Ashamed

Psalm 119:5-6
“Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments”

The devil is crafty and a master of deception. Paul referred to him as an angel of light, because of his ability to disguise himself in order to fool the Christian.

When we are first introduced to him in the garden,  we watch as he tricks Eve into thinking the one thing that her loving God has forbidden, is of more value than all the fruit of the garden or the freedom she has been given. He has been deceiving people ever since, fooling us into thinking the ways of God are too restrictive and that sin will satisfy us. Once he has convinced us to walk outside the boundaries of God’s Word and get involved in that which is forbidden, his job is only half done. Instead of leaving us alone and moving on to deceive another, he turns his weapons back on us and begins an assault of shame. His fiery arrows begin to assault our minds with shame. We are defeated by the sin we have committed, and continue in defeat as we wallow in shame and guilt. We are repulsed by our failure, and instead of entering boldly into the throne of grace, where mercy and grace flow from our loving Father, we cower back with feelings of unworthiness. We question how God could love us and fear that we will never overcome the weaknesses of our flesh. There, in our miry clay, the devil holds us bound in shame and guilt; keeping us from abundant life or from impacting others for the kingdom of Heaven.

I want to assure you, that if you have received the pardon of sin that Christ offers on Calvary’s Cross, ALL your sins have been washed away. The blood of Christ is rich enough to pardon the sin that you have stumbled back into. Right this moment, receive that pardon and rise from the ashes of your failure to walk in the victory that is yours in Christ.

That being said, the Psalmist speaks here of one of the greatest ways to avoid pitfalls of the devil and ending up overcome with shame.

Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments.”

The key to avoiding the pitfalls of the enemy, is walking in the right direction, and staying in bounds. The key to remaining on track, is allowing the Word of God to shine continually upon your life and guide your steps. One of the ways we fail, is when we come to a crossroad and find ourselves face to face with temptation. On the one hand, we are being greatly pressed to step outside the boundaries and pursue what we know God has forbidden, while on the other hand, we desire to please Him and do what is right. Right there, in the midst of the battle, we will find great strength from the perfect Law of liberty. Like a valiant soldier, as we reach into the sheath, removing the Sword of the Spirit, we will find the enemy is vanquished with the power of the Word. Later, in times of confusion, when we are not sure what the way of the Lord is, we can find guidance that keeps us on track. Have you ever, when facing decision time or great temptation, taken a moment to search for what the Scripture has to say? Using an online concordance, you can look into the statutes of God regarding the situation you are facing. The light of the Word will shine in your life, and you will find the help you need to avoid falling again into shame.

Let’s be sure, today, to allow our steps to be directed by His statutes.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 119

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is divided up into 22 sections with 8 verses in each section. Each section starts with the letters in the Hebrew alphabet. It is said that Hebrew children learned the alphabet by learning this psalm.

The psalm is about the word of God and the benefits of studying God’s word.

ALEPH

  1. Blessed are……do we seek to be obedient to the Lord in all that we do?
  2. 5 says “O that my ways were directed.” I am so grateful that the Lord does not force us to follow Him. That He shows us His grace and mercy always. In what areas of your life is the Lord drawing you closer to Him?

BETH

  1. What do you see here about the importance of God’s word in our day to day life?
  2. Notice throughout this psalm that praise and rejoicing are hand in hand with being obedient. Do you look at God’s word with joy and gladness or rules and regulations?

GIMEL

  1. Have you ever asked God to see “wondrous things”?
  2. Testimony- A solemn declaration or affirmation made for the purpose of establishing or proving some fact. God’s testimonies are a delight. God’s testimonies are lives changed by the Holy Spirit. What is God changing in your heart? Let Him in and be His delight!

DALETH

  1. Revive me according to your word. For you shall enlarge my heart! What does this mean to you?

HE

  1. Sometime we study/read God’s word and feel like it is too much or over our heads. Here the psalmist is asking for understanding so that he can keep God’s law. Have you asked God for understanding of His word? Read John 14:26
  2. The psalmist also asks God to establish His word. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:13

WAW

  1. Verse 42, I will trust in Your word.
    1. Trust- Confidence; reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person.

