Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wedding Day!!!

Well, today is our big day! 

So many emotions.

I really don't know what to say. 

I'm blessed beyond measure.

I'll just leave this post with some verses about marriage, love, & ones that we are especially fond of.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV)
  Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV)
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

(Ephesians 5 ESV) 
  He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.(Proverbs 18:22 ESV)
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.(1 Corinthians 11:3 ESV)
For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.(1 Corinthians 11:8-12 ESV)
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.(Genesis 2:18-25 ESV) 
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”(Matthew 19:4-6 ESV)
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.(Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.(Romans 12:9-21 ESV)
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.(Romans 15:4-6 ESV)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.(James 5:16 ESV) 
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.(Colossians 3:18-19 ESV)
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”(Hebrews 13:4-6 ESV)
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”(Mark 10:6-9 ESV)
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.(1 Peter 4:7-9 ESV)
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV)
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”(Joshua 24:14-15 ESV)
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.(Colossians 3:12-17 ESV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.(Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)
Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.(Luke 12:31 ESV)
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.(Psalm 25:1-3 ESV)
Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!(Psalm 37:3-7 ESV)
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!(Psalm 4:1 ESV)

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.(Isaiah 40:31 ESV)

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.(Proverbs 31:10-31 ESV)

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Little Wedding Eve Humor

Wedding Eve...Psalms 1

This is it. Last day of single-hood. Lots to do today. :) Pray for us. Pray we keep today & tomorrow lighthearted, full of humor, minimal frustrations, & lots of great memories to look back on in the years to come.

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

(Psalm 1 ESV)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

4 Days...Psalms 4

What a great psalm! It is a short 8 verses yet there is SOOO much packed in them.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!(Psalm 4:1 ESV)
Oh, how the Lord has answered both mine & Anthony's prayers for a godly spouse. Despite our apprehensions of what is not known to us yet ;) & other typical butterflies that come with knitting your soul to another human being, we cannot wait to be married. Not just because we love each other so much & enjoy each other's company & all, but because God has directed our path in such minute details that we know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that He has willed this marriage. We also don't feel like He has done this just because He likes us, but because He has something major planned for us and we can't wait to see what that is. 

God didn't just answer our prayers but our parents' & friends prayers and I know of at least one Sunday School class that was praying for a mate for me.

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah(Psalm 4:2 ESV)
That last question is still relevant today. (By the way, you will rarely hear me use the word "relevant." I have come to almost hate that word. Heretical teachers, like I'm about to describe, use that word constantly today saying things like, "We need to make the Bible relevant to today's culture." WRONG!!! The Bible has always been relevant. Sorry...I digresss...I'll write a post about that on my other blog another day...) 

I don't know if you have noticed in the last few years but there is a growing fascination & love for what I call fortune cookie philosophy. Those sentence or two statements that seem to hold some kind of ground breaking revelation/truth but when you really look at them & critically think about them, they don't really make sense. Either it is just stating some kind of bland fact with flowery language, it's practically an oxymoron or double-speak. More like a string of pretty words that sound nice but don't really make cohesive sense. Am I right on this or the only one that has noticed this?

Verse 2 also mentions how the people were/are seeking lies. This is so true today. Just look at the "popular" preachers: Joel Osteen, Rob Bell, Steven Furtick, T.D. Jakes, Rick Joyner, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Cindy Jacobs, C. Peter Wagner, Creflo Dollar, Todd Bentley, Lou Engle, & the like. 2 Timothy 4 warns about such false teachers & those that follow them.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.(2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

It's not easy to speak out against the "poplar kids" but when they are leading people to a false security, you can't stand idly by. I don't want to have my friends & family look at me on Judgment Day & say, "Why didn't you tell us? Why didn't you say something? Why didn't you warn us?" I couldn't bear that kind of guilt. 
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.(Psalm 4:3 ESV)
What encouragement! Just to know that God has set me aside (1) saving me from damnation & (2) to live for eternity in Paradise.

