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Psalm 144 How To Live In A Happy State

 This Psalm of David shows why God saw David as “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). This Psalm is from a heart that knows what God’s grace and mercy is all about!

Verses 1-2 acknowledge who is with David on his throne over Israel;

Verses 3-4 recognize how short the rule of a man is compared to God’s reign;

Verses 5-10 show who really deserves praise for victory over enemies;

Verses 11-15 summarize where a nation’s blessings and strengths come from.

Verses 1-2: “The LORD” was David’s “Rock” not a castle. God guided David’s conquests; God showed what “lovingkindness” was like in between battles; David’s “fortress” (protective dwelling), “high tower” (lofty position above the enemy), “shield” (protection against soldiers’ attacks) and “refuge” (safe haven), were all in God. Thus if David’s “people” didn’t obey God, David wouldn’t be king of a nation! Would that Governments recognized this today (John 19:10-11)!

Verses 3-4: “What is man” is the question David asks that shows great humility (Psalm 8:4). What makes us think we are so important that God would notice us? We are important not because of what we have done, but what God has done (Hebrews 2:17-18)! We do not live long enough to be impressive (James 4:13-15).

Verses 5-10: God, however, is so impressive that He can “come down” over the Earth; make mountains smoke; use lightning strikes; all as weapons of war “from above.” It is God “from above” who “rescues” the righteous from a flood of “foreigners” hurling “lying words” and lying handshakes.  Those who serve God cannot expect those who do not to be following the same rules in the same way! Christian behavior is not universal, but should be (Ephesians 5:1-17)! It is God who deserves praise for our salvation and daily life. The “harp of ten strings” was an instrument of David (1 Chronicles 23:5) which appealed to the spiritually lazy (Amos 6:3-7) and was condemned. No man-made musical instrument was authorized by Moses’ Law.

Verses 11-15: It would be by God’s rescue that the Nation of Israel would have: sturdy “sons” and “daughters;” plentiful “produce” and “sheep” and “oxen;” and no external raids nor internal struggles. A nation of people who respect God, will have “sons” who mature like plants and know their work to be done; “daughters” who accept their role of “pillars” as wife and mother; “produce” for people who know how to save for the next crop; fertile “sheep;” “oxen” useful for burdens; peaceful living without disruptiveness. Truly such a nation is “happy,” for “Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!” The plague of America is unhappiness, and it has become pandemic because people do not have the LORD God. “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:1-3). “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). DO YOU KNOW GOD?

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #church-of-christ, #enemies, #fortress, #god, #government, #happy, #heaven, #heavens, #jesus-christ, #obedience, #praise, #prayer, #refuge, #rock, #salvation, #singing, #unhappiness, #worship

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Psalm 138 God’s Name Works

A Psalm of David that is so typical of David’s other Psalms, full of praise to God.

Verses 1-2 God’s Name is worshiped above all gods;

Verses 3-5 God’s Name is glorified above all kings;

Verses 6-8: God’s Name reaches to all people.

Verses 1-2: (Verse 1) Praise to God should include the “whole heart” out of which we “sing praises.” David, with all the musical instruments introduced by him into worship, felt praise involved singing from the heart, in spite of others’ “gods.” In the New Testament, Christians should, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). (Verse 2) What God has done in “lovingkindness” and “truth” distinguish Him above all.

Verses 3-5: (Verse 3) David’s boldness came from God’s answering His pleas. No proof of God’s care is better than experience, and hindsight is always 20/20! (Verse 4) “Kings of the earth” quickly learn Jehovah God is mightier than they are. (Verse 5) When defeated, even they join in God’s praises (Example Daniel 4).

