Monday, November 30, 2009

He Knoweth Not How

Mark 4:27-28 KJV
And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.


John Gill says
".....this is said, not to denote that man of himself, upon hearing the word, can bring forth the fruit of grace in himself; he cannot regenerate himself, nor quicken, nor convert himself; he cannot believe in Christ, nor love the Lord of himself; nor repent of his sin, nor begin, or carry on the good work; he can neither sanctify his heart, nor mortify the deeds of the body; or even bring forth the fruits of good works, when converted. For all these things are owing to the Spirit, power, and grace of God: men are regenerated according to the abundant mercy of God....through the sun of righteousness, the dews of divine grace, and operations of the blessed Spirit, it rises up and brings forth fruit."

While we cannot make this happen in and of ourselves, it does happen. We need not fear whether God will do the work, either in ourselves or in the hearts, minds and souls of others. We must merely believe that, upon scattering the seed, God will do the work of converting. This is a matter of faith. We must not allow ourselves to worry and fret as to whether God will do His part in the conversion of souls. He, above all, is faithful and true.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Called, They Came, but they were Not All Converted

Mark 3:13 KJV
And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

Immediately following this passage the Bible says Jesus ordained His twelve Apostles, among them Judas Iscariot, "...which also betrayed Him...."
Judas was called
Judas came and
Judas followed Christ

But Judas was not converted. That tells me that others could be called and come and even follow and obey the Lord for a time without being genuinely born again. The fact that we have heard the Word and agree with it does not necessarily mean that we have been saved. Even the fact that we have followed in some form of outward obedience is not a sure sign of conversion.
Baptism
Church membership and attendance
Sunday School teacher even
Pastor


None of those things prove salvation and none of those things ought to be relied upon for our salvation. Of course, Jesus knew from the beginning what Judas would do. And God knows today who is and is not truly converted. It is no problem for Him. The trouble comes for us who can only look on the outside. I cannot know a person's true spiritual condition except to see the fruit of their life. In that case, the only fruit that really tells the tale for me is how they end. If they are faithful to the end I may fairly expect their conversion to be true. But what about the individual? Can I, as a man, ever know that my soul in secure in Christ? I can if the Bible is true. Many Scriptures speak of the subject of assurance, 1 John 5:13 being among my favorite.

I ought not assume my salvation based upon the assurances of others.
Nor should I count my eternity upon what I have or have not done.
The truest proof of conversion is the witness of the Spirit of God to my own spirit, that I am a child of God.

This is nothing another human being can see and a person can either tell you that he has a witness in His spirit that he does not have or else he may mistake his early zeal for the Lord as that witness. But the one who is honest, quiet in spirit and listens to the Lord will know if that witness is present.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

For Us

Mark 2:27 KJV
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

I am going to accept that, from Jesus' employment of David's eating the shewbread, that this passage applies to more than ust the Sabbath, but is true in fact of all of God's law.

Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. God did not create us so we could obey His laws. God created His laws for our benefit and good. God's laws are not meant to be a burden to us, something that we fret over and stress about. These laws are meant to aide us in our lives for God. True enough, if we attempt to find our righteousness in them, we will find that this same law that God meant for good becomes a snare of slay us. However the law, properly understood and obeyed, is not mean yoke. It brings joy and comfort and grace into life.

Jesus said all of the law could be summed up in two great commandments;
Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy souls and with all thy might and
Love thy neighbor as thyself


Any thinking person can see that to obey these laws would be the greatest benefit both to the obedient one and to the world in which he lives.

Thank God for His law!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Solitary Place

Mark 1:35 KJV
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

I am at the church this morning, the day after Thanksgiving. No one else is around and the building is quiet. It is a solitary place right now.

Tomorrow morning the church will have several and varied activities taking place: visitation groups in the morning, a Saturday intensive class throughout the day, and a martial arts discipleship class in the evening. Then, just two days from today we will meet for our Sunday services. This place will be a beehive of activity. Young children will move swiftly through the hallways, a group of ladies will gather for a private time of prayer, classrooms will begin to fill with students, music will play on the pianos and over our speaker system, finally God's Word will be preached. This place, which is so silent and solitary right now will be anything but in just two days.

