Don’t Believe the Hype Psalms 64

Evil can and will come in many forms. Sometimes it is recognizable, and at other times it is not. It can go right up to your door, walking on the same street, in your workspace, and even in your own home. As Black History Month comes to a close and I pondered what the Lord would give me to write, I came across this psalm in the Psalter. No, this is not a post that necessarily pertains to black history; however, I believe that there are some truths that we all can learn and help us to navigate through all the evil that masquerades in our day today.  

Sometimes there is nothing we can do to prevent it from striking. I don’t know about you, but I wish I could remedy or just not even have to deal with a lot of evil. Evil can move our pity and stir our indignation at times. Perhaps we argue, and even in a moment of generous impulse, we may try addressing the problem. We have seen countless examples of various evils that we as humans have attempted to address and stamp out, but it did not happen to our disappointment. From racism, political concern, police brutality, or movements believed to further our views of oppression, evil is still here and thriving. I am not glorifying opinions, but I am attempting to find a consensus that no matter your ethnicity, gender, economic status, political beliefs, or historical backdrop-evil is not a people problem but a sin issue.

It has been said of poets that they learn in suffering what they teach in song, and this is the experience of the psalmist David.

Psalms 64 gives us the perfect backdrop to understand or provide circumstantial evidence to prove our point. King David was such a prayer warrior, but more importantly, he was wise. He knew that he could do nothing about his situation. However, he knew who could. Talk about phoning a friend or using a lifeline. David was the best that did it.

1 John 5:19 tells us, “we know that we are of God and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Evil does not always warn that it is on the way; however, we realize that we have power with a secret weapon by prayer. We are victorious, friend. When we see wrong or evil accounts on the news or daily, we can still find hope. It will take work from all of us, however. We like to address one side of a coin, but we must handle it all. Yes, our country is going through much political unrest. January 6th is a prime example of what happens when evil’s power gains a foothold. Police brutality is wrong in the black community, but so is the killing of innocent police because of some in all communities’ actions. We cannot say we are Christians, but in our mind choose what sin matters to God and us and overlook others that are just as unfortunate. We outwardly profess Christianity, but our hearts inwardly still are filled with hatred, jealousy, and entitlement as humans.   

Here is a King David talking to God about a problem. King Saul has been attempting to ruin David, even kill David. And most of Saul’s officers were involved in this conspiracy to destroy him. Why were they trying to kill David? God anointed him as king, but it had not come to fruition, but was that the real reason?

People may give us all kinds of trouble, not “good trouble” like the late Congressman John Lewis termed. We must remember our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the enemy and his hosts. And when we are aware of Who fights for us, we can get into “good trouble” and not fear or concern ourselves with what is transpiring because we have the King of Kings and Lord of Lords going before us.

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.

~ Psalms 46:10 ~

Keep hope and do not believe the hype but rest in our Lord and Savior in these times. I wish I could say they are unprecedented, but they are not. Though packaged differently we have been here before. Yet we must remember we serve a God who has given us a blueprint in His Word to meet us where we are and provide us with hope, the ability to change, and even to repent.

1) Seek the Lord’s protection. (v.1-2) David begins with “Hear my voice” – he didn’t say this because God wasn’t paying attention but because he was coming with sincere intention.

a) David did not ask God to change the circumstances but fortify his own heart and deliver him from fear. The fear of the Lord mobilizes us, but the fear of man paralyzes us.

b) Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked, from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity. (sin)

Insurrection here is not referencing a civil revolt against authority but the people speaking evil against David and taking action to ruin Him. Let’s face it; some people will not like us. Not because we have done anything but just because of what we represent. David represented something pure and different from what was, which scared the forces in power. His commitment was only to the Lord and not to his plan, even when David fell- he admitted he was wrong and was convicted and changed. That is the difference. Groups today stand for their belief systems and are driven more by emotional stirring (how this affects me personally), but we openly say it is spiritual. Still, if it were spiritually motivated- we would address the wrong on all accounts.

My mother used to say, “the more men indulge in sin, the blinder we become.” In other words, the more persistent we break the second great commandment, the more indifferent we grow to the first. In (v.5) of Psalms 64, David says, “they hold fast to themselves an evil purpose.”  David is addressing the evil of the hearts of conspirators set to harm. How disturbing it is for David, who fears God, to be experiencing this. David grieves over the waste and, worse still, the misapplication of human power; he confesses with shame and sorrows the sin that has brought such terrible outcomes into the world. What about you today, are you grieved by all that is going on in the world? Or are we grieving over parts and turning a blind eye to the rest.     

2) Ask for the Lord’s wisdom. (v.3-6) David knew what the enemy was plotting. We need to know the strategy of our enemy when he attacks. (2 Cor 2:11) Like a lion, he comes to devour (1Peter 5:8); as a serpent, he comes to deceive (2 Cor 11:1-4). David compares his enemies’ tongues to swords and their words to poisoned arrows (v.3). One of the enemy’s main weapons is an accusation. (Rev 12:10; Zech 3) God will always lead us in what to do when we ask Him for wisdom and not just react. The evidence of a life changed by transformation and not moved by what unfolds before our eyes define wisdom.