Verses 6-8: (Verse 6) God never loses sight of, or sensitivity toward, “the lowly.” No one is too minute or insignificant but that God will hear. But “the proud” God recognizes from “afar,” that is, God doesn’t need to have them close to know how to deal with them. “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6). (Verse 7) “In the midst of trouble” God “revives” (refreshes), extends a protecting “hand,” offers His “right hand” to “save.” Since Jesus said God is “spirit” (John 4:24) which has no “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39), then all references to God’s “body” of physical characteristics obviously are figures of speech designed to help us understand Him. (Verse 8) God looks better to our cares than we can, which is why we should cast “all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). He does this out of His “mercy” which “endures forever.” “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #god, #gods-name, #obedience, #praise, #prayer, #proud, #singing, #worship

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Psalm 136 Why Worship God? “For His Mercy Endures Forever”

This is almost a repetition of Psalm 135, but with the phrase “For His mercy endures forever” added to each verse (26 times). That phrase was ordered at the dedication of the tabernacle by David (1 Chronicles 16:41), at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-6), and before battle by Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:20-22). It means without God’s guiding “mercy,” they would not be a nation. “Mercy” (willingness to relieve the price of sins) is mentioned in 129 verses in the Book of Psalms. The “mercy of God” kept Israelites together until Jesus Christ came, and now God’s “mercy” is for both Jews and Gentiles through Jesus Christ (Romans 11:30-32; Galatians 3:22-29). To illustrate God’s “mercy,” evidence is drawn from the written history of God’s Word. AND for those mid-guided commentators who think the Old Testament God is hateful and violent, His motive for providing and protecting Israel as a nation was so that He could provide mercy for all who will obey Jesus Christ today (Ephesians 2:1-7)!

Verses 1-3: “Give thanks to the LORD” for: “He is good;” He is above all “gods;” He is “the Lord of lords!”

Verses 4-9: True science is the uncovering of the “wisdom” God used in the Creation. His orderliness precisely designed the “heavens.” And, He has done these “great wonders” “alone!” This is detailed in Genesis 1-2.

Verses 10-15: God broke Egypt as a dominating power when He “brought out Israel from among them” in establishing them as His Nation. This is detailed in Exodus 1-14.

Verses 16-22: God destroyed all nations in Canaan that Israel might be given the land He had promised Abraham. This is detailed in the Book of Joshua.

Verses 23-24: In the Promised Land, when Israelites repented of their sins, God continued to lead them to victories over their enemies by raising up a “judge.” This is detailed in the Book of Judges.

Verse 25: All food is produced because God’s mercy gives orderly seasons (Genesis 8:22; Acts 14:15-17). Solomon will acknowledge: “Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field” (Ecclesiastes 5:9). It is pathetic poverty of spirit when people are taught to forget this fact!

Verse 26: We must never cease thanking “the God of heaven” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #creation, #daily-bible-reading, #god, #mercy-of-god, #obedience, #praise, #prayer, #thank-god

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Psalm 119:169-176 Tau Speaking to God – Hearing His Word

It is fitting that the greatest tribute to the Word of God is IN the Word of God, itself, and is in the longest chapter of the Word of God! This Psalm has no author’s name, historical incident, or other distraction from its theme. It is divided into 22 sections (one for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet), each consisting of 8 lines, each line beginning with the alphabet letter of that section (aleph is the first letter of each line under the aleph section, for instance). The chapter uses some 8-10 different words to describe the Word of God, each bringing something extra to the total picture of the Word of Truth. In order to savor the depth and richness of teaching in this Psalm, we will examine each portion as if it were its own chapter.

Psalm 119:169-176  Tau                       Speaking to God – Hearing His Word

Verses 169-172 give the connection from my mouth to God’s ear;

Verses 173-176 summarize God’s blessings from the Word.

Verses 169-172: (Verse 169) The only concern expressed is that the believer will be heard; the only thing asked for with this “cry” is for “understanding,” is this not what Solomon later will do? (1 Kings 3:5-14) (Verse 170) “Supplication” is presenting sincere needs and asking that something be done; “deliverance” is the blessing asked for that is described in God’s Word. (Verse 171) Coming from “my lips” indicates a heart full of lessons from God’s “statutes” (words marking out the right way). Jesus later would say: “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matthew 12:34-35). (Verse 172) Just as a healthy tree bursts forth with signs of life; a bird sings when it shares its life; a flower shares its color and fragrance; a believer full of the “righteousness” of God’s “commands” cannot be silent. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:16-17).