I am thinking today that there must be these solitary times, and significantly more of them than the busy times, to make the busy times have any meaning whatsoever. Jesus met His heavenly Father in a solitary place. How can we expect to meet Him anywhere else? Sure, there is an appropriate time for the bustle of the assembly of believers. But that assembly is oiled and made fit, through those solitary times we spend in the presence of God alone.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A New Song

Psalms 149:1 KJV
Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

From Gill's Commentary
"...for a new mercy received, a new victory obtained, or a new salvation wrought; more particularly the new song of redeeming grace through Jesus Christ, the song of the Lamb, in distinction from the old song of Moses and the children of Israel at the Red sea, on account of their deliverance, which was typical of salvation by Christ, the oldest, being the first song we read of; but this is a new one, which none but the redeemed of the Lamb can sing; a song suited to Gospel times, in which all things are new, a new church state, new ordinances, a new covenant, and a new and living way to the holiest of all; a song proper for renewed persons to sing, who have new favours continually to bless and praise the Lord for..."

Every day the Christian has a new reason to sing unto the Lord.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Build Up Jerusalem

Psalms 147:2 KJV
The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

Although the primary meaning is a literal reference to the city of Jerusalem and the people of Israel still the passage offers hope for Christians of our day. The Lord is busy about the business of building up a people for Himself out of the outcasts of this world. Those who come to a saving faith are seldom the notables of worldly wisdom and wealth. Most often we are those who have experienced in the deepest ways that this world is no friend to man made in the image of God.

So the Psalm offers a foundation for our prayer that the Lord would build up His church, any one of those local churches whose pastor or people might sense the urge to seek it of the Lord.

Oh Lord build up our church. Gather together in this place those who feel estranged from this world and long for fellowship with You.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Every Day

Psalms 145:2 KJV
Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

The word bless means to kneel as an act of adoration and to either proclaim upon or desire for the glory and benefit of another. This, the Christian should do before God every day.

Every day should include some time on our knees before the Lord
Every day should incorporate some time simply adoring the Lord and
Every day should include some time when the Christian purposes to bring glory and and delight to the Lord.


While we would not be wise to spend all day every day on our knees, and we cannot give all day of every day in public acts of adoration to the Lord, we can and should live all day every day to bring glory to the Lord.

"Every day will I bless thee" my God.

Monday, November 23, 2009

No Man

Psalms 143:2 KJV
And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

This should be the plea of every human being. We could never be justified in the sight of God in our own goodness. We could never do anything that would redeem ourselves from the guilt of our sin.
Gill says,
"The psalmist knew he was but a man, and could not contend with God; and a sinful creature, and could not answer him for one of a thousand faults committed by him; and though his servant, yet an unprofitable one; his nature, his heart, his thoughts, words, and actions, would not bear examining, nor stand the test of the holy law of God; nor was he able to answer the demands of divine justice in his own person...."

We only have one hope, and that is that God will not enter into judgment with us. And that can only be accomplished when we hind in the person of Jesus Christ.

Thank God for Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sweet Words

Psalms 141:5-6 KJV
Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.
When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.

David not only says that he welcomes the "smiting" of the righteous and their reproofs but says

It will be an excellent oil.
He will receive it as it is meant, to be an ointment to aide him in his spiritual infirmities.

It will not break his head.
He knows these reproofs will not destroy him but rather minister to him.

And then he says that when those who have reproved him go through any calamity, for surely all men go through calamities and experience times when we are overthrown, he will

Pray for them.
Rather than being bitter and upset, rather than being vengeful and secretly rejoicing in their difficulties, he will lift them up in prayer.

Speak sweet words to them.
They will hear them because he has not turned himself from them. He does not avoid them. And in their time of distress he will be among those that speaking gently, kindly and sweetly to them.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Faith

Psalms 139:6 KJV
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

David says he knows something that he cannot know.

He knows truth about God.
He knows God has searched him
He knows God is acquainted with all his ways
He knows he cannot flee from God's presence
He knows God possessed his reins in his mother's womb

Yet though he knows it, he cannot attain unto it. It is above him even though it has been revealed to him.

So it is with faith. Faith knows things to be true.
Faith has researched the evidence
Faith reads the articles from those who have studied these things before him.
Faith listens carefully to the preaching and searches the Scriptures to see if these things be true.
Faith can articulate its position.

But when all things are said and done, faith still cannot attain to and say it has hold of even those truths it has discovered. God is too high, too wonderful for the human mind to ever fully attain to it. We simply rejoice that we get to know the truth, not that we have to fully solve and prove it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Perfection

Psalms 138:8 KJV
The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

This is both the expectation and the prayer of the earnest believer.

