Christianese -Written by Louis Liss

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2

I adore intellectualism. I lavish wading in the waters of hyper-cognitive conversations and am filled with a bolt of adrenaline at the opportunity to debate any given topic that pops up in daily dialogue. So when the Holy Spirit illuminated the Great Commission for me in high school as being imperative for my life, I felt uniquely equipped to stand in the middle of the courtyard and watch as my words brought down tongues of fire onto the campus. You can imagine how stunned I was when my incredible oratory and prowess in verbal sparring bore no fruit and sowed a lot of dissension towards not only myself but God in general. For some bizarre reason my puffed up pride did not convey the gospel of Jesus Christ. Beyond my arrogance, the greatest barrier to Jesus was the language I was using, which to me was clear and deeply significant. To my post-modern classmates the words, “Justification by grace through faith,” not only had no meaningful impact, but had no meaning at all. Though I had a comprehensive command of the theological principles of the road to salvation this did not impress my classmates enough to give their lives over to Jesus nor did they appreciate being dragged brain first across the threshold of salvation. So I stumbled through constant clumsy evangelism into college. It was there at our InterVarsity campus ministry that we played a game where we had to make a list of words that meant nothing or something completely different to our non-Christian neighbors. We made a long list of words including, for example, atonement, sanctification, and blood. Then we were asked to flip over the page and answer the following question without using any of those aforementioned words: What is the significance of the cross in your life? Jesus’ death on the cross was and is the most important manifestation of Christ in my life and so I feverishly began to write with growing fervor. I soon found that I was doing far more erasing than I was writing. I realized that I had become fully dependent on explaining my deep and passionate love for Jesus in a way that only I and those select few fluent in Christianese could understand. I then received a far deeper revelation from the Holy Spirit. I had been clinging to these insider terms during evangelism because I had placed my identity in my intelligence and not in Christ. I thought that it was more important that people were impressed by my knowledge of God than by God, and to bring the illumination to its completion the Holy Spirit finally told me that my amazing oration had drawn many people to myself but very few were then drawn to Him. So I began to take a John 15 set of shears to my language. I started to systematically reevaluate all of my beliefs about God and if it included any of the post-modern taboo words that I had listed then I moved it from the evangelism part of my brain to the discipleship section. I began to realize how deeply difficult this truly was. I found my post-modern friends were in no way interested with whether or not Jesus was true in what He said, but they were intently fascinated by whether or not these truths worked practically in my life. With my high church armor stripped I found myself exposed. These words had protected me from having to engage about my own struggles and failures. I now stood bare before the world with nothing but Jesus and my personal stories of his daily actions in my life. I sat one day in my hockey locker room surrounded by several guys I have known for well over 15 years. They would frequently recount the debaucherous exploits of our youth. After several months of stories a newer player who knew that I had been present for all of the depicted events asked me how it was possible that I could be a character in these stories from the past and now be a pastor and missionary who continued to consort with my former teammates. The characters in these tales were comprised of heroin addicts, a multiple rehab attender, a drug dealer whose family had to flee the state because of death threats, a prisoner for illegal pornography, adulterers, drunkards, three lifetime ban holders, and a rap sheet full of assaults to round out the tales that come to mind. Even as I began to speak I looked at my teammates through a haze of pot smoke. “How did you end up like you did after spending your life with these guys?” he asked. “I was lost, running in darkness and filling my life with anything that could make me not think about the pit I was in. I tried to pull myself out so many times and never could shake the darkness. Then I was invited to come to a youth retreat where Jesus met me and broke in with such amazing light that all of the darkness in me fled and all the venom in me was drained out. I was a new person with Jesus in my heart, and as for these guys. There’s no place that Jesus would rather hang out than in a hockey locker room. We all need that light in our lives.” The locker room that usually sounded like, well, a locker room was silent. One of my old friends leaned over and said, “Thanks Lou we need someone like you in around us.” Everyone agreed and as we were going out to play the game the new guy approached me and asked if we could talk more at the bar after the game. Of course I agreed and we had weeks of amazing conversations about Jesus and His light. While I am amongst someone who hasn’t yet taken that unfathomable leap into the arms of Jesus I now confess to know nothing but Christ and him crucified. It has transformed my life, my ministry, and truly proven to me that God was right when He spoke about all we need in Revelation 12:11, “They overcame [the accuser] by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” Amen and Ahmeen

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Psalm 6

There are some great comments that have been posted, so don’t miss out on the discussion. Go back and take a look at what others are seeing in the pages of Scripture.

