Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Light of the World.

"The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."  John 1:9-13

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible:

"No man is left without some direct communication of light from the Father of lights. That light may be quenched, the eye of the soul may be blinded, the folly of the world may obscure it as a cloud disperses the direct rays of the sun; but a fundamental fact remains - the veritable Light illumines every man."

His own people did not receive him " the terrible record of his rejection by his own people, by his own disciples, by the theocratic chiefs, by the assembled Sanhedrin, by the very populace to whom Pilate appealed to save him from murderous fury."

"Which were born not of blood',.... Or bloods, in the plural number. The birth, here spoken of, is regeneration, expressed by a being born again, or from above; by a being quickened by the Spirit and grace of God; by Christ being formed in men; and by a partaking of the divine nature; and by being made new creatures, as all that believe in the name of Christ are."

Friday, August 29, 2014

Jesus the Creator.

"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  John 1:3-5

In Genesis it is written, "Let us make man in our own image." God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit created the world.

Jesus is life. Everything that is alive owes their life to Jesus.

Jesus is light. Any good that is in the world comes from Jesus.

There is no life or light apart from God.

Darkness has not overcome the light from God. Satan wanted to obliterate the light - but it was impossible. He tried to turn Jesus to darkness - but he couldn't do it. One day there will be no darkness in the universe - only light.

"The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world."  Verse 9.

This verse tells us God gives light to every person in the world. Everyone is born with a conscience. This is a wonderful gift from God. Even if a person never hears the name Jesus, yet he can be saved if he lives up to the light of his conscience. This person is saved by Jesus' death but will not know that until he rises and goes to heaven. The Holy Spirit has helped this person all his life for we cannot do good without God.

"They (pagans) show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them."  Romans 2:15

I thank you Father that you bring light to the world.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Gospel of John.

Jesus the God and Creator.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  John 1:1

I remember as a little girl, I thought Jesus began his existence when he was born in Bethlehem. All I had to go on were all the Christmases of seeing him as a baby in a manger. One day, I learned he lived in heaven first and left heaven and came to earth. I don't remember how old I was when I heard this incredible news, but I do remember I was shocked and amazed anyone would leave heaven and come here.

It is still amazing news, that a God would become a man so he could save a world gone wrong. Jesus called himself, "The Son of Man" and "The Son of God." He is now both man and God and ever will be. I don't know what that sacrifice means; I don't know what he gave up - but I hope to know some day.

I am reading a book called, Expositions of Holy Scripture, by Alexander Maclaren. This book goes through the book of John. He says of these verses, "Genesis and John both start, 'In the beginning,' but, while Genesis works downwards from that point and tells what followed, John works upward and tells what preceded - if we can use that term in speaking of what lies beyond time.  Time and creatures came into being, and when they began, the Word 'was.'  (In other words, Jesus is an uncreated being)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Psalm 62 - Pour Out Your Heart to God.

Psalm 62 - What it means to me.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him. Verse 5

We find hope and rest in God.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Verse 6

God is our rock, our salvation and our fortress.

My salvation and my honor depend on God
he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Verse 7

God is our honor, our mighty rock and refuge.

Trust in him at all times, you people. Verse 8

God is our trust. Trust in God means to accept everything in our lives as coming from him. The good comes to encourage us. The bad comes to make us grow - even if we don't want to grow. There is good, even in the bad, but we must look for it. We can ask God - "Where is the good in this?" and he will show us. That doesn't mean you will like it, but God works in a different way.

Pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.  Verse 8

The best thing about having a relationship with God is that we can pour out our whole heart to him. He is always with us, he is always listening and he is always helping us.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Psalm 61 - We Live Under the Wings of God.

Psalm 61 - What it means to me.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.  Verses 2,3

"Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."  I often pray these words. Looking at myself, life is too much for me. But God, our rock, is enthroned up high. He sees everything and helps me. I love the image that God is a strong tower we can run to and be safe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.b
For you, God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.  Verses 4,5

I do long to live with God forever. That is the heritage of those who believe in him. I also love this new image: dwelling in the shelter of his wings. Like a mother bird cares for her children and hides them under her wings, so God does the same. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Psalm 55 - Cast Your Cares Away.

