Monday, October 31, 2005

Psalm 51:1

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

(NIV)


Psalm 51 is an amazing prayer, written by King David. It was written after Nathan the prophet came and confronted him on his sin of murder and adultery. This is a great Psalm to read if you are struggling with sin, or have recently repented of a certain sin, and you want to stay on the right path.

Notice that it starts off with the plea to God for mercy. Sometimes I think that all of our prayers should start that way, "Have mercy on me, O God..." But take special note of where David bases that mercy: according to the unfailing love of God, according to God's great compassion. David knows better than to ask God to base his mercy on anything else. Only in God is the basis of mercy. Nowhere else.

Then David tells us his need, and it is all of our needs. We have transgressions that need blotted out. And only God has what it takes to blot those transgressions out.

If you have not done so lately, cry out to God for his mercy.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(NIV)


I love Ephesians 2:8-9. It helps to give us an understanding of the Salvation process. We are saved by grace. We are saved through faith. This faith that we have is a gift from God.

I love it.

But these two verses have almost become a chant in some peoples minds. They like to quote the parts that they like, over and over again. I can almost hear it now in my mind:

"By Grace - Through Faith!
Not by works!"


But the thought in this passage doesn't stop there. Right after verse 9 there exists a verse 10! And believe it or not, verse 10 is important in the understanding of verses 8 and 9!

Even though we are not saved by works, our salvation results in works.

Remember that even the works don't come from us. We are God's workmanship. And according to Philippians 1:6, what God starts, he will complete. He does not stop the works that he starts. Faith and Grace are evidenced by the works. If there are no works, it may be that the faith and the grace are not there either.

I have found that most people who tarry on the "not by works" have some other reason for focusing on that. Many people have relatives or friends who have claimed salvation, but have nothing to show for it. This is a hard truth to accept.

There are others who are lacking works in their own lives. If they move on to verse 10, then they will have to be confronted with this truth. And frankly... they just don't want to.

Move on to verse 10.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ephesians 2:9

not by works, so that no one can boast.
(NIV)



Aren't you glad that this is true?

Think about that today. Your salvation is not by works. And that is good, because you never could have done enough to earn it. You always would have come up short. But nobody else has done enough to earn it either. We are all most definitely in the same boat.

If you are saved, it is not by works; it is by God's grace.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God,
(NIV)


I love the flow of this verse.

It is by grace that we have been saved. No doubts about it. It wasn't us, it was simply and purely by God's grace.

But wait, wait... here is our part: "through faith"

Keep reading...

Oh, "and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

The emphasis keeps flowing away from us and toward God and his kindness - his grace. Even our salvation isn't about us. It is about Christ.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ephesians 2:7

"in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."
(NIV)



Why?!? Why has he seated us with him in the heavenly realms. Why has he made us alive, who were once dead? Why has he freed us from the ruler of this world? Why?!?

It is to show his glory. He wanted to demonstrate the "incomparable riches of his grace." He wanted it to be known that he is over all and above all. And he wanted to demonstrate that through Christ Jesus.

We are all so far from his grace, and so undeserving. When we are honest with ourselves, we know that we are truly despicable, wretched people. But God, who is rich in mercy... He is the one who has decided to save the unsavable, to love the unlovable, to mend the unmendable, to make alive those who are dead.

What a God we serve.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Ephesians 2:6

And God raised us up with Christ
and seated us with him
in the heavenly realms
in Christ Jesus,

(NIV)


The phrase, "the heavenly realms" is translated "the heavenlies" in some other versions and in some other passages. After a little study, I believe that we could understand this best as heavenly citizenship. We are not actually there yet, but we might as well be. That is where our citizenship is. That is where we will end up.

But being seated there gives us the idea of permanence and authority. And we do have authority. Think of the context of this passage. We now have enough authority to say no to sin. We are no longer servants to sin, and to our sinful natures. For we have been seated in the heavenlies! Though we aren't there physically, we are seated with Christ now! And he has conquered sin and death for our good and for his glory.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Ephesians 2:4-5

But because of his great love for us,
God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ
even when we were dead in transgressions
it is by grace you have been saved.

(NIV)


We were dead, and the only reason why we are not still dead is because of God. And it isn't because of us, it is because of His great love, because of His mercy, because of His grace. We were dead, but He has made us alive.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ephesians 2:3

All of us also lived among them at one time,
gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature
and following its desires and thoughts.

Like the rest,
we were by nature objects of wrath.

(NIV)


We used to live among the disobedient at one time. When we had a craving or a desire we gave in to it. We gratified all desires. And we followed after those desires.

What we craved was our leader.

Was.

I can almost feel the tension building. The writer is building up, is painting a picture of what was left behind.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ephesians 2:2

in which you used to live
when you followed the ways of this world
and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air,
the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

(NIV)



The word "ways" refers to a manner of life, your philosophy, so to speak. We all used to follow the philosophies of this world. We have all believed in this world's teachings. We have believed such lies as, it isn't really that bad or I can repent later. But those things are not true.

