2042.) Psalm 44

February 28, 2017

Psalm 44 (ESV)

Come to Our Help

1O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:

ps44-ear

Matthew 11:15 (NLT)

Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!

2you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
3for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.

“Right Hand” — bronze sculpture by Kevin Pettelle

Psalm 20:6 (NIV)

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.

4 You are my King, O God;
ordain salvation for Jacob!
5Through you we push down our foes;
through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.
6For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
7But you have saved us from our foes
and have put to shame those who hate us.
8 In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever.
Selah


Psalm 20:7 (NIV)

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

9But you have rejected us and disgraced us
and have not gone out with our armies.
10You have made us turn back from the foe,
and those who hate us have gotten spoil.
11You have made us like sheep for slaughter
and have scattered us among the nations.
12 You have sold your people for a trifle,
demanding no high price for them.
13You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,
the derision and scorn of those around us.
14You have made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
15All day long my disgrace is before me,
and shame has covered my face
16at the sound of the taunter and reviler,
at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.

ps44-candle

Prayer for Purity
by Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

(the creator of Daily Texts)

and translated by John Wesley

O Thou to Whose all searching sight
The darkness shineth as the light,
Search, prove my heart; it pants for Thee;
O burst these bonds, and set it free!

Wash out its stains, refine its dross,
Nail my affections to the cross;
Hallow each thought; let all within
Be clean, as Thou, my Lord, art clean!

If in this darksome wild I stray,
Be Thou my light, be Thou my way;
No foes, no violence I fear,
No fraud, while thou, my God, art near.

When rising floods my soul o’erflow,
When sinks my heart in waves of woe,
Jesu, Thy timely aid impart,
And raise my head, and cheer my heart.

Savior, where’er Thy steps I see,
Dauntless, untired, I follow thee!
O let Thy hand support me still,
And lead me to Thy holy hill!

If rough and thorny be the way,
My strength proportion to my day;
Till toil, and grief, and pain shall cease,
Where all is calm, and joy, and peace.

17 All this has come upon us,
though we have not forgotten you,
and we have not been false to your covenant.
18Our heart has not turned back,
nor have our steps departed from your way;
19yet you have broken us in the place of jackals
and covered us with the shadow of death.
20If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God discover this?
For he knows the secrets of the heart.
22Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.

ps44-nothing-can-separate

Romans 8:36-39 (NIV)

As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

23 Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
24Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
25For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly clings to the ground.
26Rise up; come to our help!
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!

_________________________

Music:

The father of lies would have you believe that God has abandoned you.  Never!  God loves you far too much to ever forget you!  HERE  33 Miles sings “Hold On.”

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 44:26 and Jerusalem.    http://media.photobucket.com/image/Psalm%2044/Frank4YAHWEH/Psalm44_26.jpg
ear.    http://i.huffpost.com/gen/3898786/images/o-EAR-facebook.jpg
Pettelle.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/44-pettelle-right-hand-bnz.jpg?w=450
horse and chariot.    http://www.estatevaults.com/bol/chariot-roman.jpg
candle.     http://il3.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/11892521/thumb/1.jpg
Nothing can separate us.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/01397-10953562_434527386737713_1853529433_n.jpg
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2041.) Psalm 143

February 27, 2017

Ps143 8

Psalm 143   Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

a penitential psalm

A psalm of David:

Adonai, hear my prayer;
listen to my pleas for mercy.
In your faithfulness, answer me,
and in your righteousness.

David appeals to God’s faithfulness and righteousness, to God’s very nature and character. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can count on Him to work with us in faithfulness, righteousness, and love. God will keep His promises. God will defend His defenseless servant.

Don’t bring your servant to trial,
since in your sight no one alive
would be considered righteous.

For an enemy is pursuing me;
he has crushed my life into the ground
and left me to live in darkness,
like those who have been long dead.
My spirit faints within me;
my heart is appalled within me.

I remember the days of old,
reflecting on all your deeds,
thinking about the work of your hands.

ps143-rain
I spread out my hands to you,
I long for you like a thirsty land. (Selah)

Answer me quickly, Adonai,
because my spirit is fainting.
Don’t hide your face from me,
or I’ll be like those who drop down into a pit.

