Psalms 103 – Benefits

Praise the Lord , my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord , my soul, and

forget not all his benefits

who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,  who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,  who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.

Psalm 103:1‭-‬5 NIV

We all are looking for benefits.

Benefits of eating right.  Benefits of a good marriage.  Benefits of health, freedom, learning, and loving.  However the benefits listed in the first few verses in this chapter are blessings we cannot achieve on our own.

 

The benefits of believing and following God.

 

  1. Forgives all your sins – and the effects of those sins on our life.
  2. Heals all our diseases – God is the healer.  Even in the hospital – God heals.
  3. Redeems your life from the pit.  From lost and hopeless to firm ground.
  4. Crowns your life with love and compassion.  God makes us smile inside.
  5. Satisfies our desires with good things.
  6. A youthful spirit renewed like the soaring of an eagle…at any age.

 

No wonder David starts and ends this psalm with “Praise the Lord, Oh my soul“.

 

Enjoy God’s benefits and let your lightnside rejoice.

Romans 4:9-12 A sign and a seal

Romans 4:11   And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.

sign - Im a christian

 

Righteousness comes only through faith.  Faith in a God who sent His Son to die on a cross for our sins.  In the Old Testament the faith was centered on God and His promises.  God would instruct the nation of Israel to put in place specific sacrifices and feasts representing God and the future work of Christ.

It started with Abraham

The first connection between God that would be become the nation of Israel was through Abraham.  God blessed Abraham for his beliefs in the promises God gave him (Genesis 15:4-6).  That process of faith began a work in Abraham that works in all believers.  An active righteousness that helps us become more like God and less like fallen man.  We will always be wrestling again our human nature but as righteousness increases the power of selfish man decreases.  God blessed Abraham to be the father of many nations.  But God was also beginning to build a specific nation and bloodline through which Christ would come.  So God placed a requirement on Abraham to be a sign and a seal of God’s righteousness for this family line.

Circumcision became an outward sign of a previous faith.

 

Circumcision became that sign and seal that you are a believer in God.  It became an outward sign of a previous inward faith.  Those that became circumcised were voluntarily carrying a sign of their faith in God.  It was not enough to just believe and no change.  Righteousness requires a outward observance.  Righteousness requires an outward representation of our choice to believe in God. In Abraham it was circumcision and that would be the sign for the upcoming Jewish nation.

What is the sign of our faith in Christ today?

It is your testimony. It is your outward Christian life.  Your becoming a light in a dark world is your sign.  You becoming transformed into a new life and turning from your old habits is a sign of the old man being cut off (circumcision).  The ministry of Adult and Teen Challenge alike many others are a sign and a seal of what faith in Christ can do.  It is their outward sign of an inward circumcision of the old life.

Water Baptism is also a sign and a seal of this transformation through faith.  Baptism just like circumcision is not what saves or transforms you.  They are signs and seals of God’s righteousness working in you because of your faith.

Your daily devotions and life. Becoming more and more like Christ in your walk, marriage, job, conversation, thoughts, desires are all great signs to all the world of your faith in Christ and your lightnside.

Romans 4:6-8 Blessed Assurance

Romans 4:6-8 NIV  “David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: [7] “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. [8] Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

blessed assurance

Blessed is the man…

 

What does the word blessed mean? I am a little surprised as I look at the definitions from the internet. It describes blessed as being righteous, holy, consecrated. This definition makes the word blessed as more of a adjective. I had always thought of the word blessed as more of an active verb. A description of the quality of life or of a goodness following me. In Psalms 23 the first words are blessed and the final statement is about God’s goodness and love following me in my life which is right? Is there more to learn of the meaning of being blessed?

“esher”  “makarios”

The Hebrew word for blessed is “esher”. It means “happy”. The greek word for blessed is “makarios”. It also means “happy”. So blessed seems to be describing a state of happiness. Happiness for what exactly? That our sins are forgiven. That our sins are no longer counted against us. That is when we keep our faith in Christ and allow His presence to be in us and working on us. This active righteousness in our soul makes us happy. We are in a right and good relationship with God. Just as Adam and Eve before sin. They and us walk with God.

What about the quality of life around us?

If blessed means happy, does it also describe our life situations? Is being blessed describe an easier and smoother life? No. In fact your life may become more difficult because of being blessed.  Matthew 5:3-11 NIV

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [4] Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. [5] Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. [6] Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. [7] Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. [8] Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. [9] Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. [10] Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [11] “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

These verses describe tough life situations but also says they are blessed, or happy. How can both be true? I believe the word blessed means a happy relationship between our spirit and God. It is a deep eternal connections that at our core brings a real happiness. In our life we may experience feelings placed in us by the holy spirit to make us pray or intercede for others. To make us hunger for righteousness for the world. To place us in an atmosphere that we are mistreated because of our relationship with Christ.   In spite of our circumstances we find at the very core of our soul there is a calm   peaceful happiness of a relationship between our spirit and God. We are blessed by this assurance of His love for us. We feel His presence and Christ’s love.  We feel the power and comfort of the Holy Spirit.  We are blessed. Blessed is the man who sins the Lord will never count against him.

