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The Glory of God

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Thanking our Lord for His teachings in the 19th Chapter of the Psalms. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary is a great study tool in helping understand God’s Word.

Psalms 19

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

“The heavens so declare the glory of God, and proclaim his wisdom, power, and goodness, that all ungodly men are left without excuse. They speak themselves to be works of God’s hands; for they must have a Creator who is eternal, infinitely wise, powerful, and good. The counter-changing of day and night is a great proof of the power of God, and calls us to observe, that, as in the kingdom of nature, so in that of providence, he forms the light, and creates the darkness, Isaiah 45:7, and sets the one against the other. The sun in the firmament is an emblem of the Sun of righteousness, the Bridegroom of the church, and the Light of the world, diffusing Divine light and salvation by his gospel to the nations of the earth. He delights to bless his church, which he has espoused to himself; and his course will be unwearied as that of the sun, till the whole earth is filled with his light and salvation. Let us pray for the time when he shall enlighten, cheer, and make fruitful every nation on earth, with the blessed salvation. They have no speech or language, so some read it, and yet their voice is heard. All people may hear these preachers speak in their own tongue the wonderful works of God. Let us give God the glory of all the comfort and benefit we have by the lights of heaven, still looking above and beyond them to the Sun of righteousness.”

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

“The Holy Scripture is of much greater benefit to us than day or night, than the air we breathe, or the light of the sun. To recover man out of his fallen state, there is need of the word of God. The word translated “law,” may be rendered doctrine, and be understood as meaning all that teaches us true religion. The whole is perfect; its tendency is to convert or turn the soul from sin and the world, to God and holiness. It shows our sinfulness and misery in departing from God, and the necessity of our return to him. This testimony is sure, to be fully depended on: the ignorant and unlearned believing what God saith, become wise unto salvation. It is a sure direction in the way of duty. It is a sure fountain of living comforts, and a sure foundation of lasting hopes. The statues of the Lord are right, just as they should be; and, because they are right, they rejoice the heart. The commandments of the Lord are pure, holy, just, and good. By them we discover our need of a Saviour; and then learn how to adorn his gospel. They are the means which the Holy Spirit uses in enlightening the eyes; they bring us to a sight and sense of our sin and misery, and direct us in the way of duty. The fear of the Lord, that is, true religion and godliness, is clean, it will cleanse our way; and it endureth for ever. The ceremonial law is long since done away, but the law concerning the fear of God is ever the same. The judgments of the Lord, his precepts, are true; they are righteous, and they are so altogether; there is no unrighteousness in any of them. Gold is only for the body, and the concerns of time; but grace is for the soul, and the concerns of eternity. The word of God, received by faith, is more precious than gold; it is sweet to the soul, sweeter than honey. The pleasure of sense soon surfeit, yet never satisfy; but those of religion are substantial and satisfying; there is no danger of excess.”

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

“God’s word warns the wicked not to go on in his wicked way, and warns the righteous not to turn from his good way. There is a reward, not only after keeping, but in keeping God’s commandments. Religion makes our comforts sweet, and our crosses easy, life truly valuable, and death itself truly desirable. David not only desired to be pardoned and cleansed from the sins he had discovered and confessed, but from those he had forgotten or overlooked. All discoveries of sin made to us by the law, should drive us to the throne of grace, there to pray. His dependence was the same with that of every Christian who says, Surely in the Lord Jesus have I righteousness and strength. No prayer can be acceptable before God which is not offered in the strength of our Redeemer or Divine Kinsman, through Him who took our nature upon him, that he might redeem us unto God, and restore the long-lost inheritance. May our hearts be much affected with the excellence of the word of God; and much affected with the evil of sin, and the danger we are in of it, and the danger we are in by it.”

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2017 in God's Truth

 

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Each Thanksgiving is Sweeter than the One Before!

My family and I were very blessed to share a fun-filled Thanksgiving Day of Monopoly and movies with a couple of young military men from our church this year. They would say we blessed them, but I see it the other way around. ūüėČ Ronnie made his scrumptious Lasagna, and of course we had rolls, green bean casserole, and pies. The guys were very sweet when I was overcome with emotion as I took my turn thanking God for His healing hand in my life this year. In October I was diagnosed with a very scary health issue and scheduled for a test on the 16th of this month, to allow time for the “episode” to subside. The test would show us what stage it was in and which direction we would need to go to treat it. I had four weeks to wait for the procedure, and believe me, I went through many different phases of emotions and thoughts during that time.