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.(Psalm 4:7 ESV)
What an anthem! Everything may be crashing down around me but I can hold fast to the joy that Christ has placed in me. I may not be happy but I have joy & that is worth more than the happiest of days. Whether God decides to bless us with riches or poverty, we will have Him & that is all we need.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

One Week Left...C.S. Lewis On Marriage

One of C.S. Lewis most famous books & probably THE most recommended apologetics starter books is "Mere Christianity."

"Mere Christianity" is actually a collection of transcripts from radio shows C.S. Lewis did and were originally published in 3 separate books in 1942-1944. Today, it is divided between those 3 books, each divided into chapters.

Chapter 6 of book 3 ("Christian Behavior") is entitled "Christian Marriage." Lewis does not disappoint with his wisdom. In this post, I wanted to share some of the the parts I found especially insightful. I would advise anyone & everyone, Christian, atheist, agnostic, fill-in-the-blank to read this book. If nothing else but to get a Christian's perspective on a multitude of topics.

So, without further ado....C.S. Lewis....
"The Christian law is not forcing upon the passion of love something which is foreign to that passion's own nature: it is demanding that lovers should take seriously something which their passion of itself impels them to do. And, of course, the promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love."
" feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all....If the old fairy-tale ending 'They lived happily ever after' is taken to mean 'They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,' then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would by highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years?...ceasing to be 'in love' need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense--love as distinct from 'being in love'--is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moment when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be 'in love' with someone else. 'Being in love' first moved them to promised fidelity; this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run; being in love was the explosion that started it."
"...if you go through with it, the dying away of the first thrill will be compensated for by a quieter and more lasting kind of interest. What is more (and I can hardly find words to tell you how important I think this is), it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction."
"Let the thrill go--let it die away--go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow--and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time."

Friday, March 16, 2012

8 Days!!! Psalms 8

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.(Psalm 8:1 ESV)
When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, I was in choir after school at my church. The only song I remember singing (because it was my favorite) was this verse. I still remember that song & now I can't stop singing it. :)

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,(Psalm 8:3-6 ESV)
Here the psalmist is describing the works of our Creator & then is in astonishment that He would take time to think of us. Looking at creation & realizing that I know the One who created all of it & that He knows & cares for me as well is a humbling experience. 

I can't say it any better than:
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!(Psalm 8:9 ESV)

9 Days Left...Psalm 9

This is another long psalm but a great one. A praise to the Lord for victory over enemies & a call to remind ourself of God's final justice.

Since it is so long & this week & next week are crazy, I'm only going to pull out a few verses that really struck me.

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

(Psalm 9:1-2 ESV)
 I have so much to be thankful for. I was raised by amazing parents who taught me about God & the importance of education & not shirking responsibility. I am about to marry an amazing man of God with an excitement to learn more about God & a willingness to go on to the mission field should God give us that opportunity. I am about to have gain incredible in-laws. I believe in the One true God & He has given me a passion for Him, His Word, theology, apologetics, evangelism, & writing and I pray that He will give me the opportunity to use it in a greater capacity in the years to come...maybe even moving into a full-time capacity. I live in a country where I am free to speak of my beliefs without fear of arrest, torture, or execution. I have friends I consider family & family I consider friends. I have a hard time stopping this session of thanksgiving. I would say "I'm so lucky," but Anthony has gotten me out of that habit & taught me to say, "I am so blessed."

But it isn't just the things & people He has bestowed upon me. The most precious gift is His sacrifice & saving grace. I, being a wretched soul, deserve nothing but Hell. Yet, He saw me worth dying for. 
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11 ESV)

But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.(Psalm 9:7-8 ESV)
 God is Judge & He will judge the entire world one day at what is referred to as "The Great White Thrown Judgement." This time is prophesied about in Revelation 20:11-15. It occurs after the Millennium. At this point, all who ever lived will be present & judged. Those who did not come to Christ will be "thrown into the lake of fire," & those who did come to Christ, will become the Bride of Christ & live for eternity in the New Jerusalem. 

