The Praise Song that isn’t.

Ps 137:9 Happy the one who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock!

The Psalms are known as praise songs, mostly from King David.
Most of the Psalms are encouraging, joyful, and praising to God.
They speak of deliverance, hope, and salvation.
However, Psalm 137 ends on a sour note it seems.
Who in their right mind would be happy at killing children?
Let’s run through the premise of this Psalm.
It’s definitely not from David, since it mentions sitting by the rivers of Babylon.
So someone in captivity wrote this.
The abuse of the Babylonians was so severe upon the nations they conquered, included the Hebrews, that they all hope the Babylonians would die out – become extinct.
The surest way to execute genocide is to kill the entire next generation.
You can say this is terrible (and it is) and it could never happen but since the legalization of abortion in the United States an estimated 62.5 million have died.
I wonder if those that aborted their own children are truly happy.

The Living and the Dead

Eccl 9:5 But the dead know nothing,

November 30th was the 2nd anniversary of Mark’s death.
My grandparents both died in the late 1990s.
Others friends and family passed away on dates scattered about the years.
I wonder what they are doing.
While those of us living continue to face adverse weather, a pandemic, another political election, and a supply chain breakdown.
They also missed birthdays, reunions, family get-togethers, and church.
Although the scripture says the dead know nothing, I am of the opinion they know nothing of what is going on in this life.
I believe they know plenty about what is going on around them.
When Jesus told the story of the death of a beggar and a rich man, He told of the comfort or torment of each. (Luke 16:19-31)
Do those that have passed think about those of us still living?
Does Mark think, “I wish Tim was here to see this!”
Do my grandparents long to talk with me as I often long to talk with them?
All I know from scripture is the rich man thought about his family coming to a place of torment like him and he wanted to prevent it.
I cannot truly answer these questions.
I know, like David, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” 2 Sam 12:23
Until then, keep living for Christ, tell others about His salvation, and keep others from joining the rich man.

Search the Scripture

Matt 22:29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.”

Jesus is responding to a question about Jewish Law concerning marriage and raising children for a brother through the brother’s widow.
The group bringing the question, the Sadducees, were not interested in an answer about the Law as much as an answer from Jesus.
It’s ironic for the Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection (Matt 22:23), to ask a question about the resurrection.
Jesus’ first response suggests the answer is readily available to them through the scripture but they refuse to search and learn, allowing their own prejudice and doctrine to dictate their beliefs.
My concern for myself and the church is centered around the same thought.
Do I let what I’ve been taught through the years determine what I believe to be true?
I know my beliefs have changed through the years due to more study of the scripture.
I am still learning since I am unwilling to simply take someone’s word on it.
It’s a good practice for Christians.
When Paul preached Jesus to the Berean Jews, they searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Acts 17:11
We should do the same.

Better not to marry?

Matt 19:10 “…it is better not to marry.”

Jesus had explained to Pharisees about marriage for life.
He explained Moses’ permission of divorce because of the hardness of the heart.
Then He told them the reality of remarriage and adultery.
His disciples replied, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
The disciples’ thinking is in this Jewish tradition – that if a wife displeases her husband, he has the right to put her away by divorce.
They never thought that perhaps the reason she is not pleasing to the husband is that he is displeasing to her.
It takes two to make a marriage.
It is never dependent on one person.
Hence, Eph 5:22 and 25, “wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” and “husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
It seems more is placed upon the husband than the wife.

There is room

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

Within a week, I have baptized an 88-year-old and an 8-year-old.
While there is a wide difference in their ages, there is no difference in their salvation.
Today’s scripture bears witness to this.
It doesn’t matter if you are from Israel or Greece.
If you are black or white, male or female, blue-collar or white-collar worker – all are equal in Christ.
We are one.
The church will become more effective as soon as we realize this and act like one body.
The baptism also shows there is no minimum or maximum age limit to salvation or baptism.
There is also no limit to how many can join the body of Christ through salvation and baptism.
There is no cap so there is room for you today.

Thankful for Grace

1 Cor 1:4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,

Another reason to give thanks to God is for His grace.
Without it, you could never have salvation.
It is by grace through faith you are saved.
The Bible also says to give thanks to the Lord for His mercy.
Grace and mercy travel hand in hand.
Mercy is described as deserving what you do not get – which is death.
Grace is getting what you do not deserve – which is salvation.
Through it all, you can then give God what He deserves – your praise.

Be blessed and give thanks

1 Thess 5:18 …in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

What is God’s will?
This verse says it is for you to give thanks in everything.
That seems difficult.
Can you truly give thanks for bad things that happen?
Heaven forbid, but if I was shot I don’t think I could give thanks for it.
On the other hand, if I think about it, I could give thanks for living.
I could give thanks for the prayers I know would go forth for me.
If I die because of it, I give thanks I know Jesus as my Savior.
Therefore, it is possible although it could take some thought.
Perhaps if you begin to give thanks for everything now, then if something does happen you will find it easier to give thanks when it does.
No matter, it is God’s will in Christ Jesus for you.
Be blessed today and give thanks!

Give Thanks

1 Chron 16:34 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

It is Thanksgiving week but every day is a day to give thanks to the Lord.
First, because He is good.
In Him is no sin and the Creator does no wrong.
Give thanks for His mercy.
Without it there is no hope for any of us. But His mercy gives grace to pass over our sins through the blood of Christ.
Give thanks because of His endurance.
There are some people I struggle with enduring. They can wear me down.
Not God! We can never weary Him because He endures.
Finally, give thanks because He is eternal.
Nothing lasts in this life.
Not the life of your friends and family.
Not your vehicle.
Not your home.
Not your president.
But God does not grow old, break down, rust, or go away.
And the salvation He offers is as eternal as He is.
Give thanks!

Our Jewelry

Job 22:25-26 Yes, the Almighty will be your gold And your precious silver; For then you will have your delight in the Almighty, And lift up your face to God.

My grandson isn’t into jewelry.
He doesn’t wear necklaces or rings, that is, until he got his senior ring this year.
It’s the only ring on his hand and he wears it all the time.
It’s a source of pride and accomplishment for him.
I remember a portrait session from many years ago. Linda and I were there to get our portrait taken.
The lady before us was wearing a brooch and I remember the fuss she caused to make sure it was portrayed prominently in the portrait.
The brooch was a sense of pride for her.
Our scripture says God is our gold and silver.
We should delight in God more than our jewelry.
God should be seen proudly and prominently in our lives, after all, Jesus gave Himself for us and His jewelry included nails and a crown of thorns.

Full Joy

1 John 1:4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

How often do you read the Bible?
I know there are parts that bog you down.
There is scripture that seems to make no sense.
The Bible has stories that seem to have little relevance for today.
And, yet, it is a day like today and a time like this time when you need more hope and joy.
The Bible is written so your joy may be full.
You can’t get full from a meal unless you eat.
And you can’t get full on joy unless you read your Bible.