Devotional Thought for Today – 12/01/2020

Praying Psalm 65 | Upward Ever...

AMP and RVR 1960

The Way to Approach God


CONTEXT: This thanksgiving psalm, which is specifically described as a song, praises God for blessing the land with fertility. Israelites probably used it in a time of harvest. It may also have been a prayer asking for and anticipating God’s blessing. The psalmist begins by praising God’s presence and protection (vv. 1–4). He then praises God’s awesome strength and sovereignty over creation (vv. 5–8), and concludes by thanking God for His provision and blessing on the land (vv. 9–13). – Faithlife Study Bible

Have you ever considered the what it must have been like for Abraham, Moses or Paul to meet the living God? While is is most doubtful any of in this life will have an opportunity to walk and talk with God, we all the same need to approach Him on a regular (hopefully daily basis). For some that is just as intimidating, but should it be?

Most commentaries think this to be a Psalm to commemorate a remarkable harvest. David begins the Psalm with a lesson on how to approach God v.1-4 let us break it down:

To You belongs silence [the submissive wonder of reverence], and [it bursts into] praise in Zion, O God;  David is says he and the chosen of Israel are just can not wait to burst into praise and adoration for the coming harvest. This is the heart of man that is required entering into prayer. One that has pre-determined that it will praise and adore God no matter the outcome. 

O You who hear prayer,  David acknowledges that God hears and answers prayers of the faithful

Wickedness and guilt prevail against me; Yet as for our transgressions,
You forgive them [removing them from Your sight].  David says even with all the evil encompassed about me my trust is paced in you. For you alone are the sovereign God above all.

Blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near. To dwell in Your courts.  David acknowledges that he will be greatly blessed by being chosen of God and God’s will being applied to his life. 

As David understood approaching the Throne of Grace understood, it is all about having the right attitude of humility and submissive response to His authority;  Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment]. –Hebrews 4:16

Are you prepared today?


Dr. Steven Lawson, Rightly Approaching God’s Presence 

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/20/2020

Hope For The Downcast Soul (Psalm 42) | Park Church

AMP and RVR 1960

“Hope thou in God”

As always let us begin with some context: This is the first of the Psalms in the 2nd book of 5 books of Psalms.  Most scholars agree that originally Psalm 42 and Psalm 43  were one and when the Hebrew script was translated into Greek (Septuagint) about 200 B.C. they were separated. 

This Psalm can be broken down into two part, v.1-5 the deep desire for God and v.6-11 crying out to God with hope.  Today we will look at two verses 5 and 11 which are nearly identical:

v.5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become restless and disturbed within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.

The author is being rhetorical here speaking to himself, asking the question after making the proclamations of desiring God in verses 1-4, ‘Why is it I am so troubled and sad?’  He quickly answers himself with the one thing that can silence all despair, Hope in God!

v. 11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? Why have you become restless and disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, The [b]help of my countenance and my God.

Again in the closing verse the author repeats these words, reminding himself and us, that no matter the trouble or burden there is  nothing to big (or to small) that God cannot handle. We need only place our Hope in God.  

The psalmist closes each verse with the thought that for I shall again or yet praise Him,  meaning that even though times are rough and he may be questioning God, why am I going though this? His faith is secure in the knowledge that God is in control and he has hope in God. The questions today is Hope thou in God? 

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/01/2020

Praise God now and experience His power! Amen.

PSALM 22 

PRAISING GOD

Many modern translations of the bible have headings and my Amplified Bible haA Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise for Psalm 22, the CSB has From Suffering to Praise and the NKJV The Suffering, Praise, and Posterity of the Messiah. All are appropriate titles, but I think the NKJV captures the entirety of the Psalm. 

 This Psalm clearly written by David begins with maybe the most tormented cry ever My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?  Luke 16:19-31 gives us but a small glimmer of what it must be like to be separated from God, to have Him truly forsake us.  Imagine the despair David must have felt v.1-2 as he feels God has abandoned him.  I will not get into the clear Messianic overtones of this Psalm today. 

Yet even in his despair, David makes a remarkable declaration, v.3 But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. Another way of saying this might be ‘You are The Holy Holy, the One who can be found where Israel raises it’s voices in praise.’ 