Being who I am, my first reaction was one of anger. I did go to the Lord asking, “Really Lord?! I finally understand what it means to totally turn my life over to You, and desire to serve You more each day, and now You say I am done? You don’t need me any more?” (Maybe I did not turn my life over to Him as much as I thought I had, right?) I do believe it is okay with God for us to interact with Him that way. Now, I am not saying we ought to disrespect Him or curse Him in any way, but I truly believe He wants to hear from us concerning all things, especially things like this. He did create us for His good pleasure, and I think that means that it pleases Him when we sincerely communicate our feelings to Him. I thought about how Jacob wrestled with God and how Hezekiah asked God for 15 more years of life and God granted his request. I remembered how Job spoke with God when satan was allowed to “test” him. (It just so happened that we started in the Book of Job at church during this time; God’s timing is indeed perfect. I tell you, I felt our God speaking directly to me as I read His response to Job.)

Then there was a time of sadness and reflection on everything that God has ever allowed to happen to me, good and bad, which brought much understanding and seeing that God’s hand was in it all along. In the midst of these emotions, I experienced a Grace that I believe came from my family and my brothers and sisters in Christ’s prayers pleading with God to heal me. I finally was able to say, “Thank you Lord for what you are teaching me through this.” My prayer is that I will keep growing in Him and come to the point where I will honestly and earnestly say thank you before responding in anger and mistrust.

I tear up now as I am so very thankful to say that after the test, my doctor said, “It looks like it has gone away.” (This is unheard of medically speaking, but as children of a great an awesome God, we are not surprised.) Of course you can guess my immediate response, “Praise the Lord!” (Well, there is a slight condition, but nothing compared to what they initially said. Maybe just enough of an issue to remind me of what God has done for me.) I believe God is still moving this verse from my head to my heart: Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I thank thee Lord for they mercy and thy Grace that you continue to bless me with. Guess You are not done with me yet! ūüôā

I can truly say I ¬†am closer to understanding the meaning of the saying and the promise from God’s Word “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength!” When we can say, “Thank you Lord. I know You are in control and You are allowing this for Your purpose and for Your Glory,” we do indeed experience joy that can only come from YAHWEH. Nehemiah 8:10.

 

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2015 in God's Love, Uncategorized

 

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“A Man Who Feared God”

Although the Book of Job seems to be about a righteous man who endures incredible suffering, it does focus more on God’s Wisdom and Sovereignty. The grand themes of God’s wisdom and justice are indeed more significant than the suffering and faith of Job. The Book raises rather intense questions that we humans spend time on at different points in our lives: “Why do the righteous suffer? Why would God allow such suffering? Why should a man believe in God? Why believe in God when we cannot visibly see Him?” The answers to those questions point out the limitations of our human wisdom as opposed to the immense, unlimited wisdom of God.

I first want to address the fact that Chapter 1 tells us that¬†God considered Job “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” So, why did He allow all this suffering to come upon him? Let us not forget verses 6-12 in Chapter 1: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.¬†And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.¬†And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?¬†Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?¬†Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.¬†But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.¬†And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” God knew Job’s heart more than even Job did, just as He knows us more than we know ourselves. We know that satan roams to and fro on this earth seeking God’s strongest so that he can attempt to destroy them, but we learn here that that evil beast must ask God’s permission first. I believe that if God did not believe Job strong enough to get through these afflictions, He would not have allowed them.