Overview

Again we find that the Psalmist/David is struggling. He is torn apart emotionally, but knows that God has heard his crying and weeping. He knows that God will bring righteous judgment on his enemies. (An aside here, I have not been writing David because I do not have a commentary with much information about what was happening with David during these. Some of you may have that information or be interested in knowing what David may have been referring to directly in his Psalms. I wanted to read through them focusing on what Jesus has to do with the Psalms, so I am only using this commentary. But that is a good part of it being a public study, that many of you can comment with more information on how these relate to the life of David. Much of David’s life is recapitulated in Jesus.)

Characters

David, the Lord, my soul, those in Sheol, my foes and enemies, workers of evil

Key Verse

Verse 8 “Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.”

Cross Reference

Psalm 119:115 “Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God.”

Psalm 139:19 “Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!”

Matthew 7:23 “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”

Matthew 25:41 “”Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Luke 13:27 “But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!'”

Psalm 94:4 “They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.”

Psalm 3:4 “I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

Conclusion

    The most important thing is to know the Lord. Once I have a relationship with Him, I have nothing to fear. God will provide for me. Those who deny Him and turn from Him, will be judged.

I pray that all of my actions would provide a light to those who are my foes and enemies so that they can join the family of God and learn to know God and walk in His truth and righteousness. I pray also that I will continue in His righteousness so that I am never considered an enemy to anyone else.

Jesus in the Psalm

    At the beginning of the Psalm, David doesn’t know whether his suffering is coming from God or his enemies. However, he does not plead innocence, he seeks God’s grace. We know from Scripture that “God’s essential nature is to be merciful.”*

Exodus 34:6-7 “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”

Romans 9:15 “For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”

“When it resembles the Messiah’s suffering and enhances faith, suffering can actually prove that a person belongs to God.”*

1 Peter 1:6-12 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” (P.S. I love this book, 1 Peter, read it sometime it is a great encouragement to my heart and soul.)

The struggles and grief David is going through in these Psalms draws him closer to God instead of sending him away from God. Paul calls this “godly grief”:

2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly grief produces repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

“David thus provides the follower of Christ an inspired vocabulary to express his or her frustration with God’s painful providence. David also leaves a legacy of faith by demonstrating that, when we flee to God alone for mercy, our conscience finds lasting relief from the trouble of our sins.”*

Hebrews 10:12-14 “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

The conclusion of the commentary for this Psalm is, “We lean ultimately on God’s “steadfast love” (Ps. 6:4)—love that is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.”*

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

Tomorrow: Psalm 7

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Psalm 5 (Includes Next Week’s Reading Plan)

Reading Plan for June 30—July 5

June 30        Psalm 6

July 1        Psalm 7

July 2        Psalm 8

July 3        Romans 2

July 4        Psalm 9

July 5        Psalm 10

Overview

Yesterday the Psalm was an evening psalm, and today seem to be in the morning. Once again he is asking for God to defend him and be his shield among evil men who speak worthless and damaging things. The Psalm talks about God’s power to handle all those against him. In His love we can seek refuge in Him. A few of the motifs from our previous readings again are seen here: shield, blessed, a God who hears his people and fills them with joy.

Characters

The Psalmist, Lord, boastful, evildoers, those who speak lies, the bloodthirsty and deceitful man, my enemies, all who take refuge in God, those who love His name, the righteous.

Key Verse

Verse 7 “But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.”

Verse 8 “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.”

These two verses both share the importance of God’s role in our righteousness. We are not righteous without God, and we cannot enter His Presence without His forgiveness.

Cross References

Psalm 132:7 “Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!”

1 Kings 8:29,30 “that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. And listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen in heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.” P.S. this verse is in the midst of pretty powerful verses. I recommend you read the whole section.

Psalm 11:4 “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.”

Psalm 79:1 “O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.”

Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

Psalm 25:4, 5 “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

Ezra 8:21 “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.”

Conclusion

    God is not contained by a building any longer, and if you read the section in 1 Kings you also read about God never truly being contained in the temple. The fascinating observation I had was in verse 4 when he is saying no evil can dwell with God, yet in God’s love he lets the psalmist into His temple. Once again we must rely fully on God’s righteousness. God is the righteousness that we need. God is the only one who can protect us because all there is to fear is His judgment. Man can do nothing to us, and if we are not with God it is still He who we should fear. I am so glad I used both verses as key verses today, because the Ezra verse is really beautiful. As my family is on this journey, we have found it so obvious that we are only here by God’s provision and sustenance, and we must remain humble before him as we continue, seeking His guidance with Davy and all our resources.

