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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Blessed is the man who mediates on God's Word

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. - Psalm 1:1-2

I’m drawn to the words, “his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night” For the Christian, meditation on God’s word is not a duty to be fulfilled, but a delight to be indulged! When you feed on the Word daily, you find your resistance to sin strengthened and your heart for God satisfied. For just as the man who's recently enjoyed an amazing steak dinner isn’t tempted to stop off on the way home for a quick McDonald's cheeseburger, so a Christian who’s belly is full of the good things of God is not easily tempted to “sit down” to the feast of the wicked.

It is only the hungry who are ready to eat anything set before them. But if you fill your mind with God’s Word so that it satisfies the longings of your heart, you soon find an ever-growing power to say “No!” to sin. “No!” to sin because you’ve been saying “Yes!” to better things in Christ! That's the power of a superior delight!

One of the things people often miss, is that our hearts were made to be satisfied by something. "Satisfy me in the morning, with your steadfast love" Moses writes in Psalm 90:14. Notice that. He does not say. "Make me a man who doesn't need satisfaction." He says, "Satisfy me in you, so that I won't seek satisfaction elsewhere -- in lesser things. The key to not finding satisfaction in that which is sinful, is to pursue something better! find a deeper more lasting satisfaction in that which God has provided in Christ!

Thus David writes in Psalm 19:7-11,
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.

Let me urge you to make God’s Word your daily delight. Let it strengthen you in your fight against sin as you read and meditate on it daily, and as you join others each week for Bible Study or Sunday School at a local, Christ-exalting, Bible-faithful church.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Talking Jesus Dolls

I don't know if you happened to hear about the controversy this past Christmas surrounding 'Toys for Tots' initial refusal to allow the "Talking Jesus Doll” among it’s donated items, it seems to me most of the discussion ended up missing the real point. Why should Christians be upset when a secular organization doesn’t what to hand out plastic Jesus dolls? Shouldn’t we be more concerned that someone has actually made plastic Jesus dolls in the first place, in direct violation of the Second Commandment? "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." (Ex 20:4) The point of this commandment is that God is not to be represented by any man-made objects at all Why not? Because as soon as we make an object and say "this is what God is like" or “Jesus is like this,” we misrepresent Him to the world! No matter how good our image may be, it will fall short of what is real. It will misrepresents Him! We used to call that blasphemy.

In this case, imagine how such a doll will be looked at by children (Not to mention played with!) Children will think within themselves, "This is what Jesus is like. Look what I can make Him do!" And they will manipulate him and talk for him and have him in their hands to do with as they please, just like they do with their Batman and Barbie dolls. He is reduced to a child's play thing! To think of that makes me shudder! And then I think of all the times God brought terrible judgments upon His people because they failed to treat Him as "holy" (Num 20:12, etc). One meaning of "holy" is "to be separated from that which is common or profane." Putting Jesus in the hands of children to play with in the same way they would play with Batman or Barbie violates a whole host of biblical commands and could possibly bring spiritual harm to the children who grow up thinking of Jesus as a common play-thing.

May God give us clear biblical discernment in all things.

Pastor Scott Lee

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Only "Half-a-God"

“Behold then the kindness and severity of God” Romans 11:22a

I wonder, sometimes, if we Americans aren’t guilty of worshiping only “half-a-God.” We sing about His mercy and kindness. We love to talk about His love, as we “count our many blessings” and tell others of a God who loves them and has “a wonderful plan” for their lives. But rarely do we stop and think about the harder truths of God – things like his wrath and justice, or how He absolutely hates all sin.

The result of this is that we are not a people who know God, or fear God or “tremble at His Word.” (Isa 66:2). His commands don’t carry nearly as much weight with us as do the opinions of the “experts” on TV. We’re far more likely to take our views about personal issues, like sex or raising children or building a business, from the people around us rather than the God above us. We don’t know or walk with God!

One of the great benefits of studying the Bible verse by verse is that it forces us to deal with the hard things in God’s Word just as much as we get to rejoice in the easy and more pleasant things. I remind you of this because Romans 11, which we're studying at Rockport right now, is filled with hard things. Here we find God in all His sovereign supremacy reigning and ruling over sinful man, hardening some and pardoning others as He desires, and not asking anyone’s permission.

My prayer, as we wrestle through these difficult truths together, is that God will use this time to deepen your sense of dependence on Him, that He will give you an ever-increasing admiration and love for His mercy; and an ever-growing amazement at the grace that broke through to save you.! May we learn to worship a “Whole God” Who “has mercy on whom He desires, and hardens whom He desires” (Rm 9:18)

Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone be the Glory)

Pastor Scott Lee