Saturday, October 31, 2009

Surrounded by the Nations

Matthew 4:15 KJV
The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;

This verses, a fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1, points out that not only in the Lord's earliest ministry but also in the eternal plan of God, the Gospel was not just for the Jews but also the Gentiles.

The Bible does ay of the Lord that
John 1:11 KJV
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
His own were the Jews and He came to them first.
But He did not come to them only.

God's holy plan had Jesus Christ, from a very young age, dwelling in the midst of both Jews and Gentiles. While Nazareth may have been a strictly Jewish community, the northern regions of Israel were not. Each trip to Jerusalem would have involved some contact with the Gentile people who inhabited portions of that northern land (not to mention the Romans who had occupied Israel by that time).

And then came the early days of the Lord's ministry. Just after his temptation in the wilderness, and immediately after hearing of the imprisonment of John the Baptist, Christ moved from Nazareth to Capernaum in fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1. John Gill says of Capernaum that it,
".... was situated by the sea of Tiberias, beyond Jordan, and in, "Galilee of the nations"; the upper Galilee, which had in it people of other nations besides Jews."

So almost from the beginning of His ministry, while He came unto His own, He surrounded Himself with the Gentiles.

And the significance of that is just this; that the Gospel is for all people and always has been. God has never desired that His people seclude themselves into conclaves of their own faith but has designed that we live among the nations, witnessing and testifying that the same Christ which has given us faith can do the same for them.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Psalms 96:7-8 KJV
Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.

I find the word give three times in these two verses. The interesting thing is that it does not speak of what God gives to us but what we are to give to God. The God who owns everything expects that we, who have so little in comparison, would give to Him

Who is to give
"O ye kindreds of the people"

We are to be givers and specifically givers to the Lord. No doubt we have things backwards in our day. We call good evil and evil good. We believe God is supposed to give to us. The Bible, however, says we are to give to God.

What we are to give
"glory and strength"

Not money and offerings.
Not sacrifices and oblations
Those have their place and we are to give them as well. But what we are really to give (and we likely give it when we give those offerings, sacrifices and financial contributions) is glory and strength.

We give Him glory by proclaiming that He is glorious.
We give Him strength in the same way

But we can also give glory by behaving gloriously, by living holily and
We can give strength by giving the strength of our life in His service.

Why do we give
"due unto His name"

We give it because He is due it.
Not that He needs it. He would be glorious and powerful without us.
Nor that we can add any to what He has. We are so tiny in comparison to Him.

We give it simply because it is His due. He deserves it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Content In This

Psalms 93:1 KJV
The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

I think it was Thomas Watson who said, "Let the Christian be content in this, that God should rule the world."

There could be
Nothing more important
Nothing more powerful
Nothing more comforting

Than to have the firm conviction that "The LORD reigneth..."

This world likes to challenge that conviction.
The strife that is in the world
The current political circumstances
The mockery of the faith in the media

All call our conviction into question

Then there are those things that come up in our own minds to challenge our conviction:
Why don't more people believe?
Why doesn't the Lord answer (positively) every prayer?
Why do God's people suffer so in this world?

These and a hundred questions like them root down to the core of our convictions and test and prove them.

But when our conviction is solid, and we have this confidence, that regardless of how it appears with the human eye, "The LORD reigneth..." there is such power that flows in through and for that believer.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Depths of His Thoughts

Psalms 92:5-6 KJV
O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.
A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.

I see three persons in these verses and with them, three different reactions to the wondrous things of God's Word.

The believer, as represented by the Psalmist himself. He views the things of God, His works and His thoughts and great and admires their depth.

The brutish man is like an animal. He only sees things as they relate to the natural. He has no spiritual discernment. He cannot know the depths of God's work and thought.

The fool is silly. Especially is this true of spiritual things. He may see them, he may know something about them, but they have no serious meaning to him.