Jesus in the Psalm

    David relied on God for his righteousness, as we also must do to receive God’s favor. Jesus is our shield. His death and resurrection gives all of us the opportunity to come near to God with joy, confidence, and assurance of His protection. Romans 8:33-34 says, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Once again this is just a sampling of a great section in Scripture. Soon we will get to this chapter in Romans, but go read ahead now and let this section bathe your own heart in confidence.

Today’s Application: Read the surrounding sections of the cross references today and any day to find God’s truth, and Jesus’ presence throughout Scripture and for you.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Psalm 4 & A Davy Application

Overview:

God hears the Psalmist’s cry. God has given relief from his distress. People bring him shame and speak vain words, seeking after lies, but God has set apart the godly for himself. The Psalmist is taking his anger and meditating silently, putting his trust in God. Others complain that there is nothing good. God fills the Psalmist’s heart with joy, which is better than the wine and food of the other people. Peace reigns in his life because he knows that God is in control, and he knows that God hears him.

Characters:

The Psalmist, “God of my righteousness”, men, the godly.

Key Verse:

Verse 8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Cross References:

Psalm 3:5 “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.”

Psalm 16:9 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.”

Leviticus 25:18, 19 “Therefore you shall do my statutes and keep my rules and perform them, and then you will dwell in the land securely. The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and dwell in it securely.”

Leviticus 26:5 “Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.”

Deuteronomy 33:28 “So Israel lived in safety, Jacob lived alone, in a land of grain and wine, whose heavens drop down dew.”

Conclusion:

    I am blessed to have God. He is the one protecting me and taking care of every day and night. Lately fireworks have been going off in the night because of the World Cup, Davy has not been going to sleep well, and there is always more to do. But, since committing to waking up before Louis and Davy so I could have quiet time, I cannot just stay up with excuses (Pinterest would really help me calm down…If I just read the rest of this book…If I just do the rest of the dishes…). I must do as Christ has called me, Annie, to do. I must go to sleep and rise early to meet with Him. Because of this commitment, I am seeing the fruits of it in my days. My nights, therefore, are less stressful because I know that God will continue to guard, comfort, and protect us all. He fills my heart with joy and peace throughout the day. And I can come to him easily because I know He hears me.

Yesterday during my quiet time I was praying for Davy. Louis went to the center for a big chunk of the day and would be going again in the evening. It is the longest Louis has left us alone since we got here, so I knew it would be a tough day with Davy. I prayed that Davy would have peace and not worry about Daddy. During Louis’ and my Bible Study on Romans in the morning, Davy began to stress out and get very upset. We stopped and prayed and he felt better. This happened throughout the day. It was a different day and our little toddler was thrown off by it. While God did not give him complete calmness and peace, I was equipped to handle and know what was happening with my baby. Because of this, I knew God had heard my prayer. Knowing that made it not matter that He didn’t do as I had asked.

Davy consistently lists the people he misses and wants to pray for. “Pray!” he will announce, slapping his hands together. We will ask him what he wants to pray for, and he will say a name or a list of names or he will say “Miss!” meaning he misses someone, something, or somewhere. We will pray together. This week we hung pictures of family and friends, and he sits on his bed looking at the pictures and prays on his own, too. It is important to me that he knows God hears our prayers, so we spend some time every Sunday on Anamnesis, remembering what God has done for us. This Psalm expresses all of that.

Jesus in the Psalm:

    I love the wording “O God of my righteousness” in verse 1, and the commentary says this about it, “David confesses his sole dependence on God’s “righteousness”—his commitment to do what is right and to rescue his covenant people.”* It is true that we are not righteous apart from him, and we must recognize our need for a Savior, for someone who is righteous. When we are seen as righteous, we know it is all God’s work in us. “This principle of God establishing his name through his people assures Christians that God will answer their “call” (v. 3).”*

My commentary also makes an interesting comment, that this is an “evening psalm”, which is a psalm that talks about the events of the day. As we go to bed, we hand over the day to God in this way. An application could be to use this Psalm as a sort of template to pray through in the evening.