In the midst of the worst of troubles Davis recognizes God is still worthy of all the Glory and Praise that can be heaped upon Him.  He makes this abundantly clear in v.22; I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

The question today is what are you doing? Are you on that mountain praising God great, hopefully you are just as prepared and willing to praise Him in the valley’s of life too. 

 

Sunday Sermon Series – Whose Name is Jealous

Exodus 34:14 King James Version (KJV) For thou shalt worship no other god:  for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealo… | Exodus 34, Exodus,  Treasures in heavenExodus 34:14 King James Version (KJV)

AMP and RVR 1960


COMMENTS and CONTEXT:

There is no direct parallel quote in the New Testament for this verse. Of course when one reads the NT we find most of it to be just that a New covenant and new information with select quotes from the Old Covenant.

The influence of the Old Testament is seen throughout the New Testament. The New Testament writers included approximately 250 express Old Testament quotations, and if one includes indirect or partial quotations, the number jumps to more than 1,000. It is clear that the writers of the New Testament were concerned with demonstrating the continuity between the Old Testament Scriptures and the faith they proclaimed. They were convinced that in Jesus the Old Testament promises had been fulfilled.Holman Bible Dictionary)

Why the select certain verses over others? My theory (I have yet to do a comprehensive study or analysis) is that since the OT was available in Hebrew and the common Greek; the matter of God was for the most part settled. So the main topics to reinforce were Christ and man’s fallen nature. 

In context here we find our text in the center of a portion of scripture defining the Covenant between God and the Nation of Israel; Exodus 34:10-17. They are called to destroy all other idols, put aside all other practices, and worship the one true God. In return v.10, God promises He will do wondrous works (miracles) such as have not been created or produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations.


SERMON

 

Four things does Rev. Spurgeon call upon his reader to ponder carefully: 

I. Reverently, let us remember that THE LORD IS EXCEEDINGLY JEALOUS OF HIS DEITY.

II. The Lord IS JEALOUS OF HIS SOVEREIGNTY.

III. THE LORD IS JEALOUS OF HIS GLORY.

IV. In the highest sense, THE LORD IS JEALOUS OVER HIS OWN PEOPLE.

A Jealous God

Charles Haddon Spurgeon March 29, 1863

Scripture: Exodus 34:14 From: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Volume 9


Additional Sermon

The Lord Whose Name Is JealousJohn Piper

How the Sovereignty of God Silences Pride

The Master's Seminary Blog

by Jerod Gilcher | Sep 29, 2020

There is a myth that has long filled the church: that the more theology you know, the more prideful you become. And sadly this is often more reality than myth (cf. 1 Cor. 8:1). Men and women throughout church history have all been guilty of becoming ‘puffed up’ with knowledge that doesn’t humble them. We have all, at one time or another, clubbed down well-intended, yet misinformed saints with our doctrine. And if we’re not careful, we all will grab our theological clubs again.

But doctrine is not to blame for pride. The one responsible is the fallen saint who wields the doctrine. What if the intended effect of doctrine was just the opposite? What if the deeper we descended in our understanding of God, the more humble we became?…

READ MORE

 

Is God Really in Control?: Sovereignty

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David Smith Sep 23, 2020

            It is presupposed in the very act of God creating. It is affirmed in God’s promises of future fulfillment of his promises. It is stated explicitly by Jesus prior to his ascension, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). It is the basis of the eternal security of all who trust Jesus for their salvation (Rom. 8:31-39). It is the absolute, unqualified, insurmountable sovereignty of God. It identifies God as God.

There is perhaps no place in Scripture where this is made more abundantly clear than the book of Isaiah, and brought into astonishing focus in Isaiah 44:24-45:7.

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Daily Devotional – Darkness Rather than Light

Edwards-Quote-Calvinism-You-Contribute-Nothing-To-Your-Salvation

INTRO:

As many of you know one of my life verses is John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

I had finished reading a few weeks before Jonathan Edwards classic Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.  It had shaken me to my core for I was just beginning to understand the true sovereignty of God.  My current studies had me in John Chapter 3 and at the about the same time I reached  v.16 a friend gave me a copy of John MacArthur’s book  Why One Way. These three writings forever changed my theology on man and God. I understood from from that time forward that the only thing natural man has to offer God is sin. 


