Category Archives: BIBLE STUDY

Posts which revolve around God’s Word. Individual posts and guest posts using
Scripture as the basis.

Guest Post and Series from Gregory Dickow Ministries

I can’t think of any better way to share the joy of new beginnings and renewal, than by sharing these free resources from Gregory Dickow Ministries.

Here’s a special Easter Message, a link to a free teaching series, and then a short video to introduce the second installment of Pastor Dickow’s “Fast From Wrong Thinking” series, which is a 40-day series, with each lesson sent to your email, daily, for 40 days.

It’s true: “Right thinking produces right living.”

Here’s the Easter Message from Pastor Dickow:

We’re celebrating the most incredible event in history: Jesus’ resurrection! This is what changed everything for you and for me, and this is the Good News that I have dedicated my life to proclaim to the world. Thank you for standing with me. Lives are being changed now and for eternity because of your prayers and support. I want you to know how much I appreciate everything you’re doing for the Gospel.

Not long ago I was in Jerusalem, and I had the opportunity to go to the Garden Tomb, the very site at which the event we’re rejoicing over this weekend took place. This empty tomb not only represents our salvation because Jesus rose from the dead, but it is a reminder of an invitation God gives us: an invitation to happiness.

You see, we live in a world of sadness, loneliness and discouragement, but when Jesus conquered sin and death He also conquered all the negative emotions that beat us down and limit us from living a life of purpose and victory. That doesn’t mean we’re never going to have troubles, but the Gospel is an invitation to happiness in an unhappy world, to joy in the midst of trials, to peace in times of fear and to a celebration of a right relationship with God.

All of our emotions come from what we believe, and if we don’t believe that God will keep His promises, or that they’ll work for others but not for us, then we feel discouraged, depressed and defeated.

But when you believe that God will keep His promises, joy and peace will be yours!

“I will watch over My word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:12

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13

While I was at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem I thought about Mary’s experience there. Remember the story? She was weeping because the tomb was empty and she didn’t know where Jesus was. But then He appeared to her and asked “Woman, why are you weeping?” (John 20:1-18). He asked her that because He wanted her to be happy. He wanted her to have joy, and He is asking you the same question. Why weep when you can rejoice? Why weep when you can be happy?

Jesus had said on at least five occasions that He would be killed and rise again on the third day, and Mary was weeping because she didn’t believe it would happen. But Jesus’ resurrection not only provides for our salvation but is the proof that He does what He promised He would do!

And if Jesus could keep that promise He can and will certainly keep His promises to you!

Maybe you have bills you can’t pay. God always comes through and will supply your needs. Maybe you have a body that’s sick and in pain, but God’s Word is true and it says by His stripes you can be healed. Maybe you’re going through something that you just don’t know how to overcome, but God said you’re the head not the tail, above only not beneath. And God said what He started in your life He will finish. Perhaps you’re discouraged about one of your children who has gone away from the Lord. The Bible says you and your whole household shall be saved!

Why are you weeping?

I wonder what things are making you sad today. I wonder what’s discouraging you today. Let me tell you, it’s going to end!

Believe that God will keep His promises to you!

There are three things that cause us to be unhappy. Let’s deal with them right now.

First is Bad News, which I call wrong information. You’re hurt by what people say about you. You’re impacted by what you see going on in the world. Life is uncertain and you’re worried about what the future holds.

Where we get our ‘news’ or information from is critical. We can get the news about us from others, from the enemy, or from God. The good news that God has to say to you and about you & your future will produce joy and happiness.

Get your information from God’s Word.

Number two: Bad Memories produce unhappiness, guilt and shame. We have all fallen, failed and made mistakes. But the Bible says in Hebrews 10:17 that we’re under a Covenant of Grace because God doesn’t even remember your sins and failures. Jesus came out of the tomb but your mistakes and shortcomings are still buried there and forgotten.

Your past is over. Bad memories cannot control your life anymore.

And the third thing that robs us of happiness is Bad Focus. We’re focused on what we don’t have, what we haven’t done, and what is going wrong. God wants us to focus on what He’s already done and what He’s promised He will do. That’s when your perspective will change; and peace and joy will be the result.

Focus on what God has already done for you (Psalm 103).

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Note: Just by reading Psalm 103, the entire chapter, you will be blessed, as you read about all of benefits you already have, in you possession, right now! I can also promise that, if you’ll go through the entire “Fast From Wrong Thinking” series, it will change the way you think … and, by doing so … it will change your life.

Here’s the video to introduce the new “Fast From Wrong Thinking” series:

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The Power of “Posts:” Part Three

I can’t wait to “turn the calendar!”
A new Scripture message, a new promise … however …

I must say, this time of year, right now … there is even more to be excited, expectant about … about just turning the calendar over to a new month …

As I write this, it is one degree above zero, with gusty winds. Which would put the wind chill well below zero … turning that calendar over … I can’t wait … We do get a break tonight: Instead of the originally forecast -15 … it will only be near -10 … We had a snow storm yesterday … the day before … with more snow tomorrow, Saturday … and, then, it gets serious for another storm expected to roll in on Sunday, and continuing until sometime early Monday afternoon … I read the forecast again … and again … and five words stand out: “Storm Total 1-2 feet.” I know, I know, don’t worry … we may, just, only, get a foot … I can’t wait to turn the calendar!