Click on the title of the song Blessed Assurance.  Close your eyes and allow truth and His presence to minister to you and brighten your lightnside.

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, O what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God. Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. Perfect submission, all is at rest I in my Savior am happy and blessed. Watching and waiting, looking above. Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long

This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long

Romans 4:5 Four steps to Freedom

However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

Stairs from four pieces of the puzzle

Four steps of  a great and priceless truth.

This verse is one of the greatest verses of Hope that has been burning in my heart for several days.  It is a wonder and is adorable to me.  Let us see below the surface of the words  and into the  four steps of  a great and priceless truth.

 

Step 1: –  To the one who does not work:   This is not a lazy person.  This is not someone who feels they are owed life or someone who sees themselves as perfect and everyone else as flawed.  No, this is one who recognizes there is not enough goodness in me to achieve the needs of life.  It is someone who knows he does not have the tools to become a righteous person.  He know the nature of falling man is too selfish and too broken to ever achieve a right standing with a Holy God.  He stands without any hope. So he stands looking at the Gospel.  At what God has promised and done.  He recognizes the only hope of becoming right with God and himself is from outside himself.

He does not work.

 

Step 2: but trusts God:  This is where all the effort of the man is focused.  It is in trusting.  It is in believing God can do what He promised.  This trust comes from reading scripture and seeking God.  Trusting God requires one to go against all human nature.  It is to place trust in something that you have never seen.  It is believing in an eternal supernatural presence that can somehow effect your daily life and interactions with others.  It is a belief that God can somehow change you and empower you to become right with Himself.

He trusts God

 

Step 3:God justifies the wicked:  God sees this trust and the first order of business is to justify the ungodly.  To forgive the sinner.  To take the load of sin and dirty laundry of the heart away.  Sin is a burden and a weight.  As a sinner you carry this weight of sin everywhere you go and it constantly reminds you of your failure and hopelessness.  This weight of disappointing yourself and others is a constant burden to life.  It brings on more sin and depression.  It convinces us there is no hope…Then because of step one and two, God justifies the sinner.  The weight has dropped off our hearts.  For once we can stand straight and walk upright before God.  We are justified by Him.

God justifies the wicked.

 

Step 4:Faith is credited as Righteousness:  WOW.  Not only are we free from the weight of sin but a righteousness not our own has become our own.  It is credited to us from God.  This righteous is not just a right relationship with God,  it is a working righteousness.  It brings with it the covering of God,  the power of the blood of Jesus,  and the power and direction of the Holy Spirit.  This righteousness is much more than a status in life.  IT IS LIFE.  This righteousness  begins to strengthen and heal and correct our vision of what is important in life. It creates in us not only a right relationship with God but an active Godliness in us to spread His love and lightnside presence around to a lost world.

Faith credited as righteousness.

 

The wonderful progression:  Man does not work.  He Trusts God.  God justifies the wicked. Righteousness is credited to man. Man becomes a carrier of God and revels to others the hope of transformation.

Proverbs 19:2 Warning: desire without knowledge

Desire without knowledge is not good— how much more will hasty feet miss the way! Proverbs 19:2 NIV

buy-now

 

Emotions

We all have emotions.  Advertisers use them for a  quick reaction to their advertisements.  Buy Now.  If you act NOW we will send you and extra widget for free!  Many of our homes have a drawer or closet with items purchased in the emotional moment. What was I thinking…you weren’t, you were desiring.  Reactions during a dark or difficult time are prime targets to desire. Actions taken without first thinking about the consequences.  BUY NOW PAY LATER.  And you will pay and pay and pay.

We are all on a path.

We all have a path in life. Hopefully you have taken the time to seek God and His word to plan a life that will bring you closer to God and closer to a strong family.  Jesus told His disciples He was going to die and leave them for a while. It was a very stressful, scary, and dark time for His followers.  John 14:1-6   In their fear and stress Jesus said  “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one gets to the Father except through Me.” Set a path through me. Trust My teaching  and your path in life will be safe.

Consider consequences before changing direction

Knowledge of your path is vital.  Even when you are on a path to a planned location there are huge billboards along the way to try and lure you off your path.  They play on our desires.  It could be for food, rest or pleasure.  A time of thinking and considering consequences should take place before any change in direction.  If we are ruled by our desires and simply react they we may never get to our planned goal.

 

Addiction is a feeding of desires without knowledge of consequences.  If the addict would have known he or she would lose their way, home, job and family they would probably not give in to their desire.  The knowledge would override the desire.  However if you live a life of seeking pleasure rather than a path,  you are already in trouble.