One of the most amazing things about the Lord is the depths of His thought. That it is deep and that I must dive in in order to comprehend the tips of them only add majesty and glory to them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Before His Face

Psalms 89:14 KJV
Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.
Our God is an awesome mixture of justice and mercy; judgment and truth.

God dwells on a throne of justice and judgment. He can no more be unjust than He can be un-God. God can no more prevent judgment than He can refuse to be God. Key to His character as God is that He is both justice and judgment.

However, standing before Him in mercy is the Lord Jesus Christ. The person of Christ intermediates between God and man so that whenever God views man, He sees Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life.

Monday, October 26, 2009

How He Loves the Church

Psalms 87:2 KJV
The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

Barnes Notes has this to say,
"The particular allusion here seems to be to the thronging multitudes pressing into the city for public worship - the numbers that gathered together at the great feasts and festivals of the nation; and the meaning is, that he looked with more pleasure on such multitudes as they thronged the gates, pressing in that they might worship him, than on any other scene in the land....
Much as he might be pleased with their quiet abodes, with their peace, prosperity, and order, and with the fact that his worship was daily celebrated in those happy families, yet he had superior pleasure in the multitudes that crowded the ways to the place where they would publicly acknowledge him as their God."

This dispels to some degree those that like to call family times of worship or quiet times in the mountains the same thing as attending an organized church.

No doubt there is little as pleasant to our own senses as a peaceful time alone near a lake or in the forest.
No question it is a precious time when a family gathers around the family Bible and meet with the Lord together

But far superior to those, and requisite to their being what they are intended to be is the faithful and regular assembling of the people of God together in the House of the Lord.

The Lord Himself loves that!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Psalms 85:8 KJV
I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

Whenever the Lord speaks to His people it is a message of peace. Even if the words are of warning or judgment, the purpose God has in mind is peace. God's desire is to see His people know the peace of mind that comes from having things right in their lives and the peace with God that results from having a right relationship with the Lord.

This peace is only possible through the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Living Word of God. When God speaks peace, He speaks Jesus Christ, as the solution to all man's obstacles to peace.

Then, once we have this peace and our relationship with Christ is secured, God urges us not to return again to folly. Even the people of God are prone to the foolishness of this world. Like the woman taken in adultery, Christ forgives and says "go, and sin no more.."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Strength To Strength

Psalms 84:7 KJV
They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

No one has been able to invent the perpetual motion machine. Everything that that has life and energy finds that life and energy expends itself in the process of its life or energy. In other words, everything must be refueled.

We will eat a breakfast, but we do not expect that breakfast to sustain us indefinitely. We will need to eat again.
We slept a good night's sleep last night, but we will need to dothe same again tonight.
I received my paycheck, but I will need to receive another in order to continue to pay my bills.
I paid my bills, but I will have to pay them again.

Even inanimate objects expend energy and must have the energy restored.
I must fill my vehicles with fuel almost every week.
My propane furnace requires that its tank is refilled frequently (especially in the cold of winter)
My battery power razor must be recharged

All life and energy must be refilled, restored and revived. They must got from strength to strength

Why should we think it a strange thing that the same applies to that which is spiritual?
The soul that hears a sermon must hear another
The one who has been ministered to must be ministered to again
The believer that has been refreshed in the house of God must be refreshed yet again and again

And the same is true of the church itself. In order for the church to be revived, have fresh energy, experience the vigor of life, it must also be refilled.

That means the believers in the church help to maintain the life of their church by serving in ways that bring fresh visitors and new souls into the church.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mortify That Flesh

Psalms 81:10-15 KJV
I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.
Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!
I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.
The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.

God's desire for Israel was good and only good, but Israel could not see it. Though God had done so much for them, ye they "would none of me."

God says that if they had hearkened to unto Him and walked in His ways He would have subdued their enemies and turned His hand against their adversaries and overcome the haters of the Lord.

But the lesson, I believe, is that, like Israel, even the redeemed today do not hearken to God or walk in His ways. Our sin nature is so overwhelming we are foolish to believe we can overcome it. The answer today is not to learn better how to overpower our flesh. The answer is to run to Christ again and again. We have gotten off track when we attempt to reform the flesh, even in those who have trusted Christ.

