Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 28, 2016

“For zeal for Your house has consumed me”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm chapter 122.

“I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2 Our feet are standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem,
3 Jerusalem, that is built
As a city that is compact together;
4 To which the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord—
An ordinance for Israel—
To give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 For there thrones were set for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
7 “May peace be within your walls,
And prosperity within your palaces.”
8 For the sake of my brothers and my friends,
I will now say, “May peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.” Psalm chapter 122.

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Today, we consider some elements of our worship service a/k/a “house of the Lord our God”.  “For zeal for Your house has consumed me, …” Psalm 69:9.

“One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.” Psalm 27:4.

First, we see that it is a place where we “behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate” on the LORD.

Other doctrine meditates on what man should do.

But, Reformed Doctrine meditates on the beauty of the Lord and what He has done.

Second, we see that it is a place “To give thanks to the name of the Lord.” Verse 4.

“These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.” Psalm 42:4.

Other doctrine is thankful for who they are and what they have done.

But, Reformed Doctrine is thankful for Who God is and what God has done.

Third, we see that is “a house of prayer”.

“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.  And He *said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’;  but you are making it a robbers’ den.” Matthew 21:12-13.

Other doctrine feels the necessity of being “seeker sensitive”, that is, being everything to everyone.

But, Reformed Doctrine looks to Scripture and the simple clear elements of what our worship service should be:  “a house of prayer”, a place to “give thanks to the name of the Lord”, and a place to “behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate” on the LORD.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 27, 2016

“The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm chapter 121.

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
8 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.” Psalm chapter 121.

————————–

Our family and many others through history treasure this chapter as the Traveler’s Psalm. Whenever we travel, we are delighted to read this chapter and pray for God’s guidance, protection, and other blessing for our travel as we begin our travel.

But, these words also remind us of “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“The Lord is your keeper; …” Verse 5.

“7 The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
8 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.” Verses 7-8.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 26, 2016

“In my trouble I cried to the Lord, And He answered me.”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm chapter 120.

In my trouble I cried to the Lord,
And He answered me.
2 Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips,
From a deceitful tongue.
3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you,
You deceitful tongue?
4 Sharp arrows of the warrior,
With the burning coals of the broom tree.

5 Woe is me, for I sojourn in Meshech,
For I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
6 Too long has my soul had its dwelling
With those who hate peace.
7 I am for peace, but when I speak,
They are for war.”  Psalm chapter 120.

———————

“In my trouble I cried to the Lord,
And He answered me.”  Verse 1.

Oh, how Almighty God, our Faithful Father, answers us and delivers us with passion and power!

There may be “Sharp arrows of the warrior” (verse 4), but Almighty God, our Faithful Father, shoots His arrows of lightning in abundance and routs our enemy! 

Consider the very vivid language of the following Scripture of these truths.

“4 The cords of death encompassed me,
And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.
5 The cords of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.

7 Then the earth shook and quaked;
And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.
8 Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
And fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.
10 He rode upon a cherub and flew;
And He sped upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him,
Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
12 From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
14 He sent out His arrows, and scattered them,
And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them.
15 Then the channels of water appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare
At Your rebuke, O Lord,
At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

16 He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my stay.
19 He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”  Psalm 18:4-19.

Nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”!  Romans 8:39.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 25, 2016

“I rejoice at Your word, As one who finds great spoil.”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 119:161-176.

“161 Princes persecute me without cause,
But my heart stands in awe of Your words.
162 I rejoice at Your word,
As one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and despise falsehood,
But I love Your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous ordinances.
165 Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble.
166 I hope for Your salvation, O Lord,
And do Your commandments.
167 My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You.

169 Let my cry come before You, O Lord;
Give me understanding according to Your word.
170 Let my supplication come before You;
Deliver me according to Your word.
171 Let my lips utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
172 Let my tongue sing of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
173 Let Your hand be ready to help me,
For I have chosen Your precepts.
174 I long for Your salvation, O Lord,
And Your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live that it may praise You,
And let Your ordinances help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments.”  Psalm 119:161-176.

—————————-

In today’s concluding section of Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, we notice the Psalmist’s repeated declarations of his love for God’s Word.

“… my heart stands in awe of Your words.”  Verse 161.

