Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Isaiah 53:8

By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?

(ESV)

All you have to do is study history for a little while before you realize that oppression and judgment have almost always been around. And even the savior of the world fell prey to these aspects of this world we live in.

He was really beaten. He was really crucified. He really did hang there and say thte things that He said. He really shouted, "It is finished!" And it really was finished, so don't forget today that He suffered, and that these things that He suffered were for the transgressions of His people.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Isaiah 53:7

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.

(ESV)

In I Peter 2:21-25, Peter uses this as an example of how we are to behave and submit, even in times of suffering. But Peter adds some insight into the way that Christ was able to "...answer not a word." He tells us that, "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly."

Refraining from retaliation does not mean that you are a doormat. Sure, you may look like a sheep going to slaughter, but you do it knowing that you are entrusting yourself to THE Judge... The Judge who judges justly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

(ESV)

Just like sheep, we have all gone astray. We have all gone our own way. Each of us has chosen our own way of life. We make our own decisions. But the ways that we have gone are ways that are "astray". They are not the paths of life.

God has laid on Jesus Christ the sins of us all. All of our "going astrays" have been placed on Him.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Isaiah 53:5

But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.

(ESV)
This is it. In this verse is the salvation of all of mankind. It is the gospel message, clear and simple, from Isaiah.

Going through this verse, so we don't miss a thing:

Why was He wounded? For our transgressions. The word "transgressions" is referring to our rebellion. We are rebelling against God. The word "wounded" is referring to a fatal wound. It could also be translated "pierced through."

Why was He crushed? For our iniquities. The word "iniquities" is referring to our depravity. We are totally depraved. The word "crushed" literally means crushed or broken.

What did this chastisement bring? Peace for us. The word "peace" is referring to our "wholeness, completeness, or soundness." Chastisement is talking about "Discipline." Understand it this way. Discipline brings a restored wholeness. He was disciplined for us. This fixes that rebellion problem.

What did His stripes bring? Healing for us. The word "healing" is literally referring to health, which we are in desperate need of because of our depravity. The word "stripes" is referring to the stripes or scourging.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Isaiah 53:4

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.

(ESV)

Jesus Christ came to the World. We know what He did here for us on the cross, but don't forget that He also was HERE.  He was born.  He grew up.  He lived.  Then He died.  He was HERE.  He fulfilled His name, Immanuel (God with us).  He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows in more ways than just on the cross.  This is why the book of Hebrews calls Him a "compassionate High Priest," because He has been here, yet without sin.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Isaiah 53:3

He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

(ESV)

When Christ walked this earth, there were many who followed Him.  There were multitudes that came to where He was.  They wanted to see Him, they wanted Him the be the messiah that they thought they needed, but He was something different.  Jesus came and fulfilled a deeper need than most people even knew that they had.  

Do you see Jesus as He really is, or do you make the Messiah into your own image?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Isaiah 53:2

For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.

(ESV)

We know that this passage is referring to the Messiah, to Jesus.

Jesus came into this world in humility.  He could have arrived in so many different ways, but He chose to arrive as a baby in a manger.  We have glorified that scene, but it would not have been glorious at the time.

He didn't come with anything that would naturally attract us to Him, so that His followers might be true followers of Him.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Isaiah 53:1

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

(ESV)

In the NIV it says, "Who has believed our message?" And that is the question when it draws close to Christmas. There is a message. There is a meaning.

It is more than "the spirit of Christmas" or "It's all about giving not getting." Those things fall so far short of the message, and if you go down that road, you have missed the true message.

I am hoping that Isaiah 53 will help me to remember the message.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Psalm 139:24

And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

(ESV)


There are two ways. When God reveals your grievous way, He will also lead you in the way that is everlasting.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Psalm 139:23

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!

(ESV)


I have already written my thoughts on this passage, so instead, I would like to encourage you to pray this today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Psalm 139:21-22

Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies
.
(ESV)

This was a difficult passage to write a commentary for, but here it goes:

In the New Testament Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:43-44, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,"  Jesus has given us additional teaching on the treatment of our enemies.  

One additional thought (a possibility):  When David is referring to hating those who hate the Lord, he is referring to how he feels abou them, whereas Jesus is referring to treatment of those enemies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Psalm 139:20

They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain!

(ESV)

Notice that one of the examples that David uses to show how these people are truly the enemies of God is the fact that they are taking God's name in vain.

This is a command that we take lightly sometimes, but it was mentioned in the Ten Commandments fairly high up on the list. Mentioned before murder and adultery.

Consider today how you use God's name. Do you refer to Him in an empty, meaningless fashion?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Psalm 139:19

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!

(ESV)

Have you ever prayed that way? You are just sick of the wrong that is going on around you, and you just cry out to God, asking Him to end it.

Even though it doesn't say so in this particular passage, we know why God tarries, why God stays His hand. It is His grace.

Consider the story of Jonah. Jonah wanted the evil people of the city of Nineveh to perish. He wanted them to pay for their crimes against humanity, and he did not want them to get right with God. So when God calls Jonah to go to that city, Jonah runs.

We know what happens next. God doesn't let Jonah get too far, and miraculously brings him, not only to a place of repentance, but also back to Nineveh.

After Jonah preaches, the people repent. Jonah isn't too happy about this so he goes and sits down outside of the city. He builds a little shelter and God causes a vine to grow up over Jonah to shade his head. The vine dies the next day, and Jonah gets mad about this as well. God asks Jonah if he is angry about the vine and Jonah responds that he is angry enough to die.

God's response in Jonah 4:10-11 is this:
"You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?"

