November 13 – Letting Joy Be Seen

“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;  The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” – Psalm 19:7-8 (NASB)

One of the greatest blessings which God has given us are his words and thoughts in the Bible.  When David wrote this psalm he expressed his appreciation using selected words. This Psalm extols the Words God has given to us. Each of four parallel lines in today’s verses contains a word (a synonym) for God’s Word; each describes what His Word is; and each pronounces what it effectually accomplishes.  God has given us the Bible to reveal His thinking about how we should live.  This, of course is a manifestation of His perfect love for us.  So, when we read the Bible we are reminded of God’s love and His concern for us. That should resonate in the heart and mind of every faith believer. And when our hears are full of joy it shows in our eyes?  Our inner sense and well-being can be seen by other when they look at us. Yes, our eyes reveal our inner spirit as they glisten with joy and that is what David was expressing about his experience.  Let’s be sure to pay attention often to what God has revealed to us in His Word. 

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August 6 – Carry With, Always Everywhere

“My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you.” – Proverbs 6:20-22 (NASB)

There are a number of ways that God instructs us to live using these proverbs of Solomon. This is how we listen to His word and respond to what we learn. First, it is clear the importance God places on family and on the chain of responsibility that exists in an established family. God never intended young people to be independent of their parents. Instruction from every sector is valuable. But from parents it is authoritative—the ordinance of God. Therefore, we are not to consider it a matter of occasional regard. “Bind them continually on your heart,” is allowing them to rule our lives and guide the way we live. Plus “around your neck,”as an adorning; making them a part of daily life so that others may know what we believe. The same was instructed in Proverbs. 3:3 and Job’s declaration in Job 31:36 regarding his integrity, “Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, I would bind it to myself like a crown.” Day and night, God’s wisdom is revealed to us in his word and should be more than momentary, it should be known by all who know us.

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June 25 – Shining Like Gold

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.” – Job 23:10-12 (NASB)

Again we look to garner from the Book of Job a promise of God’s. Having been severely tested by Satan, who had God’s permission with limits, Job has become convinced that the trials which took everything he owned and his family – except his wife – were a test and not a punishment for evil or wickedness on his part. Job sensed that God was evading him. But Job believed that were God to show up He would, knowing the way of godliness Job followed, have to declare him not guilty. Yet the Job perceived that when God finished testing him he would come forth “shining like gold. Even though Job could not sense the presence of God, he believed God was present and Job affirmed his commitment to God’s purpose in this test and his continued obedience to what God has commanded – which were the most important issues in his life. From this real-life example Job gives us, we too can be assured that when our trials become more than we think we can bear, if God is our hope and salvation, we will emerge through His graces and for His glory.

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 November 6 – New Distinctive Trait

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35 (ESV)

The word for commandment in this verse could also be translated ‘precept.’ The people of the time when Jesus was on earth understood the word and John uses it to identify three connections. It identified a legal order issued by the Sanhedrin or Jewish Supreme court¹; It also identified a charge or instruction Jesus received from the Father²; And it identified a commandment given by Jesus to his disciples³. A legal order is issued by men who may or may not have a warm, personal interest in those who are required to obey it. The charge or instruction given by the Father to His Son; from the Sender in his love to the Sent One. Therefor this precept is a rule, a new commandment from Jesus. It is illustrated by his own life and example, it becomes a directive of conduct and attitude of how His disciples, behave toward all people. To Christ, to one another, and to the world, a genuine, deep-seated and self-sacrificing love for one another is the distinctive trait of the Christian. It is by this that all others will recognize that we belong to Christ and no other deity.* 

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¹John 11:57
²John 10:18; 12:49 -50; 14:31
³John 13:34; 14:15, 21; 15:10, 12

[*] William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 2:253.