Posts Tagged ‘San Antonio’


Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Moral chaos breeds chaos.  David’s immoral behavior would bring calamity on his household.  David’s forceful taking of Uriah’s wife made it more likely that women in the palace would be vulnerable to another man’s violation.  Weakened from within, David was not able to protect those dearest to him.   What happened in the palace would be mainstreamed “in broad daylight for all Israel.”

Violence begets violence.  Despising God brings God’s judgment upon oneself.  How could David have fooled himself into believing he could “take” Uriah’s wife as his own!

Thus confronted, David repented.  Remorsefully he confessed,  “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13).  God accepted David’s sorrowful lament.  Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die” (2 Sam. 12:13).  David’s life could have been “taken” from him, even as he had taken Uriah’s.  David could have lost the right to rule as king, even as did Saul, whom David was anointed to replace.  David and Bathsheba would also endure the additional grief of their firstborn child’s death.

God doesn’t want us to visit the dark side. When we go there, he doesn’t want us to stay there.  Recovery through repentance from sin is the way out.  This good news applies to all sins; adultery is not excluded. Broken trust can be restored.  An afflicted husband and wife may have to work hard for years to get through the pain, but by God’s grace it is possible “to love and to cherish…for better or for worse” and go forward.

David wrote Psalm 51 in remorse for what he had done.  With guilt and shame, he owned up to his sins before God.  Re-establishing trust is built on remorse, repentance, and renewal.  Remorse stops us in our tracks.  Repentance turns us from going in a sinful direction to living godwardShuv, the Hebrew word for repentance means literally “to turn around and go in the opposite direction.”   Renewal is the result of our misdirected life being redirected.

Our life is determined by the choices we make at home, at work, and in our community.   Believers are sinners saved by God’s grace.  The work I do as pastor includes helping people who are caught in sin by showing them that there is a better way to live, and to begin living that way.  When Nathan said, “David, you are the man who has done this!”  He showed David  the consequences of his sins. But God’s amazing grace saved the shepherd king.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you become enslaved to habitual sin? Can you see God’s escape route? Are you feeling salvation’s joy at home, at work, and in your community? Are you enjoying life by dancing to the rhythm of God’s grace?

PRAYER: Lord, I get Your message.  The purer my heart, the more I can see of you.  By being with you in prayer, I trust that you will burn away the impurities in my  heart. Have your way with me so that I will live in your ways. David’s prayer becomes my prayer, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and renew a right spirit within me.” Amen.

A Note from Mark Roberts: This week’s reflections have been written by my friend and fellow pastor, Dr. Leslie Hollon, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Leslie (known also by the nickname Les) is a noted preacher, pastor, professor, and author. He is a gifted biblical teacher who connects the deep truths of Scripture to the realities of daily life. Every time I hear Leslie preach, I am encouraged to consider in new ways how the Word of God speaks to me. I know you will find Leslie’s reflections on temptation to be challenging and encouraging.

http://www.thehighcalling.org/reflection/restoring-joy-your-salvation

Advertisements

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!  This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.'”

When news of Uriah’s death reached David, he deceived himself into thinking he was beyond the reach of God’s judgment and the people’s disgust.  So he took Bathsheba as his wife.  He acted as if everything was okay when it was not.

Chapter 12 opens with God taking the initiative to correct the situation.  He sent Nathan to confront King David. Nathan had helped David before, but this time his assignment would be more challenging.

The harsh reality is that sin damns us if we do not trust God’s grace for forgiveness.  As the Apostle Paul wrote,  “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).  To realize his guilt, David had to be confronted by Nathan.  Nathan’s access to the king did not protect him from the king’s vengeful wrath.  David could have had Nathan killed.

Nathan used a parable so the king would let down his defenses.  As Nathan told the story of a rich man who had “taken a poor man’s beloved lamb” and used the lamb as banquet food for a traveler, “David burned with anger.”  David condemned the man who was rich in money but impoverished in mercy. David concluded the rich man deserved to die but mercifully David would reduce the punishment so the offender would pay for the ewe lamb four times over. (Zacchaeus applied this restitution principle in Luke 19:8).  Once the king gave judgment, Nathan took the opening to deliver his punch line, “You are the man” (2 Sam. 12:7).  The parable began as a window through which David clearly saw injustice; then the parable became a mirror by which David starkly saw himself as the sinful man.   David, the shepherd king, had become a ravenous predator, and only God’s mercy could save him.

God knows our life story, and he knows that in order for us to be people who overcome, people who move from tragedy to triumph, we must be people who can also recover from sin.  Therefore, God connects us with a love that on his part will not let go.  In Hebrew this love is called “hessed.”  In the New Testament it is called “grace.”  This love is built inside our souls and tethers us.  This love motivates our conscience after we have sinned to feel remorse, to repent, and to be renewed.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Is God trying to correct areas of your life? Is someone trying to give you a message on God’s behalf? Are you repenting so you can be renewed?