Let’s look at the flow of this Psalm:

  1. Verse 1
    1. David remembers what God has done for him
    2. David confesses his sole dependence on God’s righteousness
    3. With confidence in the Redeemer’s righteousness rather than his own, David boldly asks God to be gracious

Hebrews 4:14-16 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

  1. Verse 2
    1. David recognizes the problems around him
    2. And gives them over to God
  2. Verse 3
    1. David asks God to defend because God has “set apart” the “godly” for himself
    2. We can be assured that God will answer our call, too
  3. Verse 4 and 5
    1. We know we are God’s priority so we can call on him with trust, giving him our anger instead of taking care of it ourselves

Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,”

  1. Verses 6-7
    1. The light of God’s face brings joy to his children but fear to our enemies (Exodus 14:24 Deuteronomy 30:6-7)
  2. Verse 8
    1. The remembrance of righteousness in verse 1 provides hope for the future
    2. The shepherd boy turned king rests in the promise that the Good Shepherd makes us “dwell in safety”

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

  1. We have faith in this Savior who loves us with tender care, too.

Here is an example:

My Savior, the One who sees the entire day behind me and before me, as I put Davy down I see the people you have called into your family with us. You do the calling and I ask that you call those who we love, but are still distant from You. So many around us are walking without a Savior, without truly living a life of meaning. I know you hear me, and as I lay down to sleep, I can give over my anger and resentments and hurts from this day to you. Many of them cannot be solved because the world does not know what it is doing. But the light of your face is made apparent every day, and I pray that you shine brightly around us at all times as a family. I have great hope that you will not only give us peace and rest this night, but You will draw near to others this night in dreams, visions, and a longing for you. Bring our loved one into the fold. Amen and goodnight, Sweet and Precious Jesus.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in. For instance, the outline is my own way of summarizing the information in the commentary to make it applicable today.

It would be wonderful to get a collection of bedtime prayers from you. If you rewrite this Psalm and feel comfortable, please post it in the comments.

I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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Romans 1

Welcome to the first chapter of Romans. If you have been reading along with us the Psalms, you already know how to fill out your own notebooking page for our chapter study. All you need is to put the headings into your notebook, and then follow them. Read through the chapter 3 times before you write down any answers.

Let me give you some of the basic introductory information in my Bible, and if there is anything that you find interesting in your Bible’s Introduction to Romans, please leave a note in the comments section.*

Written by Paul to the Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome. This is the first epistle you would come to reading straight through the New Testament. It contains many teachings that were foundational to the church that rises in the previous book of Acts. “[Romans] played a direct role in the conversions of many such as Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Wesley. John Calvin wrote that Romans is the doorway to the treasure of all Scripture.”* Louis says that reading chapter 1 in college is what sent him into missions.

Romans’ main message is the gospel, and this book “is certainly Paul’s most extended and concentrated presentation of God’s saving work in Christ.”*

The nouns Paul used most often in Romans provides its own sort of summary of the book.

1. God is used 153 times. He is the subject of this epistle.

2. Law is used 74 times. “Cultures may be diverse, but Scripture views humans of all cultures as having one thing profoundly in common: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23). We have all broken God’s “holy and righteous and good” commandment (7:12). Yet Romans trumpets that in sending “his own Son”, God fulfilled what the law demanded but we humans could not furnish (8:3-4). Believers are liberated “in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (8:2).”*

3. Christ is used 65 times, Lord is used 43 times, and Jesus is used 36 times. From the first verse, Paul labels himself a slave or servant of Christ. We, the readers, are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

While this book does contain “weighty words piling up into lofty teachings. It is also about ethics—how to live. No chapter is without gospel-informed implications for daily living”.*

Overview:

Paul is writing to the church in Rome about his constant prayers for them who live in Rome among unrighteousness. He expresses that there is no excuse: that God has made himself known and still they refuse to acknowledge him. He talks about the sins of dishonorable passions, leaving natural relations behind for unnatural, and that condoning such sins is also wrong.

Characters:

Paul, Christ Jesus, God, prophets, David, Spirit, “those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints”, Gentiles, Greeks, barbarians, wise, foolish, Jews, righteous, those God has given up to their own passions and depraved minds who did not acknowledge God.

Key Verse:

Verse 20 “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Cross References:

Psalm 19:1-6 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.”

Jeremiah 5:21, 22 “”Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not. Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it.”

Conclusion:

There is no excuse for God to not be acknowledged among men. He doesn’t need our help, and it furthers our stance to not be ashamed of the gospel. We need to preach to help those who are perishing, and we have nothing to be ashamed of because God loves us and we are his saints.