We do not need to reform the flesh, we need to mortify it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

For Thy Name

Psalms 79:9 KJV
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake.

There are three requests listed
Help us
Deliver us and
Purge away our sins

Nearly all (but not all) of the trials we find ourselves in are caused by our sins. Some of our trials are not because of our own sins, but because we live in a world of sin. We need deliverance.

But the key to this verse is in the foundation for the requests.
For the glory of thy name
For thy name's sake

The reason why God answers prayers is not for our own benefit, but for the glory of and the sake of His own name. That is what is meant by praying in Jesus' name; not just that we throw out His name in our prayer, but that we comprehend that the purpose for answered prayer is to glorify the name of Jesus and for the sake of Jesus Christ. Those prayers, offered for those reasons, are the prayers the Lord is bound to answer!

And, if we truly pray for those reasons, if God's answer is "no" we will be content because we know that is what brings glory to His name.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Song In The Night

Psalms 77:2 KJV
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.

It is a terrible place to be when our souls refuse to be comforted. Sometimes, regardless of the best efforts of friends, family and other sources of help, our troubles are so extensive that there just seems to be nothing that can help.

We hear the comforting words, but we are not comforted.
We appreciate the visits of the concerned, but we are not comforted.
We are exposed to the promises of God, but we are not comforted

The Psalmist goes so far as to say that his memories of God troubled him and that he complained (presumably to God).

He could not sleep
He could not speak
He was overwhelmed

So what helps in times like that? Well first of all, when we get like that we have a tough time accepting any help and especially help that requires personal motivation. But once we come to the place where we are ready to fight the depression this Psalm does come to our rescue.

First, the Psalmist considered the days of old
vs 5
Something about meditating upon what God has done leads to hope about what God will do.

Second, he remembered his song in the night.vs 6
He remembered those times when he had reason to sing. He spoke with his own heart about what God had done and he forced himself to make a diligent search of those past blessings. Sometimes, when we are most down, it is a huge struggle to remember times when we were not down. He made his spirit do the work of remembering

Third, he appealed to the Lordvs 7-9
Couldn't he experience God's mercies once again? Of course he could!

Fourth, he came out of the depthsvs 10-20
Though his infirmity was real once his eyes were upon the Lord things changed in his soul. The mood of these last ten verses is upbeat and hopeful.

All of us go through down times. Some of us stay in them much longer than we need.

This Psalm can be a huge help!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

God IS Righteous

Revelation 16:5-7 KJV
And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

Here is a truth that must never be forgotten; God is righteous in all of His judgments.

That God is angry with the wicked every day is completely righteous
That God sends those who do not trust in Christ to hell is completely righteous
That God does extraordinary things to cause one to believe but seemingly does not do that in another is completely righteous
That God pours out wrath upon this world is completely righteous

God does not have to explain to me why some souls get saved and others do not. He does not need to satisfy me why He crated Lucifer knowing He would fall and tempt mankind to sin.
God is worthy
God is true and
God is righteous

Always and in all things.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Today and Tomorrow

Psalms 73:24 KJV
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.

What a wonderful comfort this verse is to the believer. We have here a promise both for today and tomorrow.

Today, God guides us with His counsel
The Word of God,
The conviction of the Holy Spirit, and
The ministry of the local church
All serve together to give counsel and guide us in our daily walk. Life here can be challenging and difficult. Trials come that tax the faith of any believer; decisions must be made that can make or break a person's spiritual growth. But with the guidance of God's counsel the believer is able to navigate his challenging course.

Tomorrow, God receives us to glory
The hope and joy of every Christian is to enter into the glories of heaven. While we have a purpose and work that is necessary here; our goal is not to have the best of lives here, but to have the best of life in eternity.

Nothing better than guidance today and eternity tomorrow!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This Generation

Psalms 71:17-18 KJV
O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.