PRAYER:  Lord, this is a conversation I have not wanted to have with you.  I have been afraid to tell you the wrongs that I have done.  Because if I did, I knew that I would need to change.  I know that you know this, but saying it to you brings it out into the open.  Forgive me.  I am sorry.  Thanks for lifting this burden from my soul.  Through your grace, I will live differently and try to make things right with others. Amen.

A Note from Mark Roberts: This week’s reflections have been written by my friend and fellow pastor, Dr. Leslie Hollon, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Leslie (known also by the nickname Les) is a noted preacher, pastor, professor, and author. He is a gifted biblical teacher who connects the deep truths of Scripture to the realities of daily life. Every time I hear Leslie preach, I am encouraged to consider in new ways how the Word of God speaks to me. I know you will find Leslie’s reflections on temptation to be challenging and encouraging.

http://www.thehighcalling.org/reflection/guilty-sin


Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields.  How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife?  As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

David chose to trust in his own power and mistrust God’s power.  That choice endangered his very soul.  He needed to be rescued from himself.  But this mess was of his own making, and he resisted calling on the promise of Psalm 23.  Have you been there?  Do you know what that’s like?

To enact his cover-up, David recalled Bathsheba’s husband, the great warrior Uriah, off the front line of battle.  Upon returning to the court of the king, David greeted him and said, “Go back to your home and wash your feet there.”  This phrase is a Hebrew euphemism inferring “to have sexual relations.”  It was made clear through Bathsheba’s purification bath that she was not pregnant before David “took her” (1 Sam. 11:2).  Her pregnancy was David’s responsibility.  David wanted Uriah and the public to think that the baby was Uriah’s.

The warrior remembered that King David had instructed the soldiers to abstain from sexual relations during seasons of combat.  So instead he slept in the servants’ quarters and did not go to his home.   The next night King David, trying to cover up further, got Uriah drunk.  Again Uriah refused to go into his own bedroom to be with his own wife. He was acting with honor, a Hittite more faithful than Israel’s King.  David feared that soon all the kingdom would be gossiping about his sins.    He then wrote a decree which Uriah delivered to General Joab. Ironically, the secret orders delivered by Uriah carried his death sentence.

David’s cover-up only made matters worse.  Satan (which means “the deceiver”) works through temptation’s distorted messages.  Sin harms.  Habitual sin destroys.  Once sin has its hooks in us, it won’t let go voluntarily.  We must yield to God.  Then our misdirected life gets redirected in God’s ways. Sin had its way with David, who then had his way with Bathsheba;  both of them were left in the dilemma of what to do next.  David had a choice to confess or to cover up by committing additional sins.

When we try to cover up sin in our own power, we fool ourselves.  Servants were involved in delivering David’s messages. People observed his behavior. They watched their king act in ways unbecoming of a king, and people began to talk. The rumors spread through all twelve tribes of Israel.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When are you tempted to mistrust God’s power by trusting in your own power apart from his? Confess or cover-up, what is your preference? What are people in your home, workplace, or community seeing from your behavior?

PRAYER: Dear God, we live in a hard world.  Much of what goes on around us or in my own heart is directly opposed to you.  I am tempted to deal with this contradiction by hardening my own heart.  Please help me to lean into your strength so that I can be strong without being calloused.

A Note from Mark Roberts: This week’s reflections have been written by my friend and fellow pastor, Dr. Leslie Hollon, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Leslie (known also by the nickname Les) is a noted preacher, pastor, professor, and author. He is a gifted biblical teacher who connects the deep truths of Scripture to the realities of daily life. Every time I hear Leslie preach, I am encouraged to consider in new ways how the Word of God speaks to me. I know you will find Leslie’s reflections on temptation to be challenging and encouraging. Amen.

http://www.thehighcalling.org/reflection/making-bad-situation-worse


One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.  From the roof he saw a woman bathing.  The woman was very beautiful…

King David sent his men off to battle but did not go himself.  This was the first time he did not lead his troops as they went on a major military campaign.  Why did he stay behind?  What was he feeling? He would fight more battles later; why not now?

When David went to his roof top and saw Bathsheba bathing, he was inspired by temptation not goodness. Temptation takes what is good and turns it upside down with the deceptive message that wrong is better than right (Isaiah 5:20).  Temptation whispers for us not to trust God. When we commit to temptation, we sin by trying to redefine “goodness” into what we want.  David risked the kingdom he had fought hard to win for God’s purposes.