Next time, when I “turn the calendar,” there will be one word that stands out: “Spring.”
I can’t wait to turn that calendar … There is also another set of words which make next month greatly to be anticipated: “Daylight Savings Time Begins.” For those in the rest of the country, that means it won’t start getting dark at 3:30 …

By now, I must admit that I have fallen to the temptation to “turn the calendar” RIGHT NOW.
Thank God for the promise of Spring.
We’re making it through another “Tough New England Winter.”
Thank God … period …

The Scripture for next month, March, just happens to be from Psalms:
“The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works (145:9).”
Hey … that’s a good one!

I want to be reminded … I love to be reminded … and, yes, I need to be reminded that “The Lord is good to all.” I love to read, and see, in writing, words about His tender mercies.
Since this series all started with what was going to be one, simple “post” about last year’s calendar, I can’t resist looking for what the quote was for last March’s calendar.
It was a quote from Nikos Kazantzakis:
“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”
That’s pretty good to hear anytime.

By the way … I cleaned the pellet stove last February 24 … I look ahead to last year’s calendar, the month of April, and guess what? It features a scene with mountains, and yes, there it is … a lake …

God has just impressed upon me how a calendar is a microcosm of our lives, in direct relation to His promises and His Word: Yes, there will be Winter, but Spring is promised to come … Summer is promised to come … Some Winters may be harsher than others … but, the promise of Spring, of Summer, is always there … Sometimes, even Summer can be harsh … but, it will only last for a “season.” Even Spring can have its bad moments, but, just look ahead … And, it’s not just looking ahead … How about behind? Here it is, February … Storms coming … Storms just left … Didn’t God just pull us through January? We made it through January. Yes, we did. Proof that God is with us, helping us every step of the way.

Guess what? God ordained the seasons. Yes, He did. So, Who better to lean on? He was the One who put Spring, and Summer … directly after Winter …
Guess what? God even gave us the Autumn … the Fall … to get ready for the Winter ahead. If we’re not prepared for what’s coming … well … whose fault is that???

So, the calendar can serve as a daily reminder of what God has done, what He has brought us through, and then … also … at the same time … regardless of how rough a season we are going through … He reminds us of the promise of what is to come … Isn’t Heaven just like that? The promise of Heaven? God certainly, yet again, knew what He was doing, in just setting up the seasons …

I enjoy looking at the history of certain phrases we use in our everyday language. I tried to find out the origin of the phrase “turn the calendar,” but I couldn’t find anything about how that got to be such a popular phrase.

For reasons I can’t explain, the words of the classic Byrds’ song came to my mind … I can’t explain it, but there they were …
“To everything there is a season … turn … turn … turn …”
This song was quick (and unashamed) to give Scriptural reference to Ecclesiastes 3:1.

I love the idea of a calendar being an example of our lives as God’s children. The look back at what He’s already done. The look ahead of future promises. Both just as sure. Both just as true.
And, the realization of what He is doing now. Below zero, and all I can do is think about how blessed I am, right now. What He is doing for me, in my life, right now.

Yet, because of God’s Word and His promises, I can “turn the calendar,” even now … even with “1-2 feet” on the way … I can sit here, warm and safe … and, turn the calendar to what lies ahead in March … in April … in May … in June … in July … in August … God is there, on every date … regardless of what the date is … regardless of what the season is …

All seasons hold the bounty of God’s blessings.
All seasons hold the promise of God’s Word.

I hope this helps. I know that many of our friends would be happy to just have a simple snow storm to go through, instead of the weather they have gone through.
I hope this helps, in some way, to encourage you. That this will fulfill the words of Proverbs 15:23, that “a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”

I continue to encourage you to, every day, especially first thing in the morning, as you “turn” your daily calendar, to read your Bible, and pray:
“The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned (Isaiah 50:4).”

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Shared Bible Study: Jesus Christ – Who He Is

I recently completed this in-depth Bible study, from College of the Open Bible, and it blessed me so much, I’d like to share it with you.

It begins with the statement, “The most significant question in human history continues to be: What think ye of Christ?”

After “the day I’ve had today,” I really wanted to share what happened to me, personally, today, and how God “got me through it,” even singing by day’s end.

Well … I couldn’t have done that … without knowing Jesus … without knowing Who He is, and What He is … What He is to me, and what He can be to you … Regardless of the headlines, the news, “our day,” it is true …

Oh, my! It is true! Even seen the bumper sticker … yet, it’s still true … To know peace … you must know Jesus …
Know Jesus.
Know peace.

I know people who know Jesus.
I know people who don’t know Jesus.
Guess which group is at peace?

I don’t care if it’s a person … a family … a group … a city … a country … a nation … If you don’t know Jesus …
If you don’t know Jesus … well, there’s a lot things you won’t know … but, for sure … you won’t know peace …

So … instead of writing about the problems … let’s write about the solution …  Not solutions (plural), but solution (singular).
There will always be problems. Especially among people.
Especially among people.
There will always be a (singular) solution:
Jesus.

Of all the things I’ve written about life, one constant remains:
How can you have a relationship with someone you don’t know?

I will never, ever forget what my Brother-in Law said one time:
“Why are we so surprised that people who don’t know Jesus act like they don’t know Jesus?”

 Jesus Christ – Who He Is

The most significant question in human history continues to be: What think ye of Christ? Your answer to this significant question will not only determine your eternal destiny; but also reflects how you live now. One of the most powerful thoughts a Christian possesses is knowing Jesus Christ can never be less than who He is, HE IS LORD.

