Month: July 2017

Psalms 54-56, Romans 3

Psalms 54:7
For He has delivered me out of all trouble; And my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies.

It is important that we walk in the confidence that the Lord will deliver us out of all trouble. We don’t have to take matters into our own hands. The Lord will take care of those who mean to bring harm upon us. It may not be in our timing, but their day will come. It is not our place to see that they are punished for their wrong doing. It is our responsibility to turn it over to the Lord, and let Him take it from there.

Psalms 55:2
Attend to me, and hear me; I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily,

It takes great faith and patience to follow the Lord. First we must have faith that the Lord will do all that the word says He will do, then we must wait patiently for such things to come to pass. We must guard ourselves from getting restless. In our restlessness we can make rash decisions that will end up hurting us. I have made a number of those in my life.

Psalms 55:6
So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.

Don’t you just wish sometimes that you could fly away like a bird, from all the cares and trouble and just be at rest. One day we will. It will come in one of two ways, death or the rapture. If we believe all that He says to be true, we can look forward to either one of those days. Come Lord Jesus come!

Psalms 55:12-14
For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him. 13 But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance. 14 We took sweet counsel together, And walked to the house of God in the throng.

It is one thing when an enemy turns on us, that is expected. However when it is a close friend, there are few things more painful. When this happens, the only One who can soothe us and ease the pain and sorrow that comes from such betrayal is the Lord. He alone is faithful to bring that lasting comfort.

Psalms 56:3-4
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?

This is such a great psalm. There is much to be afraid of in the world today. It is good to be reminded that our trust is in the Lord. When we fully trust Him, we have nothing to fear…absolutely nothing!

Psalms 56:8
You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?

This is a great reminder of how much the Lord knows about us and cares about us. He puts our tears in a bottle. Wow! I don’t know what He does with all of them, and I really don’t care. Just to know that he catches each one, that He is aware of each one, is enough for me. What great love and care He has for us.

Romans 3:20
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Here we see one of the many Scriptures that speak of the purpose of the law, to declare us guilty. Once we understand that we are guilty, the we will seek to have that guilt alleviated. Jesus is the only one who can do that. He took care of our guilt at the cross.

Romans 3:22
even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

The righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus. There is no other way a person can be made righteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Romans 3:25-26
(Jesus) whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

The word ‘propitiation’ is one of the greatest words in the Bible. Every Christian should be aware of what it means. It means, ‘to satisfy the wrath of somone’. In this context, it means that Jesus’s death on the cross satisfied the righteous indignation of a holy and righteous God towards an unrighteousness, unholy man. In other words, because of our sin, we deserved hell, we deserved the condemnation of God. But instead, through our faith in Jesus’s death on the cross, we receive life.

Psalms 51-53, Romans 2

Psalms 51:1
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.

This is one of the great penitential psalms of repentance. It was written after the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin against Bathsheba. In it you see why David, even though he sinned, was a man after God’s own heart.

Psalms 51:4
Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

Certainly we know that David sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah, however he acknowledges that the heart of that sin is that he sinned against the Lord. Godly sorrow produces true repentance because it is the acknowledgement that we have sinned against the Lord. When we do that, we will then automatically make right with the person we have sinned against.

Psalms 51:16-17
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.

The Lord is not interested in all of the things we do for Him. He is interested in people who come to him with humble and broken hearts, acknowledging that we are sinners and desiring Him to make things right in our lives.

Psalms 52:3
You love evil more than good, Lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah

In my lifetime, I have witnessed becoming a nation who loves evil more than good. Of course our nation would never say that, but that is because they are calling evil good and good evil. When you redefine what is good, you run into all kinds of problems. Luke 18:19, So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”

Psalms 53:1
1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good.

Only a fool believes there is no God. Unfortunately there are a lot of fools running around. Just yesterday we read, Romans 1:22, Professing to be wise, they became fools.

Romans 2:4
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. When we realize what we truly deserve, as a people who have rejected God. When we realize that God so loved the world that He gave up His only son to die for us, it leads us to repentance. It leads us to having a broken heart before Him. There is no greater kindness than the Lord’s.

