A Word about the Word

February 13, 2013 at 11:24 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 11 Comments
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We are not sure which human instrument the Holy Spirit used to write Psalm 119. The consensus seems to be that it was David, but I have also seen it argued that it was Jeremiah. The psalm itself is about God’s Word. Like Psalm 112, it is in the form of an acrostic, but with eight lines for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Almost every line is a meditation on Scripture.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Psalm 119:11

It is not enough to have God’s Word in our hands, in our homes, and in our heads. We must have it in our hearts!

BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Psalm 119:9

The Bible helps us stay clean. We pour it through our minds the way we pour water through a dirty vessel to purify it.

I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

Psalm 119:14 (emphasis added)

Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

Psalm 119:111 (emphasis added)

I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

Psalm 119:162 (emphasis added)

The Bible gives us joy.

Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.

Psalm 119:24 (emphasis added)

HE. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

Psalm 119:33-35 (emphasis added)

NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:105 (emphasis added)

The Bible gives us guidance.

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

Psalm 119:37 (emphasis added)

The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

Psalm 119:72 (emphasis added)

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Psalm 119:103 (emphasis added)

Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

Psalm 119:148 (emphasis added)

The Bible tells us what is valuable.

I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

Psalm 119:58 (emphasis added)

The Bible tells us how to pray.

ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.

Psalm 119:49 (emphasis added)

The Bible gives us hope.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Psalm 119:165

The Bible gives us peace.

And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Psalm 119:45 (emphasis added)

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

Psalm 119:133 (emphasis added)

The Bible sets us free.

JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

Psalm 119:73 (emphasis added)

The Bible tells us what God wants us to do, and how to do it.

They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.

Psalm 119:74 (emphasis added)

Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.

Psalm 119:79 (emphasis added)

The Bible tells us how to pick our friends.

VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.

Psalm 119:41-43

We must pray the Word, answer with the Word, and speak the Word consistently. The Bible gives us strength.

DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

Psalm 119:25 (emphasis added)

Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

Psalm 119:40 (emphasis added)

Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

Psalm 119:88 (emphasis added)

Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.

Psalm 119:149 (emphasis added)

The Bible revives us.

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

Psalm 119:7

Praise is good preparation for Bible study.

They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

Psalm 119:3-5 (emphasis added)

The Bible shows us the difference between our ways and God’s ways.

The Right Kind of Rejoicing in Marriage

October 5, 2012 at 9:58 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 13 Comments
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Charity…

…[r]ejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

I Corinthians 13:6

Charity is agape love. It is “Christian” love. Within the context of marriage it is self-sacrificing love, active love, love-in-motion, Christ-like love. It is a decision to treat your spouse right, even when you do not feel right about your spouse. It is a giving of yourself for your spouse with two main goals in view:

1. That your spouse receives grace and mercy.
2. That your spouse is directed more toward righteousness (toward conformity to Christ).

There is a meeting point where grace and mercy intersect with righteousness, so that loyalty between spouses is “true” loyalty: a looking-out for the greater good. The greater good is, first of all, the good of Christ, Who is illustrated and advertised by Christian marriage. Second, it is the good of the other spouse, who can not be allowed to rejoice in iniquity.

There are two different words for “rejoiceth” in I Corinthians 13:6. Chairo is singular rejoicing. It is focused on the joy that the one who rejoices receives from an event. Sygchairo (pronounced “SOOG – high-ro”) is the second “rejoiceth,” and it is focused on rejoicing together. Sygchairo is the kind of joy that grabs all the people around you – or whoever is available – and is expected to be contagious.

In I Corinthians 13:5 we saw that love in marriage is supposed to be merciful. It doesn’t assume evil. Now we see that when it is disappointed and finds evil anyway, it does not rejoice. It does not even secretly rejoice (rejoice alone) with the satisfaction of being proven “right.”

In marriage we should never be happy about iniquity. Our own iniquity and any iniquity on the part of our spouse ought to be detested and dealt with lovingly but seriously. Therefore, rejoicing alone in marriage is a potentially dangerous thing. A warning sign should pop up when there is something you rejoice over without a desire to share it with your spouse. And a double warning sign should appear if your rejoicing over something is dependent upon your spouse not rejoicing over it together with you. If these things occur, the thing you are rejoicing over is almost certainly iniquity.

This might seem elementary, because we would obviously expect that if Christian love in marriage does not rejoice in iniquity, it must rejoice instead in righteousness or at least goodness of some sort. But that is not what I Corinthians 13:6 says. It says true Christian love rejoices in the truth. It rejoices together in the truth because the truth is not being hidden. It rejoices in authenticity or genuineness. And since “the truth” is just that – actual objective reality – both spouses can experience it and enjoy it.

“Honey, I had a great day today [leaving out the detail that I won $800 at the casino].” That’s not real love because one person is rejoicing in iniquity.

“Honey, I love you and I don’t want to assume the worst, but someone told me they saw you at the casino today.” That’s not rejoicing yet, but if it results in the truth coming out and forgiven sin and a turning to more truth, then it will be rejoicing together.

God loves truth. As married couples we are supposed to be a picture of Christ and His love for the Church. Christ’s love is not a pampering love. It is a perfecting love. It is not interested in iniquity or falsehoods. It is interested in real genuine authentic sanctification (in which, by the way, there is real joy).

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Romans 12:5

This verse is about the Church, but apply it to marriage. My spouse and I, as a married couple, being one flesh, are members one of another.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Romans 12:9

Love is not hypocritical – it’s not hiding and pretending and covering up. That’s what sin did in Eden – it cost the man and his wife their “unashamedness” – their freedom to be uncovered with each other. God tells us to abhor iniquity. Don’t rejoice in it. Rejoice in truth, and rejoice in the Truth. Jesus is Truth personified. Our marriages can’t be about rejoicing in iniquity and rejoicing in Christ at the same time.

