Psalm 1:1-3

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Psalm 1:1-3

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

What does it mean to be blessed or to have a blessed life?  What is it saying when we read the Bible and see blessed is the man, blessed is he or however the term, blessed is used.  We will be looking at Psalm 1 verses 1-3, which will shed some light and answer this question.

 Introduction:

When we discuss the whole book of containing all the Psalms, we call this the psalter.  Old Testament, is comprised of 39 books which were broken into 5 sections dividing the Word of God into books pertaining to their use.  The first 5 books were what is known as the Pentateuch.  The Pentateuch contains Genesis, Exodus, Levitcus Numbers and Deuteronomy.  The focus of these books, also called the Law, was exactly that.  It was the Laws that God gave His people through the writing of Moses.  The next section was known as the 12 books of History.  Following this would be the 5 books of poetry, wisdom and praise.  The next 5 books were the Major Prophets and winding the Old Testament up with the Minor Prophets in the final 12 books.

With a short look at the history of the Old Testament, we have a picture of how these books play into the history of God and His people.  If we look at the books that make up the Psalms, or the Psalter, they are characterized as Poetic but we see all the different types of genres of literature in the Bible.  Such as Historical Narrative, Gospel, Apocalyptic, Epistle, Prophecy, Psalms and the Law.  We will see that the Psalter is divided into 5 different books.

  1. The Book of Psalms is then subdivided into five smaller books:
  2. Book I: 1-41 David’s conflict with Saul 1-41
  3. Book II: 42-72 David’s kingship 42-72
  4. Book III: 73-89 The Assyrian crisis 73-89
  5. Book IV: 90-106 Introspection about the destruction of the temple and the Exile 90-106
  6. Book V: 107-150 Praise and Reflection on the Return and the new era 107-150

 

Since we are looking at a portion of Psalm 1, we should get a general idea about the whole book and its characteristics.  We know that there are 150 books in the Psalms written by David, Moses, Solomon, the sons of Korah, sons of Asaph, Ethan and Ezrahite as well as several other authors who are unknown.

While praise and prayer characterize the Psalms as a whole, they may be categorized as: Praise Historical, Relational, Imprecatory, Penitential, and Messianic.

Psalms are written as poems, songs, expression of worship, prayer and praise.  Psalms serve as doxological writings which are to give God praise and there are praises to God in the end of each Psalm. By reading the Psalms, we begin to see the true perfections of God.

The Theological Principle of Psalms: The Lord, who sovereignly rules the universe, will establish His just rule on the earth in and through his people whereupon the righteous will prosper and the wicked will suffer.  Psalm 1 is the preview of this truth.

Vs. 1.  The Word of the Wicked

What we see here in the very first Psalm is the contrast between the righteous and the wicked.  The Psalmist writes this to show the cause and effect of following and not following God’s will.  It is interesting the note here that in the Hebrew text, the first word in this Psalm is asher which begins with “a” meaning happy and it finishes with the last word “tobed” which begins with the letter “t” meaning perish being the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet. This style of writing is called an Acrostic.  So we see the style of the writer here who writes with some organization with respect to the alphabet order also apparent in the meaning of the words which begins with a positive note of blessed to a negative note of one perishing.

Psalm 1, is the beginning of the Psalter but it was not the first Psalm written.  The first actual Psalm ever written was by Moses, Psalm 90.  Some scholars say this took place while Moses was in the wilderness during the 40 years.  It is also the only Psalm attributed to Moses.  But as it was developed, the Psalms were structured with some sort of organization by a thematic system.  The first 2 Psalms are in Book 1 and these 2 directly are in tune with the righteousness of God.  We will look at Psalm 1.  This Psalm is a Psalm of wisdom.

Let’s look at the first verse.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

The first word, asher, has a meaning of happiness or blessedness.  This is used as a particle to describe the man or subject in the phrase.  This describes the man as being happy or having blessing.  We must ask ourselves, what is the author trying to communicate to us?  We must always ask ourselves, the what and the why.  So why is the man blessed?  It says that the man is blessed who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.  We will see why he is blessed as we unpack this verse.

What is the counsel of the wicked?  The word counsel carries the meaning of advice or counsel.  But we need to dig deeper here to fully understand what the intent is.  The counsel here is telling of what advice one receives such as anything that will have influence on that person.  Prov. 12:15 says that a wise man listens to counsel.  Prov. 19:20 says listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.  So when we say counsel we automatically assume it means wisdom is found in counsel.  This verse says that the blessed man does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, meaning that the blessed man is to steer clear of the advice of the wicked.

The blessed man should never seek counsel from the wicked.  The wicked described here are those who do not know God and are living by their own worldly standards.  The wretched society outside of the kingdom of God cannot produce anything that is advantageous to a follower of God.  Their advice would be full of ungodly and sinful lusts which they believe brings them happiness.  The only advice or counsel that can come from the ungodly will lead to destruction.

Man, is blessed by not adhering to any advice given by the wicked.  This is a visual concept we have here is of anyone not listening or plugging their ears but more so that it is ignoring or a flat out disassociation with anyone who is not walking with the Lord.  Anyone outside of the kingdom should not have a place with us if we are seeking wisdom.

The wicked mentioned here describes the idea of something loose and unstable without restraints.  When it is said as being loose, it refers to someone with no morals or no boundaries of morality.  There is nothing that keeps them in line.  Therefore, the wicked are doing whatever they feel openly and freely.  There are no guilty feelings.  This behavior is direct rebellion against God.  No just lost souls but those who hate God and openly shake their fists at Him.

The only counsel we walk in should be found only in the Word of God or those who are walking with God.  God has given us His Word in order for us to walk uprightly and to bring Him honor and glory.  Walking or proceeding in the advice from the ungodly will only lead to misery, robbing us of any blessing or happiness we once had in close fellowship with God.