Romans 2:28-29
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

It is not about the things we do to try and impress God. It is about what is going on inside of the heart. The Lord knows our hearts better than we do. When Jesus came, He introduced another circumcision. He introduced an eternal circumcision which was a spiritual circumcision of the heart rather than the law.

Psalms 49-50, Romans 1

Psalms 49:6-8
Those who trust in their wealth And boast in the multitude of their riches, 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him— 8 For the redemption of their souls is costly, And it shall cease forever—

No truer words have been spoken than, “the redemption of their souls is costly”. Paul said to the leadership of the church at Ephesus, in Acts 20:28, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Jesus purchased our souls with His blood. What an incredible thing to think about. Could there ever be anything more costly than the blood of the Son of God, the blood of God Himself. No!

Psalms 49:11
Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, Their dwelling places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names.

This verse epitomizes the thoughts of unsaved rich people. They have convinced themselves that they will live forever, either through their accomplishments or their money. The Lord declares that they will die and simply leave their wealth to others. When we die, we inherit our wealth. What a great and glorious day that will be.

Psalms 50:4
He shall call to the heavens from above, And to the earth, that He may judge His people:

There are numerous times when the Lord called down from heaven. One of those times is found in Mark 9:7, when Jesus appeared in His glory to Peter, John and James; “And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!’ God has passed all judgment to Jesus. He sent Jesus to judge the world and then save the world.

Psalms 50:10-12
For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. 12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.

If there is ever any doubt that the Lord can provide for you, financially and otherwise. If there is any worry about trusting in your checking account balance rather than trusting in the Lord. This should alleviate your concerns. Everything belongs to God. There isn’t anything that doesn’t belong to Him. If you are short on cash and doing your part to earn it, He will take care of the rest, shortfalls and all. It may take patience and trust, but He is faithful to always come through.

This morning we start the Book of Romans. To many, this is perhaps the greatest epistle (letter) written by Paul. It was the letter that sparked the reformation when Martin Luther, as a Roman Catholic monk in the early 1500’s understood that salvation was not by works, not by loyalty to the Catholic church, but by faith…and faith alone. There are so many spiritual nuggets of truth in this book that make it a virtual gold mine. It will be impossible to capture all there is to be learned with a few comments. Take your time to prayerfully read it and meditate on it and you will be blessed beyond measure.

Romans 1:11-12
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Paul, who once was intent on destroying the church, loved it. And he tells us, in this verse, one of the reasons; “that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me”. This is what church is supposed to be about, mutually encouraging one another in our faith. It is what I love so much about being a part of the church. God forbid if we ever think of the church as an organization or something we ‘have’ to do on Sundays. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Romans 1:16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

This is one of my favorite verses. There is supernatural power in the gospel, in the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Think about it. When a Christian responds favorably to the gospel, their unregerated sould becomes a new creation. Wow!

Romans 1:24-25
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Make no mistake about it, God desires that none would perish, but that all would come to repentance and be saved (1 Peter 3:9). So why will a man be eternally condemned to hell? Because they make a conscious decision to reject truth and embrace the lie. God sends no one to hell, rather people send themselves because they reject God’s plan for them to be saved.

Romans 1:32
who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

There is a great trend in Christianity today to turn the other cheek, regarding sin, under the guise of “Who am I to judge?”. We must be very careful of this. Turning our heads from the sin that is an abomination to God is not much different than committing the sin. Paul makes some serious claims regarding one who gives approval to such things.

Psalms 46-48, Acts 28

Psalms 46:1-2
1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Yesterday morning, I prayed with a team of twenty people ages around 15-65, who are heading to Bachiniva, Mexico where they will add a children’s ministry room to the church we planted several years ago. As most of us know, Mexico is a country that is riddled with violence, most of which is precipitated by the drug wars that are going on over there. Every time we go onto Mexico, we pray, and God had always been faithful to answer that prayer. Should there ever be any trouble, we will call on His name…and He will answer us. What a great comfort that is!

Psalms 46:6
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

By His voice the earth was created, and by His voice the earth will melt. This should put the right perspective as to how we live our lives. 2 Peter 3:10, But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Psalms 47:1-2
1 Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! 2 For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.

I love it when we are in a time of worshipping the Lord and His presence so fills the room and our hearts that we break out into spontaneous clapping, spntaneous applause. He is indeed awesome and our great King over all the earth.

