Psalm 118:9

Psalm 118:9 “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.”

David found this out the hard way, he put his confidence in Saul his King, another time in Achish, the Philistine and there were others. He learned that he could not depend on men no matter how noble and wise they were, they were still just mere men.

I know how David felt, I have experienced those moments where I had turned to someone for help only to find myself hurt because of their betrayal. My confidence was misguided and I was left with hurt and feeling betrayed. There were a few times when I was not the only one hurt by the betrayal.

When we put our trust in men/woman instead of God we often get what you would expect from a man/woman. We have to remember that God is mighty, men are weak. God is faithful, men are not always, God is all knowing, men are limited. God is giving, men tend to be selfish. God knows your heart, men know only what you share. God is everpresent in our daily lives, helping us through his spirit with grief, disappointment, and questions, men cannot fill those places inside us when tragedy or disappointment come. Even on our best days as humans, we fall so far short.

Our faith, hope, and trust need to be centered on Jesus. He is our ever-present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1) He is Sovereign over everything. (Isaiah 46:10) “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” (Daniel 4:35) “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’

We need to first run to Jesus. As the old song says: “Tell him all about it, He will hear your faintest cry and He will answer by and by.” He needs to be our first line of defense. When David went to the Lord he was not disappointed, he knew he could trust God.

Friends are great, especially spirit-filled friends and there are times when their council is just what you need. You know that God has spoken through them, but we need to weigh what we say and keep our expectations at a place of understanding, remembering that friends, Kings, Princes, Presidents and so on are not God. They cannot fix it all. There is a chance you will be disappointed, hurt and used.

When I shared with someone I was confident I could trust it broke my heart. I love and have forgiven this person for their betrayal, however, I no longer share my deepest heart with them. I learned the hard way I couldn’t.

Be sure of who you trust and remember you can always trust the one who formed you, holds you, fills you, knows you and died for you. He really is the smartest one, EVER!

Hemmed In

Psalm 139:5-6 says: “You hem me in behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”

What does it meaning of being hemmed in? A dictionary will tell you it means to fold back and sew down the edge of (cloth, a garment, etc); form an edge or border on or around. To enclose or confine (usually followed by in, around, or about.)

These words “you hem me in” should give us great comfort God our Creator, and our Savior has hemmed us in he surrounds us at every moment of the day or night, it is like being in a perpetual hug from God. We are never alone. No matter what comes our way God is with us.

The knowledge that God thinks we are so important that he surrounds us at all times is so much more than words can say.
If the enemy comes at us, he has to ask permission from the one standing guard. Does that not make even our trials seem easier. God watches our every move and hears our every word.

There is protection in this as well. While he is hemming us in, we get to go about doing our daily lives with an assurance that if we start to make a wrong turn in our life His sweet Holy Spirit will quicken us, and warn us of the choices we are making.

As we are being hemmed in on all sides we can almost hear the heartbeat of God, He is so close to us; it is never meant to be a scary thing, or make us feel like we are being confined. No, my friends, there is freedom in this hemming in.

We have freedom in Christ. The boundaries he gives us are for our protection not to make us feel like we cannot live and experience life. God wants us to enjoy life. He has given us numerable pleasure to see and do. He is not an uptight task master trying to spoil all our fun, but he is, however, a God who desires to see us grow in our walk daily, listening to the Holy Spirit, studying his word and obeying his laws.

When we tell our children not to do something it is usually because we have “been there done that” and we know the consequences of those actions and want to help our children avoid the same or worse consequences, and sometimes age itself brings its own wisdom of the do’s and don’ts. What kind of parents would we be if we did not “hem in” our children to a certain degree? Especially as they are growing and maturing. We want to guide them along their way for their own protection. Unlike parents, God never stops hemming us in. He continues to surround us all the way to heaven. Isn’t that awesome! We do not even have to worry about what will happen when we die, God is with us and has promised to see us all the way home.

