Love And Hate

Psalm 97:10
You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.”

I find it striking that the Psalmist declares that hate is a necessary expression of true love. He explains that part of being in a healthy love relationship with Jesus is having a hatred for evil. Why is it necessary to hate evil? Why should we hate evil? I can think of at least three pretty strong reasons.

First, we should hate evil because of what evil does to creation. When sin entered the world, death entered and all of creation began to be in a state of decay. We observe this daily. People age and die, things deteriorate and break, everything goes from a state of useful to useless. Paul explains that creation itself even groans to be redeemed. If we could discern the voice of nature we would hear it crying out for redemption.

Second, we should hate evil because of what it does to us. Evil or sin separates man from God placing all humanity under its curse and penalty. Sin has devastated families, wreaked havoc on relationships, fueled racial prejudices, started wars, and will ultimately damn those who reject Christ to eternal separation from God. Even after we are redeemed, sin is like a cancer that eats away at the spiritual life of the believer. When we allow sin to reign in our mortal bodies, it creates distance between us and God, causing us to miss out on experiencing abundant life, for which he died. Instead of life, love, joy,  peace, we find ourselves living under the weight of guilt and fear, suffering the consequences of our personal failures.

Finally, we must hate evil because of what it has done to God. His holiness demands that sinners are separated from Him, but His love drives Him to restore our broken fellowship. The only currency valuable enough to pay the cost for the human soul is the blood of God. It was because of sin that the blood of God was shed. We have all felt the weight of individual sin. We know the guilt and pain that we have been under, as a result of one sinful action. On the cross, Jesus bore the weight of every sin that every man has or will ever commit. The darkness of that day aptly illustrate the severe suffering that Christ endured as He cried out, “My God why have You forsaken Me?” It seems to me, the proper response for the child of God is to hate evil. It has been my experience that we avoid what we hate. A true hatred of evil will cause us to avoid sin, rather than living as close to it as possible. Will you join me in praying that we would have a healthy hatred of sin, and avoid it at all costs?

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 97

  1. Verse 1 tells us that the Lord reigns, and for all the earth to rejoice.  Read verse 2.  Why is it good news that God is the ultimate ruler of everything?
  2. Read verses 3-7 detail God’s dealings with those who are His enemies and who worship other gods.  The reality of God’s might and power is not at first evident to His enemies, but it will ultimately become evident to all.  Do you find yourself losing sight of this reality?
  3. In verse 9 we read of the ultimate rightful place of God, high above all of His created order in every way.  It is easy for us to worship (give our time, love or energy to) things that God has made because we can see them and we can touch them.  It is good for us to be reminded in His word of  Are there any things in your life that you are loving more than God?
  4. In verse 10-12 we read that if we love God that we need to hate  According to these verses, what are some of the benefits that come from loving God and hating evil?

Old Testament:
2 Kings 21- Pay Attention
2 Kings 22- You Know That’s Right

Psalm 98- Labor Of Love

Let Us Worship

Psalm 95:6
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”

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Years ago, when I was a relatively new Christian, I was invited to a weekend retreat with about 200 other teenagers. We all congregated at a retreat center in the San Bernardino Mountains, for times of worship, and the Word. I had been a Christian for about two years, but had never been to anything like that before. In fact, I had only been to church a handful of times. The first night, after a hearty meal of camp food, we gathered for Bible study. I remember being so blessed by hearing the Word of God taught. At the end of the study, we set aside some time to worship, and wait upon the Lord. Again, this was a brand new experience for me. It was during this time of worship, I heard this verse for the first time. It had been put to music, and we were singing it. As I sang, I felt compelled to put the verse into action. I quietly slipped out of my chair and onto the floor, where I knelt, lifting my hands to the Lord. I recall a desire welling up within me, like nothing I had ever experienced before. I guess you could call it a hunger, not for more tator-tots, but for more of the Lord. It was there, on the floor of the sanctuary, I prayed, “Jesus, I want more of You, I want all of You.” At that moment, something happened to me. I was filled with a sense of being cleansed from failure, and filled with a love for God, like I had never known before. I arose from that time of worship changed. I was hungry for more of Jesus. I began to read my Bible daily, I looked for opportunities to serve Christ, and even found myself longing to be around other believers.