He that puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 28:25.

  1. Verse 44, so shall I keep Your law continually. How often do we feel like we fail at following the Lord and being obedient? Remember, God knows as we step up to the plate that we do not plan or want to strike out but sometimes we do. God is cheering you on! Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2
  2. Verse 46, I will speak of Your testimonies….and not be ashamed. Sometimes we feel intimidated or scared. Read Isaiah 41:10

ZAYIN

  1. God’s word gives us hope. Is your hope in His word or in what He does for you?
  2. God’s word gives us life. Read Psalm 34:8

HETH

  1. We are encouraged here to think about all that the Lord has done and turn to God without haste. List the benefits that the Lord has brought into your life since you gave your heart to Him.
  2. The earth is full of God’s mercies. What does this mean to you?

TETH

  1. God deals with us according to His word. Everyone is offered the same opportunity. Psalm 55:16
  2. How often do we quote verse 71 in our lives? Getting God’s perspective changes everything. How has God changed the way you look at your life?

VOD

  1. How awesome is verse 1? Meditate on this for a moment and ask God for more of His understanding. How would this verse conflict with the teaching of evolution?
  2. Hoping in God’s word. What has the Lord shown you this morning that gives you hope in His word?
  3. What is the promise of God’s tender mercies?

KAPH

  1. Our flesh will fail us often, but our hope in God’s word will revive us. What can you do to strengthen your hope in God’s word?
  2. Memorize verse 88

LAMED

  1. What is the promise of delighting in God’s word?
  2. What is the promise of never forgetting God’s precepts?

MEM

  1. What does the meditation of God’s word bring to our lives?
  2. God’s word is referred to here as “sweeter than honey.” Have you ever thought about God’s word in this way?

NUN

  1. Being guided by a lamp in the darkness is an interesting way to walk. We cannot see that far ahead, and the light is just enough to show us where to take the next step. We have to trust that we are on the right path and that we will end up in the planned destination. Where are you walking? What is your destination? Are you on your path or the Lords?
  2. Verse 101 tells us that traps (snares) are set to get us off track or stop our walk. What protects us from these traps?

SAMEK

  1. What does “double-minded” mean to you? Are you double-minded in any area of your life? Read James 1:8
  2. More benefits of trusting in the Lord. Verses 116-117, what are they?
  3. Being obedient to the Lord because of our love for Him is a wonderful relationship. We are not robots, God allows us to choose. What does verse 118 say to those “stray” from the Lord?

AYIN

  1. Of all of our failures listed, the psalmist asks God to deal with us according to His mercies. We have read that God’s mercies endure forever. God has made it so simple for us. Read 1 John 1:9
  2. We see the humility of the psalmist in verse 125. Take time to confess your sin and ask God for His forgiveness.

PE

Father, I pray that you refresh me God’s word. That it brings light, gives understanding so that my soul longs for Jesus. That my mouth thirsts for You. I pray Your word directs my steps and that iniquity does not have dominion over me. Redeem me Lord; make Your face to shine upon me. Teach me your statutes. May my heart be broken and bring tears to my eyes for the people that do not know You. In Jesus name, Amen.

TSADDE

  1. Looking around our world today we see all kinds of perceptions of what is right. It is a peaceful thought to know that God is righteous. Everyone is equal and has the same opportunity to have a relationship with Him. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?
  2. Verse 144, what is our benefit for having a relationship with the Lord?

QOPH

  1. Crying out to the Lord is a humbling experience and sometimes a bit of whining. Notice how the cry turns back to the focus on God’s word. Verse 148 says, “My eyes are awake…that I may meditate on Your word. Take time to purpose in your heart that when the cares of life press in, turn to God’s word.

RESH

  1. Revive me is repeated here 3 times. May the Lord speak to you in the deepest areas of your heart and revive you today!
  2. Revive– To return to life; to recover life. To recover new life or vigor; to be reanimated after depression. To recover from a state of neglect, oblivion, obscurity or depression.