I have read that in the earliest centuries of Christianity a man was not considered mature enough to be much of a preacher until he had already finished a career; John Chrysostom (sometimes called John the golden tongued), for instance, did not start pastoring until he was in his 70's. In our current day it seems like churches are looking, not for maturity and a pastor with enough experience and study to be of sound doctrine, but a pastor with youth, physical vigor, and "vision." One church I know told me that they did not want a pastor who was over 50 years old. Another pastor, who was "older than that" had a difficult time finding a church interested in a man of his age.

Sounds like the Psalmist knew something of this same difficulty. Though the reasons for his lack of effectiveness was different, I can understand his heart's prayer. I do not want to lose my ability to be used of the Lord because the gray hairs have begun to outnumber the darker ones. I have a desire to be used to show the younger generation the strength, the power, and the truth of God and His Word.

O God, forsake me not. Use me to preach in the power of the Holy Spirit to the generation coming behind me!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Let all

Psalms 70:4 KJV
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.

Within this prayer are three requests for the people of God:

Let all those that see thee rejoice and be glad in thee
A good description of a Christian is someone who seeks the Lord. The believer ought to be the kind of person who pursues a close and ever increasing relationship with the Lord. The idea of seeking implies that what we seek is always kept out of range. The Christian should never be content that he has attained the relationship he seeks in the Lord. We will not fully have that relationship until we reach heaven. But in the seeking, we may find true joy (though never absolute satisfaction). There is gladness in the pursuit after the Lord.

Let such as love thy salvation say continually
Here we find another good description of the Christian; he loves God's salvation. He is not interested in a man made type of salvation. He could care less for a salvation he has worked up for himself, but he loves the salvation that
God has devised
God has provided and
God offers to any who humbly come to Christ

Of those, the Psalmist prays that they will offer continually the third prayer of the passage

Let God be magnified
The Christian's most constant motivation is to see that God be magnified in this world. How we ought to pray first that more Christians call on men to magnify God and that more men come to know Christ and magnify Him.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Who Hates God?

Psalms 68:1-3 KJV
Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

The thought occurred to me this morning, "Who are they that hate God?" I think we sometimes look at passages like this and dismiss them. We view them as Old Testament and having nothing to do with our present spiritual economy or else we view all people as righteous and thus, outside of these Scriptures. We may view these enemies (I think with some legitimacy) as being the world, the flesh and the devil. We can also apply them to those influences (rather than people) that draw us away from a close relationship with the Lord.

So what do we know from the Scripture as a description of those who are either God's enemies or those who hate God?

Matthew 6:24 KJV
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Romans 8:7 KJV
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

James 4:4 KJV
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Though there are differences and subtleties that would be good to explore in these verses the one common theme through them all is worldliness; a love for the things of this world. In other words, to love the things of this world is to hate God and be His enemy.

Now this gets to be a little more personal! Surely each of us can see ourselves in this definition.

Oh, Lord, deliver us from our affections for the things of earth. Grant us hearts that desire only heavenly things! Then may we say we truly love the Lord.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Psalms 65:4 KJV
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.
The man God chooses is truly blessed because
He has true faith in Christ
He shall never perish
He has been effectually called
He is justified by the righteousness of Christ and
He shall be glorified in God's time

Gill says
The persons whom God has chosen for himself are, in their state of nature, at a distance from him by reason of sin; and through the blood and sacrifice of Christ, by which atonement is made, they are brought nigh to him; and in the faith of Christ the Mediator, their hearts are engaged to approach unto God, and come with boldness to his throne, and ask grace and mercy of him; and through the grace of Christ they have nearness to him, and communion with him.

Those God chooses He also causes to approach Him.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Better Than Life

Psalms 63:3 KJV
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
This week I heard of the tragic death of a young man, just 28 years old, who lost his life in a car accident. This young man, the grandson of a dear friend, has a wife and two children and had just begun deputation to raise support to be a missionary to England.
His life was promising
He seems to have been an exemplary young Christian man

His death seems to have happened senselessly and untimely. But this truth concerning God remains constant, ""...thy lovingkindness is better than life..."