The Preexistence of Jesus Christ as God

  1. As taught by John the Baptist – John 1:15.
  2. As taught by the apostle John – John 1:1.
  3. As taught by the apostle Paul – 1 Timothy 3:16.
  4. As taught by Christ Himself – John 8:58

What was Christ Jesus the Savior doing before His Bethlehem appearance?

  1. He created the universe – John 1:3; Colossians 1:16. This creation included everything, from electrons to galaxies, and from angels to Adam.
  2. He was controlling this created universe – Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:17.
  3. He was communing with the Father – John 17:24.

The Incarnation.

That God the Son could take upon himself the full nature of man and yet retain the full nature of God. The Bible declares that Christ was as much God as if He had never been man, and as much man as if He had never been God. When God the Son joined himself to a body at Bethlehem, it was an eternal arrangement. He will continue to manifest Himself in this body (its resurrected state) throughout eternity. Amazingly, when Jesus Christ was born, He was older than his mother and the same age as His Father (heavenly Father).

The prophecies concerning the incarnation.

  1. Old Testament

* By Isaiah the prophet – Isaiah 7:14.

* By Micah the prophet – Micah 5:2.

  1. New Testament – Heavenly announcements were given to at least eight individuals or groups concerning the incarnation in the New Testament.

* To Zacharias – Luke 1:17,76.

* To Mary – Luke 1:31-35.

* To Joseph – Matthew 1:20,21.

* To the shepherds – Luke 2:10-12.

Why the virgin birth (incarnation)?

God never does anything without a good reason, and in this case, there are profound reasons for the incarnation.

  1. To reveal the invisible God – John 1:18; 14:9.
  2. To fulfill prophecy – Genesis 3:15.
  3. To guarantee the Davidic covenant – Luke 1:31-33.
  4. To make a sacrifice for our sins – 1 John 3:5.
  5. To reconcile man to God – 1 Timothy 2:5,6.
  6. To provide an example for believers – 1 Peter 2:21.
  7. To provide the believer with a high priest – Heb 2:17.
  8. To destroy the devil and his works – 1 John 3:8.
  9. To escape the historical curse – Romans 5:12.
  10. To heal the brokenhearted – Luke 4:18.
  11. To set a liberty the bruised – Luke 4:18.
  12. To give abundant life – John 3:36.
  13. To glorify the Father – John 13:31; 17:4.

The Humanity of Jesus Christ. He was a real man!

  1. He had a human parentage – Luke 1:31; Gal 4:4.
  2. He had a human body, soul, and spirit – Matthew 26:12; John 12:27; Matthew 2:8.
  3. He looked like a man – John 4:9; 20:15.
  4. He possessed flesh and blood – Hebrews 2:14.
  5. He grew – Luke 2:40.
  6. He asked questions – Luke 2:46.
  7. He prayed – John 17.
  8. He was tempted – Matthew 4:1.
  9. He hungered – Matthew 4:2.
  10. He thirsted – John 4:7.
  11. He was weary – John 4:6
  12. He slept – Matthew 8:24.
  13. He wept – John 11:35.
  14. He suffered – 1 Peter 4:1.
  15. He bled – John 19:34.
  16. He died – Matthew 27:50.

The Deity of Jesus Christ – Jesus Is God!

  1. Christ is omnipotent (all powerful).
  2. Over disease – Luke 4:39.
  3. Over demons – Matthew 8:16,17.
  4. Over men – Matthew 9:9; John 17:2.
  5. Over nature – Matthew 8:26.
  6. Over sin – Matthew 9:1-8.
  7. Over traditions – Matthew 9:10-17.
  8. Over death – Luke 7:14,15.
  9. Over all your problems – Romans 8:28.
  10. Christ is omniscient (all knowing) – John 2:24; 16:30.
  11. Christ is omnipresent – John 3:13; 14:20.
  12. Christ is worshipped as God:
  13. by the angels – Hebrews 1:6.
  14. by men – Luke 2:15; Matthew 2:2,11.
  15. Christ forgives sins – Mark 2:5,11; 1 John 1:9.
  16. Christ judges – John 5:22.
  17. Christ saves – John 10:28.

The death of Christ has the prominent place in the Word of God. Indeed, the death of Christ is the foundation in Christianity and is the subject of supreme interest in heaven and in the hearts of believers.

The Old Testament and Jesus Christ

The Old Testament reveals the plan of Christ crucified; while the New Testament reveals the man, Christ, crucified.

  1. The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) foreshadow Christ crucified.
  2. The Prophets foretell of Christ crucified.
  3. The Psalms express the feelings of Christ crucified.
  4. The Gospels give the facts of Christ crucified.
  5. The Epistles give the fruit of Christ crucified.

The death of Jesus Christ is important for three significant reasons:

  1. Christ crucified satisfied our sin debt.
  2. Christ crucified satisfied the holiness of God.
  3. Christ crucified satisfied the human heart (those who receive Christ).

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ – The importance of the resurrection – 1 Cor. 15:12-19. If one denies the resurrection, he is forced to six horrible conclusions:

  1. All gospel preaching has been, is now, and always will be completely useless.
  2. All past, present, and future faith is futile.
  3. All preachers become notorious liars.
  4. All living Christians are still in their sins.
  5. All departed Christians are in hell.
  6. All reason and purpose for life itself is destroyed.

The order of the resurrection.

The resurrection of Christ is represented here (1 Corinthians 15:20-24) as being the first of its kind, thus indicating that previous miracles, such as the raising of Lazarus, were more on the order of restoring a dead mortal body to a living mortal body. True resurrection carries with it glorification.

