Thursday, April 9, 2015

Joy Comes in the Morning...

"For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning"

Psalm 30:5 | NKJV

Our perspective and perceptions shapes our emotions and actions.  Our perspective is our mental view of life or situations, it is our seeing the facts, the data, and making sense of them in relation to one another.  Perception is to recognize, discern, envision, or understand what we see.  We use both simultaneously as we look at life.  We see, we observe, we discern what it is, and as we gather these facts, we decide what they mean and how they are related and this is how our mind makes sense of everything.  In this sin cursed world we often have a skewed perspective and our perceptions of reality can often be misleading.  That is why we need a daily renewal of the proper perspective.  And this verse renewed me this morning.  

Joy comes in the morning.  Its fresh, it's new, its a beginning, it can only come after night has been.  Morning is a time of renewing, you wake up, it's a new day, there are new tasks to be done, you are refreshed from sleep and ready to accomplish the day's tasks.  But there was a night, a time when you were tired, worn out, perhaps downcast, discouraged, even tearful.  But joy comes in the morning.  God promises that joy will come, that as sure as the morning comes after night, joy will come after sorrow, after tears and weeping.  

In the beginning of this verse the brevity of the Lord's anger is compared to the enduring of His favor.  I often forget this.  I see my sin and am discouraged and disheartened and unable to move past it at times, I am unable to accept the forgiveness that I have in Christ, and I focus only on the anger of the Lord against my sin.  But this verse reminds me that His anger is brief, unlike us He does not hold onto it, He does not allow it to kindle against His children, He does not dwell on it forever.  In contrast His favor is for a lifetime.  His grace, His mercy, His lovingkindness, His Fatherly love is for a lifetime.  Does He get angry over the sin of His children?  Yes, and it grieves Him, and He will indeed discipline it.  

"For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights." 
Proverbs 3:12 | NASB

"Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent." 
Revelation 3:19 | NASB

Yet even in His discipline we are told of His love.  He would not discipline those whom He did not love.  He calls His children to repentance, to renewal of peace, to fruitful living.  Sometimes we get hung up on His anger, hung up on the grief, hung up on the sorrow, hung up on the sadness over our sin.  These have their proper place, and they are necessary and good if and when that grief and sorrow lead to repentance, restoration, and peace.  Mourning and weeping should only last for the night, Joy must come in the morning.  

If you are sorrowful over your sin then repent.  Joy will come in the morning.  God does not stay angry forever, His anger is but for a moment.  And we are reminded that there is something that does last forever.  That is His favor.  His favor is for a lifetime, it will not dry up or become cold.  When we anger God with our sin, His anger is brief, our weeping for it is only for the night, and promised joy will come in the morning.  

I needed that today.  I needed to be reminded that sorrow and weeping have their place, but so does joy.  I needed to be reminded that God does not stay angry at me for my short-comings, for my failures, for my sin against Him, but as a faithful Father He restores me in His favor when I repent.  

Remember that we all need to have our perspective and perceptions renewed day by day.  We must daily die to the old self and its false perspectives and skewed perceptions and renew our minds and hearts with the heavenly perspective and His divine perceptions.  I love the reminder here to not lose heart, don't we find it so easy to lose heart?  I know I do, but though the outer man decays, our inner man can be renewed, and we are reminded to renew our perspective of all that we see and experience from an earthly  and temporal perspective to a heavenly and eternal one!

"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal"

II Corinthians 4: 16-18 | NASB

Monday, April 6, 2015

"According to the word of the Lord"

"According to the word of the Lord which He spoke to Elijah."
2 Kings 10:17c | NASB
Throughout this chapter as the prophecy of Elijah against Ahab the king of Israel is fulfilled, this is proclaimed, such and such happened according to the word of the Lord. The Lord told Elijah of the judgment that would come to Ahab's house and years after Elijah was taken up in the chariot of fire, the events that Elijah prophesied, the word of the Lord that was spoken to him took place. Everything occurred just as the Lord had spoken, everything occurred according to His word. When the Lord speaks you can be sure that everything He speaks has and will indeed come to pass.  Job knew this.  Job knew that whatever happened only came about because the Lord had declared it to be so.  He performs what He decrees for us, there are no doubts here.

Job 23:13-14 | NASB
“But He is unique and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does. “For He performs what is appointed for me, And many such decrees are with Him."

In the Old Testament, God spoke to His people through His prophets.  He gave them His words and declared them to speak it to whomever He wanted it spoken to.  From the very beginning He declared that this is how He would speak to His people especially.  He was, and is, very particular about those who claim to speak His word and knowing that many would make this claim He made sure that His people would always know if the prophet speaking was truly from the Lord.  In Deuteronomy 18:19-22 God declares to us that when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord it will come true.  Any man who says they speak the words of the Lord and it does not come true, is false, presumptuous, and was to be put to death.   

"I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.  But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him."

The words of the Lord that Elijah spoke came to pass, and when they did they proved to be the word of the Lord.  And proved Elijah to be a true prophet.  By these criteria and through these means, God spoke to man.  But then something changed.

Hebrews 1:1-2a | NASB
"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son"
God spoke a final word to us through His Son, who is Prophet, Priest, Savior and King.  In these last days It is His Son who has spoken the word of the Lord to us.  We know that He is a true prophet for His own prophecies have come to pass (i.e. the destruction of the temple).  And because He is the True Prophet, and speaks the True Word, we can know that God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, will ensure that everything spoken by Him, through His Son will come to pass.  Jesus Christ is even given the title in John "the WORD."  Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, the final word spoken to men.  

John 1:14 | NASB
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

And as He is the Word of God made flesh all that He spoke will be accomplished. Everything will still occur according to the WORD of the Lord!  
And what then should our response be.  We know that by God's own criteria that Jesus is the authentic and last Word of God to man.  We also know that according to our passage in Deuteronomy that God will require it of every man who does not listen to the Word of the Lord.  We must listen to the Word.  We must know the Word.  We must obey the Word.  All the time being fully confident that the Word of the Lord will indeed come to pass.  That everything in this world will transpire according to every word o the Lord!!