Why do some of MORE? Psalm 119:97-104

MEM

Psalm 119:97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

Why does this one have MORE?

Perhaps because he MEDITATES MORE? 99

Perhaps because he OBEYS MORE? 100-101

Perhaps because he RESTRAINS FEET MORE from every evil way? 101

Perhaps because EVERY false way is hated more? 104

Desiring the MILK of the Word

Desiring the sincere MILK of the word.

1Peter 1:22-2:3

MOTIVATE us to want to hear it? Acts 10:30-33

INTEREST us to Think On It Phil 4:9

LACTOSE INTOLERANT? Afraid Acts 24:25. Angry Acts 7:54, Gal 4:16. Apathetic Acts 26:28,

Arrogance Phil 3:19; Col 3:23.

KEEP YOU from evil? 1Pet 2:1 lay aside. Does it keep you growing? Heb.5:13-14

the SLAP heard around the world

Let’s get serious for a moment. All jokes aside, the slapping of Chris Rock by Will SMITH was a low moment in each of their lives. Chris making an inappropriate joke. Will’s physical assault to defend his wife’s honor. Jada’s janky past. It’s hard to tell who’s the victim.

As the crowd rushes to the internet with their memes in hand, it is very easy to be swept up in the frenzy and grab our own memes to throw. Before we hit ‘send’ (again), let’s LISTEN to the wisdom of our Lord.

In John 8, we may see similarities that can shed some light on our current condition. “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” (see John 8:3-11)

It’s easy to stand on the outside casting judgment on the sinful, maybe crack a joke or two. That’s where we see these folks in John 8, and where we find ourselves in the Rock / Smith Slap.

Without giving APPROVAL to the sin of adultery, (and by extension, not giving APPROVAL to Chris & Will), Jesus presses pause on the minds of the crowd to give them time to reflect. “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

You see, neither were in good standing with God. The woman caught in the very act, nor the accusers with their janky past and their stones of judgment. “Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.”

When I ask this same question of myself as I’m cracking the jokes, or casting the stones of judgment, I’m convicted. Which of us has not LOST their cool?

Before we step up and cast our stones of judgment, let’s take a moment to think. Which one of us hasn’t LOST his cool in the heat of the moment? Who hasn’t offended another, been offended by another, or has a janky past?

Perhaps I can take a moment to silently (and privately) write in the sand those things I’ve said and done when I last LOST control of myself.

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” (Prov 16:32)

I’m convicted. “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13)

What do I do now with that SLAP heard ‘round the world? Press PAUSE, or better yet, Press DELETE on those memes and ask for PARDON.

Maybe also say a PRAYER or two.

—spencer

6 Point Spiritual Check-Up

Point Spiritual Check Up.

The New Testament has more than a few passages about performing a Spiritual CHECK-UP to avoid becoming spiritually sick, or even dying spiritually.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith;” 2Cor 13:5

But let a man examine himself.” 1Cor 11:28

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” 1Co 11:30

Here are 6 areas from scripture that the Growing Christian CHECKS in their Spiritual life.

“Say AHH.” One of the first thing a doctor checks is your throat & mouth. Spiritually speaking, we are to check our own mouth and our CONVERSATIONS. We need check the words that we use with others.

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

[Jas 3:12; cf. Col 4:6]

Another thing he checks is you HEIGHT. Jesus refers to one’s height when discussing worry & anxiety. “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? [Matt 6:27]

None of us can change our height by worry, neither can we change our situation with it. We are to be active in our seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. [cf. Eph 3:18]

The EYES will also be examined. How are the EYES of your understanding?

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” [Eph 1:18; cf. 2Peter 1:9; 1John 2:9,11]

Our WEIGHT will also be measured. God WEIGHS us spiritually in His balance. [cf. Prov 16:2; cr. Dan 5:27; 1Sam 2:3; Job 31:6]

In another sense, weight is a metaphor for the COMPLICATIONS & Distractions of life.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every WEIGHT, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” [Heb 12:1]

Every check up includes a checking of the Heart. The Proverbs writer said,

KEEP thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” [Prov 4:23; emph mine seb. cf. Mt 12:34; Mr 7:21]

 We need to KEEP our hearts. We cannot KEEP it from God. “Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men,” [Acts 1:24]

Lastly, an examination will include taking our Temperature. Spiritually speaking, this is like checking our SPIRIT or our zeal.

