the second look that damns the soul”! Sin always fascinates, but then it assassinates. Sin blinds and then it binds. Sins leads you down a road that you will always wish you had not taken! David thought no one would see, but God was watching! And God exposed his sin for all the world to see and we are reading and hearing about it today, three thousand years later. Now David is writing several Psalms like this one that we can relate to, as we also are so prone to wander away from our love and commitments to the Lord. I trust this chapter will be an encouragement to you as much as it is to me, because we too are often suffering the consequences of our sins and we lose hope of a better tomorrow. We should learn at least two major lessons from this chapter! The first is “DON’T SIN! Stay as far away from it as possible. Scripture tells us (1 Thessalonians 5:22). And secondly, if you have sinned cry out to God for mercy and like Habakkuk pray, (Habakkuk 3:2). In the midst of his suffering David did the best thing possible, he turned to the LORD. The first words of this chapter are: That should also be the first thing we do if we find ourselves in this painful situation. Our God is merciful and He will forgive and also give us the grace to even deal with the terrible consequences of our sin! God Bless!

Feb 23
Psalm 38 - A Prayer of Remembrance

Thank you so much for being a part of our “Daily Chat” on a regular basis. We have rarely missed a day doing a chat since covid closed things down in March 2020. I was actually on my way back from a trip to India, Jordan and Israel at the same time (Feb 28, 2020), when the pandemic started circling the globe. Tomorrow, Thursday, I will be leaving to lead a group of 17 on a tour to Jordan and Israel. I am saying this to let you know that we might be missing a few days trying to post a chat because of time and internet access. We will do our best to post a chat from different Biblical sites there and also upload the daily Bible readings, and the devotions by Blackaby and Chambers. But give us grace if we miss a few days. We would also appreciate your prayers as this is our first trip since February 2020. Thanks! Today in our chat we will start our study and meditations on Psalm 38. From the title we learn a couple of things. First, we know that David wrote this Psalm and secondly that it was written as a prayer of remembrance or confession. This Psalm is the third of seven penitential Psalms: Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 103, and 143. These are Psalms of confession, especially of sin that has brought sickness, grief, pain, and suffering into one’s life. We need to note here that not all sickness and suffering is a result of specific individual sin. The truth is that all the suffering in this world is the result of the original sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. We all suffer in many ways because of the fallen nature of man. Remember Jesus was asked by His disciples in John 9 if the blindness of the man they encounter was because of his or his parent’s sin. Jesus answered: (John 9:3). Job’s sufferings and losses were not because of his sin or sins, but were allowed by God as a test and a trial in his life to bring him into a closer relationship with God. Sometimes God allows natural sickness and suffering to come into our lives simply to get our attention. To humble us and help us realize just how fail and weak we are and that we need to always trust the Lord. It is obvious in Psalm 38 that David’s painful suffering described here is a result of God’s chastening hand upon him because of his double sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah to cover it up. This Psalm is full of grief and complaint from the beginning to the end. David's sins and his afflictions are the cause of his grief and the matter of his complaints. He was now very sick and in pain, which reminded him of his sins and helped to humble him for them. We will see that David was, at the same time, deserted by his friends and persecuted by his enemies; so that the psalm is calculated for the depth of distress and a complication of calamities. We will feel David’s pain and distress as he complains of God's displeasure, and of his own sin which provoked God against him (v. 1-5). David tells of his bodily sickness (vv. 6-10). He mentions the unkindness of his friends (v. 11). He describes some of the injuries which his enemies did him, pleading his good conduct towards them, yet confessing his sins against God (v. 12-20). And lastly, he concludes the Psalm with earnest prayers to God for his gracious presence and help (v. 21,22). So, this is a Psalm where David is remembering his sin but at the same time asking God to remember and act on his behalf to have mercy on him in the midst of his pain. May the Lord help us today to pray, (Matthew 6:12-13) God bless!

