Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the glory of Your name. Save us and forgive our sins for the honor of Your name

~Psalm 79:8, NLT


I ask neither for health nor for sickness, for life or for death; but they You may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life and death, for Your glory.

~Blaise Pascal

The setting of Psalm 79 is the devastating defeat suffered by Judah at the hand of the pagan Babylonians and the humiliation of such an overwhelming defeat. Judah’s neighbors and kin folks, the Ammonites, Edomites and Moabites celebrated Judah’s destruction and of course the pagan Babylonians mocked the Jews by say, “Where is your God?” Many of the Jews were wondering the same thing. Asap get’s near the edge as he evaluates the situation: he does not blame God directly but he does blame Judah’s enemies and their ancestors. The Psalmist is in a state of shock and wonders how long God will allow this to go on.

Of course, you and I have a different perspective. We know that Jeremiah warned this very generation concerning their sin and attitude toward Yahweh. They were stubborn and stiff necked: they refused to repent. Jeremiah knew that the Jews were putting too much confidence in a place, namely the Temple of Yahweh and not enough in the Person of Yahweh. They believed firmly that God would not allow the Temple to suffer harm, nor the great city of Jerusalem; of course they were wrong. Our security is not in a place. Satan was once a resident of heaven. Heaven is not our security, Jesus is our eternal security. Bottom line: God warned these stubborn Jews over and over and they ignored His warnings. It came to the point, that God acted in character with His holiness and He brought judgment.

My mother was a God fearing woman. She actually had a lot of patience but from time to time, she acted in righteous indignation. As soon as she cut the switch, I began negotiating or pleading, “Mother, I will not do it again, I promise.” [Mother] “Son, how many times did I tell you not to do this.” [Jack] “I know mother but just don’t whip me, I will never do it again.” Guess what, she beat the hades out me anyway. Do you want to know why…she knew my repentance was not real, she knew I would do it again. I was trying to avoid the punishment I deserved by faking repentance. Was I sincere? Of course, I didn’t want to get beat. Had my heart changed? No! Stubborness was bound up in my heart and she had to beat it out.

In the same way, God is very patient and He warns us again and again. When He does act in judgment, it is too late to beg for clemency. He is going to finish what He started but not because He hates us; He does it because He loves us. Asap was in the begging mode: O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake. Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let the avenging of the out poured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes. He was begging God to intervene for His own sake. In other words, he was saying, “These pagans are getting the glory…step into the fight, destroy those who destroyed us and You will get the glory.” Listen folks: God has no insecurity, none. He has never been afraid of not getting the glory. He will get the glory but He is not in a hurry. Nothing or no one will keep Him from getting glory.

In our sanctification: He is moving us by grace to the point where we want Him to get the glory. I want that more now than ever don’t you?

[have an article in the extra on the subject of God getting glory for the theologians: it is too much for the blog]

Hillary Make Al Capone Look Like a Boy Scout

  • I had a good friend in Limestone County depart this world Sunday morning with a heart attack. Charles Dollar, age 74 has been a friend of the Bailey’s for a life time. There were eight of us and nine of them. Our sympathy to his lovely wife Virginia. Lord willing, I will be attending the COLS this evening. It has been a tough week for our friends in the Sardis Springs community. I think this makes four deaths in the last two weeks plus our GREAT NIECE Kaley Elizabeth Greer’s memorial service was a year ago today I think. In the last few days, I have been focusing my prayers on the broken hearted.
  • I finally got the AUGUST DIGEST to Mandy and she will have it at the Welcome Center by Wednesday night. I am working on getting it on line but I am very slow with those kinds of things. I am an 8-track guy in a smart phone world.
  • I have been in a book reading mode lately; Just finished Erwin Lutzer’s THE VANISHING POWER OF DEATH {Conquering our greatest fear}. I am wrapping up a book on prayer, The LOST DISCIPLINE, by Michael Ross. I began a new book on prayer a couple of nights ago, THE PRAYER of JESUS by Hank Hanegraaff. I am also reading Billy Grahams grand son’s book, DO I KNOW GOD {Finding certainty in life’s most important relationships}. This kid’s name is Tullian Tchividjian. Some of what he says is elementary but I am learning: he has a lot of good references.