He even mentioned the cows.

It isn't wrong to want the wickedness to stop, but keep in mind God's compassion, even for the cows.

Psalm 139:17-18

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
(ESV)
Saying that God's thoughts are precious is a two fold statement.  

First, it is a statement of reality.  For David, God's thoughts had become precious becaus he was beginning to understand what God was thinking about.  

Second, it is a statement of theory.  God's thoughts should be precious to us.  We should begin to put  a high priority on what God is thinking about us.  So, we begin to think of God's thoughts the way we should, which will lead us to a better understanding of reality.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Psalm 139:16

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

(ESV)

Before you were born, God knew all of your days. They, according to this verse, were written in a book. I always assume that statements like these are figurative, that there isn't an actual book with my days in it. But if it is figurative, what is it representing?

There is an absoluteness about things written in a book. Once it is written, it is written. Especially in those days, the days before white-out and backspacing. Your days were written in a book that doesn't erase, a book that God Himself has written and keeps.

Aren't you thankful that you have an ear with the Author of your life?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Psalm 139:15

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

(ESV)
We can't skim over a verse like this; not the way things are in the world today.

David is here stating that there was a time that he was in the womb. He talks about when he was being made in secret. That secret place that he is referring to is in the womb. With current technology, we can get a glimpse into that womb, but they couldn't. We can see now that those babies are babies.

The question is: Do you suddenly become you when you are born? Or you could state it: Does the soul enter the body when the baby pops out? The answer to this question is "No" and here is a scripture which, in a small way, validates that thought.

Keep in mind also that if you were being "intricately woven together" that implies a weaver.  We know that it is God himself that was working on you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Psalm 139:14

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
  Wonderful are your works;
  my soul knows it very well.

(ESV)
I praise you!

David finally says it, as should we all.  It has been building through this chapter, kind of like a thick liquid coming to a boil.  You can see the place where the bubble is starting to rise, and then finally it is too much pressure on the inside and it pops.  The same thing here.  When you begin to discuss these amazing attributes of God, just how big He is, how He is everywhere, how He knows all things... And then you bring it down to the closeness and personal touch He has on every life... The praise comes out, or at least it should.

David states here, after his bubble pop of praise, that the way we are made is amazing.  He describes it as "fearful" and "wonderful".  And this knowledge has made it into his very soul.

May you, today, allow the knowledge of God sink down to your soul.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Psalm 139:13

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
(ESV)
God has an intimate knowledge of who we are.  He knows us so well because He is everywhere we are.  He also knows us so well because He made us.  His creative actions did not cease after that first week.  Every baby that has ever been born was formed by God.

How should this knowledge impact us?

Here are a few truths that you can take away from this:

  • All babies belong to God.
  • All babies are made by God.
  • God made you.
and
  • God doesn't make mistakes...
That last one wasn't in this verse, but that is already known about God.  If we keep that in mind as we look at those other truths, there is great encouragement there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Psalm 139:11-12

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
     and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
     the night is bright as the day,
     for darkness is as light with you.

(ESV)

There have been times in my life where I have wanted the darkness to surround me and the light to be gone.  Sometimes it was because of things that I wanted to do, so I didn't want to be seen by God. I wanted Him to vacate the premises so that I could do what I wanted without Him standing over my shoulder.  There have been other times that I simply wanted to dwell in my own misery.  I didn't want Him there to bring that ray of light, I wanted to "enjoy" my pitiful state... It seemed easier.

In those times I don't always see God bursting through.  And notice that it doesn't say that He comes bursting through, vanquishing the darkness.  It only says that it isn't darkness to Him.

We are such great fools that say in our hearts, "There is no God..." Here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Psalm 139:9-10

If I take the wings of the morning
     and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
     and your right hand shall hold me.
(ESV)
David has made this teaching about the Omnipresence of God very personal.  He has spoken about himself in each of these verses, but in these two verses he move in just a little bit closer to the mind and heart of God.  He reveals that God's presence isn't that of a bystander.  God is where David is, and He is there with arms extended.  He is helping David, He is leading him and guiding him.  God is holding him up.

God's Omnipresence isn't that of a whispy vapor.  He also isn't just "in" everything.  He is PRESENT!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Psalm 139:8

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

(ESV)


Here we have this continued thought of the omnipresence of God. I love how David doesn't make it a matter of textbook (scroll?) theology. This isn't something that he is discussing in a non-personal way. He is talking about himself. God is where he is.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Psalm 139:7

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?

(ESV)


I don't ever think that I want to go from God's Spirit or flee from His presence, but there are times when I think that I have.

We usually don't ask God to step out before we get impatient with our children or lash out at our spouse. We don't say, "Excuse me God, would you mind stepping into the other room while I am watching this show?" We usually don't say or think these things, but how often we live like it.

Allow this understanding of God to penetrate your daily life.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Psalm 139:6

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
     it is high; I cannot attain it.
(ESV)

I concur.

These last few days I have been seriously contemplating these verses.  I have contemplated them before, but in the past my meanderings through this passage have remained with the concept that God is everywhere and He knows all things.  That is wonderful.  That is high and lifted up.  I cannot attain it... 

But this time, the scriptures have struck me in a slightly different slant.  God is here.  He knows me.  As I type these words, He is present with me.  That is high.  That is wonderful.  I cannot attain it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Let Me Not Wander?

Hey!

Show your support of this blog by becoming a follower! On the right hand column of this blog there is a spot where you can become a follower of this blog. I titled it "fellow wanderers".

You could also show your support by dropping some additional comments from time to time.