Feb 22
Psalm 37:32-40 - "The LORD Shall Help Them"

I just remembered as I was writing the date for this blog that today is my spiritual birthday! A day I will never forget, February 21, 1971, 52 years ago! On that day everything changed for me! I was (Colossians 1:13). It began a journey that I would never have imagined in my fondest dreams! I feel like I’m the most blessed person in all the world! Praise the LORD!!!!!! I can assure you that after 52 years of walking with the Lord and studying His Word, the blessings are well worth any hardship and difficulties that I have encountered along the way. As I said when we started looking at this 37thchapter of Psalms, as a young believer, this is one of the first entire chapters that I committed to memory, and the great lesson that David teaches in it has definitely encouraged me to stay faithful to the Lord! Over and over again in this chapter David points out that the wicked are out to take advantage of and even destroy those who live righteous and holy lives. Because of the corruption of the human heart, there have always been those who have prospered because of their corrupt and deceitful ways. As they gained more and more wealth they also obtained more influence and authority which gives them access to take powerful positions in the courts as judges and as business and political leaders. They can’t stand the godly and upright who believe the Bible and trust in an eternal God who will call everyone to accountability and judgment one day (v. 32). We are experiencing this very environment today even in our country. And it can be very difficult and discouraging. The righteous and upright person loves the truth and justice. The wicked are “hypothetical liars” (1 Timothy 4:2). They say they are the champions of the poor and of justice but it is obvious they are only interested in more wealth, authority and control. (Read Romans 1:18-25). Well, these last nine verses of Psalm 37 should be very helpful and encouraging for those who are determined to trust the Lord and His Word, and live out their faith in a crooked and perverse generation! We are promised that the LORD is the final holy, righteous, and just Judge, and that He will not condemn us in the final judgment. David assures us that even though the wicked grows like a beautiful tree in a desert place, and spreads out its branches and leaves quickly for everyone to see, they will disappear just as quickly and be no longer found. They not only do not last, but they also have no fruit!  (vv. 35-36). The righteous are also likened to a tree in Psalm 1:2-3, but they are a tree that has fruit because they have deep roots in the River of Life! They have a future of peace and great reward (v. 37). David finishes this great chapter with the promise of Jehovah’s salvation and deliverance for the righteous person! (vv. 39-40). The LORD is our strength in the time of our trouble (that often comes from the wicked). The LORD helps us and delivers us from the wicked, and saves us, because we trust in Him! So today, be encouraged and keep looking up and trusting in our great God and Redeemer and enjoy the peace that only He can give. Remember the words of Jesus in John 14:27: God bless!

Feb 21
Psalm 37:21-31 - "The Steps of a Good Man"

In these verses (vv. 21-27), David continues to draw the contrast between the ways of the wicked and the blessings of the righteous. He notices that the wicked borrow and do not repay. That sure hasn’t changed any. Have you notice that in America today that the further that we get away from God and His Word, our government leaders are borrowing us into a hole with trillions of dollars of debt they have no intention of repaying. This debt will be passed down to our children and grandchildren for years to come if it doesn’t stop. Maybe that’s why the Scripture says, (Proverbs 29:2). But the righteous continue to show mercy and gives in acts of charity to those in need! And we should thank the Lord that this is still happening today though our churches and non-profit organizations. In verse 22, David again mentions that those blessed by the LORD will “inherit the earth”. I believe this means, among other things, that despite the wicked and evil around us we can still enjoy the good things of God on the earth! The next two verses have been among my favorite since I memorized them over 50 years ago. “Making the right choices in life is always a challenge! How do you know you are choosing the right college to go to? Making the right choice about a vocational opportunity? Moving to the right location that determines where your children will go to school and you will go to church? That you are marrying the right spouse for life? And a host of other decisions that so greatly affect your future. I believe the answer is found in these verses. If you are delighting in the LORD and have committed your way to Him (vv. 4-5), you can believe that He will “secure, He will “establish” your next step. There are so many other verses that come to my mind almost immediately. They begin with, Psalm 119:105). (Proverbs 3:5-6). They continue with: (Proverbs 16:3). When we really are trusting and committed all to the Lord, we can believe: (Proverbs 16:9). And also: (Proverbs 20:24) When you are trusting and committed to the LORD, you won’t be making wrong decisions and even if you do, you have this promise: (Psalm 37:24). And all this happens because, “(37:31). God bless!