There are three such resurrections:

  1. The resurrection of Christ – Matthew 28:5-8.
  2. The rapture / resurrection – 1 Thess 4:13,18
  3. The pre-millennial resurrection of Old Testament and tribulation saints. Rev 20:5,6.

The Ascension and Present ministry of Jesus Christ

  1. The fact of His ascension and ministry – Mark 16:9; Acts 1:9; Romans 8:34.
  2. The purpose of His ascension and ministry:
  3. To be our Forerunner – Hebrews 6:19,20.
  4. To prepare a place for us – John 14:2.
  5. To give spiritual gifts to His followers – Eph 4:10-14.
  6. To offer encouragement to His follower – Heb 4:14.
  7. To make high priestly prayers for us – Romans 8:34.

The theme of God’s Word is Jesus Christ Crucified, God Satisfied, The Believing Sinner Justified.
Dr. Arthur Belanger

https://www.collegeoftheopenbible.com/jesus-christ.html

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Meeting Timothy: Michael English: I Bowed on My Knees (And Cried, “Holy”)

Recently, I finished a study of the books of 1 and 2 Timothy.
Both were letters (Epistles), written by the Apostle Paul, and addressed to the beloved young Pastor at Ephesus, whom Paul called “my own son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2) and “my dearly beloved son.” (2 Timothy 1:2).

While meditating on the study, this song kept coming to mind. It’s the only song I can think of which specifically mentions Timothy. What a great song this is.

This is also one of the great songs to be blessed to be able to hear in a live performance. Words can’t state how strongly the anointing is on these words, as the author tells of his visit to Heaven, meeting many of the Saints … and, then, he meets Timothy …
The author has only one request: What would you ask, the one request you would make, if you found yourself walking around Heaven, escorted by angels … able to speak with so many …
One request … that’s it … What would it be?

If you know the song, you know the request.
I tried to find the best version of this song for you, and, especially, a version which highlighted the meeting of Timothy, in Heaven. This is it!

The vocalist is Michael English, and the song is from his time with the Gaither Vocal Band. I honestly tried very diligently to find out the author, and both Michael English and Nettie Dudley Washington are credited, though one of the credits may be for the arrangement.

This is being shared from the You Tube site, “palmsdr.” Bear with the audio: It’s worth it!
Here’s the link to their channel:
Palmsdr

Here are the words:

Michael English Lyrics
“I Bowed on My Knees and Cried Holy”

I dreamed of a city called Glory,
So bright and so fair.
When I entered the gates I cried, “Holy”
The angels all met me there:
They carried me from mansion to mansion,
And oh the sights I saw,
But I said, “I want to see Jesus,
The One who died for all.”

Chorus
Then I bowed on my knees and cried,
“Holy, Holy, Holy.”
I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory,
Glory to the Son of God.”
I bowed on my knees and cried,
“Holy, Holy, Holy.”
Then I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory,
Glory to the Son of God.”

As I entered the gates of that city,
My loved ones all knew me well.
They took me down the streets of Heaven;
Such scenes were too many to tell;
I saw Abraham, Jacob and Isaac
Talked with Mark, and Timothy
But I said, “I want to see Jesus,
‘Cause He’s the One who died for me.”

Chorus
Then I bowed on my knees and cried,
“Holy, Holy, Holy.”
I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory,
Glory, Glory.”
I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory”
I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory”
I clapped my hands and sang, “Glory”
“Glory to the Son of God”
I sang, “Glory to the Son of God.”

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Psalm 117: Shortest Chapter, Longest Message

We recently had the great, and eye-opening opportunity to study the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119. Its subject was the Word of God. Come to think of it, it still makes sense that, in the Bible, the written Word of God, the longest chapter is devoted to the authority, power, and relationship of the Word to man. How important the Word, His Word, is to us … and, to God.

It just seemed natural to, then, look at the shortest chapter in the entire Bible, which is only “2 chapters back” of the longest chapter. Bringing us to Psalm, chapter 117.

Only 2, yes 2, verses. But, I discover in studying this chapter, that, perhaps, I should sub-title this writing with something like, “Fewest Verses, Longest Vision.”
Man, talk about looking at the big picture!
Yes, the chapter is, perhaps, “set apart” by being the shortest, but it is also set apart for another reason: It is the only Psalm which is strictly addressed to the Gentile world. It clearly sees the same vision other Old Testament writers saw … that the Gospel … that Salvation … would be sent …would be offered … would be available … not only to the Jewish nation and its people … but, to “all of us.” As we’ll see, this was a message many Jewish believers did not want to hear, and was still an issue in Paul’s day. More on that later.

First, let’s consider that, Scripturally, there are only 2 races of people: The Jews and Gentiles. Period. All of us are in one of these 2 categories. Yes, that means just that. It would be fair to say that this message, the message and fact that all nations, all peoples of the “heathen” nations, would have salvation made available to them, was the hottest, most debated topic of the very, very early church. Things haven’t changed much, have they? How God can offer the same salvation, the same eternal life, the same spiritual gifts, etc., to “everyone,” even those we consider to be “unsavable.” How, in God’s eyes, we are all, really the same … all are lost without Jesus, regardless of culture, class, or whatever else may “divide” us. And, that God offers the same salvation to everyone … regardless of where they live … and … I know this hurts some folks … but, the same salvation is offered to everyone, regardless of what they have done … what lifestyle they are now living … regardless of … regardless of … they are offered the same salvation which … which … which … we were offered …

Wow! This is supposed to be about the shortest chapter … I think the fact that its content has even led to this conversation proves the power of the message contained in these 2 verses. And, not only that, but the verses aren’t even that long to begin with!