Verses 173-176: (Verse 173) Choosing God’s “precepts” (words that superintend our way) will cause a believer to reach out for God’s leadership. (Verse 174) “Longing” (continuing desire) for God’s “salvation,” means the method of obtaining it is a “delight.” Wanting to be saved is not enough, a person must enjoy obeying God to reach for it. “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:21-22). Since baptism into Christ is the moment of salvation (1 Peter 3:21), it is a delightful response for one who longs to be saved. (Verse 175) Knowing how perfect God’s “judgments” have always been, the soul blessed by God with physical and spiritual life “praises” God for all of these. (Verse 176) All of us can, and probably will, “go astray” by wandering off “like a lost sheep.” Most of us sin without intending to violate God’s Will, but by simply becoming too focused upon what we are doing at the time, and not paying attention to what should be important. God “seeks” “servants,” in other words, those who seek Him. “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him” (Lamentations 3:25). “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).

Thought: By using different words to convey facets of God’s Word, its brilliance is better than any gemstone, diamond, or other precious jewelry. Psalm 119 shows that the Word of God is not a “dead book,” but bursting with life that brings to life any soul that has been numbed, deadened, or abused by the world. God’s Word brings from us a zest for life, enjoyment of life, and praise for the Giver of life!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible, #bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #god, #life, #lost-sheep, #obedience, #praise, #salvation, #sin, #singing, #teaching, #truth, #wisdom

GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD!

Psalm 106 describes the wonderful salvation of the Christian so well that it must be prophetic of the salvation we all share.

Its theme statement is, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, who he has redeemed from the hand of the adversary,” (Psalm 106:2). Those who have obeyed the gospel through faith, repentance, confession and baptism and remain faithful have been redeemed, or bought back, from sin.

This is something we just can’t keep to ourselves! God has extended his lovingkindness to us by saving us from sin and spiritual death! We should extol his wonderful grace and mercy to everyone we can reach.

The psalmist wrote an accurate picture of what the redeemed were before God made them his. “They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; they did not find a way to an inhabited city. They were hungry and thirsty,” (Psalm 106:4-5 NASB). Doesn’t this show what we were before we were saved from our sins?

In 1988, several students and I decided to leave Tennessee and go to New Orleans, La. to find work. The stretch of interstate highway between Montgomery and Mobile, Ala. was the most uninhabited landscape I had ever seen. There might have been people there, but it didn’t look like it. There were few exits from the road, few gas stations, and few restaurants. We felt abandoned.

Before we obeyed the gospel, we wandered in the lonely land of sin. It was like a deserted place. There might have been people with us while we were in sin, but it was a lonely existence for us, wasn’t it? There might have been places that advertised refreshment, but there was none for the soul.

NOW, however, we have been rescued from the desert of sorrow and sin. We are refreshed (Psalm 106:8-9). We have been released from our bondage to sin (Psalm 106:13-14).

We should offer thanksgiving for God’s wonderful salvation today, shouldn’t we? When we sing, let us lift up our voices like never before! Let us lift up our hearts in prayers of thanksgiving to God for his lovingkindness! The Psalmist wrote, “He sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his lovingkindness, and for his wonders to the sons of men! (Psalm 106:21).

Amen, and may it ever be so!

#god, #praise, #thanks

Guess what Researchers at Ohio State have found…

Guess what? Researchers at Ohio State have found that college students would rather receive praise than sex or booze and even money. Lead professor Brad Bushman says that two separate studies show that students favor experiences that boost their self-esteem, like a good grade or a compliment, more than anything else. I’m not surprised at this. While the former provides a temporary pleasure, self-worth speaks to one’s soul. God created us in His image but man marred this image in sin. The good news is that in Christ Jesus we can reclaim the image of God and become a part of God’s own family, children of God. What could ever boost self-esteem more than that? This is Just-A-Minute

#just-a-minute, #ohio-state, #praise

A new Thanksgiving Day poem

Here’s my contribution to the sentiments of gratitude, written today and posted on the Christian Poets website. http://2.ly/p9eb

#poetry, #praise, #revelation, #thanksgiving

Devotional moment, songs and snow

Enjoy this 12-minute video by David Fowler, a young man my sons grew up with, for use on GBN, with a cappella singing and images of God’s creation, much of it under snow.

http://www.facebook.com/v/571396321539

(I tried to embed it here, unsuccessfully. Perhaps you can view it on FB.)