THE ANGUISH OF FAITH
by Os Hillman, Today God Is First

“Do not hide Your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.” – Psalm 143:7b

Of all the biblical characters, David gives us a glimpse of a man who walked with God with great emotion in victory and in defeat. David never lost a battle throughout his many years of serving as king of Israel. In many of the Psalms, David often lamented about the difficult places where God had placed him. He talked of his enemies and the need for God to deliver him. He talked of God’s everlasting love for him. How do you suppose David came to this understanding after years of being sought after by King Saul who wanted to take his life? His years of turmoil within his family gave him many reasons to lose all hope in a loving God.

David often began his Psalms in a place of discouragement and loss of hope. But he never ended one Psalm in defeat. He always came to a place of victory in God by the end of the Psalm. David always placed his life in God’s hands, knowing He would care for him. Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in You. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground (Psalm 143:8-10).

It is okay to feel discouragement. It is part of the process of grieving and working through those times of pain. But God wants each of us to allow Him to walk with us in these places. If you find yourself in one of these places, do what David did. Ask God to show you the way and let Him bring the word of His unfailing love to you.

Make me hear of your love in the morning,
because I rely on you.

Lamentations 3:21-23   (NIV)

Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Make me know the way I should walk,
because I entrust myself to you.
Adonai, rescue me from my enemies;
I have hidden myself with you.

Ps143 10
10 Teach me to do your will,
because you are my God;
Let your good Spirit guide me
on ground that is level.

11 For your name’s sake, Adonai, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of distress.
12 In your grace, cut off my enemies;
destroy all those harassing me;
because I am your servant.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is an old favorite to comfort the hurting and assure the fearful — “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” sung by Twila Paris.

_________________________

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)   Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
verse 8.    http://ih3.redbubble.net/image.7032297.5987/flat,550×550,075,f.jpg
 verse 6.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/3f/1b/82/3f1b8239c8a810f642a9729843dd82cb.jpg
verse 10.    http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c5/0c/ad/c50cad833146fb755463c84504913bd7.jpg

2040.) Proverbs 11

February 24, 2017

“The righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” — Proverbs 11:28

Proverbs 11 (The Message)

Without Good Direction, People Lose Their Way

1God hates cheating in the marketplace;
he loves it when business is aboveboard.

A recent example of cheating in the marketplace:  Bernard Madoff orchestrated a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme that collapsed, affecting thousands of investors.

2 The stuck-up fall flat on their faces,
but down-to-earth people stand firm.

3 The integrity of the honest keeps them on track;
the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.

4 A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart,
but a principled life can stand up to the worst.

5 Moral character makes for smooth traveling;
an evil life is a hard life.

prov11-happens-for-a-reason

6 Good character is the best insurance;
crooks get trapped in their sinful lust.

7 When the wicked die, that’s it—
the story’s over, end of hope.

8 A good person is saved from much trouble;
a bad person runs straight into it.

9 The loose tongue of the godless spreads destruction;
the common sense of the godly preserves them.

a poster from World War II

WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH?

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

The Bible stresses that what you say is an accurate indicator of what is in your heart. If your words bless and encourage others, they give evidence of a compassionate heart. If you often share the good news about Christ, you demonstrate a heart that is grateful for your own salvation. When others are in a crisis, do they know they will find peace and comfort in your words? Do you frequently and spontaneously offer prayers for others? Do your words and the manner in which you say them reveal a patient heart? All of these behaviors indicate a heart that is like the heart of the Father.

Or do you often regret your words? Are there people even now who are hurt or angry because of something you have said? Do you enjoy gossip? Do you tend to criticize others? Do you feel that you are not responsible for what comes out of your mouth when you are angry? Does your mouth spew grumbling and complaints? These behaviors come from a heart that is unlike God’s heart.

You may say, “Oh, but that’s just the way I am! I am always saying the wrong thing!” Yet Scripture clearly states that an abusive tongue is not under the control of the Spirit (see James 3:3-10). A sanctified mouth is a wonderful instrument for the Lord. A heart like the father’s heart will produce only pure and loving words. Without making any excuses for your words, ask the Holy Spirit to forgive you for any words that have brought harm. Then ask Him to discipline your mouth so that every word you speak is used by God to encourage and edify others.

10 When it goes well for good people, the whole town cheers;
when it goes badly for bad people, the town celebrates.

11 When right-living people bless the city, it flourishes;
evil talk turns it into a ghost town in no time.

12 Mean-spirited slander is heartless;
quiet discretion accompanies good sense.

13 A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret,
but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence.