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” [Rev 3:15-16; cf. Titus 2:14; 3:8]

This article was written to help us take a tangible look at our spiritual lives. Our Eternal Lives are on the line. We must avoid becoming spiritually sick, or worse, spiritually dead!!

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” [1Cor 11:30]

A MEMORIAL Day Reminder

 

a MEMORIAL of Christ.

 

Memorials are often Monuments or statues, but let us keep the memory of Christ always on our heart, not with a physical image. Christ commanded that a memorial Supper be kept in His honor, not any images or crosses. Matt 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26

 

The Memorial is about Christ who He is. He is Immanuel, that is, God with us. Mat 1:23; Isa 7:14

 

We Set aside time to examine ourselves on the 1st day of the week with the gathered local church just as they did in the first century. Acts 2:42; 20:7.

 

We keep the memorial Supper and we observe it until He returns. 1Cor 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.

 

We practice the memorial of the Lord’s Supper as a Remembrance of Christ, His life, death, burial & resurrection. 1Cor 11:24-25 and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

 

The Lord’s Supper was Instituted by Jesus on the night of His betrayal. Luke 22:14-21; 1Cor 11:23 For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread;

 

This Supper is a continual reminder that Jesus’ death was an Atonement offered for our sins. Heb 10:12; 2:17 (cr Ex 30:10; Lev 16) Propitiation. 1Cor 11:26

Heb 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

 

This memorial Supper is a reminder of the Love demonstrated by His dying for us. Rom 5:8-10; 1John 3:16; 4:7-11

1John 3:16 Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

 

–Spencer

 

A New Year Examination

Image result for magnifying glass examine self

 

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

[2Corinthians 13:5]

It’s 2020, let the vision jokes, puns & metaphors begin. All joking aside, a new year is a threshold we cross that inspires many of us to examine how well we’re doing.

Paul wrote about self-examination. It’s a great practice, not just for the new year, but with each new day.

New years resolutions are self-examinations of how we’re doing regarding the outward man. Paul is urging self-examination of the inward.

What does a spiritual examination look like? How do we do it? What do we look for? Paul specifically states, “whether ye be in the faith.” Let’s look to the scriptures for God’s answer to this important question. Since we’re to ‘PROVE’ ourselves, there must then be things we (& others) can see regarding our faith.

5 Things to examine about our FAITH. This is just my list; you search the scriptures to find what else God says on the matter.

FIDELITY: How loyal are we toward God, His church, His doctrine [2John 9]? Do we believe in the ONE church as spoken of in Eph 4:4? Do we attend as we ought [Heb 10:25-26]? Are we giving with regularity and purpose in our hearts [1Cor 16:1-2; 2Cor 9:6]?

 

APTITUDE: How good are you at handling aright the word of God? Do we study as we ought [2Tim 2:15]? Are we able to teach it [Heb 5:12]? It’s called a sword; can we wield it properly & accurately with love [Eph 6:17; 4:15]?

Do you cry out for the study of God’s word as a newborn baby cries for her milk?

Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” [Proverbs 2:3-5; 1Peter 2:2]

INFLUENCE: How well am I at leading others to good works?

in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,” [Titus 2:7] How well do I do at edification of the saints?

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

[Eph 4:12]

TELLING the Good News: Jesus told the man released of the legion to, “tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee,” how well are we doing? [Mark 5:19]

Are we looking at the field that is “white unto harvest?” [John 4:35] Are we looking for that honest, seeking heart?

And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” [Mark 4:20]

Do people see us as people of hope, in the midst of struggles, that want to ask us about that hope?

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” [1Peter 3:15]

Or do they only hear about how bad people are, how bad life is and how bad we have it in life?

HOPE: Let’s examine our own hope of salvation. Are we living in fear & doubt? Are we uncertain of our salvation? Do we believe that we can be saved?

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” [1John 5:13]

Too many are doubting and this doubt leads to apathy and a negative influence on the rest of us. If we’re in doubt about our salvation then examining of self is in order. We can take the necessary steps of repentance. We have the assurance from God that He will forgive the Christian that will confess her sins. [1John 1:9]

Paul finishes by assuring us, “But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.” [vs6] May we each discover an ever-growing faith within us.