Feb 20
Psalm 37:21-31 - "Those Blessed By Him..."

If there were ever a time that we need to hear the truth, know the truth, believe the truth, speak the truth and live the truth it is today! We are told in Scripture that one of the characteristics of the last days would be the hypocritical liars. (1 Timothy 4:1-2). We definitely are experiencing this in our news media and political world today! It doesn’t even bother them when they outright lie about things because they have a Paul was speaking of the when the anti-Christ will be revealed in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, The sad thing today is the numbers of people that of the liars! But just because the world around us is hell-bent on enjoying their pleasure in unrighteousness, it is no excuse for us to throw up our hands in despair and give up. That is why the verses before us in Psalm 37:21-31 are so important and encouraging for us today! In Psalm 37, written my David in his old age (v. 25), we are told to remember that even though the wicked seem to prosper and get by with their evil and deceitful deeds, they will soon come to a terrible end. God’s justice will always win in the end and the righteous will be rewarded for trusting and being faithful. In the first section of verses (vv. 1-11), we are encouraged to put our (v. 3), because the LORD can be trusted!!!!! In the second section of verses (vv. 12-20), we are reminded that (v. 18), and understands our situation! Now in this third section of verses (vv. 21-31), we learn that the LORD blesses and delights in His people when they in obedience live out the truth that is in their hearts. The LORD blesses the righteous, first of all, with provision of their daily needs (vv. 21-22). The wicked may succeed for a time, but eventually they have to borrow in order to survive, while the godly have what they need and can lend to others (Deut. 15:6; 28:12, 44). This isn't a promise for every believer at all times in all places, for many believers have died in poverty and hunger. Like the statements in the book of Proverbs, it's a generalization that proves true in so many cases that we can safely apply it to life. But even if we died in a prison with starvation after being tortured by the wicked, we can still be assured that our end is still better than theirs! Our task is to be faithful to the end, to do good, to show mercy, and to still love and talk of justice. We can only stand strong in the evil time because (v. 31). Not only are we always blessed with His presence, our also (v. 26). And we will (v. 27). God bless!

Feb 19
Psalm 37:18-20 - "Their Inheritance Shall Be Forever"

Over and over again David paints a contrast between the future of the wicked and the blessings of the upright and righteous person. The wicked will fade away and perish like the grass and flowers of the fields but the righteous will “dwell in the land” and be given the desires of their hearts (vv. 3-4). The evildoers will be “cut off” and “be no more” but those “who wait on the LORD will inherit the earth” (vv. 9-10). The schemes and deceitful plots of the wicked to get wealthier and have more control over others will return to destroy them, but the “little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked” (vv. 14-18). The “inheritance of the upright will be forever” and even “in the evil time they will not be ashamed” of their faith and trust in the LORD, and “in the days of famine they will be satisfied”. But “the wicked will perish and like the beauty of the meadows and like smoke they will vanish away” and disappear! (vv. 18-20). My friend, what would you rather have, something that is so temporal, or something that is lasting and eternal? Over the many years of ministry one of the tragic stories I have seen way too many times, is that almost before we bury the parents after the funeral, the siblings are already at odds and fighting over the inheritance. Relationships are destroyed, and brothers and sisters never talk to each other again because they feel like they didn’t get that rightful share of the inheritance left by the parents. Jesus had to deal with this in Luke 12:13-15: Jesus basically told this man, that what really matter was not who got the most out of an inheritance, but that you need to make sure that you don’t have a “covetous” spirit and understand that having a lot of things or money will never satisfy. If we could only really believe and understand the significance of our “eternal forever inheritance” (Psalm 37:18). Paul’s final words to the elders at Ephesus in Acts 20:32 were these: We find our “forever inheritance” in the Word of God. In Acts 26:18, Paul was giving his testimony to King Agrippa, telling about how he met Jesus on the road to Damascus and Jesus told him to go to the Gentiles, We receive this inheritance by our faith in Jesus Christ! Our “forever inheritance” in found in our relationship with Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:16-18) And finally, Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 1:3-5: “ God bless!