Usually, if we are feeling claustrophobic it is because we are doing something outside of the will of God, or we are caught up in some kind of sin or decision that in our heart of hearts we know is wrong. Our conscience gets the best of us and we try to fight against this “hug of God” that before was bringing us comfort. Been there done that, learned my lesson. You?

So, in conclusion, I would encourage you to lean in close, listen to his heart, enjoy is constant embrace and live with the joyous knowledge of just how special you are to God!

Watch Your Enthusiasm

All of us at one time or another get very excited; we rush into something without much thought. Most of the time it is not such a big deal. However, there are times when enthusiasm is not such a great idea. One of these times occurred in 2 Samuel 6:7 where we read these words: “The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.” Now, I am sure you are wondering the “why” of it.

God had given detailed instructions on the handling of the Ark of God. They were to be followed exactly. You can read all about it in the book of Exodus. The Levites were selected to be the ones to carry the ark of God, they were never to touch it and it was to be carried by the poles. (Numbers 4:5-15) Touching the ark was a capital offense under Hebrew law. (Numbers 4:15)
“And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the work of the Lord.” (1Chronicles 15:15)

So, what was it that made God so angry that he killed Uzzah as soon as he touched it. I think several things. God was angry at David for getting too overzealous in his desire to move the ark to another place. David placed the ark on a cart according to the Philistines example rather than God’s commands. Uzzah was sincere in his desire to protect the ark. When the oxen stumbled ( 2 Samuel 6:6) he reached out to steady it. That doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to do, but according to what God had instructed it turned out to have irreparable consequences. It was sin and the consequences of his sin was death! Also, it is thought that Uzzah was not a Levite.

David’s desire to bring Israel back into relationship with God was not wrong in and of itself, but when he disregarded the law on how to handle the ark, he sinned. Our enthusiasm always must be accompanied by obedience to God’s laws. Uzzah paid with his life, there was no second chance for him. The next time David tried to bring the ark to Jerusalem, he was very careful to handle it correctly. (1 Chronicles15:1-5)

After Uzzah died, David was angry with himself. He decided to put the ark in temporary storage while he waited to see if the Lord would allow him to bring it to Jerusalem. David needed time to consider the right way to transport the ark.

We all need to be careful when dealing with the things of God. We cannot let our enthusiasm run away with us without first consulting with the Lord on the matter. We seem to constantly forget that God is Holy. We water down the holiness of God when we put God on our level. When we think that God thinks and acts as we do. Our sense of right and wrong is nowhere near that of our Lord. He is holy…the only holiness and righteousness we have are because of the shed blood of Jesus that has been applied to a believers life.

Get excited, get enthusiastic about something…just put prayer ahead of it and see where God leads. When your plans have God’s blessings, things will go well. David did eventually get the ark where he wanted it, he just did it the right way. (2 Samuel 6:12-19)

In everything we do we need to inquire of the Lord. Too often we pray after the fact and when we are dealing with the consequences of our actions. Yes, God is good and he is faithful to forgive us when we sin, but should we really be living and doing presuming upon the grace of God or should we do our best to live an obedient life?

He Wants To

We have a loving and kind God, but this loving and kind God is also a very Holy God. He hates sin! By sin, I mean anything that goes against his holy nature and that he has warned us against. We are told in the Ten Commandments how to live and act, but there is not one of us who has not at least committed these sins in our hearts if not in our physical bodies.

King David, a man after God’s own heart sinned greatly. He was looking out and saw Bathsheba bathing and burned with lust. He desired her, sent for her, slept with her, got her pregnant and then had her husband murdered. Wow! Talk about digressing, he did not count the cost, just acted on his own selfish wants. God had not withheld anything from him and blessed him greatly. Chose him to be King above others.

Nathan came along and spilled it out to him. God was not pleased, He saw it and disliked it. David burned with shame and sorrow. The next thing he did was the right thing to do. David repented. He knew not to ignore this thing he had done but went to the very one he had sinned against. God. He knew that God loved him and wanted to forgive him. He was not afraid of God. He understood that his sin although it hurt many, the one it hurt the most was God. No one else could forgive him and cleanse him and restore him, just God.