The text continues by saying that the blessed man does not stand in the path of sinners.  First we had “walk” now we have “stand”.  What does this mean?  There seems to be a progression of action here.  Walking now standing?  Stand here in the Hebrew is “amad” simply meaning stand firmly.  It is good to note here the progression as we looked at before.  The walk has turned into a stand, a firm stance.  We see that influence ungodly counsel.  We see as one walks in the poor counsel that was given and received, the behavior or natural tendency is to stand firmly in the path of sinners.  One has begun to show the traits of a sinner by taking the wicked counsel and developing patterns and habits of a sinner.

The path spoken of here is defined as the way, the road or the journey.  The wicked counsel has caused the believer to first walk then to stand in the path or way of the sinner.  The believer is on the same road as the wicked sinner.  Their conduct, behavior and habits are being modeled after the wicked.  They went from thinking like the world by taking worldly advice to the point they are now appearing like the world.

The adjective sinner describes the one who has gone against God, gone wrong, missing the goal or the target.  The target that is missed is belief in God and following His way.  Sinners are those who refuse to acknowledge God and the work of Christ that ensures all believers salvation and righteousness added to their account.  It is a conscious decision that sinners have made to act in regression and rebellion against God.

Now we see the progression has now matured into sitting in the seat of the scornful.  Walking, standing and now sitting.  The use of sitting here describes as one who sits, who dwells, to remain to stay or to tarry.  A sense of comfort has taken place in the believer’s mind.  There is a sense of contentment.

Pastoral Comment:  As we see today in many or most churches, is a complacency a status quo by so the believers.  As the world continues to spiral out of control with the loss of most all morality, believers are caving into what the world deems as the truth.  Post modernism has crept into churches and filled the minds of church goer producing a tolerant, weak, all-inclusive mentality that works in the world but does it fit with God’s Word?

The word scoffer tells of one who mocks, derides, one who scorns.  Truly, we see the one who is constantly complaining about God and His ways.  It is not only a verbal rejection but an outward display of their life filled with hate and anger.  These are those that we may encounter as believers, who ridicule our beliefs by way of comments or actions. This scoffer is the one who is drowning in their own misery but refuse to leave it by following Christ.  They love their sin so much they would rather live with so much misery and hate towards a God who loves them, then turn away from their sins and place their faith in Christ and be filled with joy and peace.

This shows us the true digression of a believer.  If we do not guard ourselves continually, we can be influenced by the world and the wickedness in it.  We must stay in the Word of God to be able to defend ourselves for the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:11).  We have all we need in His Word to equip ourselves against the world system.  It begins with the mind.  We must protect what we put in it.  We must be reading the right things.  We must be watching the right things.  We must be in fellowship with the right people.  Believers cannot associate for any length of time with unbelievers.  We must reach out to them to fill the Great Commission but we but we need to have safe limits.  What we put in our hearts reaches our hearts.  From the heart, we then act.  If our minds are filled with wicked counsel, we will be filled in our hearts with sinful intentions which we will play out in wicked and evil actions or behavior.  Walking pertains to our minds, standing pertains to our hearts and sitting pertains to our feet or how the pattern manifests itself.

Ephesians 4:17-19 is laid out in parallel and perfect sync with Psalm 1:1.

So, what can we do to possibly avoid this scenario from happening to our own walk with God?  The only wise counsel comes from God’s Word.  We see exactly how one can protect themselves from this pathway of destruction and misery.  Now we can see why he is blessed.

 Vs. 2 The Word of God

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

In verse 2, we see that “his delight is in the law of the Lord”. The word delight also has the meaning of taking delight in, desiring, longing, taking good pleasure in.  God’s children are marked by their desire to learn more and more about God each day.  There should be a hunger being naturally developed in all believers.  This longing only takes place as they are in the Law of the Lord.  The Law of the Lord spoken of here is speaking about the torah which in Hebrew means Law.  The torah is the Word of God.  It was used for instruction and teaching of the Laws of God which are used to guide men by the authoritative principals found within God’s Word.

We know that the Bible is God’s Word.  God inspired writers by the ministry of the Holy Spirit to pen His Words to be given to man.  These words were God breathed, theopnuestos.  All Scripture is insured by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16).  It is our delight that is found when we are engaged in the law of the Lord or the Word of God.  Godliness is a standard that cannot be made by man but it must be the standard that God had revealed to us that we only find in His Word.

Establishing the hunger or delight for His Word can only be done by having the self-discipline to do so.  Having someone who can disciple you is priceless.  The church leader is responsible for the overall care for the flock and it is his duty to feed the flock with God’s Word.  Teaching God’s Word allows the sheep to grow.  Poor instruction, preaching and teaching will keep the flock immature, starving and malnourished.  Just as human life, spiritual growth requires the same necessities.

The word for meditate is hagah.  This verb has a meaning of someone groaning or moaning.  Uttering under their breath.  It is a process of the repetition of an idea over and over again almost talking out loud the point.  We must meditate just as this has been described.  In this prescription, it also gives us the time frame we should be meditating on God’s Word.  Looks to me as twice a day.  Day and night.  Is this a few minutes in the morning and at night?  I believe it is instructing us to meditate all day and all night if possible.  It takes the idea of taking every last drop of truth for each passage of God’s Word.  As a cow chewing cud.  Cows have four stomachs and when they chew whatever they are eating, they transfer the food from each stomach so to fully digest every last drop of nutrition from the cud.  If we meditated on a passage all day and night till we laid down to sleep, the idea of what God’s Word told us would take on a clearer dynamic and have a long and lasting impact on our lives.  Our delight would only grow and our devotion to Him would deepen. We need to approach the study of God’s Word in the same sense as the digestion process of a cow.  Meditate on it as Joshua said:

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.  Joshua. 1:8

 Vs. 3 The Word of Life

 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

 

He is like a tree.  The view of a Christian is given here as being like a tree.  The tree is a metaphor for the walk of a believer.  Think for a minute the characteristics of a tree.  The tree symbolizes stability.  But what is interesting here is that the writer uses the symbol of a tree.  Why?  He does so because the terrain of Israel was rugged and rocky, the tree symbolizes life and a blessing.  Jeremiah 17:5-8 gives an almost exact rendering of this picture of a tree telling of it physical strength where it draws its life giving source from the streams that flow beside it.  Trees are slow growing and in this slow growth, its structure becomes solid and the foundation is set in deep rooting.  Plants are frail and do not have deep strong roots such as a tree and grow fast and are short lived.  Illustrating the growth of Christian using the tree, we can develop a mental image of strength, vigor and growth.