OR... You could start your own commentary blog!

Just some thoughts....

Friday, October 31, 2008

Psalm 139:5

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.

(ESV)

This verse was of great comfort to me this week. I was thinking about the first part of this passage with the conviction that comes with God being everywhere, and knowing all things about me, then I came to this verse. He knows me, He knows who I am and what kind of evils I am capable of, yet He still hems me in. He still lays His hand on me.

Realizing that God knows everything, I mean really realizing that truth can be of some distress, unless you realize that His knowledge is always tempered with His grace.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Psalm 139:4

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
(ESV)
Is this statement about more than God's foreknowledge?  Isn't it possible that God knows our words, not just because He knows the future, but because He knows us

Could it be that He knows our words before they leave the brain, travel down those neural pathways, and land on our tongue because He has intimate knowledge of us?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Psalm 139:3

You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.

(ESV)


How is your theology?

Maybe when you were a kid you could state that, "God is omnipresent... God is omnipotent... God is omniscient..." You knew those omnis, but did you really believe them?

Do you really believe that God is everywhere? Do you really believe that He knows all things? Do you really believe that he searches out your path and where you lie down? Do you believe that He is acquainted with all your ways?

If you believe these things, how would it change your life?

What about what you watch on TV? Would it affect the places that you frequent on the internet? What about the places on the internet that you stumble upon? Would your easy-listening music change stations?

How is your theology affecting your life?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Psalm 139:2

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

(ESV)

God has intimate knowledge of us. He has knowledge of what is going on in our hearts and in our thoughts. But He also has knowledge of the more mundane elements of life. He knows when you stand up and when you sit down.

If God is aware of such small details, then He is aware of you.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Psalm 139:1

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
(ESV)

Aren't you glad that you serve a God that knows you. We don't need to have a "Get to know you" day with God... He knows us. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

We still need to get to know Him, but He is ready to reveal himself to any of his followers.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Proverbs 1:7

The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
(NIV)
If we were to understand the Fear of the Lord as something that is played out in life.  Not as simply an emotional response or a passing thought, but as the emotions and thoughts manifesting themselves in action.

(Similar to coming across a bear in a forest.  I wouldn't simply pull up some knowledge about bears in my mind, and I wouldn't just let that knowledge cause my heart to beat faster, I would most likely run, if the bear wasn't too close, and I thought I could make it someplace safe. Or what about seeing the great pyramids for the first time.  I wouldn't be satisfied with a simple mental snapshot of the pyramids and I wouldn't stop at being awed, I would go up and touch it and see if I could go inside and explore or climb it.)

True fear and reverence manifests itself in action.  The same is true with the fear of the Lord.  If you have the true fear of the Lord, then you will put it into action by doing what He says.

If you are not doing what he says, to follow the verse, then you haven't even begun to know anything.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jude 1:17

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.
(NIV)
Two things I would like to point out in this verse: First, the "But".  So many writers in the Bible will lay things out for you, but they don't leave you without the "but".  They will come back in and remind you of something big and important and essential to empowering you to do what you need to do.



Second, I love the "dear friends" that he uses.  He is not speaking all of these things in an uncaring way, he is speaking to friends.  The same is true of God.  There are many places in scripture where God refers to us as His friends.


Keep that in mind this week, that God always brings in the "but" to empower you to do what you need to do, and He is with us as our friend.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Jude 1:16

These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
(ESV)

Jude does not take it easy with the names he uses to describe these false teachers.  But he desires that the listener be fully aware of the heart of the false teacher.

Ask yourself though, do any of these descriptions match you?

I know that for myself, I will go days on end as a grumbler.  It is usually something about work, or something that the boss did.  So I will gripe and complain like the best of them. 

So before you start nailing false prophets, you may want to get the beam out of your eye.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jude 1:14-15

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, 

Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
(ESV)

These people are a type of people that have been around since the beginning.  We just heard that they are like Cain, and now it is Enoch, just the 7th from Adam, that is prophesying their ultimate destruction.


God does not forget His word, and that word will come true.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jude 1:12-13

These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.
(ESV)

What a description! 

They are hidden reefs (blemishes).  They have come to blend right in during the fellowship times.    They go unnoticed, therefore they are without fear.  They are selfish, like  a shepherd who feeds himself.

They are like clouds with no rain.
They are like dead fruit trees.
They are like a wave casting up foam.
They are like a wandering star.

There is a place reserved for them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jude 1:11

Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion.
(ESV)

Cain was a hater of his brother.  He was jealous, but unwilling to do things God's way.  Cain was a murderer. 

Following Balaam meant to live a life of immorality.  Many of the practices included unmentionable deeds.  To follow those ways was to abandon oneself to those things. 

Korah and his followers stood against Moses and Aaron.  These false teachers are setting themselves up against the apostles.

These three examples are there to learn from.  Setting yourself up against God and His way will never work out.  The one thing that struck me about all three of these cases is that they are obviously wrong.  I am speaking as an observer... to me the wrong way is clear and the right way is clear.  but in the moment, I have no doubt that the ones who were going the wrong way believed that it was not the wrong way.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jude 1:10

But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.
(ESV)
Blasphemous words were proceeding out of the mouths of these false teachers.  And what is sad is that they were blaspheming what they didn't even understand.  If they didn't get it, they they were blaspheming it.  They were using their words to speak evil of all they did not understand.  And their understanding came from instinct, not reason.