Job’s friends thought they had all the answers for Job, and God let them ramble on for a time with ‘their’ opinions; much longer than I like. Although our friends, and ourselves in vice versa, sometimes just want to ‘help’ us get through our suffering with what they believe to be ‘good answers,’ they might do better to just be there and be sensitive to God’s Holy Spirit before speaking. I see Job’s friends’ answers as comfortable for them, but not comforting for Job. God let them know that their answers were inadequate and just plain wrong. They spoke from their experience and from traditions that were limited to the doctrine of retribution – ¬†the belief that suffering is always punishment for sin. After God confronted Job, He told Job’s friends that He was angry with them because their answers were sinful and for them to offer up burnt offerings in atonement, AND He told them to let Job pray for them asking that God not deal with them as they deserved. Job 42:7, 8 “And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.¬†Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.” I believe that God understood Job’s questions and frustration about the horrendous losses He allowed him to suffer, and what a compliment to Job that God had confidence that he would not curse Him for it.

There is definitely a greater answer to Job’s suffering founded on God’s great wisdom. As I noted above, we have a rare behind-the-scenes look at God’s control and limitations that He put on Satan. Job was singled out by God to be a tested man of faith. satan accused God of bribing Job to believe in Him: Job 1:9, 10 ” Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?¬†Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.” Job came through this testing without sin, even in the face of the crushing disaster and the undeserved suffering. Even his wife told him to “Curse God and die.” He responded: Job 1:22; 2:10 “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly…But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” The key to having this mindset is staying so very close in our relationship to God, searching and standing on His promises in His Word. If we are not close to Him, our flesh listens to satan’s lies and we become angry with God.

In the first 13 chapters of Job, the question “Why?” is asked over and over, but with no reply. In our minds, the question demands an explanation and a justification, but even if Job could have understood God’s answers, he would have only known “parts of God’s ways: Job 26:14 “Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?” Our human minds lack the capacity to truly understand God’s ways, therefore, when we are faced with suffering, it is actually inappropriate to ask “Why?”

A better question would be “Who?”; “Who is in charge?” When God replied to Job He asked him, “Who?” at least 20 times in Chapters 38-41. When the “Who?” is God, then the persisting “Why?” is softened. The Believer can be like “a child that is weaned from his mother,” a child who has learned to wait for and to trust in his mother to give him what he needs at the right time: Psalm 131:2 “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.”

So, Job rightly and unwaveringly named God as the One who is ultimately responsible for all his suffering. He did not ever once blame satan, who was the one who directly struck him with those suffering blows-Job 2:10. God Himself told satan in Job 2:3: “Thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” God is not only in charge of the “good” things that happen to us while “helplessly” observing as “bad” things happen, but He is sovereignly in control of ALL things, good¬†and bad. He permits His children to endure testing. At times, we want only to accept the good from God’s hand, but then we risk rejecting Him completely when things do not work out as we desire. That limited attitude of God’s wisdom is very foolish indeed, and we miss out on the blessings that come with our growth through testing.

Though Job was grief-stricken and bewildered at his trials, he recognized that God was in them and he determinedly chose to cling to God: Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” In his destitute and exhausted state Job uttered what I believe is a profound statement of faith: Job 19:25-27 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:¬†And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:¬†Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” While Job was in what we consider to be a hopeless state of affairs, he did not lose sight of his, and our, greatest hope that no matter what happens in this world, we can look forward to the world of Heaven to come. So, if our sufferings do lead to death here, we can be comforted that we will immediately be in the presence of our loving Saviour and Lord.

In Conclusion: Only our Lord knows all the whys and wherefores of our human suffering. Until “then shall I know even as also I am known,” knowing Him is more than enough for now:

1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

2 Timothy 1:12 “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

James 5:11 “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in God's Truth

 

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Strength for Believers

This epistle of Ephesians was written when Paul was a prisoner at Rome. It’s purpose was to strengthen the Ephesians in the faith of Christ, and to give exalted views of the love of God, and the dignity and excellence of Christ. It applies to mankind today as in these early days of Christianity, as it teaches that we were saved by grace, and and it encourages us to persevere in our Christian calling. It also urges us to walk in a manner that is becoming to our profession of Christ. I am not sure why, but God has led me to share Chapter 4. I have inserted notes from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible.

