Daily Devotional – Fragrant Prayer Part IV

What Does Psalm 141:2 Mean?

PSALM 141

Final Plea and Praise


CONTEXT

David was in distress when he penned this psalm, pursued, it is most likely, by Saul, that violent man. Is any distressed? Let him pray; David did so, and had the comfort of it.

      • I. He prays for God’s favourable acceptance (v. 1- 2).
      • II. For his powerful assistance (v. 3,-4).
      • III. That others might be instrumental of good to his soul, as he hoped to be to the souls of others (v. 5- 6).
      • IV. That he and his friends being now brought to the last extremity God would graciously appear for their relief and rescue (v. 7-10).

The mercy and grace of God are as necessary to us as they were to him, and therefore we should be humbly earnest for them in singing this psalm. – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary 

In the first installment we looked at Praying for God’s favorable acceptance. The second part of the series was entitled petitioning for His assistance, and yesterday we explored Praying to God for othersToday we close the series by looking at the final 4 verses with the theme of a Final Plea and Praise. 


Breakdown

v.7Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.

We have all had moments when life seems hopeless, like we have one foot near the grave. When nothing seems to be cohesive, nothing seems to be able to go in our favor, life is like a bunch of splitters of wood  cast about haphazardly. 

v.8 But mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute. 

What to do when life seems so desperate? David’s response, Praise and  focus on God,  mine eyes are unto thee,  have faith in God,  in thee is my trust, focus on the eternal, leave not my soul destitute.  This last one to me is most significant. In times of trouble we have a tendency to focus on the present storm, when our eternal destiny is really much more important. 

Mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord. If you would keep your mind fixed in prayer, keep your eye fixed. Much vanity comes in at the eye. When the eyes wander in prayer, the heart wanders. To think to keep the heart fixed in prayer, and yet let the eyes gaze abroad, is as if one should think to keep his house sate, yet let the windows be open.—Thomas Watson.

v.9 & 10Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.  Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape. David makes a final plea for safety from his persecutors. 

Snares, Gins, Nets. The usual method of capturing or killing the lion in Palestine was by pitfalls or nets, to both of which there are many references in the Scriptures. The mode of hunting the lion with nets was identical with that which is practised in India at the present time. The precise locality of the lion’s dwelling place having been discovered, a circular wall of net is arranged round it, or if only a few nets can be obtained, they are set in a curved form, the concave side being towards the lion. They then send dogs into the thicket, hurl stones and sticks at the den, shoot arrows into it, fling burning torches at it, and so irritate and alarm the animal that it rushes against the net, which is so made that it falls down and envelops the animal in its folds. If the nets be few, the drivers go to the opposite side of the den, and induce the lion to escape in the direction where he sees no foes, but where he is sure to run against the treacherous net. Other large and dangerous animals were also captured by the same means. Another and more common, because an easier and a cheaper method, was, by digging a deep pit, covering the mouth with a slight covering of sticks and earth, and driving the animal upon the treacherous covering. It is an easier method than the net, because after the pit is once dug, the only trouble lies in throwing the covering over its mouth. But it is not so well adapted for taking beasts alive, as they are likely to be damaged, either by the fall into the pit, or by the means used in getting them out again. Animals, therefore, that are caught in pits are generally, though not always, killed before they are taken out. The net, however, envelops the animal so perfectly, and renders it so helpless, that it can be easily bound and taken away. The hunting net is very expensive, and requires a large staff of men to work it, so that none but a rich man could use the net in hunting. Besides the net, several other modes of bird catching were used by the ancient Jews, just as is the case at the present day. Boys, for example, who catch birds for their own consumption, and not for the market, can do so by means of various traps, most of which are made on the principle of the noose, or snare. Sometimes a great number of hair nooses are set in places to which the birds are decoyed, so that in hopping about, many of them are sure to be entangled in the snares. Sometimes the noose is ingeniously suspended in a narrow passage which the birds are likely to traverse, and sometimes a simple fall trap is employed.—J. G. Wood.


APPLICATION

If you are a Truly Converted Christian and actively engaged in the biblical mandate to share the Good News you will experience difficulties in this life for like Christ the world will HATE us.    

We have choices, give up, fight on our own or like David, fight with Fragrant Prayer to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Conqueror of Death.