Animals do, pretty much, what they feel like doing.  They don't reason out moralities or even risk assessment.  In a sense, they go with their gut.  ... or possibly, you could say that they go with their heart.  I know that I would have to disagree with nearly every Disney movie ever made, but following your heart (the inner man) should not be your guide to life, and it definitely should not be the final judge for what is right for you. These false teachers were guides that were led by their instincts, by their feelings, and the result was destruction. 

A truth that is found in this verse is that following your instincts (your heart or your feelings) will bring destruction.  The very things these false teachers were doing by instinct is what was destroying them.  The sad truth is that they probably didn't even recognize that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jude 1:9

But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”
(ESV)
 Whether or not this is an actual event or a fable taken from Jewish lore, doesn't really matter to the point that Jude is attempting to make.  Pronouncing blasphemous judgments on people in unacceptable.  Even if you are Michael the archangel.

If you would like to read some background on this story, check here or here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jude 1:8

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.
(ESV)

 "...in like manner..." Just like the Israelites, just like the evil angels, just like the people of Sodom, these people are doing these things.  If those three examples deserved judgement, don't these false teachers also deserve judgment?

Notice a few things about these false teachers.  First, they are relying on their own dreams.  Instead of God's word as authority, they are depending on their own fantasies, ideas from their own minds.  Second, they are defiling the flesh by doing this.  The actions that are coming from the dreams is resulting in a defiling of their own flesh.  Third, they are rejecting authority.  By relying on dreams instead of God's word, they are rejecting His authority.  In the original it could be understood as "all authority".  In other words they have become like anarchists.  Nobody can tell them what to do.  Finally, they have gone so far that they are committing blasphemy. 

These people are false teachers, led by their own defiled minds.  Is it any wonder that Jude has taken the time to write this letter?  The question that you have to ask yourself is this:  In what ways am I like these false teachers?  Before you start looking around you, always examine yourself first.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Jude 1:7

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
(ESV) 

Here is another example that God does, in fact, judge.

It is easy to think that God doesn't do this.  Many people like to think of God as this great big old guy, with a long beard, sitting up in the clouds.  He is always one step ahead of you, but as far as judging people, he's not really going to do that.  Yet the Bible is filled with examples of God doing that exact thing.

In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, He is bringing down actual fiery judgment.

Jude says that this example is trying to lead you to understand that there will also be an eternal fiery judgment one day.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Jude 1:6

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day
(ESV) 
Why did the angels lose their positions of authority?  Why are the angels being kept in chains... under gloomy darkness? 

Disobedience.

Jude is pounding in the point that obedience matters to God.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Jude 1:5

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
(ESV)
 Jude is going to give several different examples from the Old Testament. 

I want to begin by pointing out that what Jude is going to be saying are things that one already knows, but Jude is going to remind us anyway.  I say that to my son quite often, "Son, I know that you probably already know this, but I am going to say it anyway..."  I usually say this when he is not acting as if he really did know this.  Having heard something before doesn't necessarily mean that you actually know it.

The story of the Exodus is full of examples of this.  Even though the Lord rescued them from Egypt, when they were disobedient, they were destroyed.  Remember that the false teaching that Jude is revealing has to do with people who believe that once they are saved, God will not judge them.  So, Jude is showing here that there were many, because we have all heard the story of the Exodus and the constantly rebelling Israelites, that were judged after they were "saved".

Monday, July 07, 2008

Jude 1:4

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
(ESV)
 Here is the first focus of Jude's writing.  He has noticed that there are people who have become a part of the church, that are perverting the Gospel.  This perversion is two-fold:  First they are abusing God's grace as an excuse to live out their lives according to their lusts.  Grace abounds, of course, so they have permission to continue to sin.  So, instead of denying self and taking up the cross, they are claiming Christ without sacrificing their lusts.

This leads to the second perversion, which is the denial of Jesus Christ as the Only Master and Lord.  When you live by your lusts, you are denying the Lordship of Christ.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Jude 1:3

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
(ESV)
 Jude was motivated to write.  He had a strong desire to do so, and the topic that he wanted to write about was the topic of this salvation that we all share, the common salvation.  This salvation is available to all, to Jews and to Gentiles, and it is still available today.  There is no barrier to this salvation, it is available to you regardless of your background, your wealth or lack of it, your ethnicity, your family, your religious background, etc.  Of course Jude is wanting to write about this common, yet extraordinary, salvation.

On further thought, Jude decided that there was one particular aspect of the faith that it was necessary to write about.  That aspect which became necessary, was the importance of contending for the faith.  This common salvation cannot be tainted or watered down.  It is absolutely essential that the faith that was brought to this earth, through the person of Jesus Christ, remains clear and distinct until the end of the age.

...And here we are, 2000 years later, reading this letter by Jude.  No other ancient texts exist with the numbers and the accuracy of the collected works of the New Testament.  Is it essential to contend for the faith?  Let us listen to what Jude has to say, and see if it is as important today as it was 2000 years ago.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Jude 1:2

May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
(ESV)
 First, remember that this letter is addressed to you.  Therefore, this statement is for you today.  These three things God desires that they be multiplied to you.

I would also like you to consider whether or not you desire these things to be multiplied to others, specifically to those who you encounter.  Do you desire Mercy, Peace, and Love to be multiplied to your family?  What about to your neighbors?  How about to the people you work with?  What about that one specific guy that you work with that is really annoying, and most of the time you just want to get away from that guy, and maybe it would be a joy to you that he might get fired... Do you desire Mercy, Peace, and Love for that guy?

Have you ever stopped and considered that you are to be the embodiment of Mercy, Peace, and Love to the people that you encounter.  People who are lost cannot have these things multiplied to them, except through you.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Jude 1:1

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,
To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

(ESV)

The introduction to the short book of Jude.