“Gossip” by Norman Rockwell.

14 Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.

15 Whoever makes deals with strangers is sure to get burned;
if you keep a cool head, you’ll avoid rash bargains.

16 A woman of gentle grace gets respect,
but men of rough violence grab for loot.

A God-Shaped Life

17 When you’re kind to others, you help yourself;
when you’re cruel to others, you hurt yourself.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “We Can Be Kind”  sung by Nancy Lamott. Many times it seems that the simplest things are the things that make the difference!

_________________________

18 Bad work gets paid with a bad check;
good work gets solid pay.

19 Take your stand with God’s loyal community and live,
or chase after phantoms of evil and die.

20 God can’t stand deceivers,
but oh how he relishes integrity.

prov11-words

21 Count on this: The wicked won’t get off scot-free,
and God’s loyal people will triumph.

22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful face on an empty head.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”

–Miss Piggy

23 The desires of good people lead straight to the best,
but wicked ambition ends in angry frustration.

24 The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.

“The Miser” by Tsaritsa Maria Fyodorovna (mother of Tsar Nicholas II), 1890.

The Miser

A miser once dreamed he had given away
Some bread to the beggar he’d met in the day.
He woke with a start and solemnly swore
That as long as he lived he would slumber no more.

25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.

26 Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!
Blessings on all who play fair and square!

27 The one who seeks good finds delight;
the student of evil becomes evil.

28 A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.

29 Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air;
common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.

30 A good life is a fruit-bearing tree;
a violent life destroys souls.

prov11-ripe-fruit

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

31 If good people barely make it,
what’s in store for the bad!

_________________________

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
green tree.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/tree3.jpg
Bernie Madoff.    http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2009/12/12/alg_bernard_madoff.jpg
Everything happens for a reason.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/da/b4/f7/dab4f70586ac0eb54b95fc2e96caa10f.jpg
“Loose lips sink ships” poster.    http://www.3quarksdaily.com/.a/6a00d8341c562c53ef010536d16a83970b-800wi
Rockwell.    http://www.nrm.org/wp2016/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Gossips_web.jpg
Psalm 19:14.   http://www.idyllwildpines.org/Community/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/heart.jpg
Miss Piggy.    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/100/296745849_ec37dced32_o.gif
Fyodorovna.    http://01varvara.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/maria-fyodorovna-the-miser-1890-e1268345929496.jpg
fruit and verse 30.    https://t3.ftcdn.net/jpg/00/89/00/02/240_F_89000280_eied5nOCJmGU1hx5QfCIGHQSkuwSrdcL.jpg

2039.) Psalm 102

February 23, 2017

Psalm 102   (NRSV)

(a penitential psalm)

Prayer to the Eternal King for Help

A plea for the presence of God.

1Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you.

_________________________

Music:

From Psalm 102,  HERE  is the Taize song, “O Lord, Hear My Prayer,” sung by the Taize Community Choir.

O Lord, hear my prayer,
hear my prayer
When I call answer me
O Lord, hear my prayer,
hear my prayer
Come and listen to me

_________________________

2Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call.

The agony of being afflicted in health.

3For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.

4My heart is stricken and withered like grass; I am too wasted to eat my bread.

5Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my skin.

6I am like an owl of the wilderness, like a little owl of the waste places.

7I lie awake; I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.

The agony of being afflicted by enemies.

8All day long my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse.

9For I eat ashes like bread, and mingle tears with my drink,

10because of your indignation and anger; for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.

11My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.

Recognizing the everlasting God.

12But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; your name endures to all generations.

Recognizing the favor of God to Jerusalem.

13You will rise up and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to favor it; the appointed time has come.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV)

For God says,

   “In the time of my favor I heard you,
   and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

14For your servants hold its stones dear, and have pity on its dust.

Recognizing God’s exaltation among the nations.

15The nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory.

16For the Lord will build up Zion; he will appear in his glory.

17He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.

Recognizing the great deliverance God brings.

18Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:

This is an interesting suggestion: that God considers and plans for those yet to be created. We don’t enter into the consciousness of God when we are conceived in our mother’s womb, but when we are conceived in the heart and mind of God.

–David Guzik

19that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,

20to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die;

21so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem,

22when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

A confession of weakness and its cause.