It occurs to me that, already, there’s about a hundred lessons just in what we’ve covered so far!

OK, I must say it: Sometimes, the hardest thing for us to understand, to “get,” is that God may not approve of someone’s lifestyle, just like He didn’t approve of ours, but that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love them. It doesn’t mean that the same saving grace which saved us … can’t save them. Jew and Gentile. Really, still, even within these two groups (yes, they are different groups!), it still all boils down to only 2 groups of people in the world today: Saved and Lost. That’s it. Period. Those who are lost need to be saved. Those who are saved need to reach out to those who are lost. Regardless of who, or where, they are. Have things changed since Paul’s time? How difficult is it for us to reach our hands-and hearts-out to people who are different from us? I mean … surely the Gospel message is not meant for them, too???

All this from Psalm 117? Only 2 verses???

How Great God is! If we could just catch hold of His vision! I’ll say this again: God knows what He is doing. Even if we don’t know what He’s doing … even when it seems that what He is doing goes “against the grain.” I’ll even write this: It’s a good thing He’s in charge, and not me. I think one of the greatest “against the grain” things that God ever did happened right there at the “beginning” of the Church. Think about this, as we ponder the “differences” between Jew and Gentile. Think about how big a deal this was in the early days of the Church. Peter was, perhaps, (please keep this in context) the most “Gentile” of all the Disciples. What did God do? Put him in charge of the Church in Jerusalem. Paul was, perhaps, (please keep this in context) the most “Jewish” man who ever lived. What did God do? Put him in charge of taking the Gospel message to the Gentile world … Indeed, revealing to him “the mystery of the Gospel …”

Taking the Gospel to the Gentile world. Whose idea was that? It was God’s idea all along. Yes, Jesus came first to the Jewish nation … but, when they rejected Him … the door opened for “everyone else” to have the opportunity … the same opportunity … While, yes, there is still the “Jewish Nation/Family,” we are just as important a part of that family … by adoption into that family … A “hidden” message, sprinkled throughout the Old Testament …

I think I see another hundred lessons …

Back to Psalm 117: There have been some scholars who didn’t think that this Psalm “stood alone;” that it should have been a part of Psalm 116. However, Psalm 117 has the basic 3 elements of a “Psalm,” or “hymn of praise”: It clearly has a call to praise, “O Praise the Lord, all ye nations (Gentiles); praise him, all ye people.” It has a reason for this praise, “For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.” Then, it finishes with a conclusion, “Praise ye the Lord.” By the way, for those who thought this chapter should have been just added to finish Psalm 116, that Psalm already has a clear conclusion of … “Praise ye the Lord.”

With its call to praise, addressed to the Gentile nations, and the word “people” meaning “all ye peoples,” there is no question that the Psalmist is clearly focusing on God’s interest and desire to save the “Gentile Peoples,” resulting in their praise for, and to, Him.

Is Psalm 117 the exact center of the Bible? Well … I must ask you to independently search for this answer. When you do, you will find that some say it is chapter 118, and some say it is chapter 117. I say that both are really great chapters … and, you should read and study both.
Again, I ask you to search for this. Here’s a sample of what I found:

For those who favor Psalm 118:
Fact: There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118
Fact: There are 594 chapters after Psalms 118
Add these numbers up and you get 1188
Q: What is the center verse in the Bible?
A: Psalms 118:8
Q: Does this verse say something significant about God’s perfect will for our lives?

The next time someone says they would like to find God’s perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word!

Psalms 118:8
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”
Now isn’t that odd how this worked out (or was God in the center of it)?

(I just wanted you to read that!)

Then, for those who believe Psalm 117 is the center of the Bible, I found this:
“According to independent research, the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible contains 1189 chapters; Psalm 117 is the 595th; there are 594 chapters before Psalm 117, and 594 after it. Thus, it is 117, not 118, that is the center chapter of the Bible.

Here is what Charles Spurgeon wrote, in his “The Treasury of David”:
“This Psalm, which is very little in its letter, is exceedingly large in its spirit; for, bursting beyond all bounds of race or nationality, it calls upon all mankind to praise the name of the Lord. It is both short and sweet. It may be worth noting that this is at once the shortest chapter of the Scriptures and the central portion of the whole Bible.”

We spoke of the Apostle Paul earlier. The verses of Psalm 117 are one of 4 passages of Old Testament Scripture which Paul used, in Romans, chapter 15, to prove that God’s plan is to save Gentiles. Again, this was perhaps the most hotly debated topic during the days of the early Church, to which Paul would repeatedly write that, in God’s eyes, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, bondman or free, etc. Paul wrote, “that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written …” Then, Paul would quote from Psalms, Deuteronomy, and Isaiah. In so doing, to prove his point, Paul quoted from the Psalms, the Law, and the Prophets.

So, in closing, “O Praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye peoples. For his merciful kindness (loving-kindness) is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.
Praise ye the Lord.”

Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Psalm 119: The Wonder and Wisdom of “The Word”

Hi Friends:

For the last several days, I have been studying Psalm 119. I have read the entire chapter many times in the past, but, in sitting and studying the words this time, it’s like I had never read it before. God is so good, as He is always revealing new things to us, each time we read His Word, and I think He takes great pleasure in giving us new insight into something we have read many times. Yes, “Wisdom is gained every time we open the Bible and read His Word,” as an old, old bookmark I have still reminds me.