Feb 18
Psalm 37:12-20 - "The LORD Knows the Days..."

The first three words of this great chapter tell us: “Do not fret”. In other words don’t worry, don’t get burned up and burn out because of the evildoers and all the bad news that we hear every day. We definitely live in the day of “instant” news with all of modern technology. Goodness, we have as many “news” stations on television and internet as we have entertainment ones. Just these past few days we see and hear of an earthquake in Turkey and Syria that has now taken the lives of over 36,000 precious people. A train derails and a town is devastated with the chemicals that have been released into their environment. Major cities are literally falling apart with senseless policies that are allowing crimes of violence and corruption on every hand. No one seems to trust the government and respect for authority has disappeared. We don’t know who to believe anymore!!!! If we are not careful, we can be overwhelmed with “fretting” about all the bad news and forget the source of the “Good News”! The Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which means “Good News”. In the first 11 verses of Psalm 37, we are reminded that the LORD can be trusted, and we don’t have to fret and worry! When we trust, delight, commit and rest in the LORD we will find an abundance of peace and security! Now in verses 12-20, we are encouraged not to fear, because the LORD knows and understands our situation! Since God can be trusted, we should not fret, and since God understands our situation, we should not fear. The devil uses doubt, worry and fear to keep us defeated and discouraged as much as he uses money and pleasure to tempt and destroy us. It is easy to fall into the trap of fear when we see and devising means to (vv. 12-14). They are like wild beasts seeking to devour them. “Slay" in v. 14 means "to butcher an animal", but the Lord laughs at the wicked! Remember Psalm 2:4: The LORD also knows that their own weapons will turn against them (v. 15; Psalm 7:15-16; 9:15-16). Remember the 15’s!!!!!! What they use to destroy you will eventually destroy them! They will fall into the very pit they dug to bury you! (v. 16). God upholds the righteous (vv. 17-18) and sees to it they have what they need (Proverbs 15:16; 16:8). Just as Jesus met a great need with a few loaves and fishes, so the Lord can "make a little go a long way." "Know" in verse 18 refers to much more than intellectual understanding. It means that "God knows what's going on"! But it also indicates that He is involved and caring for us daily (Psalm 1:6; 31:7, 15). Jesus taught us to pray, (Matt. 6:11). and you can be assured that He understands you and your need in your hour of desperation! So we have no need to fret about tomorrow or fear the “bad news” of today! God always has the final say! Read these last verses of Hebrews 4:14-16 today and be encouraged with this “Good News”! God bless!

Feb 17
Psalm 37:7-11 - "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth"

