Serving Jesus through discipleship

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

I Delight to Do Your Will

Русский: Скрижали Завета

Русский: Скрижали Завета (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have been raised to gratify our desired. It is not so much that our parents have raised us this way, but the culture has inculcated this attitude through various media. We have accepted the taking of innocent life since the early nineteen-seventies. Our children are being taught that not only is it ok to engage in an act that God calls an abomination but that act is encouraged.

We live in a culture where the mention of God’s name is forbidden unless it is used as an imprecation. To follow God is to be laughed at and mocked. there is no discernible difference between God’s people and those who hate Him.

When we read Psalm 40, it is as if a foreign language is being spoken. The words sound so right but the concept is so strange!

“Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”
I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.”

I lament that our culture is antithetical to God. It pains me when I realize that the words of the Psalmist are so strange to my ears.

Forgive me O Lord, let my soul be healed and let your Law reside within my heart. Let me take pleasure in You! Let me not hide Your righteousness, but proclaim Your faithfulness and Your salvation.

Who will join me in Glorifying our God?


Describe Your Bible Reading

Love Your Enemies

In western culture we have a different idea of what love is than that of eastern cultures. In our culture, the word love denotes a feeling and in the eastern cultures, or at least in Bible times, the word love was an action. To love someone meant that you treated them well (see 1 Corinthians 13).

Shimei throwing stones at David outside of Bahurim

Shimei throwing stones at David outside of Bahurim (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

King David knew what was to love his enemies! In 2 Samuel 16, we find David fleeing Jerusalem because his son Absolom had stolen the kingdom from his father. Along the road, a man named Shimei came out cursing David. SHimei threw stones at David and his party. Abishai, one of David’s generals and good friends, begged permission to cut off Shimei’s head. David’s response was, “If he curses, and if the LORD has told him, ‘Curse David’, then who shall say, ‘Why have you done so?'” David knew that Shimei would do him no harm and while Shimei was an enemy of King David, there was no point in harming him.

Could do that? If you were accosted and tormented by someone, would your reaction be to let that person be? Or would you want to avenge yourself? To get even for the wrong suffered! I wonder if Jesus had David in mind when he commanded “Love your enemies!”

Psalm 3

Psalm 3 is titled “Morning Prayer of Trust in God” and subtitled “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absolom his son.”

Imagine that your son had just stolen the kingdom from you and is trying to kill you. You have to flee for your life. Your most trusted friends try to go with you, but you have to tell them no because you are worried about their safety. Then, because you are a godly man, you turn to your creator and pray this prayer: “O LORD, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me.” Is that an understatement or what? Your enemies are saying that God will not deliver you. It seems that God has abandoned you. The worst thing that you can imagine is happening, your own family has turned against you. What do you do?

David, in this situation turns to God. He knows that God was the one that gave him the kingdom. He saw how God took the kingdom away from Saul. He is very aware of his sin with Bathsheba. Why would God continue to be his rock? He has transgressed the almighty God. Still, David places his trust in God! “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory and the One who lifts my head.” David knows that whatever God does is the right thing to do. I notice in this Psalm that David does not ask for deliverance, he just places his trust in God for whatever outcome He ordains.

How many of us could do the same?

Thoughts on Prayer

This morning my reading was in Psalms. As I was pondering the words that were penned so many centuries ago, I was thinking that there probably no better prayer.

The Psalmist knew God! That is evident by his praise and pleadings. His pleas seem to be requesting only that which God had already promised. The Psalmist not only knew God, but knew the word of God. Come to think of it, how can a person know God but by the word of God. I believe that God gave us the Psalmist so that He could give us the Psalms. He gave us the Psalms so that we could pray them back to Him and with meditation, get to know the Creator of heaven and earth.

I challenge you to make the Psalms a part of your prayer time with your maker. With 150 Psalms, you can pray five Psalms each day and make it through the book in a month. Do this each month of the year and use the Psalms for your meditation and you just may find that God has somehow grown close to you.

Anyone up for the challenge?

Can We Hear the Voice of God? (Part 7)

Does Scripture Contain Errors and/or Contradictions?

We believe what the Bible teaches is true, so we come to the Bible with what J. I. Packer calls “an advance commitment to receive as truth from God all that Scripture is found on inspection actually teach.” This has been the universal affirmation of the church until the time of Enlightenment, when acceptance in the secular academy led some biblical scholars to base their conclusions on culturally misguided reason rather than on revelation and reality.

The affirmation of the truthfulness of the Bible is inextricably tied to the character of God. He is a truthful God who does not lie! Therefore, because God is ultimately the author of scripture, it is perfect, unlike every other uninspired writing or utterance.

The Bible claims to be wholly true! We find such explicit statements in passages such as 2 Samuel 7:28, “O Lord God, You are God and Your words are true”; Psalm 19:7-10, which uses words such as perfect, sure, right, pure, true, and righteous; Psalm 119: 42-43, 142, 151, 160, 163, which uses the specific word truth or true; and John 17:17, “Your word is truth.” Second Timothy 3: 16 rightly says “All Scripture is breathed out by God.”