My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm. Verses 4-8

I remember feeling exactly like this when my grandson was addicted to drugs and in trouble all the time. I was in anguish. I was afraid he would die. I was full of fear.

Like David, I used to think, "If only I could fly away." One day My grandson was beaten and threatened by a drug dealer. I will never forget washing his own blood out of his jacket. I decided to go away for awhile; I went to stay at my sister's house far away in Nevada. But when I came home after three months nothing had changed.

We can't run away from our problems. I had to learn to live with the pain and lean on God for strength.

As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice. Verses 16,17

Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.  Verse 22

God did sustain me. My grandson did die, not from drugs but from drinking too much, asthma and sleeping face down on a soft sofa. I was surprised I didn't fall completely apart because the worst had happened. But God gives strength when it is needed. I still miss my grandson; I still grieve, but with hope because he believed in God. He prayed. His addictions were just too strong; but I believe God understands and forgives. I will see my grandson again. We have not been shaken out of God's hands.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Psalm 53 - Atheists are Fools.

Psalm 53 - You are a Fool if you Don't Believe in God.

 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good.

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." And this he does because he is a fool. Being a fool he speaks according to his nature; being a great fool he meddles with a great subject, and comes to a wild conclusion. The atheist is, morally, as well as mentally, a fool, a fool in the heart as well as in the head; a fool in morals as well as in philosophy.

A fool is: idiot, ass, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, moron, clod;
Well, Jesus said we are not to call people fools because we don't know people and have no right to judge. However, here God calls an atheist a fool. He alone has the right to judge others.

 God looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.

Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.  Verses 2,3

All mankind has sinned. We are all born with a stone heart. Our first birth into this world of sin and sadness is flawed. But thank God, he has given us a new birth where we may have a new and softer heart. We won't be perfect, but he will slowly change us so our heart beats along with his great heart and we will love what he loves and hate sin.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Psalm 51 - David's Sin and God's Forgiveness.

Psalm 51 - What it means to me.

David wrote this song after he had committed adultery and murdered her husband. God forgave him.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Verse 10

Sometimes I say this prayer for myself. The previous verses spoke about being born sinful. We are all born that way and need to be born again, as Jesus said. Being born again means God giving us a new heart. Along with a new heart, David asks for a steadfast (constant, firm) spirit.

Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  Verses 11-12

David asks for a willing spirit. All our willing to do good comes from God. Any good we have in us comes from Him. David had fallen so far he had lost his joy in salvation. He asks to return to God as he was before. God never turns us away, no matter what we have done. Many times there are consequences to what we do but God will be with us through that.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.  Verse 17

Micah chapter 6 deals with the sacrifice God loves.

With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Psalm 49 - Wealth is Worth Nothing.

Psalm 49 deals with what happens after death for those who ignore God and those who follow Him.

People, despite their wealth, do not endure;
they are like the beasts that perish.
This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
and of their followers, who approve their sayings.
They are like sheep and are destined to die;
death will be their shepherd
(but the upright will prevail over them in the morning).
Their forms will decay in the grave,
far from their princely mansions.  Verses 12-14

It is very sad that so many will choose selfishness and independence from God only to die an eternal death. (For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. Eccl. 9:5) It says here they, "trust in themselves" and not God. 

But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;
he will surely take me to himself.

Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
when the splendor of their houses increases;
for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.

Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
and people praise you when you prosper—
they will join those who have gone before them,
who will never again see the light of life.
People who have wealth but lack understanding
are like the beasts that perish.  Verses 15-20

In the eyes of God, wealth is worthless unless you use it to help others. The trouble with being rich is it gives one a feeling of security and some happiness. It would be hard for a person to learn to sacrifice if they are wealthy. It is easy to trust in riches and be proud of prosperity. That is why Jesus said it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Psalm 46 - How Can I Know There is A God?