Ephesians 4

 1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Nothing is pressed more earnestly in the Scriptures, than to walk as becomes those called to Christ’s kingdom and glory. By lowliness, understand humility, which is opposed to pride. By meekness, that excellent disposition of soul, which makes men unwilling to provoke, and not easily to be provoked or offended. We find much in ourselves for which we can hardly forgive ourselves; therefore we must not be surprised if we find in others that which we think it hard to forgive. There is one Christ in whom all believers hope, and one heaven they are all hoping for; therefore they should be of one heart. They had all one faith, as to its object, Author, nature, and power. They all believed the same as to the great truths of religion; they had all been admitted into the church by one baptism, with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as the sign of regeneration. In all believers God the Father dwells, as in his holy temple, by his Spirit and special grace.

 7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Unto every believer is given some gift of grace, for their mutual help. All is given as seems best to Christ to bestow upon every one. He received for them, that he might give to them, a large measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust and obedience. There is a fulness in Christ, and a measure of that fulness given in the counsel of God to every believer; but we never come to the perfect measure till we come to heaven. God’s children are growing, as long as they are in this world; and the Christian’s growth tends to the glory of Christ. The more a man finds himself drawn out to improve in his station, and according to his measure, all that he has received, to the spiritual good of others, he may the more certainly believe that he has the grace of sincere love and charity rooted in his heart.

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

The apostle charged the Ephesians in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus, that having professed the gospel, they should not be as the unconverted Gentiles, who walked in vain fancies and carnal affections. Do not men, on every side, walk in the vanity of their minds? Must not we then urge the distinction between real and nominal Christians? They were void of all saving knowledge; they sat in darkness, and loved it rather than light. They had a dislike and hatred to a life of holiness, which is not only the way of life God requires and approves, and by which we live to him, but which has some likeness to God himself in his purity, righteousness, truth, and goodness. The truth of Christ appears in its beauty and power, when it appears as in Jesus. The corrupt nature is called a man; like the human body, it is of divers parts, supporting and strengthening one another. Sinful desires are deceitful lusts; they promise men happiness, but render them more miserable; and bring them to destruction, if not subdued and mortified. These therefore must be put off, as an old garment, a filthy garment; they must be subdued and mortified. But it is not enough to shake off corrupt principles; we must have gracious ones. By the new man, is meant the new nature, the new creature, directed by a new principle, even regenerating grace, enabling a man to lead a new life of righteousness and holiness. This is created, or brought forth by God’s almighty power.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Notice the particulars wherewith we should adorn our Christian profession. Take heed of every thing contrary to truth. No longer flatter or deceive others. God’s people are children who will not lie, who dare not lie, who hate and abhor lying. Take heed of anger and ungoverned passions. If there is just occasion to express displeasure at what is wrong, and to reprove, see that it be without sin. We give place to the devil, when the first motions of sin are not grievous to our souls; when we consent to them; and when we repeat an evil deed. This teaches that as sin, if yielded unto, lets in the devil upon us, we are to resist it, keeping from all appearance of evil. Idleness makes thieves. Those who will not work, expose themselves to temptations to steal. Men ought to be industrious, that they may do some good, and that they may be kept from temptation. They must labour, not only that they may live honestly, but that they may have to give to the wants of others. What then must we think of those called Christians, who grow rich by fraud, oppression, and deceitful practices! Alms, to be accepted of God, must not be gained by unrighteousness and robbery, but by honesty and industry. God hates robbery for burnt-offerings.

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Filthy words proceed from corruption in the speaker, and they corrupt the minds and manners of those who hear them: Christians should beware of all such discourse. It is the duty of Christians to seek, by the blessing of God, to bring persons to think seriously, and to encourage and warn believers by their conversation. Be ye kind one to another. This sets forth the principle of love in the heart, and the outward expression of it, in a humble, courteous behaviour. Mark how God’s forgiveness causes us to forgive. God forgives us, though we had no cause to sin against him. We must forgive, as he has forgiven us. All lying, and corrupt communications, that stir up evil desires and lusts, grieve the Spirit of God. Corrupt passions of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil-speaking, and malice, grieve the Holy Spirit. Provoke not the holy, blessed Spirit of God to withdraw his presence and his gracious influences. The body will be redeemed from the power of the grave at the resurrection day. Wherever that blessed Spirit dwells as a Sanctifier, he is the earnest of all the joys and glories of that redemption day; and we should be undone, should God take away his Holy Spirit from us.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in God's Love

 

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