Month: August 2017

Psalms 132-134

Psalms 132:13-14
For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: 14 “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

Zion here is a reference to Jerusalem. Having read of all that takes place in Jerusalem throughout the scriptures and then visited Jerusalem on four different occasions, I can say that the more I consider the role it plays in God’s plan now and in the end, the more excited it becomes. Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital, is about the size of New Jersey. How thrilling it is to consider the international attention and tension this small country draws. Why? Because it is a place specifically chosen by God to be apart of Himself, both in the past, in the now…and forever!

Psalms 133:1
1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!

There are few things more pleasant than when the body of Christ is united. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. All too often, the body of Christ drifts from the centrality of Jesus Christ in the Bible, and His teachings within the scriptures which leads to dissension, arguments and disunity. We must take to heart what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” If we keep our eyes wholeheartedly upon Jesus, unity will automatically follow.

Psalms 134:2
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the Lord.

I love to lift up my hands to the Lord. I think it is important to do so, especially when we are singing songs that say so. If we sing a chorus that says, “I lift my hands to the Lord” and fail to lift them, we would be better off not singing that song.

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Psalms 129-131, 1 Corinthians 11

Psalms 129:2
“Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth; Yet they have not prevailed against me.

I remember times when I would get picked on at school…afflictions from my youth. The Lord loves us and protects us constantly. Even when others are against us…He is for us.

Psalms 130:5-6
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning—Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

If you are anything like me, you hate waiting. However, it is in the waiting that we find hope. As we wait on the Lord, our strength is renewed, when we take hope in His word.

Psalms 131:1
1 Lord, my heart is not haughty, Nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too profound for me.

This psalm is a great reminder to remain humble before the Lord. When our eyes are focused on the Lord, great matters and profound things are of know concern to us. Why? Because there is nothing greater and more profound than the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:1
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

There may be some who think that Paul was pretty arrogant for saying, “imitate me”. But I say he said a very good thing. It is wise and good to imitate people who are imitating Jesus. It is imitating people who don’t care about Jesus that gets you in a heap of trouble.

1 Corinthians 11:21
For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.

Paul is speaking here of some of the abuses that were taking place in partaking of communion. They had lost touch of the real purpose of it and we’re abusing it by gorging themselves and getting drunk.

1 Corinthians 11:23
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;

I love Paul’s account here of how we are to partake of the Lord’s supper. Two things the Lord said we are to participate in communion (the Lord’s Supper) and baptism. Communion is a very serious thing as it is a reminder of Jesus’s death on the cross for the sins of the world.

1 Corinthians 11:27-28
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

It is important, before we ever partake of communion that we search our hearts to see if there is anything in us that we should repent of. If there is, we must understand that the Lord is quick to forgive and immediately confess our sin to Him.

1 Corinthians 11:29
For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

What is Paul saying here? He is saying that when we partake of the Lord’s supper in an unworthy manner, with a sinful heart, we are saying, “Lord your death on the cross wasn’t all that important. I can sin and still take communion.” I cringe at the thought of this. Jesus freely went to the cross for us and we must never take that for granted. We must never take that lightly.

Psalms 126-128

Psalms 126:1-3
1 When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream. 2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” 3 The Lord has done great things for us, And we are glad.

The idea of the Lord bringing us back conjures up two thoughts in my mind. The first is that He brought us back from the dead. When we were dead in our sins, Jesus saved us and now we are alive in Christ. Second, no matter what trials we may go through this side of heaven, God is faithful to bring us through them. Even in the most traumatic of circumstances, a sickness that leads to death, a tragic car accident that takes our life or any number of things, we have the assurance of eternity with the Lord.

Psalms 127:1
1 Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.

This is a great reminder to let the Lord direct our lives. Otherwise, disaster will come upon us. When I let the Lord direct my life, when I let Him build the house, my work is always productive and effective.

Psalms 127:3-4
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.

The key to this verse coming to fruition in our lives, is to dedicate and train up our children in the ways of the Lord. All too often I have seen parents experience everything but joy in their child rearing and many times it can be traced to the failure to impart spiritual truths into their lives. No matter what has happened in the past, it is good to purpose in your heart to speak of the Lord to your children and demonstrate a life surrendered to Jesus from this point forward.