23He has broken my strength in midcourse; he has shortened my days.

A prayer from the afflicted Psalmist.

24“O my God,” I say, “do not take me away at the mid-point of my life, you whose years endure throughout all generations.”

Psalm 90:1-2 (NIV)

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
   throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
   or you brought forth the whole world,
   from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

25Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

26They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away;

27but you are the same, and your years have no end.

28The children of your servants shall live secure; their offspring shall be established in your presence.

This is a remarkable declaration of trust in God’s promise to make all things right and good, if not in the present day, then in days to come. It shows a wonderful progression in Psalm 102.

· He began with honest declaration of his own misery.

· Then he looked outside himself to his community

· Then he looked outside his community to the world

· Then he looked outside his time to future generations

–David Guzik

My three children — Devlin, Maureen, and Sean — on Lake Eola, downtown Orlando.  May they dwell secure in the Lord!

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
earth, verse 25.   http://www.bestfreechristian.com/stock_03/images/earth-001.gif
desert owl sketch.  http://img1.etsystatic.com/il_fullxfull.300822501.jpg
Today.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/8871-today-is-the-day-ep.jpg
“Let this be written . . .”   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/psalm10218.jpg

2038.) Psalm 31

February 22, 2017

Psalm 31 (NIV)

An interesting feature of this Psalm is that it is often quoted in other passages of Scripture.

  • The author of Psalm 71 (possibly David himself) quotes the first three verse of Psalm 31 to start Psalm 71.
  • Jonah seems to quote Psalm 31:6 in Jonah 2:8, his prayer from the belly of the great fish.
  • Jeremiah quoted Psalm 31:13 six times, in Jeremiah 6:25; 20:3; 20:10; 46:5; 49:29, and Lamentations 2:22. 
  • Paul quoted Psalm 31:24 in 1 Corinthians 16:13 (according to Clarke this is more clear in the Septuagint).
  • Most significantly, Psalm 31:5 was quoted by Jesus Christ on the cross as His final words before yielding His life (Luke 23:46). Stephen, the first martyr of the church, also alluded to Psalm 31:5 (Acts 7:59).

–David Guzik

1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.

martin-luther-9389283-1-402

Early in the 16th Century, a German monk and seminary professor named Martin Luther taught through the Psalms, verse-by-verse at the University of Wittenberg. In his teaching he came upon this statement in Psalm 31:1 (31:2 in German). The passage confused him; how could God’s righteousness deliver him? The righteousness of God -– His great justice –- could only condemn him to Hell as a righteous punishment for his sins.

One night up in a tower in the monastery, Luther thought about this passage in the Psalms and also read Romans 1:17:  For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed. Luther said he thought about this day and night, until he finally understood what the righteousness of God revealed by the gospel is. It is not speaking of the holy righteousness of God that condemns the guilty sinner, but of the God-kind of righteousness that is given to the sinner who puts their trust in Jesus Christ.

Luther said of this experience: “I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith. Therefore I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise . . . This passage of Paul became to me a gateway into heaven.” Martin Luther was born again, and the reformation began in his heart. One great Lutheran scholar said this was “The happiest day in Luther’s life.”

–David Guzik

2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.

3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

4 Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.

5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Psalm 31:5 — Into Thine hand I commit my spirit:  Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

Do you ever find prayer difficult because of tiredness or dryness?  When that is so, it is an immense help to let the Psalms and hymns we know by heart say themselves or sing themselves inside us.  This is possible anywhere and at any time.

We can’t be mistaken in using this easy, open way of prayer, for our Lord Jesus used it.  His very last prayer, when He was far too tired to pray as He usually did, was Psalm 31:5.  Every Jewish mother used to teach her child to say those words as a good-night prayer.

Hymns, little prayer-songs of our own, even the simplest of them, can sing us into His love.  Or more truly, into the consciousness of his love, for we are never for one moment out of it.

6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
I trust in the LORD.

7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.

“Hagar and the Angel in the Desert,” by James Tissot, 1896 (The Jewish Museum, New York)

“Hagar and the Angel in the Desert,” by James Tissot, 1896 (The Jewish Museum, New York)

Genesis 16:7, 13 (NIV)

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur . . .

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me.”

8 You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.

9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.

10 My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.

11 Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors;
I am a dread to my friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.