He identifies himself as James' brother. Most likely the James who was a disciple. He also identifies himself as a servant of Jesus Christ, something that we all should do. Maybe we should begin signing our letters that way.

He then addresses this letter to "those who are called" to "those who are beloved in God the Father" and to those "kept for Jesus Christ". Of course, he piles these three ideas together into one group, but look at them separately.

You have been called. Therefore, you have a calling, a purpose for which God has chosen you.

You are beloved by God the Father. That is an amazing statement if you try to wrap your mind around it and soak it in.

You are kept for Jesus Christ. Your continuance is founded in the person of Jesus Christ.

Keep these things in mind today and allow them to become a part of how you identify yourself. This letter is addressed to you.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Psalm 127:5

Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

(ESV)


Lets not stop with a few arrows, lets fill our quiver. Anyone who would say that it isn't good to have lots of children can be quickly silenced by this passage.

Let me end this chapter's commentary by saying this: Children are good. In fact they are great! They are a blessing to any family. That blessing isn't figurative, they will bless you in ways that will make your family better and stronger.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Psalm 127:4

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
(ESV)
Ok. Imagine a warrior (an archer, more specifically). Imagine this archer all geared up and ready for battle. Now, imaging that this archer has no arrows. He has the quiver. He has the bow. Everything else is ready to go, but no arrows.

Now, imagine that same archer, except that there are arrows in his hand. How does that change the picture?

Children do change the picture, and according to the psalmist, in a similar way that arrows change the picture. Sure, you can still be a warrior without the arrows, but with the arrows (and a bow) you have added potential in a battle. You are no longer just a foot soldier. You can begin fighting long before the enemy makes its way to you.

Children do a similar thing. They are part of a well-formed family and add to the families potential.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.

(ESV)
The first time I read this Psalm, the first two verses seemed totally disconnected with the remaining verses. This whole passage, though, is about the building of a "house", and what "house" is really complete without children.

I could be wrong in this interpretation, but I believe that the majority of the verses in this chapter have to do with children because they are truly the greatest blessing of house building.

In this verse we see that they are a reward and that they are a heritage... and that they come from the Lord. The word that is translated heritage has to do with possession. They belong in God's kind of house. The word reward is many times translated as wages or fare or fee. They are the result of God's kind of house building.

There are some who do not have the benefit of children, because of physical issues. There is ultimately nothing that can be done about that. The fruit of the womb is in God's hands. That desire, even though it can get a little distorted, to have children is not a wrong desire, in and of itself. But to not have children because of careers or other worldly passions shows a lack of God's kind of house-building.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Psalm 127:2

It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

(ESV)


Remember, in the first verse it starts off, "Unless the Lord build the house..." That idea has carried over into this verse. We are still talking about house building.

Anxious toil is that worrisome sort of work. It is that work that is based in your own worries. Doing extra things to try to calm that rumbling fear. Getting up early and going to bed late, hoping that you will cover all of your bases, that all of your ducks will be in a row...

To his beloved, God gives rest. There is peace in the houses that He builds.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Psalm 127:1

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.

(ESV)

There are some houses that are built that do not have the Lord as the chief architect. He is not the one building it... but it gets built.

There are watchmen who stay awake all night and the city remains safe.

To understand this verse, first understand the word vain. It means empty. Why? Why is the labor in vain? Why is the watching in vain? because it is pointless. The only one who can build eternal things is God himself. When He builds a house, it lasts forever, when he watches a city, it is an eternal city, take up your citizenship there.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

James 2:13

because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
(NIV)

To jump right to the point... (like James likes to do)

If you show judgment without mercy, there is a high probability that you have not yet understood the mercy of God or have never recognized your encounters with God's mercy. To put it bluntly, if you don't show mercy, then maybe you aren't even saved.

This is a perfect lead-in to the next set of verses.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

James 2:12

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,
(NIV)

This verse would make a great sign. Blow it up huge and stick it on the wall above your bathroom mirror in the morning! Everyday read to yourself,

"Speak."

"and act.

"as those who are going to be judged."

You could stop there. That is a good motivational speech for the day, because it is true. You will be judged.

We won't be punished for our sins. The price has already been paid, but there is still a judgement seat for us. I don't have the time (or the energy) to get into the details of that judgment seat, but it is real and it will happen.

But don't forget the rest of this verse.

"...by the law that gives freedom."

We are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom. No longer will be be judged in such a way as to lead to confinement, we will be judged by the law that leads to freedom!

This is why it is such a motivational speech. Live your life in such a way as the law which will judge us. We are no longer constrained by the law of death, we are free by the law of Christ! (Compare with Romans 8:1-17)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

James 2:11

For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
(NIV)
James obliterates the categorization of sins. Right here in the same paragraph where he mentions that something simple, like showing favoritism is breaking the law, he also states that murder and adultery are also breaking the law... And... that if you have broken one part of the law then you are a lawbreaker!

Let that sink in.

We always say that all sins are equal, but do we really believe that? Is that just part of our churchianity mantra, or have we allowed that idea to sink in. This idea is essential for our understanding of our personal need for a savior, but this passage was written to Christians. So, do we as Christians realize our own ongoing sinfulness as we continue to confess and forsake our sins? Or do we continue to think to ourselves that we are "... not as bad as those people..."