I grieve for his wife and kids.
I grieve for my friends, his grandparents

But I rejoice in the thought of the wonders this young man sees today. And I long for the day when I will see them with him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

He Only

Psalms 62:6 KJV
He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.

The Psalmist repeats twice "He only is my rock....."

My thoughts focused on the world "only"

Strong's Concordance gives these three tenors to the definition of the word

A limitation "only"
May we have no other rock and no other hope for salvation and defense. May we see Christ alone and only as our rock.

An affirmation "surely"His hope is fixed in Christ. He does not question whether this rock is the right rock. He has no worries as to whether his choice is correct. He is sure.

And this rock is a secure rock. What he trusts this rock to accomplish will most certainly be accomplished.

I have no hope other than the hope I place in Christ.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Slay Them Not

Psalms 59:11 KJV
Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield.

The superscript for this Psalm reads, "To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him."
So this Psalm is not David's prayer against Gentile nations. These are the men of Israel under the leadership of King Saul.

And yet David calls them
mine enemies
workers of iniquity
bloody men
heathen and
wicked transgressors

Even those who claim the same spiritual heritage as we do can become terrible enemies in our battle to wholly follow the Lord.

However, as terrible as these names are David assigned the servants of Saul, he also prayed "Slay them not...." Though they deserved it and though in his flesh David may have even entertained the notion; in his spirit David knew that the answer was not their destruction but their conversion.

I doubt there is anyone we should ask God to slay. But there are countless number we ought to be asking God to "bring down" in the flesh so that they might come to follow the Lord as they ought.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Soul

Psalms 57:1 KJV
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

The Psalmist makes this request for mercy
Not based upon his own goodness
Not based upon anything he had done

But based upon his trust in the Lord

He says that it is his "soul" that trusts in the Lord. It was not his mind, it was not his intellect. It was his soul; that vital part of himself that really animates everything else.

Sometimes a person may not act like they trust in the Lord
Sometimes a person may not mentally believe they trust in the Lord
Sometimes we might emotionally not feel like we trust in the Lord

The issue is what is happening in your soul? Is there a drawing to Christ that takes place in your soul? Is there something that can't turn from the Lord but must seek and appeal to Him? Does your soul trust in Him?

Then ask for His mercy and hide in the shadow of His wings. The calamities will overpass one day. We will be in His glorious presence and experience only God's greatest joys. Trust in Him and ask for His mercy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Justification and Sanctification

Psalms 56:13 KJV
For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

I see in this passage the complimentary doctrines of justification and sanctification.

Justification is a one time and immediate act
"For thou hast delivered my soul from death..."

The body will still, in most cases, experience death. But the soul of the justified is irrevocably saved. The soul will live on with God eternally.

Sanctification is a process that will not be completed until we finally reach our eternal home
"...wilt not thou deliver my feet from fall, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?"
Sanctification is that cleansing and purifying process the child of God goes through in this life. As it is not completed in a one step and immediate act, there are times when the believer may question whether it is happening at all. But, as Gill says, this phrase "wilt thou not" is not intended to question God's ultimate grace, but "strongly affirms" that God will in fact deliver our feet from falling.

And that purpose for sanctification is at least two-fold;
First, "that I may walk before God" our fellowship with the Lord is built first upon our relationship with Christ and then upon our holiness and separation from sin.

Second, "in the light of the living," as we become less like this world and walk more with the Lord, other will see. Other believers will see and be encouraged as well as draw near to have fellowship one with another. Others who are lost will see and become convicted. Either they will become believers themselves or else they will be repelled by the holiness and exposed as the unbelievers they are. But either way, the light of God's glory shines.

Friday, October 09, 2009

God Looked Down

Psalms 53:2 KJV
God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.

