Devotional Thought for Today – 11/28/2020

Psalm 61:2 (ESV) - Biblia.com

 Psalm 61 –  ESV and RVR 1960 

LEAD ME


CONTEXT: Psalm 61 combines aspects of an individual lament psalm with a royal psalm (about the king). The psalmist petitions God to hear his cry and protect him (vv. 1–2), attesting to God’s past protections as he looks to the future (vv. 3–4). He shows confidence that God has heard his vows (v. 5). The psalmist then petitions God to prolong the king’s life and his line (vv. 6–7), and expresses his intent to praise God’s name and perform his vows (v. 8).  – Faithlife Study Bible

Do y’all remember the bumper sticker craze “God is my co-pilot” I am sure it made lots of money to the slogans inventor but it was biblically unsound. Think about it for a moment do you want God in the pilots seat all large and in charge or relegated to being there just in case of an emergency? 

Many Christians go through life and life’s discouragements with that attitude that God is their co-pilot. I will call upon Him only in case of emergency, how sad it is as if folks want to embrace Galatians 3:3.  

David gets it correct in verse 2 when he cries out to God:

from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,

He will always call on God no mater where he is even to the ends of the earth, whenever his heart is overwhelmed or he feels weak in Spirit. David prays God will lead him (no co-pilot here) to a place that he could never reach alone. 

 Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. The language is very remarkable. It gives us the idea of a man suffering shipwreck. The vessel in which he has been sailing has sunk. He has been plunged into the mighty ocean; and there he is buffeting the waves, struggling for life, panting for breath, and just about to give up all for lost. Suddenly he discovers a rock towering above him. If he can but climb up to the top of it, and get sure footing upon it, the billows will not be able to reach him, and he will be safe. Now, the prayer in our text is the cry of that poor wretch for help. He is so spent and exhausted, that he cannot reach the rock himself. He shouts aloud for the friendly hand of some one stronger than himself, or for a rope that may be flung to him by those who are already safe on the rock, if by these helps he may gain it. Lead me to the rock, cries the poor perishing wretch. “O, lead me, guide me, direct me to it; for I am so worn and spent, that I cannot reach it otherwise. I am at the point to die; and I must sink, and be no more seen for ever, if there is none to help me.” Thus he calls for some one to rescue him from the deep, and to place him on the rock. But what rock? He knows that unless the rock be a high one, he will not be in safety, though he should be on it. The rock, he says, “must be higher than I, or the waves will reach me, and wash me off again.” It is not a rock, the top of which just shows itself above the sea, no higher than a man’s own body, that will save the life of a shipwrecked mariner. Such a rock may occasion the wreck, but it will not afford any help to the sufferers afterwards; it is a rock to split upon for destruction, not to stand upon for safety. Lead me to the rock, or as it is in the Prayer book version, “Set me upon the rock that is higher than I!” …The text having shown us the danger of sin, does not leave us comfortless; it shows us the security of the refuge. We have before remarked, that the prayer of David, as a shipwrecked man, is, to be “led to, “and set upon a rock, that is higher than himself. The expression seems to imply much. The rock that is higher than he, must be higher than any man; for David was a mighty monarch. He implies, therefore, that the refuge he seeks must be more than any “arm of flesh” can afford him; it must be therefore divine. Condensed from a Sermon by Fountain Elwin, 1842.

Today’s questions are simple what are you reaching for and who are you asking for help?

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/24/2020

Satellite View of the Americas on Earth Day | NASA

Psalm 57

 Glory and Majesty Over all the Earth


CONTEXT: The title given in most bibles is: To the Chief Musician. Set to “Do Not Destroy.” A Michtam of David when he fled from Saul into the cave or something very similar.  Of note is the commentary by Agustus F. Tholuck on the title: 

A Psalm composed when David fled from Saul in the cave, which is referred to in Psalm 143, and which, because it is without any other distinction called “the cave, “is probably that celebrated cave where David with his six hundred followers lay concealed when Saul entered and David cut off the skirt of his robe. The king, accompanied by three thousand followers, chased him to the loftiest alpine heights–“to the sheepcotes, “where the cattle were driven in the hottest summer months only–to hunt him in every hiding place. There was a cave, in the darkened cool of which David and his men were hid. Such caves in Palestine and the East are frequently enlarged by human hands, and so capacious that they accommodate thousands of people. This song of complaint was written during the hours of suspense which David spent there, to wait until the calamity was overpass (Ps 57:2); in which he only gradually gains a stout heart (Ps 57:8). His life was really suspended by a hair, if Saul or any of his attendants had espied him! 