Pray The Bible: Promoting, Encouraging, and Assisting God's People in Biblical Prayer

All my bones shall say, “O LORD, who is like you!” Psalm 35:10(ESV) For you keep the bones, and not one of them is broken. Psalm 34:20(ESV)

I lay down and sleep, for you, LORD, make me to dwell in safety. Psalm 3:5(ESV)

You have commanded your angels concerning me, to guard me in all my ways; to bear me up in their hands, lest I strike my foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12(ESV) And they are all ministering spirits, sent out to serve for the good of those who are to inherit salvation. Hebrews 1:14(ESV)

When perhaps there has been but a step between me and death, 1 Samuel 20:3(ESV) and when I have felt that I have received the sentence of death, 2 Corinthians 1:9(ESV) and have been ready to say, “In the middle of my days I must depart; I am consigned to the gates of Sheol for the rest of my years”; Isaiah 38:10(ESV) yet in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction and cast all my sins behind your back. Isaiah 38:17(ESV)

When the snares of death have encompassed me and the pangs of Sheol have laid hold on me, I have called on the name of the LORD and have found that gracious is the LORD, and righteous, yes, my God is merciful; I have been brought low, and he has saved me, Psalm 116:3-6(ESV) and has delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling. I will therefore walk before the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 116:8-9(ESV)

Daily Devotional – Rich, Poor, Enemies or Friends

The book of Provers is a contrast between Wisdom and Folly.  The same can be said for someone who only prays for those they love, their own needs, or  never those around them. 

Pray The Bible: Promoting, Encouraging, and Assisting God's People in Biblical Prayer

DAILY DEVOTIONAL FOR DEC 31, 2020

Pray for the Rich and the Poor; your Enemies and your Friends

For those who are rich and prosperous in the world, some of whom perhaps need prayers as much as those who request them.

Lord, keep those who are rich in this present age from being haughty and setting their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, and give them to trust in God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy: That they may do good and be rich in good works, generous and ready to share; that they may store up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future. 1 Timothy 6:17-19(ESV)

Though it is hard for those who are rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven, yet with you this is possible. Matthew 19:24-26(ESV)

For those who are poor and in affliction, for such we have always with us.

Lord, make those who are poor in the world rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, James 2:5(ESV) and give to them to receive the gospel.

O that the poor of the flock may wait upon you and may know the word of the LORD. Zechariah 11:11(ESV)

Many are the afflictions of the righteous; good Lord, deliver them out of them all. Psalm 34:19(ESV) And though for the moment all affliction seems painful rather than pleasant; nevertheless, later let it yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11(ESV)

Pray for the least of these Matthew 25:31-46 (added by me) 

For our enemies and those who hate us.

Lord, give us to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, and to pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us. Matthew 5:44(ESV)

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do; Luke 23:34(ESV) and do not hold their malice against them; Acts 7:60(ESV) and work in us a disposition to bear with others and forgive in love, Colossians 3:13(ESV) as you require we should whenever we pray. Mark 11:25(ESV)

And grant that our ways may so please the LORD, that even our enemies may be at peace with us. Proverbs 16:7(ESV)

Let the wolf dwell with the lamb, Isaiah 11:6(ESV) and let there be none to hurt or destroy in all your holy mountain; Isaiah 11:9(ESV) let Ephraim not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah harass Ephraim. Isaiah 11:13(ESV)

For our friends and those who love us.

And we wish for all those whom we love in truth, that all may go well with them and that they may be in good health; we especially pray that it may go well with their souls. 2 John 1:2(ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with their spirits. Philemon 1:25(ESV)

Grace to You Blog Posts

 

This World is not our Home Series

Morality Damns

The Hopelessness of Hope and Change

Don’t Love What God Hates

A Heavenly Worldview

No Place Like Home

When Eternity Is More Important

Hearts in Heaven

In the World, But Not of It Series

The Friction of Faith

The Campaign of Persecution

Inviting Persecution

The Gospel in a Hostile World

Separation, Purity, and Thanksgiving

John MacArthur on Loving One Another in the Midst of Persecution

Separation and Purity

Separation, Purity, and Christmas

MISC Related Posts

Kicking at God’s Restraints

The Pathology of a Doomed Culture

The Futility of Political Change

How to Live in a Pagan Culture

This World Is Not Our Home

The Impotence of the False Church

 

Daily Devotional – The Holy Spirit Part II

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John 14:16-24 (ESV)

John 14:16-24 (RVR 1960)

Context: 

Yesterday we discussed how Jesus promise to send a replacement Helper/Comforter to the Apostles and Disciples. Today we expand on that some:

v.18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Here again Jesus reiterates His promise but in a different manner. I like the way the (AMP) bible renders this verse; “I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, bereaved, and helpless]; I will come [back] to you. I think it gives us some insight into how Jesus viewed the Apostles and Disciples like little children. These were obviously grown men and women who were following Jesus all around Judea but spiritually they were as babes.

Note that Jesus says I will come to you, this is both a foreshadowing of the resurrection appearances and the coming of the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

v.19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 

Soon and very soon, the world that sees only with clouded eyes will no longer see Jesus, they will think Him dead. They (the world) will also treat all believers as dead to them.

Yet He, Jesus, tells the Apostles and Disciples (and all true believers) that; you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  Because Jesus has risen and sits at the right hand of the Father, and by His sacrificial blood at Calvary, we too are alive in Christ. 

v.20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

In that day, what day is this that Jesus speaks of, I believe it can only be the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 1:1-11 the day when Jesus fulfill the promise and all things are made clear. 

John Gill writes: At that day ye shall know,…. The things they should know, or the objects of knowledge are,

that I am in my Father; in his bosom, in union with him, partaker of the same nature, perfections, and glory with him, and equal to him:

and you in me: that they were in union with him as the branches in the vine, and as the members are in the head, and how they were loved in him, chosen in him, righteous in him, risen with him, and made to sit together in heavenly places in him:

and I in you; formed in their hearts, living in them, dwelling in them, as in his temples, and filling them with grace and glory. The knowledge of these things promised, designs a more clear and distinct knowledge of them; something of them was known already, but not so perfectly as should be hereafter; and this does not suppose that these unions between the Father and Christ, and between Christ and his people, shall then begin to be; for as the union between the Father and the Son is as eternal as themselves; so the union between Christ and his people, as he is the head and representative of them, is as early as his investiture with the office of a Mediator, and his suretyship engagements for them, which were from eternity; and are the ground, and foundation of his being in them, and they in him in the effectual calling; nor does it suggest that they shall begin to be known; only that they shall be known in a more perfect manner: the time when this will be, is “at that day”: meaning either when he should “live” in the body again, be raised from the dead, when he should he declared to be the Son of God with power, when it would appear, that he had the same power with the Father, by raising himself from the dead, and when he would rise as a public head representing them, for their justification, and they should see themselves justified and discharged in him; or the day of “Pentecost”, when “the Spirit of truth”, he promises to pray for, should come to them in an extraordinary manner, and lead them into the knowledge of these things; or the last day, the resurrection morn, when, by virtue of union to Christ, the saints shall rise and “live” with him for ever, and shall have a perfect knowledge of these several unions; see John 17:21.

In conclusion today’s study revealed that Jesus was very concerned about the well being of His followers. He considered them immature in their faith and wanted to reassure them that after His departure they could count on Spiritual help and comfort even if He was not physically present. Interestingly He warns them they may not fully understand all this until he is gone.

 

 

 

BreakPoint: Practical Atheists

Living as if God is Irrelevant

If a time-traveler from the Early Church secretly followed you from Monday till Saturday evening, would they be able to tell you’re a Christian?

The answer for many of us just isn’t very clear… and that’s no accident. Many Christians live lives indistinguishable from secularists. The reason? Well, quite simply, secularism is the default state of our culture. It’s the water we swim in—the air we all breathe.

Or, as author Craig Gay put it in his book, “The Way of the Modern World,” the problem isn’t atheism. In fact, a red-blooded atheist is hard to find. The problem, he said, is “practical atheism.” It’s not that people do not believe in God, it’s that they live as if God is largely irrelevant. That’s what secularism does to us. It doesn’t disprove our faith, it dismisses it. It makes faith an issue of personal, private belief, disconnected from the outside world.

Catholic philosopher Charles Taylor has written the monumental work on the subject called “A Secular Age.” The marginalization of religious belief in our world, Taylor argues, has led to “disenchantment.” While God’s revelation in creation was obvious to prior generations, we completely miss the sacred things revealed in the way the world is made and ordered.

Scripture’s metaphors make no sense in a disenchanted culture. As practical atheists, we are deaf to the heavens’ loud proclamation of the glory of God. Stars and rainbows remind us more of human achievement and self-determination than they do of God’s promises. Even breathtaking events like weddings, the birth of a child, or even death itself, fail to remind us of God’s eternal attributes.

In other words, we live in a world where the assumptions that govern how we think and what we do are almost always secular ones. Whatever people may say on surveys about their religious beliefs, the fact is that modern, Western life is overwhelmingly lived without even considering God.

Living as a six-day secularist, shaped by secular assumptions and rituals, has very serious and practical consequences. Good things result from our hard work and planning, we think, not from the gracious hands of our loving Father.

Also, because God is not easily replaced as an organizing principle for life itself, many of us today find ourselves living lives of fragmentation—our thoughts, emotions, and desires constantly pulling us in opposite directions; the changing values all around us giving us worldview-whiplash.

Still, worst of all, practical atheists are always subject to idolatry. As John Calvin said, humans are incurably religious creatures, and our secular age offers all kinds of God-replacements: sex, self, stuff, state, science. Ironically, a secular age is still filled with faith—just in all the wrong gods. These gods mark us in their images in profoundly dehumanizing ways.

The only way to be distinctly Christian in today’s culture is to consciously and intentionally swim against the secular currents. First, we need to recognize them, as well as how they sweep us away.

Thank God this is not only possible; it’s been done before. Christians throughout history have had to swim against cultural currents opposed to their beliefs. Many not only succeeded in keeping their faith but in transforming the surrounding culture.

That’s why I think our next Colson Center Short Course is one of our most important. It’s a crash course in understanding and countering practical atheism. It’s called How Not to Be A Secularist. Beginning on October 1st and continuing for four consecutive Tuesday nights, this webinar series will equip you to recognize secularism in all of its forms and assumptions, and will help you keep a firm grasp on your Christian identity in this secular age, even while the culture tries to sweep it away.

All of our previous short courses have sold out, and this one is especially important today, especially in this cultural moment. Each session starts at 8PM Eastern and includes a Q&A session. If you have to miss a live session, all registered students receive the recording of each week’s class.

We only have a limited number of spaces, so please sign up today.

 

 

“Why do so Many Christians not have a Consistently Biblical Worldview?”

I would seem impossible to call oneself a “Christian” with out having a right Biblical Worldview yet millions worldwide (and especially in the western world) do just that. 

Question: “Why do so many Christians not have a consistently biblical worldview?”

Answer: A biblical worldview is one’s total conception of the world from a biblical standpoint. It’s a Christian’s basic belief system about the meaning of life, the nature of God, the source of truth, and other foundational concepts. Yet many Christians’ worldview is not biblically consistent. They may approach some issues from a biblical viewpoint, but not every issue.

There are many possible reasons why some Christians fail to have a consistently biblical worldview:

1) They are ignorant of what the Bible says. They do not know the Word. If someone doesn’t know what the Bible says about the sanctity of human life, for example, it will be difficult for him to form a biblical view on the subject. For those who are ignorant, education is the key.

2) They reject what the Bible says on certain issues. The Barna Group conducted a survey asking questions about the Bible to determine if people truly believed what the Bible said. The results were startling: only 4 percent did. Professed Christians did not fare much better. If a professed Christian does not believe what the Bible says, it will be impossible for him to have an authentic biblical worldview. For those who are contrary, repentance is the key.

3) They are more concerned with what the world thinks of them than what God thinks. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare” (Proverbs 29:25). A believer who views the world from a biblical standpoint recognizes that he is not of the world. Jesus said, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19; 17:14). When a believer starts making compromises with the world’s way of thinking, he loses focus on God’s perspective. For those who are fearful, courage is the key.

4) They are lukewarm in their commitment to Christ. Like the church of Laodicea, they are “neither cold nor hot” (Revelation 3:15), unwilling to take a stand for Christ. For the lukewarm, commitment is the key.

5) They are influenced by the lies of the world. From the time of Adam and Eve, Satan has used his ability to deceive and confuse (Genesis 3:1-6; Revelation 12:9). A powerful tool in Satan’s arsenal is the idea that the Bible is a book of myths, that it’s full of errors and not to be trusted. Satan wishes to convince people that the Bible is no longer relevant; its laws and principles are obsolete. Many in the church have been influenced by such thinking. For the deceived, discernment is the key.

6) They are swayed by their circumstances and doubt God’s promises. In Matthew 14, when Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on the water, he was demonstrating a biblical worldview: Jesus is the source of all power. However, when Peter focused on the storm-tossed sea, his worldview shifted: maybe the waves are more powerful than Jesus. For the doubting, faith is the key.

To have a consistently biblical worldview we must go back to the Bible and take hold of the promises God has made to us, for the world offers us nothing (Luke 9:25; John 12:25; Matthew 6:19).

Here is a study I taught over 10 years ago that is still relevant today. – Mike    Worldview

Rejoice in Sorrow

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In a world that is driven by monetary and notoriety being the formula for  success, the bible has a completely different take on what it means to be successful for a believer.  Paul here is in the middle of a discourse (2 Corinthians 6:3-13) about the character of his ministry, which when one reads these verses seems more like a miserable hardship. But Paul’s focus as he writes is not of the hardships but the success those hardships bring. This is in direct conflict to what the world teaches us is any where near the means of being successful today. – Mike

Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible (2cor 6:10)

As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; appearing to others as persons drowned in griefs and sorrows, yet we are always rejoicing in God, {Habakkuk 3:17,18} and in the testimony of a good conscience, 2 Corinthians 1:12.

As poor, yet making many rich; in outward appearance poor, having no abundance of the good things of this life; yet making many rich in knowledge and grace, God by us dispensing to them the riches of his grace.

As having nothing, and yet possessing all things as having nothing, no houses, no lands, no silver or gold, Acts 3:6; yet being as well satisfied and contented, as if all things were ours; as well satisfied with that little which we have, as the men of the world are with their abundance; possessing all things in Christ, though having little in the creature.

JFB Commentary Verse 10

The “as” no longer is used to express the opinion of his adversaries, but the real state of him and his fellow laborers.

making many rich — Spiritually (1 Corinthians 1:5), after the example of our Lord, who “by His poverty made many rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

having nothing — Whatever of earthly goods we have, and these are few, we have as though we had not; as tenants removable at will, not owners (1 Corinthians 7:30).

possessing all things — The Greek implies firm possession, holding fast in possession (compare 1 Corinthians 3:21, 1 Corinthians 3:22). The things both of the present and of the future are, in the truest sense, the believer‘s in possession, for he possesses them all in Christ, his lasting possession, though the full fruition of them is reserved for the future eternity.

 

Redeemed with the Precious Blood

1 Peter 1:18-19

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/428123508298268994/

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold,19 but of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb. – – 1 Peter 1:18-19 (CSB)

Peter has just finished telling us that God will judge each of us according to our works (1 Peter 1:17). Remember he is speaking to the church here, that is those already converted. Just to be sure there is no controversy about a salvation by works misunderstanding he follows with the above.

You know, (completely understand) that you were not [and could not] redeemed from your previous sinful path to hell that you inherited (were taught by the world) from your fathers; with earthly riches. It was only with the sinless sacrifice of Christ at Calvary, the spilling of His precious blood that paved the way for your redemption.  

If you are redeemed by that blood today and are anything like me you have to be asking at times, Why me Lord? If you are not converted, then you need to be praying, Please Lord redeem me!

 

 

Reason of the Hope

Now who is there to hurt you if you become enthusiastic for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness [though it is not certain that you will], you are still blessed [happy, to be admired and favored by God]. Do not be afraid of their intimidating threats, nor be troubled or disturbed [by their opposition]. 15 But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect. 16 And see to it that your conscience is entirely clear, so that every time you are slandered or falsely accused, those who attack or disparage your good behavior in Christ will be shamed [by their own words]. 17 For it is better that you suffer [unjustly] for doing what is right, if that should be God’s will, than [to suffer justly] for doing wrong.  – 1 Peter 3: 13-17 (AMP)

   In context Peter is telling us to expect suffering for Christ’s sake. This can take many forms from openly physical and verbal abuse to the very covert like backbiting and passing on rumors. Yet through it all we are to be encouraged to “Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you.” 

   This is not always an easy task when we consider the often hostile surroundings a Christian can find themselves in today. Yet the key here as with all we are asked to do for the Kingdom is found in the first part of verse 15; But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord.”  If we think we can do things on our own we are setting ourselves up for failure. It is in Christ that I can do all things especially in difficult situations. If I take my eyes (heart mind and soul) off my Lord and let them wander to the trivial things of this world what hope do I have? – Mike