Our hope is in this promise.
What joy and fulfillment when we are finally perfected!

Our prayers are always toward the fulfillment of this promise.
We recognize our frailties and weaknesses, yea even our sins. We sense, and the more we seek the Lord the more we sense it, our unworthiness to name the name of Christ. Yet our God has promised to perfect us and to this end we do groan, longing for that day of final and complete perfection before the Lord.

And yet, at the same time, this is the battle our flesh most resists. The thing that is our soul's desire is the very thing our flesh hates. This perfection requires the mortifying of the flesh. The old man must be crucified to make way for the new man. And just as in Christ's day, crucifixion is a slow and painful process. The victim's physical pain would be forever relieved if only they would submit to the inevitable and relax but the survival instinct of the flesh will not allow that. So the victim battles for breath. Each gasp of air is painful to receive and only extends the whole experience of pain that much longer. So we would be so much better off of the old man would just surrender to death already. But he can't do that. He fights on, he struggles for life and breath and for control over the soul and spirit. It is inevitable that the flesh will be mortified when we finally stand in the presence of the Lord; still it fights on for another moment of control, of sin, of fleshly passion.

Oh for that day when I will be perfected!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Stone's Threefold Presentation

Matthew 21:42-44 KJV
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.


I thought Scofield's notes on the stone were worthy of consideration;
"Christ, as the "Stone", is revealed in a threefold way:

(1) To Israel Christ, coming not as a splendid monarch but in the form of a servant, is a stumbling stone and rock of offence. (Isa_8:14); (Isa_8:15); (Rom_9:32); (Rom_9:33); (1Co_1:23); (1Pe_2:8).

(2) To the church, Christ is the foundation stone and the head of the corner (1Co_3:11); (Eph_2:20-22); (1Pe_2:4); (1Pe_2:5).

(3) To the Gentile world-powers He is to be the smiting-stone of destruction (Dan_2:34).

Israel stumbled over Christ; the church is built upon Christ; Gentile world-dominion will be broken by Christ."

Thank God for that Rock I am blessed to build my life upon!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Before, No More Than Any Other

Psalms 132:13 KJV
For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.

Spurgeon's Treasury of David says of Zion and this verse,
"It was no more than any other Canaanite town till God chose it, David captured it, Solomon built it, and the Lord dwelt in it. So was the church a mere Jebusite stronghold till grace chose it, conquered it, rebuilt it, and dwelt in it. Jehovah has chosen his people, and hence they are his people. He has chosen the church, and hence it is what it is. Thus in the covenant David and Zion, Christ and his people, go together. David is for Zion, and Zion for David: the interests of Christ and his people are mutual."

Here is the thing most wonderful; though we are simple and mean, no more than any other, when God chose us and saved us God has done marvelous things in us.

He has captured our flesh and dealt with our sin
He has built in us the principle of righteousness through Christ and
He has indwelt us through the Holy Spirit of God

What should have been undesirable, God has desired and made His own habitation.

Thank God for His grace in our lives!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Psalms 130:5 KJV
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

I want to deal with this verse from three angles

First there is
The active ingredient in the verse
"Wait"

The term means literally "to be bound together." I love this thought. It is more than that the Christian simply does nothing while he waits for God to act. The Christian literally cannot do anything unless God does it. He has so twisted himself up in the Lord that he is only able to perform when the Lord performs.

Secondly there is
The double statement in the verse
"I wait" "my soul doth wait"
Repetition in the Word of God is never vain and always makes he truth of the passage much more urgent. The Psalmist says that He waits. It is a statement of fact. His relationship with Christ requires that he wait upon the Lord. He also says "my soul doth wait." It tells us that this is more than mere fact. He is in agreement with God in waiting. He does not just wait because he has no choice. He waits because His soul is bound up with God and rejoices in God's plan, whatever waiting that plan requires.

Finally there is
The definition in the verse
"...in His Word do I hope."
Waiting for the LORD means hoping in His Word. We are not passive in our waiting. While we wait we learn God's Word and hope in the promises and plans of God revealed within it. His Word is our encouragement and supply during our wait.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Offences

Matthew 18:7 KJV
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

An offence is something that causes another to slip or fall. And here is what we know about offences from this one verse;

It is one of the hardships of life in this world
Even the creation groans in pain waiting for the day of redemption. One of those woes this world experiences is that it is a place of offence. The creature (being the world that God created) must grieve that it is a breeding ground for those traps that would ensnare the children of God.

