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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 4)

My friend Frank and I have an agreement, a covenant, which we have followed for several years. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We’ve now embarked on a journey of reading through the book of Psalms! So this week we’re reading Psalm 1 each day for a week, then on to Psalm 2, etc. Whew! I’ll post a few comments on our Psalm of the week that I pray will be an encouragement to you.

Let’s think about this first verse just one more time this morning.

1. We’ve noticed that there are some negatives in the Christian life. The third negative is that the blessed person does not “sit in the company of mockers . . .” What does that mean? We know that those who mock the things of God, especially if they continue throughout their lives to reject the gospel, will be eternally separated from God and the people of God. Many verses in Scripture testify to the fact that unbelievers will have no part in the Kingdom of God but will be cast out of His presence at the judgment.

2. If that final exclusion is true, then believers should not now join mockers in their rebellious rejection of the truths of God. Allow me to emphasize that this does not mean that we can choose to isolate ourselves from sinners. That is not the Jesus way. He was a friend of sinners (Mt. 11) and we should be as well!

3. So what does this verse mean? “Sitting in the company of mockers” implies agreement with, support of, those who not only turn away from God, but ridicule those who trust in Him. And that the blessed believer is not supposed to do!

Today’s Challenge: Watched any late night comedy TV? Have you noticed how they will often mock the things of God? Don’t laugh with them! Pray for them.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 3)

My friend Frank and I have an agreement, a covenant, which we have followed for several years. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We’ve now embarked on a journey of reading through the book of Psalms! So this week we’re reading Psalm 1 each day for a week, then on to Psalm 2, etc. Whew! I’ll post a few comments on our Psalm of the week that I pray will be an encouragement to you.

Let’s think about this first verse just a bit more this morning.

1. In our verse the believer is to choose not to walk in step with the wicked, not to stand in the way that sinners take, and not to sit in the company of those who mock God’s truth. There are negatives associated with the Christian life.

2. “Stand in the way that sinners take” is rendered as “nor standeth in the way of sinners” in the King James Bible. But the meaning is not that we shouldn’t try to impede evil doers when they set out to do evil! The idea is that we don’t identify with or join forces with sinners in their evil course.

You may have heard the story about the man who had just arrived in heaven and he was being interviewed by St. Peter. “What good deed have you done to allow you into heaven?”, asked St. Peter. “Well,” said the man, “I saw a big, scary member of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club trying to steal a purse from an old lady. And I intervened!” “Wow,” said St. Peter. “You defended her? That’s was quite heroic. When did this happened?” The man said, “Oh, about 5 seconds ago.”

Today’s Challenge: The way that sinners take is away from the Lord and the truth of the gospel. Don’t physically or emotionally or intellectually side with sinners against God. You’ll lose. And you won’t be blessed!

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 2)

My friend Frank and I have an agreement, a covenant, which we have followed for several years. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We’ve now embarked on a journey of reading through the book of Psalms! So this week we’re reading Psalm 1 each day for a week, then on to Psalm 2, etc. Whew! I’ll post a few comments on our Psalm of the week that I pray will be an encouragement to you.

Let’s think about this first verse a bit more this morning.

1. Please notice that the blessed life involves some negatives. Now, Christians are known to be negative, but these are godly negatives! In our verse the believer is to choose not to walk in step with the wicked, not to stand in the way that sinners take, and not to sit in the company of those who mock God’s truth.

2. “Walking in step with the wicked” is quite different than being a friend of sinners, isn’t it? God has given me a passion to be a friend of sinners like Jesus was. I am not to isolate myself from those who don’t know Him, but to develop genuine relationships with those who need Christ. “Walking in step with” implies agreement and conformity to the values and priorities of this lost world. And that we are not supposed to do!

Today’s Challenge: In what ways — some incredibly subtle — are you and I tempted to conform to the ways of this world? Repent of that conformity and walk in His truth today!

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 1)

My friend Frank and I have an agreement, a covenant, which we have followed for several years. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We’ve now embarked on a journey of reading through the book of Psalms! So this week we’re reading Psalm 1 each day for a week, then on to Psalm 2, etc. Whew! I’ll post a few comments on our Psalm of the week that I pray will be an encouragement to you.

Several thoughts jump out at me from this first verse of Psalm 1:

1. God wants us to be “blessed.” “Blessed” does not exactly equal “happy.” Happiness, as someone has said, often depends on happenings. And we seldom have control over the happenings in our lives.

2. Blessedness greatly depends on the choices we make. We choose those who influence us, whose lives we sometimes imitate, whose thoughts and actions we might copy. The blessed life before God involves not walking in step with the wicked, not standing in the way that sinners take, and not sitting in the company of those who mock the ways of God.

Today’s Challenge: As you examine your life — and your level of “blessedness” — would you say that you are seeking by God’s grace to practice those three negatives of verse 1?

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Risks)

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Choices)

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Freedom)

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Choices)

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Fate #2)

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #30 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 2

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 with verses 1-2.

The first critical imperative that I suggested was —

1. The believer is to OFFER HIS BODY AS A LIVING SACRIFICE! (v. 1).

The second critical imperative that I see is —

2. The believer is NOT TO CONFORM TO THE PATTERN OF THIS WORLD (v. 1)

“World” can mean the planet, the people of the planet, or the pagan system opposing God and the things of God. We are not to adopt the pattern of the pagan system opposing God and the things of God. That means we have to recognize the lies of this world and of the Evil One — and turn away from them!

We choose not to conform. We recognize the sinful thoughts and actions and attitudes of this world and we make choices. I have found much help in the following C.S. Lewis quote:

“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.” (C.S. Lewis)

Today’s Challenge: What choice will you make today NOT to conform to the pattern of this world?

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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