#a-cappella-singing, #praise, #video, #worship

Christian Worker on singing

The July issue of Christian Worker treats the theme, "The Worship of Christian Singing." This 12-page magazine is published by the Southwest church in Austin TX and appears to highlight in each issue students or alumni of the Southwest School of Bible Studies. Check out this issue by these good workers.

CW 7-11.pdf

#a-cappella, #instrumental-music-in-worship, #praise, #singing, #worship

God Compliments

While preparing for the first lesson in our study of the book of Job, I was struck by the compliment God paid Job.

God said,  “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8 ESV). Note the four component compliments God gives here.

He says, “there is none like him on the earth.” That’s quite a commendation. Of course the reason why there was none like him is because he was someone who avoided sin and stayed away from evil. Those are the things important to God. Job’s wealth didn’t induce this from God, neither was it Job’s position, but his faithfulness to and love of God.

Job, God said, is a “blameless and upright man.” The Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon defines “blameless” as “complete, morally innocent, having integrity.” I love the integumentary system of the body — the skin. It separates us from the environment and protects us from all the little bugs out there that would like to infect us. Job’s integrity separated him from all the evil in the world. He maintained his separation from it, just as our skin separates us from the world.

God said Job fears him. Such is high praise for a man. Job was not sinless, but he loved God enough to keep himself from getting entangled in the lusts of this world. How many others can say they’ve never been overcome by the allure of the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes or the pride of life (1  John 2:15f)?

Job, according to God, was a man who turned away from evil. What a wonderful idea, and how seldom is it practiced in this world? If more people would just use their feet to take them away from the temptations of this life, more would be able to prevent sin.

Probably the highest praise God gave Job was the compliment of allowing him to suffer. This is a tough idea for some to comprehend, but when God tests our faith, he does so with suffering. In so doing is he not announcing his trust in our ability to pass the test? And, if we don’t, God is still there to pick us up and help us learn, isn’t he?

 

#god, #job, #praise, #suffering

As in Revelation 4, Revelation 5 is a ma…

As in Revelation 4, Revelation 5 is a magnificent scene as well, of prayers and praise to the One who was able to open the book (Revelation 5:5). The book symbolizes God’s eternal purpose for man’s salvation (Ephesians 1:3-14; Ephesians 3:1-11). The “new song” in Revelation 5:9, is the song of redemption. The expression “new song” is one which comes from an expression of gratitude in the heart of man due to some mighty deed (or deeds) of God. We see this expression being used in Psalms 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1.

In Isaiah, we find that because of the many wonderful works of God (Isaiah 42:5-9), the prophet wanted to “sing unto Jehovah a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth” (Isaiah 42:10).

#book, #eternal, #magnificent, #praise, #prayer, #purpose, #redemption, #salvation, #scene, #symbol

For today and every Lord’s day. And cer…

For today and every Lord’s day. And certainly every day.
Ps 100 “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.. In this psalm we find a call to come to the Lord with joy, thanksgiving and praise. Why? “For the LORD is good…” – Ps 100:5a.

#joy, #praise, #thankfulness

Valentine’s Day

This Sunday, being the 2nd Sunday of the month, we will gather together to worship around the Lord’s table, to sing praises to the Him and to break bread. Following that and a period of Bible study, we will engage in a Love Feast, where we share our food with gladness and simplicity of heart. I can think of no better way to spend Valentine’s Day, a day that celebrates love, than in sharing my love with my fellow Christians.

#love, #love-feast, #praise, #valentine, #worship

The Lord is Good

We Praise the Lord Because of His Salvation. Because man is alienated from God, resulting from sin (Rom. 3:23; 6:23), God sent His Son to redeem us (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus tells men they must be born again (John 3:3-5). When we sing praise to the Lord, let us thank Him for His salvation because in Him we rejoice. The Lord is good when you know you have a home in heaven; the Lord is good when you receive an answer to your prayer; the Lord is good when you get a pay raise; the Lord is good when your friend becomes a Christian; the Lord is good when your spouse is faithful and your children love you. The Lord is also good when you lose your job, when you get sick, when you lose a loved one, or your spouse is unfaithful. The Lord is good! The Lord is good no matter what happens to you. He does not stop being good. He does not stop working all things together for good in our lives, even the bad things (Romans 8:28)! RT

#praise