It is not possible to live in this world without facing offences
The best of men and in the best of environments experience offences and temptations to stray away for Christ. It is impossible to avoid them altogether. And I would say it is unwise to live in such fear of them than we cloister up or hide away in hopes of missing them. Surely we would be wise not to run into the face of offences and temptations. But neither should we seek to avoid them to such an extent that we do not venture to do great things for the cause of Christ.

It is imperative that we who walk with the Lord not be the ones who cause those offences
It is such a terrible thing that a brother would be an offence to another brother that the passage makes it appear that being such an offence may be a sign that we are not really believers at all: the offending party faces everlasting fire.

Finally the chapter ends with a word to the offended and it is just this, forgive. Regardless of the offence and the offenders reaction to the fact that they have offended, forgiving them is the only option we have. And there is even some indication that the one who doesn't forgive isn't a true believer either.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

As Mount Zion

Psalms 125:1-2 KJV
They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.

Jerusalem is in the mountains at a fairly high elevation. The city itself encloses a number of hills or mountains within its borders including Mt Zion and Mt Moriah. And then the city itself is surrounded by other mountains even higher.

It reminds me of going up to the Mt Rainier recreation area called Paradise. Paradise itself sits at probably 6000 feet above sea level and is technically already on the slopes of Mt Rainier. But from the observation deck at Paradise a person can see he is virtually surrounded by mountain peaks, Rainier being just one of them.

God's Word says that the sol that trusts in the Lord has two characteristics:

He is like Mt Zion
And he cannot be moved, he abides forever.

So is the saved soul. He is secure; he cannot lose His eternal salvation. He will live forever.

He is surrounded by the Lord
Those mountain peaks around Jerusalem serve as a type or picture of God, who has encompassed His own. They not only are secure, but they are surrounded. They are safe in the promise that God has given them eternal life and they are established in that promise by God's almighty presence.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Lord is on our Side

Psalms 124:2 KJV
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:

If the Lord was not on our side,
Our enemies would rise up against us
Vs 2
The waters would flow over us
Vs 4-5
The predator would devour us
Vs 6-7

But God is on our side. And because He is on our side He is our help and aide. There are enemies. There are floods and disasters. There are predators that would devour us. But thank God He is on our side. And while we face these difficulties God carries us through these.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Heart

Matthew 15:8 KJV
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

Matthew 15:18-19 KJV
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:


The issue I want to address today is the heart. John Gill says of this passage,
"...they had no true love to God, nor faith in him, nor fear of him; they were not at all concerned for his presence with them, or for communion with him, or for his honour and glory; their hearts were in the world, and after their covetousness; they made religion a tool to their secular purposes, supposing gain to be godliness; sought the applause of men, and contented themselves with bodily exercise; having no regard to internal religion, powerful godliness, or where their hearts were, so be it, their bodies were presented to God in public worship; and what they did it was to be seen and approved of men, not caring what the searcher of hearts knew concerning them..."

These people had both the talk and the walk of the believer. But they were missing the key to it all, they did not have the heart of a believer. Christianity is more than talking and walking for Christ. All of that is external and can be engineered by human means. It is the heart that is the key to all that is Christianity.

The heart is the seat of affections. The issue of faith is an issue of what we love. So the question of the sincerity of one's faith is answered not in what he says or even in how he lives, it is in what he loves. And that is nothing man can fabricate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This Desire

Psalms 119:5 KJV
O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

Gill says,
"The psalmist, sensible of his own inability, as every good man is, to keep the commands of God, prays for grace, direction, and assistance in it"

Barnes Notes
"Indicating the desire of the pious heart. That desire - a prevailing, constant, uniform desire - is to keep the law of God."

While the one who truly desires to know the Lord also knows his own inability to walk with the Lord, it is still his desire. His heart cries out for the wisdom, grace, strength to keep the statutes of the Lord and to obey them. He often falls (as is indicated even within this Psalm) but he is quick to beg God's help to stand again, and he is constantly seeking that direction from the Lord.

By beginning the cry with the word "O" a term denoting grief and surprise, the Psalmist indicates his cry is that much more expressive and earnest. This is no small thing with him. It is the greatest need of his life. It is his most urgent priority. Let others things fall to the wayside if need be. He must be directed to keep God's statutes.