John 14:6 “I am the way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”       Jesus Christ

Choose your path in life.  Command desires to be filtered through knowledge before action is considered.  Allow the Holy Spirit to be your GPS and your path in life will be full of Truth and Life with a very bright lightnside.

Romans 4:1-3 – God’s credit card

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? [2] If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. [3] What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

credit card-God

 

God gave righteousness credit to  Abraham

Abraham was not a righteous man.  But he believed God.  Because of that faith God overlooked Abraham’s unrighteousness and many mistakes.  God credited Abraham righteousness or right in His eyes by the credit of faith.  The important word used many times in Romans 4 is logizomai (lo-gē’-zo-mī).  definition –  to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over, to take into account, to make an account of.  Some samples used in Scripture.

Genesis 15:6 And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.

Mark 11:31 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’

Luke 22:37 For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.”

God credits sinners His righteousness because they believe on Jesus.

Abraham was not righteous in himself. He was not perfect or blameless. But God treated him as though he was. What great news.  God sees our faith and because of Christ’s payment for the sins of the world He can look at our wickedness and faith and count, compute, calculate, take into account our belief and treat us as righteous.  God applies to us His righteousness.

Resting and righteous by the goodness of God.

I believe in God.  He looks at my struggling life.  He sees my belief in God even  in my sinful body.  He places His righteousness on me and a lightnside me.  Because of God’s actions of crediting to me His righteousness, I am becoming more righteous through Christ, the Holy Spirit and God.

Does Faith omit Law? Romans 3:31

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

 

The age old argument.  Grace or Law – Paul says “Yes Please! “

If we are under faith and grace are we then freed from the expectations determined by the law?  The law was written as a standard of living that if obeyed to the letter would bring righteousness.  But when we fail it is the law that tells our failure to obey the law is sin.  So does faith and grace take away the expectations of behavior the law was written for?  According to Paul the answer is not only no but he goes on to say the law of faith in Christ upholds the original law in it’s outcome.

The best analogy I have heard on this subject is a large roller coaster.

roller coaster

What Moses says

Suppose you are standing on the ground of a large roller coaster and Moses says here is the law you are to obey.  Your goal is to reach the high peak of this roller coaster.  You look at the wooden slats and metal structures and begin to climb.  This is you under the law.  You are climbing under your own effort.  The higher you climb the harder it gets.

What Paul Says

Paul begins to yell at you about a different law.  A law of faith.  There is a large crane that has a strong wire and a harness.  Allow yourself to trust the harness and trust the crane operator (He has holes in his hands and feet) then you will be placed in a special car that empowers you to ride up the roller coaster  your goal.  You can  relax and enjoy the rise  instead of working by your own effort.

Faith in the harness – Click, click, click…

So you allow yourself to be placed in the harness and you trust the operator and the strong cable as it lifts you and places you in the special car.  Then click, click, click, click you begin your journey.  You remember your former path to the top of the coaster by trying to climb and you were so far down and struggling.  Now you trusted the crane operator and the cable. You are in a car that has power to move you and suddenly you are speeding down the coaster and then racing up the hill to your goal that Moses said was the goal of the law.  You’re enjoying the ride and when your car begins to slow down because of a difficult hill you suddenly hear the click, click, click of the power being added to help you up the hill.

Faith upholds the law.  Empowered by the Holy Spirit.

This is the power of the law of faith.  It does not omit the law of Moses but empowers us through the Holy Spirit and Christ in us to achieve the goals without our own power.  So that no man can boast.  This helped me understand the two laws Paul describes and placed a happy lightnside me as I ride with my hands in the air over the top of a coaster hill.

Psalms 73 – I almost slipped.

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.  For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Psalm 73:2‭-‬3 NIV

slippery

 

I almost slipped.

Slipped from where? Our Christian walk in life.  Where were you when you almost lost your footing.  This is a confession of a person who for a time considered the temporary pleasures of sin and selfishness over Godly eternal realities.

When I saw…

“I envied the arrogant when I saw …”  The eyes have a powerful part in temptation.  What a wonderful part of our bodies to be able to see beauty and the wonderous creations of God.  Our eyes see the glory of a simple flower and a baby’s smile.  Our eyes see the wonder of love’s gaze as couple drink up the presence of each other.  We observe wonders that take our breath away and simple pleasures like  laying on the beach watching the waves and birds go about their never-ending routine.

Eyes – powerful lure to temptation

envy

After  many trips all around  the Garden of Eden Eve walks by the tree Knowledge of Good and Evil without notice. But one time she stopped and looked at the tree. Eve “saw the fruit was good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirable to make one wise…” Genesis 3:6.  Eve ate the fruit and so did Adam.  Their eyes were drawn to see things that were not true.  Their physical eyes led them to envy and desire.  Their spiritual eyes were overpowered by desire. Their physical eyes only saw the outward temporary pleasures.  It cannot see beyond the now.  Their spiritual eyes which can see beyond today and into the future was not able to overcome the pleasures seen and desired.