Psalm 46 - What it means to me.

The previous post dealt with the first verses of Psalm 46. This is what the rest of the Psalm says.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Verse 7

This is why we need not be afraid at the end of all things on earth. The Lord Almighty is with us.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire. Verses 8,9

After Jesus returns to take his people to heaven there will be no more wars. 

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Verses 10,11

"Be still, and know that I am God."  If you want to know if God really exists. If you want to know why you and I are here, then be still. Take time and ask God, "Are you here? Can you help me?" He will tell you, He will let you know you are loved and that you belong to him. Knowing God takes time and stillness so we can hear him speak to our heart. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Psalm 46 - Earthquakes, Fires and Floods - The End of All Things.

Psalm 46 - What it means to me.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.  Verses 1-3

Can you imagine not being afraid while you stand watching an earthquake that levels mountains and creates tidal waves? 

I once read a story of a ship on the Atlantic that was in a wild storm. It seemed the ship would sink. People were screaming and full of terror. Yet a man saw a group of people standing apart from everyone singing a hymn. They were missionaries. They were not afraid of the sea or of death. 

That story always reminds me of Jesus' disciples who were afraid when they were in a storm on the sea of Galilee. They woke Jesus and asked, "Don't you care we are going to die?" Jesus answered, "Why are you afraid? You have so little faith."  Matthew 8:26 The disciples were young in their faith but eventually learned to trust God unto death.

To me, it seems an amazing thing not to be afraid in a deadly storm, earthquake or tsunami. Yet, God says we can be calm and at peace even if we go through something like this. I believe what God says. I believe we can be in perfect peace no matter what happens around us. I've been in car accidents and it amazed me that I didn't feel any fear. I just remember wondering if I would live or not, but no fear! I can only think it was God's presence with me that gave me peace at those times.

We are living at the end of the world. The world is wearing out from all the abuse humans have heaped upon it. There will be more earthquakes, more floods, more fires. 

"Lift up your eyes to the sky, Then look to the earth beneath; For the sky will vanish like smoke, And the earth will wear out like a garment And its inhabitants will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not wane." 
Isaiah 51:6

And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment..."
Hebrews 11:10,11

"And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth." Revelation 11:18

Psalm 46 begins with frightening images but ends with beautiful promises. I'll write about those promises in the next post.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Psalm 45 - A Wedding with Jesus.

Psalm 45 - What it means to me.

To the tune of “Lilies.” Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song.

"My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe."  Verse 1

If you read this entire song it is evident it is a psalm about Jesus. He is the King who will reign in righteousness and love his people as a groom loves his new bride.

"You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, In Your splendor and Your majesty! In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!"  Verses 2-4

"You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows." Verses 6,7

Pulpit Commentary
God will only commit rule and authority over his Church to one who will rule justly - one who loves righteousness and hates iniquity. The Messiah is alone perfect in righteousness, and therefore entitled to rule.

"All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad."  Verse 8.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
 The king thus inaugurated is now presented as a bridegroom, who appears in garments richly perfumed, brought out from ivory palaces—His royal residence; by which, as indications of the happy bridal occasion, He has been gladdened.

"Kings' daughters are among Your noble ladies; At Your right hand stands the Queen in gold from Ophir.  All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids." Verses 9, 14

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir; by whom is meant the church, whose title is a "queen", being the bride, the Lamb's wife: wherefore, because he is King, she is Queen; for this title she has not of herself; it is founded not in her own right, but upon her relation to Christ, being married to him; and so is expressive of relation to him, union with him, and of privilege and dignity through him; she sharing with him in all he has, even in his kingdom and government, reigning with him, and on the same throne.

"They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; They will enter into the King's palace." Verse 15.

One day we will be led forth with great joy and enter into our King's palace. There we will live with him forever. There all our dreams for a vibrant, loving and beautiful life will come true. There we will learn, grow and worship our mighty King of Kings.