3) Trust the Lord for Victory (v.7-8) This is not always so simple, but by trusting in the Lord and obeying the Father’s direction, David was confident that God would defeat his enemies. Don’t get caught up in what you see in the media and even what others say on social media platforms. I even found myself chiming in and feeling a bit irritated at all that has been occurring, and no, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but when I check my heart- God showed me it was more emotion than trusting in Him. Let God’s love and Word help us not allow emotions to drive us. Because let us be real, there are many incandescent with rage over all that has been occurring, and it shows no matter where we are, what or whom we believe.

These application steps seem so universal, but they really can apply to every area of our lives.

Everyone has a perspective, but the only view we should be striving to imitate is Christ’s, as disciples of Him. And when that becomes our aim, the Lord has promised to fight our battles for us. God himself will shoot arrows at our enemies (v.7). Perhaps you are saying, Lord, how long or God do you not know what they are getting away with? One thing I know from my experience-nothing or no one gets away from our God, and in His time, he will make all crooked paths straight. All we need to do is do not believe the hype.

Be encouraged today.  

Great Expectations

I recently accepted a new position in a different field. As excited as I am, it has left me uncertain of where God is leading. What is certain is that I am feeling a little uneasy.   This new season requires a different level of faith. But that is just like God to stretch our faith. Faith is like muscles, they grow with resistance and pressure. That may look different depending on the situation, but for me, it is: what type of work environment will it be? Is it team-oriented? Will the benefits package be enough for my family? These questions and more began to formulate in my mind. Then God reminded me of 1 Chronicles 28:20.

Then David said to his son Solomon, Be strong and courageous and act; do not fear nor be dismayed for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.  1 Chronicles 28:20

With great promise, comes great expectations. Often, we can’t see the reward until we make the sacrifice to move beyond our fears. Until we make the decision to act.  What makes the sacrifice worthwhile is the expectation of what is to come. That is the reward.  

Sacrifice is always a prerequisite to any upward movement for any area in life. If I only focus on the end, I miss out on what is happening in the process. The process is the road that must be traveled on the way to change. We cannot get there if we are not willing to take a step. Lately, I have felt the Lord has had me in constant process, and to be honest, it is a challenge. There are some days where I ask, “Lord, are you still with me?”

The Bible often gives me or reminds me of what I need to move forward. The reminder here is hidden behind a father (David) encouraging a son (Solomon) to have great expectations in what is to come. The expectation of things unseen. David spoke directly from the Lord. The reminder David speaks over Solomon’s life positions his thinking for an expected end. God wants us to find comfort when we rest in the Holy Spirit, and trust how He leads.  

Great expectation is the confidence I place in God that He has my situation worked out, but not for the reasons I want. It is easy to focus more on where the benefit is for me more times than I should. When this happens, I try to refocus on Christ and say, Lord, what are you saying to me? Maybe he is trying to get me to see where my identity is. Is it in Him or me? I have to remind myself it is not about me. Daily we strive to train our minds to stay faith-focused, especially in these uncertain times. I know this applies personally to me. Accepting a new career path is exciting but nerve-racking. When I think about all the intricate details, it can be overwhelming, but God’s great expectation (not Charles) reassures me.  

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

I found a few things in 1 Chronicles 28:20 that I think we all can implement to help us move forward: Be strong, Be courageous and Act.

When I think about strength, it means different things. Being strong can be applied to life circumstances such as loss, struggle, and confusion. It signifies the power to move past hindrances—the ability to press beyond our ability. Strength is grown by endurance, and this is one area God has been challenging me to grow in- not in my own but His power. When I am strong in His strength, nothing can stop me. It is almost like having a spotter while lifting weights. He assures me I am not alone, and with His help, I lift/handle far more than on my own.

Courage often gets misrepresented. Courage does not mean one is not afraid; sometimes, it is just the opposite. It is not the absence of fear but the ability to continue despite. I wonder what Solomon felt when his father encouraged him to build without experience? He was young and did not know all this process would entail but his father told him to have courage. I have had moments where fear tried to grip me. But friend, we must push through the worry and unknown and believe that we can. If we never do, we never will. If we stay stuck in fear and don’t try to become free—we know our ending. It stares us in the face screaming defeat. If Solomon never moved from fear to want more, great expectation could never manifest.  

I remember an exercise I had to complete while attending an old job retreat. We were asked to climb a rock wall 80 feet up. Once at the top the only way down was to jump and grab a trapeze bar that was suspended in the air, pretty scary, right? I wanted to go first and get it out the way, so I did. I did not think about the consequences; I did not look down; I just climbed up and jumped. Sometimes we have to act when we know the instructions are clear.  

 Have you been holding back? What is something you had great expectations for, and you have grown cold hoping for?

Father, allow us to rest in You when the direction is unclear and the path uncertain. Teach us to trust Your voice to lead us to an expected end. Help us to depend on You in the process and build on that what You have called us to. Give us the courage to trust You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Where Are You Going?

