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A second scripture, which is, one of the most misused scriptures in the Bible Psalms 37:4

Psa 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

When I first became a Christian, I began attending a Pentecostal Church. Much emphasis was placed on the gifts of the Spirit. There was constant talk of looking for miracles or receiving something in the natural from God. I had one Pastor who claimed that you could walk in perfect health if you had enough faith in God and was obedient to the things of God. He portrayed himself to be one who was being blessed by God concerning perfect health. It was however ironic, that he wore glasses and took medication to regulate his thyroid, all the while claiming perfect health while using the verse above.

I was eventually recommended by the congregation to be placed into the office of elder and participated in teaching the congregation. After having taken a course in hermeneutics, I began to flesh out the meaning of the verses I worked through. This verse was one of those verses.

What I want to do in this post, is to show what it means to delight thyself in the Lord and what desires of the heart will be granted to those who actually have a delight for the things of God.

Many begin at the verse they are interpreting and expound on it from that point, however, I like to go back to the beginning of the chapter and work my way down to the verse in question. I will just give some passing comments as I work down to verse 4.

Psa 37:1 A Psalm of David. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

This Psalm is a Psalm of instruction to the righteous to not ‘fret’ (Lit., incense not thyself: be not angry or indignant or discontented) against the wicked though they seem to prosper and live in peace. Asaph had fallen into discontent and envy of the wicked in his Psalm chapter 73. It wasn’t till he went into the sanctuary of God, that he understood their end Ps. 73:17. Howbeit, David understands the end of the wicked and therefore instructs his hearers and readers of this Psalm not to be discontent and envious of the wicked because ‘For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.vs. 2.

Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Trust in the LORD…..David’s instruction is to trust in the Lord, not men, who are fading and perishing like the grass, nor in riches, which are uncertain things; but trust in the Lord who is everlasting strength and in whom holds everlasting riches for those who place their trust in him.…..and do good…..by keeping God’s commandments and walk in uprightness before him, specifically in doing good to others and in acts of beneficence to the poor…..so shalt thou dwell in the land,….this speaks to the land of Canaan, but points especially to that better country which Abraham sought by faith…. and verily thou shalt be fed…..or shall have the things which you need, as will be shown below.[1]

Psa 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

David who was a man after God’s own heart, delighted himself in the Lord, walking before him upright in all his ways. This is seen in Psalm 122 whereby David saith: I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.‘ Therefore, even though David was King and lived as Kings do, nevertheless David’s heart was towards the things of God and expresses it in the words found in Psalm 145: ‘I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

Just as David delighted himself in the Lord, even so are we to do the same. Once we take the Lord and the things concerning him as our delight, then our minds and hearts change.

Many take ‘the desires of the heart‘ to be natural things or things with which we lust after. This is because their hearts and desires are turned earthward, instead of heavenward. Even so, the Word of Faith preachers have subverted hearts and minds by boasting of the riches of this world. They speak of their new Ferraris and the mansions in which they dwell as blessings which God has granted because they have supposedly delighted in the things of the Lord and received the desires of their hearts.[2] They call on men to sow seed offerings in order to receive the things we need in this life.

However, Christ tells us in Mat 6:31-34Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

And Paul reiterates this by telling us in Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

As we begin to seek Christ and the things of his kingdom our hearts change. They turn from earthly things to heavenly things. Our hearts become fixed on the things which please the Lord. Our desires move towards the things which concern Christ and his kingdom. We begin to delight in the salvation of souls. We begin to delight in prayer for the sick, feeble, and weak. We begin to desire the attendance of Church, the hearing of the Words of God, and the singing of hymns to his glory. Our hearts become saturated with wanting his ways and desires to be our ways and desires and our old ways and desires are discarded.

Therefore, this Psalm is not speaking of desires for earthly things per se, but is speaking of desires which stem from a delighting of oneself in the Lord. Does this exclude desiring things that are of this earthly sphere? No. However, even those things which we desire in the flesh will be things that glorify God and that benefit us as we live this life. Charles Spurgeon offers a great comment on desiring things in the natural realm:

When a man’s delight is in God, then his desires are of such a sort that God may be

glorified in the granting of them, and the man himself profited by the receiving of them.[3]

Tell me what you think in the comment section below.

