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Friday, December 5, 2008Perhaps you would like to read Psalm 51 before reading today's encouragement message.
The Christmas wreath in front of our home.
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"The Blessedness of Forgiveness"
"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered" (Psalm 32:1).
One of my many memorable ministry moments took place in New England. Joe, a young man with a rough gang background, began to attend our church and in time responded to an altar call, accepting God's forgiveness for his sins. As he stood up, after pouring out his heart to God at the altar, he looked at me with the biggest, joy-filled smile and said, "I feel a h*** of a lot better!"
It certainly was not the "Christianese" language we're accustomed to hearing in a church setting. But he spoke from his heart and I, along with others within hearing range, certainly recognized that the sanctifying work would yet come to our brother and clean up his language over time. More importantly he had yielded his sinful heart to God and left that day a new man in Christ. His sincere expression of joy and relief is the testimony of all who receive the wonderful forgiveness of God.
This week we have been studying David's sin with Bathsheba recorded in 2 Samuel 11,12. Psalm 51 is David's written confession when Nathan rebuked him. Yesterday we wrote on the blessing of rebuke. Nathan's bold rebuke to David, "You are the man!" led to David's confession, "I have sinned against the Lord." This led to his seeking forgiveness and you can read his written confession in Psalm 51. It is a psalm of repentance that we can all read and personally apply to our own lives.
Actually Nathan pronounced God's forgiveness when David made his brief confession in 2 Samuel 12, "The LORD has taken away your sin" (v.13). But apparently David, in contemplating his sin, then wrote his plea for mercy in Psalm 51. "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions" (51:1,2). In V. 10 we come to the familiar passage sung in many circles where David earnestly prays, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (51:10-12).
"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." Whether David wrote this before or after the events of 2 Samuel 11 is immaterial for we tend to live in constant need of forgiveness, coming short in one way or another of the glory of God.
Writer Erwin Lutzer observes: "When the mask of self-righteousness has been torn from us and we stand stripped of all our accustomed defenses, we are candidates for God's generous grace." In other words, as we empty ourselves of that which stands between us and God we can once again experience spiritual intimacy.
The blessedness of forgiveness remains the promise to all who earnestly come to God in belief, confession and repentance. It's at the very heart of God's salvation extended to the human race. Accept this generous grace today and proclaim with the Psalmist, "But with You there is forgiveness" (Psalm 130:4). When God forgives He removes the sin and restores the soul!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, I pray that You would wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Hide Your face from my sins which are great and dishonor You so much that I can't bear for You to look upon them. Blot out all my iniquity. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth that will enable me to declare Your praise. It isn't the burnt offering that You delight in but the sacrifice of a broken spirit; it is a broken and contrite heart that You desire in me. As I come to You in humility and brokenness of spirit You restore to me the joy of Your salvation much like the new fallen snow that covers the earth. Thank You for being merciful and forgiving. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Selected Scripture from Psalm 51 (adapted)
Yesterday Tommy Carpenter, a minister friend from Arkansas, called me and shared concerning some rather interesting verses that I had never considered in regard to David and Bathsheba. In a genealogical portion in 1 Chronicles 3:4,5 we read this interesting detail: "David reigned in Jerusalem thirty-three years, and these were the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon. These four were by Bathsheba daughter of Ammiel." Assuming that Shammua was the name of the baby that died and if the named order is the birth order (the normal practice in Scripture) than there were two more sons born before Solomon. One was named Nathan, perhaps named after the prophet Nathan that rebuked David! Then Tommy took me to the genealogy in Luke which has this interesting line. I never recall paying careful attention to this passage. See here for a very detailed article on the genealogy of Christ.
This is the final message in this week's series on David's sin with Bathsheba and the consequences. This mini-series began with Tuesday's message "The Consequences Of Sin", Wednesday's message, Cover-Up and Thursday's message "The Blessing Of Rebuke".
2 Samuel 11 and 12 is the account of David's sin with Bathsheba and Nathan's rebuke.
Psalm 51 is the record of his repentance.
"The Consequences Of A Moral Failure" Webpage This material is adapted from a 1998 "Leadership" magazine article by Randy Alcorn and Eternal Perspective Ministries and is personalized for my own use and personal impact. This article is also available as a printable .pdf I encourage every man and woman to adapt this for their own use or better yet start from scratch and develop your own.
"Slow Fade" Video Outstanding message about the slide into sin.
Pure Life Ministries An excellent resource for those overcoming sexual sin.
Last month I took Ester to see "Fireproof", a Christian movie dealing with marital restoration. Our family would highly recommend it!
Fireproof, DVD By Provident Music Distribution
The latest theatrical blockbuster from the creators of Facing the Giants, Fireproof is an action-packed love story about a firefighter, his wife, and a marriage worth rescuing! At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) lives by the old firefighter's adage: "Never leave your partner behind". At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules. His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt has to face his toughest job ever, rescuing his wife's heart.
Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"Create In Me A Clean Heart" Video This is one of my favorite Keith Green songs and is based on Psalm 51.
"Amazing Love" Video "I'm forgiven because you were rejected.."
"I'm Amazed" Video A powerful Brooklyn Tabernacle song.
Psalm 51 Video A dramatic reading in a local church setting
My nephew Patrick is a budding musician and sent me this song he had recorded titled "Immerse" (mp3). Here he is with his cousin Ester. Patrick is my brother Pat's oldest child who lives in Bethlehem, PA.
Mom and Daughter Night Out: Ester and I attended a Point of Grace Concert last night. It was wonderful. There are now three in the group with back up singers. We had a great time listening to the holiday songs but more importantly rejoicing in powerful truths presented in explosive songs such as "Let there be light." Ester and I usually argue about the volume of music but Ronnie Freeman along with Point of Grace couldn't sing these words too loud for my receptive ears: "Let there be light. Let it shine bright piercing the darkness with dazzling light. Hope for the hopeless was born that night when God sent His Son and said, Let there be light." (In fact we sat right in front of the huge speakers, but I could understand all the words - bottom line!)
Update from Mary Lou Long: We featured Mary Lou's recent story of salvation we first posted on Nov. 10. I went to visit her yesterday in our local Hospice Center. I joined with a visiting pastor in praying for her and sang a couple hymns including "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." I asked her if she'd like to have our readers pray with her regarding any concerns and she readily answered this way: "The doctors have given me two to four weeks to live so please pray for me. Please pray for Christy (pictured) and the new grandbaby." Christy is 7 weeks pregnant and is doing well. This will be Mary Lou's first grandchild. She is in a great deal of pain and we concluded our visit with her saying this to me, "My body is telling me that I only have a short time left." I asked, "What is your spirit telling you?" She responded, "That it's going to be wonderful there." That's a good exercise for all of us: Don't listen just to what your body is telling you. Ask your spirit also and it will likely be a lot more hopeful message coming from an eternal perspective. (Mary Lou gave me her permission to share this with our readers.)
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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