Psalm 26:7--That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Exaggerated Exaltation

Psalm 18:7--Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

Psalm 18 contains many examples of hyperbole, which is simply exaggeration or overstatement. David, in a poetic manner, is recording how He called upon God in distress, and how God rescued him from his enemies. In this Psalm, hyperbole is used to illustrate four basic truths: 1) our tendency to exaggerate our troubles, 2) God's might, 3) God's love and deliverance of His children, and 4) the amazing power of God's enabling grace.

When we run into trouble or our circumstances turn unfavorable, we are prone to exaggerate them. We turn a bad hair day into a death sentence. While David certainly faced immense challenges and dangers in his life, it is obvious that he is overstating them in this Psalm. Verse five states, "The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me." David could have actually been in mortal danger, but nothing we face on this earth will ever compare to the sorrows of Hell. It is a place of unimaginable torture, and it lasts forever. Once you are in, there is no second chance and no escape. When we are in trouble, we must remember that, if we are saved, God is always with us. As David says in verses two and three, "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be delivered from mine enemies."

Verse seven above gives another terrifying picture: The Lord God Almighty is furious, and His anger shakes the entire earth, causing it to tremble so fiercely that the foundations of hills and mountains are shaken and moved. That is serious anger! While this depiction is awe-inspiring (as it is meant to be), we must remember it is figurative. When God delivered David, He didn't really shake the entire earth and relocate the mountains. The hyperbole here is used to reveal the extent of God's power. This imagery helps us understand how mighty our God is, and the amazing thing is, this is nothing for Him. His power infinitely exceeds what it would take to cause this disturbance. Furthermore, this is just God's anger. Imagine what will happen when He acts upon His wrath.

In conjunction with God's power is His deliverance of David. God delivers David because He loves David and his integrity. We can apply this to our own lives as well. God loves us incomprehensibly, and He delights when we live uprightly. The extent of God's love is displayed in the amazing way He delivers David. (The fact that God would listen to us and deliver us at all is amazing in itself.) "The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them....He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters" (verses 13, 14, 16). God delivers magnificently because He loves magnificently. However, this does not mean that salvation comes through works. While God does joy in our uprightness, we must remember that, in comparison to Him, "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). The deliverance that must first be accomplished and is the most important is God's deliverance of you from your sin, and this has nothing to do with your works. Jesus did all that needs to be done on the cross.

Lastly, we can see that God gives wonderfully enabling grace to those He delivers. David describes it like this in verses twenty-nine, thirty-three, and thirty-four: "For by thee have I run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall....He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms." What amazing things God can empower us to do! Once again, though, we must remember that these are all overstatements. While nothing is impossible with God, it is unlikely He would empower us to do something like what is described above. It would serve no real purpose in glorifying Him and furthering His kingdom. It is true, though, that, without God's grace, we can do nothing. As Jesus said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).

David relates wonderful truths through hyperbole in the eighteenth Psalm. When we are in trouble, we need to be aware that we oftentimes exaggerate our troubles. But when we take our focus off our circumstances and put it on God, when we call to Him for help, He will deliver us in a mighty way because of His unfathomable love for us. And it doesn't stop there. God also gives us further grace to enable us to do great things in service for Him, and we must rely on this grace every hour. And when you stop and think about it, hyperbole is one of the best ways to describe and praise God because He is infinite, unfathomable, and incomparable. No words or comparisons can be made that truly capture His glory and awesomeness. Why not exaggerate what we already think is amazing in order to describe Him?

However, as mentioned above, the first thing that needs to be done is accepting God's gift of deliverance from sin. Without this, you cannot experience God's awesome power and love, He won't help you out of your troubles, and you will never have His grace to enable you to do great things. Worst of all, you will be separated from Him forever in the flames of Hell. Click the Salvation tab above for more information on how to escape this terrible fate.

Thank you for reading, and God bless you as you seek His kingdom and righteousness first!

Monday, October 22, 2012

To Die is Gain

To Die is Gain

I do not claim this world as home.
To God I cling in joy or pain.
For me to live is Christ alone,
and then to die is greatest gain.

As but a vapor in the air,
or dew upon the sunlit ground,
so our lives are short to fare
as once we make our earthly round.

A passing pilgrim am I here
with hope and expectation long,
and death I have no need to fear,
for then I’ll sing my greatest song.

All are living their only life,
all expending their time on earth.
Why not suffer temporal strife
to gain eternal treasure’s worth?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Iron on Iron

Proverbs 27:17--Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

As I've discussed before, imagery is a powerful tool in communication, and the above simile from Proverbs is an excellent example. Here, Solomon uses the image of iron grinding against iron to express how our friendships affect us. This device has several effects. Firstly, the simile gives an example that is more easily understood. Secondly, since the abstract idea is now related to a common concept, it is more memorable. Thirdly, the image indirectly states aspects about the idea; this way the author does not have to take time and/or space to explain them, and the audience has the satisfaction of figuring them out on its own, which also makes the idea more memorable.

So why would we need to know about our friendships? Well, at our bases, we are all social creatures, and friendships are extremely important. God created man as a social being: "And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him" (Genesis 2:18). Remember that God called His creation "very good" (Genesis 1:31), yet in the midst of all these good things, one thing stood out that was not good: man was alone. This wasn't just one of Adam's desires. He didn't even know He was lonely because He had never experienced fellowship with another human being before. But God knew that it wasn't good for Him to be alone; God knew that man needed social interaction. He created us that way. Relationships are a need, not a want.

