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Fall 2018, 40 Days of Prayer, Day 13

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Psalm 37:25-34

25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. 26 He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. 27 Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. 30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. 32 The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. 33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. 34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

The LORD loves Justice:

Psalm 37:25-34.  Psalm 37:25-34 is about an experienced man’s response to righteousness and wickedness in his lifetime.  As you recall, David experienced both, in being called a man after God’s own heart, and his troubles in his adultery with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband Uriah.  Now, speaking from an older context, David stated the truth of God’s righteousness and His love for justice.  In verse 25, David, stated his experience in life “I have been young and now am old,” and uses that to remind the reader of the faithfulness of the LORD to the righteous, followed by a characteristic of the righteous (“He is ever lending generously”).  In verse 27, David returns back to issuing an imperative to the righteous to “Turn away from evil and do good,” a call to repentance.  This reminds me of Jesus’ call to repentance in Matthew 4:17, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Furthermore, “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance,” (Romans 2:4) a strong reminder that those who are righteous are called to repent, to turn away from evil and do good!  This is only a characteristic however, of those who trust and delight in the LORD.  Remember when James says “even the demons believe -- and shudder?” (James 2:19).  I find it difficult for those who say they believe in Christ but do not repent nor do they delight themselves in the LORD, let alone trust Him with their life.  Demons don’t repent, nor do they delight themselves in the LORD!  In verses 28-33, the reader is reminded the LORD loves justice, and the righteous reflect that love for justice while the wicked do not.  David returned back to an imperative in verse 34 to “Wait for the LORD and keep His way,” a call to be patient and stay faithful to the LORD, because He will be the one to exalt you.  This Psalm is a call to everyone, young or old, to know that the LORD loves justice.  We cannot separate His love from His justice.  This comes full circle with the cross of Jesus Christ in which both the wrath and love of God are satisfied in His death as payment for sins.  Let us remember these truths today.  It starts with us writing His righteousness into our lives as stated in verse 31: the “law of his God is in his heart.”

Prayer Focus:

LORD, the wicked will not stand before you.  The righteous will glorify you forever.  I am not righteous, but Jesus Christ, Your Son is.  Remind me daily of my brokenness and my need for dependency on You.  Take every situation to glorify You.  Help me to understand You more and more, and how You delight in Justice.  Keep Your words on my heart, for it is by them that I can live and breathe.  Your word is powerful and is righteous.  May Your Justice be preached and spread throughout the world, beginning with my life.  Humble us LORD, we NEED YOU.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

From Sermon on Justification by Faith by John Wesley

"To him that does not work, but believes on him that justified the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness." Romans 4:5.

Faith in general is a divine, supernatural "evidence" or "conviction," "of things not seen," not discoverable by our bodily senses, as being either past, future, or spiritual. Justifying faith implies, not only a divine evidence or conviction that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself;" but a sure trust and confidence that Christ died for "my" sins, that he loved "me," and gave himself for "me." And that at any time a sinner believes, be it in early childhood, in the strength of his years, or when he is old, God justifies that ungodly one: God, for the sake of his Son, pardons and absolves him, who had in him, till then, no good thing. Repentance was neither more nor less than a deep sense of the want of all good, and the awareness of all evil. And whatever good they have, or do, from that hour when they first believe in God through Christ, faith does not "find," but "bring." This is the fruit of faith. First the tree is good, and then the fruit is good also.

Posted by Zach van Veldhuizen with

Fall 2018, 40 Days of Prayer, Day 12

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Psalm 37:9-24

9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. 12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; 15 their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; 19 they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. 20 But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away. 21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; 22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. 23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.

The LORD upholds the Righteous in Comparison to the Wicked:

Psalm 37:9-24  Psalm 37:9-24 stems from David’s response to all the imperatives we find in verses 1-8 of Psalm 37.  From verses 9 to 22, David stated the characteristics of the wicked in comparison to the righteous and the pending results of the wicked, which ends in their destruction or being “cut off” as in verse 9 and verse 22.  Verse 23 shows a return of David back to the themes of verse 4.  Verse 23 reflects the hopeful promises of verse 4 if the reader should delight himself in the LORD.  Verse 23 and 24, albeit short compared to the downfall of the wicked from verses 9 through 22, show the simple experience of those who delight in the LORD.  They have the LORD to “uphold” them.  We are reminded of the fact that both the wicked and the righteous could fall in verses 9 through 24, but it is the LORD who saves and upholds the righteous even “though he fall.”  It reminds me of the encouragement by Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:13, “if we are faithless, He remains faithful -- for He cannot deny Himself.”  It is by the LORD’s consistency that He upholds those who love Him and not by our own perfection.  It is due to His grace and mercy for those who are in Him, a special unique relationship that only those in Him can have.  This promise applies only those who are IN THE LORD.  I am also reminded of Romans 8:1 which states, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” and in Romans 8:9-10, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.  But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”  Thus, according to Psalm 37, it is not by your righteousness that you are righteous.  It is only by those who are IN CHRIST, and thus IN THE SPIRIT, and therefore IN THE LORD.  This is a great reminder of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how the LORD has redeemed us who have placed our faith in Him.  This is a great reminder of 1 John 2:1-2 when John states, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”  So even though we may “fall,” He will uphold us.  I love the fact that we are IN CHRIST, and that we can rest in the fact that even though we struggle and have to fight sin daily, that even if we should fall, the LORD will uphold and save us.  Let us Delight in the LORD and rest assured that we are upheld by His mighty hand.  Verses 23-24 state that “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in His way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong for the LORD upholds his hand.”  Notice how the LORD “establishes” or “orders” our steps when we delight in HIS Way.  This shows the sovereignty and grace of God when it shows that even though we should fall, He will uphold us.  This also reminds me of 1 John 2:1, that even if “anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”  Let us rest assured in the RIGHTEOUS, Jesus Christ, even if we shall fall.

