Psalm 147:1 – Praise Is Comely

Psalm 147:1
1
 Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

-God’s creation is filled from one side to the other with beauties and wonders that are beyond our imagination.  From beautiful vistas here on Earth to swirling nebulae in the far reaches of space, there is no lack of wondrous sights to please the Lord.  But notice what the Lord keys in on in this verse of scripture; “praise is comely”.  I’m sure the Lord looks at the stars and oceans and trees that He’s made and finds them well-pleasing, but when He sees one of us return to give Him the honor that He deserves, that’s attractive.

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1 Peter 3:15 – An Answer With Meekness and Fear

1 Peter 3:15
15
 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

-Be ready to tell everyone about the Lord is what this verse is saying in a nutshell.  It makes sense that we should do that with meekness, but with fear also?  The world often has trouble understanding why a loving God would need to be met with fear and yet the Bible teaches that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10)  Think about the people you have the most respect for in life; a father, a grandfather, a coach.  Isn’t there often some fear wrapped up in your relationship with that person?  You fear their authority and even more than that, you fear the idea of disappointing that person who has earned your love and respect.  The fear doesn’t contradict the love, it enhances it.  When we realize that the person we fear is also the person who is looking out for us and wants us to succeed, that’s love.  When we inevitably do disappoint that person and they still care for us afterwards, that’s love.  So it is with God Almighty; we should fear His power and we should fear disappointing Him, but when we realize He’s the One who sent His own Son to die so that we might live, that’s love.

James 4:7 – Submit and Resist

James 4:7
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

-If we resist the Devil and his ways then he must flee from us, but we can only resist after we’ve submitted to God.  The problem is people try to push against Satan while at the same time living contrary to God.  Just so there’s no question about the matter, we cannot overcome the powers of darkness on our own; Hell is full of people who have tried and failed.  But “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)  Not only are they possible with God, but they are simple with Him.  The question is never whether you will be strong enough when sin rises, the only question that matters is will you be humble when God calls.

Romans 5:8-10 – Much More We Shall Be Saved

Romans 5:8-10
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But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  God did that for us while we were full of sin and were completely unlovable.  If He went so far for us then, how much more will he keep those that bear the image and righteousness of His own Son?  As Paul testifies here, this is the strength of eternal security and this is how we know that salvation cannot be lost.  If God was willing to justify His enemies out of love, how much more will He justify those He has made His friends (John 15:15) and children (1 John 3:1) in Salvation?

Matthew 9:27-29 – According To Your Faith

Matthew 9:27-29
27
 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.
28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

-When asking for things from the Lord, we typically expect one of two answers; yes or no.  Sometimes, as in the case of this text, the answer is not so simple.  These blind men ask for sight and Jesus gave them healing according to their belief.  What do you take away from that?  If one had believed more than the other, was he healed to a greater extent?  If one had not truly believed, would he have remained blind?  I have a better question for you; if God answered your prayers with “According to your faith be it unto you”, would you get that which you sought?  When you come to God, do you truly believe that He is working?  Do you truly believe that He cares?  Do you even believe that He is there?  The Bible teaches that “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Genesis 41:38-44 – The Land of Affliction

Genesis 41:38-44
38 
And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?
39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:
40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.
41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.
42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

-After what no doubt seemed like an eternity of affliction, things finally started to go really well for Joseph.  He had been given power above all but Pharaoh himself and was responsible for determining the future of both the nation of Egypt and her people.  In light of such tremendous blessing, it would be easy to forget that Egypt was never supposed to be home for a Jew.  Joseph didn’t forget though and even though he is basically running the show, he still refers to it as the “land of affliction” (Genesis 41:52).  Earth is just a stop along the way for all of humanity.  No matter how richly the Lord may bless you down here and no matter how good people or circumstances may be to you down here, never forget that this is not home.  Even on the best days, this is just another land of affliction.  “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”  (Psalm 84:10)

Isaiah 52:7 – Good Tidings

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Think about this passage.  Keep in mind that this is long before telephone, email, or even the post office.  News was carried about on foot by messengers.  Consider that messengers of good news often moved with haste because they were anxious to bring a message of happiness.  Conversely, messengers of bad news would not have nearly the same zest in the performance of their duty because no one wants to be the bearer of bad news.  Isaiah 52:7 is from the perspective of those who see the feet and the movement of an approaching messenger.  As a messenger approached a city, the watchmen seeing afar off would notice the swift feet and know that good news is coming.  What does that have to do with us?  Christians are the bearers of the ultimate Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  But long before anyone will have a chance to hear our message, they will have a chance to see our walk.  We should always be careful to make sure our walk isn’t telling a different story than or mouth.

Zechariah 14:3-4 – The Day of the Lord

Zechariah 14:3-4
3
Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

-The Lord is coming back.  He will return in power and glory and will bring judgment on everything and everyone that has not confessed Him as Savior and King (Revelation 20:11-15).  Jesus limited the expression of His Godhood during His time spent previously on Earth (Philippians 2:7), but that will not be the case in His 2nd coming.  The mountains will split at the touch of His feet (v.4), the kings and great men of the earth will beg the rocks and trees to hide them from His face (Revelation 6:16), and the wicked and unbelieving will perish from the sword which proceeds out of His mouth.  (Revelation 9:21).  The Bible teaches that “now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2) because a day quickly approaches when mercy will no longer be available and salvation will no longer be an option.  Repent now and place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ before it is too late; for while it is peace and joy unspeakable to be sheltered in the hands of the loving Savior, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  (Hebrews 10:31)

Romans 11:32 – All in Unbelief

Romans 11:32
32 
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

-The biggest difference between God and the religions and philosophies of the world is that all those other philosophies will be focused on the past while God is interested in the future.  Whatever belief system you may look at, the primary focus will ultimately be “what have you done?”  What are your good deeds, what are your bad deeds; what have you done to be included in or excluded from the faith?  God on the other hand already knows all about our pasts. Just as we see in today’s scripture, He’s already concluded that we are all in sin.  Period.  Now the primary focus becomes “what are you going to do next?”  As Jesus taught in John 3:18“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  No one goes to Hell for past sins and no one goes to Heaven for past victories; people only go to Heaven or Hell based on their accepting or rejecting Jesus.  Jesus Christ has paid for the sins of mankind and the truth of that salvation has been revealed.  Forget what you’ve done- what are you going to do?  Will you accept Christ and live or reject Christ and die?  “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11)

Ephesians 2:19-20 – The Chief Corner Stone

Ephesians 2:19-20
19
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

-A cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a building’s foundation.  It is important to understand that Jesus is not just a stone that God added later as a remedy for the sin problem.  He is, in fact, the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end”. (Revelation 1:18) Jesus is God and has been God forever.  He “was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” (1 Peter 1:20)