Despondency and David’s Theology

For those on the mat and wrestling, things can move very fast.  Our adversary is strong, and he knows us too well.  He is counterintuitive and quite aware of the sequence of moves needed to pin us to the floor.  He is dangerous.  And he also despises us.

I get bewildered and rattled by his attacks.  He knows how to pressure me at just the right time, and he refuses to follow the rules. He is no gentleman, you might say that he is both a cheater and a bully.

Of course I am talking about Satan and his team of demons.  I will not dispute their reality with you.  There is almost as much scriptural support for his existence as there is for Jesus’.  His hostility is  toward God and His people, and his viciousness cannot be camouflaged.  Evil is real, and believe this– Satan has a terrible, and ugly plan for your life.

As a mentally ill Christian, my depression quickly morphs into despondency.  When I sink to that level I start to abandon hope.  It’s like I’m in a lifeboat and decide that I should abandon it and tread water on my own.  Despondency is not rational and just a little bit is deadly.

David knew all about desperation and disheartenment.  He had been chased by his enemies, and maneuvered into the most difficult of situations.  To observe him at a distance we would say that “there is no hope for him in God.” Even God can’t save him, he is reprobate.  We would be convinced that there is nothing for him in God’s thinking.  Nothing.

It would be so easy to make this judgement.  For David was a moral failure; he was an adulterer and a brazen killer.  David had sinned deeper and more intensely than Saul ever had.  Join with the crowd, “There is no hope for him in God!”  No hope, none, nada, zero.

“Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.” 

–Psalm 73

David defied the theology of his day.  He embraced the Lord God with a desperate passion.  It was not orthodox or logical.  You could say it was disturbing.  But David would not let go of God!  He hung on, and continued to sing in faith.

I encourage you besieged brother, and embattled sister.  Hold on to Him, even if it defies logic or theology.  Seek His promises with a fervency, open your heart to Him with a passion.  Remember that sin can and will destroy you.  It is part of Satan’s stratagem.  Sing in the cave, and never lose hope. Never.

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Why This Waste? [Extravagance]

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J’Adore L’Or: Version Haute Joaillerie Exception – $ 30,000

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”’ 

Matthew 26:6-9, ESV

Chapter 26 is the beginning of the end. This chapter sets up the last week of Jesus which without question his prime purpose of death and resurrection. Matthew sets up this “Anointing at Bethany” as the front door of this final week. The immediate verses prior to this concern themselves with an organized plot by the Jewish leadership to murder Jesus.

There are things to consider:

  • Simon (the leper), Jesus stayed here sometime during his last days. Had Simon been healed by Jesus? He might even be a carrier of this fearsome disease. And even if he didn’t, the stigma was so ingrained his first name was attached to the appellation “the leper.”
  • the value of the perfume was essentially unheard of. (You might have given a tin of the most expensive caviar to a homeless man– it was that shocking.) The calculations have been done and the perfume would have been worth $30,000. And this was no ordinary perfume– it was an ointment, a concentrate from which lesser perfumes would be made. This was the real stuff.
  • the disciples, are quite disturbed. They quickly deduced the value of this anointing, and balked. Scripture says, “they were indignant.” Deeply offended, they could not process what was really going on in front of them. They were quietly livid.
  • the wasted potential of the perfume. A years wages could of been given away to the needy. Passover was the special time when everyone saw to the needs of the poor, and scripture says a lot about helping the poor. It didn’t sit too well with the disciples to empty this flask over Jesus head and feet.
  • the effect on Jesus would’ve been profound. It was God’s signal of an impending death. Because this was more an ointment than a liquid, its effect would have lingered for weeks. It is quite possible that Jesus would’ve smelled that smell while he was being beaten and crucified. I have to believe it encouraged him, as he suffered.

The disciples really missed it with this one. The practical thing would take Mary’s expensive jar and sell it, and then to give the money to a needy family. Disciples throughout history have confused discipleship with serving and doing, but it really is concerned with a person of Jesus Christ. This really is a crucial point.

We serve a person, not a “discipleship.” We pour out ourselves for Jesus, serving him as out “first love.” Without this love we just become a good religion, among many good religions. But our sacrifice for Jesus does indeed set us apart.

Be extravagant in your love to him. Jesus should always be the center. As your love pours out over him, I have to believe it perfumes heaven with your gift.

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Something Out of the Ordinary

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“You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
    letting them drink from your river of delights.”

Psalm 36:8, NLT

God is the exclusive source of everything good. His goodness is quantified in the word “abundance.” We have made the discovery, that the spring from which all want to draw from is actually a full fledged river full of wonderful things. We come thirsty for something, anything that will quench our terrible yearning for the real and true.

God’s extravagance is unduly excessive it seems. It is limitless in scope, and endless in imagination. There is food and drink (of the Spirit) that constantly pours out on His people. All we can do is to revel in His grace, and receive from His mercy.

The children of Israel was supplied with manna while in the wilderness. Our Father provided for them, and provides for us as well. Let no one leave His pantry without filling their pockets with His outrageous grace. We receive all that He gives.

“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”

2 Corinthians 9:8

Imagine winning the Lottery, a phone call tells you that you’ve just won 325 million dollars! If it was me I suppose, that once the shock wears off, I would be ready to be a financial blessing to my friends, family and Church. Having been the recipient  of incredible wealth, I want to share with others. However wonderful that might seem, we really shouldn’t put God’s grace is such worldly concepts.

Yet sometimes we need to step back and look again at God’s generosity to us. Sometimes we lose track of all that He has done. It is good to reacquaint ourselves to this incredible thing He has done on our behalf.

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

Ephesians 3:20

We have been internally altered by the presence of God. Our genetic code has been changed. He has done something amazing in our hearts. What He has done is described as ‘infinitely more’ than our wildest dreams. I believe that some have ‘hijacked’ these kind of verses to teach that “God wants you rich.” This is called ‘the prosperity gospel’ and it really can be a bad thing. I believe in His prosperity, but it certainly isn’t linked to my material possessions. To do this distorts the message of the Gospel.

Our blessings come, and come some more, and keep coming. Everywhere we look we should see a spiritual blessing. It’s like we live with a God that can’t contain Himself. He rushes to pour out on us significant promises. My Bible becomes a ‘treasure map’ leading me to my true destination.

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