Monday, May 19, 2008

James 2:10

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
(NIV)
This verse is a great teaching verse when it comes to understanding that we are sinners, and that we are guilty.
When we sin, whether it is a big sin or a small sin (speaking in human terms...) we have broken God's law, making us law breakers. There are no big sinners or small sinners in God's worldview. There are simply sinners, and they are all in need of a savior. It is for this reason Jesus came. He lived, without sin, without becoming a law breaker, then took our sins upon Himself, was crucified, died, and was buried. Then on the third day he rose again!

As law breakers, let us be thankful that a savior came, because there is not a one of us who is not a law breaker.

Notice in the previous verse, that showing partiality is breaking God's law.

Monday, May 12, 2008

James 2:9

But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
(NIV)
I would suggest going back and scanning through the first 8 verses again. This is a very important section, which can be used to understand more than just the sin of favoritism.

Before we move on, note that favoritism is sin. It isn't just a bad idea or something that "we probably shouldn't do..." It is sin, and according to this verse, you are lawbreakers if you show favoritism.

Monday, April 21, 2008

James 2:8

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.
(NIV)
This verse is a great stand alone kind of verse. All by itself, it is saying that you are doing well (or right) if you are loving your neighbor as yourself.

But this verse is not stand alone. In the NIV it leaves out an essential word at the beginning of the verse. The NASV does a little bit better of a job on this one.

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well.
Notice the word however. When it is left in, it is kind of like saying, "OK. You have heard the wrongs of favoritism. Let me show you what is opposite to favoritism..." In other words, you can't be loving your neighbor as yourself and showing favoritism. They stand in opposition to each other.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

James 2:6-7

But you have insulted the poor.
Is it not the rich who are exploiting you?
Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?
Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?
(NIV)
(Now, before I continue on with this discussion, I think that it might be important to do a little background here. Consider the commentary on James 2:2-4, and also consider James 1:9, 10, & 11.)

These two verses are very real-word-ish or maybe you could describe them as a reality check. It is almost like James is saying, "...umm guys. Ignoring the wrongness of discrimination based on the outward for just a moment... You are insulting the poor people, when it is the rich people who are doing all of this stuff. Your logic doesn't even make sense!"

Sometimes it can be very useful to take a step back and really look at things. Really look at the results of our actions or really look at the logic of our reasoning. God's word is true, but guess what... God's word is really true. It is true in this world that we live in, not just in some hypothetical universe.

Outward appearances do not always show a reality. Riches do not always mean the blessing of God and being poor is not a curse.

Monday, April 14, 2008

James 2:5

Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
(NIV)
God has not discriminated on the basis of possessions. There are those people who in the eyes of the world are considered to be poor. They are not the types of people that the world would say had "arrived". Yet, has not God chosen them to be rich in faith? Are not some of the people who we might turn away from potentially kingdom inheritors... maybe even ahead of us?!?

Maybe for you it isn't riches. Maybe it is skin color. Maybe it is nationality. Maybe it is their clothing choices. Maybe it is their family. Maybe it is their language. Maybe it is the nation that they currently live in or they are from. All of these things are superficial. God chooses all types to inherit His kingdom.

Friday, April 11, 2008

James 2:2-4

Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
(NIV)
I have tried to stick with a verse a day, but every once in a while there are a few verses that it would confuse the matter to separate them. The thought would become muddled by trying to discuss the one thought over a few separate days. So, I am keeping these verses together.

In James' day, there was a discrimination going on between the rich and the poor. Rich people would many times make assumptions about poor people based on their outward appearance. If they were poor, they were probably not very spiritual. The reason for this was because there was the incorrect philosophy (which was supported by the pharisees of the day) that if you were living righteous, then God would bless you... If you were blessed by God, then you would be prosperous... If you were prosperous, then you would be rich. You can see this philosophy seeping through when Jesus makes the comment about the difficulty of a rich man getting into heaven. His disciples respond with, How in the world can anyone get into heaven, because for them the rich were surely the most righteous because God had blessed them.

James is challenging this thinking. We cannot determine a person's character by their outward appearance. Any form of judgment based on a person's appearance is a sinful judgment, which is rooted in evil thoughts.

Don't let this be confused with the discernment that comes from evaluating character based on actions. The whole rest of this book is about that exact thing. You can also go to several different places in the Bible that talk about making "judgments" based on behavior. (I Cor. 5:12-13, I John 3:10, Matt.7:15-20)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

James 2:1

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.
(NIV)
Simple enough, right?

There are some people who would not say that favoritism is a struggle at all. There are others who would say that they struggle with it all of the time. The need here is to be honest with yourself.

Do you show favoritism?

Strong's Concordance defines this word in this way:

he fault of one who when called on to give judgment has respect of the outward circumstances of man and not to their intrinsic merits, and so prefers, as the more worthy, one who is rich, high born, or powerful, to another who does not have these qualities

I would also like to point out that the verse states, "...as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ..." Favoritism and true faith don't go together. The New American Standard puts it this way:

"...do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism."

In the original greek, that idea is definitely there. It is not a simple, don't show favoritism... It is a, BECAUSE you have FAITH... Don't show favoritism. This goes along with so much that James is supporting with his connection of True Faith and Your Life!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Psalm 90:17

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!
(ESV)
This is an excellent way to end this Psalm.

"Favor" could also be translated as "beauty" or "pleasantness". This is what we desire. We want those beautiful qualities of the Lord to be upon us. We desire for our own character to match that beautiful character of God. And we also desire to have what we do be firm and solidified, but only if what we do is matching His beauty.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Psalm 90:16

Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
(ESV)

In the previous few verses the Psalmist is speaking of getting the heart right, getting the perspective right. After he says it though, he still calls out to God to "see" God. He still wants to see what God is doing while he is here on this earth. He knows his days are short, he knows he needs to be satisfied in God and find his joy in God, but he still has the desire to "see" God, and he doesn't want to wait until he is dead.

