Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
Or, for convenience, I like to say, "The works of the LORD are great, they are studied by all who delight in them."
This verse makes me realize that reading the Word isn't enough; I must study it. Those who delight in his works, study his works. This is not only referring to the Old Testament, but it can refer to all of God's works.
My reading can be a mile long in width, but only an inch thick in depth. Reading is the width but studying is depth. This verse will be a helpful reminded to...
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15, KJV).
The Greek word for "study" is spoudazō. It can be defined as to be diligent, to endeavor and labor, and to study.
This doesn't mean that I go and lock myself in my room all day to study, but I should be diving into the Word and studying it.
I need to be diligent and labor in the word because I delight in the works of the Lord.
Pastor Ralph is finally home. He finished the race and he fought the good fight. He persevered until the end and did it with such joy that depicted the love of Jesus in such a unique way. Ralph will truly be missed. There are several words that come to mind when I think about him, but I will only mention a few: loving, compassionate, and faithful.
These are the ministries that Ralph served as overseeing pastor :
7 ministries that Ralph was faithfully committed to. It could easily be said that he had a heart of gold, but to think about it, he didn't have a heart of gold, he had a heart full of Jesus!
He says in his bio page that he suffered 12 years of drug and alcohol abuse. If any of you knew Ralph, you couldn't even image that happening. This just shows how much the Lord worked in his life by taking his sinful heart and replacing it with His. He said:
Those things that I seemingly could not let go of no longer had a grip on my life. I started attending Harvest and have never looked back, except to give thanks to God for giving me a new life in His Name.
Michelle and I were just talking to him on Wednesday night after the service as he walked by with his usual smile. Man, I am going to miss that. Sometimes I put service projects together for the high school ministry and I would always go and contact Ralph because I knew he would have something for me. Actually, the last time I contacted him was about a week ago. I never though that it would be his very own family that would be the ones who would need help.
I remember one night after Day7 that I went up to the stage after service and asked Ralph if he had any service projects for the high school students. He replied with such joy and excitement and expressed how he was so proud of me for wanting to lead up a service project. He shared how he was excited that a young man wanted to be used by the Lord. It was very encouraging to be lifted up and encouraged by him. I am not sure, but I think he might of prayed for me as well.
He leaves behind his wife and five children. The ministries that he used to run so effectively are all now applicable to his family. May the Lord be with them.
To reflect on his life and ministry: He was a man who made hospital visitations, ministered to orphans and widows in convalescent homes, comforted cancer patients with hope, graciously ministered to people with disabilities, ran a food ministry, comforted those who were suffering the loss of a loved one, faithfully attended Day7 as an extra service of ministry, and always loved those who he came in contact with. I am sure the list could go on and on. I do not know much about his personal life, but I am positive that he was an amazing husband and father.
His favorite verse was:
And he did just that, he called upon him as long as he lived, Amen. What a great example that he served. He is truly irreplaceable. May we all learn by his life and legacy.
I love the LORD, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live (Psalm 116:1-2).
In Job 39, God is listing all sorts of things that display his power in creation. He is asking Job, "Where were you when I formed this?" or in other words, "Did YOU make all of this?" He did this in order to show his infinite wisdom, power, and sovereignty.
Here is Job 39:19-25:
19 Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? 20 Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrifying. 21 He paws in the valley and exults in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons. 22 He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword. 23 Upon him rattle the quiver, the flashing spear, and the javelin. 24 With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground; he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet. 25 When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’ He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
I must answer "No" to all of his questions at the beginning of these verses and admit that He is the creator, and I am not. He is the potter, I am the clay.
No wonder why I am sometimes nervous while standing next to the horses: their snorting is terrifying (v.20), they laugh at fear and wont turn away from the sword (v.22), they fiercely rage (v.24), and they can smell war (v.25). Wow!
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 (Romans 1:20).
The Lord is so powerful and I have to remind myself that he is in control of all things. Good thing I have a constant reminder because all I have to do is look at his creation. It can be as simple as looking at a horse!
Are you willing to explain why a baby's right not to be killed is less important than a woman's right not to be pregnant?
And if you say that everything hangs on whether the fetus is a human child, are you willing to go before national television in the oval office and defend your support for the "Freedom of Choice Act" by holding in your hand a 21 week old fetus and explaining why this little one does not have the fundamental, moral, and constitutional right to life? Are you willing to say to parents in this church who lost a child at that age and held him in their hands, this being in your hands is not and was not a child with any rights of its own under God or under law?
Thought provoking for sure. Any thoughts?