SHIN

  1. Great peace! Do you have great peace? I pray today after studying this chapter you will see the Lord for how much He loves you! That God does have a plan and purpose for your life. His word is here to protect you and that you will be revived and fall in love with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

TAU

  1. What do you see here as the psalmist cry’s before the Lord that is different from verses 145-152?
  2. Sometimes we ask for the Lords help only when we have messed things up. In verse 173 what is the psalmist asking for?
  3. Did you know that God seeks for you when you go astray? Read Hebrews 7:25

Short But Sweet

Psalm 117
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!
Laud Him, all you peoples!
For His merciful kindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!”

It is not always the longest, or even the most creative works, that become the most well known. I am not a poet, and cannot speak to the artistic side of things, but I doubt whether any poem is as well known as “Roses are red and violets are blue…” Sometimes, the simplicity of things is exactly what is most needed. In a songbook filled with some of the most elaborate and beautiful expressions of praise, we find a simple song, consisting of only two short verses. It is the brevity of this song that magnifies its content. We find the Psalmist emphasizing two things that make God worthy of the praise of all the nations. He states, God is kind, and His word is true.

Perhaps, rather than going into great detail to explain these things, it might do us good to simply put  the teaching of this psalm into practice. Take some time to express thanks to God for His merciful kindness. If you need to confess things you are doing wrong, then go for it, and allow Him to wash away all your sin. Then decide that you are going to forever view His Word as the truth, and live by its statutes.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 117

  1. Isn’t it interesting that this 2 verse psalm says “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles”?
  2. God’s heart is that all come to know Him. Read 1 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Old Testament:
Psalm 118- Killer Bees
1 Chronicles 22- The Word Of God Is Greater
1 Chronicles 23- Everyday

In His Image

Psalm 115:8
“Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.”

I remember being in a cultural anthropology class in college, when the professor said, “the Bible says man was created in the image of God, but I believe God was created in the image of man.” While I totally disagree with his rejection of Biblical truth, I do agree, that man has been creating gods in his image since the beginning of time. We like to pretend we are a more evolved and sophisticated race than our ancestors, but the reality is, mankind has not changed. We are still creating gods in our image. Whenever we pick and choose verses we like, and reject the ones that make us uncomfortable, we are creating God in our own image. The Psalmist speaks of the folly of that, when he declares;

Psalm 115:8 “Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.”

When we reduce the God of the Bible to the creation of our own mind, we create an impotent god who is unable to save from sin, or help in our times of weakness. Again, the Psalmist declares about their gods,

“They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat.” Psalm 115:5-7

Not only are man-made gods unable to aid in times of trouble, but those who fashion them become like them. One of the great values of following closely after Jesus, is that we in turn, become like Him. Instead of being reduced from the purpose for which we were created, as we follow Jesus, we are transformed. Walking daily with Him, will result in our lives being transformed into His image, and we will be able to live up to the potential for which we were created.

Instead of rejecting God because there are things about Him you do not understand, or have a hard time believing, why not submit to Him, and allow Him to reveal Himself to you? If He is not real, what have you really lost? But if He is, you will find that your life is transformed and you will begin to experience what Jesus called “living waters,” welling up in you like a fountain of life.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 115

  1. In verse 1, notice because of God’s mercy and truth that His Name gets the Glory not the nation. Sometimes we ask God to glorify His Name with something we want to accomplish. When He answers your prayer and you get the attention, do you give God the credit?
  2. Verses 4-8 deals with idol worship. They created images shaped by their own hands. Today we still create idols in our life. An idol is something we love more than God, i.e.: tangible possessions, money, a person, etc. Have you found yourself there? Read verse 8, repent and trust in the one true God.
  3. From verse 9 until the end, we read the most fantastic truths. Notice the repeated phrases. Are you encouraged when you read that God is mindful of us and that He understands and thinks about us?

Old Testament:

Psalm 116- Love The Lord
1 Chronicles 20- Let’s Battle
1 Chronicles 21- Full Price

He Humbled Himself

Psalm 113:6
“Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth?”

