RSS

Tag Archives: blessing

Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #43 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 15

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 14.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, to be faithful in prayer, to share with the Lord’s people who are in need, and to practice hospitality! A lot of work!

The fifteenth critical imperative is —15. Believers are to BLESS THOSE WHO PERSECUTE THEM (v. 14)!

I know very little about persecution. I have never been threatened for my faith, never been assaulted for my beliefs, never been discriminated against for my convictions. My heart goes out to the many believers in the world who do face physical danger in their culture for following Jesus.

It’s quite possible that some Western Christians are passed over for job promotions or ignored or ridiculed for their faith. And with our part of the world becoming more anti-Christian, perhaps persecution is just around the corner for us.

But right now, we are to bless those who persecute us. What does “bless” them mean here? It’s certainly the opposite of “curse” those who persecute us. We are not to pray imprecatory prayers against those who make life difficult for us as individuals. We are not to retaliate in kind toward those who mock our faith. We are to “bless” them. That doesn’t mean we agree with their opposition, but that we don’t respond in an ungodly way to their harsh treatment of us. And that takes God’s power, doesn’t it?

Today’s Challenge: Can you think of anyone in your acquaintance who in some way or another is “persecuting” you? Then pray for them today. And ask God to show you how you can “bless” them.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 5, 2021 in Romans 12

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #15 “Eight Blessings of Belief” (A Study of Romans 5:1-5) Blessing #4

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 5 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

Here are the eight blessings that I see in this passage:

1. Justified through faith (v. 1)

2. Peace with God

3. Gained access into this grace (v. 2)

4. Boasting in the hope of the glory of God

5. Glory in our sufferings (vv. 3-4)

6. A hope that does not put us to shame (v. 5)

7. God’s love poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit

8. The Holy Spirit has been given to us

We will think about each of these blessings — one by one — in subsequent posts. Let’s notice this morning the fourth blessing: WE CAN NOW BOAST IN THE HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD (v. 2).

I will be the first to admit that I don’t have a clue what that expression means! Boasting in the Lord makes perfect sense. Boasting in our salvation — brought about by His grace — makes perfect sense. What does it mean to “boast in the hope of the glory of God”?

We will see in our next blessing that we are to “glory in our sufferings”! Perhaps this boasting in the hope of the glory of God is one way to describe our settled position in Christ. We have the certain hope that we will share in His glory and live forever in the presence of the beauty and magnificence of the Trinune God.

But right now — I’ve got some boasting to do.  And so do you. Talk about your hope in Christ today — and brag about His grace and mercy in saving you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 4, 2021 in Romans 5

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #14 “Eight Blessings of Belief” (A Study of Romans 5:1-5) Blessing #3

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 5 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

Here are the eight blessings that I see in this passage:

1. Justified through faith (v. 1)

2. Peace with God

3. Gained access into this grace (v. 2)

4. Boasting in the hope of the glory of God

5. Glory in our sufferings (vv. 3-4)

6. A hope that does not put us to shame (v. 5)

7. God’s love poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit

8. The Holy Spirit has been given to us

We will think about each of these blessings — one by one — in subsequent posts. Let’s notice this morning the third blessing: WE HAVE GAINED ACCESS INTO THIS GRACE (v. 2).

The exact statement is: “we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” We have obtained entrance into God’s concert of grace. The ticket that let us in was not obtained by our works, but by the finished work of Christ. No bouncer can kick us out. We have every right to enter fully into God’s saving grace. And we are to stand strong in that grace.

Today, thank the Lord for your free and complete salvation in the Lord Jesus — by grace through faith in Him! And stand in that wonderful truth!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 2, 2021 in Romans 5

 

Tags: , , , ,

Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #12 “Eight Blessings of Belief” (A Study of Romans 5:1-5) Blessing #1

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 5 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

Here are the eight blessings that I see in this passage:

1. Justified through faith (v. 1)

2. Peace with God

3. Gained access into this grace (v. 2)

4. Boasting in the hope of the glory of God

5. Glory in our sufferings (vv. 3-4)

6. A hope that does not put us to shame (v. 5)

7. God’s love poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit

8. The Holy Spirit has been given to us

We will think about each of these blessings — one by one — in subsequent posts. Let’s notice this morning the first blessing: WE HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED BY FAITH!

If you’re a believer in Christ, has this truth gotten a hold of you — that you have been made right — justified — before a holy God because of the finished work of Jesus Christ? Many in our culture don’t think they need to be justified before a holy God. Or they think they can justify themselves by their own goodness. [I’ve written a whole chapter on the “goodness” people in my little book Unlike Jesus]. Mark 10 would be a great section to read about how our goodness can never satisfy a holy God.

Thank the Lord today for your justification in Christ! And be ready to share that blessing with others whom God sends your way!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 29, 2020 in Romans 5

 

Tags: , ,

What a Surprise! A Free Cruise in Europe! (Part 1)

So, two years ago Linda and I took a river cruise on a 90-passenger ship in Europe with a travel company founded by a Christian couple, Jeff and Gina. We had a great time. Teerming River Cruises is about 1/3 of the cost of Viking Cruises and their website is here.

A week or so ago I got a text from Jeff that said “I have a cabin free for the Dusseldorf cruise.” All Linda and I had to do was get to Germany. Soooo, we will be flying there on August 18, enjoy an eight-day cruise in Germany, spend a few days in Berlin (where we were missionaries in the 1970’s), and then come home. We were able to use our air miles for the flight.