 

In this Psalms it’s the same principle.  Our physical eyes see what we think is desirable. We see pleasing and desirable things that other people are enjoying  and it may seem unfair that we are not allowed to join them.  I remember when I was struggling financially in the ministry.  Barely able to pay bills and we would visit family with large houses and money.  These were  good Christian people but I would fight my emotions of envy.  I knew I was where God wanted me but my eyes, my physical eyes would drink up what I did not have and could not afford.

Eye adjustments

It is not what we see physically that matters.  It is the eternal realities that determine our course.  One of the best verse in this Psalms is verse 17 “till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.”  When I entered into the presence of God I was reminded what I see is not what is eternal.  The physical pleasures that are present in  life are not eternal and can be destructive to the soul.

 

A picture I have in my office that came from my Grandma’s house shows the realities of our life on earth in eternal perspective.  It is below.  This is real.  I need to keep my eye on this reality.  One day we will see clearly with our eyes.  Until then be on guard.  Keep your lightnside bright. If you seem to stumble, get in God’s presence and allow Him to adjust your focus.

rapture - grandma

Is there something you are looking at that is causing you to slip in your Christian life?  Go to church. Get in God’s presence and allow Him to adjust your vision.

Romans 3:25 – atonement, propitiation

My sin was placed on Christ to pay the price required of sin.

 

christ-cried-out

 

Romans 3:25 NKJV   whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

 

Romans 3:25 NIV  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

Romans 3:25 The Message  God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public — to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured.

The Mercy Seat

The Greek word hilastērion is translated atonement, propitiation, clear.  This word is also used in Hebrews 9:5 translated the Mercy Seat.  Hebrews 9:5 NKJV  and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

In Exodus 25 God instructed Moses to build the elements of the Holiest of Holies.  One was the Mercy Seat.  It was to be made of pure gold.  Above the mercy seat were to be two angels with stretched wings covering the seat.  The angels faces were to look toward each other to the mercy seat.  The mercy seat was to set on top of the ark of the covenant which would hold the instructions God gave Moses.  This is the place where God would meet with Moses.

Exodus 25:22 NKJV  And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.

God would meet with Moses above the mercy seat AFTER the sacrifice of an bull which would represent the cost of sin. Once a year a High Priest  would take the blood of a sacrificial bull and sprinkle it on the mercy seat to represent the sins of the people.  God, seeing the blood, would cover the sins of the people until Jesus paid the final price on the cross.   Atonement for all past sins.

Christ Jesus paid for us the final cost of our sins.  Now freed from our sin it is like meeting God above the mercy seat.  Christ’s mercy by taking my sin on Him.  He bore the consequences of my sin.  Now paid for I can go to God freely.  I have access to the very presence of God.

1 John 2:2 NIV  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4:10 NIV This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Christ is “the propitiation, atonement ” because by his becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations he paid our guilt, covered it, by the  punishment which he endured on the cross.

Hebrews 2:17 KJV

Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Thank you Jesus!

 

 

Romans 3:9-31 – All have sinned, BUT…

All have sinned.  Everyone is against God.

Paul is summarizing the last 2  chapters with quotes from the Old Testament like Isaiah 53:6, and Psalms 12.  It summaries the state of man who has tried to attain righteousness on his own. It is hopeless.  The state of fallen man has no real desire for GOD. Their desires of fallen man have become twisted, deprived, violent  and self-serving. This summary ends with the darkest but truest statement from Psalms 36:1. “There is no fear of GOD in their eyes.”  This is abundantly true today.

Romans 3:21-31 is like a diamond

diamond

Romans 3:21-31 is like a diamond (Christ’s work on the cross) laying on a black cloth (man’s hopelessness and sinfulness).  The first word is BUT… This is a hopeful word. It says in spite of all the evil, shameful, immoral,  violent,  and self-confidence we have in our lost state, THERE IS HOPE.

 

Righteous is available for us from Faith in Christ.

The completeness of verses 23 and 24 is PROFOUND.   Romans 3:23-24 NIV for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  How great the gift of salvation for all mankind who were without any hope of salvation.

John 3:16

For GOD so loved the world (all) that He gave his only (all) begotten son that whosoever (all) believes on Him shall not perish, but (same “but” as in Romans 3:21) have everlasting life.  This TRUTH has to ramp up the wattage of your lightnside! Right? All includes you. All mankind in all the past for all our mistakes and sins…are all erased for all time by Christ’s all sufficient love and sacrifice on the cross.

Remember this today. Through faith in Christ you have forgiveness of sins always!