Firmly planted by streams of water that produce fruit in its season.  The word planted in Hebrew is shatal and is translated as transplanted.  The proper rendering of shatal should be transplanted.  Planted does not exhibit the true nature of Christians but transplanted does.  Being transplanted gives a greater detail of something that was once in a specific place being uprooted and transferred to another more desirable place.  This is exactly what happens in salvation.  We were once occupying a dead empty non-fruitful environment but when we came to faith God, by His grace, He transplanted us to an environment, which is in Christ that is more adequate for strength, growth and fruitfulness.  In Christ, we have all we need for growth, He is our strength and the fruits we display are of Him by way of growing in submission, obedience and the knowledge of His Word.  If there is root there will be fruit.  Being firmly planted in Christ is like the tree by the streams firmly planted and growing deeper and deeper only producing rich and plentiful fruit.

We can see the fruits of the Spirit in Galatian 5:23.  It is an impossibility that the fruits of the Spirit can be replicated by our own abilities.  As Christians we should be displaying these fruits naturally.  Just as any fruit bearing plat, complete dependency on the nutrients is the only way the fruit can grow or even be produced.

Using an agriculture illustration.  Fruit bearing plants require water and nutrients to produce fruit.  In the case of a Christian, the nutrients or fertilizer and water is the Word of God.  No tree can even survive without water and nutrients.  Neither can a Christian survive without the Word of God.  If the fruit bearing tree receives ample amount of nutrients it grows and produces fruit just as the Christian.  With proper nutrients trees can fend off attacks from insects and diseases and are able to weather bad climate changes.  The well fed Christian can also do the same when they are experiencing adversities in their life.  The Word of God gives strength and ability to overcome bad circumstances just as a well fed tree.  The fruit of a well fed Christian will grow greater and will be able to be seen by those around them.  This is the character of Christ on display.  The key to the fruit is the root and the nutrients which is God’s Word.  Concerning the fruit, the tree does not bear fruit for itself.  It produces fruit for others.

John 15:1-7 describes God as the vinedresser, Jesus as the vine and believers as the branches.  This illustration tells of how God continues to prune and trim away branches so the vine is producing good fruit.  The branches that are not producing fruit are then cut off and thrown away and burned.  Obedience to Christ results in fruit bearing.  Those who do not will not produce fruit.

And its leaf does not wither.  Producing deep roots, producing fruit are signs of a healthy tree.  Saying that the leaf does not wither reaffirms the good health of a tree.  Leaves wither and fall off trees when the tree does not have adequate water and nutrients in the tree. The point being, the strength of the tree is shown here.  Trees often shed leaves from the older and weaker branches but this is done only to send the energy to the newer branches and leaves which will continue to produce fruit.

In that all he does he prospers.  Trusting in the Lord you are transplanted in Christ.  The Word is the nutrients and water that are required for growth.  All this is producing deep roots which produce good fruit.  The prosperity that is spoken of here does not intend that a Christian will always be prosperous but as the fruit is produced by season, so is the prosperity.  There are times that God will use circumstances that do not feel like prosperity and are painful.  There are seasons when we experience pain.  If we look back at the illustration Jesus gave us in John 15, we see that God does prune and trim and even cut off.  For a season, we may experience some pruning and it hurts.  But we need to keep our focus on what is happening and why it is happening.  No matter what we may be experiencing, no matter how tragic it may be, God is in control.  God is doing a work in us so that we may be able to glorify Him.  The prosperity comes not in the way of money or material things, that is not what is discussed here but the prosperity is our growth in Him.  As we grow we will experience the fruits of the Spirit.  This is joy in our lives.  Our healthy walk with Christ, our provisions being met by God, the joy that we have every day knowing one day we will be in glory worshipping Him, the opportunities we have to share the Good News to a lost soul, these are indicators of our prosperity.  It is not measured by material things.

 

 

Closing and Application:

-Psalm 1 verses 1-3 are packed with a treasury of truths in a Christian’s walk.  We see the awful effects of one who does not follow wise counsel.  There is a regression we see of falling back into the old sinful way of living and thinking leading to destruction and misery.

This is the pathway to destruction

 

 

-We see the pathway to joy and happiness.  Through careful study and mediation of God’s Word we can gain the wisdom that He has given by His Word.  We can align our prayers with His will.  We can draw a close and intimate communion with the Father.

This is the pathway to Joy and Happiness

 

 

-We see what a Christian life looks like.  The illustration of the tree shows us if we are properly feeding from God’s Word and drinking the water of the fresh streams we have been planted by, we will grow producing fruit and able to be witnesses for Christ.  Through the process of God’s pruning in our lives, we must be obedient and submissive to His work so that we can bear much fruit for others to see and enjoy, this is how Christians prosper in their lives.

This is the pathway to Life

Did He Really Say That?

adam-eve-evil-007

As Christians are warned against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11), we must be vigilant in our daily walk.  Satan does not have any new tricks up his sleeve nor has he devised any new ways of packaging his true time tested method to trick mankind and cause doubt in the mind causing him to fall into sin.  In the very beginning, God had created Adam and his duty was to take care of the garden (Gen. 2:15).  Adam was then told by God that he could eat of any tree in the garden.  In the garden Adam had the run of the whole garden or orchard, as it is also translated, to eat from, except for one tree.  In the garden there was a very special tree that God told Adam that it was the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  God also gave a strict warning of what would transpire if Adam would eat from it (Gen. 2:17).  The severity of disobeying God’s command not to eat from the tree of knowledge would result in death.