David is dealing with the age-old question about why does it seem like the wicked and evil man prosper and have everything while the righteous and good man has nothing and suffers. We are encouraged not to “fret”, to get upset about it, but we are to trust the LORD anyway. And we should continuously delight in Him, stay committed to Him, and wait and rest in Him. If you take the time to read the whole chapter, you will find that David repeatedly tells us that if trust and obey, and wait for the LORD, we will still be around enjoying peace and an awesome inheritance on the earth but the  Of course this will be ultimately fulfilled in the Millennium reign of Christ after the Seven-year Tribulation. At least seven times in this chapter David talks about or (vv. 3, 9,11, 22, 29, 34).  And in verse 18 he tells us that Jesus quoted verse 11 in His first recorded message, the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes, in Matthew 5:5. In verse 3, David told the person who was trusting the LORD and doing good, What specific is David talking about? (vv. 9, 11, 22, 29) refers to the security of future generations in the Land of Promise, according to God's covenant with Israel (Gen. 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 15:7-17).  God had a great work for His righteous remnant to do in that land, culminating in the coming of Messiah. The nation of Israel was specifically chosen by the LORD to give us the Bible and also give us the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ! The Book of Hebrews tells us that the original group that came out of captivity in Egypt with Moses were not able to enter into their promise rest in the land because of their unbelief. Israel did eventually go into the Land of Promise with Joshua and each of the twelve tribes had their specific inheritance in the land. This land was to be passed down to future generations and become the inheritance of each family and each tribe. That was what it meant to In verse 11 we read the verse Jesus quoted, “Jesus expanded the inheritance to include the earth for those who are meek. Meekness" does not mean "weakness." It means force under the control of faith. Moses was meek (Num. 12:3), but he was a man of great power. To be meek means to be yielded to a greater authority or power. For the believer this means we have recognized that God is the owner of everything and that we are only the servant who is the steward, the manager of the things He has given us. It also means that we have yielded all our rights to the Lord. Oswald Chambers said it so well, “The only right we have is the right to give up the right to ourselves.” Jesus said it this way, Jesus also said, We live in a world today that screams, “Demand your rights”!  God says, “Give up your rights and fulfill your responsibilities!” A wonderful thing happens when you yield, surrender, and really give up everything to the Lord!!!!! You will find that you can enjoy every good thing that the earth has to offer!!!! It becomes “your inheritance”. Something you will never lose. Amazing!!!! The missionary, Jim Elliott said it this way in a journal entry October 28, 1949, “"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." God bless!

Feb 16
Psalm 37:5-11 - "Commit Your Way to the LORD"

David gives us five things to do when we start thinking about and getting discouraged when it appears that the wicked and evil people in the world around us are getting by with their selfish, deceitful and violent deeds. First he tells us not to about it. And, he reminds of this several times in this chapter. David then gives us at least four positive things we should continuously be doing. We should , and we should After we are trusting and delighting in the LORD, we are now ready to would be referring to the direction in life that we are going. If you are going on a trip and you are “on your way”, you need to keep going in the right direction if you ever want to arrive at your destination. It seems like I’m driving long distances all the time to get somewhere. I’ve often told my wife that I noticed that if I keep my tires turning and keep the car pointed in the right direction, I’ll always eventually get where I’m going. Where are you going in life? Solomon often talked about this in Proverbs. There really are only two ways. One is the right way and the other is the wrong way. Several times he reminds us that (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25). Just because it seems and feels right doesn’t mean it is the right way. The “right way” in life can only be found in the Word of God. The word “way” is found around 57 times in the book of Proverbs! Jesus said, “(Matthew 7:13). And Jesus is the only Way (John 14:6). To also means “to roll off your burden”. Peter said it this way, (1 Peter 5:7). This could be the burden of trying to figure out life and humanly dealing with the question about the prosperity of the wicked. We should remember that God doesn't take our burdens so that we can become irresponsible, but so we can serve Him better. Sometimes less care means we become careless, and that leads to failure. What is the promise that goes with committing our way to the LORD? The promise is that He will This means that eventually God will vindicate His servants who have been slandered by God's enemies (v. 6, see vv. 28, 32-33). Your “right living” will be displayed in the light of truth for everyone to see, and you will have “justice” in the middle of it all! (v. 6) Then we are also encouraged to (vv. 7-11). The verb here means "to be silent, to be still." It describes calm surrender to the Lord (Psalm 62:5). Creative silence is a rare commodity today, even in church worship services. People cannot tolerate silence. A silent radio or TV screen invites listeners and viewers to switch to another station or channel. But unless we learn to wait silently before God, we will never experience His peace. For us to get upset because of the evil schemes of the ungodly is to doubt the goodness and justice of God (vv. 7, 12, 32).  To is a spiritual discipline we need to learn and then practice every day! We can do this by taking time to meditate on His promises in the Word and spending a “quiet time” with Him in communion and worship. (James 4:8). LORD, please help us today to to You and take time to “rest” in You and Your Word, before we begin our day in this busy noisy world! God bless!