O that we would have such urgency!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

That's Better!

Psalms 118:8 KJV
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

This is simple enough I feel like just leaving it be without comment.

What could be better?

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

Any man
For any reason

Monday, November 09, 2009

Where Is He?

Psalms 115:3 KJV
But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

I am always amazed at little glimpses in the Bible that indicate to me that things have not changed that much in all of human history.

Even in the days of the Psalmist tere were those who could not see the hand of God at work on earth.
As powerful as God had shown Himself
As many evidences as there were of God's presence
Still the majority would not believe.

So the Psalmist just says it plainly. "...our God is in the heavens..." That's where He is.
He is so much higher than the petty men and women of this earth.
He is so much more exalted than the phony gods that mankind had conjured up.

He is in the heavens!
He dwells on high.
He humbles Himself to behold the events of the earth.
That is where He is!

And "....He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased." He manifests Himself at His own pleasure. He reveals Himself to those whom He pleases.

What comfort!
What joy!
What assurance!
The God I worship is in the heavens. He does as He pleases; and He has been pleased to save me.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

How Humbling that He Has Humbled Himself

Psalms 113:6 KJV
Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!

Here is an amazing thought; God humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven
The angels
The seraphim and cherubim
The New Jerusalem

All of the wonders of heaven, in all of their beauty and all of their perfection, still God is so much above them, He humbles Himself to behold them.

And yet He also beholds the things that are in the earth.
With all of our problems
With all of our hypocrisy
With all of our idolatry
With all of our sinfulness
God beholds us!

And the premise is not that He does so out of anger and disgust. Though God is angry with the wicked every day, God's grand design and chief purpose in beholding us is that He might redeem and save us.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Greatest Commandment

Psalms 111:1 KJV
Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

Psalms 112:1 KJV
Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

Jesus said that the greatest of all commandments is to love the Lord thy God .....and to love thy neighbor as thyself. This principle is found throughout the Bible in various places and we ought to put much more emphasis upon it than we do.

It is the gist of the Ten Commandments, six of them having to do with our relationship with God and the other four having to do with our relationship with man. First John is packed with this principle. I placed Psalms 111 and 112 together as representing these two greatest of all commandments as well. Each begins with the words "Praise ye the Lord." From there Psalm 111 goes on to describe God Himself. It is a Psalm of praise for the qualities and greatness of the Lord. Psalm 112 to describe the man that fears the Lord. The natural reaction to the greatness of God is to fear the Lord and the natural compliment to fearing the Lord is to take note of others who do the same.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Help Me

Psalms 109:26-27 KJV
Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:
That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.


This verse carries such a different and unique motivation for salvation. The psalmist desires God's salvation
Not so he can escape hell
Not so he can be blessed personally
Not for any selfish reasons


The Psalmist says the reason he seeks salvation is so others would know that the Lord has done it.

God's glory should be our only interest. If it glorifies God it ought to please us even if there is no personal benefit, even if it is a personal sacrifice. Men understand this. They will give their lives for the benefit of their country, and we honor that. Why should we not do the same for Christ?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Whoso Is Wise

Psalms 107:43 KJV
Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

The wise person will observe what is found in this Psalm and thereby shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord. So what is it that is found in this Psalm? I think we can break it into four pieces, all headed by the same words, "Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men."

First, we observe
God delivers the rebellious when they cry unto Him
Vs 8-14

Secondly, we observe
God saves the fools who cry unto Him
Vs 15-20

Thirdly, we observe
God saves the sailor when he cries unto Him
Vs 21-30
I believe we could consider this an appeal for the laborer of any sort. The man who works with his hands for a living has one of the most challenging passages through this life, toiling each day to make enough to provide for his family. Many times his works is dangerous, but he must do it. It is his only way of provision. That man may cry unto the LORD in his distress.

Fourthly, we observe
God turns rivers into wildernesses and wildernesses into waters
God pours contempt upon princes and sets the poor on high

Vs 31-43

I recently heard an audio accounting of the life of an English itinerant preacher from the 1700's. This preacher said that he focused His messages on "the righteousness of God in saving sinners." And he said that message found long lasting converts.

The message that must be preached today is a message of the doom that the sinner is facing and that God saves them, in a righteous manner.
He does not brush over their sins.
He does not excuse wickedness.
He suffers their judgment for them

That is the lovingkindness of the LORD.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What Is Your Glory?

