Thursday, June 30, 2016

Abraham’s Blessing

God is my helper.  The Lord is with them that uphold my soul.
He shall reward evil to my enemies.”
Psalm 54:4–5a

It is a precious thing to inherit the blessing of Abraham: “I will bless them who bless you, and him who curses you, I will curse” (Gen. 12:3).  Israel inherited it, and the Bible is full of stories of God blessing those who did good to Israel and cursing those who did them wrong.  But in this covenant, Christ Jesus is the foretold “seed of Abraham” (Gal. 3:16), and in God’s eyes, the children of Abraham are those who have the kind of faith Abraham had.
Be of good cheer, you who are in Christ.  God is your Father and your near-kinsman!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’
Psalm 53:1a

From a conversation with Preacher Clark in the late 1970’s.

Only God can judge a heart.  After He gave the Spirit to a group of Gentiles, Peter told the Jews, “God, who knows the heart, bore them witness, giving them the holy Spirit just as He gave it to us” (Acts 15:8).
But what if God does not give someone the holy Spirit?  How has He judged that person’s heart?  Preacher Clark pointed out to me that David said, “The fool has said in his heart,” not “The fool has said.”  Many a soul, including some who bear the title of “minister”, are not given the holy Spirit because God has judged them on the basis of what is in their heart, not by what comes out of their mouth.
Recently, a young man told a friend of mine that he was an atheist.  When I heard that, the thought came to me, “Everyone on earth is an atheist who does not have the holy Spirit.”  That is the truth that my father was pointing out to me.  Many fools say that they believe in God.  But if God has not given them His Spirit, He is saying that in their heart, they do not.   Whom, then, are we to believe?

Monday, June 27, 2016

For Your Name’s Sake

For your name’s sake, O LORD , pardon my iniquity, for it is great.”
Psalm 25:11

For you are my rock and my fortress; therefore,
for your name’s sake lead me, and guide me.”
Psalm 31:3

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name,
and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for your name’s sake.”
Psalm 79:9

Give me life, O LORD , for your name’s sake!
For your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.”
Psalm 143:11

Some people in the Bible, such as David, loved God so much that the best reason they could think of for asking God for mercy and help is so that His name would be glorified more.
Jesus was like that.  He thought that the best reason for us to live right is so that people around us would speak well of his Father: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).  And so did Peter: “Keep your conduct honorable among the Gentiles so that, although they speak against you as evildoers, they will, having seen your good works, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1Pet. 2:12).
Let’s give our heavenly Father a blessing today.  Let’s live so that somebody around us will say something good about Him.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Remember These Promises

Blessed is he who considers the poor.
The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
The LORD will preserve him, and give him life,
and he shall be blessed upon the earth.
And you will not turn him over to the will of his enemies.
The LORD will strengthen him on his sickbed.
Whenever he is bedridden, you will turn away his sickness.
Psalm 41:1–3

According to the Psalmist, then, if we consider the plight of the poor among God’s people, God has promised the following blessings:

1) He will deliver us when we find ourselves in trouble.
2) He will save our lives and protect us.
3) He will make our lives in this world blessed.
4) He will not let evil people do what they would like to do to us.
5) He will use even times of sickness and suffering to make us stronger.

God cares about His people, especially those whose lives on earth are not easy.  And when we help them, God has promised to help us.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Being Honest with Yourself

Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts.”
Psalm 51:6

LORD, who shall abide in your tabernacle?
Who shall dwell in your holy hill?
He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness,
and speaks the truth in his heart.”
Psalm 15:1–2
The most important person for you to tell the truth to is yourself.  You cannot be truthful with others if you are refusing to admit the truth to yourself.  All honesty starts with personal integrity.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Men Will Praise You

Men will praise you, when you do well to yourself.
Psalm 49:18b

He who speaks on his own is seeking his own glory.”
John 7:18a

One of the chief ways that men do well to themselves in this world, and receive praise for it, is to devise religions with deep-sounding doctrines and impressive ceremonies.  Jesus said that those who come up with their own doctrines are looking for worldly praise, and history shows that such men often find it.
Let’s look for ways to bring glory to God instead of ourselves.  The only praise we really need is the praise our heavenly Father will give us in the end, if we are faithful to Him in this life.

1Corinthians 4:5
5. So, judge nothing before the time, but wait until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and expose the intentions of hearts, and then from God will praise be given to each one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Who Is Your Family?

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear;
forget also your own people, and your father’s house. 
So shall the king greatly desire your beauty.”
Psalm 45:10–11a

When Jesus said that those who obey God were His real family (Mt. 12:48–50; Mk.3:33–35), He was showing us how to “forget your own family, and your father’s house.”  When Paul said that a born-again person is “a new creature” (2Cor. 5:17), He assumed we would understand that as new creatures, we belonged to a new family – the family who obeys God.
If we follow Jesus’ example in just this one thing, if we truly embrace God’s family as our real one, the world will hate us and cast us out of their company, just as worldly-minded people hated and cast out Jesus.
If your family is Jesus’ family, if your family is those who obey God, and only them, then you are beautiful in the eyes of the King, Jesus, and he will someday come and take you to meet his Father.
    Who is your family?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

He Felt Sinful

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted,
which did eat of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
Psalm 41:9

Jesus revealed that he himself was the one speaking those words through the prophet David, foretelling, a thousand years before it happened, that one of his disciples would betray him:

John 13
10. Jesus said to him, “He who has been washed needs only to wash his feet, but he is entirely clean.
11. (He knew who would betray him; this is why he said, “You are not all clean.”)
12. Then, when he had washed their feet, he put his garments back on, reclining again at the table, and said to them,
. . .
18. I know the ones I’ve chosen, but so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, it must be that ‘he who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.’

When the Son of God in heaven made that statement through David, it was only part of what he said.  Here is his statement, in context:

Psalm 41
4. I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against you. 
5. Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish?
. . .
8. “An evil disease”, say they, “cleaves fast unto him, and now that he lieth he shall rise up    no more.”
9. Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

As a man, the Son of God felt sinful.  He never sinned, but he felt the guilt and the shame of the sinful nature of the body of flesh he had come and taken on.  Everyone in a fleshly body feels its sinfulness.  Whenever you feel it, just follow the Son’s example and tell the Father about it.  He will lift up your head and will see to it that you are not discouraged, just as He did Jesus.  And afterward, you will glorify God again, just as Jesus did God:

Psalm 41
11. By this I know that you favor me, because mine enemy does not triumph over me.
12.   And as for me, you uphold me in mine integrity, and set me before your face for ever.
13. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.