Once again in this psalm we find David on the run from Saul. The simplest division can be set up as a prayer v.1-5 and praise v.6-11 although element of both are contained found in both. The verses that connects the two sections are v.5 and 11 for they are identical.  


V.5 and 11 Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory and majesty be over all the earth.  – no matter the ailments, persecutions, or the trials David’s steadfastly holds God in His proper place King of Kings and Lord over all creation. 

v.5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens. This is the chorus of the Psalm. Before he has quite concluded his prayer the good man interjects a verse of praise; and glorious praise too, seeing it comes from the lion’s den and from amid the coals of fire. Higher than the heavens is the Most High, and so high ought our praises to rise. Above even the power of cherubim and seraphim to express it, the glory of God is revealed and is to be acknowledged by us. Let thy glory be above all the earth. As above, so below, let thy praises, O thou great Jehovah, be universally proclaimed. As the air surrounds all nature, so let thy praises gird the earth with a zone of song. – C. H. Spurgeon 

v.11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, etc. Greater words of prayer than these never came from human lips. Heaven and earth have as they imply, a mutually interwoven history, and the blessed, glorious end of this is in the sunrise of the Divine glory over both.  Franz Delitzsch, 1869.

Today’s question is two fold are you feeling the pressure of hostile forces closing in on you? Are you crying out like David v.1 Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious and merciful to me?  I pray if that is the case you are (as we all should be daily) proclaiming, God’s Glory and Majesty Over all the Earth. 

Devotional Thought For Today – 11/20/2020

Psalm 52: A Prayer for District 52 – HRA 18AMP and RVR 1960

Olive Tree in the House of God? 


CONTEXT: This Psalm was written during the events described in 1 Samuel 21 & 22.  David having fled from Saul, came to Ahimelech the priest at Nob, and desired bread and a sword of him, (unawares of his true identity) which were given him. Doeg the Edomite being present at the same time was a unscrupulous fellow and when the opportunity arose he came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech. Of course Saul quickly accused all in the house of Ahimelech of aiding and abetting David. When Saul’s guard refused to kill off the house of Ahimelech, Doeg quickly stepped up and did the dirty deed.  In response David pens this passionate expression of grief.

There are only 9 verses in this very powerful Psalm all worthy of reading and repeating but I will comment on only a few:

v.1 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?  Just an observation but did you ever notice that the most evil people in the world are usually the most boastful. I wonder if is because they are trying to cover up or deflect attention from their real inadequacies and evil intent?

Why doth he glory in malice that is mighty? that is, he that in malice is mighty, why doth he glory? There is need that a man be mighty, but in goodness, not in malice. Is it any great thing to glory in malice? To build a house belong to few men, any ignorant man you please can pull down. To sow wheat, to dress the crop, to wait until it ripen, and in that fruit on which one has laboured to rejoice, doth belong to few men: with one spark any man you please can burn all the crop. . . . What art thou about to do, O, mighty man, what are thou about to do, boasting thyself much? Thou art about to kill a man: this thing also a scorpion, this also a fever, this also a poisonous fungus can do. To this is thy mightiness reduced, that it be made equal to a poisonous fungus! Augustine.

v.5 But God will break you down forever;  The fate of all evil is this, God’s righteous judgement will prevail and in that we can take comfort even in the midst of the very worst of storms. 

When good men die, they are transplanted from the land of the living on earth, to heaven, the garden of the Lord, where they shall take root for ever; but when wicked men die, they are rooted out, to perish for ever. The believer sees that God will destroy those who make not him their strength. -Matthew Henry CC

V.8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;  Olives were prized for their oil and other properties in the Old Testament times. Even today one can pay a very hefty sum for quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. David here uses the analogy the he is like that prized possession in the House of God. 