A few years ago my wife and I were window shopping at an outdoor mall in southern California when we stumbled onto a crowd of people huddled around a large telescope. We decided to stand in line and see what they were looking at. When our turn came to look through the view finder we were stunned. From the courtyard of the mall we were able to see the rings around Saturn. We took advantage of the moment and allowed the young man who owned the telescope to point out distant stars and even a distant galaxy. Technology has provided us with things that were unthinkable during most of human history, and there in the mall we were able to observe the heavens. I was struck both by the majesty of the heavens and by the advances of science that would allow the casual shopper a glimpse into the heavens. But I did realize that this was only possible because of the highest reaches of human development. Centuries of studying the stars had come together at that moment to provide a telescope that could view the heavens.

I often think of that when I read the Psalmists words;
“Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth?”

What takes the height of human development to glance at, God has to bow to look into. As majestic as creation may ever seem the creator is much more magnificent. His glory is above the heavens.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 113

  1. Verses 1-4, the Psalmist is in continual praise. He says, “From this time forth and forevermore.” Be encouraged- Pray these verses with your whole heart, AMEN!
  2. In verses 5-9, God could care less about your position in the social ladder. He uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. How do you treat the outcasts of society? Do you treat them as though they have value?
  3. Notice where the Lord seats the poor and needy. What does He grant the barren woman? PRAISE THE LORD!

Old Testament:
Psalm 114- Rock Into Water
1 Chronicles 18- Team Work
1 Chronicles 19- When Things Go Wrong

In The Congregation

Psalm 111:1
“Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.”

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God created us as social beings; we need the companionship of one another. Knowing that being together is a necessary part of healthy development and spiritual growth, God established seven feasts that took place during three different seasons of the Jewish calendar year. During these feasts the children of Israel were to journey together to the city of Jerusalem. The journey itself became a time of celebration. The closer they came to the city, the more they would celebrate. As they hiked up the hills where Jerusalem sat, they would sing a series of psalms, now known as the Psalms of Ascent. Upon arriving, the feasts consisted of corporate gatherings, sacrifices, teachings, worship and eating. Like the festive times in our calendar year, I am sure these were the highlight of the year for the people.

In the New Testament, God established another means by which to satisfy the social needs of His people. He created the church. Now the primary purpose of the church is to be a place where God is glorified, and the Word of God is taught, but in order to do those things, we must gather together in corporate worship. When that becomes a regular part of your weekly schedule, you will find you are not only growing closer to Christ, investing in eternal things, but you are also much healthier, socially. God knows our needs and designed corporate worship for our benefit.  When it is neglected, our growth is stunted, but when we regularly participate in it, we begin to grow in ways that we never thought possible.

Let’s follow the example of the Psalmist, determining that we will praise the Lord in the assembly of the righteous. Here are a few tips that will enhance our worship experience. First, determine now that you will not be a random attendee in your local church. Plan now to attend Sunday morning and a mid week service. Plan for things that regularly interfere, perhaps even making dinner in advance. Get the kids involved with the ministry at their age level. My kids love church because of the relationships they established with others.

Corporate worship is key to spiritual growth. Get plugged in today

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 111

  1. Psalms 111-118 are thought of as the praise or hallelujah psalms. Are you in a season of life where you’re finding it hard to praise the Lord? Be encouraged- dig in right here.
  2. In verse 1, how much of our heart is supposed to be used to praise the Lord as we meet with His godly people?
  3. One of the important categories of Inductive Bible Study is “looking for repeated words.” In verses 2-7, what word gives us the main point of this Psalm?
  4. What is the beginning of wisdom?

Old Testament: Psalm 112 Delight In His Commandments
1 Chronicles 16- Let’s Talk
1 Chronicles 17- Not Now

Divine Justice

Psalm 109:2
“My knees are weak through fasting, and my flesh is feeble from lack of fatness.”