After sometime, God had realized that Adam needed a helper and He saw that man was alone and that was not good (Gen 2:18).  It was not that God made a mistake but for the first time in the Genesis or “beginning” of creation where God said something that was not good.  All He had created up to that point He labeled as “good.”  God had brought every living thing to Adam so he could name them.  During this process, God realized that out of all the animals created none were suitable to be his helper, sorry dog owners (Gen. 2:20).  So God created woman out of man to be his suitable helper.  Eventually, he names her Eve.  In the original language her name is really “hghawah” (חַוָּ֑ה), but Eve was possibly changed from the original since the ease of pronunciation.

In the time leading up to the fall, Adam and Eve roamed the garden as they pleased and ate from every tree in the garden, except the tree of knowledge. Although it is not written, we can deduce that Adam must have told Eve about the tree of knowledge and the seriousness of the consequences that would follow if they ate from the tree.  Maybe even telling her if she even touched it she would die.  Some scholars have said the time that passed from the creation of Adam and Eve is to have been about (2) years.  I am nowhere smart enough to figure this out but there was sometime where they both cohabited in the garden, or orchard, leading up to the fall.

Now enter the serpent, the Satan possessed vehicle of choice, to carry out the one act that would impact the future of mankind.  As Scripture depicts, this serpent as “crafty” as any of the other beasts of the field (Gen 3:1).  The Hebrew adjective text that describes the serpent is “arum” which has meaning of subtle, shrewd, crafty, sly, and sensible.  All the traits of a deceiver, a liar and a manipulator.  Is Satan any different today?  He still operates within these boundaries to achieve the same results.  When the serpent approached Eve, he went to his old faithful trick of deception.  He asks her; “indeed has God said you shall not eat from the tree?”(Gen. 3:1).  Typical Satan Mode of Action, take something and twist it so that you may call it into question and “doubt” it.  Oldest trick but it works.  God never told Eve not to eat from the tree but He told Adam so Satan knew that so he uses that against her to cause doubt.  She only heard it from Adam and not from God and that is what got her mind working to develop her own conclusion that “God never told me that..”

Satan contuse to cause doubt and confusion and even starts to entice her by asking doesn’t she want her eyes to be open and be like God, knowing good from evil (Gen. 3:4)?  Where was Adam during all this?  We always get the idea that Adam was nowhere to be found until she offered him the fruit as if she went out of way to find him.  Well, Scripture tells us that Adam was right there with Eve.  When the serpent said “you” in this passage, he was referring to more than one person.  It is the use of the second person masculine plural having the meaning of more than one “you”.  Since there were only (2) people created at this time and the serpent was addressing more than one person then we can deduce that Adam was there the whole time of the temptation right alongside with Eve buying into the lie.  As Adam never intervened at any point to stop the serpent.  She then ate of the fruit and gave it also to Adam and he was as guilty as her.

The rest as you know, lead to the judgement from God upon all the human race.  But why didn’t Adam speak up?  Why didn’t he put his foot down and say anything?  Sadly, Adam wanted what the serpent was peddling.  He wanted to be like God as well as Eve.  It is the same exact way Satan draws people into the prosperity Gospel or any false heretical following today.  These followers are buying into what these false preachers are peddling because they want what they are selling.  They want their lie.  These people are not poor ignorant fools but they have been misguided into a belief system that “their best life is now.”  Satan knows the buttons to press to entice us into false beliefs which stem from our selfish and prideful desires.

So what do we learn from all of this?  We see clearly that Satan is at war with God and is using souls to try to win this war.  We must be vigilant all day all the time to keep focused on not falling for the temptations from Satan.  He is a liar and a deceiver.  He twists things ever so subtly that it can be missed and then you fall.  The seeds of doubt cultivated like crops in a field quickly grow into transgressions.  After these seeds of doubt have been planted in your mind, then we begin to justify it in our finite minds and enter into sin.  We need to first, build hedges to protect us from the seeds being panted to begin with.  Secondly, we need to identify when seeds of deception have been planted into our minds and root them out and rid them far from our minds.  It is a progressive task that we should be keeping in the Word of God daily and in diligent prayer.  The purity of our heart begins with the purity of our mind and what we are putting in it.

I would hope that you will not fall for the traps that Satan and his minions set out for us daily in all areas of our lives in the people we speak to and more so the social networks and other media outlets which Satan has cunningly managed to use for his agenda.  This is where Satan is really putting his efforts in and is doing it with great success.  Our society is operating on the basis of the platform of postmodernism which advocates tolerance, inclusivity and acceptance to everyone’s self-belief.  Satan wants no more than for every person to not believe in an absolute truth.  We must guard ourselves prudently and with conviction against the snares of the devil.

Please pray for other brothers and sisters that they may stay in the light of the truth written in Scripture of God’s Word.

 

In Christ <><

 

 

Under the Influence

Homeless

As I drive in LA, I see so many homeless people and lost and it makes me wonder if these people are under the influence of drugs, alcohol or demons.  Most are suffering from substance abuse  or illnesses brought upon themselves by the consequences of sinful behavior which ended up as addiction finally to have destroyed the brain and physiology of the body.  For almost a year now, I have been seeing these people.  Most are all talking to themselves and keeping conversations as if they are talking to somebody we cannot see.