We have seen that David was enabled, by the exercise of faith, to look down upon the worldly grandeur of Doeg with a holy contempt; and now we find him rising superior to all that was presently afflictive in his own condition. Though, to appearance, he more resembled the withered trunk of a tree which rots upon the ground, he compares himself, in the confidence of coming prosperity, to a green olive… From his language, it appears that he could conceive of no higher felicity in his condition than being admitted amongst the number of the worshippers of God, and engaging in the exercises of devotion. This was characteristic of his spirit. We have already had occasion to see that he felt his banishment from the sanctuary of God more keenly than separation from his consort, the loss of worldly substance, or the dangers and hardships of the wilderness. The idea of an allusion being here made, by way of contrast, to Doeg, who came to the tabernacle of the Lord merely as a spy, and under hypocritical pretexts, is strained and far-fetched. It is more natural to suppose that David distinguishes himself from all his enemies, without exception, intimating that, though he was presently removed from the tabernacle, he would soon be restored to it; and that they who boasted of possessing, or rather monopolizing, the house of God, would be rooted out of it with disgrace. And here let us engrave the useful lesson upon our hearts, that we should consider it the great end of our existence to be found numbered amongst the worshippers of God; and that we should avail ourselves of the inestimable privilege of the stated assemblies of the Church, which are necessary helps to our infirmity, and means of mutual excitement and encouragement.- Calvin 

Toady many Christians are being persecuted for their faith. Like David they are forced to run, hide and put their unconditional trust in God. Just because you are not being chased or physically persecuted does not mean you do not have enemies of the truth around you. With liberalism invading our government, media, and schools we are more and more becoming surrounded by lies and deceit.  The question today is will you be an Olive Tree in the House of God? 

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/18/2020

Legalism and Smoking. - One Christian Dad


The other day I was having a conversation with a good friend and somehow we got into a discussion on prayer. He mentioned that a while back he had been asked to give the closing prayer at a meeting of his churches leadership and when he finished one of the deacons leaned over and said ‘you did that wrong, you forgot “In Jesus Name”.’ 

I hope y’all can immediately see the twofold problem with that comment.  First “In Jesus Name” is not some mystic, magical, saying that is mandatory at the end of every prayer.  Second, demanding such a thing is unbiblical and legalistic. 

Neither the word legalism or legalist are found in the bible; yet sadly they are found in many evangelical churches today. 

A legalist or legalism appears in the church when someone:

      • Places more emphasis upon God’s Laws than upon fellowship with God himself
      •  Keeping the letter of the Law but ignoring the Spirit of the Law 
      • Adding to the Laws of God with man’s rules or traditions 
      • Tries to keep the Law to obtain Salvation
      • Tries to maintain salvation by good works (keeping the law)
      • Finds contempt in others who do not have the same holiness (law keeping ability) as them 

Legalism is a sin. Yet it is overlook in most all churches. A newcomer to the church may arrive with baggage (ex-convict, recently divorced, etc.) and they will be looked upon as different for their past by the legalist but woe to anyone who questions the legalist motives. 

Jesus had no use for legalists and called them out, telling them Luke 11:37-54 their day of judgement was coming.  Do you know a legalist in your church? Pray for them, for woe unto them on judgement day.


RESOURCES: 

Legalism Defined

3 Types of Legalism – Ligonier Ministries

What does the Bible say about legalism?

What is Legalism and Why is it so Bad?

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/07/2020

PSALM 32 | CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS | RISE UP - YouTube

PSALM 32 

CONTEXT: Used as one of the early church’s penitential psalms (Pss 63851102130143), this thanksgiving psalm focuses on the forgiveness of sins. The psalmist begins by extolling the blessings of forgiveness (vv. 1–2). He then shares how he suffered until he acknowledged his sin and was forgiven (vv. 3–5). He encourages the godly to pray to God, who preserved him from trouble (vv. 6–7). Yahweh then speaks, encouraging people to follow His instruction and teaching (vv. 8–9). The psalmist concludes by encouraging the righteous to rejoice in Yahweh (vv. 10–11). Faithlife Study Bible, Ps. 32

I think their are three important points to make regarding this psalm I will try and be brief: 

v.1-2 Happy or blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven. As we noted in yesterdays devotional thought I can not remember ever meeting anyone who wants to be sad or unhappy. Here David says one key to happiness is confessing our sins and being forgiven by God.

