Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We Need God's Word

Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times. (Psalm 119:17-20, ESV)

The believer's need for God's word:
Since I am a stranger here on earth, I need God's commandments and judgments all the time. I need Him to deal bountifully with me, that I might live and that I might keep His word. I need His word to live. I also need Him to open my eyes so that I might be able to see what is in His word; otherwise it is foolishness to me.

You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments. Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies. Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. (Psalm 119:21-24, ESV)

The proud turn away from God's word because they think they don't need it. Only the humble will come to God's word, thirsting for it. And the proud will gather and mock the humble for clinging to God's word. But that will offer comfort and delight to the one clinging to God's word, making all else blur and fade.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Keeping Our Lives Pure

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!
(Psalm 119:9-12, ESV)

To cleanse your way, take heed according to God's word. You will do this, if you seek Him with your whole heart. And as you seek Him with your whole heart, you hide His word in your heart, so that your way may be clean and you will not sin against Him. However, you cannot do this on your own. You must be taught to do so by the Lord as you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
(Psalm 119:13-16, ESV)

The correct reaction to God's word:
- rejoice in it as much as in riches
- declare it
- meditate on it
- contemplate it
- delight yourself in it
- do not forget it

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blessed Are Those Who Seek God

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
(Psalm 119:1-4, ESV)

The characteristics of the blessed:
- they are blameless in their way
- they walk in the law of the Lord
- they keep His testimonies
- they seek Him with whole hearts
- they do no iniquity
- they walk in His ways
- they keep His precepts diligently

Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!
(Psalm 119:5-8, ESV)

If my ways, my daily life, is directed to keep God's statutes, then I will "not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments." I will be able to praise Him with uprightness of heart, and He will not forsake me utterly.

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Phoebe - An Exemplary Servant

We've taken a look at Phoebe's character and her standing before God. We've also noted that she was known as a servant in her church.

Paul expands upon this characteristic of service by stating, “for she [Phoebe] has been a patron of many and of myself as well.” The word “patron” can also be rendered as “helper.” It literally means "one who stands by in case of need." Amy Carmichael drives home the importance of such servanthood, “If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider 'not spiritual work' I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”*

In relationship to her help towards Paul, it has been reasoned that Phoebe was a sort of patron towards Paul, helping him out financially by providing hospitality and other assistance. Many commentators also believe that she was Paul’s courier, bringing his epistle to the Romans with her to the church at Rome. The evidence for this lies in Paul’s words that encourage the believers of the church at Rome to “welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints” and to “help her in whatever she may need from you.”

Phoebe’s life was defined by service towards the Lord and His saints. She characterizes the people Jesus Christ commends in Matthew 25:34-40, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

*Carmichael, Amy. If. Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: Christian Literature Crusade, 1997.

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