12 I am forgotten by them as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.

Psalm 31:12 (CEV)

I am completely forgotten

like someone dead.

I am merely a broken dish.

13 For I hear the slander of many;
there is terror on every side;
they conspire against me
and plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”

Faith and prayer must go together.  He that believes, let him pray—I believe, therefore I have spoken; and he that prays, let him believe;  for the prayer of faith is the prevailing prayer.

–Matthew Henry

15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from my enemies
and from those who pursue me.

16 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.

17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and lie silent in the grave.

18 Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

19 How great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you bestow in the sight of men
on those who take refuge in you.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT)

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from the intrigues of men;
in your dwelling you keep them safe
from accusing tongues.

21 Praise be to the LORD,
for he showed his wonderful love to me
when I was in a besieged city.

_________________________

Music:

So many stories in the Bible of God answering the prayers of desperate people! Are you feeling trapped in a “besieged city” now? Call to the Lord for help.  HERE  is “You Are My Hiding Place”  by Selah.

_________________________

22 In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.

23 Love the LORD, all his saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful,
but the proud he pays back in full.

24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.

Ps31 v24

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
verses 14-15.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/preview_psalm31_14-15.jpg
Martin Luther.    http://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-9389283
face of Jesus.    http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/Stations/images/hface.jpg
Tissot.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/hagar_desert.jpg
“Broken Dishes” by Jean Cannon.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/31-brokendishes.jpg
prayer and faith.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/31-prayer-and-faith-umbrella2.jpg
“Deep Roots”  oil painting by Jimmy King.   http://fineartamerica.com/images-medium/deep-roots-jimmy-king.jpg
He shall strengthen your heart.    http://alittleperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/psa-31-24-ww-wall-900×600.jpg

2037.) Luke 19:1-27

February 21, 2017

“Jesus and Zacchaeus” by Soichi Watanabe.  The artist shows the joy of Zacchaeus in the form of a yellow flower.

Luke 19:1-27 (NIV)

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.

When the tax collectors came to John the Baptist, asking how they could get right with God, he told them collect no more than what is appointed for you (Luke 3:13). If you were a tax collector and you were rich, you were a rogue.

3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Jesus was willing to reach out His hand in friendship to this man who was universally despised. In the flesh, we can reject outcasts; but Jesus never did.

As one commentator says, “His example is our pattern. A Christian church which does not imitate its Master in its frank and continual willingness to associate itself with the degraded and outcast has lost one of the truest signs of its being vitalized with the life of Christ.”

The early church was despised for its acceptance of outcasts (1 Corinthians 1:26-31), but the early Christians regarded this as something glorious, not shameful.

–David Guzik

6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

7All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ”

8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Ezekiel 18:27 (NLT)

And if wicked people turn from their wickedness, obey the law, and do what is just and right, they will save their lives.

9Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

The Parable of the Ten Minas

Yes, God wants a return on His investment in you!

Yes, God wants a return on His investment in you!

11While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.’Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

This parable is different than the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Here, ten servants are each given an equal amount of money, and a fair amount of money; a mina was worth a hundred days of work for a common laborer.

–David Guzik

14“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

15“He was made king, however, and returned home.

The new king has two issues: What will the servants do with his money? and How to handle his hateful citizens? First he deals with his servants.

Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

16“The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’

17” ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’

18“The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’

19“His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’

20“Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’

22“His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’

24“Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’

25” ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’

26“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 27But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.”

The main point of this parable is clear; the kingdom will be delayed, so we must concentrate on being faithful servants in the meantime. Our Master has gone away to a far country, and will one day return with His kingdom. In the meantime, we are commanded to do business with what He has given us until He returns.

–David Guzik

Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold:
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself, and I will be,
Ever, only, all for Thee.

–Frances R. Havergal, 1874.

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Music:

HERE  is Don Moen and the hymn “I Surrender All,” written by J. W. Van DeVenter.

The song has in interesting story. From Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist church:

Songs of personal commitment to Christ often stem from a particular experience in the life of the author. This is a good example. Hymnologist Kenneth Osbeck cites an account left by Van DeVenter:

The song was written while I was conducting a meeting at East Palestine, Ohio, and in the home of George Sebring (founder of Sebring Campmeeting Bible Conference . . .). For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life. I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord, he caused me to sing.