I think it can be said that in all the great chapters and passages in the Bible, Psalm 119 stands alone. It is a written monument to the importance of God’s Word. In fact, it is God’s Word that is the sole subject of the chapter. We all know that Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible, with its 176 verses. How important is it that we read, study, believe, and learn the Word of God? How important is God’s Word to us? Let’s put it this way: What is the single subject matter of the longest chapter in the Bible? God’s Word.

As I read and studied the chapter, I learned so many things that make this chapter unique. Of course, we always begin any conversation with the length of the chapter. But, it is the way the chapter is arranged that sets it apart. Like many of the Psalms, it is an “acrostic.” An acrostic is when sets of letters (such as the first letter of a line) are written in order: “A composition, usually in verse, in which sets of letters (as the initial or final letters of the lines) taken in order form a word or phrase or a regular sequence of letters of the alphabet.” The Hebrew alphabet had 22 letters. Usually, when writing an acrostic verse, only one verse per letter of the alphabet is used. In other words, each line would begin with a letter, the next verse begins with the next letter of the alphabet, and so on. In Psalm 119, there are 8 verses for each letter … that is why Psalm 119 has 22 stanzas: One stanza for each letter … 8 verses for each letter … 22 letters in the alphabet … 8 verses per letter … equals 176 verses! Amazing! Yes, I had to go back and look at each stanza … 8 … 16 … 24 … all the way to 176! For this reason, the chapter is also referred to as an “Alphabet Psalm.” There is a tradition that King David used this Psalm to teach his son Solomon the alphabet. It’s also thought that King David taught his son to not just use this alphabet for writing letters, but as an alphabet for spiritual life.

Perhaps the one word most associated with the Psalms would be “praise.” In Psalm 119, the entire chapter is a “praise” song for God’s Word: Its authenticity, its value, and its purpose. Here’s the number 8 again: There are 8 words which repeat, over and over, throughout the chapter, and they all have to do with the Word of God: Word, Law, Statues, Commandments, Judgements, Precepts, Testimonies, and Thy/His Ways. All of these words stand as synonyms for the Word of God, revealed to man. Here we have the longest chapter in the Bible, 176 verses, and the Word of God is mentioned in every verse, but three! Reading God’s Word … learning God’s Word … knowing God’s Word … hearing God’s Word … and … and … keeping God’s Word close to us must be of the utmost value and importance. Another word which appears repeatedly throughout the chapter is “quicken,” which means “revive.”

Who wrote Psalm 119? Not sure. It is one of the 61 Psalms which credit the author as “anonymous.” Just as with the book of Hebrews, there is debate over authorship, and the list is only a couple of names. For Psalms 119, as with Hebrews, it comes down to writing style. It is believed that either King David wrote Psalm 119 (compiled over his lifetime), or Ezra wrote it. But, consider this: The ultimate Author of Scripture is God Himself, using men to write, as inspired by the Holy Spirit. That’s why you need the help of the Holy Spirit to understand the Scriptures … Who better to get the true meaning from … than the Author?

Psalm 119 is approximately the same length as the books of Ruth, James, or Philippians.

I never miss an opportunity to encourage people to read the entire book of Psalms. People, especially those reading the Bible for the first time, will ask me, “Where should I start?” While it is easy to say, “At the beginning,” which, of course, isn’t a bad idea, I always suggest the book of John … and, the book of Psalms. If they will, seriously, read either … it will make them want to read more. I think that one of the reasons Psalms is so “popular” (if I may use that word in context) is that they are so easy to understand, and they express so well the feelings that we all share. Plus, and I think this is important when someone is first learning to start devoting time to Scripture reading every day, the Psalms are easy to read an entire chapter in one sitting … I can’t remember a time when I have read through the book of Psalms, and, every chapter I read, every time, spoke directly to something I was going through at the time.

I’ve known so many people who have told me that Psalms was their favorite book. This includes my Mom, who, like all of us when going through difficult times, turn to the Psalms … and, in particular, favorite Psalms. Time and again, it is the peace and comfort found in the Psalms that give us “just what we need” for any situation we are facing. C.S. Lewis said that, “The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.” And, R.C. Sproul said that, “Whenever I read the Psalms, I feel like I am eavesdropping on a saint having a personal conversation with God.”

There is just a special “connection” we feel with the Psalms. And, so many of us keep going back to our favorite verses within the 119th chapter. For instance, John Calvin preached 22 sermons (one for each stanza) from Psalm 119. Here is this statement about one of those great, “we all know” verses from Psalm 119, from Thomas Watson: “I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11. The Word, locked up in the heart-is a preservative against sin. As one would carry an antidote with him when he comes near an infected place-so David carried the Word in his heart as a sacred antidote to preserve him from the infection of sin.” Wow! That was really good!

Charles Spurgeon liked Psalm 119 so much, that he said, “We might do well to commit it to memory.” Commit it to memory. I know that most of us know, maybe, Psalm 23 by heart … but all 176 verses of Psalm 119? We wrote that there is a belief that King David used this Psalm to teach Solomon. It has been suggested that Psalm 119 may have been written as an acrostic poem so that it would be easier to memorize. The words of this particular Psalm were considered to be that important! I’ve learned that there have, indeed, been some pretty famous people who have made a point to memorize the entire chapter … all 176 verses. Some people you may know, who were known to have the entire Psalm memorized, include William Wilberforce (19th century British politician who led the movement to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire), Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, Henry Martyn (19th century pioneer missionary to India), and David Livingstone (19th century pioneer missionary to Africa).