There are many who claim: "there is not such place as Hell;" "a loving God would not send anyone to Hell;" "Hell is only for really bad people like Jeffrey Dahmer, Hitler, & the guy who cuts you off in traffic;" or "you can burn off your sins in Purgatory" or "you get many chances through reincarnation to get it right." These are all false.

Hell does exist, despite what Rob Bell & the like proclaim. There are many references in both the Old & New Testaments of Hell. For example, Daniel 12:2, Matthew 13:41-42Matthew 25:41, Mark 9:47-48Revelation 14:11, & Revelation 20:10.

God does love but He is also righteous & just. He has set rules which we have all broken (Romans 3:23) & has told us what the price of those sins are (Romans 6:23). Because He is righteous & just, He cannot commune with sin, He must destroy it. However, God is loving & because of this, He provided a way (John 3:16). God does not send anyone to Hell. We send ourselves there by sinning & we choose Hell by not accepting Christ as our Savior. We only have ourselves to blame if we end up in Hell.

Hell is not just for the "really bad" for we are all wretched & depraved. I mentioned these verses in my last post. Psalms 14:1 says, "there is none who do good;" Romans 3:10-12 says, "no one does good, not even one;" & Isaiah 64:6 says, "all our righteous deeds are like polluted garments [used menstrual rags]."

There is absolutely not evidence what-so-ever to support any idea of Purgatory or reincarnation. In fact, quite the opposite. The Bible teaches that there is no chance after death to make any kind of decisions affecting eternity. If you want to read more about evidence against Purgatory, I would recommend "What Does the Bible Teach About Purgatory?" at the Please Convince Me website. And, as far as reincarnation, Hebrews 9:27 says, "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment."
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.(Psalm 9:9-10 ESV)
 This verse reminds me of Psalms 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

I also love how this verse states that the Lord will never forsake those of us who put our trust in Him. What a comfort that is!
The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.(Psalm 9:17 ESV)
Sheol is another term for "the grave." This verse supports my claim above that God will judge all & that the wicked will be sent to Hell. A rewording of Romans 6:23.
Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah(Psalm 9:19-20 ESV) 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Psalm 14...Only a fool

Once again I fall a couple of days behind. 

Psalm 14 is almost identical to Psalm 53.

I would skip this psalm, not because it isn't worth reading...there is nothing not worth reading in the Bible but just because I am so far behind. However, I can't help but mention at least the very first verse. This verse changed my view point or at least I found very interesting on two points. 

So, here is the verse...
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.(Psalm 14:1 ESV)
The  first part, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" is also referred to in Psalm 10.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;all his thoughts are, "There is no God."(Psalm 10:4, ESV) 
Even demons admit God's existence.

You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
(James 2:19 ESV)
The next part of the verse, "...there is none who does good." is later referenced in Romans.

as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”(Romans 3:10-12 ESV)
These verses describe the depravity of man. How utterly sinful we are. Isaiah describes it in even more graphic detail.

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.

(Isaiah 64:6a ESV)
In this verse, is the term "polluted garment." Many other translations use, "filthy rags." These are very "nice" or less offensive terms for what the original Hebrew uses. The Hebrew word used here is "'iddah." Literally translated, that word refers to a used menstrual rag or pad. Gross, right? But very descriptive.

I always thought of the "filthy rags" as being like my dad's old rags that he used to change the oil or wash the car with. But when I looked at the original term, it puts the way God looks at my "good deeds" in a whole different light.

This, however, does not mean that we shouldn't do good works. It just means that if that is what we are counting on saving us, we are sorely mistaken.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.(Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
(James 2:26 ESV)
So, back to the psalm, (1) someone who denies the existence of God is a fool & (2) none of us are good.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

18 Days = Psalm 18

Oh, my, Psalm 18 is long. Due to that & the fact I need to clean my bed room & closet so poor Anthony has a place to hang at least a couple of outfits, I'm only going to write on a couple of verses in the passage. 

