Psalm 15 is a barometer Psalm for me. David started out with two questions in verse 1. It says, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?”
The answers are in verses 2-5. Let me recap: one who walks uprightly, works righteousness, speaks truth in his heart. Does not backbite, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend. Despises a vile person, honors those who fear the Lord, fulfills the promises that he makes. Does not charge interest to someone he knows, and does not take any bribes.
Verse 5 ends with, “…He who does these things shall not be moved.” I think of a barnacle that clings to a surface. Nothing can move it. Tempestuous storms do not phase it.
The Lord will shake the activities and relationships in our lives that detract from our testimony. We are called to a holy calling. Translation? Our lives would exemplify Him in every aspect. I encourage you to take inventory and measure your heart with God’s word ~
Revelation 3:2 says, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die…” The Amplified says, “Rouse yourselves and keep awake, and strengthen and invigorate what remains…” If a fire is about to go out, we must fan the flames to reignite it.
Hebrews 12:27 says, “Now this, Yet once more, indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.”
What have you neglected to remove from your life ? What have you become lax in? The Lord will use all kinds of adversities in your life to shake the activities and relationships that He does not want to remain.
What needs to be fanned into flame? What disciplines need to be reinstated? What relationships have fallen through the cracks that are in your sphere of influence? What have you begun but not finished?
All thoughts generate from what we believe in our heart. Our thoughts precede our actions. Our actions exude an attitude. Have you ever woken up in the morning in a bad attitude? You can attribute it to your thoughts before you went to sleep.
Years ago I heard a message entitled, “Coppin A Tude.” Our attitude is a reflection of our inner character. I love Hebrews 1:3. It says of Jesus, “Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…”
Philippians 2:5 Amplified says, “Let this same attitude and purpose and (humble) mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: (Let Him be your example in humility:).” Galatians 5:26 says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Here is our attitude barometer. 1 John 2:6 says, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” Let us put off thoughts that would taint our testimony, and put on a fresh attitude of humility.
I was walking and praying. As these words came out of my mouth I stopped to think about them. ‘Lord, help me to please You even in the attitude of my heart.’ I am sure it came from a verse that I messaged to a friend just before my walk.
Though this is written to married women, the words apply to each one of us. 1 Peter 3:4 Amplified says, “…hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which (is not anxious or wrought up, but) is very precious in the sight of God.”
We can play-act before others, but our heart attitude is always open before the Lord. Ask yourself this question: does my heart attitude please the Lord in every aspect of my life? David had a prayer that we can pray.
Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
I love David’s words in Psalm 63:1. Hear his heart. It says, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”
He wrote another. Psalm 42:1-1 says, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” Do you thirst for the Lord? If not, I encourage you to pray one of
Tozer’s prayer. “Lord, I want to thirst to thirst for You.”
It doesn’t matter why you have no thirst. Don’t get caught up on that. Pursue the Lord through words that awaken longing. “I want to want You. I desire to desire You. I thirst to be thirsty still.” O Lord, awaken our hearts in purposeful pursuit to know You through intimate communion.
My mind goes back to A. W. Tozer. If you have not read “Pursuit Of God” I encourage you to do so. He was a man who prepared his heart through his prayers. Say this, “Lord, I desire to desire You” and see how that awakens your heart.
Here is part of a new song about purposeful pursuit: Womb of the Morning
I come to You O Lord in the womb of the morning. To sit and worship You and call upon Your name. You answer me with a sweetness that melts my heart. And opens me to receive Your words.
Your words like oil penetrate the places in my heart that were hardened through fear. You say My child don’t be afraid. I’ve been there all along to shield and protect. Let go of that which you clutch so tight. That I might fulfill the deepest longings of your heart.
Ezra 7:10 says, “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.” Joshua 1:8 helps us understand how we are to prepare our hearts. It says, “…meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.”
Everything in our progressive sanctification journey is predicated in God’s word. He is to be our priority over and above all that we do. Since all actions come from thoughts, we need to examine what we believe.
Do we really believe that hiding God’s word in our heart will keep us from sinning? Do we really believe that experiential truth will set us free and keep us free? Is God’s word the center of all that we think, say, and do?
Uzziah did right in the eyes of the Lord when he became king. 2 Chronicles 26:5 says, “He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.”
However, he did not finish well. His son Jotham did what was right before the Lord. In 2 Chronicles 27:6 it says, “So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God.”
In order to prepare anything, we have to be intentional and focused on our goal. In order to press into Jesus in the face of our impossibilities, we have to be like Paul and forget what lies behind.
Ezra was a priest. His lineage came from Aaron. Ezra came to Jerusalem with a pagan king’s blessing. Ezra 7:6 says, “…The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.”
Philippians 3:14 says, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Though Paul was pressed through his trials, he used them to press into Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We were hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”
Olives have to be pressed before the oil can be released; a rose petal releases more fragrance when crushed. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
Romans 5:3 Amplified says, “Moreover (let us also be full of joy now!) let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.”
On November 9, 2018 the Lord spoke something into my heart that propelled me forward. ‘Forgetting is the empowerment to reach.’ Think of a trapeze artist. They have to forget their first bar in order to reach out and take hold of the oncoming bar. It is one fluid motion ~ no looking back.
Paul’s belief system allowed him over and over to forget what was behind. He was able to quit pleading with the Lord to remove his thorn ~ once he understood God’s grace. The words, “…My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness…” empowered him to reach beyond the thorn, and all the suffering he endured. 2 Corinthians 12:9. 2 Corinthians 11:23-33.
I want to insert something here. Martha Snell Nicholson wrote a short poem called “The Thorn.” She was bedridden, suffered from four incurable diseases, and lived with constant pain for 35 years. She said that her ‘thorn’ was used to pin back the veil that hid the Lord’s face.