Monday, January 23, 2012

Bible Poetry: Proverbs 19:22, 23

Proverbs 19:22, 23

What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar (v.22,ESV).

I will not impress my Father
with my trophies won in sport;
for I know that He would rather
see what I through love have wrought!

The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm (v.23,ESV).

To fear the Lord will lead to life,
for fear shows our respect
for God's great power to still all strife
that might harm His elect!

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Bible Poetry: Psalm 17:1-15

Psalm 17:1-15

I am innocent, LORD, and I will see your face! When I awake, all I want is to see you as you are. (v.15,CEV).

Those whose sins have been forgiven will see Jesus face to face. It will not be a dream! We will live with Him forever thanks to the cleansing away of our sins at Calvary.

I have tried, by my behaviour,
to obey God's holy Word;
taking Jesus as my Saviour
also means He is my Lord!
In my heart He dwells forever,
and one day I'll see His face;
and that day will come whenever
I have run my earthly race!

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Devotion Thoughts - 21/07/2011

2 Chronicles 4:1-27. 2 Chronicles 5:1-14. 2 Chronicles 6:1-11

It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD … with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments… "For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever," … The house of the LORD was filled with a cloud so that the priests could not stand to minister … for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God. (5:13-14,ESV).

There are certain words in this passage that I find are the key to the proper worship of God. The words are:

  1. Duty. The worship of God is not a chore, or something we do haphazardly; it is a duty. God is worthy of all glory and honour, for He is the Almighty God Who made heaven and earth and all in it, including man; so it is our duty to worship Him.
  2. Unison. An alternative word could well be 'harmony'. We are to be united in our praise and worship of God. That we don't all have the same style of worship or even doctrines does not make any difference if we are all born again Believers. And as we, as different denominations of the Church, unite in our praise, God will be glorified.
  3. Praise and Thanksgiving. That we have trials in this world is a given. That we are to be thankful to God and praise Him is because of Who He is, and not because of what He does for us. That said, we will emerge from this life having had more blessings than otherwise, because of God's great love for us.

When Believers from different denominations can unite in worship of God, playing our music instruments and singing to His glory, He will fill us all with a sense of His glory.

Come, Believers! Let us unite in our Praises to God!

Romans 7:1-13

As far as the Law is concerned, you also have died because you are part of the body of Christ; and now you belong to Him who was raised from death in order that we might be useful in the service of God. (v.4,GNB).

Without Jesus controlling and using us, we can do nothing worthwhile in service for God. With Jesus indwelling us, every Believer must live as one having no rights, so that Jesus controls us completely. It is a Master / slave relationship in which we are fruitful only if we obey Jesus, the all-knowing Master, without hesitation. Always bear in mind that one day we will stand before Him and render an account of our lives. We will never feel ashamed if we have lived our lives for God!

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Bible Poetry: Proverbs 19:20, 21

Proverbs 19:20, 21

Pay attention to advice and accept correction, so you can live sensibly (v.20,CEV).

If you would live a life well spent,
accept advice that is well meant! *

We may make a lot of plans, but the LORD will do what he has decided (v.20,CEV).

Though we scheme and plan
and do all we can
to ensure we live our way,
God will always do
what He wanted to
to ensure that we don't stray!

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Devotion Thoughts - 20/07/2011

2 Chronicles 1:1-17. 2 Chronicles 2:1-18. 2 Chronicles 3:1-17

The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods (2:5,ESV).
No one can ever build a temple large enough for God--even the heavens are too small a place for Him to live in! All I can do is build a place where we can offer sacrifices to him (2:6,CEV).

Solomon did not know that one day the God Who created the universe would take up His abode in the hearts of His saints. With God all things are possible! And what is more, it is there, in the hearts of His saints, that the saints can offer their sacrifices to God - surrendered hearts and lives that He can use for His glory!

Romans 6:1-23

You are to think of yourselves as dead, so far as sin is concerned, but living in fellowship with God through Christ Jesus (v.11,GNB).

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (v.23).

In spite of the guiding presence of God in our hearts, we all sin. The trick is to live exactly as verse 11 suggests: 'Think of yourself as dead to sin', constantly reminding yourself that you are dead to all temptations, at the same time making the deliberate choice to have fellowship with God, especially when temptations are fierce. With practice, each day sin becomes less tempting and fellowship with God more to be desired. This is the thought behind Psalm 16, particularly verse 8.