Footnotes:

[1] John Gill- Commentary on Psalms 37:3, with a few thoughts of mine added therein

[2] These Word of Faith ministers are not given these things because they have delighted themselves in the things of the Lord, but on the contrary, they are giving these extravagant things in the flesh as a judgment on them. They shall be a curse to them. For if you are covetous, then God will usually heap riches on you, so that your judgment will be more severe.

[3] Charles H. Spurgeon- ‘Sunshine in the Heart,’ A Sermon on Psalm 37:4, delivered on Sunday morning, June 15th, 1862

The Wednesday Word: Butter, Water and Sovereign Grace

What does Sovereign Grace mean? Sovereign Grace is the combination of two of God’s attributes, Sovereignty and Graciousness.

When we say that God is sovereign, we mean that He has total and entire control of all things past, present and future. When we say He has total and entire control, we mean that He is the absolute King. When we say He is the absolute King, we mean that He is in charge. Sovereignty means that no one elected Him to office; that means, no one voted Him in and no one can vote Him out. No one can stop His purposes or forbid Him from acting. He is the absolute and omnipotent ruler of the universe.

Sovereignty means that all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, ‘What are you doing?’ (Daniel 4:35).

But God is not only Sovereign, He is also gracious. When we say that God is gracious, we mean that He gives His favour to those who deserve the exact opposite. Mary found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Luke 1:28). This means that she was chosen to have the undeserved privilege of bearing the Lord. She may indeed have been a godly young woman, but by her own admission, she needed a saviour (Luke 1:47). Only sinners need saviours! She was, therefore, the recipient of God’s grace. As believers, we too are the beneficiaries of God’s grace. The Scriptures boldly declare, “For by grace are you saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).

He gives his grace to those whom he wishes to give His grace. Grace is not given to any who deserve grace…if that were the case then salvation wouldn’t be by grace. But when God acts, he does so in His almighty sovereignty. As He saves sinners, he does so by sovereign grace. Here’s something we all must learn, all grace is sovereign. If grace is not sovereign then it is not grace.

John 1:17 tells us that “Grace and truth came by Christ Jesus.” No permission was sought by the Father to send grace in the person of Christ Jesus. Furthermore, no permission is sought by the Lord to save anyone for we read in Acts 15:11, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved.”

Sovereignty and grace go together; one is implied in the other. It’s like butter. My good friend, Mark Webb, drew my attention to the fact that, in the States, there is a company that advertises Country Butter. But, he pointed out, there’s no need to say ‘country’ butter since all butter is from the country.

Mark is right! I’ve not yet eaten City Butter. Indeed, in the USA, I’ve not encountered dairy farms or herds of milk cows in the midst of an urban setting. All butter is county butter and all grace is sovereign.

Likewise with water, water is wet. If we are in a restaurant and ask for a glass of water, we have no need to ask the server if the water is wet. All water is wet. I have never yet had a glass of dry water. Likewise, all grace is sovereign. If it’s not sovereign, it’s not grace. Butter is country, water is wet and grace is sovereign.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Who is this man Jesus? Part 3

November 19, 2014 2 comments

Jesus is the Creator: What a beautiful view of County Sligo!

But not only is the Lord Jesus the Creator, He is the Christ.

By the time Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the people had long held the hope of a coming deliverer to route their enemies. In fact, this expectation of an emancipator began way back in Genesis 3:15 with the promise of the coming seed. This coming one would be a champion of their cause. He would crush the enemy’s head. This anticipated one was their hope. He would overcome all oppressors. Generation after generation added to this expectation as the seers gave prophesy after prophesy concerning Him and His arrival.

This champion would be descended from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David. He was to be the anointed one (Psalm 2:2: Daniel 9:26). He would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2). Indeed, so numerous are the prophesies, types and shadows concerning Him, we can sum up the Old Testament with three words, “Behold He Comes.”

Who is this man Jesus?

He is the Christ!

This is what Peter confessed. The Lord asked, “Who do you say that I the Son of man am?” Peter replied, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God.” The woman at the well left her water pot and went back to the town, saying, “Come see a man that has told me everything I have done. Is not this the Christ” (John 4:29)? The apostle John asks in 1 John 2:22; “Who is a liar?” Then he informs us that “he that denies that Jesus is the Christ. The same is both a liar and an antichrist.”

When we confess Jesus as the Christ, we are declaring that He is the anointed one. We are affirming that He is the appointed one, chosen to deliver His people from the penalty and power of sin (Luke 4:18; Matthew 1:21).