When I read the songs of David, I am fascinated with the level in which He knew the Lord. He expresses praise in a way that reveals the depths in which he understood the majesty of God. He speaks of mercy, grace and loving-kindness, not as one who studied it in a classroom, but as one who experienced it daily. This psalm reveals the level in which David understood the justice of God. If this Psalm seems harsh, it may be partly due to the limited understanding we have of God’s justice. We live in a world that finds it difficult to reconcile love, mercy and justice. We see it as unloving to punish an offender, yet we know it to be unjust to allow them to go free. It is common to project our limited understanding of righteousness on the Lord, only to then accuse Him of wrongdoing when He judges the ungodly. We must never forget, God is a holy and just God. When sin is committed it must be judged, God will bring justice upon those who have rebelled against Him, and mistreated His children. Ultimately, this judgment will be punitive and those who have rejected Christ will be separated from God.

CS Lewis put it like this, “God in the end really gives people what they want, including freedom from Himself. What could be more fair?”

But until then, the judgment of God is meant to draw people to Himself. God does not want the rebellious to continue in their sin, ignorant of how He feels about it. Instead, He desires all men everywhere to be saved.

Before we are too hard on David for the intensity of his prayer regarding the wicked, I think we have to visit where he had been. I am not talking about going through the kind of hardship that make us callous to others, but rather I am referring to the statement David makes in verse 24,

“My knees are weak through fasting, and my flesh is feeble from lack of fatness.”

To be honest, I am humbled by these words. David describes the physical weakness he experienced as a result of the intensity in which he was seeking the Lord. His prayer for the wicked to be judged was not birthed out of their mistreatment of him, but rather out of his time spent seeking the Lord on their behalf. The best thing for those who are living in rebellion against God is to taste a little of His severity, if it will bring them to a place of repentance that they might avoid eternal judgment.

As you seek to understand this Psalm, take a few moments to pray for your loved ones who are still living apart from Christ. Pray that they would surrender all without having to go through any more of the severity of God.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 109

  1. David begins this psalm asking God to not be silent, to do something.  Read verses 1-5. What has happened that he is asking to “speak up” about?
  2. Read verses 6-20.  David goes nuclear on his enemies.  Consider in particular, verses 16 and 17, and why his enemies deserved judgment.
  3. Read Matthew 5:38-48.  Also look at Luke 23:33-35.  Is David’s heart representative here of New Testament teaching?  Although God will ultimately judge the unrepentant, His highest desire is to extend mercy and grace.
  4. Although David’s heart is crying for justice for his enemies, he never takes that justice into his own hands.  Rather what is he doing in this psalm?
  5. David was himself a sinner.  Yet he does not cry out for justice for himself.  Read verse 21-31.  What does David seek from the Lord for himself?  Pray that God helps you to love your enemies as you love yourself.

Old Testament:
Psalm 110- Footstool
1 Chronicles 14- Lesson Learned
1 Chronicles 15- The Proper Order

He Is Good

Psalm 107:1
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

The evolution of love is seen in the relationship between children and parents. An infant child cannot survive on his own and is completely dependent upon the mercy, grace and love of the parents. In a proper relationship the parents give time, energy, even sleep for the benefit of the child. As the relationship develops so does the love, it is not long before the parents begin to see the return in their investment. I can remember being so excited when my children began to smile and laugh, or when they would crawl across the room only to get up on my lap and snuggle. What a joy! Just this week I received messages from each of my boys expressing Father’s Day wishes in their own humorous ways. Our relationship has become one of an exchange of love. This Psalm is an illustration of that kind of love relationship with God. The Psalmist cries out with thankful praise as a response to what God has done for them. Paul used an interesting word for thanks when writing to Timothy, he said “Thanks be to God…” and the word he used was “karis” which is the word used to speak of God’s giving nature. Because of the grace we have received from the Lord, we give grace back to Him.

The Psalmist describes here that exchange of grace and thanksgiving.