Psalm 16:1-11

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved (v.8).

Making the deliberate choice to serve God at all times is the way to develop a solid spiritual lifestyle in which we are always in God's will.

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Devotion Thoughts - 19/07/2011

1 Chronicles 28:1-21. 1 Chronicles 29:1-30

[God] said to [David], Solomon your son ... shall build my house ... for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. (28:6).

... know God ... and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind; for ... if you seek Him, you will find Him... (28:9, my editing).

The LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel (29:25)

Believers are God's children, and He enjoys having them around Him! Seize the opportunity to get to know Him better, and discover how much blessings He is able to bestow on Believers!

Romans 5:6-21

God's love toward us was such that, while we were still sinners, [He sent] Christ to die for us (v.8).
Now that we have been justified by [Christ's] blood we shall be saved from [God's] wrath through Him (v.9).

God's love has to be immeasurable given that He sent His own Son to die for filthy sinners who were in their spiritually filthy state. Those who have accepted the free gift of cleansing and salvation that Jesus affords, will avoid the punishment intended for sinners, and enjoy that great love of God!

Psalm 15:1-5

Only those who obey God in everything and always do what is right, whose words are true and sincere, [will live on His holy hill] (v.2,GNB).

When His Beloved Son, Jesus, bore the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, the Father, Who hates sin, had to look away. He still will not tolerate unforgiven, uncleansed sin where He dwells. That is why only those who are born again, whose every sin has been washed away in the blood of Jesus, will be allowed to join God in His heavenly and holy kingdom.

Proverbs 19:18, 19

Discipline your children while they are young enough to learn. If you don't, you are helping them destroy themselves (v.18,GNB).

God has spoken. Dr. Spock made a huge impact on parenting methods by suggesting that spanking a child would warp his character. His own son committed suicide, which we can assume was punishment for Spock for daring to contradict God. If we obey in all situations we can expect His help in those situations.

If someone has a hot temper, let him take the consequences. If you get him out of trouble once, you will have to do it again (v.19,GNB).

To be 'tolerant 'of a person who often loses their temper is to invite him / her to carry with their hotheaded behaviour. That does not work. We do well to do things God's way!

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Devotion Thoughts - 18/07/2011

1 Chronicles 26:12-32. 1 Chronicles 27:1-34

Among ... the divisions of the porters, even among the chief men ... [vied to be doorkeepers who ministered] in the house of the LORD. (26:12).

There is honour in any service done for the Lord! The chief men vied with their people for the privilege of being a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord when it was their tribe's turn to minister. David put it like this:

'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).

Sound advice to follow!

No amount of gain - socially, materially, etc - can ever be as blessed as the lowliest service done for the Lord.

If you are not presently involved in some form of service (usher, secretary, mowing the church lawns, etc) then consider taking on some form of service for the Lord.

Romans 4:13-25. Romans 5:1-5

'... being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ' (5:1).

What a relief when we know that we are right with the Almighty God Who holds the power of life and death over us! By His mercy He has made a way for us to be cleansed of sin through His Son, Jesus Christ. All it takes is for us to have faith in Jesus, trusting in Him alone for cleansing from sin. How will we know we are right with God? When we accept Jesus as our Saviour The Holy Spirit of God enters our hearts and brings with Him God's unmistakable peace.

Psalm 14:1-7

But [sinners] will be terrified, for God is [only] with those who obey him (v.7:GNB).

'Sinners' includes fools who do not believe in God. Because sinners do not have the presence of God in their lives they are not sure what to expect after death. Even those who don't believe in God feel uncertainty when death approaches. Only Believers will experience peace with God (Romans 5:1).

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Bible Poetry: Proverbs 19:16

Proverbs 19:16

Obey the Lord's teachings and you will live-- disobey and you will die (v.16,CEV).

The Lord's teachings are clearly set out in the Bible. The verse reminds us that they are there to be obeyed - if we want to live {in heaven with Him] forever. Those who choose to ignore God's unchangeable word and teach what He opposed will die [spiritually, that is, be separated from God forever in eternity].

'Obey the Lord if you would live
and garner all that He can give.
But if His teachings you defy,
you'll never live with Him on high!'

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Devotion Thoughts - 17/07/2011

1 Chronicles 24:1-31

David distributed ... according to their offices in their service (24:3).