That is still true today, we need the forgiveness of God. We need to always keep in mind that our sins are against a Holy God who sees and hears everything. There is no hidden sin from God. There may be things we do that we are not aware of that are sinful, hidden sins, but they are very evident to God. He is still kind and loving and He still desires to cleanse us and set us right. God won’t push us to repentance. He wants it to come because we are truly sorrowful for our actions. As Christian’s when we do not seek forgiveness, we are forcing God’s hand of punishment. It does not mean we are unsaved, but it means we chose to hold onto our rebellion and not seek His forgiveness and restoration.

He is still God and He is still in the business of forgiving us. When we hold onto our sin, it will begin to rob us of our joy. It eats away at our conscience and we begin to try and hide from God. He is not fooled, He patiently waits for us to bend the knee and bow the head and seek him.

Psalm 32 opens with these words. “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven. 2 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” As we read on down through the passage we see these words and how true they are. 3 “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” This next thing is what David realized he needed to do, and it is what we need to do. 5 “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”-and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

David understood that his days were only going to get harder and the weight of his sin heavier. He needed to be made right with God and the only one who could make him right was the one he had sinned against. So, down on his knees he went, sorrowful and needy. God did not turn away, he did for David what he will do for you. He restored his joy. We find this in Psalm 51. David asked that his joy would be restored. Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” David understood that he could not buy forgiveness, he could not give an offering or a sacrifice, there was nothing in and of himself that would cleanse him and restore him..Just true repentance. Psalm 5:15-17 “O Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

God is still the same today as He was way back then. He is still as Holy although too many forget that. He is still longsuffering and kind and desires to right our wrongs and forgive us. He won’t force us to repentance if we come willingly to him. He does not always remove the consequences of our sin, but sometimes he does.

Maybe you have some sin hanging over you, you have held onto the shame for a long time…it is never too late to say I am sorry. And unlike some people, God will not refuse a sincere apology. He tells us that when we repent and ask for forgiveness he is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sin and to cleanse us. 1 John 1:9.

Go, my friend, run fast to Jesus, pour out your forgiveness and experience the healing balm that washes over you as God leans in listens and cleanses you and restores your joy as he takes your shame. He still wants to and he still will.

Surrendered…Forward

Surrendered Forward, What in the world could I mean by that, bear with me and I will share.

The Lord desires our surrender. He waits for us to give him our hurts, our dreams, our failures, our insecurities. He wants our thoughts and our hearts. No matter the circumstance his desire is that we give it to him, trust him and move forward. Sounds easy enough, but sometimes it is so hard to do, especially when it cost us something and it hurts to let go.

I have had many times in my life when I have found surrender hard. I did not want to let go or face my own failure. As I drove home from a lovely baby shower I was thinking about my second baby, the one I never got to rock to sleep or hear its first cry. In my mind, I was taken back in time over thirty years ago when the doctor said we can no longer hear a heartbeat, I feel you will lose this baby. My heart sank, it actually felt like I couldn’t breathe, No I screamed in my head to God, No!

For a week I prayed with everything I had in me, begging God to please let me keep my baby. I couldn’t sleep, I did not want to eat, I felt broken. So, pray and beg I did, I probably even made lots of promises to God if I could just keep my baby. This underlying request was going through my heart and mind; it was like the incessant waves on the shore and the roar of the ocean, constant in my mind and heart “surrender this child to me.” I could hear the faint words, but still did not want to “give in.” So, finally I was ready, I was alone, crying feeling uncertain, yet I spoke these words to God aloud, “Lord, if it is not your will for me to have this baby, then I ask you to take it now, because every minute I carry it, I love and want it more. I surrender my will to your will.” There was no angel harps, not a sound, just me laying it down, giving this child up to God’s will. I walked no more than thirty paces and “it” happened, I felt the gush, I knew it was over. My baby would never see this side of heaven. I actually held my sweet baby in my hands, marveling at how it was forming, wondering if it was a boy or girl, softly crying, yet with peace, I cannot explain, knowing that God’s perfect will had just been done, my soul was a rest.

