A Costly Climax

Aside

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psalm 1:5). The time will come when every knee shall bow to Jesus. (See Philippians 2:10) There won’t be any choice. All will bow, willingly or unwillingly. The ungodly will bow at The Great White Throne Judgment. They will be unable to stand in this judgment. Condemned for rejection of Christ’s salvation, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15). At the Rapture of the Church, the wheat and tares (the saved and unsaved) will be separated. Our local churches have been populated by both since the church came into existence. The final “congregation of the righteous” in Heaven will have no sinners standing in their midst. It will be only those sinners who have been saved by grace who comprise that great congregation. “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6). God knows all who are righteous. They have been credited with His Own Son’s perfect righteousness. God knows their ways because His Spirit, using His Word, has been conforming them to the image of His Son. They have a glorious future! The way of the ungodly comes to a costly climax. All that die, not knowing Him, perish! They perish forever, without hope! A costly climax indeed! Selah! God has provided a means to escape such a horrible fate. His Son purchased deliverance for whosoever will. He died on a Roman cross to pay the penalty due our sin(s). When we receive Him as Lord and Savior, the benefits of His payment are applied to us. We no longer await a costly climax!    Ron

Whoosh!

Aside

Time is a little speck on the horizon of eternity. Years go by slowly until we look back and wonder where they went so quickly. Being locked into time (for now), distorts our perspective. We have “tunnel vision!” It seems to us that this life is our major concern. We live for “time.” We need to think of time as a very slight “window of opportunity” to prepare for eternity. The old serpent whispers, “You have plenty of time. You can give this some thought when you have a little “down time.” So, you keep busy and concentrate on today. Suddenly, folks are attending your funeral! For you, time has vanished! The psalmist has been showing us the blessedness of those who meet the conditions. Now, he turns our attention to those who do not meet the conditions. “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:4). The Godly enjoy blessedness for time and eternity; the ungodly are swept off the earth so quickly that it’s like “whoosh!” Where did they go? Those who are born again endure forever, while those who are unsaved suffer in a Hell without hope. This is why we are granted whatever time we have on earth. We must make our decision to receive or reject Jesus as Lord and Savior during this very brief “window of opportunity.” James 4:14 underscores the point that we have been making, “….For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Selah!For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?.”    Ron

Tremendous Results!

Aside

When we meet the conditions for being richly blessed, tremendous results follow! When a truly saved person invests much time and effort in absorbing, thinking on, applying, obeying and enjoying God’s Word, the effect on his or her life will be wondrous. This is what the psalmist is talking about in Psalm 1:3. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” The tree here in this text is a healthy tree. It is well rooted down into rivers of water. Nourishment from the water of the Word may not give physical health but it will give Spiritual vitality and fruitfulness. Note that there is regularity in producing fruit. (Study different kinds of fruit in the Bible). His leaf shall not wither as it is constantly drawing life from the roots. When we are faithfully, properly engaged in Scripture, we produce fruit throughout our time on earth. “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age.” (From Psalm 92:14). This is a wonderful result that not a few have experienced. We may or may not prosper financially. We will prosper Spiritually! Our fruitfulness will impact lives for time and eternity. Selah! A strong, healthy tree will provide beauty, stability, shelter, comfort and nourishment. Let’s let God make us into that kind of a Spiritual tree!     Ron

Saturation!

Aside

We’ve considered three conditions for being richly blessed: 1. Don’t be guided by ungodly counsel. 2. Don’t “hang out” with sinners. We can reach out to them but not by embracing their values and ways and we must be equipped to counter their wrong influence exerted upon us. 3. The same things apply to interacting with scorners, cynics, skeptics, etc. Now, the only way that we can safely interact with them is found in today’s verse. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). Let’s examine it together. Note the word “delight.” His, the truly born again Christian’s, delight is in the law of the LORD. It isn’t a matter of God’s Word being interesting, informative and/or inspiring, although it’s all of that. Nor is it a matter of doing one’s duty. It is truly a pleasure to read and discover what God has revealed. It is like a very thirsty person craving for cool, clear water. He or she craves it, needs it and drinks deeply, enjoying the refreshment and longing for more. Then, there is the matter of meditation. We think deeply on the Truths of Scripture. As we begin to really understand Truth, we apply it and obey its commands. We are absorbing what God is saying to us. It’s becoming a part of the warp and woof of our Spiritual being. We learn to appreciate and defend basic Truths. When we develop Spiritual competence, we can interact with unsaved people, depending on God to make our witness stronger than their influence. Meditating day and night may include morning and evening devotions. However, it’s more than that. Bible (and prayer) should be the context for our daily activities. His Word should saturate all that we are, think and do. Selah! This doesn’t happen overnight. Nevertheless, it must be our purpose and goal each day.    Ron