Would you pray for us that we would have a lot of opportunities to share the gospel with the 90 or so on board? Jeff has asked me to conduct the Sunday service, which I will gladly do. I’m going to preach on Jesus’ using Peter’s boat as a floating pulpit (Luke 5).

Would you pray that the Lord will give me insight and clarity as I study that wonderful text? Here’s the passage which I will work on for the next few posts:

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 14, 2019 in vacation

 

Tags: , , ,

Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel (chapter 6) Disobedience, Wrath, and Propriety!

We have a fascinating text to go over this morning!
David assembles 30,000 able young men to go to Baalah to retrieve the ark of God “which is called by the Name” (v. 2).

They set the ark on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart (Ahio walking in front). David and all Israel “were celebrating with all their might before the Lord” (v. 5).

But sometimes oxen stumble and they did at the threshing floor of Nakon! Uzzah logically reached out and took hold of the ark of God. We read that “the Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God” (v. 9)!

Talk about ruining a religious celebration! An instant funeral! But let’s not miss the details: (1) The Lord had commanded that the ark should be carried with long poles (Ex. 25:12–15). Transporting the ark on an oxcart instead demonstrated a lack of reverence for this representation of God’s presence. (2) Uzzah touched the ark; Even those whose job it was to carry the ark were forbidden to touch it (Num. 4:15). (3) God’s anger burned against Uzzah “because of his irreverent act” (v. 7). (4) Therefore, “God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God” (v. 7).

How does David respond to this act of the Lord? David becomes angry at the Lord’s anger! (v. 8). David also becomes afraid of the Lord that day and asked, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” (v. 9).

His fear led him not to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the city of David, but took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite where it remained for three months. We read — “and the Lord blessed him [Obed-Edom] and his entire household.” (v. 11).

Hearing of God’s blessing on Obed-Edom’s house, David goes to retrieve the ark and brings it with rejoicing to the City of David. When those who were carrying (!) the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, we read, David sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf (v. 13). David, wearing only a linen ephod, was “dancing before the Lord with all his might” (v. 14).

Michal, daughter of Saul, watched from a window and despised David in her heart when she saw him leaping and dancing before the Lord (v. 16).

The ark is brought inside the tent and sacrifices are made before the Lord. David then blesses the people and gives everyone food gifts (v. 19). Returning home to bless his own household, David is rebuked by Michal who says, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” (v. 20).

David defends himself by saying, “It was before the Lord who chose me rather than anyone from Saul’s house to rule over Israel — I will celebrate before the Lord.” (v. 21). He says, “I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (v. 22).

We then read the Michal “daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.” (v. 23).

Several takeaways for me:
1. Concerning the execution of Uzzah, let’s not forget that there were 30,000 able young men watching the transporting of the ark!
2. Religious revelry is great — but not at the expense of disobedience to the clear commands of God. Their “celebrating with all their hearts” did not negate God’s command not to touch the ark.
3. In his anger toward God’s execution of Uzzah, David is not overtly rebuked by the Lord. Sometimes we will get upset at the Lord’s actions in our lives, right?
4. There is a blessing for those who do what is right (Obed-Edom and his house in taking care of the ark).
5. Propriety is no substitute for heart-felt praise! David’s dancing offends Michal, but not the Lord!
6. There is a price to pay (Michal’s barrenness) for rebuking another’s unbridled worship of the Lord!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 17, 2019 in 2 Samuel 6

 

Tags: , , , ,

Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord: Psalm 133

Psalm 133

A song of ascents. Of David.screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-6-11-59-am

1 How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

Psalms of My Life (Psalm 133)

Psalm 133

A song of ascents. Of David.Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 7.15.27 AM

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 7.21.41 AM

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 12, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

Tags: , , ,

Psalms of My Life (Psalm 129)

Psalm 129

A song of ascents.Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 6.33.07 AM

“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,”
    let Israel say;
“they have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
    but they have not gained the victory over me.
Plowmen have plowed my back
    and made their furrows long.
But the Lord is righteous;
    he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”

May all who hate Zion
    be turned back in shame.
May they be like grass on the roof,
    which withers before it can grow;
a reaper cannot fill his hands with it,
    nor one who gathers fill his arms.
May those who pass by not say to them,
    “The blessing of the Lord be on you;
    we bless you in the name of the Lord.”Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 6.35.40 AM

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 4, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

Tags: , , ,

Psalms of My Life (Psalm 115)

Psalm 115Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 6.38.00 AM

Not to us, Lord, not to us
    but to your name be the glory,
    because of your love and faithfulness.

Why do the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven;
    he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold,
    made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
    eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
    noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel,
    feet, but cannot walk,
    nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who make them will be like them,
    and so will all who trust in them.

All you Israelites, trust in the Lord
    he is their help and shield.
10 House of Aaron, trust in the Lord
    he is their help and shield.
11 You who fear him, trust in the Lord
    he is their help and shield.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 6.41.01 AM12 The Lord remembers us and will bless us:
    He will bless his people Israel,
    he will bless the house of Aaron,
13 he will bless those who fear the Lord
    small and great alike.

14 May the Lord cause you to flourish,
    both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

16 The highest heavens belong to the Lord,
    but the earth he has given to mankind.
17 It is not the dead who praise the Lord,
    those who go down to the place of silence;
18 it is we who extol the Lord,
    both now and forevermore.

Praise the Lord.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 26, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

Tags: , , , , ,