God did not need my surrender to have his way, he could have allowed me to lose my baby all while fighting him for possession, but God is a gentleman, He allowed me to wrestle and hold on until I was spent, until I allowed my faith to catch my wants and I rested in his perfect will, no matter the outcome. Did it stop me from being sad, from missing the smell of a newborn, no, I had to plod through life each day knowing that my sweet angel was in heaven and trusting that I will one day see my baby who is safe with Jesus, untouched and unspoiled by this world.

There have been times when I have had to surrender my own failures to the Lord. I have held onto my disappointment and had it make me feel trapped and unworthy. I have spat in the face of grace deeming myself too unworthy of forgiveness. And at those time I have been reminded that it was not me who saved me and called me to Christ Jesus, it was him and the work and salvation he is doing in my heart and life are all by him. He chose to forgive me long before I failed. With each insult that was hurled, each strike of the whip and every spike that was driven into his hands and feet had my name on them. He chose to forgive me and call me before I was ever born. So, being reminded of this great grace, I made the decision to surrender my failures, big and small; I have chosen to surrender my imperfections and fumblings. Knowing that I can never do any good to make up for them, I simply fall on the grace of God, knowing it is enough and that when the Father looks at me He sees Jesus, his perfection, his righteousness. He sees me as I was meant to be and as I will one day be when I am finally with him. I no longer hold onto my hurts and failures like a toddler who does not want to open its hands and show you what is inside.

There is such freedom in surrender, such a peace, and assurance that comes from knowing “God has it, He can handle it, He will use it.” Nothing that touches us is meant to keep us bogged down, stopped in our tracks reliving it over and over. It is meant to “move us forward” in our walk and relationship with Christ Jesus. It is meant to smooth those areas of our lives that still need to be molded and made to look more like Jesus. He can handle our pain, He can handle our anger, He can handle our disappointment when we give it to him. There is nothing the devil likes better than to see a Christian wallering in self- pity, defeat and self- loathing. He cannot steal our salvation, but he can sure try to keep us weighted down and self-focused; allowing him to steal our joy and peace of mind, keeping us from moving forward in our relationship with Jesus.

Jesus surrendered his will for the Father’s in the Garden. Not my will, but thine be done. He knew the cost, He knew the pain yet he surrendered trusting his Father to work it out for his good for his glory. It did not mean he would not be sad for a time, he would not feel disappointment, fear, and pain. Afterall he was a man, he had friends, he loved being with them. So, he understands when we are reluctant, yet says, give it to me, trust me. We have to give up our right to be hurt and offended. We must walk knowing God’s Got It! And remember Jesus is praying for you…always before the Father.

Here are a few scriptures to bless you and help you along your way.

Isaiah 45:9 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker, An earthen vessel among the vessels of Earth! Will the clay say to the potter, What are you doing? Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands?’

Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, You are our Father, WE are the clay, and You are our potter; all of us are the work of your hand.”

Mark 8:35 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whosoever loses his life for My sake and the gospels will save it.”

Job 11:13-15 “Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins-even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.”

Matthew 16:24-27 “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”

Psalm 9:10 “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

What Will They Say?

As I have been reading through the Bible I come across things that cause me to stop and think, and that is precisely what we should do. The word of God is living and active and it has the power to change our lives. This little nugget in itself is not much, just a small paragraph in a long line of stuff about a man named Er. Here it is 1 Chronicles 2:3 “The sons of Judah: These three were born to him by the Canaanite woman, the daughter of Shua. Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.”

