February 1st, 2011 by Bryan Anthony

“Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow
And my years with sighing;
My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my body has wasted away.
Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,
Especially to my neighbors,
And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
Those who see me in the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.” -Ps. 31.9-12

The element of human weakness in the Psalms is a great provision for the Church, for the moment we come onto the grounds of flowery religious cliche, we at once come to unreality, and God will not work with us along those lines. It is noteworthy for us to consider that the sweet-singer and priestly King of Israel, David himself, had seasons where his soul was overcome with grief and confusion, paranoia and weariness, fear and hopelessness. This does not make him an insignificant figure in the history of the faith, but is rather a testament to the faithfulness of God, Who is able to save “to the uttermost” all who call upon His name.

The Psalms are filled with David’s inner turmoils and wrestlings, and he was not afraid to sing of them in the Tabernacle of old. He did not think of his spiritual image before men, for he was pre-eminently concerned for the presence of the heavenly King. He knew that the One Who had formed the world and knit him together in his mother’s womb, was well acquainted with the actual condition of his life. He felt no need to perform spiritually, but to come to God on the grounds of truth, bringing to the Lord the whole of who he was, “warts and all.”

This is a great call for our nip-and-tuck, fashion-obsessed, image-dominated society. We unfortunately bring the unreality of worldly thought into our experience of religion, and most of us can be found putting up the self-image of our choosing; that which looks most presentable to men. But God has ever and always been eager for the reality and truth of our condition, for it is only on those grounds that we meet with His mercy and transforming power.

We would be quick to accuse, and even quote a verse at David if he were to pour out his soul to us as he did in Psalm 31. His pleas with the Lord were often antithetical to the boisterous, Dominionist views of many modern souls in the Church. We might think of his song as a bad witness, a complaining rant, or a sign of his weak spirituality. But how was it that David became such a precious figure with such favor from God? How is it that when Jesus comes He will restore the “tabernacle of David,” that He will sit on “David’s throne,” and that He did not wince when He was called “the Son of David” by the blind man?

God is not ashamed to be identified with David because David cried out to Him from the ground of reality. And it is David’s pursuit of God from the ground of weakness, in grief, in sorrow, even in iniquity, that made him a “broken vessel” who is still “blessing the families of the earth” today. His weakness is the condition of all humanity, but out of that low place, he continued to cry out to the One who is “high and lifted up,” and we are still feeling the reverberations of his life in God in our generation. Am I pursuing Him from the ground of reality, or have I got some image to uphold before men?

When I come to Him from the ground of my own brokenness, at once I am touched by the only One who has the power to cleanse, heal, and restore my soul, and to bring me into alignment with the reality of Himself. And to live in the reality of God Himself, walking circumspectly before Him in all His glorious light, is to be “free indeed.”

For I have heard the slander of many,
Terror is on every side;
While they took counsel together against me,
They schemed to take away my life.
But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD,
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.
Make Your face to shine upon Your servant;
Save me in Your lovingkindness.” (vv. 13-16)

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September 7th, 2009 by Bryan Anthony

2580183410_f41cf5311bHigh definition colors, lights and themes flash,
Rush-hour movement, talk-radio blasts, cars dash,
Goings-on for the day, busy minds rehash,
Without thinking of You.

E-mails zing by the millions, ’round the globe flying,
Salesmen manipulate naive shoppers, prying,
Lottery ticket holder wins a few grand, sighing,
With no room for You.

Theaters fill with eager souls, anticipating the latest,
Boasts echo from arrogant athletes, “I am the greatest!”
Middle East breathes peace for one brief hiatus,
With no regard for You.

Stadiums overflow with painted men, worshipping names,
Names of chiseled figures, skilled at playing games,
Enduring snow, sleet, hail, heat, or heavy rains,
Could this be for You?

Bars full of drunkards, cursing others, adulterating,
Sunday afternoon gluttons, bloated from “buffeting”,
Preacher clicking the mouse in his office, masturbating,
Hiding from all but You.

Church-going man screaming at wife and kids,
Christian contractor making unjust bids,
Mother kills infant and claims it was SIDS,
Breaking the heart of You.

Government waters down murder in the womb,
Brides are unnecessary, groom marries groom,
Preachers envy preachers, their mouths open tombs,
Inviting wrath from You.

Emergents emerged, new programs gain momentum,
“Apostles” have built their empires, but who sent them?
Lacking humility, promoting their books and systems,
In the name of who?

Lord, in this hour when true love has waxed cold,
And we’ve lost the fire of the prophets of old,
For we’ve shirked the heat that would try us as gold,
We need mercy from You.

O, that my eyes were a fountain of tears,
Flowing copiously all of my years,
Until mercy breaks in, until heaven hears,
Until we see You.

Wake us from sleeping, give us Your own view,
Break us with weeping, to love as You do,
Shake us from what’s fleeting, O make us true,
Like You. Only You.

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March 15th, 2009 by Bryan Anthony
sunrise-1“The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” -Rom. 13.12

The nature of God’s Kingdom, the way of His government, the glory of His leadership has everything to do with increase. When it comes to the vision of His coming Kingdom, the day when He returns to set the world aright, we see pictures of upheaval, shaking, and trial, followed by everlasting peace, abiding joy, and the entire universe permanently being marked by the righteousness of God. The visions and words of the Biblical Prophets are sure words, completely worthy of our examination, reflection, and obedience. The neglect of the Biblical Prophets has done great damage to the Church in our generation.

Yet and still, it is quite possible in thinking about future tribulation and glory to be distracted from the glory of the Kingdom which the Lord intends to break into the earth through the fallen “earthen vessels” that we are. Paul’s perception of the end of the age is not pessimistic or depressive. He was fully aware of the shakings to come, the future toppling of governments, the cataclysm and trials that lie ahead. Indeed, he was a preacher of the judgment to come. (Acts 24.25)

Though he was aware of the difficulties to come, Paul’s vision was that the night was almost gone, the darkness was dissipating, and that because Christ has been exalted, the day of God is on the positive rise in the lives of the saints. He saw the nature of the Kingdom in the lives of those who believe to be one of increase: the increase of light, the increase of love, the increase of righteousness, the increase of Christ Himself. It was a vital reality to him, and it is available to all in our day and age who would “lay aside the deeds of darkness,” and receive the Holy Spirit.

“The night is almost gone, and the day is near…” Are you turning from “carousing and drunkenness, sexual promiscuity and sensuality, strife and jealousy?” Or are you still walking blindly beneath the veil of darkness? Turn from the night, for the day is dawning friends. It is time to receive the Holy Spirit, and if you ask the Father for bread He will not give you a stone.

When the Holy Spirit comes, He will show you the Christ in the beauty of His holiness, and the glorious light of His nature will increase in your life.

Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: , , , , , , ,