This testimony makes more sense when knowing more about the author’s life. Judson Van de Venter (1855-1939) was raised on a farm near Dundee, Michigan. After graduating from Hillsdale College, he taught art in public schools in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Van Deventer was active as a layman in his Methodist Episcopal Church, including participation in revivals held at the church.

Based on his fervent faith and service to the church, friends encouraged him to leave his field of teaching and become an evangelist. It took five years for him to finally “surrender all” and follow the advice of his friends. His ministry took him to various places in the United States, England, and Scotland.

Perhaps the most important influence that Van de Venter had was on the young evangelist Billy Graham. The Rev. Graham cites this hymn as an influence in his early ministry. His account appears in Crusade Hymn Stories, edited by Graham’s chief musician, Cliff Barrows:

One of the evangelists who influenced my early preaching was also a hymnist who wrote “I Surrender All” — the Rev. J. W. Van de Venter. He was a regular visitor at the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity Bible College) in the late 1930’s. We students loved this kind, deeply spiritual gentleman and often gathered in his winter home at Tampa, Florida, for an evening of fellowship and singing.

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Watanabe.    http://www.journeywithjesus.net/Essays/Soichi_Watanabe_Jesus_And_Zaccheus_sm.jpg
hand with bills.   https://img.clipartfest.com/a63d4de2e3abbac26922e0d468d591d0_-money-in-people-hand-hand-giving-money-clipart_170-157.jpeg
happy girl.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/2262c-06august20070012_rt161.jpg

2036.) Luke 18:18-43

February 20, 2017

“Christ and the Rich Young Ruler” by Heinrich Hofmann, 1899 (Riverside Church, New York City)

Luke 18:18-43 (NIV)

The Rich Ruler

18A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

19“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'”

21“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Proverbs 19:17 (NLT)

If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—
and he will repay you!

23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.

The man all wrapped up in himself is a mighty small package.

–from The Sayings of Chairman Moishe, by Moishe Rosen

24Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

26Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

27Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

28Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

29“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”

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Music:

Growing up, I listened to the family radio which was tuned to farm markets, news, religious broadcasting, or classical music. I heard precious little popular secular music as a kid! But for some reason, this song I remember!  HERE  is Johnny Cash and “Give It Away.”

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Jesus Again Predicts His Death

“Christ on the Cross” by Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbaran, 1627 (Art Institute, Chicago)

31Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33On the third day he will rise again.”

34The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight

35As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Isaiah 42:5-7 (NIV)

This is what God the LORD says—
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,

to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

In all the Old Testament there is no account of any blind person receiving his or her sight. No disciples of the Lord were involved in restoring sight to a blind person. Only Ananias’s involvement in Paul’s regaining his temporary  loss of sight is somewhat analogous but still different from what Christ did when He gave sight to people. Only the Lord restored sight to the permanently blind, and there are more recorded miracles of the Lord in this category than any other (see Matt. 9:27-31;  12:22;  15:30;  21:14;  Mark 8:22-26;  10:46-52;  Luke 7:21). The reason is simply that the Old Testament predicted this miraculous healing would be a function of the Messiah; these sight-giving miracles clearly point out Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah.

–from The Miracles of Our Lord, by Charles Caldwell Ryrie

42Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

Lord, I know thy grace is nigh me,
Though thyself I cannot see;
Jesus, Master, pass not by me;
Son of David!  Pity me.

While I sit in weary blindness,
Longing for the blessed light,
Many taste thy loving kindness,
“Lord, I would receive my sight.”

I would see thee and adore thee,
And thy word the power can give.
Hear the sightless soul implore thee,
Let me see thy face and live.

Ah, what touch is this that thrills me?
What this burst of strange delight?
Lo, the rapturous vision fills me!
This is Jesus!  This is sight!

Room, ye saints, that throng behind Him,
Let me follow in the way;
I will teach the blind to find Him
Who can turn their night to day.

–H. D. Ganse

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Hofmann.   https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8e/Hoffman-ChristAndTheRichYoungRuler.jpg
small package.    http://www.clipartguide.com/_small/0808-0711-0615-3863.jpg
Zurbaran.   http://www.wga.hu/art/z/zurbaran/1/christ_x.jpg
Jesus heals blind man.    http://teachmedad.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/jesus_healing_blind.gif
Jesus heals blind man, black and white.    http://www.sundayschoollessons.com/sunfolderwu/image4.gif