This chapter tells us that there are things revealed about God that no one has an excuse to not know. We know that God exists and that He is Creator. This is called General Revelation in theological terms.

Jesus in Romans:

    “The gospel gains urgency in the light of God’s verdict on humanity.”* In Bible Study with Louis on this chapter we looked at verses 18-32 and the downward spiral that is talked about. The beginning of that spiral is people who know God, but do not acknowledge him or give him his due thanks. If someone told you that they hadn’t thanked God enough that day, you most likely would not be too concerned, but as you travel the verses in this spiral into darkness, you would become concerned. But the root seems to be denying God’s nature that was so obviously revealed in the previous verses.

    Perhaps you read this list of sins and detach, even though you read it through 3 times you might not feel that any of it is for you. There are two parts to apply to ourselves. First, as sinners. Yesterday we talked about our need for salvation from all sorts of bondage in our lives. This section is pretty much a pile of chains that bind humanity. Looking at that massive list (Paul likes lists and run on sentences) makes me feel like I have no sin compared to all that sin. However, it is not that you must accomplish every sin to be damned. All sin, any sin, one sin is enough to separate us from God. Let’s see if we take them out one by one if any strike you. Using the standard that Christ sets forth, can you say you do none of these? We all have sinned. Pray through each of these and ask God to reveal any unrepentant sins in your own life and heart.

  1. Did not honor him as God
  2. Did not give thanks to God
  3. Their foolish hearts were darkened
  4. Claimed to be wise
  5. Exchanged the glory of immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things
  6. Given up to the lusts of their hearts
  7. Given up to impurity
  8. Given up to the dishonoringof their bodies among themselves
  9. Exchanged the truth about God for a lie
  10. Worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator
  11. Given up to dishonorable passions
  12. Exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature
  13. Consumed with passion for one another
  14. Did not see fit to acknowledge God
  15. Given up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done
  16. Filled with all manner of
    1. Unrighteousness
    2. Evil
    3. Covetousness
    4. Malice
  17. Full of
    1. Envy
    2. Murder
    3. Strife
    4. Deceit
    5. Maliciousness
  18. They are
    1. Gossips
    2. Slanderers
    3. Haters of God
    4. Insolent
    5. Haughty
    6. Boastful
    7. Inventors of evil
    8. Disobedient to parents
    9. Foolish
    10. Faithless
    11. Heartless
    12. Ruthless
  19. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

The second application is as one who sees others sinning in these ways. Romans talks about our responsibility as followers of Jesus throughout its chapters. The last verse in this chapter brings up yet another way that we are called to be responsible to each other. If we give approval to those who practice these debased and immoral acts, that is a sin. We do not want others to die, and we know that “those who practice such things deserve to die” (verse 32b). If my friend is struggling with any unrighteousness, I want to encourage her back to God, and his redeeming presence. I want her to be blessed, as we have been reading about in Psalms.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Tomorrow: Psalm 4

Psalm 3

Overview:

When others slander and stir up doubt in your mind, rely on God. He is in charge of salvation. No one else can tell you whether or not you have salvation, but God, He is the only one who can assure you of your salvation. That assurance of salvation is well placed, too, because He is our shield and sustainer. He is the one who can lift us up. And He is a God who answers our cry to Him. We have nothing to fear from people.

So many verses here are applicable to anyone who feels attacked. Even by lies from our own inner voices or perhaps Satan, we can feel attacked. I know that doubt stirs up in my mind often. I had to read this Psalm through 4 times because I kept thinking about how this is right where I am, and then I realized I had stopped thinking about what I was reading, my eyes just continued to move. I have a friend who has shared about her own doubt in her salvation before, and I have my own doubts that make it seem like everything is hopeless. Perhaps you also have an inner voice influenced by the world or the Devil that seems to be trapping you.

But to wake up in the morning shows that the Lord has preserved me, and as I go through the day seeking Him, I will find His approval and plan for the day rather than remaining concerned about others’ plans. Then I realize I have nothing to fear from people, because God is in charge. And salvation, both eternal and from all bondage in this world, comes from God. So I lay even my doubts about little choices in His hand so that I am no longer paralyzed by even my inner voice. You take care of her, God, I only want to hear Your voice.

Characters:

Lord, my foes and enemies, myself, people.