These examples epitomize the words of verse 11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart …” meaning “to deposit or place” in my heart. Which leads me to the question of which are my favorite verses from Psalm 119? Who could pick? Allow me to write that there are so many, and, on any given day, every verse could “stand out” as being just what God wants me to learn for today. There were a couple of verses I specifically wrote down, as I went through. One was verse 160, which personally responded to my last writing about why believing God’s account of creation was important: “Thy word is true from the beginning.” This spoke to me about what I had written about believing God’s Word from the very “beginning.” I’m working on the “Wealth Stored for the Righteous” series, which speaks so much about the benefits we have right now … so, verse 162 spoke to me about what should be tops on our list of wealth we already possess: “I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great treasure.” Verse 42 repeats what we should say, constantly: “I trust in thy word.” And, not just trust: “I hope in thy word” (verses 81, 114). Another treasure we have is the assurance that God is always with us, that “thou art near” (verse 151).

What a great, great chapter. What Words! No wonder I am “in awe of thy word” (verse 161).
I am reminded that, besides Isaiah, the book of Psalms is most quoted in the New Testament. I am also reminded that this chapter praises the Word … and, that Jesus is, literally, the Word in human form. The Word made flesh. When we praise Jesus, we are praising His Word, and when we are praising the Word, we are praising Him. You can’t separate Jesus from the Word.

I will close with another example of someone from history who had memorized the entire chapter of Psalm 119. I found this same story on several different sources, so I will share this with you:

George Wishart was the Bishop of Edinburgh in the 17th century. Wishart was condemned to death, and was scheduled to be executed. But, when he was on the scaffold, he made use of a custom that allowed the condemned person to choose one Psalm to be sung, and he chose Psalms 119:1-176. Before two-thirds of the psalm was sung, his pardon arrived and his life was spared.

Please read Psalm 119.
And … the rest!

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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“Confirming” Creation

Hi Friends:

First, I am really getting a lot out of the study of Psalm 119 (previous post). Several days so far!

This week, due to conversations I’ve had, and things I’ve heard, I was reminded of what I consider to be the greatest statement regarding “Creation vs. Evolution” I had ever heard.
First, in case there was any doubt, I believe 100% in the story of Creation as written in the Bible, in Genesis. Period.
Guess what? I believe, 100%, in the rest of the Bible, as well.

Why is this, this discussion of whether we believe in Creation exactly as written, so important, anyway? Do I really believe that God created everything in 6 days?
Yes.
Why?
Because that’s what the Bible says.
Period.

What’s the big deal about this 6 “days,” anyway? Can’t I believe in the Creation story, and believe that God’s Creation took millions of years? Can’t I believe that, in between “days,” could have been a period of thousands, even millions, of years?
What’s the big deal?
Yes … I have heard Christians say that it didn’t matter to them how many “days” it took … that it’s not important, this thing about “days.” As long as we believe that God was the Creator, it didn’t matter how much time may be involved. Oh, and also … yes, the most important thing was that you believed that Jesus was Who and What He said He was, and that you believed in Him … As long as you did that … Who cares how many “days” it took?

Of course, I agree that the most important thing in life is your relationship to God, through Jesus Christ. The most important question you will ever have to answer is still, and always will be, “Who say ye that I am?” Jesus is, and will always be, the only way to the Father, and our only means of Salvation, and eternal life.

So, what’s the big deal about this “day” business?
What’s the big deal if we don’t believe that “God created the heavens and the earth” exactly as written?
Why can’t we believe in evolution?

*** Please note that in using the term “evolution” for this writing, I am directly, and only, speaking of what is called “The Theory of Evolution,” as pertaining to the evolution of man from a monkey, or an ape, or whatever … ***

By the way, science fans, it is still a “theory.”
And, so … it must remain …
(I know that bothers “them!”)

Yes, I know that creatures “evolve” over time. Of course they do. But they don’t become a totally different creature! For example, over time, even our bodies change, due to things like environment, etc. I read where people are now born without an appendix, for example, because an appendix is no longer a necessity; or, how about tonsils? I can remember when “having your tonsils out” was something it seemed a member of every family went through. I can’t remember the last time I heard of someone “having their tonsils out.” Again, just an example, but … even if a creatures’ bodies change, adding or subtracting something that is either needed or not needed, they still don’t become a different creature!

Ever really thought about why the “link” was missing?
Never found?
It, simply, can’t, and won’t be found … because, simply, it doesn’t exist.

Scientists aren’t stupid.
Again: Scientists aren’t stupid.
Any more than we were stupid before we discovered the Truth.
Scientists aren’t stupid.
They’re just blind.
Just like we were blind … before we discovered the Truth.

So … this Creation thing, this Biblical account, that God created everything … just like it is written … What’s the big deal about whether we believe the Genesis account or not … exactly as written … What’s the big deal???

Well … Here’s the Big Deal:

How come the word used for “day” in the Creation account always means a 24 hour day everywhere else it is used?
It is only debated when it is used in the Creation account. Why? What’s the big deal?