He also wants his children (and the children of all who are seeking after God) to "see" God now. So he cries out for God to allow His work to be shown, for His power to be shown.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Psalm 90:15

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.
(ESV)
If you have lived on this earth for any significant amount of time, this verse will mean something to you. It might mean something different to you than it does to me or than it does to another person who lives on the opposite side of the the world or just the opposite side of the street, but if they sit down and they open their Bible and they read it... it will mean something.

There will be some hard thing that you have gone through or are going through that will pop into your head. Maybe it will be multiple things or things that span the entire course of your life. But the moment that word "afflicted" entered your eyesight, there was something that popped in there.

This is part of the human experience, to go through trials, to go through affliction. So, we cry out to God to make us glad in the middle of all of this. Though we only exist on this planet for a few short years, they don't feel short to us.

There is a gladness that God can bring. Seek the gladness that is in Him and through Him. That gladness comes from an eternal source, like nothing you will find on this earth.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Psalm 90:14

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
(ESV)
In this Psalm, there is this building sense that we don't have that many days... not really. When you begin comparing us to the generations of people that have lived, or to the length of time the earth has been here, or more importantly, when you compare us to the creator of us. We don't have all that many days here.

This is why it is important for us to cry out to our God. Our time is short, but we want to rejoice and be glad all of our days, however few days we have.

God is the eternal one who pays attention to His creation. His lovingkindness (or as it is translated here, His steadfast love) is satisfying to the ones who seek it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Psalm 90:13

Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
(ESV)
Don't forget us Lord. We are down here, and you are up there! When are you coming back?

This idea of the servant who is waiting is an on-going theme throughout scripture. It is a topic that Jesus talks about with His disciples. It is a topic that the apostles write about in their letters to the churches. We are always to be waiting on the Lord.

He will come. He is faithful.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Psalm 90:12

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
(ESV)
If I were to pick a key verse for this chapter, it would be this verse. In many ways it summarizes the main ideas of this Psalm.

Correct evaluation of your time, with an eternal perspective is essential in gaining true wisdom. This is a wisdom that is beyond gaining head knowledge, it is a wisdom that resides in the heart, the control center of your life.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Psalm 90:11

Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?
(ESV)
This is really a transitional verse. It is adjusting the thoughts from our perspective to God's perspective. After all of these thoughts on the fleetingness of our days, he immediately jumps to God's wrath, to God's anger.

We don't like to make this logical leap. Especially in these modern times that we live in. Any mention of God and angry in the same sentence usually brings up mental images of some backwoods preacher screaming from a pulpit amoungst intermittent deep inhales and a crowd of amens.

Here we see the two ideas tied together by Moses, a brilliant man of God, and a leader of a nation for 40 years.

It is the natural outcome of the consideration of the shortness of men's lives. Why? Think about it through God's perspective or continue reading this Psalm or both.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Psalm 90:10

The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
(ESV)
A drop in a bucket. 70 years, 80 years... The numbers matter so little in the scheme of eternity. They are just a drop in a very large bucket.

The point that the Psalmist is trying to make here doesn't have anything to do with statistics. He is not trying to give us the average life expectancy of a Jewish male living during this particular century. He is trying to show that we, when we are thinking small, when we are thinking human, seem to think that 80 is a big number.

I tend to think this way when I think about myself. I am 35, and I get excited about that. I can't believe I am that "old". Or when I think about how long I have been teaching, I am still a newbie, but I am in my 8th year. In my human ears, that sounds like a while. My oldest son is 9. He seems so old to me. It is weird sometimes.

Remember though, "...they are soon gone, and we fly away."

Train yourself to think eternally.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Psalm 90:9

For all our days pass away under your wrath;
we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
(ESV)
There are some verses that I sit down to write a commentary for, and it almost seems an injustice to try to rephrase them. This would be one of those verses.

So, instead of giving a specific commentary, let me challenge you, as I have been challenged in these last few weeks.

When you read the Bible, read it devotionally. In other words, read it with the knowledge that you are truly reading The very Words of God. Read it like there is something there for you. Pray before you read it. Whether it is your personal reading time or you just notice a verse in a book or a blog. It doesn't matter who quotes it, when you read it, remember that it is God's word.

It is living and powerful. It is sharp. It will cut you all the way down to the soul and the spirit, even to where the thoughts and the intents of the heart lie.

According to this verse, your days are passing away. So, read it with prayer and an already open heart.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Psalm 90:8

You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
(ESV)
The words "have set" could be translated as "placed" or "positioned". It is active. The word "before" conveys the idea of a conspicuousness. It is directly in the face. So, in other words, God has actively set our sins directly before his face, even our secret sins.

Why?

I believe that the key is found at the end of this verse. It is just a hint, but the fact that these sins are in the light of God's presence is very important. Bringing our lives under the light is ultimately an act of love, it is not a way of God saying, "Look what you did!"

Walk away from this verse with this: First, you need to know in your heart that there are no sins that are secret from God. Secondly, He brings these sins into the light for your own good.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Psalm 90:7

For we are brought to an end by your anger;
by your wrath we are dismayed.
(ESV)
Here the Psalmist makes a connection between the length of our days and the wrath of God. This is an interesting connection, but just consider that first phrase, "For we are brought to an end by your anger;"

I know that we are in modern times and only those backwoods mountain preachers still talk about God being angry, but we are only reading the verse. We (as humans) are brought to an end by God's anger.