Psalms 48:14
For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide Even to death.

I love how this psalm concludes. In fact I think it would be a great way to end every book in the Bible. “this is our God, our God forever and ever. He will be our guide even to death.”. He doesn’t wait to guide us until we die and go to heaven. He guides us here and now, each and every day of our lives. How does He do that? Jesus tells us how in John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

Acts 28:5
But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

I have always appreciated this picture of Paul shaking this poisonous viper off into the fire as if it were ‘no big deal’. How could he do such a thing? Because it was no big deal. Paul had such a grasp on eternity and where he was going that such things didn’t bother him. Did it hurt when the snake bit him? I am sure it did, but it didn’t unravel him. He was so focused on his mission that nothing was going to get in the way. I pray for a heart like Paul’s.

Acts 28:9
So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed.

When will we see more hearings among Christians today? I believe that it will be when we really begin to live our lives fully for the Lord and believe that He indeed can and still wants to heal today.

Acts 28:23-24
So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.

This was Paul’s dream come true, the opportunity to preach the gospel in Rome. He preached the word from morning until evening. Notice it says, ‘some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved’. I have come to accept this truth, that some will disbelieve, and it has really helped me to not get frustrated when preaching the gospel. Instead, I look with anticipation for the ones who are persuaded and get blessed watching them grow. Especially when I get to be a part of that growth.

Acts 28:30-31
Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

What a great two years this must have been. We have every reason to believe that Paul was released and continued to minister until he was eventually arrested again, brought before Caesar Nero and was eventually beheaded.

Psalms 43-45

Psalms 43:1
1 Vindicate me, O God, And plead my cause against an ungodly nation; Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!

As Christians desiring to serve the Lord and do good, we are going to run into people who mean to do us harm. It is important therefore to learn to let the Lord always be our defense. No one could ever plead our cause and vindicate us better than Jesus.

Psalms 44:3
For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, Nor did their own arm save them; But it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, Because You favored them.

I love these reminders that God is the one who accomplishing things on our behalf.

Psalms 44:7
But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us.

We are not to worry about shaming those who hate us, the Lord will take care of that for us.

Psalms 44:20-21
If we had forgotten the name of our God, Or stretched out our hands to a foreign god, 21 Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.

There is nothing hidden from the Lord. A foolish man tries to test Him in this. It is an exercise in futility for the Lord knows the secrets of the heart.

Psalms 45:1
1 My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

What kinds of things do our tongues write. Letters of lovingkindness and God’s love and mercy, or letters of discord and anger. What determines what we write with our tongues is what is in our hearts. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Psalms 45:6-7
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

This is an amazing prophetic Messianic verse which speaks of the deity (Godhood) of Jesus. It it, David makes reference to God calling Jesus God. Wow!

Psalms 40-42, Acts 27

Psalms 40:5
Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us Cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.

Don’t you just love this. The thoughts that the Lord thinks towards us are innumerable. He loves us so much that He can’t quit thinking about us.

Psalms 40:12-13
For innumerable evils have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head; Therefore my heart fails me. 13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me!

When innumerable evils surround us, so that it seems as though our hearts will fail us, we must cry out to God. He hears our cry and will answer us. However, we must be patient and wait. He is always working, we just need to trust. Here is where faith comes in.

Psalms 41:1
1 Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

The Lord wants us to be mindful of the poor. Now, having said that, I do believe we must use wisdom. There are many who are poor, because they want someone else to look after them and would rather not work However there are others who are genuinely poor and in need of clothing, food and shelter. We must seek to understand our part in helping such people.

Psalms 41:9
Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.

This is a prophetic reference to Judas betraying Jesus. He made reference to it in John 13:18, “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’”

Psalms 42:1-2
1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

There is a beautiful worship song, As the Deer, which we sing that is taken from this psalm. Does your soul long for the Lord as a deer longs for water? It is easy to get distracted with things in life that lead us to thirsting after other things, only never to have our thirst fully quenched. It is like drinking a Coke when you are really really thirsty. It satisfies you for a moment, only to leave you thirsty all over again. It is only the Lord who truly quenches our thirsty souls.