However, we have to be careful in our friendships. They can help us or harm us, as we see in the text verse. When you have two like elements, such as iron and iron, together, they sharpen and support each other (also see Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). This is parallel to two Christians edifying each other in the Lord, which is a fundamental responsibility of any Christian relationship. It must be noted, though, that this is a hard process. Sharpening metal by rubbing metal against it is not an easy job. It will take a lot of work, strength, and diligence. It's never fun when we have to confront a friend about a sin in his or her life, but it is necessary. And if you truly love that person, you will do what's best for them by meekly and lovingly admonishing him or her and helping them overcome that sin. Likewise, two nonbelievers will increasingly make each other sharper in wickedness.

It is also true that when you put dissimilar elements together it causes harm. Iron and water don't do much for each other. A failure to improve is natural; there's no work involved. And many times, deterioration comes along with a simple failure to improve. Water causes iron to rust, and so fellowship with an unbeliever will cause a Christian to become corrupt (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). We must have redemptive relationships with the lost in order to draw them to Christ, but we should not have close relationships with them that will make us partakers of their sin.

In conclusion, it is obvious that we need to be extremely careful in our choice of friends. We must use the discernment of God's Holy Spirit and God's Word to make the right choices. Good and godly friendships are crucial to living a life pleasing to God because He created us to have friendships and because the influence of our friends plays a huge part in determining who we are. Also, we need to be iron that sharpens. Don't just let others sharpen you. Return the favor and build them up as well. You will even find that this causes self-edification and is another step in your own spiritual growth.

Sadly, though, if you are lost, you can't be sharpened toward having a better life. Your sin will only cause you to rust more and more as time goes on, and your unsaved friends will sharpen you toward more and more sin. Eventually, this corruption will place you in burning Hell forever. Come to the One Who can redeem, restore, and fix you today. Let Him heal you and cleanse you of your sin and set you on a path of growth in Him that is far more fulfilling than any sin or earthly pleasure ever could be. Click the Salvation tab above for more details.

Thank you for reading, and have a great week! God bless you as you seek Him.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Great is Our Lord!

Great is Our Lord!

Great is our Lord. Great is our Lord,
Who left His high throne for this earth.
Great is our Lord. Great is our Lord,
begat by so humble a birth.

Oh praise His great name! Praise His great name!
Let the tongues of the people further His fame.
Oh praise His great name! Praise His great name!
Give Him all glory and be not ashamed.

Great is our Lord. Great is our Lord,
despised and rejected by men.
Great is our Lord. Great is our Lord.
He died for to save us from sin.


Great is our Lord. Great is our Lord.
By death over death He did win.
Great is our Lord. Great is our Lord.
Alone He can cleanse from within.


Great is our Lord. Great is our Lord!
He rose from the tomb that third day!
Great is our Lord. Great is our Lord!
He death could not hold in its sway!


Great is our Lord! Great is our Lord!
And soon He will come back to reign!
Great is our Lord! Great is our Lord!
We’ll worship and praise Him. Amen!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ironic Imagery

Micah 7:13--Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.

All choices, no matter how big or small, have consequences. They will shape your life and determine your future. In the Bible, this is often depicted as reaping what you sow, or spiritual fruit (Galatians 6:7). In the above verse, it is displayed as a metaphor; "the fruit of their doings" stands for the consequences of Israel's sinful actions.

But why use a metaphor? Metaphors can be very effective, and there are several reasons they are used. Many times, they make it easier to relate an idea or concept to an audience. Micah prophesied to the common people of Israel. They would have been very familiar with the concept of farming, producing, and harvesting fruit. This metaphor made it easier for them to understand what he was communicating. Metaphors also create images, which is part of the reason they are more easily understood; but besides that, metaphors add creativity and artistry to a message or piece. While this may seem unimportant, it can add value to the message and please the audience, making them more willing to listen. This second function ties into the third, as well. Metaphors help messages stick in the minds of audiences. What are the most memorable parts of sermons, lectures, or speeches? The figurative and creative expressions. By relating a message to something more understandable and creating an image in our heads, metaphors make concepts memorable. Making your audience understand your message, be interested in it, and remember it are crucial aspects when delivering important messages, such as God's Word.

So Micah seems to have made an excellent choice in relating the message God gave him; however, his audience, Israel, had not been making wise choices. The image Micah's metaphor creates gives the idea of natural production. The farmer chooses what to produce, but the outcome is natural. Israel's desolation was not just God's judgment, though that certainly was the bulk of it. Part of their destitution was the natural consequences of their sin.

So it is with our lives. Our sin has natural consequences that are harmful and destructive. God may not have to do anything to punish us because the fruit of our sins will do it for Him.

Also associated with Micah's metaphor is irony. Isn't it odd that a nation will be desolate because they produce fruit? That seems illogical, but such is the case. This is because the fruit Micah speaks of is spiritual fruit, which reaps spiritual and physical consequences. We must remember that not all spiritual fruit is good; it can be bad. The fruit of the Spirit is always good, but if we sow to the flesh, our fruits will be corrupt (Galatians 6:8). It all depends on what we sow. It all depends on our choices.

So what fruit are you reaping in your life? What seeds are you sowing? The choice of what you sow will determine how your life goes. Do you want to live a fulfilled life pleasing to God, or a desolate life? Ask God to show you what kind of fruit you are bearing, of the flesh or of the Spirit, and pray for His Spirit to help you make the right choices.

Lastly, there is one choice that is the most crucial of all, as it determines where you will spend eternity, not just how you will live your life. This is the choice to accept or reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Have you done this? If not, your life will be nothing but desolate; you cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit because you do not have the Spirit in you. Then you will spend eternity in Hell when you die. Don't go another day without accepting Jesus' sacrifice for you. Click the Salvation tab for more information.

Thank you for reading, and God bless you as you seek to grow in Him!