Was David arrogant?

Q: Does David seem to show signs of arrogance in some of the things he writes in the Psalms? For example, Ps. 18: 20-24, “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;, according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.” NIV I know David is known as the man after God’s own heart, but every time I read this passage, I feel like David is saying he DESERVED God’s blessing. Am I wrong?

A: I can totally understand why someone could think this way. It certainly, on first glance, can look like David is saying, “God is good to me because I. Am. Awesome.”

There are three things to keep in mind, however:

  1. Context of time this was written: this was written during the time of Israel’s Old Covenant Law. God gave Israel commandments, so keeping the commandments would naturally (I imagine) make you feel like, “God has to be happy with me! I am striving to live according to His Law.” I know from the Old Testament that many Israelites held a similar sentiment.
  2. Context of Psalms in Scripture: Under inspiration, Psalms was written as men were moved by the Holy Spirit. But the Psalms are often directed towardsGod! So God inspired these men to write divinely chosen words that would be cried out / prayed to the Lord Himself! So for this to be recorded in your Bible, the Holy Spirit is who inspired David to write these words in the first place.
  3. Context of this passage itself: Before we think David was too much into himself, look at some of the other verses in the Psalm. Specifically, look at how David is acknowledging that God is his strength.
  • v2 – God is my stronghold and shield
  • 3,6 – I called upon the Lord
  • v27 – God saves the humble
  • v28 – God lights my lamp
  • v29 – by my God I can leap over a wall (!)
  • v32 – God equips with strength
  • v35 – God’s right hand supports me

You get the point. On one hand, yes he says he has been striving to keep himself from sin. Yet on the other hand, his language regarding God’s power in his life is pretty clear.

I would just remind you of:

Jeremiah 9:23-24Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Boast away. Just make sure the spotlight of your boasting shines on Jesus, not you.

p.s. -SO CLOSE to getting all of our questions in Sunday...


I’m a Cheater

Well, it’s confirmed, I’m a cheater.

I was shocked. I mean, I try to do my job with sincerity and integrity, but it looks like, to at least one prominent preacher, how I do my job makes me a cheater.

This came up recently on a blog from a rather famous US preacher. Don’t worry about WHO,I am not attacking or criticizing him. Everyone has their thing, everyone has an opinion. My point isn’t about who it is or fighting back – I am just evaluating this opinion because it applies directly to me. Specifically, my commitment to expository, verse-by-verse preaching. Here is an excerpt from the blog:

Question: What do you think about preaching verse-by-verse messages through books of the Bible?

>Famous Preacher<: Guys that preach verse-by-verse through books of the Bible-- that is just cheating. It's cheating because that would be easy, first of all. That isn't how you grow people. No one in the Scripture modeled that. There's not one example of that.

Eh, I’m not really convinced that I am cheating. And I am not going to change what I do. Here are 6 Reasons I Believe in Verse-By-Verse Expository Preaching:

  1. Preaching verse-by-verse lets me preach like Paul, declaring the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). The only way to get the whole counsel of the Word is to preach through all of the Word as it presents itself. The Bible is written in books, with themes and ideas. And the only way to catch the totality of these themes is to work through the texts as they were written.
  2. Preaching verse-by-verse keeps me from just preaching my favorite things. I think it would be easy to pick what I want to preach. Mercy, grace, love – and while these are important doctrines, they aren’t everything the Bible has to say. Which leads me to...
  3. Preaching verse-by-verse makes me preach on things I would otherwise avoid. I don’t particularly enjoy talking about hell or judgment or sin – and I wouldn’t seek these themes out if I just preached on what I prefer. But they are there, and verse-by-verse preaching makes me deal with them – and God has them in His Word because He wants them dealt with!
  4. Preaching verse-by-verse makes me avoid taking things out of context. I don’t want to misrepresent God, and it’s easy to make the Bible say what I want it to say – or misunderstand what it actually says – if I just rip a passage out of its context and preach on it.
  5. Preaching verse-by-verse helps me have a plan about where we are heading as a church. I let the Word of God guide us as a church rather than use the Word for some man-centered agenda. I can only do that if I walk through a passage and let the Word speak for itself! And most importantly...
  6. Preaching verse-by-verse helps people become better Bible students for themselves. What confidence do people have to read the Bible for themselves if they look at it like a buffet we walk through and pick out what we want? It wasn’t written that way and it should not be read that was. Going verse-by-verse gives people confidence to walk through the Bible themselves. They can do at home what I model in church Sunday mornings. Let’s walk through this passage. What does it say? What does it mean? What does it mean in light of what was said in the last passage? How can I apply this truth?

So I have to respectfully disagree with this preacher. Let’s be committed to be not just Bible respecters, or Bible fans... but Bible students.

p.s. - not a cheater... and not cheating my people

Holy Spirit Baptism and Filling: What is the Difference?

(The following is important to understand, but in order to be sensitive to time on Sunday, this part of the sermon will be "preached" here!)

So... What IS the Difference Between Being BAPTIZED by the Holy Spirit and Being FILLED with the Holy Spirit? Some people use these terms interchangeably, but there is a difference!
Being BAPTIZED by the Holy Spirit is the work of Christ on a new believer. Upon belief in Him, He puts the Holy Spirit in you and puts you in the body of Christ. (See Romans 6:3-6, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27). This is what Jesus does to you when you get saved, become born again, become an adopted child of God – He baptizes you in the Holy Spirit. This is a one time event, as the Holy Spirit does NOT leave a believer, return, leave, return, etc. No amount or kind of sin makes the Holy Spirit leave a true believer! 
Being FILLED with the Holy Spirit is a continual experience that we are commanded to allow to happen as we participate with His work in us. Ephesians 5:18 says “be filled with the Spirit”. He does the filling, but this is presented in a way that obviously indicates we have a responsibility to cooperate with Him – allow this to happen to you. The literal translation of the verbiage is “be being filled with the Holy Spirit.” This happens as we keep our mind and heart focused on the Word of God and, as one preacher put it, “practice the presence of God”.
Being baptized in the Holy Spirit grants the power that Jesus promised in Acts 1:8, being filled with the Holy Spirit unleashes that power of God through you.
See you Sunday!

Acts - Power and Witness

p.s. - Witness His power, then let His power make you a witness!

Is it Ever Okay to Pray Against a Relationship?

When is it okay to pray that God would prevent something from happening?

God is our Heavenly Father. We are His children. And He invites us to share every burden with Him (1 Peter 5:7). He already knows what is on our hearts. He knows what prayers we have before we say them. There is no need to come trying to hide anything.

So my point is simply: be honest when you pray. Makes no sense to try otherwise. If there is a relationship that looks like it may be toxic, just take that to God.

“Father, You know everything. I don’t. But this relationship looks like trouble, and I don’t want to see someone get hurt in the longterm...”

But remember: everything you pray for, you should ask according to God’s Will. 1 John 5:14 says “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (emphasis mine)

Every single prayer should end there. “...but God, you know what is right and best. So may your will be done, and give me the faith to trust you during this time.” That is yielding to His sovereignty and wisdom.

We pray in reverence and faith. But as far as I can see, no subjects are off limits. No concerns too small. God loves you and wants to commune with you in prayer.

p.s. - God already knows...