Psalms 42:5
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

This side of heaven, our souls will be cast down, we will have times of discouragement. When those times come, we must praise the Lord. He will help us in such times. If you don’t feel it, just keep on praising Him. Help is on the way!

Acts 27:7
When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone.

Such verses remind us that traveling was difficult in those days. You just didn’t get on a plane or cruise ship and head out. It took effort and a lot of the time the accommodations were less than comfortable.

Acts 27:11
Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.

Doesn’t this seem to typify a lot of people today. Paul hears from the Lord, and the person steering the ship ignores it and does what he thinks they should do. We must be careful that when we give the Lord the wheel, that we don’t take it back. He knows where we need to be going, we just need to let Him takes us there. Otherwise, we could find ourselves shipwrecked.

Acts 27:25
Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.

We have God’s word, the Bible. Therefore we can truly take heart that everything God’s word says will be just as He has told us. What a great comfort that is. Over the years, I have learned to trust His word over all else. His words have never let me down.

Acts 27:35
And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.

What a great picture of praising God in the midst of difficult circumstances. How is this possible? Only by being able to trust Him without knowing the outcome. This is called faith. When I find myself in difficult situation, I think back to all of the times He cared for me, all the times He came through. Even though I may not be feeling it in the moment, I know He is going to come through.

Acts 27:44
and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.

I heard a bible teacher, who was know for his great sense of humor, say that this is a reference in the Bible to surfing, ‘some on boards’.

Psalms 37-39, Acts 26

Psalms 37:3-5
Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

These are such great verses. The beautiful thing to me is that as we delight in the Lord He alone becomes the desire of our hearts. We must commit all of our ways to the Lord and He will bring it to pass…according to His will.

Psalms 37:7
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

The only way we can keep from fretting when we see the wicked prosper is to have an eternal perspective. Our lives are simply not about the now, but rather about that which is to come.

Psalms 37:16
A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked.

May the Lord help us to believe this to be true. We must pray for contentment in all our circumstances, whether in plenty or in want. God is faithful.

Psalms 37:25
I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.

I am not old yet, at least I don’t consider myself to be, but I am certainly older and I have found this verse to be absolutely true. Praise the Lord!

Psalms 37:31
The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide.

Our steps won’t slide because we are standing upon the Rock…we are standing upon Jesus.

Psalms 38:5-6
My wounds are foul and festering Because of my foolishness. 6 I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

This is a penitential psalm involving physical disease. It is a confession of David and concerns physical sickness. He is very sick and graphically describes how his body is wasting away. We have no particular record of this illness but in spie of his illness, he cries out to the Lord. There are some illnesses we may not fully understand, but the Lord hears our cry and will respond according to His will.

Psalm 39:4
4 “LORD, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am. 5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah 6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain;

I think this is an awesome psalm. Some may not agree with me. However, I like it because it puts our lives in the right perspective. If we are not careful we can put too much stock in this life. Yet, in God’s economy, man at his best, is but vapor. Here one minute…gone the next. Consider the Olympic games that will begin this Friday. Take each of the gold medal winners, the finest athletes in all of the world and in God’s economy they are but vapor. All the training, all the records, all the medals mean nothing in God’s grand plan. These verses help me to make sure my priorities are right.

Acts 26:1
1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself:

This may be one of my favorite of Paul’s sermons. He took every opportunity to preach the gospel. How easy it would have been for him to feel sorry for himself, but instead he thinks, “Great…another opportunity to tell a group of people about Jesus.!”

Acts 26:10
This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.

Imagine how Paul must have felt, knowing the destruction and murder he had given his approval for. I am certain that this motivated him to preach all the more. Imagine what that reunion would have been like when he entered heaven and saw those whom he had given his approval to be put to death. No doubt, they would have open their arms wide, welcoming him to heaven, rejoicing that Paul had gotten saved.

Acts 26:17-18
I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

This is my favorite part of this sermon. I never grow tired of reading it. This is what Jesus did for us. We were once living in darkness and now we are living in light. We were once under the power of Satan, and now we are under the mighty power of God. We have received forgiveness of sin and if that were not enough, an inheritance among all of those who have been sanctified (set apart) for the Lord. Praise be to God!

Acts 26:29
And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

May this be our hearts and attitude towards preaching the gospel and others coming to faith.