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7, ESV).A wonderful truth is that our theology should produce a doxology, which literally means "the glory of God." It is an expression of praise to God. The theological truths in this passage definitely produces a doxology, which is why I wanted to memorize it. I can't read this without having some type of gratefulness to the Lord. These verses vividly display the process of death to life that each Christian goes through. I was so blessed by reading these verses because they make me think about how the Lord has called me out of darkness and into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). I wanted to memorize these verses so I can continually recite the gospel to myself from scripture.
Look at the comparison:
Old Life in Sin
New Life in Christ
slave to passions/pleasures
slave to righteousness
spent in malice and envy
spent in compassion and care
consumed with hate
consumed with love
Isn't the "but" in this verse so sweet? I was full of sin, BUT God saved me according to his own mercy. He did this by the washing of regeneration (being born again) and renewal of the Holy Spirit. This was poured out to us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. We are justified by grace and become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Wow.
What a sweet section of scripture.
Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live...And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families (Ex 1:15-17,21).As you read, the king of Egypt wanted to kill all the male babies that were born due to the rapid population increase of the Hebrews. He was scared that they would defeat him. These midwives feared God and did not obey the commands of someone who was supposedly the ultimate authority.
The sanctity of life is likened here to the fear of God. Why did the ladies fear God? Because they knew that God did not approve of the killing of innocent children. God blessed them for this and provided for them. It is something good for us to remember: the sanctity of life is associated with the fear of God. Therefore, it would seem logical to state that the people who are receiving/performing abortions do not fear God.
Let us be mindful of this in regards to abortion and "human rights."
Jesus said, "Come out of the man, unclean Spirit!" Then the demons begged to enter into some swine, so Jesus permitted it. Nearby people were amazed to see this once demon-possessed man sitting next to Jesus and being clothed.
The point of this is that Jesus has done the same for us. He has made us a new creation and clothed us with his righteousness. People can now look at us and be astonished that we can now sit next to Christ and be clothed. I am not saying that we were once all demon-possessed, but we were all slaves to sin. This man who was freed from being demon-possessed asked to go with Jesus as he left, but Jesus said, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you" (v.19).
We get to do the same: tell other people (friends) what great things the Lord has done for us, and how He has had compassion on us. We have the opportunity to do this because just as the demon-possessed man was set free from the unclean spirits, we have been set free from sin.
Joseph's brothers threw him into a pit and sold him to the Ishmeelites. From there, Joseph was brought into Egypt and was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guard. But...
The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5 From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. 6 So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate (Gen 39:2-6).
Joseph was then falsely accused of sleeping with Potiphar's wife and was thrown in prison...
But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed (Gen 39:21-23).
Then Joseph interpreted Pharoah's dream, made him a proposal, and was released from prison.
This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt. (Gen 41:37-41).
Being full of godly wisdom, Joseph set up a great storage plan based upon his interpretation of the dreams...
all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth (Gen 41:57).
Of course, his own brothers, the guys who sold him into slavery, came to buy grain from him and God's sovereign plan was revealed. But that is for a different post.
The point is that Joseph had an amazing work ethic. What was it? His work ethic was the LORD! He went from being a slave to being in charge of everything Potiphar owned. Then he went back to being a prisoner, only to become the second most powerful man besides Pharaoh. As the text reveals, it was the Lord who worked in and through him. May this be true of us as well and let our work ethic be directly connected with the LORD!
"So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).
Do you want to gain a heart of wisdom? Simple, number your days! What does it mean to number your days? No, this is not a verse supporting birthdays, sorry! To number our days means to count them, or in other words, to make them count; don't waste your days here upon the earth.
Why will we have wisdom if we number our days? By realizing that we cannot count future days because they have not happened, we will be faced with the realization that we could die at any time. Therefore, by counting our days we can remind ourselves that we have to live for this day, not tomorrow. By living each day as if it were our last, or by living each day as if we were to face God in judgment at the end of it, we will radically change our lifestyle. We will gain a heart of wisdom as we do this. Wisdom will be directly connected with our time management.
Since we are "a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes" (James 4:14), I thought it would be good to memorize Psalm 90:12, which was said by Moses, the man of God. And, it would also be nice to have a heart of wisdom and to redeem the time while I live in this "tent."
A key point in this verse is that we need to ask to be taught this discipline of numbering our days. Lord, help us number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
"Time would not be so prcious if we never died. But since we are never more than a breath away from eternity, the way we use our time has eternal significance" - Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, 134.
