Posts Tagged ‘ Psalms ’

VerseD: Psalm 115:14

May the Lord give you increase, you and your children!
Psalm 115:14, ESV

I am immediately struck with Jesus’ words: “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Mark 4:24‭-‬25)

Things are good, but obedience and love are better!

VerseD: Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18, ESV

The simplest meaning of this is that the realization of our sin and complete inability to remove that sin should break our hearts and crush our spirits.

Until we realize that is why Jesus came. When we understand and believe this fully, we are saved from our sins and God’s wrath.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 11/12/2017 – Psalm 139

I realized late that I forgot to click “Schedule” on this, so it is appearing a day late!

As we are in the midst of my pro-life themed-videos, I thought it fitting to share THE pro-life psalm in its entirety, with only minimal commentary.

Psalm 139  English Standard Version (ESV)

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
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.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

My only commentary today is for verses 23-24:

For any who is involved with a sin in which they struggle – and, for the main purpose of this week’s topic, especially those who have been involved with [an] abortion[s] – the best place to start is by asking God to search you.

“Please, God, look into my heart and my mind. You understand everything I am thinking and feeling! Help me! I know I messed up – that I am messed up! I know have done something horrible and wrong, and it is tearing me up! I can’t handle it!”

And He is faithful and true. He will judge your heart, yes, but if you trust that He is truly Lord and the source of salvation, He will “lead [you] in the way everlasting!”

God will forgive you and help you to move forward, if you trust in Him and His sacrifice and the mercy and grace that it afforded.

Trust in the risen Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. The lover and forgiver of your soul.

Thankful Offering

In today’s video, I think it is pretty clear I had not had my coffee, yet! But if you look in the background, you can see evidence I was about to remedy that.*

The last entry touched on the Las Vegas shooting and how “But for the grace of God, there go I” in terms of how each and every one of us could be capable of committing such an atrocity.  Today, I look at the exact opposite end of the spectrum.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor, theologian, and professor who was killed by the Nazis just days before the end of World War II.¹ Both he and James, the brother of Jesus, focused heavily on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).

The Sermon on the Mount is basically Jesus’ teachings on how the Christian should live. Specifically for today, in 5:16 (ESV), Jesus says:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

If all we do are good things, but we do not really mention God, how could others give God glory? We may merely be “good people” in the eyes of the world.

Therefore, God gives us the direction we need in this matter:

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
Psalm 50:23a, ESV

When we give thanks to God, this directs people to Him! Thankfulness, a lifestyle of gratitude, is the thing that helps to center our life around Christ and leads others to Him.

A heart of gratitude not only gives the glory to God, but it can also help us to feel great and can help others to feel better.

However, the main point is that God is glorified. Gratitude, likewise, can keep us focused on Him so that we are more likely to seek His glory than to turn to anything else – including lashing out at this world and those in it.

Therefore, give thanks to God. As Paul said, give thanks in everything in your life² – yes, everything, even the bad things.

And thank you for joining me today!

daniel

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Doctor Who and the Need for a Savior

Fill your need for wisdom, and go to Proverbial Thought!

This past Sunday I shared a poem about what people need. That was prepared before realizing I would be sharing today’s entry!

The eight season (series, for all of you BBC/British television/Whovian people out there) of the rebooted Doctor Who television show recently kicked off. This season began on August 23rd, setting some BBC America records, and that is compared to last November 23rd’s globally record-setting release of the 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor.

There are a lot of people who really like Doctor Who, and, as a Whovian myself, I can understand the passion that goes into following this show.

I read an article recently titled, “Entertainment Geekly: ‘Doctor Who’ is the saddest show on television“. Here is a little excerpt:

One way of looking at this: The Doctor is friends with everybody! But another way of looking at this: The Doctor is never close with anybody. And even when he is close with someone, it won’t last. He’ll leave them behind, or they’ll leave him behind; or they’ll just get older, and he’ll grow a young man’s face. The Davies era immediately played up the Doctor’s loneliness by repositioning him as the Last of the Time Lords: No longer a plucky renegade from an elaborate culture, but rather, that culture’s last remaining memory.

Maybe “sad” is the wrong word for Doctor Who: It’s a show that takes tremendous joy in simple human connection, even as the modern iteration constantly futzes with those connections. (It’s never clear if the Doctor likes his Companions, or loves them, or if he just needs them to be in love with him.) . . .

The central tension of most action-thrillers derives from the fear that someone might die. But because the Doctor will never die, the central tension of Doctor Who is the utter certainty that things will definitely change. Every change is like death, but every change is also like birth. Doctor Who is never bleakcompared to our current apocalypse vogue, it looks positively chipper. . . .

The Doctor never gets to live a normal life, which is his tragedy. (Tune in to a new episode of Doctor Who, and remind yourself that soon–this year, next year, certainly the year after that–the Doctor and his closest friend will say goodbye.) But I also wonder if that’s why, the longer you watch Doctor Who, you find yourself relating less to the every people Companions and more to the Doctor. From our perspective, the world might change, but we always stay the same–as friends come and go, as we move from one place to another. It takes someone else to notice when we become a new person. Maybe that’s why the Doctor always seeks out new Companions: So that the man who never changes can change, over and over again.

It seems to me that Doctor Who is popular because of how it plays off of the loneliness so many people feel. It feeds into the need for hope all people have. Whether it is in relating to his companions or relating to the Doctor himself, people watch Doctor Who because of a need and a desire for a savior.

And it becomes sad when we realize that there is indeed a Savior who can fulfill all of our needs, but so many do not know about Him or ignore Him … or, worst of all, flat out deny Him.

All it takes is to seek God and the forgiveness offered through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
    bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
    and forgive all my sins.
Psalm 25:16-18, ESV

Play-Doh Heart

Find solid wisdom through the thoughts at Proverbial Thought!

There are some things in this world that are rock solid and others that are softer, more pliable.

Something that should never be seen as pliable is Truth. While some things may not be black and white, set in stone (such as one person thinking the weather is beautiful while another thinks it is horrible) most truths are firm (such as the weather is overcast and rainy).

One truth that is never negotiable, no matter how much someone may want it to be, is that God is real and sovereign, and Jesus Christ is His Son who died for the sins of the world.

On the other hand, there are some things that are just better the softer they are: some cookies and cake, gelatin (without being melted, of course), your seat on an airplane, water after you have been pushed from the side of the pool, Play-Doh, and on and on.

Something that should always be pliable is your heart and mind. While you hold firm to certain truths, you should always be willing to always learn, always love, and always seeking after truth. Just as Play-Doh is soft, pliable, and even fun to shape and mold, so must our hearts be in this world of pain, injustice, and competing attentions.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
1 Peter 3:8

Here is the thing: you must entrust your Play-Doh heart to the Rock of Salvation. Only in His hands can it be properly and lovingly formed for the greatest good.

Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.
Psalm 26:2

On our own, we will only have some fun, waste some time, and forget to put the lid back on at the end of the day. Then our Play-Doh hearts become hard. In hardness they either become brittle or useless … or both.

1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
    let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
    and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
    the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
    let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
8     do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
    as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers put me to the test
    and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
    and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
    and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
    “They shall not enter my rest.”

Psalm 95, ESV

How Sweet Are Your Words

About  month ago I posted Psalm 119:89-104. The reason for that was that my Theology class was assigned this passage for a memory quiz. We had to write out all 16 verses from our choice of translation as accurately as possible.

I typed it out for my blog as a memory aid.

The day it posted online was the day of the quiz. I was going over it before my Preaching class started, and the professor asked if I had an opening thought and prayer to share with the class (he likes his students doing that in this class). Since I had it in my hand, I said “Yes,” and quickly decided which words to share about this passage. Below, I will expand on what I shared in class.

Proverbs 119:89-104, ESV

Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:1-3, NIV

If I had not delighted in your Law, I would have perished in my in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
John 1:4, NIV

I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts. The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies. I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 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. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
John 15:18-20, NIV

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding, therefore I hate every false way.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected     has become the cornerstone,”

and,

“A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:1-12, NIV

This is true for the pastor and for the regular church-goer:

We are called to be a royal priesthood. It is our calling, in Christ Jesus, to share the good news of Christ Jesus with the world.

How can we do that if we do not know His written word?

Through the Bible, our Lord has revealed to us the truth of His character, plan, and will. We must be saturated by His word if we are to be fully effective as His witnesses. (Note I said “fully” effective. God can and does still use us to achieve His will, just keep in mind that He uses the wicked as much as the justified. i.e. Look at the Antichrist.)

As we have begun teaching in our youth group, this requires knowing God’s word through prayer, study, fellowship, and meditation.

  • Prayer: Ask God to reveal His truth and help you retain it.
  • Study: Intentionally read through the Bible (one book at a time) to find the full context and meaning.
  • Fellowship: Discuss what you are reading and what God has revealed with others. This lifts each other up and protects from misunderstandings and false teachings.
  • Meditation: Not like in Eastern religions in which you empty yourself of thoughts and emotions. This is intentional thinking over the words, meanings, and ideas being expressed. This is focused thinking what God is revealing. This is allowing God to imprint it in your heart and mind.

This is not a suggestion. To be fully effective for God, we must make sure we “sought Your precepts,” “consider[ed] Your testimonies,” and “do not turn aside from Your rules,” “for You have taught [us].”

God Himself has taught us what is good and right, and we know this best from reading from the Bible regularly and allowing it to transform our lives to the likeness of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father.

(Or am I being to strict about this?)

(No. I am not.)