He had seen Bathsheba before but not like this; not when he was in transition and she appeared so vulnerable and beautiful before his wandering eyes.  Out on the balcony, David’s body experienced a flash flood of testosterone.  His sexual drive became fully activated when he looked out and saw beautiful Bathsheba bathing.  He saw her as a pawn for his taking and not as a loyal family friend.   Bathsheba’s family had been faithful and true to the king.  Her father, Eliam (2 Sam. 23:34), was likely one of David’s more heroic leaders.  Uriah, her husband, was one of David’s most valiant soldiers (2 Sam. 23:3a).

In this transition moment, David yielded his heart to sin and decided that his own selfish desires would make him happy.  The story is told honestly and graphically in 2 Samuel 11.  The king commanded a servant, “Bring her to me!”  This Hebrew phrase means “to take.”  David, motivated by lust, in a lonely moment, abused his kingly power.  Bathsheba went into the palace to meet the King.  David, caught in sin’s thrill of rebellion, did not care that his actions displeased God.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Does your love for God help you to focus on doing what is right? Does fear of painful consequences warn you to beware of sin? Can you let go of that something you want, but that you shouldn’t have?

PRAYER:  God, I wish my heart wanted what was always right, but it doesn’t.  In this struggle I become double minded.  So right now I am going to trust you enough to release “the other” from my heart.  Please fill my heart with the joy of your presence so I won’t feel so lonely and want to take back that which I have just relinquished. Amen.

A Note from Mark Roberts: This week’s reflections have been written by my friend and fellow pastor, Dr. Leslie Hollon, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Leslie (known also by the nickname Les) is a noted preacher, pastor, professor, and author. He is a gifted biblical teacher who connects the deep truths of Scripture to the realities of daily life. Every time I hear Leslie preach, I am encouraged to consider in new ways how the Word of God speaks to me. I know you will find Leslie’s reflections on temptation to be challenging and encouraging.

http://www.thehighcalling.org/reflection/when-you-want-what-you-shouldnt-have?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheHighCallingDailyReflections+%28Daily+Reflection+%26+Prayer%29


Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Preface from Mark Roberts: This week’s reflections have been written by my friend and fellow pastor, Dr. Leslie Hollon, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Leslie (known also by the nickname Les) is a noted preacher, pastor, professor, and author. He is a gifted biblical teacher who connects the deep truths of Scripture to the realities of daily life. Every time I hear Leslie preach, I am encouraged to consider in new ways how the Word of God speaks to me. I know you will find Leslie’s reflections on temptation to be challenging and encouraging. – Mark

When our daughter, Rachel, became a teenager, she asked me one night, “Dad, tell me a story from the Bible, not a story of good people doing good things.  Tell me a story about when the people messed up.”  She wanted to know how God helps us when we are tempted to do wrong.

Temptation presents the possibility of sin, but it is not sin in itself.  Sin begins when we form plans to put the temptation into play.  Once begun, sin seeks to become a habit in our lives at home, at work, and in our community.

A person healed from his addiction with Internet pornography said to me, “It consumed my time, my energy.  It was destroying my relations with my wife.  I was wasting my life.  Now for three years my life has been freed up from that.” He realized, what we all must realize, sinful pleasure never satisfies for long.

Sin expands one’s appetite for more sin.  David’s sinful trail began when he stood looking out from his fancy corner office and coveted his neighbor’s wife. That led to adultery, lying, and murder.  David’s unraveling did not stop until the prophet Nathan confronted him about his abuse of authority and convinced him of his sins.

Repentance is our only hope to be released from this deadly cycle.  Repentance begins with soulful remorse and ends with soul-filled renewal that extends to every part of life.

David’s attempt to insulate himself from guilt’s stinging indictment meant his sinful actions did not stop with sexually manipulating Bathsheba.  He had to do something about Uriah, her husband.  Sin does not stop on its own power.  Only God’s power is strong enough to stop sin’s destructive force.  Repentance opens us to change when we yield our will into God’s will so our desires can be reshaped.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Where are you most vulnerable to temptation—at home, at work, or in your community? How have you learned to recognize the deceptive nature of temptation? Are you entrusting your desires to God?

PRAYER: O Lord: I need You.  I want You.  I freshly give myself to You.  Please shape the desires of my heart so that I will delight in You and serve you in all that I do.  Please give me the eyes of faith to recognize temptation’s deceptive nature.  Help me to see Your warning signs so I may beware of sin by being aware of You.

http://www.thehighcalling.org/reflection/when-does-temptation-become-sin


Since Roe v. Wadelegalized abortion in January 1973, more than 55 million babies have been aborted in America.

If a number like “55 million” is hard to grasp, think of it this way—if you added together the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and San Francisco, you would only have about 26.1 million people—less than half the number aborted.

Looked at in this way, it’s easier to understand just how many missing people “55 million” represents.

Yet the tremendous number of lives taken here actually pales in comparison to the number of human lives wiped out in other countries, where abortion has been legal for longer and Christianity sidelined more readily.