The ordering of the worship was strictly set out according to the availability and ability of those chosen for the ministry. The ministry is not something just anyone could do. Jeroboam, first king of the northern kingdom (Israel), and not God, appointed 'priests' with no ministerial credibility in God's eyes; the result was that idol worship was the norm in Israel (1 Kings 12:31).

Unfortunately, there are many today for whom service in the church is a career and not a calling, and are leading many astray. 'Ministers', without the Holy Spirit indwelling them to guide and teach them the true meaning of God's word, tend to teach what is contrary to the Bible. That is why John warns us to beware of evil spirits (1 John 4:1); they lead astray Bible 'teachers' who are not born again. Believers, having the Holy Spirit in their hearts, know the truth which has set them free (John 8:32).

1 Chronicles 25:1-31

The sons of Asaph ... prophesied ... (25.2) ... the sons of Jeduthun ... prophesied with a harp ... [and] gave thanks and to praise the LORD.... (25:3) ... with music and song and ... with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God ... (25:6).

Many and varied were the ministries, with music providing a very important ministry that enhanced the worship of God. It's going to be quite something to hear the angel Gabriel tootin' his horn (trumpet)!

1 Chronicles 26:1-11

Concerning the divisions of the porters ... (26:1)... they were mighty men of valour....(26:6) ... strong men (26:7) ... able men for strength for the service (26:8).

Those chosen to serve God as porters had to be good men 'of valour' who had the strength for the moving of the equipment used in worship. That they are named shows that this was not merely a task for lesser men; it was important work! In fact, all work for God is important! We must rejoice in whatever service we can render for our loving God!

Romans 4:1-12

You cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in Him (v.5,CEV).

Some religions teach that you must be busy doing things for God so that He will accept you into His kingdom. Clearly, this is not what the Bible teaches, as in 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us (Titus 3:5). If we were able to 'earn' credits with service for God, we would have Him in our debt, and could use that against Him. But He owes us nothing, and we can never expect to hold anything over God. Besides, who decides what service is acceptable to God? Us or God?
Just serve Him as a matter of course, and leave our rewards to Him.

Psalm 13:1-6

I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me (v.6).

In spite of the troubles that He is enduring, the psalmist ends his complaints with words of praise and an acknowledgment that, when all is said and done, The Lord has blessed him. Let us also count our many blessings and thank God for all He has done for us and all that He means to us.

Proverbs 19:15

Laziness brings on sleep, and an appetite for rest brings on hunger (v.15,ERV).

Paul must have had the following verse in mind when he wrote: '... this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat' (2 Thessalonians 3:10). The lesson is clear enough: God does not approve of idleness. Do as Jesus did Who said: 'I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work' (John 9:4).

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Devotion Thoughts - 16/07/2011

1 Chronicles 22:1-19 1 Chronicles 23:1-32

[The Levites were appointed] to praise and glorify the LORD every morning and every evening (23:30,GNB).

The worship of God must be a very disciplined matter. Almighty God must be first in all our thoughts and be consulted about all matters relating to our lives. Don't ever rush into each day with the thought that you have to 'get on with things'. Before ever we commence any daily activity, we must 'acknowledge Him in all our ways' (Proverbs 3:6) at the beginning of each day, then He will gladly 'direct our paths' through the day so that each day is well and efficiently used and brings us the most benefit. Do this, trust God, and you will be amazed at how much more you achieve in life, and be full of praise for God at the end of each day!

Romans 3:9-31

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one... (v.10).
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (v.23).

There is not one person who can claim to be righteous unless their sins have been washed away in the blood of Jesus Christ. The only people who will dwell in heaven are those who have confessed that they are sinners, asked God for forgiveness, and relied on the blood of Jesus sacrificed on Calvary to take all their sins away. Only then are they cleansed from sin so that God can indwell them (Revelation :14). But once God indwells us we do not 'come short' of having God's glory in our lives! The fulness of God will be in us, enabling us to live powerful God-honouring lives!

Psalm 12:1-8

The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted (v.8).

When corrupt individuals are praised then more and more sinners will be encouraged to parade their sinful lifestyles for all the world to see. By God's grace, true Believers have His power within them so that they do not practise sinful behaviour.

Proverbs 19:13-14

Stupid children can bring their parents to ruin. A nagging wife is like water going drip-drip-drip (v.13,GNB).

You may inherit all you own from your parents, but a sensible wife is a gift from the LORD (v.14,CEV).

A sensible wife is a great blessing for what she brings to the union helps when there are no worthwhile material blessings. Never fail to give thanks to God if you have a sensible wife! God's favour is on you!

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Bible Poetry: Proverbs 18:14-15

Proverbs 18:14-15

Being cheerful helps when we are sick, but nothing helps when we give up (v.14,CEV).

If, when we are sickly, we still give a smile,
we will feel much better within a short while;
but if we feel hopeless, and think all is lost,
then nothing will help us no matter the cost.

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge (v.15,ESV).

Those who know seek more to 'know',
and listen, that their 'know' can grow!

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Bible Poetry: Psalm 3:1-8

Psalm 3:1-8

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. (v.3).

What wonderful peace David enjoyed because of his faith in God. Even when his world was in turmoil, with his own son, Absalom, trying to kill him, David saw his God as a protector (shield), as someone to worship for the great glory in Himself, and One Who can lift up Believers when they are feeling down.

My glorious God is my Protector;
when I'm down He lifts me up;
He alone has earned my worship;
He alone can fill my cup!

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Devotion Thoughts - 05/07/2011

1 Chronicles 1:1-54. 1 Chronicles 2:1-17

'Adam, Sheth, Enosh ... (1.1) ... [to] ... David ...' (2.15).

This is part of the genealogy of Jesus from Adam to King David. Because the genealogical records of the Jews were destroyed when Titus conquered Jerusalem in 70 A.D., there is no certainty about who the descendants of Aaron are who had the responsibility for offering the sacrifices on behalf of the people. But the genealogy of Jesus, a descendant of King David, is known. In place of the Temple sacrifices annually on the Day of the Atonement, Jesus was sacrificed on a cross on Calvary's hill, a sacrifice that is totally efficacious forever for every Believer. Never again does a sacrifice have to be made for atonement for sin!

Acts 23:11-35

'... the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome' (v.11).

God had a plan for Paul's life, just as He has for every Believer. To be a winner in God's plan we must surrender our plans and wills to Him. Of course He might choose to use our plans, but He is just as likely to set us off in a whole new direction. That is why we must not insist in God using 'our' plans. In the long term, the benefits from serving God are far greater than what we, with our limited resources, can gain by our efforts.

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Bible Poetry: Proverbs 17:27-28

Proverbs 17:27-28
Intelligent people choose their words carefully. Those who know what they are doing remain calm. (v.27,ERV). Silent fools seem wise. They say nothing and appear to be smart. (v.28,ERV).

If we choose our words with care
and we never rant nor swear,
we will be considered as intelligent;
if we do not have much brain
but from talking we refrain
we will still seem wise of purpose and intent!

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Devotion Thoughts - 25/06/2011

2 Kings 9:14-37. 2 Kings 10:1-31
The LORD said to Jehu, "You have done well. ... You destroyed Ahab's family the way I wanted you to... " (10:30)...But Jehu was not careful to follow the law of the LORD with all his heart. Jehu did not stop committing the sins of Jeroboam that caused Israel to sin. (10:31). (ERV).

Ahab's dynasty started with murder and the usurping of the throne of Israel, and ended the same way, with Jehu wiping out Ahab's family. Ahab's family murdered the Lord's servants (9:7), and made the deliberate choice to be idol worshippers. God saw that there was no point in allowing them to continue in their evil ways.

Acts 17:1-34
God began by making one man, and from him he made all the different people who live everywhere in the world. He decided exactly when and where they would live (v26,ERV).
It is through him that we are able to live, to do what we do, and to be who we are. ...'We all come from him.' (v.28,ERV).

Having created us, God has a right to use us as He sees fit. It is up to each individual to realise this, and to make the most of the situation. Having given us His Word for our guidance, it pays us to get to know what He wants of us and to fit in with Him. And to those who give Him their all He gives His best - eternal life with Him in the wonderful new heaven and earth that will replace the spoiled earth we currently live in.

Psalm 144:1-15
LORD, why are people important to you? Why do you even notice us? (v3,ERV).

Those are interesting questions. As we read through the Bible we find the answer very simple: God made us because He wants to have fellowship with us. But because of Satan the serpent, Adam and Eve were enticed into sin, a condition inherited by their descendants, all of mankind. A holy God does not fellowship with unholy people, so God made a plan by which we can become holy: believe in Jesus for salvation and cleansing. Forgiven sins are gone forever, making us holy, and enabling God to fellowship with us. That is why we are important to Him!

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