Psalms 106:20 KJV
Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.

The Bible says "they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox." This is a reference to Aaron's creation of the golden calf. So their glory was the thing they worshiped.

That means before they changed their glory to the similitude of an ox, their glory was almighty God. The object of our worship is our glory.

For some people, the most glorious thing about them is their house
For some it is their car
For others it would be a boat


For some people, their glory is their job; all they want to speak about is the job they have. They feel they are important because of their work.

Another person's glory is their health.
Another person's is their hobby or some other skill.

One person's glory is their family.

For another, they glory in their life experiences; vacations, trips and etc.

Another's glory is their church. I heard a preacher yesterday say "some people worship, worship."

But to glory in any of these is to accept a dull and rusted glory in comparison to the glory that belongs to the one whose life is wrapped in the worship of the Lord. The Lord only is glorious. To trust in and worship Him is to partake in His glory.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Don't Forget His Benefits

Psalms 103:2 KJV
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

This is a powerful Psalm for the Thanksgiving season in that it provides a list of those "benefits" we can be thankful to God for. The list is larger that I intend to detail right now, but I do want to give some of them as examples;
God forgives all our iniquities
God crows us with lovingkindness and tender mercies
God satisfies our mouths with good things
God executes righteousness
God will not always chide His people
God has not dealt with us after our sins
God has removed our transgressions
God pities them that fear Him


And there are tons more benefits I did not list here.

But my thought today is this; we are so prone to forget those benefits. It is a wise man who recognizes this and works at a remedy. A wise man will rehearse the benefits of the Lord.

He will be sure to record them in some way when those benefits are obvious and
He will be sure to review that record on those days when he is struggling to remember them.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Law In the Millenial Kingdom

Matthew 6:33 KJV
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I remember being taught in Bible College that the primary application of the Sermon on the Mount is to the Jews and is an offer of the Kingdom. We of course employ many parts of that sermon to modern day Christianity;
The Beatitudes
The Lord's Model Prayer
Judge not that ye be not judged and
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God

Are all favorites of most Christians and I am not today claiming that we should not see them as having application to Christianity today. Some Christians believe this sermon to be the key to being a Christian. Those Anabaptist forefathers which eventually became the Mennonites and Amish were willing to die rather than forsake a life lived according to the Sermon's model.

But an interesting thought came to my mind as I read through the Sermon in a devotional way; could this not be the "constitution" that will be used to govern the 1000 year reign of Christ? If so, we know that we will rule and reign with Christ and that He will rule with a rod of iron. It is likely that these are the laws we will enforce in the millennium.

Once again, I am sure that there is an application for today's Christians that can be found in the Sermon on the Mount. But fresh light has been shed for me as I have envisioned those souls in the millennial kingdom needing to be reminded to pray to the Lord who is visibly before them, needing to be urged to meekness or being persecuted and literally seeing their persecutors dealt with.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A God that Forgavest Them

Psalms 99:8 KJV
Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions.

Two blessings and a warning are found in this verse:

Blessing Number One
God answered them.
Speaking of Moses, Aaron and Samuel (and I think the range reaching from Moses to Samuel, implies more than just these men specifically, but the Israelites in general and, by application, to believers today as well). What a blessing to have the assurance that God answers us in our times of need and when we come to Him in prayer. Prayer is more than a religious exercise. It is communion with our Almighty God. Hallelujah it is a two way communion!

Blessing Number Two
God forgave them.
Moses Aaron and Samuel were all sinners. Good men as they were, and used of the Lord as they were, they were still sinners. But God forgave their sins. I think the context specifically means that God answered their prayers and forgave their sins.
1 John 1:9 KJV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

A warning in the verse
God took vengeance of the inventions
Those inventions being their sins. The one that comes most strongly to my mind is Aaron's sin in making the golden calf. We also know of Moses sin in striking the rock. And we know of God's judgment of each of those. Though Samuel's sins are less momentous, and his judgments not so well documented, stil that demonstrates that even in those whose sins do not appear so grievous, God still takes vengeance upon them. This too is said, not of the lost, but of the believer; even of the best of the believers. The warning is clear. Though God will always forgive us when we ask, He will also still judge our sins.

So while the believer may always rejoice in forgiven sin, he must also not think he has a license to sin.