I suppose that this could be referring to the curse of sin. After Adam sinned, part of the curse would be that he would die, but God (in His grace) banned us from the tree of life. I believe that He did not want us to eat of that tree, and end up stuck in this sin-cursed state.

I believe, though, in this Psalm, that the anger of God shortening our days is an overall statement. We are still sinners today, and especially as a whole group (the entire human race) we arouse God's anger over sin, and He shortens our days.

The second phrase in this verse is almost a restatement of the first phrase. In fact, that word dismays carries with it the idea of hurries. His wrath (burning anger) hurries us along to our death.

Psalm 7:11 says, "God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day."

Whether you live up in the mountains or in a bustling metropolis, don't forget God's wrath. It just may have an affect on your days.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Psalm 90:5-6

You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning:
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.
(ESV)
It is so important to remember, as we wake in the morning and as we go to sleep at night, that the coming and going of days is not ultimately because our earth is spinning on an axis. Our seasons are not because of this planet's revolutions around the sun. These physical, planetary motions are only a showing of God's extreme power.

The days, weeks, months and years are flowing past because He proclaims that is the way it should be. Remember, there was an evening and a morning several days before there was a sun or a moon or any star in heaven. If the biblical account is true (which it is) then the earth is the oldest bit of matter in the universe. He proclaimed an evening and a morning, and it was so.

So wake in the morning and thank the God of all that there is a morning. Go to sleep tonight and thank Him again that there is a night to rest.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Psalm 90:4

For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.
(ESV)
Continuing in our acknowledgment of our own dustness, we can consider the passing of time in God's eyes.

As I get older, time seems to pass ever faster. I used to contemplate why this would happen. Why would my age cause my perception of time to change? Think about it though. When you are 2 years old, a year is half of your life, but when you are 20 years old, a year is only 1/20th of your life. When you are 1 year old, a day is 0.27% of your life, but when you are 80 years old, a day is 0.00003% of your life. Each day is increasingly insignificant compared to your entire experience. So, just take that out to the infinite. God has always been. God always will be. A thousand years is but a moment to Him.

I also believe that God exists outside of time. Compound this with His omniscience, His omnipresence, and His omnipotence, and it is no wonder that He can work out every plan in perfect harmony with every other plan... without batting an eye.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Psalm 90:3

You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
(ESV)
Have you ever stopped to try to consider this world and all of its people from God's point of view? He knows we are just dust. He made the first one of us from the dust of the ground, and he watches as generations come and go, and these people, who were once dust return back to dust.

It is important, as we read through this Psalm, that we acknowledge our dustness. It is amazing that we read the Psalm. It is amazing that we can read of God, and learn about Him. It is amazing that we have enough self-awareness to acknowledge that we are truly dust.

As you visit the store today or drive down the street or take a walk or even look at your children... remember, we are all dust.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Psalm 90:2

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
(ESV)
To. That is the word that I am going to focus on in this verse. The word "to" stuck right between the "everlasting" and the other "everlasting". That little word to means 'as far as'.

Hold out your arm to the left. Now hold out your other arm to the right. Now stretch each one of them to infinity. That is how much God is God. From infinity as far as infinity, He is God.

In fact, He was God before your arms were made. Before there was a human to consider His God-ness, He was God. Before any of this matter or any of this energy, He was God.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Psalm 90:1

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
(ESV)
For the Lord to be your dwelling place, there are two things that need to happen.

First, the Lord needs to be a dwelling place, and if you know Him, you know that He is exactly that. He is a shelter from the storm. He is a refuge. He is our rock, our fortress. He is our comforter. He fulfills His role of dwelling place beyond any human understanding.

But secondly, for the Lord to be our dwelling place (emphasis placed on "our"), we need to enter in. We need to enter into fellowship with this God of refuge. For Him to be our God, is more than acknowledging the existence of that dwelling, it is to actually dwell there. To walk there, to talk there, to live there, to lay our heads down and rest there.

He has been a dwelling place in all generations of man, and there have always been men who made Him their dwelling.

Where do you dwell?

Friday, January 04, 2008

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
(NIV)


Pure - (1)free from corrupt desire, from sin and guilt (2) free from every admixture of what is false, sincere genuine (3) blameless, innocent (4) unstained with the guilt of anything

Faultless - free from that by which the nature of a thing is deformed and debased, or its force and vigor impaired

I added these definitions in here to help in understanding the type of religion we are shooting for. We want the religion that God (THE God), our Father accepts. The religion that is clean and pure. The religion that is not deformed or debased. The religion that has its full power and vigor.

What is this religion? It is a two fold religion. It is both outward and inward. This is a theme that you will see throughout the book of James. You can't neglect one without affecting the other. They go hand in hand. Jesus tells us that all of our actions come from the heart. That is actually a great study, if you have the time. Look up all of the verses on the word heart. You will be amazed at what the Bible tells us about the role of the heart.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

James 1:26

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
(NIV)

Religious comes from a word that means to cry out. It is definitely referring to worship, and it is talking about crying out to God. If you consider yourself a worshiper, and one who is calling on the name of the Lord, you must rein your tongue in.

The word religion is similar to the word for religious, but it refers more to the outward ceremonies. There is nothing wrong with ceremonies in the Church, by the way. Without digging too much into this topic, it matters less what the ceremony is, and more your heart in the ceremony.

If you are doing all of the right stuff in church, or during your times of worship, whether community or personal, but you can't even watch your mouth... its pointless worship. Don't kid yourself (and be deceived) God is not fooled at all. As the psalmist puts it, "it is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart that God desires."