This Psalm bears an ominous message (one so important to hear that it is found twice here and Psalm 14, as well as being expanded upon in Romans 3). That God Himself could find "none that doeth good" or "that seek God" bodes poorly on the state of mankind.
We are not a generally good people with a few exceptions.
We are not even a generally bad people with a few exceptions.
We are a wholly wicked people with no exceptions

Oh how we need grace!

However, the thought that struck me this, that "God look[s] down from heaven upon the children of men."
That God cares
That God knows what we do
That God has any interest
That God condescends toward us

Is a matter of absolute amazement? Any man or woman would be wise to reflect upon this. God is so high above us; His interests are so vast and so beyond us that thought like these drove the Psalmist to say "what is man that thou art mindful of him?"
But He is mindful of us. And that ought to sound a signal in us to be alike mindful of Him.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Proverbs 8:35 KJV
For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

The "me" of the passage is wisdom which can refer to
The wisdom of knowing and obeying the Bible
The wisdom of practicing the teachings of Proverbs or
The wisdom that is Jesus Christ

The promise is that when we find this wisdom we will
Find life and
Obtain favor of the Lord

The greatest need any man has is first find eternal life in salvation from our sins and then to obtain this favor of the Lord.

The favor is our first simply because we are "accepted in the beloved." God sees us in Christ and He favors Christ. But there is a favor that we also seek in our quest to know the Lord and to experience His presence, His person and His power.

I seek the favor of the Lord. I shall find it in Christ.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Psalms 51:3 KJV
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

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.

As wonderful a promise as 1 John 1:9 is, it occured to me that Psalm 51 is a model for that confession. David was a believer, he did not need to seek a relationship with the Lord; he already had one. But this believer had fallen into the depths of terrible sin. It was time to confess and God's provision has seen to it that confession was preserved for our benefit today, not just so we know what David did, but se we may learn to do the same in our times of confession.

Confession involves
Nathan squarely confronted David's sin and brought him to repentance. No one genuinely confesses until they have genuinely repented.

Vs 3
David saw his sin as ever before him and realized the sin was ultimately against God (not Uriah and Bathsheba or even the nation of Israel)

Vs 7-8
The wages of sin is death. David pled the blood of God's sacrifice as His only hope for cleansing.

Vs 9
He needed a clean heart and a right spirit. That is the work of the Lord in the believer.

Vs 11-12
Sin drives us from the presence of the Lord. We have to return.

Vs 13
A man who walks with God witnesses to others.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Difference

Psalms 49:12 KJV
Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
Man is created the highest of all of God's beings. Though there are many differences between man and the rest of the creation, this one thing stands as the greatest distinguisher; man was created in the image of God.

But that image was marred by the sin of our first parents so that the Bible says their son, Seth, was created, not in the image of God but after the likeness of Adam.

Through Christ, however, any who come to hide in Christ regain the image of God. It is not in our flesh of course, but in the fact that God sees Christ in us that restores to us that image.

But for the lost man, the man who honors self rather than humbles self and hides in Christ, the Bible says of that man that he is no different than the beasts of the field.

  • They do not bear the image of God
  • They do not walk in a living relationship with God and
  • They will not go on to be forever with God in eternity

  • Though those who come after them may acknowledge and approve of them
  • Though they may have great wealth and comforts in life today (or not)
  • Though they believe their house wil continue forever

The Bible says when they die they will carry nothing away[1] and thus "this their way is their folly."[2]

[1] Verse 17[2] Verse 13

Monday, October 05, 2009

Our God

Psalms 48:14 KJV
For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

What a good reminder this passage gives us.
To know that this God (of the Bible) is not just God but our God is comforting.
If God existed, but we had no relationship with Him, if we were not His and He ours, our thoughts of Him would be terrifying. But He is our God. He is our redeemer and our Heavenly Father.

To know that this God is our God for ever and ever is reassuring.
He is not our God so long as we are doing right; He is our God for ever and ever.

