December 9, 2017
“Blessed.” One experiencing a condition of total joy and contentment under God’s umbrella of care.
“Fears the Lord.” One who has such awe and reverence for the Lord that they seek His pleasure and approval above all others including themselves.
However, by implication, the one who does not fear the Lord, but fears man instead, will not experience the blessing of God. For they will live as people-pleasers, always enslaved by the opinions of others.
As Christ-followers, we do not fear the Father’s wrath, for Christ has taken our punishment. But we are motivated by His great love that moves us to desire pleasing Him above all others. Fearing the Lord, we experience His blessing.
December 8, 2017
Those who are obedient to “go forth” in sowing even while shedding tears of hardship, will one day “rejoice” in the day of harvest. As the apostle Paul wrote, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9).
Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted by faith. Keep sowing!
November 28, 2017
There is a right way and a wrong way to approach the Bible. The psalmist approached it in the right way. He first declared his position as a servant of the Lord before requesting understanding and knowledge of God’s Word. He came saying, “I have already decided to obey You, O Lord, only help me understand what I read, so I know how to apply it rightly to my life. The psalmist came empty, asking to be filled. He came thirsty, asking for the living water to quench his thirst.
There is also a wrong way to approach the Bible. The requests may be the same, but the attitude is opposite of the psalmist’s. The one who approaches wrongly will come full of their own knowledge, asking only to add to it. They come without thirst, only wishing to spit it out at others to prove their own superiority. They come not as a “servant,” but as a self-appointed master, thinking to use the Bible according to their own design.
How do you approach God’s Word? May we join the psalmist in saying, “Lord, I am your servant. Give me understanding of Your Word.”
November 24, 2017
The psalmist spoke not of the Lord, but directly to Him. Not, “He is my portion,” but “O Lord, You are my portion!” He had already made the determined choice to “keep” the Lord’s words. Now he recognized that his “portion,” his inheritance, for such a Word-committed-life was the Lord Himself. As Jesus told His disciples, “If you love Me, you will keep My Words” (John 14:15). Following the Lord’s Word, we are able to say, “I am the Lord’s and He is mine!” This is not seeking the Lord’s hands, but rather seeking His face. We obey not out of fear, nor from a motivation of profit, but out of sincere love. As the lyrics to the old spiritual song declare, “Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, but give me Jesus.”
November 22, 2017
Psalm 119 is an acrostic based on the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It’s theme is appropriately the Word of God. Every verse is an ode to the Scriptures. In verse 24, the psalmist described the Word as God’s “testimonies” and as his own “counselors.” This is a wonderful insight. For the Bible is first of all a book about God. It contains His “testimonies,” progressively revealing His character and purposes. The psalmist found “delight” in this. Secondly, the Bible is a book of instruction, offering counsel to those who would follow it. The psalmist considered the Bible the most reliable and trusted source for wisdom and direction. Each book, chapter and verse of Scripture were as personal “counselors” to him.
How do you read the Bible? Do you look to see what new insight it reveals about God? Do you prayerfully consider how to apply it to a particular area of your life? Do you delight in the Lord’s testimonies and counsel?
November 12, 2017
David wrote Psalm 110 as an announcement of the Messiah’s coming reign. In Hebrew, this verse is: “Yahweh” said to my “Adonai.” The name that God revealed to Moses, “Yahweh” (or “Jehovah”) was the One talking to the Messiah, whom David referred to as “my Lord” (“Adonai”). The title “Adonai” was also used for God. David had already been told by God that the Messiah would be from his lineage (2 Sam. 7:16). Yet, here the Spirit revealed to David that the Messiah would be greater than him, so that he would call him “Adonai,” a title usually reserved for God.
The Spirit revealed to David a conversation between the Father and the Son from eternity past. Yet, it described the present time. For the Lord Jesus, having already accomplished our salvation as Suffering Servant, now sits at the right hand of the Father awaiting His appearance as Victorious King (Mark 14:62).
However, the most profound revelation may be that David called Him, “my Lord.” For that is the key. Not that He is “the” Lord, but that He is “my” Lord. Have you made Jesus your Lord today?
November 11, 2017
David began his psalm with a prayer that the Lord would no longer “keep silent.” No doubt he had read the book of Job and knew how the Lord’s voice silenced Job’s accusers. David was being attacked by false accusers, yet the Lord remained seemingly silent.
When we try to defend ourselves against false accusation it usually has the opposite effect. People love the lie more than the truth. And when we sound defensive, we sound guilty. But when God speaks, the accusations are silenced because the false accusers are silenced.
Ask the Lord to speak on your behalf. Pray as the first century church did, “Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” (Acts 4:29). In other words, “Lord, you speak to those who falsely accuse us, while we continue to speak Your Word and praise Your name!”
November 9, 2017
Why is there such a longing in the human soul? Why this emptiness that no physical thing, nor human relationship can fill? We hunger and thirst, so we attempt to satisfy our craving, but to no avail. Since nothing of this world satisfies the soul, isn’t this evidence that it was made for something or someone beyond it?
Surely, the hole within our soul is a residual echo of the fallen image of God within us. And it can only be filled by Jesus Christ. Of whom the apostle Paul wrote, “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God… Everything was created through him and for him” (Col. 1:15-16).
We were made by Christ and “for” Christ. The longing of the human soul will never be satisfied with anything or anyone other than Christ!
November 9, 2017
The psalmist concluded with an admonition that all people should shout “Amen,” when they hear the Lord being praised. “Amen” is more than the word we teach children to say at the end of their prayers. Some use it casually as a word of affirmation, or to say, “I agree.” It literally means, “So be it!” Yet for the Christ-follower, it takes on the further meaning of, “Let it be so in me!”
After the reading of God’s Word on Sundays, I usually say, “This is God’s Word.” To which the congregation responds, “Amen!” By doing so, they are affirming the statement’s truth, while also opening up their hearts and minds to receive it.
November 2, 2017
The psalmist made a determined promise to himself that he would always sing praises to the Lord. As long has he had breath, he had decided in advance that he would worship God.
When I would visit my grandmother in the nursing home, she no longer remembered my name. Old age had stolen much of her mind. Yet, when my mother and I would begin to sing a hymn, her face would immediately light up, and she would join in, remembering every word. She and my mother had been in a gospel quartet for many years, so she automatically took the alto part, while my mother took the soprano and me the bass. She didn’t remember her daughter or grandson, but she still knew her Lord. And she sang His praises as long as she lived.
I desire to follow her example.