“I rejoice at Your word,
As one who finds great spoil.”  Verse 162.

“… I love Your law.”  Verse 163.

“…  I love them (“Your testimonies”) exceedingly.”  Verse 167.

“… Your law is my delight.”  Verse 174.

Yet, other doctrine is content to tell its own stories, its own experiences, and its own feelings.

But, Reformed Doctrine rejoices to quote God’s Word.

“9 I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You know.
10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.”  Psalm 40:9-10.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 23, 2016

“The sum of Your word is truth”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 119:145-160.

“145 I cried with all my heart; answer me, O Lord!
I will observe Your statutes.
146 I cried to You; save me
And I shall keep Your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I wait for Your words.
148 My eyes anticipate the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.
149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your ordinances.
150 Those who follow after wickedness draw near;
They are far from Your law.
151 You are near, O Lord,
And all Your commandments are truth.
152 Of old I have known from Your testimonies
That You have founded them forever.

153 Look upon my affliction and rescue me,
For I do not forget Your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
Revive me according to Your word.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
For they do not seek Your statutes.
156 Great are Your mercies, O Lord;
Revive me according to Your ordinances.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your testimonies.
158 I behold the treacherous and loathe them,
Because they do not keep Your word.
159 Consider how I love Your precepts;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness.
160 The sum of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.”  Psalm 119:145-160.

—————————————–

Truth is defined as the sum of God’s words.

Truth is also personified in Jesus Christ.

“…And all Your commandments are truth.”  Verse 151.

“The sum of Your word is truth, …”  Verse 160.

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14.

“Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;  no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  John 14:6.

And yet, other doctrine seems content to fill its sermons and other teachings with stories and lessons and examples outside of Scripture. 

Jesus said both in Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7:  ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.  For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  Romans 10:1-4.

There are those who “did not receive the love of truth so as to be saved”.  2 Thessalonians 2: 10-13.

Truth is revealed by Scripture, not by our feelings as to what is just and true.

Reformed Doctrine, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, relies on Scripture alone and continually quotes Scripture.

Jesus also stated in John 4:23-24:  “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth;  for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

But, there is hope!

Jesus also stated in John 16:13:  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; …”.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15.

Reformed Doctrine accurately summarizes Scripture and teaches that salvation is a work of God alone, by grace alone, and that God handles all the points of salvation from “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” through “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  This true doctrine of salvation is more fully taught in the Reformed Confession called Canons of Dordt.

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 119:129-144.

“129 Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul observes them.
130 The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
131 I opened my mouth wide and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
After Your manner with those who love Your name.
133 Establish my footsteps in Your word,
And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep Your precepts.
135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of water,
Because they do not keep Your law.

137 Righteous are You, O Lord,
And upright are Your judgments.
138 You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness
And exceeding faithfulness.
139 My zeal has consumed me,
Because my adversaries have forgotten Your words.
140 Your word is very pure,
Therefore Your servant loves it.
141 I am small and despised,
Yet I do not forget Your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
And Your law is truth.
143 Trouble and anguish have come upon me,
Yet Your commandments are my delight.
144 Your testimonies are righteous forever;
Give me understanding that I may live.”  Psalm 119:129-144.

————————————–

We see simple, short, and similar format words praising attributes of God’s Word.  By their simplicity and similarity, they help us focus, meditate, and remember them.

“Your testimonies are wonderful”.  Verse 129.

“Your word is very pure”.  Verse 140.

“Your law is truth.”  Verse 142.

“Your commandments are my delight.”  Verse 143.

“Your testimonies are righteous forever”.  Verse 144.

Other doctrine depends on the wisdom of man.

But, Reformed Doctrine depends on the wisdom of God.

“…  It gives understanding to the simple.”  Verse 130.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”  Psalm 19:7.

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 119:113-128.

“113 I hate those who are double-minded,
But I love Your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I wait for Your word.
115 Depart from me, evildoers,
That I may observe the commandments of my God.
116 Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live;
And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.
117 Uphold me that I may be safe,
That I may have regard for Your statutes continually.
118 You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes,
For their deceitfulness is useless.
119 You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross;
Therefore I love Your testimonies.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of You,
And I am afraid of Your judgments.