Feb 15
Psalm 37:4 - "The Desires of Your Heart"

Happy Valentines Day! This is indeed a special day where we express our love for that special person or persons in our lives. When I came into my office early this morning there was a special card and a bag of DeMet’s Chocolate Caramel Nut Cluster Turtles on my desk from my wife Edith!!!!! But I wasn’t the only one she expressed her love to. She made a special Valentine's Day gift of cookies, candy, and a note to all of our 18 grandchildren, our children, and also another special gift to all the children at Friendly Community Baptist Church in Burgaw where I am the interim pastor. She wanted them to all know they are loved and are special. I’m talking about a special gift for each child! It took her tons of hours to bake the cookies, decorate each cookie special, and different than the rest, and then put each one in a special gift bag for the children and family members! Now, my friend that is a wonderful expression of her loving sacrifice to others. I have the most wonderful wife, mother and grandmother in all the world! She lives to “delight” in others and make them feel loved. By the way, you don’t have to guess who they go to first when they come to visit us. Well, it’s not me! I’ll guarantee you that if you delight and love others you will be loved in return. Jesus said, “Why, because that is exactly what is going to happen! The way you treat others is the way you will be treated. As I was meditating on our verse this morning, I began thinking about what it means by What is the deep-down desire of the human heart? I’m convinced that the real desire of a human heart is not money, not clothes, not a bigger and nicer house, not fame, not success, not fun or happiness, and not even having children born into your family. I believe God created us with a great yearning and desire to know, and feel like we are loved! I’ve heard a wealthy, successful, famous grown man say, with tears in his eyes, on public television while he was being interviewed about his success and accomplishments, that he would give it all up to have his wife and family back. He got what he thought he wanted and lost what he had that really mattered. And that is to be loved and respected for who his is, not for what he had. Sadly, that is the case with tons of people today. This verse in Psalm 37 gives us the secret to experiencing the It says we should delight ourselves in the LORD. The Bible teaches us that (Matthew 22:37-39). When we truly delight ourselves in the LORD as I have been talking about the last couple of days, we will discover that love will find us. I have often said over the years, if you are married, your love and delight for the LORD will be reflected in the way that your wife delights and loves you. If she is no longer delighting in you, like when you first met, maybe you should check out our much and deeply you are delighting in the LORD. I’ve also said many times that you don’t have to look for and try to find friends. I really feel sorry for people who are always saying, “I have no friends”. My answer to them is, “Be a friend to everyone you can, and you will discover that friends will find you, and you will have more friends than you can imagine! God bless!

Feb 14
Psalm 37:4 - "Well Pleasing in His Sight"

If you are delighting in a new car, you want everyone to see it and ride in it with you. You talk about it, you brag about it as you describe everything about it. It might be a new house you are delighted with. Or it might be a new friend. Hopefully you still delight in your spouse and your children and your grandchildren. You get excited and express your joy when you are in their presence and they sense it. You give them your fullest attention and listen carefully to their every word. You laugh when they tell you something funny. You want to cry and weep with them when they are hurting, and they tell you something sad. You will do those things that you know will please them and bring them pleasure and joy. You take the time to discover their love language and you communicate with them in it. My friend, that is what the LORD wants you to do with Him. To delight in the LORD means that you really want to spend time with Him in His Word. You will be delighted to listen to, read, study, memorize and meditate on His Word. It won’t be just a chore or a habit you need to check off each day. A great chapter to read and meditate on, if you want to truly discover what it means to delight in the LORD, would be John 15 where Jesus gives the discourse on the True Vine and the branches. In verse 7, Jesus says: Wow! That almost sounds the same as Psalm 37:4! For sure, when you are delighting in the LORD you want to be attentive to His voice and His desires (John 10:27). To follow Him means you desire to do those things (Hebrews 10:21). It means, that like a waiter in a restaurant waiting on us to make sure we are pleased with their service, we are waiting on the LORD. Psalm 123:2, Read and meditate on the following verses: 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Colossians 1:10, Ephesians 5:8-10, Jesus gave us this example with His own life: John 8:29, When we are doing those things that please Him it means we bring Him great pleasure! We will delight to spend time in prayer and communion with Him. We will delight in fellowshipping, loving, and worshipping with His people, the Church. Lastly, we will make sure that nothing comes between us and the LORD, like unconfessed sin. (1 John 1:7&9) LORD, today we want to delight in You and do those things that are ! God bless!