This lead me to think deeper of what is really happening here.  Is this mental illness or some sort of demonic possession or control.  Being a Christian, I have to eliminate the obvious, mental illness.  I do not believe in the psychological communities development of illnesses that each of the several camps, whom all have different views on theories of illnesses, have come up with over the last few decades.  Although, I do feel that there are organic developments that effect the brain and other functions of the body that might cause the reaction of some of the psychological illnesses they proclaim.  So what is left?  Demonic possession and control.  The Bible says that we are to be sober minded, alert and under self-control (1 Peter 1:13, 1 Peter 5:8, Titus 2:6).  In 1 Peter 5:8, it even states that the devil, our adversary, is like a roaring lion seeking or on the prowl, looking for who he can devour.

My fascination with what I am seeing lead me to start watching videos of people under the influence of drugs to get a grasp of their actions so I may see a direct correlation to the bizarre behavior I see daily.  As I sat in shock as I was watching many videos of addicts on a wide assortment of drugs displaying some really bizarre behavior, it started to make sense to me and it was like a flood gate rushing in my head.

I will begin by using alcohol as my starting point.  Seems harmless compared to heroine right?  Think again.  When you drink a beer of a glass of wine, the alcohol begins to work in your brain.  It begins to make you feel relaxed, which is a top excuse for drinkers anyway but that is the moment where you lower your inhibitions.  It may not lead to a night of drinking till the wee hours of the morning but your mind has been compromised.  Your guard has been let down.  Your judgement is impaired to make proper decision especially godly decisions.  As Peter wrote, you must be sober minded.  This is an imperative that needs attention.  Be focused at all times.  We must protect our minds.  One little slip and your well on your way to so bad decision making which is driven by your pride.  Once pride takes over your mind there is no room for Biblical thinking and all the actions that we are supposed to bring honor and glory to God shifts positions and then we become the center of our focus and attention.

So I am putting this together and it occurs to me that as the consumption of alcohol and or drugs increases, there is an effect that is in direct proportion that the more you use the more your inhibitions are lowered.  Once the person has reached addiction, they have thrown almost all cares to the wind and their selfish addiction or habit has become their desire and the only one.  They become slaves to whatever they have become addicted to.  That is the consequence of sin.  The damaging effects of alcohol and drugs goes hand in hand with demonic influence and possession.  Can a Christian become a victim to addiction?  I believe they can.  A consequence of sinful behavior.  But they cannot be demon possessed.  The Holy Spirit is dwelling in them and demons cannot occupy that space where God dwells.

With almost all inhibitions gone, they have opened up themselves to be invaded by the adversary and under the influences of demons.  The voices that they hear and the invisible people they talk to, I believe, are real.  It has been said countless times that it is an invisible war and the war is for the mind.  Sadly, they have become empty shells of human carcasses.  It is so disturbing to see this played out.  They cannot seek help because they are in bondage and under the influence of demons.  It is a debilitating process and looks like it is not slowing down.  With the introduction of new types of drugs like flakka, where people are just loosing total bodily control and basically turning into flesh eating zombies.  The devil is hard at work influencing the minds of people into destruction because he know that a time is coming where Christ will return and he is hard at work at taking away as many souls for the church body as he can.  Satan is so prideful, although he knows the Word of God, he does not believe it.

So the next time you are thinking a glass of wine or a beer or champagne won’t hurt?  You better weigh it out.  All it takes is one slip and your life can have really impactful ramifications.  Like taking your eyes of the road and sending a text or a tweet, only takes a second and you could be dead.

 

The devil is crafty in that the process takes time and you cannot see it happening.  It begins so subtle with a little enticing offer to let your guard down to taste it and you get away with it.  This process begins to build your case to justify your self-centered actions.  This holds true will all sinful actions.  You start believing the lie as it is planted in your head by media or the influence of lost acquaintances.  Then you justify it then you nurture it into action.  Then it becomes who you are.  You have bought into the oldest trick the devil has and that is deception.

Therefore, we must keep our minds clear and be sober minded.  We have an adversary who is like a lion, roaming the streets looking for who he can devour.  We need to paint that image in our heads that there is a lion loose on the streets looking to kill us.  It is a difficult thing to turn away from trying to satisfy your desires and fall for the temptations that might be laid in front of you daily.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”  We all go through the same temptations.  Nobody has special designed desires apart for anyone else but God is there and assists us with this in that we do not fall for the lies of the devil or our own prideful desires.  We have been given the truth.  Our Great God has developed a way of escape for us.  When tempted we need to run from sin and run to His Word and in prayer ask for the strength to overcome this temptation.  Any sinful act no matter how small is too much because it will eventually lead to the end and destruction.

 

In Christ <><

Comparatively Speaking

It is normal in today’s society to compare yourself among the others in the crowd.  Either by looks, material possessions, who you are associated with or color of your skin, there are criteria and worldly standards in which all are used to compare one another with. Christians today, have fallen into this trap to the point far greater than those in the last few generations.  As Christians see themselves far better than the lost in society, they have distanced themselves farther from those who need Christ the most.  Sadly, these Christians are isolating themselves within their own circles.  Comparing Christians to the Pharisees whom were the elite among God’s chosen race, most have taken on this persona and don’t even know it.  But speaking of comparison within the Christian community, Christians are building themselves up by comparing themselves up into this false sense accomplishment in a sort “one upping” one another by the exterior behavior they display.  They have taken from one from society’s page and have been comparing one another by their exterior actions, words and even fashion only to show that they indeed have not done as they expected by God in pleasing and bringing the honor that is deserved to Our Great Lord.

As I was reading Ephesians 4:1, I took into every word and meditated on them and it drew me to the conclusion that as Christians we have must maintain a higher standard than anything that can be approved by man or what society may deem as good and acceptable.  When Paul, wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 4, he said in the first few words “Therefore I, the prisoner of the LORD”, showing his position in relation to Jesus Christ.  The biggest issue today in Christianity is a wrong view of God and a wrong view of man.  You cannot bring God to man’s level nor can you take man up to God’s level.  As a Christian, you are basically  slave and have been bought for a price (1 Cor. 6:20).  You now belong to Christ, you are His captive prisoner.  The standard has been set by Him and how you are to handle yourself is in Scripture and there are no standards of which this world can ever claim that can be to the level God requires of His own.  The Bible dictates your position not the world.  Paul goes on and says that he “implores you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling”.  The Greek for the word for implore, is in the present tense and an imperative meaning, it is a command that action needs to be taken and needs to be taken seriously.  The imperative is not meant to be a suggestion nor an idea that you “should” do something but it is a direct order that God has demanded upon you to act on.  God’s design for your life is set in  Scripture and what is best for you has been delivered in the writings of His Word.

