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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 Psalm 100 – Call to Worship

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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 Matthew 21:28-32 – What God Wants

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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 Psalm 27:8 – Conquering Your Heart

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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:

DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE

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 Luke 12:15-21 – Don’t Waste Your Life

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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 Psalm 119:136 – Real Men Cry Part 1

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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 Psalm 139:14 – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Part 1

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

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Psalm 119:73 – Help Me, O My Creator

Passage: Psalm 119:73

This verse is found in the middle of the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119. As the editors of the particular Bible in front of me noted in the section heading, Psalm 119 is a collection of “Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God.”

The reader can find much encouragement in peering into the devotional life of this psalmist, and learn much as a worshiper of how he may rightly and reverently worship his God.

The psalmist utters a prayer that exalts God and puts himself in his rightful place–a creature in utter dependence upon his Creator. Continue reading Psalm 119:73 – Help Me, O My Creator