Theologically, I had no idea what had happened. All I knew was that I had encountered the Lord that night, and my life was being changed. Later, as I read my Bible, I came to understand what happened to me was the fulfillment of a promise Jesus gave to His followers. He said that He would, “Baptize us with the Holy Spirit” He also promised that when that happened, we would be filled with a new source of power, to be a witness of Him to the world around us (Acts 1:8).

When I dropped to my knees that night and cried out for more of Him, He filled me with His Spirit, and transformed my life. Without me even knowing the promise of God, He was working in my life. I know that I am special to the Lord, but I know that you are as well. The promise of the Holy Spirit is not exclusive to a certain class of Christian. Joel promised that God would pour out His Spirit on ALL flesh.

If you desire to see God work in a new, deeper way in your life, why not drop to your knees right now, lift up your hands, and cry out for more of Jesus. What are you waiting for? This Psalm also carries a warning, “Today, if you will hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion…” In other Words, if God is speaking to you, respond immediately, whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever you are doing.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 95

  1. This Psalm is a beautiful call to worship. How will this affect how you come to corporate worship?
  2. List all the reasons the Psalmist gives for why we should worship.
  3. We are warned against hardening our hearts. How does a heart become hard?

Old Testament:
Psalm 96- Sing To The Lord
2 Kings 19- Community
2 Kings 20- Need More Time?

It Cannot Be Moved

Psalm 93:1
“The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.”

It seems to me, if one thing is certain in life, it is that things are constantly moving. We live on a moving planet. At the equator, the Earth is spinning at 1000 miles per hour, moving at 67,000 miles per hour around the Sun, and our entire Galaxy is moving at about 185 miles per second. Since this motion is constant, we cannot feel its effects. However, there is other movement that we do notice. The United States Geological Survey website lists dozens of earthquakes that have happened around the world in the past seven days. Earthquakes happen because the earth’s surface is like a thin crust. This crust is made up of many pieces, like a puzzle, and the pieces keep moving around and bumping into each other. This causes the surface of the earth to move like waves rippling in a pond. Also, about 70% of the earth’s surface is water. That means almost three-quarters of the earth is too unstable to stand upon. As far as I know, Jesus and Peter are the only two people to successfully stand on the surface of the water, and that did not last too long for Pete.

If you have ever spent an extended period of time on the ocean, you know how unstable it is. After living on a boat for a few days, even solid ground feels like it is moving. With that said, I do not think that the earth’s surface, of land or water, is the most unstable thing we experience. While the earth may shake daily, it usually happens pretty far from us; and while the sea may be turbulent we can avoid it. However, we cannot avoid the turmoil caused by the flood of emotions that seem to come against us suddenly. One dictionary defines emotions as “strong feeling accompanied with physiological changes like increased heartbeat and respiration and often overt manifestations of crying and shaking.”

We all know emotions can overtake us suddenly, putting us within their grip, and even crippling us. I was recently at a funeral for a close friend. The moment I began to speak, emotion gripped me and all that I had prepared to say was stifled. I could not get a word to pass my lips. No doubt the Psalmist was not immune to these experiences, yet he declares, “Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.” Because God is seated upon His throne above the earth with all it’s confusion, He is able to give us stability in the midst of an ever-changing world. When we are in emotion’s grip, filled with fear, anxiety, pain or sorrow, we can have our feet land on the solid ground and sure foundation of the our reigning King.

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalms 94:19

The Psalmist goes on to declare the way we will find stability. “Your testimonies are very sure; holiness adorns Your house, O Lord, forever” (Psalms 93:5). It is the unchangeable truth of God that will give stability in life. While the storms rage, the Word of God will give you a sure footing and a quiet resting place. It is not the fluctuating faith that you place in the Scriptures, but the surety of His promises that are an immovable rock, even the floods cannot destroy.

Make His promises your hiding place, and you will discover that even a moving world cannot be shaken.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 93

  1. This Psalm tells us that God clothes Himself in Majesty and Strength. What does this do to your understanding of who God is?
  2. The floods speak of the difficulties of life. What does the Psalmist tell us about God verses the floods?
  3. According to verse 5, what was the anchor for the Psalmist in the storms of life?

Old Testament:
Psalm 94- Judge Of The Earth
2 Kings 17- It’s A Secret
2 Kings 18- Against The Odds

Falling

Psalm 91:7
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.”

