Monday, November 7, 2011

Psalm 15 - Mission Impossible

I've been avoiding this one for two reasons: 1) I wrote it once on a piece of notebook paper and lost it.  I was hoping to have found it.  2) It's almost depressing thinking about how short I fall on a daily basis.

In Psalm 15, David starts by asking God, "Who may dwell in your sacred tent?  Who may live on your holy mountain?"  In other words, who is able to live in communion with God - to have a connection with Him?  Here comes the depressing part: the answer.  To be connected to God, I must:

  1. Walk blamelessly
  2. Act righteously
  3. Speak honestly, but with compassion
  4. Refrain from slander
  5. Avoid wronging anyone else
  6. Abstain from speaking ill of anyone
  7. Despise those who are vile
  8. Honor those who fear God
  9. Keep my promises even when it is beyond difficult
  10. Remain steadfast in my thinking
  11. Lend money to those less fortunate without interest
  12. Avoid accepting bribes against the innocent
If I can do these 12 things, then the psalm says I will never be shaken.  I guess that explains why I have felt so shaken so often recently.  Quick confession:
  1. My walk is anything but blameless.  I stumble so often that it probably doesn't qualify as a walk that often.
  2. Acting righteously means acting in an upright manner, being virtuous, being good and honest.  I can easily think of times today I couldn't qualify myself as any of those things.
  3. Sometimes my honesty comes across as being condescending and judgmental
  4. As hard as I try not to be a gossip or say things about people behind their back, I'd be lying if I said it didn't happen.  In fact, it happened today. 
  5. Anyone who knows me even remotely well can probably think of a time when I wronged them or someone they know, even if it was inadvertently.
  6. See number 4.
  7. I'm not sure about this one, to be honest.
  8. Sometimes I look up to people who fear God and sometimes I think to myself, "It must be easy to have it all together when..."
  9. Judging by the number of times I've been behind with posting, we all know how keeping difficult promises is going.
  10. See number 9.
  11. Not quite sure about this one.
  12. Or this one.
So I guess it makes perfect sense that I feel shaken.  By the way, here are some synonyms for shaken:
  • agitated
  • disturbed
  • jolted
  • perturbed
  • unsteady
  • upset
  • flustered
  • overcome
  • rattled
  • bewildered
  • overwhelmed
  • beaten
  • defeated
  • conquered
  • overpowered
There's no way for me to really put this next part into words, so I think I'm going to have to stick with a few verses that come to mind.  I'm sorry, but that's all I can manage right now. 

"Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them." -Romans 4:7-8

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." -1 Timothy 1:12-17

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:1-10

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