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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 7)

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 verses 4-5 today.

1. Please notice that a simile is also used of “the wicked.” While the blessed person is likened to a productive fruit tree, the wicked person is “like chaff.” And not just any chaff, but chaff “that the wind blows away.” They have no stability and, needless to say, they don’t produce any edible fruit! Try living on chaff for a while!

2. It is certainly true that our good works play no part in saving us. However, believers are called to good works once they are in God’s family. The normal Christian life is to be one of fruitfulness, both personal (note the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5) and public (spreading the seed of God’s Word, doing good works both to believers and unbelievers). The last thing any of us should want is to see our works burned up as wood, hay, and stubble on the Day of Judgment (I Corinthians 3:15).

3. Don’t fail to note that “the wicked” will not stand in the judgment. This doesn’t mean they won’t be there. It means they won’t survive God’s holy judgment. These are also described as “sinners” who won’t stand “in the assembly of the righteous.” For all eternity evil and evil doers will be excluded from the people of God.

Today’s Challenge: All who have not yet trusted Christ are in the category of “the wicked.” What steps are you taking to reach “the wicked” that you know? Are they on your prayer list? Let one of them know that you are praying for them today!

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 6)

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 verse three today.

1. I love good metaphors, don’t you? While both similes and metaphors are used to make comparisons, the difference between similes and metaphors comes down to a word. Similes use the words like or as to compare things—“Life is like a box of chocolates.” In contrast, metaphors directly state a comparison—“Love is a battlefield.” In our verse this morning, the believer who chooses not to side with the wicked but instead delights in and meditates on God’s Word is described as “like a tree.” That’s a simile.

2. My earliest memories of trees are not so positive. I remember slamming into a tree on my bike. And the tree won. On my 10th birthday I wanted to climb a tree in my backyard and my friend Tate was already climbing it. I pulled him down and proceeded (on my birthday) to climb that tree. A wasp nest fell on me and I was stung numerous times.

3. But here being compared to a tree is a very positive thing! Notice (1) this tree is planted by streams of water. Not in the desert or near a dried up creek bed or by a stagnant pond. But “by streams of water.” How refreshing! Notice also (2) that this tree is fruitful! It produces appropriate fruit when it should and even its leaves don’t wither and die. So it’s a fruit tree!

In a world obsessed with prosperity, this kind of fruitfulness is commended by God Himself. And this kind of simile ought to make us smile!

Today’s Challenge: Do you see yourself as a fruitful, well-nourished tree that is prospering in your walk with Christ? Don’t miss this challenging figure of speech about your life. And mine.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit –The FRUIT of the Holy Spirit!

In our Christian lives we are so often like the drunk cowboy who gets on his horse and falls off on the right side, promptly remounts and falls off on the left side. When it comes to God the Holy Spirit, some believers overemphasize Him while others overlook Him. We want a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

We have suggested that because He is personal, we can speak to Him. And because He is divine, we can worship Him. Neither of these actions are at the expense of our first love, the Lord Jesus, the One the Spirit came to glorify.

The Holy Spirit is invisible, so how do we know that He is real and that He is working in our lives? While invisibility does not equal non-existence, the Spirit shows His presence by the works He does in and through believers. One of His primary works is to produce FRUIT in the Jesus-follower’s life. We read in Galatians 5 —

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

In this section Paul is contrasting the Spirit and the flesh. “The flesh” here refers to our sinful nature which desires what is contrary to the Spirit. The Spirit is not uninvolved — He desires what is contrary to the flesh (v. 17). This conflict between the Spirit and the flesh is “fleshed out” in verses 19-26.

The “acts of the flesh” are obvious and are listed as the Filthy Fifteen: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, and orgies. And, as if that list isn’t enough, Paul adds, “and the like” (v. 21). Notice that these “acts” have to do with sexual purity, who or what we worship, dabbling with the demonic, internal attitudes like hatred and jealousy, the improper use of our temper, self-centered living, loss of self-control, and complete abandonment to immorality.

We then have an opposite list of the fruit of the Spirit. This list entails nine Spiritual Attitudes which inevitably manifest themselves in how we relate to others. The fruit include: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The Challenge: Claim to be filled with the Spirit, led by Him? Check for fruit in your life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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