Prayer Focus:

LORD, I want to thank you for your sovereignty over me and over all of creation.  It is not because of my righteousness, but because of Your righteousness that I’m saved today.  It is by Your Grace, and Your Justice, that Your Son has paid for my sins, not because of my righteousness.  I thank you that You are just, and that You have dealt mercifully and gracefully with me.  Help me serve You today, and to proclaim Your righteousness to everyone around me.  Bless those around the world who suffer for Your Name and Your righteousness.  Prepare me LORD, to follow You with everything I have every day.  I love you LORD, thanks for loving me even when I didn’t deserve it.  In Christ, Amen.

From Sermon on Justification by Faith by John Wesley

"To him that does not work, but believes on him that justified the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness." Romans 4:5.

On what terms, then, is he justified who is altogether "ungodly," and till that time "works not?" on one alone; which is faith: he "believes is him that justifies the ungodly." And "he that believes is not condemned;" but, he is "passed from death unto life." "For the righteousness (or mercy) of God is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: Whom God hath set forth for a propitiation, through faith in his blood; that he might be just, and" (consistently with his justice) "the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus:" "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law;" without previous obedience to the moral law, which, indeed, he could not, till now, perform. That it is the moral law, and that alone, which is here intended, appears evidently from the words that follow: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: Instead, we establish the law. What law do we establish by faith? Not the ritual law: Not the ceremonial law of Moses. In nowise; but the great, unchangeable law of love, the holy love of God."

Posted by Zach van Veldhuizen with

Fall 2018, 40 Days of Prayer, Day 11

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Psalm 37:1-9 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! 2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
Trust and Delight in the LORD:

INTRO: Psalm 37 is written by David and it contrasts the wicked and the righteous. It is also the third alphabetical psalm within the whole Psalter, with every other verse starting with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet (except for the sixteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet which is omitted, making this an irregular alphabetic acrostic of the Psalms). Psalm 37:1-9. The first five stanzas are filled with imperatives such as “Fret not,” “Trust in the LORD,” “do good,” “Delight yourself in the LORD,” “Commit your way to the LORD,” ‘Trust in Him,” “Be still before the LORD,” “wait patiently for Him,” “fret not,” “Refrain from anger,” “forsake wrath,” and “fret not.” These imperatives are a call from the Psalmist to the reader to respond in obedience. These are commands, not options. Furthermore, these commands are filled with promises, both to the reader and about the wicked to whom it is concerned with. I love that verses 3-5 are a call to the reader to “Trust,” “Delight,” and “Commit” to the LORD (or in the LORD). Particularly verse 4 states to “Delight” can be translated in the Hebrew to ‘delight” or “delicateness,” which means to find God to be delectable or enjoyable as if you are eating a delicacy or a meal into which you delight in. It reminds me of Psalm 34:8 which states, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!” David is calling believers in the LORD to delight and enjoy Him! The “desires” in verse 4 can also be translated as “petitions,” thus it is the petitions of our heart that He will give. The possible implication is that if we “delight” in the LORD, then our desire is to enjoy the LORD, and thus, we will get that desire of our heart, which is the LORD! I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Therefore, let us trust in the LORD today, to delight ourselves with Him, to commit our ways to the LORD, to cast away wrath and malice, and to know He will bring forth both righteousness and justice forever.

Prayer Focus: LORD, may Your Name be glorified. Help us to obey Your commands, and to know the glory it will bring to You when we abide in You. LORD, let us enjoy you for who You are, and how wonderful Your presence is. Help us to trust You and to trust in Your faithfulness, Your goodness, and Your justice. LORD, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil and from wickedness that should tempt us to be lead astray from enjoying our relationship with You. You are so good. I love you LORD. Amen.

From Sermon on Justification by Faith by John Wesley
"To him that does not work, but believes on him that justified the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness." Romans 4:5.
If it be objected, "A man, before he is justified, may feed the hungry, or clothe the naked; and these are good works;" the answer is easy: He may do these, even before he is justified; and these are, in one sense, "good works;" they are "good and profitable to men." But it does not follow, that they are, strictly speaking, good in themselves, or good in the sight of God. All truly "good works" (to use the words of our Church) "follow after justification;" and they are therefore good and "acceptable to God in Christ," because they "spring out of a true and living faith." By a parity of reason, all "works done before justification are not good," in the Christian sense, "forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ;" (though from some kind of faith in God they may spring;) "yes, rather, for that they are not done as God has willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not" (how strange it may appear to some) "but they have the nature of sin." Perhaps those who have doubt of this have not duly considered the weighty reason which is here assigned, why no works done before justification can be truly and properly good. The argument plainly runs thus: -- No works are good, which are not done as God has willed and commanded them to be done. And no works done before justification are done as God has willed and commanded them to be done: Therefore, no works done before justification are good. The first proposition is self-evident; and the second, that no works done before justification are done as God has willed and commanded them to be done, will appear equally plain and undeniable, if we only consider, God has willed and commanded that "all our works" should "be done in charity;" in love, in that love to God which produces love to all mankind. But none of our works can be done in this love, while the love of the Father (of God as our Father) is not in us; and this love cannot be in us till we receive the Spirit of Adoption, crying in our hearts, Abba, Father. If, therefore, God does not justify the ungodly, and him that (in this sense) does not work, then Christ has died in vain; then, notwithstanding his death, can no one living be justified.

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