Well … Here’s the Big Deal:

The very first verse of the Bible says, clearly, that God created everything, and then goes on to describe how He did it … including the creation of man …
If I can get you to doubt the first verse … maybe … just maybe … I can get you to begin to doubt the rest …
Plain and simple, that’s the “Big Deal.”
The first story, off of that first verse, describes, well enough for me, how God created everything … and created man …
If I can be made to begin to doubt that first verse … then, maybe … just maybe … I will begin to doubt the first story, off of that verse … then … maybe … just maybe … I will begin to doubt the rest … Ultimately … and, this is the key to the enemy’s defense …. Ultimately … maybe … just maybe … maybe … just maybe … I’ll begin to look at the Gospels … and the rest … with a little doubt … just maybe … just maybe …I know it may be a “stretch” for the enemy … but, maybe … just maybe … just may be … it could work …. Maybe not for everyone … but for someone … maybe … just maybe … just maybe for a lot of someones …

I use Map Quest for directions. What would a do if I printed out directions and then discovered that the first group of directions weren’t accurate? What would you do? We’d probably, at the very least, doubt the validity of the rest of the directions … Maybe … just maybe … just maybe … we’d just rip up the directions, toss them in the trash … and … find another source for directions … At the very least … the seed of doubt would be planted … wouldn’t it?

You can’t deny that this “doubt” strategy is a major “genius” idea. Did I just say the enemy was a “genius? I don’t know: Did it work? Let’s never forget out enemy is smarter than us, stronger than us, and has been at it for centuries … And … That’s exactly why we need the Truth … the Truth of what? The truth of Scriptures!
Let’s see … if we can begin to doubt the Scriptures … how hard does the enemy now have to try to defeat us???

When I was at the Elementary School, Substitute Teachers would come to the Library for lunch. One such Sub was a friend of ours from Church, and would come to enjoy the quiet of the environment. I would always use the time to take advantage of an empty Library to catch up on paperwork, etc., but, sometimes, I’d engage in conversation, if I knew the person. So often, for no particular reason, questions about the Bible would come up. Maybe it was a lesson I was working on, or a book I was putting back on the shelf, but, on this particular day, the question of Creation, and in particular, evolution, came up. That was when this lady made the statement of which I referenced at the beginning of this post, came up.

She didn’t understand how someone could “buy” the “theory” of evolution. Here is what she said:
“If that’s true, how come we still have monkeys? How come we still have apes?”

I haven’t forgotten that statement, after all these months. I agree:
I know that at one time, there was only one dog (I know there had to be two, but for illustration I’ll only say “one”). As time went by, there were a lot of dogs, and a lot of different dogs … maybe, over time, there were thousands and thousands of “different” dogs. They became different breeds, different types of dogs (long hair, short hair, tall, short, poodle, etc.). But … no matter how much they changed … they were still dogs!!! They may have been different, totally different, St. Bernard to Poodle … but, they were still dogs! They didn’t become an entirely different animal.

How about cats? Same thing … Every animal: There became many, many different types … but, they suddenly didn’t become another animal.

For our science fans, every instance of this type of “evolution” has been “horizontal” evolution … not “vertical” evolution … The animal just didn’t change into a different animal. The dog was still a dog, a cat was still a cat …

So, months later, I still remember that question she had … thinking about writing something about this “theory” business … when, all at once, as I was watching an old TV show on “TV Land,” they ran a promo about a new show, which just happened to be about Teachers. It’s still true: I don’t watch network television, except for football games … during which I get to see promos of all of the “great new shows” … I know I’m not making this up, but is there actually a new TV series where “Lucifer” is a good guy? Where there is an “Angel from Hell” … and it’s a comedy? Surely, I must be making this up. Surely there would be an outcry against such programming, right? Surely this wouldn’t be acceptable??? Next thing you know, we’ll be believing that man came from an ape!!! That the Biblical account of Creation is incorrect! Now … And, please don’t get mad at the atrocity I am suggesting might happen if we keep going … Next thing you know … we’ll be teaching our children that the Biblical account of Creation is incorrect … No … that’ll never happen …

Anyway … I’m watching a promo for this new show … I’m also thinking about how “TV Land” used to have family shows … I think about the “evolution” of our society, just as demonstrated by what used to be on “TV Land” vs. what is, somehow, allowed on there now … Anyway, in the middle of this promo about Teachers in a School, here is the statement I heard as part of the promo:
“If evolution is true, how come we still have monkeys?”

So, I’ve been thinking about this … about how this statement was confirmation of what I have discussed with Teachers at School all this week … about “How come we still have monkeys/apes?”
How will I write about it?
How should I write about it?
Should I write about it?

The Substitute Teacher which made the original statement … I haven’t seen in several months, not since I was at the Elementary School. But, I have been thinking about her and the statement she made, ever since I saw this promo for the Teachers TV show.

Today, while doing the grocery shopping for the week, I had just entered the grocery store, and was stopped in the first aisle, just to the right as you enter the store. Guess who came into the store, and, not seeing me … walked right up to me? This same lady, the Substitute Teacher, who had made the original “evolution” statement months ago, and whose question I had heard repeated a few nights ago … a lady I have never seen out in public before, and hadn’t seen since the Elementary School …

I knew then, what to write about.

In closing, I’ll offer this:

I can’t remember what animal it is that started out as a bird, or maybe it was a bird that started out as another animal, but I still hear this phrase from time to time: “When Pigs Fly!!!”
Keep going … and they’ll try to convince us that, at one time they did …
Maybe … just maybe … just may be … that we’ll believe it …

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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