Taken from J.C. Ryle's "Where is Your God, My Boy?" Be blessed by this short writing on the presence of God:
(1) The thought of God's presence—is a loud call to humility. How much which is evil and defective, must the all-seeing eye—see in everyone of us! How small a part of our character is really known by man! "Man looks on the outward appearance—but the Lord looks on the heart!" (1 Sam. 16:7). Man does not always see us—but the Lord is always looking at us—morning, , and night! Who has not need to say, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"
(2) The thought of God's presence—is a crushing proof of our need of Jesus Christ. What hope of salvation could we have, if there was not a Mediator between God and man? Before the eye of the ever-present God—our best righteousness is filthy rags—and our best doings are full of imperfection! Where would we be—if there was not a fountain open for all sin—even the blood of Christ! Without Christ—the prospect of death, judgment, and eternity would drive us to despair!
(3) The thought of God's presence—teaches the folly of hypocrisy in religion. What can be more silly and childish—than to wear a mere cloak of Christianity, while we inwardly cleave to sin, when God is ever looking at us and sees us through and through! It is easy to deceive ministers and fellow-Christians, because they often see us only upon Sundays. But God sees us morning, , and night—and cannot be deceived. Oh, whatever we are in religion—let us be real and true!
(4) The thought of God's presence—is a check and curb on the inclination to sin. The recollection that there is One who is always near us and observing us, who will one day have a reckoning with all mankind—may well keep us back from evil! Happy are those sons and daughters who, when they leave the family home, and launch forth into the world, carry with them the abiding remembrance of God's eye. "My father and mother do not see me—but God does!" This was the feeling which preserved Joseph when tempted in a foreign land: "How can I do this great wickedness—and sin against God!" (Gen. 39:9)
(5) The thought of God's presence—is a spur to the pursuit of true holiness. The highest standard of sanctification is to "walk with God" as Enoch did, and to "walk before God" as Abraham did. Where is the man who would not strive to live so as to please God—if he realized that God was always standing at his elbow! To get away from God—is the secret aim of the sinner. To get nearer to God—is the longing desire of the saint. The real servants of the Lord are "a people near unto Him." (Psalm 148:14)
(6) The thought of God's presence—is a comfort in time of public calamity. When war and famine and pestilence break in upon a land; when the nations are torn by inward divisions, and all order seems in peril—it is cheering to reflect that God sees and knows and is close at hand—that the King of kings is near, and is not asleep.
(7) The thought of God's presence—is a strong consolation in private trial. We may be driven from home and native land—and placed at the other side of the world; we may be bereaved of wife and children and friends—and left alone, like the last tree in a forest. But we can never go to any place where God is not; and under no circumstances can we be left entirely alone.
However hard it is to comprehend this doctrine—it is one which is most useful and wholesome for our souls. To keep continually in mind—that God is always present with us; to live always as in God's sight; to act and speak and think as always under His eye—all this is eminently calculated to have a good effect upon our souls. Wide, and deep, and searching, and piercing—is the influence of that one thought, "You are the God who sees me!" (Genesis 16:13)
Such thoughts as these, are useful and profitable for us all. That man must be in a poor state of soul, who does not feel them to be so. Let it be a settled principle in our religion—never to forget that in every condition and place—that we are under the eye of God! It need not frighten us—if we are true believers. The sins of all believers are cast behind God's back—and even the all-seeing God sees no spot in them! It ought to cheer us—if our Christianity is genuine and sincere. We can then appeal to God with confidence, like David, and say, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You—and lead me along the path of everlasting life!" (Psalm 139:23, 24). Great is the mystery of God's omnipresence; but the true man of God can look at it without fear.
Remember that Jesus didn't only die for you, he lived for you! Because Jesus had to be without sin in order to be the perfect sacrifice, he lived for you and for me as he was living his life. He lived for you, so he could die for you!
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Extreme Sports in the Mountains
Going Green in the Country
One of the highlights of the group was when I was describing how Christ took our sins upon his body and in return, gave us his righteousness. Now the Father looks at us and now sees Christ's perfection, not ours. One of the guys said, "Kc, I just don't get it. Like, it's incomprehensible." In other words, he was trying to say that it is too good to be true. I was very excited about this because I really wanted my group to understand what Christ did, he brought us to peace with God (Rom 5:1).
Pedro Garcia taught on Romans 13:11-14. He really ministered to me because I need to wake up (v.11), walk uprightly (v.13), and put on the Lord Jesus Christ (v.14).
Another thing I thought about a lot was the song "Holy Fire." It says, "Holy fire, burn away, my desire for anything that is not of you but is of me." I want to be able to see this in my life, because those words are easy to sing, but hard to live.
Here are a few pictures from camp: