@FCP studying Psalm 133

@FCPThis psalm is one of the last Songs of Ascents; this one has the theme of "unity". It begins by DECLARING THE CONDITION of unity among believers ("good" = beautiful, a condition describing benefit; "pleasant"= harmony, a musical term calling to mind the aspect of how wonderful music can be when instruments play together; a condition describing agreement, concord.) When believers are unified, there are benefits and happiness. When believers are unified, it is only achieved when they are in sync, when they understand the necessity of and the function of harmonious operations. Brothers (relational) together (positional) in unity (conditional) That is our FOCUS.

To complete the understanding of unity, David uses pictures ("like") for DECLARING THE FEATURES of unity. 1. Like the oil anointing the head of the priest > abundant, fragrant, a testimony to his position and his purpose; reminder of God's presence. 2. Like the dew of Hermon (the highest mountain; constantly blessed with refreshment which it freely shares with the mountains below it [Zion]) > refreshing, contributing to fruitfulness, providing life.

So what? How unified are you in/to the community of faith? Are you a benefit to your brothers and sisters in Christ -- or a liability/problem? How obvious is your testimony of your faith in Christ? Are you a believer? If not, why not? If so, how so? Is your spiritual life abundant and obvious? Are others aware of your faith and encouraged by your faith in Jesus? How refreshing is it to others in the body? Is it a contribution to the fruitfulness of others in the Body? Does your life in Christ provide REAL LIFE to others - both to those who know Him, and to those who don't?


to bring us home

"...and from the first He knew what He had to do to bring us - to bring me - home..."

I heard a musical setting of John 3:16 this morning on my way home from FCP that had me thinking, and yes a few tears fell, as I thought that all of what God has done down through the ages has been done -- to bring me home.

Prodigal

I pictured a modern-day setting of the returning prodigal (Luke 15:11-32) with a tired, dirty, lonesome young man is slowly making his way up the long road to his father's house. Not looking up, but moving slowly forward, head bowed, step after weary step, wondering what in the world he would say to the man if his father would even see him after knocking on the door to his one-time home.

But in the distance, coming from the house, is his dad, running at full speed, tears streaming down his face - his son was coming home and it didn't matter what he looked like, or what he had done, or where he had been. He was home -- and that's all that mattered.

I think of myself and remind myself that I am that son. Lost, away from home, alone - and wondering if there would ever be a way I could find my way back.  But before I even take one step up the driveway, there's my Heavenly Father, running toward me having wanted so much for me to realize that I need never worry. The pathway home has always been there - I just needed to move in my Father's direction.

I don't know if anyone will ever read what's here, but I pray you will find your way home, too. The Father has prepared everything to make a way for you to get back home. Trust Him - and realize how wonderful and eternal His love is for you.

 


praise in every verse

Praise1Dr. David Jeremiah, pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California was once asked, "What will believers do in heaven?"

It's a fair question. After all, those of us who have placed our faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ anticipate an eternity of being with Him (John 14:3).

Dr. Jeremiah found an answer in such verses as Revelation 19:5 and Revelation 15:3. His answer? "...we are going to praise God in every conceivable way."

Continue reading "praise in every verse" »


keep looking

Observation

Observation - one of the three important steps in Bible study. It's one that many people neglect, but if one is to understand, one must first see completely before understanding. I have written about my experiences with Dr. Howard Hendricks and his course on Bible Study methods, but I'm finding that observation is a skill that can be constantly improved. I remember a story that Prof. Hendricks once shared with the class about the experience of a student charged with observing a fish to improve his powers of observation. Here's a video version of that story:


the Word, the voice

Cedars

"Why is this powerful, majestic, forest-stripping, lightning-bolt voice so hard for us to hear? How does it radically transform the environment, yet fall ever-so-subtly on our ears? Perhaps we’re listening with the wrong ears. God’s voice is an intense and immensely powerful force, rather than a series of sound waves. Perhaps He issues loud commands to nature’s obedient instruments but whispers His love and guidance to those whose spirits can choose and must relate to Him by faith. Perhaps if He dictated everything to us clearly and decisively, it would be the end of a relationship and the beginning of rote servitude  — a condition for which He did not design us. Regardless, we need to understand that the voice we strain to hear isn’t weak. Just one word from God can change any situation at any moment. He may whisper to us, gently guide us, tell us about His plans for us, and counsel us in the midst of our circumstances, but when He issues a command, it’s done. We must never mistake His quietness for reluctance or weakness. We can depend on the power of His voice  — even when we aren’t hearing it clearly."

Tiegreen, Chris (2014-09-01). The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional: 365 Days of Intimate Communication with God (p. 16). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.


the high cost of NOT caring

GoodSamWarren Wiersbe commenting on Luke 10: 25-37:

We may read this passage and think only of “the high cost of caring,” but it is far more costly not to care. The priest and the Levite lost far more by their neglect than the Samaritan did by his concern. They lost the opportunity to become better men and good stewards of what God had given them. They could have been a good influence in a bad world, but they chose to be a bad influence. The Samaritan’s one deed of mercy has inspired sacrificial ministry all over the world. Never say that such ministry is wasted! God sees to it that no act of loving service in Christ’s name is ever lost. It all depends on your outlook. To the thieves, this traveling Jew was a victim to exploit, so they attacked him. To the priest and Levite, he was a nuisance to avoid, so they ignored him. But to the Samaritan, he was a neighbor to love and help, so he took care of him. What Jesus said to the lawyer, He says to us: “Go and keep on doing it likewise” (literal translation).

 - Wiersbe, Warren W. (2010-06-01). Be Compassionate (Luke 1-13): Let the World Know That Jesus Cares (The BE Series Commentary) (p. 138). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.

 


clarity

ClarityI listened to part of a powerful sermon the other day. The message seemed to be reflective of scripture although no obvious reference to scripture was given.

This seems to be a trend in preaching today. A preacher becomes enamored with an idea they have picked up from the Word and after reflecting on the meaning of the scripture they have read or studied, a sermon is born.

Nothing wrong with that, right?

Continue reading "clarity" »


hallowedness

Hallow

This earnest longing after Jesus has a blessing attending it: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6) and therefore, supremely blessed are those who thirst for the Righteous One. Blessed is that hunger, since it comes from God. If I do not experience the blessedness of being filled, I will come again in my emptiness and eagerness until I am filled with Christ. If I do not yet feed on Jesus, I will continue to hunger and thirst after Him. There is hallowedness about that hunger, since it sparkles among the beatitudes of our Lord. But the blessing involves a promise. These hungry ones "shall be satisfied" with what they desire. If in this way Christ causes us to long after Him, He will certainly satisfy those longings; and when He does come to us, as come He will, how sweet it will be!

 - Alaister Begg, Truth for Life


No. 91

It's one of those small paperback books you pick up and think, "I could have done this..."

Only you know it is so clever, you never could have pulled everything together and made it understandable.

The premise is taking ideas of things God can NOT do, and prove them using scripture. It's like trying to see something positive by understanding its negative.  In other words, I read the thought and consider the associated scripture, and smile realizing it's absolutely true.

I like that...

No.91