First, let me explain a little of what has happened in David's life to cause him to write this praise song.

If you know the story of David you will know he was a lowly shepherd boy, so how did he become king of the Israelites? After the Israelites were led out of Egypt by Moses, they were to only have God as their leader. There were judges that ran the day-to-day affairs & made sure God's law was being honored & obeyed but the true "head" was to be God. Well, the people, typical to all humans, whined & complained that they wanted a king like all the other nations around them. Finally, God said, "Fine, you want a king, here is Saul." (I'm paraphrasing.)

Now, fast forward a few years. God had instructed the people to go into the Promised Land & drive out all the inhabitants there. However, Saul did not follow God's instructions, so, he rejected Saul & found our lowly hero, the "man after God's own heart."

God sent Samuel (the prophet) to Bethlehem to the house of Jesse (David's dad) & there, anointed David. However, he did not immediately become crowned. In fact, he returned to the fields. 

After the anointing, God's Spirit came upon David & left Saul. Saul was then possessed or oppressed by a demon. He would go off in fits of rage, so one day one of his servants suggested he have a harp player come play for him to calm him. Who do you suppose was this wonderful musician? That's right! Our hero...David! Saul loved David. So much so that he made David his armor bearer (kind of like his "right-hand man"). Even Saul's son, Jonathan, and David became best friends.  

Now comes the most famous David story. The Philistine's were attacking the Israelites and they were scared to death. Jesse sent David to the front lines with some food for his brothers. When he saw how fearful the Israelites were acting before the Philisteans, David said to them, What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? (1 Samuel 17:26 ESV) Let's admit, this young fellow was quite the honey badger (pop culture/YouTube reference for those of you who do not get what I just said...basically he is quite the whipper-snapper, a feisty & fearless lad). Well, long-story-short, David killed the giant Goliath & received the praise of the entire country. 

David was praised higher than Saul, Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands. (1 Samuel 18:7 ESV). And when Saul heard their songs of praise, he became enraged with jealousy. He even tried to kill him a couple of times but Saul was also afraid of David because the people loved him so much. Saul ended up giving David his daughter in marriage so David became Saul's son-in-law. All I can say is, thank God I'm not marrying into that crazy family...I mean, they're crazy but no one has tried to spear me yet, so my soon-to-be in-laws are looking pretty classy in comparison. ;)

Finally, Saul had had enough & plotted to kill David. However, Jonathan told David & he fled. For several years David was on the run from Saul. During this time, David penned many of the Psalms, especially the ones that speak of God delivering him from his enemies. Psalm 18 is one of those. 

I know what you are thinking. "Why did it take you all that time to just say, 'this Psalm was written after David was delivered from Saul & his army'?" However, I think it is nice to remember the history every once in a while. ;)

So, I'm going to pick out a couple of verses that really jumped out at me when reading it this time.
For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. (Psalm 18:22 ESV)
David, is telling us here that it is vital to stay in the Word. 
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 ESV)
  Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. (Psalm 119:97-104 ESV)
There are so many benefits to studying God's Word. You learn about history, learn about the future, you learn about the Trinity, you grow in wisdom, it keeps you from becoming over-come with sin, it teaches you discernment & how to avoid being taken in by false teachers,....I just can't say enough about it.
With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. (Psalm 18:25-27 ESV) 
This is why atheists & other non-Christians see God as a cruel god. That's why you often hear, "Well, if your god is so loving, then why does he ________?" They do not understand. The evil see God as evil. Ok, I'm sure someone is going to say, "You think I'm evil just because I don't believe in your god?!" Yes, I do, because we are all evil, the Bible says so. 
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 ESV)
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; (Romans 3:10 ESV)
However, God provided a way to be purified, sanctified through Christ's sacrifice.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26 ESV)
And that brings us to verse 28.
For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness. (Psalm 18:28 ESV)
David is, once again, referring to God as a lamp. Like I talked about in the post over Psalm 27, the light of God brings understanding to His Word.