We were lost, and it did not make sense. As we listened to my phone give us directions. I began to wonder, did I miss a turn? The further we drove down the windy, dark road, it became more difficult to see up ahead. My high-beams were like matches that had served their purpose and were gracefully fading out. At the same time, looking at my palm-size, dim-lit phone displaying the road ahead, numerous times the words “rerouting” displayed on my screen. I realized there was no signal and I needed to shut my phone off and turn back on.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.
(Proverbs 3:5-8)

The incident I just described is an actual occurrence of where I found myself one night coming back from a weekend conference. Perhaps you can relate to the story. I want you to know that you are a part of a very elite group of individuals that have placed too much dependency on our phones or our small boxes in our vehicles, called “navigation” devices. According to Webster, Navigation is the method of determining position, course, and distance traveled. (emphasis added)

My navigation that night was solely dependent on my phone. I had placed complete trust in a handheld device to lead me home. You may be thinking, why didn’t I turn around or I didn’t realize that something was wrong? The short answer is “no.” I allowed a small box to talk to me and give me directions on how to get to my destination. Where the source of instruction was coming from, I never questioned. Technology is impressive, and the satellites in space transmit signals apparently, but how do we know? We believe, right?

Why is it easier to believe a device telling us play by play direction than it is to accept God’s Word or the whisper of the Holy Spirit? Listening to a phone is a perfect description of what happens when I trust in my guidance instead of placing my trust in the Holy Spirit. Just as I lost my way traveling on that windy road when my signal dropped, sometimes in life, I lose my way. Sometimes I am not connected to the right source. If I listen to the wrong voice or trust without question the voice speaking to me- it can leave me lost. It can leave me lost and searching for familiarity or some resemblance of light.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
do not depend on our own understanding.
(Proverbs 3:5)

In today’s society, it is easy to get sidetracked or concerned about what is around us. Events or circumstances leave us feeling confused. We may feel lost and uncertain about what lies ahead, but this verse reminds us that we have a full-proof plan. That is the first step in getting to our final destination; what are we trusting? The problem is that many of us do not take full advantage of placing our complete trust in the Lord. I don’t know about you, but if I am not careful, I depend on my alleged robust understanding as opposed to the Holy Spirit’s whisper. I began to have an inflated sense of confidence in my efforts and this is where the problem lies. Trusting in Charles’ way leads to a dead-end.

Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.
(Proverbs 3:6)

We are to search out what God wants for us, and this is done by listening attentively for His voice and trusting His process even if we don’t see the result. To seek describes a conscientious effort put forth to find something. I was seeking to get home that night, but I was listening from a limited perspective, not observing what was before me.  My navigation was leading me down a one-way road to nowhere, and I was seeing it unfold before my eyes, never stopping to turn around. Reminds me of a Proverb that discusses listening to good counsel. Let the wise hear and increase in learning and the one who understands obtain guidance. (Proverbs 1:5 ESV)  The Holy Spirit is good counsel and helps us improve our knowledge. This statement about the Holy Spirit is easy to say and admit, but it is harder to put in action. I confess plenty of my blunders in life are the result of not seeking or following the sweet, gentle counsel of the Holy Spirit. I found myself hearing and seeing the need to reroute but often failed to follow the promptings.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.
(Proverbs 3:7,8)

When the navigation is on, the rerouting feature comes in handy. It reminds us that not only has the way been redirected for us, but our destination is still obtainable. The reason may not be our fault; sometimes, we can miss a turn. Let’s be honest. Sometimes we are lost because we are focusing on our way of direction and not listening to that voice intended to get us to our destination safely. It is not always the best way to get back; in fact, it often comes with more twists and turns. There is a way that seems right to a man, but it ends in death. (Proverbs 14:12 ESV) Stop for a moment. Think about the reroute feature as God’s grace towards you and I. Grace is unmerited favor. If we acknowledge the fact that we have veered from the navigation and change directions and follow where it leads, we can still reach the destination. Yes, it will come most times with more steps, but that is why it is called a reroute.

When we allow the Holy Spirit to deliver us after missing or taking the wrong turn, we must do two things to get back on track. We admit first that we are off-track. Then we listen to the instructions to correct our particular predicament, being lost. If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)  

What if after so many times of rerouting-the navigation just turned off, leaving us to find our way? What would we do? More importantly, what could we do?  We probably would have to calibrate our navigation. This calibration is sometimes our last hope in finding our way back home. We calibrate navigation when a connection breaks with the source giving directions. Communication no longer transmits to us. In turn, they are leaving us to trust our sense of direction to do anything—a dangerous place to find ourselves. The question is, where are you going?

If you need to calibrate your sense of direction, stop and do it. Allow Christ to come in and take control to restore that connection with the Holy Spirit so that you can hear pure instruction to get you through this journey of life. Call your Pastor or godly counsel, if you don’t have a church home, ask God to lead you to where He wants you. To get what you need to put you on the right path.

Lord, we thank you for your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the reroutes in our lives when we were going the wrong way. We thank you for the ability to calibrate with you to regain the connection we so desperately need. Please help us to know where we are going and not lose our way.

In Jesus’s name, Amen

Be Encouraged Friend…