And those lies come from the father of all lies, the devil himself. He is the ruler of the kingdom of the air.

And take special note: whether we like to think this way or not, he is at work in those who are disobedient.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ephesians 2:1

As for you,

you were dead in your transgressions and sins,


(NIV)


Key word: were. You were dead.

It is a reminder of what you used to be. You used to be dead in sin. All of us could say that we were dead in our sin. But how many of us can say that we aren't any longer?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Psalm 19

Psalm 19 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. There is so much in there. The first six verses paint this amazing picture of creation, and keeps telling us that there is a creator! But it doesn't tell us who that creator is until verse 7, it is Jehovah! And we also learn in verse 7 that the scriptures will teach us the specifics.

Read more about Psalm 19 --
What is man?
Intelligent Design
The Message Version
god or God
The Bible

Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

(NASB)


This Psalm ends with a petition that we should all pray every morning. And it might be even more important on a Monday morning.

Let your words and your thoughts be acceptable to God today.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Psalm 19:13

Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.

(NASB)


The presumptuous (or proud) sins are many times the worst.

It isn't that we have given in to some great immorality, but we have simply presumed ourselves to be more than we are. If we can realize who we are, then we will be blameless (complete).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Psalm 19:12

Who can discern his errors?
Acquit me of hidden faults.

(NASB)


The word "his" is referring to the servant (I believe). And really, who can discern or understand all of their own errors. We say so casually that "we are always sinning." But do we really believe that?

We are all sinners. We have all fallen short of God's glory.

The Psalmist believes that. This is why he prays, "Acquit me of hidden faults." He knows that there are too many to discern. He knows that he has sinned in ways that he hasn't even noticed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Psalm 19:11

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (KJV)



Obviously we cannot fully keep GOD's law because we're imperfect. GOD accepts our attempt even though we don't even come close to keeping the law. GOD warns the wicked to stop being wicked and the righteous to continue to be righteous. There is "great reward": "Religion makes our comforts sweet, and our crosses easy, life truly valuable, and death itself truly desirable." -Matthew Henry
The "religion" he speaks of does not have the same meaning that it does today. When he said religion, he meant Christianity: believing in Christ Jesus, the SON of GOD, to save us from Hell fire.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Psalm 19:10

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (KJV)




"Gold is only for the body, and the concerns of time; but grace is for the soul, and the concerns of eternity. The word of God, received by faith, is more precious than gold; it is sweet to the soul, sweeter than honey. The pleasure of sense soon surfeit, yet never satisfy; but those of religion are substantial and satisfying; there is no danger of excess."

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Friday, October 07, 2005

Psalm 19:9

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. (KJV)



The law and the word of the LORD is what brings about the fear of the LORD. This fear is clean or "pure" and it never ends. The judgments(ordinances or decisions) never contradict themselves. Every law is always 100% true and 100% righteous. They have no flaws. David wrote "altogether" so no one could exclude one of the laws. In the last day, GOD will judge every man, and we should be very fearful of HIM because of the purity of HIS judgments. GOD is the ultimate judge, HE has never falsely accused someone or wrongly judged them. That's why its so important to get the point across of how holy, pure and perfect GOD is. Not GOD alone, but everything HE says and does.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Psalm 19:8

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. (KJV)



Its amazing that David says that the statutes(commands or decree) of the LORD give the heart joy. We are to obey GOD's law, but it won't be torture, we will enjoy obeying GOD. Enlighten: "to give information to; inform or instruct." We will be guided by HIS commandment because of its purity and holiness.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Psalm 19:7

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. (KJV)



The first demonstration of GOD's glory was through his creation. The heavens and the firmament. Now David illustrates GOD's glory through the law. The fact that GOD's law is perfect is incredibly important. Imperfection is why man cannot enter heaven, based on his own works. With GOD everything must be perfect. The law is a witness of the LORD. And it gives the simple(the childlike, not mature) wisdom.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Psalm 19:6

It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other, nothing is hidden from its heat.



This verse shows that they were not ignorant about science. Verse 4 says GOD "pitched a tent for the sun." The NIV footnotes say that the sun is a mere creature of GOD, that the sun is the "supreme metaphor of the glory of GOD." It "sweeps across the whole extent of the heavens and pours out its heat on every creature."

Monday, October 03, 2005

Psalm 19:4-5

Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,Which is a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run a course.


When I read, "their words to the ends of the world," I think of people who have never heard the gospel before. When I was little I would always ask my parents about the people in a jungle in Africa, how were they supposed to get saved if they had never heard the good news of Jesus Christ? Well, here's the answer: they can see GOD's glory and presence through creation. GOD can reveal himself in so many ways.