He recalls the history of God’s people and reminds them of all that God has done for them. The list includes being redeemed, provided for, delivered, protected, forgiven, and comforted in the storms of life. Sprinkled throughout the Psalm is a continued exhortation;

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

Perhaps it would be of great value to our love relationship with the Lord if we took time to recall to mind all that God has done for us and respond in thankful praise.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 107

  1. This psalm is a meditation on how good it would be for people to give God the praise and thanksgiving that He truly deserves.  Consider verses 1-2, 8, 15, 21, and 31-32.  After each of these statements, the psalmist makes the case for why men should give love and worship to God.  Do you take time to consider the many ways that He is good?  Does genuine unforced praise come from your heart to God?
  2. Look at verses 2-5.  What was the state of these people?  What did they do (verse 6)?  What did God do?
  3. Look at verses 9-12.  What is the condition of the people described here?  Is this condition their fault?  What do they do (verse 13)?  What does God do?
  4. Look at verses 16-18.  What distress is this group of people facing?  What do they do (verse 19)?  How does God respond?
  5. Look at verses 23-27.  What are these people facing?  What do they do (verse 28)?  What does God do?  Check out Mark 4:36-41.  Although we may not be in a physical storm, our lives can be stormy in other ways.
  6. Do you follow the pattern of this psalm?  When you are in trouble do you from your heart turn to the Lord?

Old Testament:
Psalm 108- Count On The Promises Of God
1 Chronicles 12- Heroes In Training
1 Chronicles 13God’s Way

Tested

Psalms 105:19
“…The word of the Lord tested him.”

This psalm recounts the faithfulness of God during the days of the patriarchs. After mentioning Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Psalmist reminds us of the struggles Joseph faced after being sold into slavery by his own brothers. We know he experienced betrayal, beating, false accusations and imprisonment. Each trial he faced was a means by which the Word of God put him to the test.

We face similar experiences that put us to the test. When we face heartache, confusion, difficulty or disappointment, we are essentially being put to the test by the promises of God. We are left to decide if we will trust in the scattered array of emotions we face, or in the ever changing experiences of life, or in the unchanging promises of God. Down through the ages, saints have faced extremely difficult experiences. Some have allowed these to undo their faith and even sideline them from their Master’s service. Others have chosen to cling to the promises of God, allowing them to provide comfort and direction, as they continue following Christ. There is little question that we will face trials in life. It is important that we realize,  the promises of God can stand the test of trials. God will be faithful to His word, and His promises will carry you through till the end.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 105

  1. If you have a study Bible you will see that the first fifteen verses are also found in 1 Chronicles 16:8-22. What event was happening when this was being sung?
  2. When God feels distant and far away from you, what does verses 4-5 command us to do? Now continue your search and go to the book of Hebrews chapter 11:6 and be encouraged, for you are rewarded.
  3. In verses 16-22 the Psalmist recounts the story of Joseph. If you are going through something you don’t understand know that God is in control. Read Isaiah 54:17
  4. In verses 26-45 God shows His purpose for saving the Israelites. He allowed them to witness these events so they would, “Observe His statutes and keep His laws.” All too often we please ourselves. We were made for His good pleasure. Are you honoring and pleasing the Lord? He gave us His Word for a reason- HIS PURPOSE!

Old Testament:
Psalm 106- Leanness Of Soul
1 Chronicles 10- Epitaphs
1 Chronicles 11- Coming Soon!

East From West

Psalm 103:11-13
“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him.”

It is a common advertising strategy to attempt to sell an item by comparing it to something else. We might see a car commercial with a cheetah running, to convince us of the speed of the vehicle; or a flowing river, to reveal the thirst quenching power of a soft drink. David is, in a sense, attempting to sell us on the greatness of God. He knows the Lord and wants everyone to taste and see for themselves that the Lord is good. To do this he makes a series of comparisons, to convince us to trust in God.

First, he compares the mercy of God to the heavens. He says, if we could measure the universe, we could also measure God’s compassion. Astronomers speak of the size of the universe in terms of light years, which is the distance light travels in the course of 365.25 days. They estimate the universe to be over 14 billion light years across. The mercy of God is so vast it could never be exhausted. If you are willing to come to Him, He is willing to forgive you.

Second, he compares the removal of our sin to the distance between East and West. Since we live on a ball with a most northern and southern point, it is possible to travel north until you run out of north. Once you arrive at the North Pole, you must either stay there or go south. The opposite is true of east and west. If you decide to travel east, you can go east indefinitely, without ever having to go west. David is describing the complete removal of sin for those who receive the mercy, and thus the forgiveness, of God. Sin will never be brought up again, for all who trust in the cross of Christ.

