Isaiah 40:22 – He who sits above the circle of the earth

Passage: Isaiah 40:22

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

I saw this interactive Flash demo of the Scale of the Universe on Challies’ A La Carte post for 2/13 and thought of this verse that talks about the immensity of God.

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Psalm 100 – Call to Worship

Passage: Psalm 100

According to the Bible, the title for this psalm is “A Psalm for Thanksgiving.”

A psalm is a song, and this psalm is not just any song–it is a call to action; it is a call to worship. Thanksgiving, or giving of thanks to God, is one of the purest forms of worship.

Whenever I am lost in my thoughts and my heart is wild and chaotic and reluctant to worship God–and I soon realize this by God’s grace–I turn to Psalm 100 to guide myself, the creature, to the rightful place before my Creator–humbled and prostrated low.

I love the Psalms because nearly every call to worship in this book is coupled with a reason, explanation, or justification to make the call more pertinent and urgent to the ones who are being called.

Here is the psalm with the imperative verbs emphasized–these are the calls to action:

(1) Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
(2) Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
(3) Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
(4) Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
(5) For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.

Continue reading

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What is the Gospel?

“What is the gospel?” To answer this question succinctly is a very difficult endeavor.

Depending on a person’s background, there is a way to custom-tailor the presentation of the message of the gospel to him or her.

Let’s start with a definition and etymology of the word:

The word gospel derives from the Old English gōd-spell (rarely godspel), meaning “good news” or “glad tidings”. It is a calque (word-for-word translation) of the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, euangelion (eu- “good”, -angelion “message”). The Greek word “euangelion” is also the source (via Latinised “evangelium”) of the terms “evangelist” and “evangelism” in English. The authors of the four canonical Christian gospels are known as the four evangelists. 1

So the word gospel means “good news.” Generally, in order for there to be good news, by necessity, it must be contrasted with bad news. In light of the Bible, where the gospel message is found, we find that the bad news is exceedingly bad, making the good news incredibly good.

Therefore, one very coarse outline of the gospel would be:

  1. Bad News
    1. We were lost in sin (Romans 3:23), dead in our transgressions and trespasses against God, lost without any hope (Isaiah 64:6), doomed to eternal punishment and condemned to eternal hell (Romans 6:23).
  2. Good News
    1. God Himself made a way for us to be reconciled with Him, through His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16). That way was through the cross and crucifixion of Jesus, His subsequent death, burial, and resurrection from the dead, and placing our faith and trust in Him that He has died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins, and was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25).

When I study the message of the gospel, it is amazingly refreshing to my soul. In the near future, I will be sharing some of the things that I’ve discovered (and still am discovering!) from the Bible about different aspects and rich facets of the gospel, and how they have caused me, the sinner, to see the immensity and magnanimity of God and the goodness of God in light of my own utterly repulsive wretchedness.

Here are a few other places that I’ve found online with the gospel message explained clearly and more in-depth, which you may find as helpful resources:

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Matthew 21:28-32 – What God Wants

Passage: Matthew 21:28-32

The Plot

This passage tells a story that is quite simple–it doesn’t have a very complicated plot.

  • A man had two sons (v. 28)
  • The father gave an imperative to both of his sons–“Go work today in the field” (v. 28b, 30)
  • Son #1 said “No” at first, but later regretted and obeyed (v. 29)
  • Son #2 said “Yes” at first, but ultimately disobeyed (v. 30)

Basic Listening Comprehension Test

Next, Jesus asks a question to test the listening comprehension of His audience composed of the chief priests, the elders of the people, and the Pharisees (v. 23, 45)–“Which of the two [sons] did the will of the father?”

And what did they respond? Surprise, surprise–they passed with flying colors! They responded, “The first [son].”

What Jesus says next is not a congratulatory remark for their correct understanding of the story, but harsh words of indictment: “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you” (v. 31).

What? How can that be? How can immoral people such as tax collectors and prostitutes get into the kingdom of God before the righteous (or so they appear to be) Pharisees, elders, and chief priests? What does God want? What is “the will of the Father?” Are God’s standards arbitrary? Continue reading

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Psalm 27:8 – Conquering Your Heart

Passage: Psalm 27:8

The writer of Psalm 27 is David, otherwise known as King David, or the “man after God’s own heart.” God’s accolade for David (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) is certainly more than enough to put the spotlight on David and direct our attention to the details of David’s worship life. God is essentially saying of David, “He is the model worshiper of Me; be like him.”

Psalm 27:8, I believe, is the one verse in all of Scripture that most concisely describes and depicts the proper relationship between man and God–of submission and obedience and worship and reverence of a holy God who is perfectly good and righteous and most worthy to be praised (Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 145:3). Continue reading

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Luke 12:15-21 – Don’t Waste Your Life

Passage: Luke 12:15-21

The rapper Lecrae mentions this passage in his song with the same title; one of the most influential Christian books in my life was John Piper’s book of the same name:


In this passage, Jesus teaches that every form of greed is dangerous and deadly. It is a waste of life. Greed is dangerous and deadly because even when greed is satisfied and fulfilled, when an abundance is had, the greedy individual is blinded to the condition of his soul. He is a ripe candidate for becoming Satan’s latest victim among millions (if not billions), and is just asking to be devoured by the prowling and roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). Continue reading

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Psalm 119:136 – Real Men Cry Part 1

Passage: Psalm 119:136

God made emotions, and God made tears.

Real men, godly men, know how to embrace their God-given emotions. They won’t cry when they break their humerus in a freak snowboarding accident, but they will be moved to tears when their love for God is so great and their love and compassion toward others reflects God’s heart toward men.

Crying and weeping and being moved to tears is an act of worship to God under two broad circumstances of loving another person–and when it doesn’t end with just that, but also with interceding and praying on his or her behalf for the restoration of a broken Creator-creature, servant-master relationship, or for the salvation of his or her soul. Continue reading

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Psalm 139:14 – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Part 1

Passage: Psalm 139:14

“Binocular Vision” a.k.a. Canon PhotoStitch (Image stitching program) on steroids:

Take your hand, flatten your palm, and place it perpendicular to your nose, between your two eyes. Close one eye and leave the other open. Then, open that eye and close the other. Finally, open both eyes. Continue reading

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Matthew 9:18 – Faith

Passage: Matthew 9:18 (c.f. Mark 5:21-24)

A synagogue official comes before Jesus in desperation because his daughter just died. What’s the big deal? This kind of thing happens every day, right? (No!) Why is it recorded in the Bible? Continue reading

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Psalm 119:59-60 – I Hastened and Did Not Delay

Passage: Psalm 119:59-60

When reading the Old Testament, we find many great examples of faith and faithfulness (Hebrews 11:32-38). The psalmist who wrote Psalm 119 is certainly no exception.

Through these two verses, the psalmist exemplifies a lifestyle of obedience to God, and is a great Old Testament illustration to a New Testament command many are familiar with–Paul’s exhortation to test and examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). It’s amazing to find many gems in the Bible of Old Testament saints who have obeyed commands written much later in the future–which is owing to the fact that the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament (Deuteronomy 6:4; John 1:1; Hebrews 13:8), and that the heart of God for faithfulness and obedience to Him has never changed.

Presumably, the psalmist, upon examining himself, had many atrocious things to the Lord, and out of fear and reverence, he repented immediately. Likewise, I have many things in my life which are “ugly” that I need to confront and repent of and submit to the obedience of Christ–immediately, without delay. Continue reading

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