So what are you suppose to be taking seriously?  Your walk.  Apostle Paul continues in the verse saying how we are to conduct ourselves as Christians when he said “in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called”.  The worthy manner has to be an outward behavior that is pleasing to God on display for His glory.  It is your faith shown in times of good and times of trouble on display to the world.  The sole purpose is to show the world what Christ did on your behalf for your undeserved salvation by God’s grace.  It is not supposed to be a popularity contest but a master and slave type of relationship where your top priority in this life on earth is honoring God in all you do.

The calling which Paul described here is the calling for your salvation by God.  It is the predestination of those He has elected to be His.  He has predestined and called us before the foundations of the world (Eph. 1:4).  God called you for a reason and that is to bring Him glory.  Grasping the magnitude of this might be a challenge for our miniscule finite minds but if you can just imagine the undeserved love, mercy and grace that God extended to us who He calls His own, you might have a greater desire to shape your life in a fashion that allows God the receive all the glory and not ourselves.

This is this basis that all Christians are to be compared by, within the church body and in the world.  It is His standards that we Christians must all adhere to.  We are called to look at ourselves regularly to see if we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5), “Test yourselves {to see} if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?” 

Nothing that is man made holds any weight to the standards that The Creator, Our God Almighty desires for all of His own.

 

In Christ <><

He Died for Him

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Sunday will be celebrated as Easter throughout the world.  It has been on my mind what the whole process of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection really signify.  I know that it was for our salvation that the prophecies of these things had to come to fruition in order for God’s plan of redemption to be true.  But did Christ die just for us?

 

The plan of redemption from God was an ultimate sin sacrifice being made on our behalf.  Throughout the Old Testament we see the books of the Law, the “Torah”, or the Pentateuch, the 5 books, showing sacrificial systems to be implemented and practiced by the Jews for the atonement of sin.  The practice that sin carried a price and sacrifice was to cover that sin.  The Law dealt with every aspect of morality and life and the circumstances of judgement when these Laws were broken.  For the many years that passed until the arrival of Jesus, the Jews had taken these Laws and corrupted them by implementing their own spin on the Law in order to make themselves appear on the outside as holy and acceptable to God but on the inside they were full of dead men’s bones (Matt. 23:27).

 

God’s plan required a sacrifice of a pure lamb with no blemishes.  God sent His Son Jesus into the world and was the perfect man who knew no sin and was without blemish.  Jesus was tempted in all ways of man is but He did not fall to it as Adam did.  Romans 5:12, Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinnedSince Adam fell into sin, we have all inherited the sin curse and fallen away from God.  The sin requires a sacrifice and atonement of blood to be made on our behalf by the perfect sacrificial lamb.  2 Corinthians 5:21,   He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in HimChrist was made sin and carried the full weight of sin on our behalf.  He carried every man’s sin that has ever been committed and the sins to come.  Knowing and seeing this in its reality, we need to keep this in mind of why He went to the Cross.  He died for us who believe and repented of our sins.  The punishment that we deserve was placed upon Christ to bare for us.  This concept is alien to us and we cannot fully understand the magnitude of why Christ did this for you and I.

 

But He did not do it for us.  That is the outcome but Christ died for His Father.  Christ died to show His obedience to God.  Christ came to earth to save men not to judge (John 3:17).  He came down to do the will of His father who sent Him (John 6:38).  It is an act of pure submission and obedience that Christ went to the Cross and died.  When Christ said “why have you forsaken me”, shows for a glimpse how God turned His back on His Son who became sin for a moment having to be filled with the sin of the world.  God separated Himself from Christ because God hates sin and cannot even bare to look at it, so He turned away and inflicted the full weight of the judgement we all deserve upon Christ, His only Son.  And God so loved (John3:16).  He loves the ones who believe and repent of their sins that God made His Son, Christ, be the recipient of all the wrath God had for us.  Jesus did this for His Father and God’s plan for our redemption was then reality.

 

Resurrection Sunday, Jesus fulfills final prophecy and all the prophesies in the Old Testament concerning Christ were true.  As believers, we know the victory we have in knowing Christ defeated death at the Cross and the truth of His resurrection and we rejoice in this truth.  It is the plan of God to save His people and it was carried out by the obedience of His Son Jesus Christ who is still interceding to the Father for us (John 17).  He is doing all of this for His love to the Father and His love to those God gave him.  He is the Great Shepherd and we are His sheep.

 

He died for His Father and He died for you!

 

In Christ <><

Pray for Belgium

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Prayers to Brussels.  Many lost and even believers do not understand why God, who is a God of love, can allow these types of things to happen to innocent people.  There has to be an understanding of what God’s Word says about these violent crimes acted out in society.  The plain truth is that we live in a very broken and perverse world full of people who have turned their back on God from the very beginning.

 

The issue had started all the way back to the fall in the garden where Adam and Eve had fell for the deception of the devil or the “serpent”.  The fall caused man to be separated from God as the punishment for the rebellion Adam and Eve showed when they disobeyed God.  All they had to do was listen to God.  Inherently we have all been rendered as sinners to God suffering the consequences of sin resulting in separation from Him and judgement.  This separation has left us to our own way and judgement will reign on those who will not repent and come to Christ.  As much as we all have rebelled against God, we all deserve the penalty of death.  For the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23).   So the question is not why did these poor people die but why haven’t we died?

