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JULY 2002

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Psalm 1:1-2

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

 

We all want to be happy! Here is the prescription. The Psalmist really says "how happy" is the man or woman who avoids the counsel, the influence and the ways of those who are rebelliously opposed to God (in new testament terms, those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ). How happy is the person who has pleasure in the Word of God. This blessing requires knowledge of the Word of God and thinking about the Word of God (meditation) . The blessing will be for our present life and for eternity. We don't naturally think like God thinks, for example we think we must do something to earn heaven when God says we must trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who has already finished the work that saves. The Holy Spirit will use the Word of God when we meditate on it to change our minds where we disagree with God. Then when we think like God, we will be truly happy, because then we will think right about the worth and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Week of July 7, 2002

Genesis 4:8-9

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

Am I my bother’s keeper (or protector or guardian)? This question was asked by the first person born in the Bible who became the first murderer in the Bible. He had murdered his brother because His brother worshipped God’s way and he had worshipped his own way. Cain was likely angry at God but he showed his anger by slaying his brother.

Adam and Eve had sinned by not believing God. Now Cain, their firstborn son, sins by destroying the one who obeyed God. Why did he think that destroying his brother would solve his problem with God? Obviously, in his jealousy and anger, he wasn’t thinking clearly. He could have followed Abel’s example and offered the right sacrifice after he found out that God was not pleased with his offering but instead He rebelled and murdered Abel. He had become a murderer like Satan and was doing Satan’s will.

True worshippers of God are concerned about the practical well-being of others which is why the Lord asks us to look after widows, orphans and the poor (see James 1 and 2). They are concerned about the Spiritual well-being of others which is why we share the Gospel. A true worshipper of God does not kill but shares his practical goods as well as the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation that he might be “his brother’s keeper.”

Week of July 14, 2002

1 Peter 5:7

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (KJV)  or  Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. (RSV)

 

But does the Lord really care concerning us? The next verse warns us about Satan and says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. One of the ways he “devours” is by convincing us that that the Lord doesn’t really care:

1. He tried to convince Adam and Eve that God had withheld blessing from them by withholding the fruit of one tree in the garden from them. (Genesis 3:5)

2. He tried to convince Mary and Martha that the Lord really didn’t care about them and Lazarus or he would have been there when Lazarus was sick and before he died. (John 11:21, 32, 37)

3. He tried to convince John the Baptist that his preaching was a lie. (Matthew 11:3)

4. He tries to convince us that the Lord is not really coming for us. (2 Peter 3:4)

But the Lord does care:

1. Adam and Eve lost paradise but we learn that God still loves sinners, not just those that are good. (Romans 5:6-8)

2. Lazarus wasn’t just healed, he was raised from the dead. The Lord waited and then performed a miracle that exceeded the expectations of Lazarus’ family and friends.

3. John was reassured that the Lord was the Messiah. (Matthew 11:4)

4. The Lord is coming for us but is waiting so that others can be saved. (1 Peter 3:9)

He cared for Adam and Eve even when they disobeyed, he cared for Lazarus even though He waited until he died, he cared for John the Baptist even if He left him in prison, and He cares for us even if it doesn‘t seem like He does sometimes.

Week of July 21, 2002

Job 1:8

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth (turns away from) evil? (KJV)

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a perfect man like Job or to at least know an upright man like Him. Likely none of us reading this would claim to be perfect and upright though we might fear (reverence and worship) the creator God of the old testament as presented to us in Christ. Our experience forces us to confess , “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). In our day, there is terrorism, scandals in the corporate world, drive-by shootings, kidnapping and abuse of youngsters, but is there any who turn away from evil? Likely, there are more than we think because they don’t make the news. Those who do turn away from evil are likely those who realize that they are sinners and by trusting in the worth and work of the Lord Jesus Christ are born from above (John 3:7) and have a conscience about sin that they never had before.

However, the Lord Jesus certainly was like this. He was “holy, harmless, undefiled” (Hebrews 7:26). “When he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not” (1Peter 2:23). No one has ever been able to find sin in this one who is the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29). Yet like Job, this is the one who suffered. One of Job’s comforters said, “Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent (Job 4:7) ?” In answer to that question, a Man walked the sands of time 2000 years ago and He died on a cross though He was innocent. Life is not fair since the innocent do suffer, but if the Lord Jesus Christ had demanded that life be fair, we would not have a sacrifice for our sins that satisfies God. It is faith in that perfect one that gives life meaning and gives us peace with God.

Week of July 28, 2002