Monthly Archives: September 2011

Psalm 139:17

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!

There are many passages that tell us that God’s thoughts are not like our thoughts. When we recognize this we are challenged to match our logic to the Scripture. Many times our “common sense” doesn’t line up, so we need to seek after the wisdom of God in the Bible. The Psalmist reminds us that we don’t get God’s thoughts intuitively – we need to constantly be in the Scripture so that our mind is renewed by the washing of the water of the word.

James 1:9-10

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation-since they will pass away like a wild flower.

There are no class systems in the Kingdom of heaven, for the gospel brings down the elite and brings up the poor. It seems that God uses those of humble means to teach those with wealth. When people think that they are too busy to get involved with the Kingdom of God, learn from the poor, for the poor have a greater freedom to serve the Lord than those encumbered with the responsibilities that wealth brings. This is the greatness of the gospel – it empowers the humble and humbles the empowered.

Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

The mystery of Jesus is great – He is fully God and fully man. His Divinity has the power to deliver us, His humanity brings Him to our side when we need His help. Because Jesus experienced the same suffering that we do when we face temptation, He is aware of the anxiety and fear that we face. Therefore run to Jesus when you are tempted – for He has the power and the compassion to help.

John 8:12

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Following Jesus is more than a prayer – it is a way to see everything around us, for Jesus identifies Himself as the way to perceive our world and the world to come. There is life that comes out of His light, and that life leads us away from activities that we want to hide, and compels us to live in such a way that God uses us to bring His light to others.

Psalm 122:6-7

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”

Many scholars would say that this psalm was written to be sung as pilgrims would come into the temple in Jerusalem. It was a way to prepare the hearts of those who were coming to offer sacrifices to God. For those who are followers of Christ, we recognize that the sacrifice has been made once for all. We are free from the need to bring an animal to be slaughtered in our place for our sins. But when we come into the living temple of God’s people, the church, do we pray for it’s peace? Do we ask God to use our gatherings to be a citadel of security for the broken, the hurting, the pilgrim? This passage is rightly used to continue to pray for Jerusalem, but there is a “Jerusalem” that we should be a part of – a local church. Pray for your church today, and if you don’t attend a community, may this Psalm become your guide as you start your pilgrimage to find one.

1 Corinthians 14:36

Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?

The Corinthians felt that they had exclusive insight into the truth of the Bible. As a result, most of this letter is filled with rebukes for a church filled with pride and sin. It is imperative to realize that there are people who call upon the name of the Lord yet live out their faith in markedly differently fashions. Some are more liturgical, others more informal, but all are expressing their love for God. So remember Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians, for it will keep you from isolating yourself and judging others who are your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Proverbs 21:1

In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.

There has been much talk recently about the role of religion in government, but this proverb reminds us that no matter what government we are under, God has the reigns of those in power. As Christians we are to be politically engaged, but if you are willing to view your agendas through the lens that God is in charge, you can rejoice in God no matter who is in office.

Matthew 7:21 (NIV)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Jesus challenges His listeners to understand that not every person who uses Christian language is actually a follower of Christ. This means that Christianity is not based upon a magic set of words, but the visible results of a transformed life. So don’t mistake the ease of heartfelt words with the greater challenge of losing our lives to gain Christ’s life in us. The cross stands as the dividing line into the kingdom of heaven.

Lamentations 3:22-23

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.

In the midst of Jeremiah’s lamentation over the sin of Israel, he proclaims God’s faithfulness. God’s wrath also holds his mercy; God’s judgments contain His compassion. Though you may be going through a tough time, you have not been consumed. So take the time to recognize God’s faithfulness, for His compassion is new every morning.

Obadiah 1:11

On the day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.

The book of Obadiah was a scathing rebuke to the tribe of Edom for taking advantage of their relatives in Israel. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, who was the brother of Jacob. How did the Edomites take advantage of Israel? By doing nothing while Israel was being attacked, then pillaging them while they were weak. Obadiah reminds us that there are brothers and sisters all around us who need our help. Apathy or the exploitation of others weaknesses is not an option in the eyes of God.