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Psalm 143 What If The Spirit Is Not Willing?

This Psalm of David tells us what to expect of life before death! Living for God in a hostile world is not easy but requires trust in God and a strong faith in His Word.

Verses 1-2 give the plea;

Verses 3-8 detail the spiritual struggle within;

Verses 9-12 ask for spiritual awakening.

Verses 1-2: “Prayer” is speaking to God, “supplication” is to ask of God. “Prayer and supplication” are often connected in Scripture (1 Kings 8:37-40; Philippians 4:6). Without repentance and forgiveness, no human would be acceptable to God. No one is acceptable to God who: says they are (Luke 18:9-14); thinks they obey (Matthew 7:21-23); confesses no sin (1 John 1:8-10); works wickedness (Psalm 101:3-4); hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:15).

Verses 3-8: Enemies, in persecuting our souls, may make us feel “crushed,” surrounded in darkness, lifeless and overwhelmed. Reading and meditating on the Word of God helps us “remember” God’s help in the past. “Meditate” is the focus on God’s “Works,” “musing” is thinking through His Way, spreading out one’s hands is to show God we hold nothing back from our obedience. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). When we feel our spirit fail, an alarming thought is that God would turn away from us, thus Jesus cried out from the cross: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus was taking our place on the cross (1 Peter 3:18). If we will remember God’s “lovingkindness,” then our “trust” in Him who has shown us “the way in which I should walk” will “lift up my soul to You.”

Verses 9-12: David asks God to “deliver” him from enemies, “teach” him to do God’s will, and “lead” all the way into “the land of uprightness.” God’s “Spirit is good,” so Christians should “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). A soul delivered from trouble is a soul “revived.” God is merciful to His Servants – anyone may become a “servant of God.” Daniel was spared in a den of lions because he was a “servant of the living God” (Daniel 6:20).

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

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #god, #meditate, #obedience, #revive, #servant, #supplication

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Psalm 119:81-88 Kaph “Finding Strength In Weakness”

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 119:81-88 Kaph                          “Finding Strength In Weakness”

Verses 81-83 describe our weakened condition;

Verses 84-87 show how much worse it gets;

Verse 88 make an appeal for strength.

Verses 81-83: (Verse 81) A soul may “faint” (grow weaker, dims) waiting for God’s salvation, but nothing else will do, for “hope” (anticipation) is still in God’s “word” (actual statements). (Verse 82) Eyes “fail” (strain, ache) from constant peering into God’s “word,” searching for God’s answer to: “When will You comfort me?” Under stress, strain, duress, distress, pain, or anguish, we can only tolerate so much. We ask God, not whether or not He will help, but “When.” (Verse 83) “A wineskin in smoke” dries out, becomes brittle, and useless as a liquid container. Before we become useless, we continue to remember God’s “statutes” (words defining proper conduct, lines marking out what we must do).

Verses 84-87: (Verse 84) We ask, “how long will we live,” and “when will God payback our persecutors?” The souls of those who died in the Jewish persecution of the churches of Christ (Acts 8:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16) asked the same question: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10). That answer came back in Revelation 19:1-2. (Verse 85) “The proud” (those lifted in their own minds above God and His word) create pitfalls (or problems) for those who serve God. “The proud” are mentioned 5 times just in this Psalm (verses 51, 69, 78, 85, 122) as representing all who disobey God’s “law” (words that guide in a straight path). (Verse 86) Dangers are not caused by God’s “commandments” (words that tell us what we should and should not do), all of which are “faithful” (producing faith), but are caused by “wrongful persecution” (undeserved, unprovoked, uncaused). “Help me!” is our appeal to our God who cares, can help, and considers our immediate plight. Christians may “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). The help we need always comes from the Lord, and His way to help is revealed in His word. (Verse 87) Though oppressed near death, we should never “forsake” (give up, quit) on God’s “precepts” (words that highlight or point out what is important).

Verse 88: With fainting soul, strained eyes, strength drying up, problems caused by “the proud,” we ask to be “revived” (have our spirit refreshed, renewed vigor, restored ability) that we may finish our task of keeping His “testimony” (words of His character and will), not that God would take over and finish what we are capable of doing. Paul said of Philemon, “For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother” (Philemon 7).

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

#affliction, #bible, #bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #god, #life, #obedience, #persecution, #proud, #revive, #salvation, #truth, #work

What song is in my heart today? There Is…

What song is in my heart today? There Is A Balm In Gilead (based on Jeremiah 8:18-22). Why? Like everyone else, I get discouraged from time to time, but when I go to the Lord in prayer, my soul is once again revived and refreshed, realizing that the Lord will give me the strength to “keep on keeping on” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.

#balm, #discouraged, #gilead, #refresh, #revive, #soul

But if I say, “I will not remember Him o…

But if I say, “I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,” then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it (Jeremiah 20:9).

A preaching brother recently asked me how to light a fire of faith in ourselves and in our brethren to evangelize and to have a love for souls. He observed that the how is harder than the what, and he is certainly correct.

Our marching orders are in the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16). For several years I taught the church growth class at the Nashville School of Preaching. I learned that many churches have no strategy for taking the gospel to their community. Many haven’t even kept records of baptisms, restorations, their growth, or their loss. They worship regularly but have had little thought about winning souls for Jesus. Many sermons are crafted for the saved with little thought of the lost and dying souls or exhorting us to evangelize.

Before Paul wrote to Timothy to fan the flame of his gift from God (2 Tim. 1:6-7), he reminded Timothy of the “sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well” (1:5). If we believe in the cross and in the resurrection, we believe in a hereafter and a judgment. Our faith will not allow us to remain silent about sin and salvation. Peter and John said, “we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20; cf. Jer. 20:9). Fire in our bones arises from faith!

We need to revive our sincere faith, to have a deep conviction of what we believe and why. The Lord has called us to deny ourselves, to take up our crosses daily, and to follow Him. Let us put away a spirit of timidity and renew a spirit of “power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). Let us not be afraid to preach with love the distinctive nature of the one gospel, one faith, one body, or one baptism. When we preach the truth in love, we will win souls!

The Lord be with you,
Phil Sanders

#evangelize, #faith, #in-search-of-the-lords-way, #revive