Unlike the Bible, however, those of us who read and study it are not inerrant in our understanding of it. The Bible itself gives us much cause for humility as we approach the Scriptures because:

  • God’s thoughts are much loftier than ours;
  • God has secrets that He has not revealed to anyone;
  • sometimes we see the truth as if through a dirty and fogged window;
  • we are prone to resist God’s truth because it forces us to repent, and sometimes we are simply hard-hearted;
  • we know in part;
  • some parts of the Bible are just hard to understand.

Therefore , if it appears that there is a contradiction in Scripture, we should first dig deeply into our Bible to see if what appears to be an error is, in fact, not an error once we have examined it more closely. In the end, it is perfectly acceptable to admit that we don’t have an answer for every question we may have, though in the future we may discover the answers.

A telling example of the Bible’s accuracy is in the transliteration of the names of foreign kings in the Old Testament as compared to contemporary extra-biblical records. The bible is accurate in every detail in the thirty-six instances of comparison, a total of 183 syllables. To see how amazing this is, Manetho’s ancient work on the dynasties of the Egyptian kings can be compared to extra-biblical records in 140 instances. He is right 49 times, only partially right twenty-eight times and in the other sixty-three instances not a single syllable is correct!

Those parts of the Old Testament that are most commonly rejected as error are also those sections that Jesus clearly taught. This includes creation, the literalness of Genesis 1 & 2, Cain and Able, Noah and the flood, Abraham, Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot Isaac and Jacob, manna in the desert, and Jonah in the belly of the whale.

Because Scripture is God speaking to us because He wants us to understand, we also believe Scripture speaks accurately on ordinary language. The writers used ordinary language rather than technical terminology. There are figures of speech, summaries and approximations. When we study the Bible, we must take into account the author’s intent when we interpret the story.

This does not mean that there are no questions to explore. The Bible has kept scholars working for centuries and will for centuries more.

See Also: Can We Hear the Voice of God

Fearing, Trusting and Loving God

“O God, You have rejected us. You have broken us; You have been angry; O, restore us.”

What can you do when God rejects you? When you have called on His name in faith and there is no answer? When you have tried all that you know to do to fix you situation, and still the resulting situation is bringing you down?

Even though you trust God, sometimes He doesn’t provide help when you thought He would. Sometimes you think you are doing the right thing and if the way it is turning out is any indication, you are doing the thing that is displeasing to God. It is during those times that the words of Psalm 60 above will come to your lips. These words of David indicate that he has been cut off from God’s provision. Knowing that God’s anger is not without provocation, David knows that if he prays with a contrite heart, he will receive the desire of his heart; to be restored to right relationship with his God.

Jesus was crucified so that we might have the restored relationship. God hates sin and is angry with all who perpetrate sin. In order to be restored to a right relationship with Him we need to accept the gift of Jesus with a contrite heart. What is the evidence that we have accepted the gift of Jesus?

The Spoils of War

A man after God’s heart? That is what the Bible says about Israel’s greatest king, David. Yet in 2 Samuel 8, It seems that David is extremely cruel.

I know that when Israel entered the land that God told Israel to kill all the inhabitants of the land. I know that this was because of their evil deeds. I also know that Israel disobeyed God. In this chapter of 2 Samuel, David defeated Moab. The chapter doesn’t say how many were killed during the fighting. However of those that survived, David caused them to lay down in three lines Two of which he killed and one line he made his servants. God doesn’t tell us the evil that the Moabites did to deserve this treatment nor does God tell us why David would do such a thing. It seems such a cruel thing to do. It also seems very unwise. He left one third of a people that could rise up and rebel at a later time while killing two thirds of the people for no apparent reason.

People read this today and they question the things they have been told about God. “How could a God of love allow this to happen? Why would a just God let this injustice stand?” The only conclusion that I can come to at this time is to say that I have faith that God is just and loving and that it was God’s will that David act this way. I don’t understand it, but my job is to praise God’s name because of it. Isn’t it?

Are You Getting the Info You Need?

Waiting on the Lord

Today one of the passages I read was Psalm 25. The title of this Psalm is Prayer for Protection, Guidance and Pardon. I couldn’t think but how this is appropriate for us today.

“To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

O my God, in You I trust,

Do not let me be ashamed;

Do not let my enemies exult over me.

Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;

Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.

Make me know Your ways, O Lord;

Teach me Your paths.

Lead me in Your truth and teach me,

For You are the God of my salvation;

For You I wait all the day (Psalm 25:1-5)

When I got to the end of verse 5, I asked myself, “Do I really know what waiting on the Lord is?”

In America we are an impatient nation. We want what we want and we want it now. The psalmist just asked the Lord to not let his enemies exult over him, to “teach me Your paths” and to “lead me in your truth”. Then he says he will wait for Him all the day. Are we to have patience when learning to live a Godly life? We want to live a Godly life, but we need to surrender to Him, yet we must wait on Him for only He has the power to sustain us and teach us His ways.

Do I have this right?

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