As the Christ, Jesus fulfills the role of Prophet, Priest and King. He is the prophet, because He spoke the final word of God to man (John 1:1–18; 14:24; Luke 24:19; Hebrews 1:1-3). He is the priest, because His death atones for our sins and reconciles us to the Father (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14). He is the King because all authority is given unto Him (John 18:36; Ephesians 1:20–23; Revelation 19:16).

Who is this man Jesus Christ? He is pictured throughout the Old Testament. Here are but a few of the portraits.

Genesis: The Seed of the Woman

Exodus: The Passover Lamb

Leviticus: The High Priest

Numbers: The Pillar of Cloud and The Pillar of Fire by night Deuteronomy: The Prophet like Moses and the Great Rock

Joshua: The Captain of the Lord of Hosts

Judges: The Judge and Lawgiver

Ruth: The Kinsman Redeemer

1 & 2 Samuel: The Trusted Prophet

1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles: The Reigning King

Ezra: The Lord of Heaven and Earth

Nehemiah: The Rebuilder of the Broken Walls

Esther: Mordecai

Job: The Daysman Mediator

Psalms: The crucified one of Psalm 22

Proverbs & Ecclesiastes: The Wisdom of God

The Song of Solomon: The Lover & Bridegroom and the Chief among 10,000

Isaiah: The Suffering Servant, the Mighty God and the Prince of Peace

Jeremiah & Lamentations: The LORD our Righteousness and the Weeping Prophet

Ezekiel: The Wheel Turning and The Four faced man.

Daniel: The 4th Man in the Fiery Furnace

Hosea: The Faithful Husband

Joel: The One Who Pours out His Spirit

Amos: The Restored Tabernacle of David

Obadiah: Deliverance

Jonah: The God of a Second Chance

Micah: The One who will be ruler in Israel

Nahum: The Publisher of Peace

Habakkuk: The Minister of God crying out For Revival

Zephaniah: The Restorer of God’s Lost Heritage

Haggai: The Glory of the Latter House

Zechariah: The Fountain opened up for Sin and uncleanness

Malachi: The Son of Righteousness rising with healing in His wings

He is the Christ, the prophesied One. He is the One who conquered death and is alive forevermore. You can trust Him with your soul and be safe.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles

 

www.milesmckee.com 

Check out my books http://milesmckee.com/books.html

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The Wednesday Word: Who is this Man Jesus? Part 2

November 5, 2014 4 comments

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Gregory of Nazianzus, (A.D. 381) said of Jesus,

“He began His ministry by being hungry, yet He is the Bread of Life.

Jesus ended His earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet He is the Living Water.

Jesus was weary, yet He is our rest. Jesus paid tribute, yet He is the King.

Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet He cast out demons.

Jesus wept, yet He wipes away our tears.

Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet He redeemed the world.

Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd.

Jesus died, yet by His death He destroyed the power of death.”

Who is this man Jesus?

He was taken before Pilate and accused of having claimed to be the Son of God. Pilate, the Roman Governor, being greatly troubled and unsettled, confronted Him in the Judgment Hall asking many questions. But, “He answered him not a word” (Matthew 27:14). “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).

Who is this man Jesus Christ? Who is Jesus of Nazareth? Who is this man called “the Christ?”

First of all: He is God Almighty.

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. Jesus was not merely the Son of God or God’s ambassador, or even God’s messenger. He Himself was and is God Almighty. The Scriptures made this clear. They declared, “Behold the Lord Himself will give you a sign; a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and thou shall call His name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14) which being interpreted is God with us” (Matthew 1:23}.

In John 10:30, Christ boldly declared; “I and My Father are one.” The disciples said, “Show us the Father.” Jesus replied, “He that hath seen me has seen my Father” (John 14:9). Jesus further makes this great truth clear by saying, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him” (John 14:7).

Who is this man Jesus? “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and all things were made by Him; without Him was nothing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

Who is this man Jesus? He is God come to this earth. He is God in human flesh. Jesus of Nazareth is the living and true God who visited this earth in the “likeness of sinful flesh.” God came to earth and He reconciled us unto Himself in Christ. God was in Christ. “He purchased the church with His own blood.”

And this same Jesus, the God/Man, is our only hope. Some hundreds of years ago, a Monk lay dying in his bed. The priest had come to give him the Final Unction. However, the Monk, in spite of his cloistered life, been exposed to the gospel. To the shock and of the other monks he dispatched the priest, refused the crucifix and ordered his room to be emptied of all the other religious trappings. He then, with dying eyes, looked to heaven and cried, “Tua vulnera, Jesu! Tua vulnera, Jesu!” “Thy wounds, Jesus! Thy wounds, Jesus!”