In the former Soviet Union, where abortion for medical reasons was declared legal in 1955 and abortion for any reason was legalized in 1968, the number of abortions was approximately 113.2 millionthrough 1980—a profoundly staggering number.

During this moral nadir the average Soviet woman had 8 abortions.

As recently as 2008, abortion was still “the common method of birth control” in Russia.

Starting from a ban on abortion and projecting forward just a few decades, it’s very difficult to grasp the magnitude of this human, demographic, and moral tragedy. Over time the de facto meaning of words like “medical necessity” has become “abortion on demand.”  Might we be headed down the same path?  Many today seem to be engaged in a form of moral and demographic solipsism—pretending or denying the reality that a loss of human life on this scale   will have no effect.

Some abortion advocates these days fight to prevent women from seeing ultrasound images of the babies they carry. Some will not even discuss the enormous numbers of unborn children dying each year or the cumulative total of humans lost to abortion in the United States.

In Russia—the largest nation on earth geographically—the population is down to an estimated 140 million, shrinking by several million each year. Put bluntly, they are killing themselves faster than they are replacing themselves. Immigration—legal or illegal—aside, do we really want to continue down this path toward national genocide?

In 2006, Russian President Vladimir Putin referred to the falling birthrate—a consequence of high abortion—as “the most acute problem of contemporary Russia.” The same pattern is occurring in Spain, Italy, and most other European nations.

With the ramifications of unfettered abortion on demand so undeniably clear, why aren’t we learning from our mistakes?

Shouldn’t we pursue life for a change?

Benjamin Bull

Benjamin Bull is an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom.

http://townhall.com/columnists/benjaminbull/2012/10/16/abortion_kills_children_and_entire_populations/page/full/


A megachurch  in San Antonio, Texas, is not going to avoid the elephant in the room any  longer. Its pastors have  decided to talk from the pulpit about the upcoming presidential election.

“This is a big one,” said Pastor Randy Frazee to the Oak Hills Church  congregation on Sunday regarding the Nov. 6, 2012, election. “It seems like  maybe with the state of the economy, the state of world affairs, the state of  ongoing wards, there just seems to be a lot at stake right now.”

“Maybe this upcoming election might unite us or it might further divide us,”  the senior minister said, describing this year’s election as “a little bit more  polarized” than previous ones he has participated in.

During his sermon Sunday, Frazee didn’t tell the congregation who would make  a better president for the next four years – Barack  Obama or Mitt Romney. He  didn’t discuss specific policies either. But he did call on Christians to cast a  vote for Jesus.

He wasn’t suggesting that Christians write in Jesus on the ballot but he was  encouraging them to make Jesus the “president” and lord of their lives and then  vote accordingly.

“Jesus for President” is Oak Hills’ newest sermon series that will run for  four more weeks, with renowned author Max Lucado scheduled to speak next. The  series, the church says, “isn’t about … Republican or Democratic parties, hot  button political issues and political rallies.” Instead, it “seeks to capture  biblical principles and encourage you to live them out in your life.”

“When we let Christ rule our lives and decisions we join His campaign.”

One major biblical principle that Frazee highlighted on Sunday is the value  of every life, what he listed as part of Jesus’ “Bill of Rights.”

During the Greek and Roman empires, women were highly devalued, the pastor  cited. It was common practice at the time to kill baby girls upon delivery, abortion was prevalent, daughters  were forced to marry before puberty, and female widows were pressured to remarry  so that their inheritance from their late husbands would be transferred to their  new husbands.

It was Jesus who valued women. And following the principles of Jesus,  Christians in the early years prohibited infanticide and abortion, and protected  young girls and widows. Sociologist Rodney Stark believes this contributed to  the rapid growth of Christianity and thus impacted society.

Frazee asked Christians to rediscover the principle of seeing people the way  Jesus sees them – with extreme value. Today, the largest group of people who are  devalued in society are children, Frazee said.

More than 400,000 children are in the U.S. foster care system or waiting to  be on it, 13 million worldwide are awaiting adoption, and 42 million worldwide  are aborted annually, he said.

“What if the body of Christ, what if the church were to value these children  and act on that declaration like the church did for women in the first 350 years  of the church?” Frazee asked.

Lamenting the problem of the breakdown of families today, the Texas pastor  urged believers to help build stronger families – whether through adoption,  mentoring, fostering, supporting other families, or simply praying for children  at risk by name.

By building such families on biblical grounds, Frazee believes there could be  a seismic shift in faith around the world.

Though he did not discuss politics specifically, Frazee did encourage the  congregation to let their voice and values count during the presidential  election.

“Max and myself are inviting you to pray for your leaders and we’re inviting  you with all that Jesus has been teaching you and has done for you to simply  take that with you whatever you do, including vote,” he stated.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/texas-pastor-tells-church-to-vote-for-jesus-but-not-as-us-president-79612/#HuRjSV7LfCwlYgzO.99