Psalms 128:2
When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.

There is much to be said about a good days work. At the end of such a day, as tired as one may be, there is a great sense of accomplishment and that feeling that you have pleased the Lord in our labor. I love that about working hard!

Psalms 128:3
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table.

What I said about Psalm 127:3-4 ties into what we read here. I have learned over the years that the fruitfulness of my wife is intertwined with how well I have loved and cared for her in the manner tha Paul speaks about in Ephesians 5:25, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. When we love our wives in this manner, their lives become fruitful and there is great joy in our marriages.

Psalms 123-125, 1 Corinthians 10

Psalms 123:3
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt.

I am amazed at how evil my heart can be. Even in my regenerated state, I can think some of the most selfish and mean things. Praise God they never manifest themselves in action, but I think them none the less…and the Lord knows it. How I praise God for His mercies. He never gives me what I truly deserve, but instead extends His loving grace towards me, loving me and giving me what I don’t deserve. This glorious truth about our God draws me to love Him all the more.

Psalms 124:2-4
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, When men rose up against us, 3 Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their wrath was kindled against us; 4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, The stream would have gone over our soul;

I cringe when I think about what it would be like if the Lord weren’t on my side. In fact, all I have to think about is my life before I came to faith in Christ and it makes me incredibly grateful to Him. with the Lord on our side, nothing can take us down. 1 John 4:4 says, You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Psalms 125:2
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people From this time forth and forever.

How good it is to know that the Lord surrounds us. Not only when we are good or when we are asking Him to surround us, but forever. His love and care are unconditional.

1 Corinthians 10:3-4
all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

Paul is making reference to Numbers 20:8, “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” Jesus is referred to as the Rock. When we are grounded in Him, we are immovable.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

This is one of my favorite verses. It reminds us that there is no temptation to sin that will come our way, that God won’t provide a way for us to escape that sin. Whenever we fall into sin, we can rest assured that it isn’t because there wasn’t a way out (for God promises us a way out) but simply that we didn’t take the way out He provided. Whenever we are tempted, we must keep our eyes open for those escape routes.

1 Corinthians 10:21
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.

This is another way of saying, ‘you cannot have a relationship with Jesus and a relationship with the world’ at the same time. The reality is, to have an intimate relationship with the world, is to have a relationship with demons. Satan and his dominion have been given temporary control of the world. We must hold very loosely to the things of the world lest we fall prey to it.

1 Corinthians 10:31
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

This is the reason we were created, to give the glory to the Lord. Whatever we do, we must seek to do it for God’s glory and honor. The only way this will be possible is if we are fully committed to Him.

Psalms 121-122, 1 Corinthians 9

Psalms 121:1-2
1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

This psalm has been made into a modern-day worship song. The chorus is, “Oh how I need you Lord. You are my only hope. You are my only prayer. So I will wait for You, to come and rescue me, come and give me life.” I love singing it. Oh how we need the Lord! Oh how we must wait for Him!

Psalms 121:3
He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.

The key to not having our foot moved, is keeping it firmly rooted in Jesus Christ. He will not allow our foot to be moved. However, we will often get so impatient with what He is doing in our lives that we move without Him. This is where we get ourselves in trouble.

Psalms 122:6
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.

I believe it is a good thing to pray for Israel. To Abraham the Lord said in Genesis 12:3
“I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you.” over the years there have been and continue to be many who curse Israel. I believe this is a very foolish thing to do. This is why we pray for Israel. Biblically they are still God’s chosen people and He clearly is not finished with them yet.

1 Corinthians 9:13-14
Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

Paul is establishing the practice of ministers (pastors, teachers, etc.) receiving payment for their services. He is not saying it is mandatory, for even Paul himself was a tent maker (leather worker) by trade. There were times when he was provided for and times when he chose to provide for himself. Serving in the ministry as a pastor is not a ‘job’. I believe it is a privilege. I cannot believe that I get to do what I do every day, and I cannot believe that I get paid to do it. I praise God that I am able to make a living being a pastor ,but my call to pastor came long before I made a living doing it. If for some unknown reason the church was unable to pay me, I would find other work to pay my bills and keep doing what God has called me to do, shepherd the flock of God which He has purchased with His own blood. What a joy!