This man knew who Jesus was. He knew we are not saved by anything we can do, but by that which the God/Man has done for us. We are not saved by what we have suffered, but by what Christ has endured. “Tua vulnera, Jesu! Tua vulnera, Jesu!” Our everlasting hope was hung upon the cross. In His doing, dying and rising again is all our acceptance before God. We are called to trust in Christ in life and in death.

Who is this man Jesus Christ? He is the God/Man and He is our only Saviour.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles

 

www.milesmckee.com 

Check out my books http://milesmckee.com/books.html

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The Wednesday Word-Who is this Man Jesus?

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In the upcoming issues of the Wednesday Word, we will try to answer a profound question; “Who is this man Jesus?” In Matthew 16:13-16, our Lord asked His disciples; “Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?” They replied, “Some say that you are John the Baptist and some say that you are Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Christ said to them; “But who say ye that I the Son of Man am?” Peter answered and said; “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

So then, who is this man Jesus?

He was born in poverty, in a cave converted as a stable, to an un-wed Jewish teenager. He was then placed in a feeding trough for cattle. There was no room for Him anywhere else.

Who is this man Jesus?

As an infant, he was made a refugee as His parents fled for safety to Egypt. This was necessary to avoid the murderous sword of Herod, which was aimed at the heart of the young child.

Who is this man Jesus?

He was raised in an obscure, unassuming village called Nazareth. His foster father was a carpenter with neither riches nor influence. Being from a poor family, Jesus, himself, was deprived of the privilege of formal training and education at the feet of the sagacious and learned Rabbis of His day.

It has been observed by others that Jesus never travelled above 90 miles from His home. He, at no time, owned a piece of ground or a piece of property. His only possession was the robe on His back.

Who is this man Jesus?

He never held a public office. No one ever voted for him.

Who is this man Jesus?

As He travelled throughout Israel preaching, He was accompanied by, “A band of unschooled ruffians and a few old fishermen.” As far as we can tell, His friends were all poor, anonymous types.

Who is this man Jesus?

Although he went about ‘doing good,’ He was indicted for violating the Law of Moses. Furthermore, because He claimed equality with God, He was accused of blasphemy. False witnesses rose up against Him. Paid liars attacked Him with their tongues. He was then, illegally, sentenced to death and executed.

Who is this man Jesus?

Of His inner circle of friends, one of them sold Him out for a pitifully small amount of money. Another one denied Him three times. Nearly all of them forsook Him and fled.

Meanwhile, Jesus suffered and died in torturous pain, encompassed by a sense of forsakenness. He was then taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb.

Who is this man Jesus?

Some have remarked that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, never wrote a book, yet more books have been written about Him and His work than about any other person. Although He sang songs, He never composed one yet He has been the theme of more songs than anyone else in history. He never founded an institute of higher learning, yet a staggering number of colleges and universities have been dedicated to the advance of His cause.

Who is this man Jesus?

In the wilderness, Satan could not seduce Him. As a child, the wisdom of the Jerusalem Rabbis could not answer Him. During His ministry, lawyers and scribes could not entangle Him in their wicked webs of sophistry. The leaders of the nation hated Him. Pilate could find no fault in Him.

Who is this man Jesus?

At the cross, He dealt death a death blow. In His burial, the grave could not contain Him.

Who is this man Jesus?

Even those who don’t follow Him admit that His life on this earth was above reproach. His teachings were of not only of the purest quality but also breath-taking. However, since the time He walked on this earth, controversy has continued to rage around Him.

Who is this man Jesus?

We have merely asked the question and scratched the surface of this excellent theme. Next time, God willing, we will explore more about this magnificent subject.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles

www.milesmckee.com 

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When you receive Christ as Priest, you receive him as King also

fullerBut though believing in Christ has a special respect to him as the way of acceptance with God, yet, when you receive him as your atoning Priest, you will also receive him as your King. When you “come” to him, as guilty and heavy-laden, for rest, you will at the same time “take his yoke upon you,” and “learn his meek and lowly spirit.” Though we are justified by faith alone, yet it is not by a faith which is alone, but contains the seeds of universal obedience. In one view, namely, as receiving the Saviour, and uniting us to him, it justifieth; in another view, namely, as including the principles of a holy life, it sanctifieth.