The Psalmist is speaking of the benefits derived from living in an intimate, abiding relationship with God. Jesus also spoke on the same subject when He refered to Himself as the vine and us as the branches. He made it clear, the only way to bear fruit in our life was by remaining in a close and personal relationship with Him. This verse expresses one of the most important benefits of abiding.

“A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.”

Sadly, we have all seen Christians fall by the wayside. People who, at one time, were walking with the Lord, but have fallen back into the life from which they were delivered. We see this happen to new believers and old, we even see it happen to those who at one time or another, were serving the Lord. One of the saddest experiences for me, is to look around a room filled with people, and know those who are missing, because they have fallen. How was it that sin was able to get its grip on them, tear them away from Christ, and leave them wounded on the sidelines? The answer is quite simple; they stopped abiding. The same thing will happen to you and me if we cease to abide in the secret place of the Most High.

The word ‘abide’ means ‘to stay or to live’. The person who is abiding in Christ, is the person who is daily remaining connected to the Lord. There are some simple, practical ways we can do that. First, we must make time to spend with the Lord, in His Word and prayer. All those who succeed in following and serving Christ, have learned to develop a daily time with the Lord, in His Word. Second, it is not about the number of verses you read or memorize (although both of those are important), it is about putting into practice the things you read. Abiding is directly related to obedience to the Word. Third, we were never meant to live out the Christian life alone. If we want to make it to the end of our race, we need to get involved in Christian fellowship; more than sitting next to someone once a week in church. The strongest bonds you can form with others, are the bonds developed while serving Jesus together.

The Christian life is a battlefield where we see our comrades falling around us on a regular basis. We need to recognize the battle is intense and the secret to success is abiding in the secret place of the Most High. Will you take time to sit at His feet today?

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 91

This Psalm lists the benefits of abiding in Christ. When you pit Jesus first in your life, give time to His Word, prayer, and obedience you will find that you experience much of what is described in this Psalm.

  1. The snare of the fowler is a reference to the traps of Satan. How will spending time with Jesus help you overcome temptation?
  2. A shield and buckler were defensive armor for battle. How is the truth of God’s Word like a shield?
  3. Sadly the Psalmist speaks of people falling in the battles of life. It is always tragic when a person falls away from the Lord and back into sin. How will abiding in Christ keep you from falling?
  4. How are you encouraged by the promise given in verse 11-12?

Old Testament:
Psalm 92- Planted In The House
2 Kings 15- Still Here

2 Kings 16- Built on Sinking Sand

Make Known His Faithfulness

Psalm 89:1
“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.”

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The words of this Psalm became the lyrics to a worship song we used to sing when I first began following Jesus. Whenever I read it my mind becomes flooded with memories. My early days of following Christ were filled with firsts. I can recall one of the first times I raised my hands in worship. I was in a room filled with teenagers who were singing and I simply reached up toward the ceiling as if I were attempting to get as much from God as He would possibly give. I recall another occasion when I knelt before the Lord for the first time. We were at a retreat and I was standing near the back when lifting my hands and it did not seem like enough of an expression of praise. I slipped away into the far corner of the room and knelt before the Lord as if to say “I am all Yours, Jesus.”

These expressions came out of a recognition of the mercy of God. I was coming to realize that I did not deserve anything from God, yet He was desiring to give me everything. The apostle Peter wrote that God will give us all things that pertain to life and godliness, Paul wrote that since God gave us His Son He would also freely give us all things.

As time passes I do not want my experiences of God to be distant memories. It is exciting to think back over the years and recall the amazing ways God has been faithful to me but the greatest joy is in knowing that He will continue to express His mercies in new ways each and every day that we choose to seek after Him.

Perhaps this morning is a good time to drop to your knees and lift your hands in praise to God for His mercy and His faithful love.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 89

The writer of this Psalm is Ethan. It was written after the fall of Jerusalem. Knowing the promises that were made to Israel, it was confusing to understand what God was doing, yet……

  1. Verse 1 “with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations”. How are you using your mouth? Are you proclaiming God’s goodness or complaining that things are not going the way you think they should?
  2. Declaring God’s wonders and faithfulness. When is the last time you took the advice from the heavens? Make a list…..declare it! God wants to do something in your life….today!
  3. Write down all the characteristics of God from verse 7-18. Did you realize how much God is on your side? How much He loves you?
  4. After quoting all of God’s promises, in verse 46 Ethan starts to question what is going on. Did you know that it was ok to question God about things in your life? What questions do you have for Him?
  5. After Ethan’s questions, how does he end his song? After you ask God questions, can you respond the same way?

