One nation: Indivisible

I heard a commercial last week from a major news network advertising their special coverage of the President elect’s inauguration.

The special coverage’s title so happened to consist of words from the American pledge of allegiance: “One nation: Indivisible.”

I don’t know about you but to me it sounds like the special coverage’s title included a colon because an ellipses would’ve made it too easy to see the one being forgotten.

Maybe the coverage’s title was a harmless coincident with no ill-intent that intentionally forgot to include the words “under God.” And maybe the warning about “having one foot on a banana peel and one foot in the grave” isn’t worth remembering either … right?

The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17 ESV)

#news #judgment #God

A gospel standard safe to live by

Number 597 • December 27, 2020


A certain well-to-do widow was being pursued for marriage by several backward, awkward, rough, ill-mannered and uncouth men – each of them thought she would consider him a “good catch” and a worthy replacement for her former husband. When they pressed her to make her choice and give them an answer, she finally said that her answer was Romans 1:13, from the King James Version of the Bible from which she knew all of them would read. When they read that statement from the apostle Paul, where he said, “I would not have you ignorant brethren,” they became angry and embarrassed, but they dropped their pursuit of her. Continue reading

#freedom, #geraldcowan, #god

About our God

On a social-media service run by some Christians, one sister asked: “What are some things you love about our God?” I replied with these four things, off the top of my head:

1. He is faithful and constant; no surprises.
2. He is good and all that he does is good, Ps 119.68.
3. He is impartial; he doesn’t play favorites.
4. He is patient, a motive for greater dedication and urgency.

How would you answer the question?

#God #questions

What does hallelujah mean?

It isn’t terribly uncommon for people to use Bible words without knowing their meaning. For example, consider the word “hallelujah.”

Hallelujah is a word we read in the scriptures (depending upon the translation), sing in songs, and may even use in conversational exchanges … but is it possible some of us don’t understand what we’re saying? Odds are, the answer is yes.

The meaning of hallelujah is quite simple to understand and remember. Primarily made of two Hebrew words, hallel/hallal (meaning to praise, to celebrate or to boast) and Jah/Yah (the principal portion of YHWH, translated as LORD/Lord, who is the God of the Bible). When these two words are combined it brings forth the phrase “praise the Lord” or “praise God” or “praise be to God.” At times, the words “hallel” and “Jah” are recorded next to each other but are not combined (Psalm 150:1); but whether standing alone or combined into one phrase, the meaning remains unchanged.

If you didn’t understand what was really being said when the word hallelujah was used, now you do; and being more aware of its meaning may give you more opportunities to joyfully say it.

After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!” (Revelation 19:1 NKJV)

#Bible-words #worship #God

God is alive!

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

Our God is in heaven! He does whatever he pleases! Psalm 115.3

In this psalm, the author makes a comparison between the idols of the nations and the God of Israel. Several times, God took the form of man to appear to man. In Genesis 3.8, it is said that he could be heard moving about the garden. In Genesis 18.1-2, the Lord appeared to Abraham on his way to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

God is alive! He can talk, walk, see, and hear. He can act on the behalf of his faithful followers. This is in sharp contrast with the gods of the nations that are man-made, Psalm 115.4. They cannot even clear their own throats,115.7. They are incapable of helping anyone.

God is the deliverer and protector of his people! He takes notice of his faithful followers and blesses them.

#risingjoy #Psalms #God

How does God harden the heart of man?

Much discussion has been had over the centuries about how God hardens the heart of man. Entire complex theological perspectives derive from the various given answers. Nonetheless the question remains within the often tossed to and fro hearts of man, but the truth remains consistently clear and easy to understand.

Continue reading

#calvinism, #god, #heart

God’s Presence

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

“God does not really live on the earth! Look, if the sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this temple I have built! … 1 Kings 8.27

King Solomon had finished constructing the Temple. The ark of the covenant had been moved to its new home. King David, his father, had gathered the necessary supplies and had left the actual task to Solomon, 1 Chronicles 22.11, 14.

