March 5, 2012
By John Barnett
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When God describes a person’s life, He usually does so very succinctly and measures whether or not they served Him well.
As we open to Acts 13, we are opening to God’s assessment that David lived life deliberately for what pleased God.
David sought and followed what God wanted done in life, not what David wanted done.
There are only two choices on the shelf of life: doing what pleases me, or what pleases God.
David’s life was summed up by the only One who can look at every moment of our life, from start to finish in one glance, and reduce us down to a statement.
For David, that summary statement in mentioned by Paul in his sermon in Acts 13.
Acts 13:36 (ESV) /"For David, *after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation*, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption"/
What we see is that God has placed each of us on earth, in a specific time: for a specific purpose.
God then measures whether we accomplished what He desired in that time period.
When we know the purposes of God (which are revealed for us in His Word), and live accordingly, we have a life that serves His purpose, and thus is lived deliberately for God.
The lesson for us today is that we need to:
*Live Life Deliberately*
For most of us, we struggle with really knowing what it is that we are supposed to do for the Lord.
That is why the prayer that Jesus commanded in Matthew 6 is so important.
As we turn back to Matthew 6, may I remind you of one of the simplest and yet most profound spiritual exercises that Jesus prescribed for us?
The Lord’s Prayer was an exercise designed to keep each of us in step with God’s plan for our lives.
Remember that simple prayer that changes me?
Matthew 6:5-15 /“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites.
For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.
Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[b]
7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.
For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them.
For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:/
/Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name./
/10 Your kingdom come.
/Your will be done /
/On earth as it is in heaven.
/ 11 Give us this day our daily bread.
/12 And forgive us our debts/,
/As we forgive our debtors.
/13 And do not lead us into temptation, /
/But deliver us from the evil one.
/For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
14 /“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."/
What we just read is what I like to call:
*The Prayer That Changes Me*
The seven simple steps, or lessons we are to live by, are found in the natural phrase divisions of this prayer:
1. God, *focus* me on who You are;
2. As I see You,* control* me each day.
3. I seek You to *lead me* through all the myriads of choices life presents each day.
4. Then I will trust that You will *supply me* with whatever I need to accomplish Your will.
5. *Cleanse* me so I stay in close touch with You and Your plan.
6. *Protect* me from everything that seeks to keep me from You.
7. *Empty* me so You get all the glory and honor for my life.
That prayer makes each of us ponder whether we like David, are deliberately doing what God desires for us to do in life; which leads us to our next Psalm from David’s life.
Turn back with me now to Psalm 31, which is David’s meditation on his purpose in life.
As we listen, this Psalm confronts each of us with a serious question that is behind all that David wrote here: “Am I seeking the Lord deliberately with all my heart—or just coasting along spiritually”?
Please look at Psalm 31 with me, a magnificent call to each of us from God that He:
focus, control, lead, supply, cleanse, protect, and empty me each day—
so that I accomplish His purposes and not mine own, each day He gives me to live!
Psalm 31:1-24 (NKJV)
To the Chief Musician.
A Psalm of David.
1 In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
2 Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.
3 For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
4 Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
6 I have hated those who regard useless idols;
But I trust in the LORD.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,
For You have considered my trouble;
You have known my soul in adversities,
8 And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a wide place.
9 Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble;
My eye wastes away with grief,
Yes, my soul and my body!
10 For my life is spent with grief,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my iniquity,
And my bones waste away.
11 I am a reproach among all my enemies,
But especially among my neighbors,
And am repulsive to my acquaintances;
Those who see me outside flee from me.
12 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the slander of many;
Fear is on every side;
While they take counsel together against me,
They scheme to take away my life.
14 But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”