Whose transgression is forgiven. We may lull the soul asleep with carnal delights, but the virtue of that opium will be soon spent. All those joys are but stolen waters, and bread eaten in secret–a poor sorry peace that dares not come to the light and endure the trial; a sorry peace that is soon disturbed by a few serious and sober thoughts of God and the world to come; but when once sin is pardoned, then you have true joy indeed. “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” Mt 9:2. Thomas Manton.

v.6-7 Prayer can never be under emphasized. C. H. Spurgeon said of prayer, the very act of prayer is a blessing” It is a twofold blessing in fact, for it blesses the person one is praying for and you who are praying. 

 For this shall every one that is godly. We are here furnished with a fact which does not appear in the history of David. It is commonly supposed that after his grievous fall, till Nathan reproved him, he had been careless and stupefied; and this has often been adduced as a proof of the hardening nature of sin. But the thing was far otherwise. He was all the while tortured in his mind, yet unwilling to humble himself before God, and condemn himself before men, as he ought to have done. He kept silence and endeavoured to pass off the distress by time, palliation, and excuse. But the repression and concealment of his anguish preyed not only upon his peace, but his health, and endangered life itself. At length he was reduced to the deepest penitence, and threw himself, by an unqualified confession, on the compassion of God. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee. Here we see not only that all the godly pray, but every one of them prays for pardon. This is the very thing which our Saviour teaches his disciples: “When ye pray, say, Forgive us our trespasses.” And this praying does not only regard the manifestation of forgiving mercy, as some would have it, but the exercise of it. William Jay.

v.10-11 Wicked vs. Righteous no matter the perils of life the Love of God for His chosen people will never fail. This gives us cause to rejoice even in the worst of times and especially in the best. 

O sing unto this glittering glorious King.
O praise his name let every living thing;
Let heart and voice, like bells of silver, ring
The comfort that this day doth bring.
–Kinwellmersh, quoted by A. Moody Stuart.

What is it today you need to confess and be forgiven of to be truly happy? 

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/29/2020

Margin notes: Psalm 11 | ResponsiveReiding

PSALM 11

FINDING HOPE IN HOPELESS TIMES


According to Theodoret, and other early church Fathers this Psalm was written when David was being persecuted by Saul, and was was told to get out, escape for his own safety. 

We have all been in situations when things seem desperate maybe even hopeless but how we react is what really matters. Do we go to God with our problems, seek His wise counsel find our refuge and Hope in His promises our drown our sorrows in worldly affairs (alcohol, drugs, etc.) of hopelessness. 

David’s response is worth copying: 

v.1 Face with persecution David responds that The Lord is his refuge, how can you (his counselors) even suggest he run anywhere but to the Lord. 

v.2 To emphasize the gravity of the situation David says, bows are locked and cocked against him and aimed at his heart.

v.3 But if I (David) forget the basic tenets of my faith (foundations) in times of trouble how much of a pretender am I?

v.4 Contrasting the temple and heaven David appears to show strength gained from the knowledge God is watching and testing all men. 

v.5-7  David makes his closing argument for putting his trust in God here. First the righteous will be tested and approved of God so David’s hope is secure. Second the wicked, David’s enemies fate is not so pleasant but just as assured and David can take solace in that. Finally he notes how much God loves those that are upright (do virtue, moral, and just deeds) they are approved workers of God. 

We always have a choice when facing difficult situations. We can trust God and allow our faith in him to quell and comfort our feelings of hopelessness. We can pray and ask Him for guidance and courage. Or we can run and try and do it on our own, hiding panic-stricken that life is over taking us. The choice is ours to make. 

Lord help me to always trust in you when difficulties arise. Let me find shelter and comfort in your promises and strength and wisdom in your Spirit. Amen. 

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/28/2020

August 2018 VOD - First Baptist Church of North Conway

Luke 22:24-30


PRIDEFUL DISPUTE

Jesus sits down at His final meal with His disciples and a argument breaks out. They have just learned of Jesus’ betrayal and of course no one is going own up to that so the next “logical” thing to “discuss” is who is the greatest among them. 

Most folks in their core want some varying level of acknowledgement for a job well done. There is nothing wrong with hoping to get words of encouragement or praise for doing well. It is when we go out of our way to seek these things “a job well done if I do say so myself”  where pride raises its ugly head. Here is a perfect example of that. Jesus has in the three preceding verses Luke 22:21-23, dropped a bombshell announcement and they quickly dismiss it for selfish interests. 