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

Free E-Book on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

March 25, 2013 2 comments

I ran across a new book entitled:

“Raised? Doubting the Resurrection” By Jonathan K. Dodson & Brad Watson

I have not yet read the book, but it seems to be centered in the gospel and therefore I recommend it to my followers. It can be downloaded for free in either Kindle, (.mobi), iBooks, (.epub), or PDF format at GospelCenteredDiscipleship.

Here is a glance at  GospelCenteredDiscipleship’s page promoting the book:

 “At first glance, the death of Jesus is easy enough to embrace. It is well documented and the Roman authorities crucified people regularly. The god-sized claim beneath his self-sacrifice is what ruffles feathers. The claim that his sacrifice was on behalf of all humanity troubles both our pride and our intellect. Jesus, represented all of us? What gives him the right? Who says we need a representative or sacrifice anyway? The gospel gets crazier. The bull’s eye of the gospel is the death and resurrection of Jesus. We don’t have to dive deep to surface doubt with the resurrection. Its surface value is, well, incredible. The notion that a first century Jewish man, crucified between two common thieves, was actually God and rose from the dead is unbelievable. To the modern mind, resurrection is utterly implausible. People don’t beat death, especially after being in the grave three days. In light of recent horror trends, we might be more inclined to believe in a zombie emerging from the dead than a resurrected and fully restored person. Yet, at the center of historic Christian faith is the belief that a Jewish man named Jesus was “raised.”

If you doubt the resurrection, I’m glad. Anything worth believing has to be worth questioning, but don’t let your questions slip away unanswered. Don’t reduce your doubts to a state of unsettled cynicism. Wrestle with your doubts. Find answers.”

Christ the head over all things to the church

We will now take up the second thought: Christ the head over all things to the church. Not the head of the church; we have just discussed that, but the head over all things to the church, which is a very different thought. It means that by virtue of his sacrificial expiation here upon the earth, and the atonement made in heaven based upon that expiation on the cross, he received the name which is above every name, was made King of kings and Lord of lords, that he now holds in his hand the scepter of universal dominion, and that he is over all things to, or in behalf, of, the church. We see him express this thought when by anticipation he commands his church, assembled upon a mountain in Galilee, about 500 being present, to go out and preach the gospel to every creature. The statement, “And all authority in heaven and upon earth is given unto me,” means that he is the head of all things to the church; that he exercises the entire sovereignty of the universe in behalf of the church.

B. H. Carroll Commenting on Ephesians 1:22-2:10

Being Conformed to the Design of Christ Mediatorial Work

This being “changed into the same image” of the glory of the Lord, is also the same as Christ being “formed” in the soul (Gal. 4:19). It is having in kind, though not in degree, the same mind that was in the Lord Jesus. It is being imbued with His Spirit, being brought into accordance with the design of His mediatorial work, which was to honour and glorify God. In a word, it is being at heart the very disciples of Christ. This being “changed into the same image” of the glory of the Lord, is to be “reconciled to God” (2 Cor.5:20). Previously, we were at enmity against Him, hating His sovereignty, His strictness, His severity; but now we perceive the surpassing beauty of His every attribute and are in love with His whole Person and character. No greater change than this can be conceived of: “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8). This great change is to “come unto” God (Heb.7:25), causing us to diligently seek daily supplies of grace from Him. A.W.P.

Arthur W. Pink-Studies in the Scriptures January, 1937 The Spirit Transforming

Changed into the same Image

Not only does the Spirit give that soul to behold “the glory of the Lord” as it shines first in the “glass” of the Law, and second in the “glass” of the Gospel, but He also causes him to be “changed into the same image,” that is, He begets within him corresponding principles and affections, to the one and to the other. In other words, He brings his heart to a conformity to the Law and to a compliance with the Gospel. He causes the believer to “set to his seal” (John3:33) to the whole Truth of God. He brings him to a full acquiescence with the Law, consenting to its righteous claims upon him, and working in him a desire and determination to adopt the Law as his rule of life or standard of conduct. So too the Spirit causes him to gladly embrace the Gospel, admiring the consummate wisdom of God therein, whereby the perfect harmony of His justice and mercy are blessedly exhibited. He brings him to renounce all his own works, and rest alone on the merits of Christ for his acceptance with God.

Arthur W. Pink-Studies in the Scriptures January, 1937  The Spirit Transforming.