Old Testament:
2 Kings 13- Crying Out

2 Kings 14- Secret Weapon

Psalm 90- Time Management

Gates Of Zion

Psalms 87:2
“The Lord loves the gates of Zion, More than all the dwellings of Jacob.”

Jerusalem is without question a beautiful place. It sits atop mount Moriah and is surrounded by the mountains of Judah. Standing on the Temple Mount you can look out in every direction and see the beautiful hill country of Judea and imagine scenes straight out of the Biblical narrative. That being said, I think there may be another reason why God loves the gates of Zion. It may have a whole lot more to do with what He has and will accomplish there than with the terrain. The history of Jerusalem is the history of the grace of God.

It was a man from ancient Jerusalem who met Abraham after his battle with Chederloamar. This man, known as Melchizedek, is one of the great characters of Scripture and serves as a perfect type of Christ. He was both a priest of the Most High God and the king of Salem. It is from his ministry that we can understand the high priestly ministry of Christ, who sits at the right hand of God, and ever lives to intercede on our behalf.

It was Jerusalem where God instructed Abraham to take his only son and offer him as a sacrifice to God. It is in this scene that we have the most vivid illustration of God’s means of saving man. We see that no human sacrifice, no matter how great, can appease the wrath of God. It is only through substitution that we can be saved. In the narrative, God provides a ram and promises a lamb. Years later, John the Baptist explains that Christ is the lamb once promised by God, to take away the sins of the world.

It was in Jerusalem where Solomon built a permanent house for the Ark of God, and as a place for the people to gather in worship. His father, David, had purchased the hilltop from Ornan, the Jebusite, and stockpiled materials for his son to ultimately build the Temple. It was on this same location that Zerrubuabel would rebuild the Temple. Herod would spend countless funds to refurbish it, making it one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

It was in Jerusalem, at the temple where Jesus stunned the religious leaders with His wisdom and understanding of the Word of God. It was there where He turned the tables over and drove out the money changers. It was in this city of Jerusalem where he was condemned, beaten and carried off to be crucified. It was just beyond the gates of Zion, where the Son of God bore the weight of human sin, so we could be pardoned, forgiven and set free.

It was in Jerusalem where the apostle’s waited for the promises regarding the coming of the Holy Spirit. It was in an undisclosed upper room somewhere in the city, that they waited and prayed, until God opened the windows of heaven and poured His Spirit upon them. As a result, it was in the city of Jerusalem where the church began; the church that would spread the gospel around the world, and forever change human history.

It is in Jerusalem, where Jesus will one day return to set up his throne, and complete the Bible’s promises regarding the Kingdom of God. One day, all things will be made right and righteousness will cover the earth, as the waters covers the sea. Those who have trusted Christ will not only be saved from the wrath of God, but will have the pleasure of reigning and ruling alongside Him, as He establishes His Kingdom.

Certainly, “The Lord loves the gates of Zion, More than all the dwellings of Jacob.”

Pastor Jim

Questions of Psalm 87

  1. Read Zechariah 8:3
  2. Zion, the city of God. In Joel 2:32 he describes a place of deliverance. God loves the gates Zion more than the dwellings of Jacob. Jacob lived in tents, but Zion has been prepared for those who have accepted Christ.
  3. John 3 records the story of Nicodemus and the discussion about being “born again.” When we are born, our place of birth is a vital piece of information for records. It is as well in the Kingdom of God, verse 6. Have you been “born again”? Is your name written in the Book of Life? Read Revelation 20:15.

Old Testament:
Psalm 88- Where Do You Turn?
2 Kings 11- Armed And Dangerous
2 Kings 12- Giving

Mercy And Truth

Psalm 85:10
Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.”

One of my favorite movie lines of all times is at the end of “The Princess Bride.” As the narrator comments upon the kiss of Wesley and Buttercup, he states, “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.” That statement, while nothing more than a poetic expression in the film, would certainly be true of the statement the Psalmist makes here.

