Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 17, 2009

"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward." Psalms 19:7-11

My son-in-law is on the road a lot because he drive a truck for Coca Cola. For the most part he goes to the same places during the week, but occasionally he will be assigned another route. For those days when he draws an unfamiliar route, he has a GPS device to help him find his way. It has never led him astray!

The Psalmist is celebrating the fact that God has given him a spiritual GPS system. What is that system? The law of the Lord, the statutes of the Lord, the precepts of the Lord, the commands of the Lord, and the ordinances of the Lord.
Of course, "GPS" are initials that stand for "global positioning system". However, in reference to this Psalm "GPS" means "God's positioning system". David wanted to be where God wanted him to be so he recognized his need to be positioned by God.

When David wrote these verses he was on the run from King Saul. He had to figure out how to stay alive, how to protect his men, how to honor God and at the same time respect the King who was hunting him down. Not unlike the challenges and pressures you face each day.

Life is difficult to navigate on a good day. David was not having many good days. He needed the guidance of God's positioning system. How does that work?

God's law. Every positioning system ever devised from the ancient sextant to the modern satellite guided ones depended on a fixed point of reference. Whether it be the sun during the day or the North star at night, accurate guidance depends on a fixed point. God's law flows from God's character and that ain't changin'!

God's statutes. A statute helps with the application of the law. It gives it definition. The law gives you the true north but the statute aims you five degrees to the right or left. Face it, your internal guidance system is flawed. When you follow it you end up lost. You need God's law and statutes to guide you through the complicated directions of relationships and obligations.

God's precepts. A precept gives you moral guidance. For example, you can get the right directions but if you exceed the speed limit or run stop signs while heading in that direction, you will not succeed in your journey. You are morally bankrupt, you have little natural regard for laws. Unless you are guided by His precepts you will be arrested in your journey. The precepts are like traffic signs posted along the way.

God's commands. Sometimes you travel unfamiliar roads that are narrow and winding. You worry about staying on the road and keeping in your lane. God's commands are like the guard rails one either side of your road. They are there to protect you. They are like the white lines and the yellow lines on the highway that mark your lane and define the other lane. The lines tell you when you are free to pass and when you must stay in your lane.

God's ordinances. An ordinance refers to something that is done regularly for your benefit. In a spiritual sense, Communion is an ordinance. As you navigate through the complications of life, relationships, responsibilites and obligations, you need some "routine maintenance" to stay in good condition. If you don't stop to check God's road map occasionally, you will veer off course. If you don't pray regularly, your attitude will drift. When you don't worship on a continual basis you will forget why you are on the journey.

Life is a complicated journey. It was for the Psalmist and it is for you. There is no time to make wrong turns or get off course. David successfully navigated his course. He honored God, respected the King, cared for his men, and eventually arrived at God's destination for his life - the throne of Israel. He was able to steer God's nation because he had learned to follow his "GPS".

Do you have a "GPS" - God's positioning system? Is it turned on? Are you commited to His laws, statutes, precepts, commands and ordinances? If not, no wonder you're lost!

July 16, 2009

"On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted. " Acts 20:7-12

This morning I read in the Psalms and continued reading in Acts. Of course, I found a number of inspiring verses. But, this amazing incident caught my attention for two reasons: because it IS amazing how Paul raised this young man from the dead, but also, I found it encouraging that as great as Paul was, someone actually fell asleep on him when he was speaking. Maybe you have to be a preacher to appreciate that!

Pardon me for indulging myself in this moment, but there is a much greater point to be made in all of this. God's power is made perfect in the weaknesses of our humanity. Maybe Paul had this incident in mind when he wrote:

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." II Cor. 4:7

Paul was in the midst of a gruelling travel schedule and the hour was late. He had been teaching intensely for hours. No one can be at their best under those conditions. Our bodies and minds get tired. And Eutychus had been sitting and listening for hours, now the hour was late. He dozed off. It is not a good idea to doze off when you are sitting in a third-story window. So, when he fell asleep he FELL - ASLEEP. The fall killed him.

Needless to say, that killed the meeting. When Paul received word of what had happened, he switched from preaching the Word to practicing it. Undeterred by the gravity of the situation, Paul simply called on God to revive this young man. God did!

Wow! It is one thing to put people asleep when you preach - it is quite another to raise them from the dead!

Here's the big message in the midst of these ramblings, GOD'S STRENGTH AND POWER ARE GREATER THAN YOUR WEAKNESSES! When you are doing your best to serve Him, He will be His best for you. Don't hide your weakness. Don't apologize for it. Praise God for revealing Himself through your limitations.

Have you surrender to God - weaknesses and all?