That is it! Now I am sure you’re wondering where I am going with this and I am happy to tell you. Er’s name is recorded in the word of God which has been with us for thousands of years and all we know about him is that he was wicked. A bad seed. We do not get the privilege of knowing what he did or anything else, just that he was wicked. My imagination has wondered, did he murder, was he a liar, did he worship foreign God’s and so on. We do not know, we will never know, but whatever it was God did not like it and so he died. So, I asked myself, how would I feel if the only thing anyone is left knowing about me is that I was wicked. The end…We are all going to die one day, what do you want people to say about you? Have you ever been to a funeral where it was evident that the people were really struggling to come up with something good to say or something to say at all? Isn’t it uncomfortable and sad?

I have thought it over and here are some things I would love for people to say about me, not to be nice, but because they are true. She loved Jesus and was loving, kind, forgiving, helpful, honest, funny, trustworthy, patient, reliable, dependable, hopeful in all things, she was peaceful and a peacemaker, joyful, good, gentle, she had self-control, friendly, giving, humble, full of laughter, an intercessor hard-working, on time, easy to get along with and she smiled a lot. These are just a few things that I would love to be said, but here is the thing, I have to love the Lord, be surrendered to him daily and live it out in front of people. My walk and my talk have to match up, an not just because I want nice things said about me after I die, but I want to be that person. The person who is fully surrendered to the Lord, walking daily in the trust and confidence of Jesus. Being and living my walk out daily as a way of showing others Jesus and to live like him as much as I can.

I do not want my family or friends to be standing twiddling their thumbs trying to come up with at least one nice thing to say. It doesn’t matter if I were a CEO of a company, a brain surgeon, a millionaire or any other thing if I do not live my life surrendered to Jesus, walking and talking as he directs then those things do not matter either. If I am not born-again and filled with his Spirit then when my life is over “Hell” will be my home. Stuff in this life, degrees, money, cars, big houses is nothing. They do not tell the character and heart of a person. So, what do want people to say and how are you going to live so that they can say them with confidence?

Er was wicked, nothing else is known about him and my mind fills in the blanks. We all leave something behind, it will either be positive and good or leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. When I think back to my grandmother who has been gone for years, my mind is filled with such wonderful things she said and did. I am warmed just in the thinking. She loved Jesus and her entire life was a mirrored reflection of that love and devotion to him. Everything she did she did it with Jesus and heaven in mind. She may be gone but her words and her kindnesses are still remembered and talked about by all those who knew her, she left an imprint on me and so many others. I want that, do you?

When we read about Jesus life and all that he said and did, it was with the heartbeat of love in everything, because love is more important than being right or wrong. He did not argue, he was not mean to those who hated him, love, love, love…and it was what motivated his every move. I want to be a lover, I want to be like Jesus…if I am, then those I leave behind will have kind words and fond memories to hold onto. How we live, act, move and do matters not just in the here and now, but always in some way. God wastes nothing.

Finite, Holy, Forgiving…Our God

Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. 3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens, he has pitched a tent for the sun, 5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold; than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey from the comb. 11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.

As we begin this Psalm we see that there is no one who can say there is no Creator. The heavens display his glory on a daily basis, no place on earth is without the sun, the moon and stars. Daily God’s handiwork is in full display. They are speaking without words of the glory of the Lord. God is revealing himself in creation, in the heavens. From one corner of our world to the other, the sun rises and moves across the sky, at night the moon is out to light our way. The stars shine and twinkle telling a story all their own. And he knows each by their name. The heavens give evidence of his power, his love and his great care over us. No one has an excuse. His glory is displayed for all to see every day. Even tribes that live out in the jungle know that someone greater than themselves has fashioned all that they see and enjoy.

Then we move into God’s word. It reveals to us His holiness. It is a guide for us, not to keep us tethered down and unable to enjoy life or have fun, but it gives us clear guidelines to follow to keep us safe and out of danger. God’s word reveals the path of life. It brings joy to our hearts as we read it; it encourages us as we walk through different seasons in our own lives. It gives us hope that there is something greater than what we see. It continues in the lesson that God is over all, He is with us and will help us. It reveals the consequences of a life without Christ. It shows us that we cannot on our own stop sinning. The word reveals who Jesus is. He was not a man who came for a moment and died on a cross. He lived and moved in the same situations as we, yet was without sin. God’s word shows us that there is a great reward for following Christ.