Key Verse:

Verse 8 “Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah

Cross References:

Psalm 37:39 “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.”

Psalm 62:7 “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”

Isaiah 43:11 “I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.”

Isaiah 45:21 “Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.”

Jeremiah 3:23 “Truly the hills are a delusion, the orgies on the mountains. Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.”

Hosea 13:4 “But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.”

Jonah 2:9 “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!””

Revelation 7:10 “and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!””

Revelation 19:1 “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,”

Conclusion:

    There are some excellent stories in the verses above. I think you could do a whole study on some of them alone. The fascinating thing about Psalms cross references is the variety of texts to which they send you. I might need to come back through here for more than just my Promise Box.

What is being expressed over and over about the salvation from God, is that He alone can provide it. Whether salvation from the stomach of a huge fish, salvation from a life of slavery or exile, throughout all of time, it is God our Lord alone who can provide salvation. Even from those pleasurable things that we think are awesome and filling that hole in us, but in reality bind us, God is the only salvation from those vices as well. I shared over the first two Psalms that my Christianese was being redefined in the word “Blessing” which was in our Psalm today also! Another word today that is standing out to me is “Salvation”. I tend to think of salvation only in terms of who is “saved” or not, but we have been saved from more than an eternity in hell. I have been “Saved” for many years, but I still need God’s salvation from that inner voice, from addiction and vices, from impatience and anger, and I am sure you can relate.

Jesus in the Psalm:

    Of course, salvation is found in Jesus, so an entire Psalm about salvation lends itself to sharing about Jesus. Jesus is the only way we can be saved for all eternity, and with Him is the only way to be saved from the sins in our life as well.

*The commentary also makes the connection between the “holy hill” in this Psalm and the hill Jesus dies on, both hills being used for sacrifice. But only the sacrifice of Jesus holds the power of salvation for mankind. This prayer/psalm walks through the three steps of saving faith: 1) Acknowledge that salvation can only be found through our Lord (verses 2, 8, and John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the lie. No one comes to the Father except through me.”). 2) Agreement that I need that salvation and shield as seen in verse 3 and Ephesians 6:11-13 in the armor of God. 3) Finally, I must have an authentic commitment, welcoming this salvation from God. 2 Corinthians 4 talks about how the world has blinded the unbelievers to “keep them from seeing the light of the gospel” (verse 4).

Finally, here are two more New Testament verses which relate to this Psalm and our assurance of being on the winning team:

1 Corinthians 15:57-58: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Colossians 2:13-15: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”*

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

Tomorrow: Romans 1

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Psalm 2

Overview:

This Psalm is talking about kings and rulers setting themselves up opposed to God. The Lord laughs at this because He is the King of Kings and has already set His plan in motion. A king, His Son, one who can ask anything of the Lord and He will receive a heritage. This Son is sent to destroy those other rulers. This Psalm serves as a warning to them so that they may turn and take refuge in the Son and be blessed. (In the commentary of Psalm 1 I found that “blessed” is corollary to the “redemptive presence of God.” This is helping me take the Christianese out of “Blessing” and have an application for it. So, those who take refuge in him are blessed means they will be connected to God’s redemptive presence, they could be redeemed. Also, the parts about his wrath and breaking them with iron and dashing them to pieces reminds me of the verse we just read in the lectionary this past week about Jesus not bringing peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).

Characters:

The nations, the peoples, the kings of the earth, the rulers, the Lord, his Anointed, King on Zion, Son, a potter, and all who take refuge in him.

Key Verse:

    Sometimes it is so hard to pick a verse. Today I am going to be Annie about it and pick two. I think two that are key to the whole Psalm (and the entire Bible). With such an outright prophecy of Christ, I just can’t limit myself to one verse! Verse 6 & 7 together are key to the entire Psalm I think, with Jesus being the King and also Son.

Verse 6 & 7: “”As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.””

Cross References:

Proverbs 8:23 “Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.”

2 Samuel 5:7 “Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.”

Psalm 110:2 “The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!”

Psalm 3:4 “I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.”

Psalm 15:1 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?”

Psalm 43:3 “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!”

Psalm 99:9 “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!”