 

—Spencer

Do you remember when you were without hope?

You may be thinking that this title refers to that time in your life when you had great financial distress, but it doesn’t. Or you may suppose that it refers to that time when you may have been in fear for your life at the threat of a thief or a maniac, but it doesn’t. Or you may be thinking it’s referring to the loss of a parent or a spouse, but it doesn’t.

It’s referring to Ephesians chapter 2: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh,… That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”

Too many people are hopeless, and far too many Christians are displaying hopelessness as well. It’s very easy to get caught up in the concerns for this life and to forget that there’s an eternity awaiting us. Paul is saying that without Christ this life is hopeless. Without Christ this life holds no promises.

The writer of Ecclesiastes makes the same point in a very powerful way. He writes about seeking success, wealth, joy and meaningful work, but at the end of the day it’s vanity, “grasping after the wind.” He’s not suggesting that these pursuits are worthless. His conclusion is the same as Paul’s, without God in your life all these things are hopeless. His conclusion of the whole matter is, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” [Ecc 12:13]

Have you ever met someone that appeared to have nothing, no money, had physical disabilities or otherwise devoid of many of this world’s goods but was happy? I have, many times. I met a man, whom I’ve told you about, who had a disease called Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). It is a disorder in which muscle tissue and connective tissue are gradually replaced by bone (ossified), forming bone outside the skeleton. He was one of the happiest guys I knew. I loved being around him because he brightened every room he entered.

How can anyone in a condition like that be happy? It was by no cause of his own, it happened to him beginning from his youth up. He experienced daily pain because of his disease but brought joy to those around him. How did he do it, what’s the key? I’ll tell you, he looked forward to being with God. In other words, he had purpose. This is true of nearly everyone who, despite the difficulties of life, are happy. They have found purpose, meaning and a direction.

THE KEY TO TRUE JOY…PURPOSE

People with purpose are some of the happiest people on the planet. They will endure great pain & struggle because of purpose.

I read about a study where scientists tossed lab rats into a jar of water that had been placed in total darkness to see how long they would swim to survive. In total darkness it took 3 minutes before they gave up. Then they took the rats and placed them in the same conditions, but this time with a small ray of light at the top. How long did the rats struggle this time? 36 hours! When they had a light, a possibility of escape, they were able to endure.

Think about how strong we can be when we have hope, true hope that is in Christ. We can face tomorrow when we know that we’ve been reconciled to God in Christ. Paul finishes his command to remember by saying, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

So, let us be reminded that without Christ we are without hope, without the promise of heaven, but IN CHRIST we have both the promise of heaven and hope that He will return to take us there. [Gal 3:27 put on Christ in baptism]

The next time life gets you down, and it will, look up and be reminded that God loves you, and that He sent His Son to provide you a way of escape.

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful (compassionate), and of tender mercy.” [James 5:11]

Never Growing Weary

Years ago, four of us hiked the Brooks-Range in search of Dall Sheep in Alaska. For 3 days under the midnight sun, we hiked the mountain sides with full packs loaded with supplies nearly has heavy as my 130# self. It was excruciating yet exhilarating all at the same time. I had little experience with that level of exhaustion that came partly from the exertion and partly from the altitude. Each night as we bedded down from our 16-18-hour exercise, we looked forward to what we might find on the next. It’s a memory that remains vivid some 34 years later.

Have you ever noticed that there are different kinds of tired? There’s the kind of tired that comes when you hate what you’re doing, and the kind of tired that fulfills you when you’re doing something you love. There’s some sort of psychological cause behind the fact that a person will take himself to the breaking point when he is engaged in the activities he loves (hiking the mountains of Alaska) and is exhausted with much less effort in the thing he despises (splitting logs for the wood stove at home, a chore I wish to forget). We need no more illustrations for every person can see this upon examination of his own life.