So, we continue on in this Psalm. We read how sin causes us such guilt. We sin, sometimes willfully and other times without even realizing we have sinned. The good news, God knows it. He knew it when he saved us and his grace is great enough to cover the willful sins and the hidden secret sins we are unaware of. When we ask for forgiveness from sin, it covers them all! His mercy toward us is great, his love for us unfailing. As we seek him, he can cleanse us and guide us into right living. He can reveal to us areas we need to change. Our God is greater than our biggest sin and his blood cleanses us and makes us pure. When God the Father looks at us he sees us through the shed blood of Jesus and declares us righteous. Let that sink in…we do not have to live under shame and condemnation if you are then you either think God cannot or will not forgive you or you are believing the lies of the enemy.

Lastly, these words: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” We cannot on our own clean us our words, our conversations. We cannot on our own think on the right things, good things, pleasing to the Lord. We need Jesus; he can change our thoughts, our words, and our actions. When we surrender all of us to him, his Holy Spirit begins a work in us that will not stop until we are home in heaven with our Savior. We can be different. He is our Rock..that place we run to when life is hard, but also the one who covers us as we journey through these dangerous waters of life. He is our Redeemer. When Jesus rose from the dead, he took death captive. He was and is victorious over it. He alone can save us, make us new. He alone is the way to heaven. Jesus is really all you need.

I pray that as you look at the brilliance of the sun, the stillness of the moon and the sparkle of the stars you thoughts turn to the creator. I pray if you find yourself carrying the weight of some sin, you choose to give it to Jesus, trust in his love and forgiveness and walk like a child of God, forgiven and clean. I pray as you read his word that your heart and mind are strengthened for your journey, that you see clearly God’s sovereignty and holiness; his tender and loving care for you. I pray that you desire cleanness​ in your mind and heart and you seek it out from reading his word and time with him. He is…He always will be…Praise His Holy Name, JESUS!

Restore To Me

Have you ever found yourself weighted down from something you have done? You know it was wrong, but you made the decision to do it anyway.
You may feel dirty, sad, mad or some other emotion, but mostly you feel guilt, that heavy weight around your neck that steals your joy. In (Psalm 51) we read about King David. He had committed adultery and had someone killed. He knew it was wrong and the weight of his sin was robbing him of his joy.

Psalm 5:1-13

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts, you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then will I teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.

David recognized that his sin was not just against people, his sin was against God. David wanted what he wanted and set aside what he knew was right to have what he desired. That was Bathsheba. He went as far as making sure her husband died. He chose to rebel against God’s ways. He lusted in his heart and ultimately carried out that lust in the flesh.

He was ashamed of his behavior, his failure weighed heavy on his heart and mind. He knew that he had been a sinner since he was conceived in the womb. Our natural sinful nature is always wanting what it wants and as believers, the old nature is always rearing his or her head to have what it wants. David sought forgiveness from the very one he had offended. There was no other way to rid himself of the weight of his sin. He fell on the mercy of God asking for forgiveness and knowing that God is faithful to forgive us when we truly repent. The natural consequences of our sin do not go away, we usually have to live that out, but God can change us, cleanse us and help us to have new thoughts and new behaviors when we surrender our will to his.

David wanted his joy restored and the only one who could restore it was the same one he sinned against (God), the same one who forgave him (God). Only God can change our behavior, only God can cleanse us from our sins, only God can give us the joy back that our sin and this world try to steal.
David believed God would forgive him and had forgiven him. It is only when we truly believe that God forgives us that joy can be found. We must accept the forgiveness of God. We cannot fully enjoy Jesus until we understand that Jesus enjoys and loves us. He wants to forgive you. David understood that, do you?

If you are living under the weight of sin, there is forgiveness. Jesus dies for those sins, all that is required is true repentance. Go to him as David did, ask him to forgive you, to restore you and to fill you once again. He can and He will; then let joy start filling you up again from the inside out. There is nothing more beautiful or handsome on someone than a person who is at peace with God, it radiates from deep within and you cannot miss it!