Solomon recognized that God did not actually live on the earth. Jesus taught in Matthew 5.35 that the earth is God’s footstool. It cannot begin to contain him. The Temple was the place where God’s presence was recognized to be.

The Temple was destroyed long ago around the time of 70 A.D. Does that mean that we no longer have God’s presence on earth? No, God is present in those who are obedient to him, John 14.23. The body of Christ, the church, contains those who belong to God and have been added to it by him, Acts 2.47. Are you a part of that number?

#risingjoy #1-Kings #God

God the same today

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Dark clouds surround him; equity and justice are the foundation of his throne. Psalm 97.2

This psalm is referring to God. He alone is worthy to be praised. He has revealed himself to man, first through Moses and, today, through Jesus.

In Exodus 20, God gave the ten commandments to Moses. In Exodus 19.9, he had told Moses that he was going to come in a dense cloud on top of the mountain. The people would be able to hear when God spoke with Moses. The purpose of this was to help the people to always believe in Moses.

Today we have many science fiction movies that have special effects that wow us and entertain. However, when God appeared on Mount Sinai, he descended on it in fire that completely covered it. The smoke went up like from a great furnace and the whole mountain trembled. The result of this: the people trembled with fear, Exodus 20.18-20. Moses had told the people that God was testing them that the fear of him would prevent them from sinning. It was not a special effect; it was real!

God is the same today! He wants us to fear him, to have respect for him, and to obey him. His will has been revealed through Jesus Christ, his Son. His words have been written for us to read and learn, 2 Timothy 3.16. God’s word will bring judgment, Hebrews 4.12-13. We must be prepared!

#risingjoy #Psalms #God

As for the Rock

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

As for the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright. Deuteronomy 32.4

This verse is found in a song that Moses recited to the whole assemble of Israel shortly before his death. His description of God is faithfulness.

He referred to God as the Rock. A rock is solid and firm. It was the foundation sometimes used in construction. It is steadfast. In 1 Samuel 2.2, Hannah prayed, “No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one other than you! There is no rock like our God!”

God is perfect. He is complete. All his work is perfect. On the sixth day of the creation, Genesis 1.31, God saw all that he had made and it was very good!

Moses stated that God is reliable, fair and does what is right. It is very reassuring to have someone reliable on our side. We know that as long as we are faithful to him, we can count on his care for us.

It is comforting, in these times of uncertainty and corruptness, to know that God is just and that he is good to his people.

#risingjoy #Deuteronomy #God

Descriptions of God

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe, who justly treats the orphan and widow, and who loves resident foreigners, giving them food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10.17-18

In Deuteronomy, Moses was repeating the law for the Israelites. They were getting ready to enter the promised land. Moses would not go with them. He had sinned against God and as a result he would not be allowed to enter the promised land. Moses knew firsthand the consequences of sin.

Moses gives several descriptions of God. In 10.14, he states that the heavens, the earth, and everything in it belong to God. He is great, mighty and awesome. He is no respecter of persons and cannot be bribed. He takes care of the widows and orphans, people who were considered to be the most helpless of their day. He loves the resident foreigner, taking care of his basic needs.

God is so majestic, how can one not worship him? When Israel went to Egypt, they numbered around 70 people. He blessed them through the years taking them for his own people and Israel grew to be a great nation, which he rescued from Egypt.

Moses encouraged the Israelites to revere God, to serve him, and be loyal to him. They had seen the mighty works that he had done to bring them out of Egypt and care for them in the desert. He was the one they should praise.

Today is no different. God is the one we should praise!