To know that this God is our God and guide so long as we must travel this path of life on earth is empowering.
Though most men will not walk the way God guides me, I do not walk this path alone. God is with me, each step I take is calculated by Him for my own benefit and for His own glory.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Come, Behold

Psalms 46:8 KJV
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

This is the call all believers ought to make to all they have opportunity to come across. What God has done in this world
His creation
His Word
His direction with children of men
His defeat of the devil
His condemnation of sin and
His gift of Jesus Christ

Nothing is more impressive and nothing is as important as that a person beholds these works and finds through them the means to come to Jesus Christ and be born again.

It is Sunday. Let us come and behold the works of the Lord.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Search This Out

Psalms 44:17-21 KJV
All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.
Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;
Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.
If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;
Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Verse 21 is the focus of my attention today, but it is important, I think, that we keep it in context of the verses preceding it. The Psalmist does say that if we have forgotten God, surely He will search it out. But he says more than that. He says he had not forgotten God. Through the sore troubles he and his people were facing,
They had not turned back into hardness of heart
They had not forgotten their relationship with God and
They had not dealt falsely with the covenant God had made with them

And as surely as God would search out the secrets of their hearts if they had forgotten God, He has done the same in their faithfulness.

And this is why he may boldly say
Psalms 44:26 KJV
Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake.

Even though the trials fall and even though in the midst of them we have conflicts, when we have that confidence that God has kept His covenants with us through Christ, we also may have the confidence to ask His to arise for our help.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Speaking To My Own Soul

Psalms 42:5 KJV
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
This has been one of my favorite verses almost since I entered into the pastorate. God has used it to bring encouragement to me in one of the most desperate times in my life, and remembering back to that day has brought joy to my heart many times.

A year ago or so I heard a sermon preached from this passage that I found to be most helpful. The pastor used this verse, and the Psalm in its entirety to deal with the subject of depression. He suggested that this verse tells us the way out of depression is to speak the right things to our soul.

Believers can claim this verse as our own as we are in Christ.

In Christ there is struggle.
This world hated Christ. Is it any wonder it hates those that are in Christ? Even our Saviour cried out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Not that Christ did not know why or that God had in fact forsaken Him, but in identification with the pain believers often feel.

I do notice though that the question is not meant to give us permission to complain, but is meant to point that we have no real reason to complain.

In Christ we have hope.
If there is nothing else for us, there is always hope in God.
His goodness
His power
His directing of the heavens and the earth

All offer hope to the believer.

In Christ we have a promise
History is replete with the stories of Christians who, having given all for Christ, finally saw their lives ended in horrible and painful ways. What good was heir faith in Christ to them? Much every way; they realized that, should this world work its worst upon their bodies, their ultimate reward would be to praise the Lord in His physical presence.

Regardless of the trials we might face upon the earth. Those who follow Christ have this absolute and unfailing promise, "I shall yet praise Him..."

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Make No Tarrying....Please

Psalms 40:17 KJV
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

This Psalm was written by David, most likely during one of those times in his life when he was afflicted. Though David was
Anointed of God
A man after God's own heart and
A generally righteous king in Israel

David's life is almost most easily outlined around the different struggles he faced. Christians struggle on this earth. The key is how we deal with those struggles.

Now to the verse: there are at least these three major divisions within it:

A humble declaration
"I am poor and needy"

A comforting consideration
"the Lord thinketh upon me; thou art my help and my deliverer"

An earnest appeal
"make no tarrying, O my God"
If David could feel like he was poor and needy then likely it is that every Christian will feel the same. It is best that we feel this way concerning our spiritual condition. We are helpless in that state without Christ. So we do not need to hide our helplessness and ignore its existence; we must instead seek the right place for comfort and for help. God's love for us is so well documented in the Word of God it is undeniable. The question is, do we lean on His care of us for both our help in times of trouble and especially for our deliverance, both from our sin and also from our oppressors?

The New Testament makes it clear that the mark of the follower of Christ is that he looks for the appearing of Jesus Christ. Every day a Christian can rightfully pray, "make no tarrying, O my God" and in some sense pine for that day when Christ comes.

Even so come, Lord Jesus!