The Holy Spirit knows this about us, that we can endure great hardships where faith, hope and love abide. He inspired Paul to write in Galatians 6:9:

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

When we are directing our physical bodies toward the hope that we love, the joy of this gives the body energy to make the work seem light. In our love for Jesus we can experience the feeling He described in Matthew 11:30;

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Think hard about this principle, for it will be profitable to you. Every activity with which we engage our physical bodies that is out of force, fear or necessity and does not arise out of love and service is immediately met with resistance from within and produces loss of energy resulting in a tired body and mind.

Seldom do we complain of fatigue about long nights spent in play but be asked to work night shift and suddenly the head can’t wait to hit the pillow. What do we learn from this? That one will endure any hardship if he loves the reason that he does the work. Money doesn’t give endurance, the real pay comes out of the love to serve our Savior, Christ Jesus. Force can win for a while, but love will give us the strength to endure. And love Him we must, for without it we shall miss the peace and joy that comes from above.

God gives us plenty of reminders, in His word, that we can endure hardships, face persecutions and afflictions that come from living an obedient life in Christ. For He is with us and has provided us a hope, a reward in Heaven. [cr Heb 11:6]

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Mt 24:13]

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” [1Cor 15:58]

Christ doesn’t expect us to endure anything He Himself hasn’t already done. He led the way through the example of His own suffering for our sake; “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” [Heb 12:3]

We can do it, endure this life with unlimited energy, when we continually remind ourselves of our primary love and service to our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Rewarder Christ Jesus.

be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” [Rev 2:10b]

What comes first Water or Salvation?

People in the denominational world want to rid water from God’s plan of salvation. Oh, they’ll say it’s important, one false teacher even said, “Baptism is not essential to salvation, but you aren’t saved if you refuse it.” That’s confusing. When you show them the simple instructions of the Master, (Mark 16:16) they still can’t see it. So, let’s take a different approach by asking, WHAT CAME FIRST, WATER OR SALVATION?

When you open your Bible, you won’t go far before you come to THE STORY OF NOAH’S ARK (Genesis 6-8). A novice could answer the question, WHAT CAME FIRST, WATER OR SALVATION?

Noah was commanded to build an ark. He moved with Godly fear and built the ark, according to the pattern (Heb 11:7). He entered the ark with his family. God closed the only door. It rained. The ark rose above the water. Everyone outside of the ark died. The ark landed on Ararat. Noah & his family were saved. He Heard God’s instructions, Believed, Obeyed, WATER.

A LITTLE FURTHER ALONG and you’ll read of the Israelites in Egyptian bondage (Exodus 1-14). Once again, a casual reading reveals a similar story. Moses heard God’s instructions. He believed. They obeyed God’s instruction. They found themselves by the red sea with Pharaoh’s army in pursuit. They walked on dry ground surrounded by WATER. They were free on the other side of the water, while Pharaoh’s army drowned.

And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;” (1Cor 10:2)

KEEP READING and you’ll come to the story of a man named Naaman who had leprosy (2King 5:1-14). He HEARD about a cure and BELIEVED it was true, so much that he brought great wealth to pay for it. However, those weren’t the instructions. The instructions were to dip seven times in the Jordan river. He became angry and wanted a modification to the instruction. That wasn’t in the message either. So, after a little reasoning with his servant, humbly he went to the WATER in obedience. Then, and only then did he receive the cure.

IN THE NEW TESTAMENT we read of a man born blind, (John 9:1-7). This story has some amazing similarities to the others. He HEARD some instructions. BELIEVING them, he went in faithful OBEDIENCE to the pool of Siloam. WATER was the dividing line between blindness and sight.

WITH ALL THESE ACCOUNTS before us, we ask again, WHAT CAME FIRST, WATER OR SALVATION? The answer is clear…WATER. God desired water to be the dividing line between the Fully convinced believer and Salvation.

NOW, AS WE LOOK AT His command for salvation under the New Covenant, what do we find?

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

(Acts 22:16)

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (1Peter 3:21)

But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

(Acts 8:12)

THIS IS THE PATTERN of the New Covenant. Jesus commanded baptism, the Apostles taught it and believers obeyed it prior to their salvation. The question now becomes; do you love Jesus enough to do what He says? (Luke 6:46; John 14:15) Or will you follow the pattern of the Pharisees? “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” (Luke 7:30)

For further study there are additional scriptures on the (here).