Archive | February, 2012

Verse for Today – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (click to read mini blog)

28 Feb

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

 Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of 1 Corinthians 13

 These verses are beautiful, as is the chapter as a whole.  The Apostle Paul is describing the necessity, nature and value of LOVE.  In these first three verses he mentions several acts of piety and religious zeal, but indicates that the essential element is love.  So much is this the case, that if any or all of these things are done without love, they lack any value or worth.

The Corinthians were contentious.  They sought to build up their own esteem and importance.  The Apostle had spent most of chapter 12 admonishing them regarding spiritual gifts and how they were to use them for the benefit of others.  When he comes to this chapter, he extols the virtue of love.  He describes how love acts, what it looks like, how a person with love thinks and treats others.

Of course one of the important points in this chapter is that reveals the nature and character of God and His love… and of course how we should love each another. In John 15:2 Jesus said,
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
 Think about that.



Verse for Today – Psalm 33:4,5 (click to read)

26 Feb

 

For the word of the Lord is right,

And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

 

Read at Bible Gateway

 

Read all of Psalm 33

 

 Psalm 33 is remarkable on a number of levels.  In recent years it has become a favorite of mine.  It is subtitled in the NKJV “The Sovereignty of the Lord in Creation and History.”  Verses 4 and 5 follow a five-fold exhortation to worship and rejoice before the Lord.  Verses 4 and 5 provide the “short” answer for why all of God’s people should give glory to God.  The “long” answer is really the remainder of the Psalm.

 


 

Now let’s consider these two verses.    The Lord Almighty and all that He does is impeccable… without sin.  He is and is the source of truth and righteousness.  These virtues (His virtues) are part of why we should worship and serve him.  Can we trust God?  Can we trust his words, will and commands?   ABSOLUTELY!  Listen to Deuteronomy 32:4:

 

 

“He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.”

 

 

These things cannot be said of anyone else.  Trust and worship the Living God.


Verse for Today – 1 Corinthians 2:9 (click to read)

23 Feb

 But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of 1 Corinthians 2

This is another favorite verse.  I’ve read this and the surrounding verses when visiting with fellow believers who were approaching death.  We cannot over esteem the world and the life to come.  As good as life can get, we can be sure that the life of the world to come will be better, more beautiful, and incomparably amazing.  Our earthly trials and afflictions are momentary and passing.  As believers face death, perhaps as much as ever, they will demonstrate the genuineness of their faith.    We are to believe God’s Word and live in expectation of what he has promised.

While this life is inherently temporal, it is to be lived in view of the world that is to come.  When the Apostle Paul quotes these words from Isaiah 64, he is connecting the faith and expectation of believers now with those of generations past.  



Verse for Today – Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (click to read)

23 Feb

 

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

 

 Read at Bible Gateway

 

Read all of Deuteronomy 6

 

 

This verse should be familiar to most.  I’d like to draw your attention to three parts of these verses.  

 


 

1. The last part is quoted by the Lord Jesus as part of what we call the Summary of the Law.  Any effort or exercise of the Christian faith the doesn’t begin and end with the desire to love, honor and please God is something else.

 


 

2. The affirmation of Oneness is that God the One True and Eternal God has revealed himself in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  This is called the Doctrine of the Trinity. The three persons are not mentioned here, but the affirmation of Oneness is.  They are mentioned elsewhere.   We hold and believe what the Bible teaches.  Period.

 


 

3.  I remember reading a Morning and Evening meditation by CH Spurgeon years ago where he says he things the most amazing part of this verse is the pronouns “OUR” and “YOUR”   The Almighty Lord and Master of the Universe has identified Himself with His people.  The same is true today.

 


 

“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”



Verse for Today – Psalm 86:5 (click to read)

16 Feb

“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,

And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”

 Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of Psalm 86

Psalm 86 is a pretty remarkable Psalm.  It is a personal entreaty… a prayer to God for help.   And yet it is more than this.  The Psalmist takes the opportunity of his prayer and meditation upon the things of God to identify the remarkable blessings that belong to all of God’s people.

Verse 5 is the first of three such affirmations (see also verses 10 + 15) that encourage us to trust and rely upon the Lord Himself.  The goodness of God might sound routine or a cliche, bit it refers to God’s very nature.  He is good, and all that that means.  Because He is good, he is ready to forgive and rich in mercy toward those who call upon him. 

Part of the mystery of the Christian faith is that we can’t and don’t see all things as they really are.  We live as we say by faith (another potential cliche), trusting and hoping in the God of Scripture.  Herein lies the rub, we ought not to just trust and believe in the idea of God or the concept of God, but in God Himself.  This is what the Psalmist was doing… and this is what we must do. 



Verse for Today – Ephesians 6:12-13 (click to read mini-blog)

14 Feb

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on thefull armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

 Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of Ephesians 6

The Apostle Paul is reminding the Ephesian Christians (and us) that we live in a spirit (aka demonically) influenced world.  He had just concluded and extended series of exhortations (5:21-6:9) of how the Christian ethic involves submission to rightful authority. 

In the verses just preceding today’s verse he exhorted his readers to be strong in the Lord and His power by putting on the armor of God.   Doing this will enable us all to stand against the wiles (or trickery) of the devil.   The unstated premise is that if we don’t put on the armor of God we will not be able to stand.

Today’s verses, 12 and 13,  explain why this armor should be diligently worn.   There’s a spiritual host of wickedness (many evil influencers) that wants you to fail… and fall.  Many times life seems monotonous and routine, but don’t be confused.  Our enemy is real and  pretty tricky.  If he can get you to give in or to give up, he wins.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”


Verse for Today – James 4:10 (click to read mini-blog)

11 Feb

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

 Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of James 4

 This verse in James 4 is found amid of exhortations in which the inspired author instructs believes how to see themselves and live in the world.  I remember when I first read and preached on this passage I was almost embarrassed by the strong language and forceful words.  Verse 10 is mild by comparison.

We’re told to humble ourselves before the Lord… we do this by recognizing his greatness and our sinfulness.  He is the Lord and Master of all and we are unworthy and undeserving creatures.  I’ve said before that when we pray with out faces to the ground, we are modeling the proper relationship between ourselves, others and God.  

A little earlier in this passage an important verse from Proverbs 3:34 is quoted: . 

God opposes the proud 

 but shows favor to the humble.”


That should be reason enough for us to obey today’s verse… and yet there is also a promise… “and He will lift you up.”  How cool is that.