1 Corinthians 9:22
to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

This is one of those verses that has been terribly misinterpreted over the years. Some would suggest that Paul was saying we should, to some degree, be like the world in order to win the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul was talking about various customs. for instance, he had Timothy circumcised so that they could more effectively minister to the Jews. However, when it came to Titus, he refused because their motives weren’t right. We must be careful how we interpret this verse and put it into effect. I believe we should be sensitive to other cultures and customs as long as it never causes us to compromise God’s word.

Psalms 120, 1 Corinthians 8

Psalms 120:1
1 In my distress I cried to the Lord, And He heard me.

There is much to be distressed about in our world today. I love that we can count on the Lord hearing us. Whenever we are in distress, and we cry out to Him, He will hear and He will respond. What a loving and caring God we serve!

1 Corinthians 8:2
And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.

I like this verse. It reminds me of how cocky we can get about things when in fact, compared to the Lord, we know nothing…absolutely nothing. Knowledge puffs up, makes us proud, but love, God’s love builds us up and makes us wiser than we could ever imagine.

1 Corinthians 8:9
But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.

We must be careful, in how we live our lives, that we don’t do things that will be a stumbling block to those who are weaker in the faith. This is a very serious thing. It is not about the freedoms we have, but living our lives in a way that is God honoring and leads others to a closer walk with Jesus.

1 Corinthians 8:13
Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Obviously Paul was himself committed to what he was writing. I have so much respect for people who live what they preach. They are the kind of people I want to follow.

Psalms 119

Psalms 119:2
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!

Psalm 119 is one amazing psalm. It expounds the glorious truth, power and value of God’s word. It is the longest chapter in the bible with 176 verses. Take your time reading through this psalm as you digest the glorious riches of the Word of God.

Psalms 119:9
9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.

I spend a lot of time helping people to deal with their problems. There is always one answer to their difficulties and in fact one answer to all the problems of the world. Trust in Jesus and then take heed according to His word. If people could but understand that it is really that simple.

Psalms 119:11
Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

When we hide God’s word in our hearts and keep it there, we will not sin against the Lord. His word is the greatest safeguard we have to make sure that we are always walking in the Spirit. It is not enough to read it, but rather read it and hide it in our hearts.

Psalms 119:37
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.

There are so many worthless things in this world, and I am not just talking about sinful things. I am talking about things in this world that are worthless, of no value to our spiritual growth. If we expect to be the mature men and women the Lord wants us to be, we must turn away from such things and replace them with things that will build us up and strengthen our hearts for God.

Psalms 119:47-48
And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love. 48 My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, Which I love, And I will meditate on Your statutes.

Do you love His commandments?

Psalms 119:62
At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, Because of Your righteous judgments.

There is something so cool about this verse. I can’t say I have ever gotten up at midnight just to give thanks to the Lord for His righteous judgments, but I like the idea of it.

Psalms 119:71
It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.

Can you say this about your afflictions? This is God’s purpose for affliction, that we may learn his statutes.

Psalms 119:92-93
Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction. 93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life.

This one speaks for itself. I just love what it says!

Psalms 119:97
97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.

This is where I would like my life to be, meditating on the Lord ‘all the day’. To do so accomplishes what we read in Psalm 1.

Psalms 119:136
Rivers of water run down from my eyes, Because men do not keep Your law.

Our hearts should break because of the people all around us who do not keep God’s law. the older I get, the more grieved I become.

Psalms 119:140
Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it.

There are not a lot of pure things in this world. Fortunately God’s word is not one of the them. In fact there is nothing we have, apart from the Lord Himself, that is purer.

Psalms 119:147
I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word.

I start most of my mornings, which happen to be before the dawning of the day, with this verse. I then follow it with vs 148, Psalm 5:1-3, Psalm 63:1-5, and Psalm 143:8 & 10. I find that it is a wonderful way to start my day.

Psalms 119:160
The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

Not one minute part of God’s word is untrue. This is why His word endures forever (1 Peter 1:22-25).