#risingjoy #Deuteronomy #God

The most incredible thing of all

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

O Lord, you have been our protector through all generations! Even before the mountains came into existence, or you brought the world into being, you were the eternal God. Psalm 90.1-2

It is hard for me to grasp how immense and awesome God is. My mind has difficulty capturing the unlimited extent of his power. Moses, the author of this psalm, wrote that God existed before the world was created. I read in Revelation 1.4 that he (God) who is, and who was, and who is still to come. God has always existed and will always exist. He is eternal. His spoken word created the universe and everything in it from nothing, Genesis 1. His spoken word! That is power! His power has brought the dead back to life. He raised Jesus from the dead and has promised to raise me from the dead. That same power abides in me. Nothing can separate me from the love that he has for me and he gives complete victory to me through Jesus. Paul wrote in Romans 8.37-39 that nothing can separate me from his love. That is, nothing but myself. Paul wrote to the Ephesians in 3.20 that he is able to do more than I can think or imagine. Do you want to know the most incredible thing of all? He wants to have a relationship with me. Little, unimportant me. He wants me to know him. Now that brings hope and joy to the heart!

#risingjoy #Psalms #God

Joy in God’s presence

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

How lovely is the place where you live, O Lord who rules over all! I desperately want to be in the courts of the Lord’s temple. My heart and my entire being shout for joy to the living God. Even the birds find a home there, and the swallow builds a nest where she can protect her young near your altars, O Lord who rules over all, my king and my God. Psalm 84.1-3

The Temple for the Jews was the place where God lived among the people. The Jews would travel from afar to the Temple to make their sacrifices and celebrate their feasts. The verses above express their desire and joy to be there. Today the temple of God is not a physical location. In Ephesians 2.19-22 we read that the saints in Christ are being built together into a dwelling place of God. The church is the dwelling place of God today. The church is not a physical building. It is a spiritual building where the saints abide in Christ and where God is present. I need to ask myself if I have the same desire and joy to be present in the church as the Jews had to be in the Temple. If not, why not? So often we do not show the same joy of being in the presence of God. Perhaps that is because we are focusing more on the other people who are there instead of focusing on God. The church is where God’s presence dwells today. May you and I feel the same joy today in his presence!

#risingjoy #Psalms #God

Remain in this refuge

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The everlasting God is a refuge, and underneath you are his eternal arms; he has driven out enemies before you, and has said, “Destroy!” Deuteronomy 33.27

Deuteronomy is Moses’ repetition of the law. The Israelites are on the verge of entering the land that God promised to Abraham. Moses will not enter the land. Joshua will lead the people. The words above are some of the last words that Moses will speak to the people. He wants them to remember this as they go in to conquer the land. God is everlasting. He is always there and he will not leave. He is a refuge, a safe place where we can abide without fear. We are held in his eternal arms where nothing can harm us. He will protect us. The same holds true today. As long as we are walking in the light in obedience to his word found in the Bible, God is our refuge and strength. Let us be careful to remain in this refuge. For just as the Israelites sinned and were eventually sent into captivity, I can remove myself from God’s love and grace. The joy of having God as my refuge compels me to move forward sharing this news with others.

#risingjoy #Deuteronomy #God

Open to God

See below the original. Here’s my revision of it. See the difference?

Each new day is a gift from God. Today I will open the day slowly, like a present that’s wrapped in hours. I will be open to what my Lord offers me. The Spirit comes to greet me like an old friend each morning. My daily habits in the Word and in prayer comfort and ground me. The thought of moving into my day pleases me. Life unfolds one second at a time and today I will be present to witness it. How much of my life do I let pass by unnoticed? How many of my feelings go unfelt? Today I will recognize that my time on earth is limited. I choose to value my life a day at a time and embrace it while I have it. I choose to be nothing more, nothing less than a servant who glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel.

I am open to God.

Each new day is a gift. Today I will open the day slowly, like a present that’s wrapped in hours. I will be open to what my world offers me. The world comes to greet me like an old friend each morning. My daily habits comfort and ground me. The thought of moving into my day pleases me. Life unfolds one second at a time and today I will be present to witness it. How much of my life do I let pass by unnoticed? How many of my feelings go unfelt? Today I will recognize that my time on earth is limited. I choose to value my life a day at a time and embrace it while I have it.

I am open to life.
Tian Dayton PhD

#time #today #God #grace

The gospel is centered in God

Here’s a little 3×5 card that puts the gospel squarely (or rectangularly) centered in God and his activity.

#gospel #God #salvation