When the righteousness and mercy of God met together, it was an expression of both the passion and the purity of the love of God. Righteousness speaks of the nature of God that is without sin, and perfectly holy, as well as His demand for justice. Scripture makes clear, because of the majesty of His holiness, sin cannot survive in His presence. Like tissue being consumed in a raging flame, so the sinner can have no place in the audience of a holy God. The purity of His eyes cannot behold evil, and the angelic host ever live to circle His throne, and herald his righteousness.

Coupled with his righteousness, is His desire to pardon. The love of God for humanity produces within Him a burning desire to pardon sin, giving us access into His heavenly domain. How can these two seemingly contradictory characteristics ever be satisfied? The Psalmist declares that it happened when righteousness and mercy kissed. This beautiful statement found its complete fulfillment in the cross. The holiness of God was satisfied when the blood of Christ was shed. Isaiah wrote, “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,  for He shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11).

The righteousness of Christ satisfies the holiness and justice of God. Because He bore our iniquities, God is able to pardon our sins, satisfying His passion for mercy. Paul declared, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2Corinthians 5:21). The passionate love of God for you stirred Him to send His own Son, to make a way for you to live forever. Without trying to sound too strange, allow me to ask, “Have you experienced the kiss of heaven?” Have you allowed mercy and righteousness to meet together, by receiving Christ as your Lord and Savior. Today is that day!

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 85

  1. Read again verse 2, how sweet are those words in your ears?
  2. According to verse 8 God will speak peace to us. How are we to react?
  3. Think through verse 10 in light of the cross of Christ.
  4. Verse 13 speaks of making His footsteps our pathway. That only happens when we follow closely. How are you following Jesus closely today?

Old Testament:
Psalm 86- Unite My Heart
2 Kings 9- Introspective
2 Kings 10- Part Way

Who’s The Real Enemy?

Psalms 83:1
“Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God!”

Prayer takes on many different forms. Sometimes it is appropriate to offer praise for the many blessings we receive from God, other times it is important to intercede for the needs of others; and we must never forget to take time to petition God for the issues that affect our personal lives. Here in Psalm 83, we find another essential element of an effective prayer life, as the Psalmist pleads with God to deal with those who have gathered themselves against God. He describes those who have consulted together with the goal of removing the influence of God and His people. In response, he pleads with God to intercede by defeating these enemies. It seems that his prayers are motivated by a desire to free the people of God from oppression, as well as a desire to see the enemies of God saved. He declares;

Psalms 83:16 “Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name, O Lord.”

Psalms 83:18 “That they may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.

It seems we are in an age where the enemies of God are at an all time high. We are surrounded by those who want to silence the Gospel, or at least rewrite it. If we publicly declare the message of Christ, we may receive an onslaught of ridicule, or be marked as  bigots, and accused of inciting hate. Now is the time for believers to increase the kind of prayer recorded in the 83rd Psalm. It is important to keep in mind, the real enemy of the Christian is not the outspoken atheist or the unrepentant coworker. Our real enemy is the devil, who seeks to hold men and women captive in their sin. We are not praying for God to destroy those who oppose Him, but to reveal Himself to them for their own sake.

Pastor Jim

Old Testament:
Psalm 84- Heart’s Cry
2 Kings 7- 4 Leprous Men
2 Kings 8- Quick Fix

Perspective

Psalm 81:4
“For this is a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob.”

After choosing His people, God established laws to govern their behavior. There were moral laws and social laws, as well as ceremonial laws. All of which, when followed, would serve to benefit the individual, as well as the nation.

The Psalmist draws our attention to a particular set of laws that had to do with worship. “Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Raise a song and strike the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the lute. Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, at the full moon, on our solemn feast day.” Psalm 81:1-3

Instead of laws that forbid religious assembly in public places, their laws required it. They were commanded to worship, and to worship loudly. Why? Why does God require His people to worship? We know it has something to do with God. He is, after all, worthy of praise. Just being God, and being exalted above the heavens, demands our highest praise. But I believe, it has at least as much to do with us. There are great benefits derived from taking time for private and corporate worship. Perhaps the greatest benefit is what it does to our perspective.