Feb 13
Psalm 37:1-4 - "Delight Yourself in the LORD"

These first eight verses of this Psalm would be good to memorize and dwell on if you really want to enjoy life, despite the evil going on all around you! After David gives us one negative instruction, (v. 1), he follows up with four positive things we should do: (v. 3), “ (v. 4), “ (vv. 5-6), and (v. 7). As I said yesterday, the first encouragement is to, which if we do, it will help us accomplish the other three. I remember the old hymn that I think really says is all, “Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but the trust and obey.” Faith, trust and obedience in the LORD will definitely keep us on the right track in life and pretty much take care of everything else! David also said we should also (v. 3). Some of God's people were tempted to leave the land, which was tantamount to saying that God wasn't faithful and couldn't be trusted. But David urged them to stay in the land and trust God for what they needed (v. 27). Each tribe, clan, and family in Israel had its assigned inheritance which was not to pass into other hands, and the Lord promised to care for the land of the faithful (vv. 9, 11, 22, 29, 34). The promise in verse 3 is variously translated: "enjoy safe pastures", "feed on His faithfulness", and "enjoy security". If we are faithful to God, He will be faithful to us. A good example of failing to is found in Ruth 1. There was a famine in the land and there was no bread in Bethlehem where Elimelech and his wife Naomi lived. So he took his wife and their two sons and “left the land” and went to the land of Moab. It wasn’t long before tragedy struck and Elimelech dies, and both of their sons die also. Naomi goes back to the land broken and bitter. Maybe David had this story in mind when he wrote this. We can never run from our problems because they will follow us! We should determine to grow where the Lord has planted us! Sometimes that might mean that we should stay in the church where the Lord led us, despite the hypocrites, the gossips, the lazy, the indifferent, and the contentious. Quit dwelling on them and the problems and Then David tells us to, (v. 4). The word translated "delight" comes from a root that means "to be brought up in luxury, to be pampered." It speaks of the abundance of the blessings we have in the Lord Himself, totally apart from what He gives us. To enjoy the blessings and ignore the Blesser is to practice idolatry. In Jesus Christ, we have all God's treasures, and we need no other. If we truly delight in the Lord, then the chief desire of our heart will be to know Him better so we can delight in Him even more, and the Lord will satisfy that desire! This is not a promise for people who want "things," but for those who want more of God in their lives. I want to finish our chat today with the first stanza from a hymn written by a great missionary statesman in the nineteenth-century, A.B. Simpson: Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord; Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word. Once the gift I wanted, Now the Giver own; Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone. Today, are you delighting in the Blesser more than the blessings? God Bless!

Feb 12
Psalm 37:1-7 - "Trust in the LORD"