121 I have done justice and righteousness;
Do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Be surety for Your servant for good;
Do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation
And for Your righteous word.
124 Deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness
And teach me Your statutes.
125 I am Your servant;  give me understanding,
That I may know Your testimonies.
126 It is time for the Lord to act,
For they have broken Your law.
127 Therefore I love Your commandments
Above gold, yes, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything,
I hate every false way.”  Psalm 119:113-128.

—————————–

The Psalmist recognizes what God has done for him, but also presses on.

The Psalmist lives by the standard that he has attained, but also trusts God to provide what is missing and to perfect him.

The Psalmist praises God for what God has done for him, but also makes prayer requests.

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;  but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude;  and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;  however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”  Philippians 3:12-16.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 20, 2016

“O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 119:97-112.

“97 O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
102 I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 From Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
106 I have sworn and I will confirm it,
That I will keep Your righteous ordinances.
107 I am exceedingly afflicted;
Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.
108 O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord,
And teach me Your ordinances.
109 My life is continually in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts.
111 I have inherited Your testimonies forever,
For they are the joy of my heart.
112 I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, even to the end.”  Psalm 119:97-112.

—————————–

“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”  Matthew 4:4.

Today’s Scripture shows how precious and indispensable is God’s Word to us. 

“O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.”  Verse 97.

“I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.”  Verse 99.

“How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  Verse 103.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.”  Verse 105.

“I have inherited Your testimonies forever,
For they are the joy of my heart.”  Verse 111.

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it;  for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”  Joshua 1:8.

“2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”  Psalm 1:2-3.

“6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
7 For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.”  Psalm 63:6-7.

“15 I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.
16 I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.”  Psalm 119:15-16.

“I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of Your hands.”  Psalm 143:5.

“On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.”  Psalm 145:5.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 19, 2016

“For all things are Your servants.”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 119:81-96.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+119&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“89 Forever, O Lord,
Your word is settled in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands.
91 They stand this day according to Your ordinances,
For all things are Your servants.
92 If Your law had not been my delight,
Then I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have revived me.
94 I am Yours, save me;
For I have sought Your precepts.
95 The wicked wait for me to destroy me;
I shall diligently consider Your testimonies.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection;
Your commandment is exceedingly broad.”  Psalm 119:89-96.

———————————-

God is sovereign and rules over all.  All things serve God.

“89 Forever, O Lord,
Your word is settled in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands.
91 They stand this day according to Your ordinances,
For all things are Your servants.”  Verses 89-91.

Other doctrine teaches a salvation based on man’s alleged free-will.

But Reformed Doctrine, recognizing God’s sovereignty over all things, teaches a salvation based on God’s sovereignty.

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.”  Psalm 103:19.

“For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 7:15-16.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 18, 2016

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 119:65-80.

“65 You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word.
66 Teach me good discernment and knowledge,
For I believe in Your commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
68 You are good and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.
69 The arrogant have forged a lie against me;
With all my heart I will observe Your precepts.
70 Their heart is covered with fat,
But I delight in Your law.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
72 The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

73 Your hands made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
74 May those who fear You see me and be glad,
Because I wait for Your word.
75 I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
76 O may Your lovingkindness comfort me,
According to Your word to Your servant.
77 May Your compassion come to me that I may live,
For Your law is my delight.
78 May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie;
But I shall meditate on Your precepts.
79 May those who fear You turn to me,
Even those who know Your testimonies.
80 May my heart be blameless in Your statutes,
So that I will not be ashamed.”  Psalm 119:65-80.

——————————

“Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.”  Verse 67.

“It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.”  Verse 71.

“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”  Verse 75.

“It is for discipline that you endure;  God deals with you as with sons;  for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.”  Hebrews 12:7-10.

“19 Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness.
20 Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me.
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
26 It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man that he should bear
The yoke in his youth.
28 Let him sit alone and be silent
Since He has laid it on him.
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust,
Perhaps there is hope.
30 Let him give his cheek to the smiter,
Let him be filled with reproach.
31 For the Lord will not reject forever,
32 For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion
According to His abundant lovingkindness.
33 For He does not afflict willingly
Or grieve the sons of men.”  Lamentations 3:19-33.

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