20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. John 3:20-21

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

It is hard not to include v.16-18 as the set the pretext for our main text today.  Of course everyone, even most unbelievers know about John 3:16, God’s Love for the world and the Apostle Jon insures we understand just how much God loved us in v.17 and the requirements if you will to receive the free gift of that love in v.18.  All is good here folks love to speak about this “Good News”, God’s Love, the Joyful Union of God’s children. 

Then we get to the ugly stuff. In v.19 John makes it plain that man’s  sinful ways condemn him before a Holy God; for God did indeed send His only begotten Son (light) to save mankind but mankind prefers darkness and evil. 


BREAKDOWN:

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. –  No One likes to be called out for their wrongdoings whether those were intentional or accidental mistakes.  How much more so those who deny the Christ, who purposely do evil always try and hide from others but there is no hiding from God.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. – The exact opposite is true for those who practice righteousness. Their deeds are always open for public scrutiny because they are done for and with God’s help. 


APPLICATION: 

In my studies back in day, of these verses v19-21 I found that the  Greek word translated as “evil,” is phaula, which also means “worthless,” “base,” or “no good.”  Now I am not sure about you but the last thing I want to be called or even considered is a worthless no good person.  Yet that is exactly how God looks upon those who refuse His free gift of Grace, eternal Life through Christ Jesus. Their works, even if mankind looks upon them as ‘good” are worthless and no good in the kingdom of God. 

Unlike some who may not be converted, (saved) I was convinced I already was, this caused me as noted above, to reconsider my relationship with God. Was it all about me and satisfying my needs using God or as (I later learned) and the Westminster Shorter Catechism says :

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

a. Ps. 86:9. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. Isa. 60:21. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. Rom. 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. 1 Cor. 6:20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Cor. 10:31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Rev. 4:11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

b. Ps. 16:5–11. The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Ps. 144:15. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD. Isa. 12:2. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Luke 2:10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Phil. 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Rev. 21:3–4. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

putting God first and not me. 

For those who are not believers, who think “Christianity” is a hoax may I suggest reading any one (or more of the following books: The 10 Best Books for Skeptics of Christianity. I have read #1,4,6 and 8 but all of them lead the reader to draw the own conclusions. Numbers 4 and 6 especially; were written by two men who set out to disprove the bible and “Christianity” as  basically nothing more than a crutch. What they found was so much more. 

 

 

The Persecuted Church in AMERICA

 

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From Communism to Chicago—Churches Under Fire

 

Sep 2, 2020

What happens when an American City threatens to seize and destroy an immigrant church simply for opening its doors? Read on to learn the insane lengths a mid-western governor and mayor took to try to punish our client’s church. -Mat

Pastor Cristian Ionescu knows exactly what it is like to be persecuted for his faith. He grew up in Communist Romania where Christians were financially destroyed, their property seized, their bodies beaten and jailed, or worse for even sharing a Bible, let alone preaching the Gospel.

Pastor Cristian Ionescu never dreamed he would face similar persecution in America…

READ MORE 

Daily Devotional – Approved Workman

Church PowerPoint Template: A Workman Approved - SermonCentral.com

2 Timothy 2:14-16

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

This is Paul’s Second Epistle to Timothy and most agree it is written near his death. It is both a letter of encouragement for a job well done and a warning to always be on guard. 

Chapter 2 begins with Paul telling Timothy to be strong, continuously empowered by God’s grace. To focus on Christ and Him risen from the dead as King of Kings. For the eternity is what we seek not temporal things. (v.1-13)

That brings us to our main text. Here the theme(s) are apparent from the start:

Never Be ashamed of the Gospel

Study God’s Word

God approves His chosen Workers

Avoid unnecessary (unwise and useless) speech


BREAKDOWN:

v.15Never Ashamed, Approved Workman

Study to shew thyself –  In yesterday’s Devotional Who’s Approval, we asked the question who were you seeking the approval of for your actions? God or Man. Here again Paul instructs Timothy to in the same manner; he is to Study literally Greek, Spoudazo, to exert one’s self, endeavour, give diligence.  In other words Timothy is to make every effort humanly possible to be…

approved unto God, –  acceptable or pleasing unto God

a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, – Timothy is charged with being a worker, a servant of Christ, the work is Sharing the Good News of Christ the Gospel. He must be an approved worker, never ashamed of the work or his doings to spread it. 

rightly dividing – cutting straight to the core or marrow, to hold to the truth and teach it without wavering no matter the consequences. 

the word of truth. – What is taught by God, nothing more nothing less, not man’s interpretation, but God’s. 