Psalm 37 deals with the age old question, “Why do the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer?” Psalm 37, along with many other Psalms, gives us God’s perspective on this question and His instructions to handle this issue. David begins to answer this question by giving one negative instruction, (v. 1).  And he gives it several times (vv. 7, 8).  Then he follows up with four positive instructions: (v. 3), “ (v. 4), “ (vv. 5-6), and (v. 7). First, we are told to (vv. 1-2). The word translated "fret" means "to burn, to get heated up." David's message was, "Cool down and keep cool!" When we see evil in the world, we ought to feel a holy anger at sin (Eph. 4:26), but to envy the wicked only leads to fretting, and fretting leads to anger (v. 8). Oh my friend, it is so easy to start wanting and envying what the world has. The flesh wants it, and the devil is tempting us and encouraging us to go for it. Why not? “Everybody else has it and is doing it”! David’s argument is that the wicked are temporary and will one day be gone (see vv. 9, 22, 28, 34, 38). They are like grass that either fades away or is cut down and burned. In the east, vegetation is abundant during and immediately after the rainy seasons, but it quickly vanishes when the moisture is gone. James mentions this same thing in James 1:10-11, where he reminds us that one day the rich will be humbled,  So many other passages teach us the same thing: (Psalms 90:5-6; 102:11; 103:15-16; Isa. 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24.) It is interesting that David only gives us basically one negative thing not to do, but then he gives us four positive things we should be doing. I have said for years, “that if you are doing what you should be doing, you can’t be doing what you shouldn’t be doing. If you are where you should be, you can’t be where you shouldn’t be!” The first positive thing we should do is (v. 3). This is an important first! Because if we are we can also do the next three positive things. We can then “” with no problem! A fretful heart is not a trusting heart, because it lacks joy and peace (Rom. 15:13). Faith and good works go together, so we should also do good as we wait on the Lord (34:14; Luke 6:35; Gal. 6:10). If we are trusting we won’t be fretting! Remember Paul’s admonition in Romans 12:21: We can accomplish this when we The LORD is faithful to save us, to protect us, to provide for us and to guide us! When we are tempted to fret, worry or envy what the sinner has we should remind ourselves of the with verses like Lamentations 3:21-26, Today, may the Lord help us to “”! God bless!

Feb 11
Psalm 37:1-11 - "Fret Not"

As I begin to prepare for our chat today reading over Psalm 37, I couldn’t help but think that if there ever were a chapter we need to deal with our worries and fears, this is the one. I’ll never forget my very first year at Lynchburg Baptist College, (now Liberty University), as a brand new believer, I heard Dr. Falwell preach in chapel from this chapter and say that it was his favorite Psalm and that he had memorized it as a young pastor. I thought, if it meant that much to him, I need to memorize it too. Psalm 37 was the first whole chapter in the Old Testament that I memorized, and it sure has brought me great consolation and encouragement over these past 50 years of ministry. We know from the title that David is the writer of this Psalm.  From the chapter itself, we learn that he wrote Psalm 37 in his mature older years. In verse 25 he said: It is very possible that David sat down with his son Solomon and shared these words with him to prepare him for the throne. In 1 Kings 2:3 we read:See also Proverbs 23:17-18, 24:19-20. I can see David sitting down with Solomon, with the Book of Job in his hand, as he discusses the age-old problem of why the righteous suffer while the wicked seem to prosper. Honest atheists and agnostics don't have to wrestle with this problem because their philosophy of relativism forbids them to use words like good, bad, righteous, and wicked. However, those who believe in God sometimes wonder why He allows the wicked to succeed while the righteous suffer. The word "wicked" is found fourteen times in this Psalm. The theological foundation for the Psalm is the covenant promise that God made with Israel, recorded in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27-30. God owned the land, and if the nation would keep His Word near and dear in their hearts, and obeyed Him, they could live in His land and enjoy its blessings. But if Israel disobeyed the Lord, He would first chasten them in the land with invasion from enemy nations around them, with drought and economic failure, and with famine. And if they continued to ignore His prophets and rebel, God promised that He would then take them out of the land and send them into captivity. (See Deuteronomy 11 and 33:28, and Leviticus 26:3-10.) But even in David’s time, it seemed that the wicked were prospering and that God wasn't doing anything about it. Jeremiah dealt with the same question in Jeremiah 12. David notes that there are several things the righteous person could do in response. They could fret over the problem (vv. 1, 7-8), they could leave the land (v. 3), or they could go on being faithful, trusting the Lord to keep His Word (vv. 3, 5,7, 34,39). Like any mature believer who had been through his own share of suffering, David took the long view of the situation and evaluated the immediate and the transient in terms of the ultimate and the eternal. He encouraged Solomon and the people to believe God's promises and wait on Him. In this Psalm, David gave four encouraging assurances to believers who question how God is running His world. And at least three times in these first verses he tells us not to fret. Over the next few days, we will be looking at these promises and instead of fretting, worrying, and being fearful and angry, we will see why we should wait patiently for the LORD and trust in Him! God bless!

Feb 10