If you hang out with reforms or read them, you are familiar with this phrase: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This is not a scripture, it comes from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, a Presbyterian document. Steve Lawson began his commentary on Psalm 79, “All that God does, He does primarily to pursue and promote His own glory.” I do note that the word ‘primarily’ redeems this statement to some degree. What we can not fall prey to is the belief that God is some vain, conceited, selfish God who cares about nothing and no one other than Himself and His glory. This is the danger of the reform movement which some Baptist have taken to the extreme; a mistake that our Presbyterian brother don’t seem to make. God is not selfish nor vain: He is holy and Good. Ultimately, He will get all the glory because of His holiness and His redemptive work at Calvary. We are going to give Him the glory because He deserves it, He gave us His Son and we will be eternally grateful. We delight in giving Him glory.

We can stand on a stage and talk about giving God glory all day but whether we do or don’t, He is going to get glory. Our talking about it does not make it a greater possibility: it is going to happen. The disciples didn’t see any glory in the crucifixion but the resurrection three days later was a differ matter but Eventually, they saw the GLORY OF THE CROSS. The Cross became their barometer by which we measure God’s incredible love. The CROSS quickly became the theme of the apostles preaching and it remains true 2,000 years later. The Cross is proof positive that God cares about us. God’s primary objective in history is to redeem broken humanity. Jesus stated His mission clearly in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” I heard one of these ignorant five point Calvinist say from the pulpit: “I know John 3:16 is in the bible but it is not the only verse in the bible.” Listen friends, it is the one verse that most clearly reveals the heart of God. If we had a one verse bible, that is the verse we would want. Jesus never said, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” By His own confession, He said His chief end was to seek and to save the lost. Did God get glory from Jesus seeking and saving? Sure He did and does and will. Many of these reforms are hypocrites: they glory in the destruction of the human race. What did Jesus say was the two most important things in life? {Matthew 22}

One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap Jesus with this question:  “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”  Jesus replied,‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever…oops, He did not say that did He. This is what He said, You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” 

The hyper-calvinist get the cart before the horse. Ultimaly we will glorify God and enjoy Him forever…it is going to happen. We are moving in this direction every day. God via our sanctification and His amazing grace gives us a growing desire for His glory. I pray the model pray differently now than I did just a year ago. My desire to see God glorified is growing in leaps and bounds. I enjoy my fellowship with Him now and I can’t imagine how great it will be when there are no hindrances but my primary goal in the now, in time is to Love Jesus with all my heart and my neighbor as much as I love myself. If we do these two things, we will never abandon evangelism and missions and God will get glory from out obedience. If we go to seed on our ultimate destiny, we become sponges who live in sanctuaries and closed groups. We will go to seed on bible study and worship to the neglect of a hurting community and a lost world. The highlight of our year will be to attend a conference. When predestination is carried to the extreme, it results in a passive faith which sits on the couch in stoical indifference. The very doctrine they so adamantly believe and preach leads them to inactivity. Folks, our God is anything but inactive. He wrote the play and He knows how it will end but he gives each actor the liberty to ad lib as he or she plays their part. He gave us a will and He expects us to act upon it and He is disappointed when we don’t. He made us creative for a reason.

This is the fate of the hyper-Calvinist: because they have disavowed man’s freedom to act, they have relegated all responsibility for the lost and the condition of culture to God. They will not miss bible study or worship because both are introverted and meet their personal needs for fellowship and affirmation but they will not walk across the yard to tell someone about Jesus. Hyper-Calvinism eventually destroys missions and evangelism because both involve faith in action. Of course their calling card is arrogance. A few years ago when I was mentoring a young pastor, he asked me how I learned to spot them because many masquerade as Evangelicals: I said, “You will learn, they are arrogant. They are filled with conceit and pride.” Is this not the very opposite of what Jesus taught…Blessed are the poor in Spirit.

If you want to challenge my thinking, I am open to the challenge.

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