Romans 1:4 “and he was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,”

Acts 13:33 “this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'”

Hebrews 1:5 “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

Hebrews 5:5 “So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”;

Conclusion:

    What exciting verses! Hebrews and Acts quote this Psalm because it is indeed about Jesus! It is so great that all of Scripture testifies about Him. Jesus, who is God’s Son, was appointed as king and high priest, so no ruler here has any power above that. Jesus will win. And if we choose Jesus, and have a relationship with him, we will be redeemed, saved, and on the victorious team. Also, these verses continue to show that while Jesus is a recapitulation of King David, Kind David could never match up to all the words here. Only Jesus is the perfect King, the wholly righteous, Salvation. No one else is, has been, or will be as holy as Jesus, the rightful heir to the nations.

Jesus in the Psalm:* Here is one that is so obviously about Jesus. In verse 2, the word “Anointed” is Messiah in Hebrew and Christ in Greek. The apostles used this Psalm to preach the gospel, and Hebrews explains that Jesus is the Son from this Psalm. Peter preached about the cross being a display of the rage talked about in this Psalm, and Paul that Christ became King due to his resurrection. Our relationship with Jesus is essential to our salvation. We are blessed in obedience to Him, and are saved through Him. Psalm 2 is fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible, so notes on commentary are coming from there.

What are your observations, comments, thoughts?

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Psalm 1

Overview of the chapter: (read it through at least 3 times)

Our righteousness is seen by God. A righteous man does God’s will, and meditates on His law at all times so that he can walk in the right way, and stand before God at the end. The wicked are nothing before a righteous God.

Main Characters:

The man of righteousness as defined in this Psalm, the Lord, trees with fruit and streams, the wicked.

Key Verse: (a verse of scripture that stood out to you)

Verse 6 “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

Cross Reference:

Psalm 31:7 “I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul.”

Psalm 37:18 “The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever.”

Psalm 144:3 “O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?”

Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.”

John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,”

2 Timothy 2:19 “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit your ways to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”

Conclusion:

What encouraging verses! God is not blind to the wicked, but he does turn to those who trust him, he acts in favor of those who know him, and all his actions are those of a good shepherd caring for those sheep who are his own. He does not let them go astray or alone, he knows and hears our cries for him, our pain, and our depths.

Jesus in the Psalms:

Psalm 1 divides humanity into two camps, sinners and righteous. Jesus is at that fork in the road giving us the opportunity to become righteous with Him. The very first word of Psalm 1 brings to mind the redemptive presence of God because that is what “blessing” references in Scripture. Mary was called “blessed” because she was carrying Jesus. This Psalm also talks about delighting and meditating on the law. We now know this law became flesh, the Word of God, and that He himself says these Psalms are about Himself. Another key aspect to this Psalm is that we are not going to be able to just use good works. Here in this Psalm the judgment is talked about and that the Lord knows the way of the righteous. We know we will not be perfect, and before Jesus came and gave us the opportunity, no one could know they were destined for Heaven. They had to have a relationship with the Lord. We have to have a relationship with the Lord through Jesus now. Delighting in the law and meditating on it and submitting to Christ is how we are to live a righteous life.

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Please leave your own thoughts, key verses, and comments.

Quiet Time

What I have heard from people over and over is how hard it is to find time to do Bible Study, Quiet Time, Devotionals, and/or prayer time. Well, I know how that feels. What God has been teaching me over the past few months is to seek His approval in all things. So, as I write about my commitments, know that we are all in a different season of our lives. At one point in my life (college) I was part of a prayer walk group that met 3 times a week from 8pm to midnight. That was an amazing time of maturing in prayer, building fellowship with that group, and was only for a year of my life (in school years). At another point in my life I took the 40 days of Lent to commit to 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening for time with God. This was possible because Davy was napping a lot, and nursing, so I would read the Bible while nursing. That was an amazing time of giving everything to God, and each of these seasons has helped me learn about myself and God.

Let me tell you about the season I am in currently. Some of you are reading this to figure out how I will be doing this whole Blog Bible Study thing, and some because you are a part of our prayer team for Lebanon. Either way, I hope this will encourage you and help you connect with me better.

This past week I have recommitted to having quiet time every morning before Davy wakes up. Since making that commitment, I have had no nightmares (for those of you who know me, this is a big deal.) Lebanon functions on a slightly later timeframe than my life back in Arizona, USA. Our wake up time each day is 9:00 AM, so when I made this commitment, it meant that I moved by wakeup time back to 8:00 AM. Then I felt convicted because I want to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up as part of my Potatoes not Prozac plan, so I moved my wake up time to 7:30 so I could eat and still have an hour or so with God all before Davy wakes up. As you can see, for many people this is a doable time, and for others even 7:30 is later than they start their day.