 

God has shown His patience for thousands of years.  He has shown His patience and love towards the nation of Israel over and over in the Old Testament by giving them every chance to repent of their sins and come to Him.  But as stubborn as they were and still are today, they refused Him and turned their backs on Him causing judgement to fall upon them.  The cycle over and over and over, again and again and again they sinned, God was patient, they continued to sin, God reigned judgement to them, they repented and they were restored only to get complacent and sin again starting the whole cycle again.

 

What we are seeing in today’s society is the result of a broken world careening to the edge of the cliff where God not only has taken the back seat but has been left out of the car completely.  There is no fear in God anymore since anyone can get away with blaspheming His Word, His Son and Himself without consequences visible.  God will not let this go unpunished and He will pour His wrath upon them when they are face to face in judgement.  God is being so patient with us that He is allowing all the evil to happen in hopes of bring as many people to Himself before the day of Jesus Christ.  There is a day coming that His offer will not be available anymore. 

 

Sad to say for those who have not repented nor believed at this point are at the hands of God in the day of judgement.  The current status of our world is no surprise for believers because as history tells us in the Bible, all this has happened before.  The future for Christians is bright and there is no worry because they know this is temporary and are just pilgrims passing through.  God has shown His love towards us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  How much does God have to show His love for those to believe?  He sent His only Son to die for us (John 3:16).  He made Him that knew no sin the become sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Christ was sent to die for all sinners and bear the weight of all their sins in order to show those who believe in Christ and repent will be made righteousness in Him. 

 

The sadness that fills our hearts with the current condition of all the evilness we see must not be take away for the truth that God is in control and loves us.  Man chose long ago that sin was more desirable than a perfect world God had offered.  We are seeing the story playing out as the God’s Word was written.  There is coming a day where all this evil will be put away in its final resting place, the lake of fire and those who are His will be in the new earth and new heavens where all is perfect and sin free.  We must maintain joy knowing that this evil world will pass and the peace and love that is to come is beyond anything our finite little minds can grasp.

 

Please pray for those in Belgium and pray that God will be glorified by those brother and sisters in Christ can show the love of God to those who are lost and to come by and support those in Christ.  As Christians we have everything to look forward to but the lost only have judgement to look forward to.  Pray!

 

In Christ <><

Whatchacallit?

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I do not know where to even start on the subject of today’s church situation.  There has always been clear boundaries set between all the many denominations that are present in today’s world of Christianity.  By ordinances, doctrine, soteriology or eschatology you name it there has always been differences.  It seems that in todays Christian world tolerance and inclusivity has made it’s way to the spotlight pulling what were once the clearly separated by denomination together into one “heretical” brand of church.

 

The homosexual movement has broken the foundations of many strongest denominations in America.  They have caved in and sold themselves out for the sake of tolerance and all inclusivism.  Churches are in fear of loosing tax free exemptions or just in fear of loosing money in the coffers by sticking to God’s Word and becoming offensive.  Many of the great theologians of the past would have been sickened by what has happened to the church’s today they shaped by the truth of God’s Word.  Was their life work all done in vain?  Many were executed for their stance on the biblical truths that they revealed.  Why did they die?  Was it for the damned sinners that are called out by Scripture to have God and continue to live in sin calling themselves Christians?  Hypocrisy in the church has always been there and is alive and well today but the practicing homosexual in the church pew is no different than a murderer.  If the homosexual will be involved in a sexual act after church or any day for that fact, it is no different than a murderer going to kill on Monday morning after going to church on Sunday is it?  Sin is sin and all have the power to condemn us all to hell but the church is saying it is approving this behavior that is not Biblical.  If the church has decided to make it’s own rules, as many denominations have, then they are going to feel the weight of God punishment and the poor souls who follow them will do so straight to judgement.

 

1 Timothy 1:8-10 says  But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 [a]and [b]immoral men [c]and homosexuals [d]and kidnappers [e]and liars [f]and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.  Is the church open to others that practice these above mentioned sins?  Of course, they all need to be saved but the movement behind the gay agenda has infected many churches and their point is that they are not going to stop the act of homosexuality but embrace it.  So how do homosexuals fit in today’s church?  If they are continually practicing homosexual acts they need to repent and stop practicing the act.  Can a kidnapper, murderer, and liars become a Christian?  Yes, if they stop and repent of their sin they are more than welcome into the church body.

 

The usual come back line from this group is “well, God is a God of love, He cannot hate homosexuals.”  You might be right but He does hate sin and condemn those who do not come to repentance of their sins.  The Old Testament was very graphic on God delivering His wrath to those who did not repent.  He is still the same God today and tomorrow.  But remember He loves perfectly and He hates perfectly.  He has to judge sin.  His wrath falls on those who do not repent.  He has been so patient with all of us and that is love.  He has the right to reign His judgement upon all of us now.  We all have sinned so badly against God and deserve full weight of His wrath.

 

But there is a way that any sinner, not just the homosexual but all sinners, can escape the impending wrath to come.  It is by repentance.  Christ died so that God would be glorified for His plan of salvation He made for us.  Romans 3:23-24 says “for all [m]have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”   I know that sinful behavior can be eliminated in anyone’s life with God.  I am an example of this.  So if you are struggling with sin in your life and have not repented and professed Christ as your Savior, then now is the time to get right with God.

 

I pray that anyone who is struggling with homosexuality comes to the realization that it is offensive to God and you will have to face Him in judgement.  Turn away my friend, find a good Bible believing, Bible teaching and Bible behaving church and seek assistance for anyone to help.  If you cannot find anyone or do not want to make that step into a church just yet, you can always contact me at godserv2015@gmail.com and I am here for you.

 

In Christ <><

Are You 2?

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There was a movement that came out a few years back putting emphasis on your position as a Christian.  I will not call it by name but they put the Christian in the second position and Christ in the number one position.  Although the point they are making is great and has done a good point in showing that Christ is number 1 in your life and it is a correct outlook but who is next after Christ in their view does not seem to be enough.

