CRYING OUT FOR THE LIVING GOD My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:2 Where can be compared in loveliness to the dwelling place of God! It is a place of unparalleled beauty, unique splendor, and unutterable glory. The place is used by a figure of speech for the Person who lives there. And so, when David, the psalmist says, "My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD," he was yearning to be with the Lord Himself and his heart and flesh cry out for the living God." It was an entire desire; body, soul, and spirit concurred in it. David was not conscious to himself of any rising thought to the contrary. It was an intense desire; it was the desire of the ambitious, or covetous, or voluptuous. He ...
THE GOD OF ALL GRACE WILL PERFECT ESTABLISH STRENGTHEN AND SETTLE YOU But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1Peter 5:10-11 When we are suffering, we often feel as though our pain will never end. In comparison with eternity, our suffering would last only "a little while." Some would be strengthened and delivered in their lifetimes. Others would be released from their suffering through death. All of God's faithful followers are assured of the eternal life with Christ, where there will be no more suffering. True victory in persecution is to see God behind the scenes working out His wonderful purposes. N...
JUDGE NOT ONE ANOTHER Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way. Romans 14:13 Paul is going to develop the thought that our conduct must be for the sake of the weak brother. If I am traveling in the same car with a fellow who believes he should not eat meat, I'm not going to eat meat while staying with him—not because I agree with him, but for the sake of a weak brother. Both strong and weak Christians can cause their brothers and sisters to stumble. The strong but insensitive Christian may flaunt his or her freedom and intentionally offend others' consciences. The scrupulous but weak Christian may try to fence others in with petty rules and regulations, thus causing dissension. Paul
THE WAYS OF THE LORD ARE RIGHT Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein. Hosea 14:9 To those receiving the Lord's message through Hosea, this meant the difference between life and death. For you, the reader of the book of Hosea, the choice is similar: You can either listen to the book's message and follow God's ways or refuse to walk along the Lord's path. But people who insist on following their own direction without God's guidance are in "total darkness" and "have no idea what they are stumbling over.” If you are lost, you can find the way by turning from your sin and following God. The ways of God's providence towards us are righ
ENEMY OF THE TRUTH Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:16 Paul did not gain great popularity when he rebuked the Galatians for turning away from their first faith in Christ. Human nature hasn't changed much—we still get angry when we're scolded. But don't write off someone who challenges you. There may be truth in what he or she says. Receive his or her words with humility; carefully think them over. If you discover that you need to change an attitude or action, take steps to do it. Many folks today don't want the preacher to tell the truth from the pulpit. They would much rather he would say something complimentary that would smooth their feathers and make them feel good. We all like to have our backs rubbed, and there is a lot of bac
WHO IS LIKE UNTO THEE? GLORIOUS IN HOLINESS Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Exodus 15:11 Who is like unto Thee? Glorious in Holiness! You can talk about the infinitude of God and not feel yourself as a worm. But when you talk about the holiness of God, you have not only the problem of an intellectual grasp but also a sense of personal vileness, which is almost too much to bear. Who is like unto thee, o Lord, among the gods? King of kings and Lord of lords! Who among the gods is like unto Thee in majesty and power? Who is like unto Thee in the ineffable purity of Thy nature? “Glorious in holiness!” Who is like unto Thee in the solemnity and sanctity of Thy worship, with fearful in praises! The glo
Marriage “Problems” Are Really Symptoms Because our relationship with our spouse is a reflection of our relationship with Christ, our marriage “problems” are really only symptoms. The actual problems are in our relationship with Christ. In my own marriage, for example, there have been times when the “problem” looked like I didn’t have enough time for my wife and children, but that was only a symptom. The problem was that I would not listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompt to meet my family’s needs, and I was allowing the ministry to take priority to my family. This is why any biblical marriage counseling must address the couple’s relationship with the Lord. Couples I counsel are often confused when they share a problem they are experiencing and I respond by asking, “So what does you
THE GREATEST IS LOVE And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1Corinthians 13:13 With a final triad: faith, hope, and agape love. Faith is an expression of love, as is hope. Faith and hope, as manifestations of love, will endure eternally. So everyone who follows the way of love finds “the most excellent way,” because every individual characterized by love carries that mark eternally. The spiritual gifts will one day cease to exist, but love will endure forever. Faith sometimes refers to a spiritual gift or to saving faith that God has forgiven sins. In this context, it refers to trust in the goodness and mercy of the Lord. Such trust will see believers through until they live face-to-face in God’s presence. Believers also hope; they look forw
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 1Corinthians 3:16-17 Paul reminds the believers that they are the temple, the inner shrine or sanctuary of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in them. It is true that every individual believer is also a temple of God indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The apostle is looking at the church as a collective company and wishes them to realize the holy dignity of such a calling. Apparently, there were false teachers who had come into the church at Corinth and whose instruction tended more to sin than to holiness. They did not think it a serious matter to cause havoc thus in a temple of God, so P
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. 1Corinthians 1:27a This does not mean that those chosen men of God are foolish. It means they seem foolish to the world. They are not weak; they are weak in the estimation of the world. This is God's method. The more primitive the material, the greater—if the same standard of art can be reached—the honor of the Master; the smaller the army, the mightier—if the same great victory can be won—the praise of the conqueror, our great God. God used trumpets to bring down the walls of Jericho. He reduced Gideon's army from 32,000 to 300 to rout the armies of Midian. He used an ox goad in the hand of Shamgar to defeat the Phili