Finally, David compares God to a father who has compassion on a child. This is a somewhat limited illustration, because we have already seen the vastness of His mercy, but David wants us to understand that God’s mercy is like that of a loving father. I recall when my youngest son was two and he broke his leg. I remember wishing I could take his pain and wear his cast. It was not a fleeting feeling, but a deep compassion. I truly pitied his condition and wanted to help. It is wonderful to know that God feels that way about us, and does not lack the ability to come to our aid.

Won’t you buy into David’s God? Take the step to trust Him with all your heart and life.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 103

  1. Verses 1-5 have the ingredients of a thankful heart yet we are so prone to forget what the Lord has done in our lives. Make a list of the benefits of walking with Him.
  2. Read verse 10 and imagine if the Lord dealt with us according to our sins. Then read verse 8 and REJOICE, AMEN!
  3. How far has He removed our transgressions?
  4. For those who fear Him….His mercy is….?
  5. In verses 20-22 David has everybody and everything praising God; from angels to all of creation. Ask yourself these questions: Do I fear the Lord? Am I obeying His commands and doing His will? Does my life praise the Lord?

Old Testament:
Psalm 104- Majesty Of God
1 Chronicles 4:9-10- A Fresh Start

Window To Your Soul

Psalm 101:3
I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.”

One of the saddest experiences in life is to see a close friend fall away from the Lord. From the outside, the process often looks the same. A person, who once walked closely with the Lord and was involved in Christian service, begins to drift ever so slightly. First, their conversation changes. Instead of talking about the Lord, sharing from their times of Bible reading or service, they begin to talk only of the waves and the weather. Next, we begin to see them a little less frequently around the church. In some cases, only the responsibility of a service commitment keeps them coming; until finally they step down from their responsibility, and seem to vanish. Sometimes, it will take weeks or even months before we realize what has happened, and by that time, they have cut ties from most of their Christian friends, and are back involved in the things of the world.

This experience is not limited to modern times. The Psalmist saw it happen in his day, and as a result declares, “I hate the work of those who fall away.” He also gives a little insight into what those works are when he states, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.”

It has been said, the eye is the window into the soul. That phrase has always seemed a bit eerie to me, perhaps because I have misunderstood the truth about the eyes of man. It is not as though a person can look into your eyes and see the inner man, but information enters our mind through the eye gate, which in turn, feeds the soul. Paul spoke about the flesh and the spirit being in a daily battle with one another (Galatians 5:17). We all know there are times when we have lost the battle to the flesh, and times when we have been victorious and remained faithful to the Lord, in the midst of temptation.

The secret to success in the battle against the flesh is training. As in any fight, the one who is stronger and more prepared, is the one who will be victorious. If we want to live well-pleasing to the Lord, we must use our eyes to look away from the things that will lead us to stumble, and onto the things that will help us to grow. Jesus put it like this, “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34).

My wife and I were walking the streets of Paris when I saw a chocolate croissant in the window of a bakery. It looked amazing! However, we were on our way to dinner, so stopping was out of the question, but I could not get it out of my head. You know, first thing the next morning, I was in a bakery ordering a croissant. If you are struggling with a particular sin, the solution may be as simple as removing the things that you are looking at, that are feeding that sinful desire. Magazines, movies, internet searches, should all be removed, as you seek the Lord for victory in your life. Let’s take the example of the Psalmist to heart, who decreed, “It shall not cling to me.”

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 101

  1. This is a Psalm of “wills” and “shalls.” There are 9 “wills” and 5 “shalls.” David is setting down standards that he wants to follow. If you travel back to 1 Kings 2:1-4, you will read David charging his son Solomon to live by God’s standards. Jesus said if you love me, obey my commandments. Are you?
  2. The word “perfect” in verse 2 translates “blameless.” In verse 2: What does David need to live a blameless life?
  3. The Bible says that (evil) “bad company corrupts good character (habits)” 1Corinthians 15:13. In verse 6 David is keeping his eye on the faithful. Are you surrounding yourself with Godly people to help you grow?

Old Testament:
Psalm 102- Prayer of the Broken
2 Kings 25- Besieged