 

The Bible speaks about love of oneself.  It speaks on the negative on self-love.  So, now you cannot be number one if you are to love God with all your heart, soul and mind as Matthew 36:37 says.  Many people see the verse and miss the point completely where in Matthew 36:39 where Jesus says that you should love your neighbor as you love yourself.  You cannot be number two if you are to love God the love your neighbor.  Jesus is not telling you that you need to love yourself but you need to love your neighbor as you love yourself.  Why does Jesus say this?  Because He knows that man is filled with love of self.  Ephesians 5:29 says that nobody has ever hated his own flesh and will cherish it as the Lord does the church.  Love of self is the worst trait fallen man has in him.  It is the root of pride and pride is a serious problem that leads to most all sin.  You can trace sin back to pride.

 

We see we need to lower ourselves more than the second position.  So we are to love our God as number 1 and our neighbors as ourselves as number 2.  Let’s look at wives and husbands.  Ephesians 5:22 says that wives are to submit to the husbands as to the Lord.  So there is another person in front of you.  Ephesians 5:25 says husband love your wives as Christ also loved the church.  Now you are sliding down the scale more.  You are now number 4.

 

Luke 9:23 says that we are to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily if we are to follow Christ.  Denial of self is not just denial of some things but everything in this world.  We are to empty ourselves of self.  If this is the case then everything and everyone comes before us.  We are to serve as Christians; Christ, the Church and the lost.  So where does this put us?  Are we second?  We should have the attitude of being last.  Matthew 20:16 says “So the last shall be first, and the first last.”  This is the Christian mindset.  We are not second we are far from that.  The basic understanding for a Christian is having the proper view of God and himself by position.

 

Are you number two?

 

In Christ <><

Fear of Christianity

The country of Indonesia holds the most Muslims than any other nation in the world.  There is a growing fear in Indonesia that the youth are turning towards Christianity and moving away from Islam.  In the video I have attached, you can see that this is made for the movement to get the youth of Indonesia back to Islam.  Please watch.

 

The growing fear is not so much a victory for Christianity since the Christianity they are distributing is that of a Charismatic nature.  As the video alludes to, they are targeting the youth of Indonesia and using media and music as the means to reach emotions of these youths in order to change their ideology of religion.  This is the normal practice of the Charismatics.  Charismatics are making a dent in third world nations and this is mainly due to praying on their ignorance and manipulation of their cultural beliefs.

 

I do feel that the fear by the Muslim community in Indonesia, being such a saturated demographic of Muslims, show there is hope for the true Gospel to reach these people.  There are many other videos that refute the numbers shown on the video I attached but it still shows that there are pockets of opportunity there in Indonesia.

 

Please pray that the truth of the Gospel reaches these people and rescues them from a belief system that will render them helpless in the day of Judgment.  Pray that burdens are placed in the hearts of those who serve and are willing to serve reach out to these people.

 

In Christ <><

Where to Turn?

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In the business endeavors of my wife and I get to meet many people.  Last week we met someone who I believe the Lord orchestrated to cross our paths.  Let’s call her Michelle.  She has been diagnosed with cancer and is going under the knife soon.  After meeting her and seeing her attitude towards her condition and towards the cancer I was taken back by her outlook.

When Christians are faced with trials we know we can lean on God for all our comfort.  Easier said than done.  It is a difficult thing in our flesh to fully have that attitude when we are afflicted with adversity.  It is our faith or a measure of it that we show externally how we react to these trials.  We are expected to act with a joyful attitude as James says to count it all joy when we are face with trials.  We know this, the problem is we need to show this.  Some Christians are better at this than others and it is a pure display of their faith.  Good thermometer to see where you are and where you need to be.  Even facing death, if it brings glory to God, then we should be grateful that whatever the circumstance is, that His glory is more important.

Going back to Michelle.  She is unsaved and trying to overcome this adversity God has placed in her path.  She was born Jewish and I not sure what happened.  Being Jewish does not put her anywhere closer to salvation than where she is today.  In meeting her the other day in her home, we found a plethora of idols and statues.  Buddha, Hindu idols, Eastern meditation type writings hanging all over the place.  She is seeking something to comfort her during this trial.  She knows deep in her that she needs something.  Her fear of death has prompted her to seek anything and everything except the thing that will give her eternal life, Jesus Christ.

The issue she is struggling with is a fear of death.  Why would she be fearful of dying?  In each person God has placed knowledge of God and judgement in them.  Romans 1:18 says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth [a]in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”  In her heart she knows she is heading for judgement but she refuses to listen try to find anything that will allow her to cheat judgement.  Religion, beliefs or meditation will not give you redemption and forgiveness of your sins.

If faith is the issue that she cannot come to God’s terms on her faith then how can she have a deeper faith in things that will not work?  It takes more faith to believe that there is no God and believe in idols and false gods or to even being an atheist.  Why does she refuse to believe in God?  I am not sure what happen in her early life but there is no excuse for unbelief.  The reason most people do not want to believe or refuse God is because they love their sin and do not want to let it go.  They would rather ride their sin into the pits of hell then have to let it go, repent and turn to God.

It is with great pain to see anyone harboring this attitude.  Susan will be going under the knife within a week or so and I will keep this story rolling.  It is my prayer that God gets the glory in all of this.  Why is Michelle going through this?  Is it punishment for sin?  I am not sure nor am I trying to guess but I do know God will do whatever He can to get our attention for our salvation.  If God puts someone at death’s door just to bring them home into His kingdom and He gets glory, then it is worth it.  It is a hard concept to understand but eternity with God is far better than anything on earth and an eternity in hell.

Please pray for Michelle if you will.  I believe that this is an opportunity for God to be glorified.  My wife and I will do what we can and maybe He will use us or maybe He will not.  But pray that He does send someone.

 

In Christ <><