APPLICATION:

I have said it what seems like a million times “It is never about me (us) it is always about God.”  It is the Gospel of Christ plainly written in the bible, not watered down to some feel good message for man, but the one God wrote through man. 

To be an Approved Workman, we can never compromise the written Word of God in any manner! We do not get to pick and choose what verse we will preach and teach or skip over, which ones we will ignore and which ones we will change to our liking. God is abundantly clear on this matter from the beginning Deuteronomy 4:2 to the end Revelation 22:18-19 man is warned not to mess with God’s Word. Yet, there are hundreds, no thousands of unapproved workman out there sharing their version of the gospel. 

That is why I continue to encourage everyone to be a Berean, do not believe or trust a single think I write, your Pastor says, and certainly not those TV or Radio “Evangelists.”  Do your own due diligence and be your own Approved Workman, verifying the things we preach, teach and write. 

Daily Devotional – Heart of Stone

I seem to be on a path of Devotionals with either a Heart or Peace theme of some sort. Maybe it is because at his core man (apart from Christ) craves peace while being incapable of doing anything but evil. Maybe it is just God’s way of telling me this is what needs to be said. Whatever the reason I hope they are edifying to you and Glorying to Him. 


 

Logos.com

AMP and RVR 1960 


CONTEXT:

Ezekiel is a captive in Babylon, approx 900 km or 560 miles from Jerusalem. Yet this entire Chapter concerns Jerusalem and the goings on there. It is of course Prophesy but more than that it is a testament to the Power of God and the Obedience of one man to God’s will. 

v.1-4    Prophesy against the princes of the people.

v.5-10  Reason for Judgement upon Jerusalem

v.11-13 God’s Judgement Executed  

v.14-16 God’s promise to sustain the Remnant (Faithful)

v.17-21 God’s promise of restoration materially (land) and Spiritually to the remnant


BREAKDOWN:

And I will give them one heart, – One heart not individual hearts (individualism divides a congregation) but a heart of oneness, uprightness, unified in Spirit. Note in V.18 God says they (we) must first “remove from it all [traces of] its detestable things and all its repulsive things (remnants of paganism)”  You can not be holding on to the old and expect the new. 

and I will put a new spirit within you; – This should be the desire of all who God has touched and called to be His own. It is the promise given to all who repent of their evil ways.

and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, – We can look at many example in the Bible of a hardened Heart; Pharaoh in Genesis, Balaam while riding the Mule in Numbers, Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 to name a few. Nowhere is the bible more clear than in John Chapter 3Jesus first tells Nicodemus that the ONLY way to Heaven is with a new (unhardened born-again) heart. Later in v.19 Jesus makes it clear man has only himself to blame for all his personal woes. 

and will give them an heart of flesh: – As opposed to a Hard STONY Heart God instills in us a Fleshly (malleable, soft workable) heart capable of receiving and understanding His Word.


APPLICATION:

Evil deeds are the fruit of an evil heart. They are not an aberration from our true self but a revelation of it. — Sinclair B. Ferguson

But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it. – C.S. Lewis 

But evil is wrought by want of thought, As well as want of heart.  – Thomas Hood

It should be trapper from these non-biblical quotes than man even apart from the bible recognizes the EVIL within our our Hearts. That evil is like a slow gnawing cancer, left unchecked, eating away at its victim, until one day it explodes into terminal stage 4, or biblical terms complete and full rejection of God. 

Fortunately many forms of Cancer today are treatable, and patients recover to live a “normal” life. With God’s Heart transplant procedure, our Heart of Stone is removed and a new Heart of Flesh replaces it. God is 100% successful at this, never rejecting a transplanted heart

As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn saidThe battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.”  God is calling to us as individuals and as a Nation, to change (Transplant) our Hearts. It is time we reject the clear immoral evil we see going on daily and repent before God. Just as He puts before Israel on notice He is also putting us on notice Deuteronomy 11:26-28

26 “Behold, today I am setting before you a blessing and a curse— 27 the blessing, if you listen to and obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not listen to and obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following (acknowledging, worshiping) other gods which you have not known…