Lust Will Carry Us Away

Lust for anything is bad. If we are not in full pursuit of Christ and knowing him, we can easily be led astray. Lust does not have to imply only sexual sins. Anything that we pursue wholeheartedly can become the thing we desire above all else and cause us to stumble and fall into sin. It can be sexual, or it can be money, things, food; any desire that takes us away whether it is physically or mentally not only is driven by our own selfish lusts but can also become our idle, the thing or things we bow down to.

Samson was a man set apart for the Lord, by the Lord. His parents had been given special instructions by the Lord to not cut his hair and that he would lead the Israelites. Judges 13:5 “Because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Samson did serve the Lord and he also sinned. Sound familiar right, we are saved yet still struggle with the sin in our lives.

Now Samson fell hard for Delilah. He loved her and his love blinded him to the deception that was going on. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” Delilah was greedy and Samson was in love with his lust running high.

On three separate occasions Delilah begged for the answer to his strength, which was that his hair could not be cut, his strength came from there. Three times he told her a lie, and when the Philistines came and did what he said needed to be done to subdue him he got free. Now you would think that he would clearly see what was going on. This woman he loved was doing her best to get the secret out and working against him to gain money.

Samson so in love and full of lust apparently could not see it, so finally he told her. She cried and prodded him daily to gain the secret to his strength and finally, he told her. Judges 16:17 “So he told her everything. No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazarite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become weak as any other man.”

So, as the story goes the Philistine’s came, Delilah had cut his hair while he lay his head on her lap sleeping. Judges 16:19 “Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.” This is a sad day for Samson, the lust of the flesh, the deceit of his own heart led him into a situation where he used poor judgment and trust. He was unaware when Delilah yelled and said,” Samson, the Philistines are upon you and he jumped up that the Lord had left him, his strength was gone. (Judges 16:20)

What happened next is awful and hard to read. Judges 16:21 ” Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him, down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison.”
Samson found himself in a bad situation, his lady love nowhere around, he cannot see and he is a prisoner. He has fallen so far.

While in prison his hair began to grow. Samson was being made sport of entertaining the Philistines, entertaining them in an arena. One day they had him performing for them, there were about three thousand people, men and woman and the rulers all watching making fun. Now, Samson prayed and made one more request of the Lord. Judges 16:28-30 “Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me, O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it.
Thus he killed more when he died than while he lived.”

God’s plans for the Philistines were not thwarted. He still used Samson to accomplish his plan for the Philistines, once again a reminder of God’s Sovereignty.

It is sometimes too easy for us to allow the lust of our flesh to take over and blind us to dangers that are there. We act upon those lusts and can find ourselves in way over our heads. There is a little saying that goes like this: “Sin will take you farther than you ever thought you would go, and keep you longer than you ever thought you would stay, and cost you more than you ever thought you would pay.” What true words those are!

If you find yourself caught up in sin because you have allowed your lust and desires to fun freely, remember this it is never too late to bow your knees, seek forgiveness and ask the Lord for help! He always hears the cries of his children. This does not mean you will suddenly find yourself free of whatever it was, but God will begin the work of helping you sort it out. You may or may not live with the consequences of your sin, but you will be forgiven and set right with God and he will help you as you live out whatever the consequences are.

When we are sincere in our repentance then God hears, answers, forgives and restores. He is faithful when we are not, and his purpose will be fulfilled in us. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our wins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

If we seek him daily, he will help us to live in the Spirit. When we ask for help in any situation he will answer us. His ways are best, always!
So my prayer for you is this: If you find yourself caught up in sin that you will not continue in it, that you will call out to God in repentance and seek forgiveness and allow him to lead you out of the situation. I pray you will seek him first before you make any decisions that could cause you pain or harm. I pray that you will desire Him above anything this world offers and that you will seek him with your whole heart! He is there, waiting to intervene on your behalf, don’t let your lusts overtake you and lead you astray.