Oswald Chambers Says You Can S.W.I.M. with Joy

June 12, 2010 at 9:45 am | Posted in II Corinthians, Quotes | 3 Comments
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The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to your own circumstances – these very things – tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. The saint never knows the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it…

Osawald Chambers, “March 7, Undaunted Radiance,” My Utmost for His Highest

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Romans 8:37

Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

II Corinthians 7:4, emphasis added

Real Joy Vs. Fake Joy

May 10, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Posted in Romans, Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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The worldly person who has no real relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is, by necessity, dependent upon external things for proper behavior, peace, and joy. When circumstances happen to bring about his comfort, he feels magnanimous and wants to be nice to others. He feels temporarily at peace, and even experiences a counterfeit joy.

However, those who intimately know Christ Jesus and reign with Him in life know righteousness, peace, and joy that surpass physical and external circumstances.

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Romans 14:17

When true Christians get together, regardless of their level of spiritual maturity, there should be an atmosphere of peace and love, similar to that which should exist among a loving family, which is made up, not only of grown parents, but also of young children. Children grow physically because they are fed and exercised. They grow emotionally and spiritually because they are trained in love.

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Romans 14:19

From Frequent Formal Faithful Following, Flows Full Foundational Fellowship

July 16, 2009 at 11:50 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration | 10 Comments
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We might wonder if the boldness of the Apostles would find the same reception today that it did in the earliest days of the Church. Imagine a preacher, pastor, evangelist, or Christian elder exhorting new Christians to, “Be a follower of me!” The response would likely be, “What do you mean, ‘Be a follower of you?’ What about being a follower of Christ?”

However, the 1st Century Christians were commended for being followers and imitators of their spiritual leaders. The key to this is that the leaders themselves were following Christ, and encouraging their followers to do the same.

And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

I Thessalonians 1:6

The philosophy of the world is that times of affliction mean an absence of joy. But the philosophy of the Bible is that Christians who receive the Word of God in times of affliction, and who submit to their spiritual leaders and to the Lord, and who do not forsake faithful attendance at church (Hebrews 10:25), will experience the joy of the Holy Ghost. This joy is not dependent upon circumstances or externals. Instead, it comes from His indwelling presence.

It is all well and good to warn and encourage others about the coming of the Lord, but as the day of His coming approaches, we have a specific command from Scripture to be diligent about assembling together frequently, formally, and faithfully.

The Great Trading-Post

July 1, 2009 at 9:06 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical Greats, Isaiah | 15 Comments
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The Lord God is the Creator of Life, and the Maker of Heaven and Earth. He has given us His Word and His Spirit, and He has not left us without hope. The Bible says that He heals the broken-hearted, and He binds up their wounds.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Isaiah 61:1-3

Life is not always easy. Sometimes it seems like life is just a series of problems. Sometimes we are right in the middle of a problem. Sometimes we are coming out of a problem. Once in a while it seems like everything is going great, and then we have a problem, and we look back, and we see that time when we thought things were going great as just a time when we were about to go in to a problem.

I find comfort and hope in Isaiah 61:3 because it tells us that one day, if we submit our lives to the Lord, He has some great trades in mind for us – especially for those who mourn – who feel sorrow or sadness.

First, He says that He will take away our ashes and give us beauty. Ashes were worn on the head during times of grieving in the Old Testament. Beautiful head coverings were worn in times of great joy. Do you have a testimony of a life spent serving others? A willingness to serve others is a very good quality. Sometimes it doesn’t look beautiful to us, but the Lord says, if we place our trust in Him, and serve others, one day we will wear a crown on our head instead of ashes – a beautiful crown – for we will be children of the King.

Second, the Lord tells us that we can give Him our mourning – our grieving and sadness – and He will take that from us and anoint us with the oil of joy. Are you the kind of person that other people just like to be around? Would people use the words “loving” and “lovable” to describe you? In this world, we can’t have happiness all the time. But for those who will place their faith in Christ Jesus, He will anoint you with His Holy Spirit. And you can trade in your circumstances-dependent “happiness” for a “joy” that comes from Him living inside you.

Third, the Bible says that Jesus Christ can take away your spirit of heaviness, and clothe you in a garment of praise. Are you content? Do you have a tendency to be satisfied with the things you have? All kinds of problems – but especially financial problems – can make us feel heavy, like we are carrying a weight on our shoulders. Too often we picture a dollar sign as the answer to our problems. But it is as if the Lord says, “I’ll trade with you. You stop placing your desire on ‘things’ – stop being ‘covetous.’ Stop trusting in material things, and I’ll give you a garment of praise. I’ll clothe you in My righteousness, and you’ll be content in Me and want to praise Me.”

My wife is good at just about everything – except she doesn’t have a green thumb. She can kill the healthiest plant in the most fertile soil.

But God can grow the strongest plants in the least favorable conditions.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Isaiah 61:3

The Lord knows that we are going to mourn in this life from time to time. He knows our spirits are going to get heavy. He knows we are going to feel like dumping ashes on our heads. But we do not have to feel that way. Just as an expert gardener can take a sad-looking, drooping plant, and water it, and care for it, and bring it back to life, so can the Lord give us new life – ETERNAL life, and make us, not just any old plants, but strong trees – trees of righteousness: THE PLANTING OF THE LORD, that He might be glorified.

Will you accept this comfort from the Lord? He has promised it to you if you will trust Him and Him alone.


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