Too often, we see God in light of our problems. When we come face to face with a trial, perhaps an illness or a financial burden, we often become overwhelmed by the sheer fact that it is bigger than we can handle. We focus our attention on the problem, and it seems to grow larger and larger. Before we know it, we are consumed with worry, doubt, and anxiety. We can’t sleep, become irritable, and lose our appetite. It is even possible to begin to pray about the problem, only to find that after praying, we are more anxious than when we began. The solution is worship. When we take our eyes off of the problem and place them fully upon the Lord, our perspective changes. We no longer see our trials as something so much bigger than ourselves, but we see God as so much bigger than our trials. A healthy dose of the power, majesty, love, mercy, and provision of God, is the antidote to worry.

In Acts 4, the Church was threatened. If they continued to speak publicly about Christ, they would be beaten, imprisoned or killed. These were not idle threats. They had seen the rage of the religious leaders meted out on Christ only months before. Instead of allowing this trial to sink their faith, they turned their eyes upward and prayed, “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, . . ” Acts 4:24

Having been reminded of the power of God that casts a shadow over the weakness of human powers, they were able to rise from prayer with a new-found confidence. We read, “. . .they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31

No matter what you are facing, God commands you to worship. As you take your eyes off of your weakness, and the problem you are facing, and place them upon the God of Glory, your perspective will change. Faith will grow and His peace will flood your heart and mind. Let’s be faithful today to raise our voices in praise.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 81

  1. This is a call to worship. Look at verses 6-7, why were they to worship God?
  2. What promise are we given in verse 10?
  3. According to the Psalmist, how did Israel respond to this promise?
  4. In verse 13 the heart of God is exposed. He wants so badly for the people to listen to and follow after His Word that He may bless them. How will you respond to His Word today?

Old Testament:

Psalm 82- He Judges
2 Kings 5- Church Life

Memories

Psalm 79:8
“Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we have been brought very low.”

Memory is a funny thing. There are certain things that no matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to remember, and other things I can never forget. Names are particularly hard for me. It is not that I don’t care, or don’t want to remember; I just have a mental block. I have tried all the tricks: concentrating when the person introduces themselves, repeating the name back to them, using it in the conversation, and even relating their name to something else. Still, if some time has passed, and I encounter them again, the file that holds their name has been corrupted, and my memory refuses to access it.

It is not a memory problem, because there are many things that I have a hard time forgetting. Those are usually my failures. I can be haunted by the ways I have let others down, or been a disappointment. I am particularly plagued, at times, by past sins. It is during those times that I am encouraged by the way God’s memory works. While He is omniscient, He chooses to forget our sins and refuses to forget our accomplishments.

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12

When we are plagued with a failure from the past, it is important to remember that it is not the Lord who is bringing it to mind. When that sin was committed, the blood of Christ had already made payment for it. Our Savior already paid the price, carried the punishment, and removed the sin, as far as the East is from the West; drowning it in the depths of the sea. There is someone who loves to bring up the past, his name is Satan, and one of his titles is the Accuser of the Brethren. Scripture tells us he lives to bring accusation against us for our failures. Since God refuses to listen to the accusations, he has to find another audience; that audience is usually the sinner. I don’t know how much time he spends trying to convince others of my unworthiness, but I know he expends a tremendous amount of energy on me. During those times I am so thankful that I can cry out with the Psalmist “Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, . . .”

If you are struggling with a past failure, whether it ended ten years ago or ten minutes ago, the solution is the same. Confess your sin and receive the complete and total pardon that Christ offers through His shed blood. Do not dwell on your failure, but on His mercy. Instead of playing back that event over and over in your mind, use your thoughts to recall the cross. Think back to His love for you, that was displayed as He gave His life to pardon your sin. Allow His blood and love to wash you clean and restore your strength.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 79

This psalm was written after the Babylonians had defeated and destroyed Jerusalem, plundered Solomon’s Temple. Jeremiah was prophesying at this time. As you read you will see the results of disobedience to God. Many years the prophets tried to warn Israel and now God’s judgment has come.

  1. The cry of this psalm is from people who have sinned. Verse 9 “Help us O God of our salvation. For the glory of Your name; and deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins. For Your names sake.” What does this verse say about God’s grace?

Old Testament:
Psalm 80- Revive Me
2 Kings 3- Redirected
2 Kings 4- Empty Jars