Of course Jesus being whom He is appears to let them go at it a moment and then quells the storm that is brewing by simply reminding them who is truly the greatest, v.27;  For who is the greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. 

Who is greater the master (diner) or servant. Jesus reminds them He is a servant and they recognize Him as greater than all.  So the next time Pride roars its ugly head remember our Servant Saviour Jesus Christ, who willingly humbled Himself for you and me. 

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/27/2020

Faith is just about trusting God isn't it? | Articles | Bible Reflections

PSALM 7 

CONFIDENCE 


Psalm 7 is all about Confidence or Faith in God. It is not dumb or blind faith (as the picture above depicts) but one based upon a solid relationship with the creator God. 

David is under attack from Cush the Benjamite and sings this song of lament to the Lord praying for justice and refuge all the while having confidence in the Lord’s provision. 

One can break it down this way: 

v.1-2 David’s plea for help  – he goes directly to God for his refuge and justice, knowing man can not solve his problems. 

v.3-5 David’s plea of innocence – before the one judge that really matters David says I am innocent of all Cush is pursuing me for. Note verse 5 where David says if it is not so let my enemies overtake me.  How many of us would pray that?

v.6-7 David’s plea for God’s  intervention  – God help me, please

v.8-10 David’s defends himself – by imploring God’s own justice (righteousness) 

v.11-13 David’s confidence in God’s judgement – David uses the common analogy of weapons of war to describe the judgement of God

v.14-17 David describes man’s wickedness – From the beginning (conceived at birth)  man is evil 

v. 17 David praises God – The outcome is not declared but David’s confidence in God (Yahweh used here meaning the most high, supreme ruler) giving a positive response is based upon  God’s righteousness. 

We all come under attack at different times in our lives. Sometimes it is our own fault due to sin, many times it is just a lack of spiritual activity that opens the door to worldly influences. 

Whenever or whatever the  trouble comes from, the one constant is God. He is immutable a constant source of justice, strength, shelter and confidence for all His people.

If you are experiencing “life’s problems”  and what to know more about how you too can be like David, finding consolation and peace even in these times I encourage you to reach out to a Bible Based Church in your area.  If you need help finding one contact us here we would be glad to help. 

 

Devotional thought for Today – 10/26/2020

 

Jesus, Friend of Sinners: But How?

Luke 19:1-10

Sinners at the Table

Think of the most untrustworthy people in today’s society, and you have the image of  Zacchaeus, back in Jesus time. He was a chief tax collector,  was rich and that made him the most unliked of individuals. 

Jesus had no issue with sinners like Zacchaeus, in fact as v.10 points out it was His very reason for coming to earth. Yet so many evangelicals today from upon or look down upon those wrapped up in sin.  Here let us look at one group. 

When I was a kid we used to joke that used car salesmen were the most unreliable folks around, you NEVER trusted them. Today I would say it’s politicians. As crazy as that seems considering they are ELECTED representatives, they are also disliked and distrusted by the majority of folks. 

 So what can you an average citizen do? Be active, first and foremost vote, they are elected after all.  Second get involved be more like Jesus and go to meet and greets, or invite them to your local neighborhood gatherings to break bread. Get to know them and let them get to know you and how you feel about issues.  

Many need to be educated (nicely) about on the matters that mean so much to us as Christians.  Certainly we want to be a light, by not gossiping and spreading rumors, by pointing out and encouraging them to do their jobs in a biblical manner.

This is our duty, as Jesus points out in v.10 –  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. A remarkable expression-not ‘them,’ but ‘that’ which was lost [ to (Greek #3588) apoloolos (Greek #622)]; that is, the mass of lost sinners. Zaccheus was simply one such; and in saving him, Jesus says He was not going out of His way, but just doing His proper work. He even explains why He waited not for Zaccheus to apply to Him; because, says He, ‘My business is to seek as well as save such.’ Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible – Unabridged

How Chuck Colson Thought Abortion Would Ultimately End

BreakPoint Daily

Today’s BreakPoint: How Chuck Colson Thought Abortion Would Ultimately End

image001 (9)

…“This,” Chuck concluded, “is the way the abortion war will ultimately be won: through Jesus Christ changing hearts, one by one. No amount of political force, no government, no laws, no army of Planned Parenthood workers, can ever stop that. It is the one thing absolutely invincible…

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