The way I typically do my morning quiet time:

  1. Pray.
    1. Talk to God, thanking him for the day
    2. I write down my high, low, and a God moment for the day before
    3. I write down at least 5 things I am thankful for today and I add to the day before as well
    4. I go through the thoughts buzzing around in my head. I write them down and give them to God.
      1. One note here. I am typing instead of using a journal right now because I didn’t bring any journals so that I could bring all of Davy’s books. When I was writing up my To Do and other buzzing thoughts in my paper journal I found myself not truly giving them to God because I carried that journal with me, and it stopped being a prayer and became another To Do list to carry around. On the computer I file the Morning Prayer separately than my thanks and highs and lows so that it is given to God. Those prayers I go through every now and then to see how God answered them, but not really to burden myself more.
    5. I find that writing out what I plan to do that day or things I am disappointed aren’t happening, helps me process and also give them to God knowing He will plan my day far better than I could.
  2. Open up my Study document. Once again, I just haven’t found a journal for study use yet, but I have documents for each chapter of Romans and Psalms prepared in advance. All you need to make your own notebook page or word document are these headings:
    1. Scripture:
    2. Date:
    3. Overview
    4. Main Characters
    5. Key Verse
    6. Cross References
    7. Conclusion
  3. Read the chapter 3 times.
    1. Yes, read it three times through completely.
    2. My favorite part is seeing verses that I have heard so many times and being able to put them in context of the chapter. Reading the chapter three times helps with this process because the first time through those verses stand out completely. By the third time through I am able to read them easily within the chapter and see how they connect to the chapter and book.
  4. Begin filling out the sheet with an overview of the chapter after you’ve read it 3 times.
  5. List the main characters.
    1. I list ever character which will let me search by words like blind man, unrighteous, etc. later.
  6. Choose one key verse.
    1. This is not a verse that is the most popular. As I said about reading through the text 3 times, verses that have been used over and over around us are not necessarily the verses that capture the chapter best.

One note I want to add is that with the Psalms I will be posting I will be sharing about how Jesus is shown in them also. It has been on my heart for a long time to share with others how Jesus really is in the entire Bible. I even bought a Bible that has commentary specific to that purpose. In my reading Psalms this past week in my ESV Gospel Transformation Bible I was encouraged and inspired by the introduction which shared about reading the Psalms with the words of Jesus in mind. Luke 24:44 says, “Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” There you have it, in Jesus’ own words the Psalms are about Him! So, I will include a section: “The Gospel in the Psalms” for each day of Psalms Study.

Blog Bible Study

In Tucson, I attended a weekly and monthly Bible Study. I met with two different groups of women each week to share about my highs, lows, God moments, and following God. These accountability and Bible sessions gave me life.

Knowing the life giving power of reading the Bible every day, and knowing I need to do it without my typical accountability, God has inspired me to blog my next Bible Study.

There are so many men and women in my life whose quiet time and prayer lives I look up to. So, as I type over the next few weeks, know that nothing I do is new or unique, but comes from those who came before me, and are still there praying for us and loving us from across the ocean.

I just finished a neat Bible Study reading through 1 Peter a few times. After I finished, I didn’t know what book to read next. So, I prayed, asked Louis, and used the notes from my 1 Peter study to determine what book to read next. We decided Romans would be a good book to do. Psalms was a close second.

Since Romans is not easy reading, I decided to do a blend. I have heard people say to read a Psalm a day, and I have never been interested in it until we did a Psalms Bible Study in Tucson. I loved that Bible Study! So, I am going to be doing a Psalm each day, but once a week a chapter of Romans. This is why I say you can join me every day on this journey or just once a week.

Reading Plan for June 23 – 28

June 23        Psalm 1

June 24        Psalm 2

June 25        Psalm 3

June 26        Romans 1

June 27        Psalm 4

June 28        Psalm 5

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    I have been using Word to type out my study each day. I have not been using a journal because we didn’t pack any and I am picky when it comes to journals, so I have begun by keeping everything on my computer. This makes for light carrying for me since my quiet time location changes sometimes. Feel free to use this or make your own using these headings in your own notebook or journal:

  1. Scripture:
  2. Date:
  3. Overview
  4. Main Characters
  5. Key Verse
  6. Cross References
  7. Conclusion

As I post, please use your own notes to post comments. These comments will be a great encouragement to others. It will be neat to see what others see are key verses in a chapter.