Further Conditions

Aside

Yesterday’s condition was that a true believer, a born again Christian, must not be guided by ungodly counsel. Godly counsel, Godly principles, must shape our beliefs and behavior, as well as our attitudes and values. There are further conditions, “…. nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” To stand in the way of sinners is to be involved in their ways and influenced by their way of life. Sitting in the seat of the scornful suggests a willingness to listen to their skepticism and ridicule. This might be motivated by a desire to refute them and even win them away from their unbelief. However, exposure to the way of sinners and the mockery of the scornful is very dangerous unless……we are thoroughly prepared. This kind of preparation will engage our attention tomorrow, God willing. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?….. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (II Corinthians 6:14;17). Selah! Being prepared to relate safely with the unsaved is the difference between being a victor or being a victim! Ron

Counsel of the Ungodly

Aside

Psalm One begins by speaking of how we can enjoy being blessed. We can be enriched. We can experience joy, peace and satisfaction. However, there are conditions for that kind of blessedness. The first one is that a man or woman must not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Let’s be clear. An unsaved doctor gives you wise health counsel. Are we not to heed it? If the doctor is competent, we’d better do what that doctor advises. What are we to do? We must not order our lives by ungodly counsel. Educators, role models, psychiatrists, psychologists, who have a worldview that is not shaped by Scripture require that we evaluate their advice in the light of what God’s Word teaches. (The exception would be if we have mental problems caused by injury, brain damage or chemical imbalance, then medications may be able to help those kinds of things). We must not let any Godless philosophies shape our thinking and conduct. There are more conditions and results to consider as we continue to probe Psalm One. Plan to be with us tomorrow, won’t you? “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.” (From Psalm 1:1). Selah! The entire Psalm is full of much practical wisdom. Study it for Spiritual profit! Ron

Nearness to God-Entering His Presence

Aside

Part Three
 
We go into God’s Presence when we pray. However, there is a condition in Isaiah 59:2 that must be met, if we are to be heard. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” Sin must be forgiven, cleansed and stopped. When we do, God promises, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). This is what opens the gates to His Presence. We pray with a cleansed heart and are received at the Throne. Here is how we are to go through the gates of prayer: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His Name” (Psalm 100:4). We have a lot of reasons to be thankful. Praise is how we connect with our Father in Heaven. “But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3). When we praise Him from the heart, we will be conscious of His Presence. He is worthy to be praised! Selah! When praise ascends from the grateful hearts of redeemed people, prayer becomes all that God intends it to be. It is coversation and communion with our matchless and mighty God. Anything less is not real prayer. Ron

Nearness to God-How Does it Happen?

Aside

Part Two

James states in Chapter 4, Verse 8, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” In the same verse, he explains that we must prepare to draw near. “….Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” “Cleanse your hands. “We must be clean from outward sins and pollution. He adds, “purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.” This means our hearts (our inner life) must be pure in His sight. David brings out this same truth in Psalm 24:3-5. “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy Place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” God has given ample means for our preparation. I John 1:9 promises that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Purity of heart is by faith. Acts 15:9 mentions this. “purifying their hearts by faith.” Where do we get this kind of faith? Romans 10:17 tells us, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” This same Word reveals God’s provision for daily cleansing of inward and outward sin(s). Paul refers to this in Ephesians 5: 25-26. He states ….Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word.” Selah! Our part is to read it, study it, apply it and obey it. It will cleanse us inside and outside! (Tomorrow, God willing, “Entering His Presence”).    Ron

Nearness to God-What Does It Mean?

Aside

Part One
 
Let’s start with this principle: God hasn’t moved! The problem is us. Adam and Eve made the first move away from God and we have continued to move away from Him. When we come to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, we have reversed direction. There is a “catch,” however. We often draw near and then start to drift away. We may go only a little bit away and then stop and stay there. We are still away, we haven’t moved back. Or we may move a long way away. If we are truly saved, these conditions bring corrective action. The answer to both situations is to go back. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” (From Revelation 2:4-5). He is waiting, drawing and grieving. He is ready to restore and move on. His concern is for what we are missing by staying put or by moving further away. He is also concerned about the negative impression that we make on unsaved people. Ours is to make the first move. “Draw nigh to God.” When we do, “He will draw nigh tous. (See James 4:8). Like the wonderful gracious reception lavished on the prodigal, the Father will rush to us to welcome us back. What a loving God we serve! Selah! He is forgiving. If we are genuine, however, we’ll avoid presuming on His grace. (Tomorrow, God willing, we’ll examine principles involved in returning).    Ron

On, In, With and Through

Aside

There are some unique facets to being born again. How God interacts with us is a blessing that includes things that we seldom, if ever, really adequately appreciate. He works on us: “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). “For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). He works in us: He resides in us to change us in our innermost being. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). He does this by His Holy Spirit using His Word to change us. We are to work out that which He has worked in us. “….work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (From Philippians 2:12). He works with us. “For we are labourers together with God.” (From I Corinthians 3:9). Finally, He works through us. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Selah! All Spiritual development is by the working of God. Our part is to present ourselves entirely to Him and submit to His guidance. “Only to be what He wants me to be, every moment of every day, yielded completely to Jesus alone, every step of this pilgrim way. Just to be clay in the Potter’s hands, only to do what His will commands. Only to be what He wants me to be, every moment of every day.” (Quote from memory-source unknown).    Ron