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5/14/2017 8:08 pm  #31


Re: Psalms

Post your input below the introductory posts.
Week 4 Overview, May 14, 2017

I want to encourage you to persevere. We will see some harsh words this week as David, having been running and fearful for his life, increasingly despairs of his deliverance.
 
But, we will also see reasons for confidence in God and be reminded of God’s character.
 
However, the best reason to persevere this week is that we are ending this week with excerpts from John MacArthur on the Sermon on the Mount from the gospel of Luke.
 
Specifically, we will be reading about how Christians are called to respond to enemies and those who hurt us.
 
What is the balance between fighting back, speaking up and turning the other cheek and how are we to interpret Christ’s call for us to love our enemies?
 
Good stuff. I have only skimmed it and can’t wait to dig deeper in and share it with you ladies.

 

5/14/2017 8:51 pm  #32


Re: Psalms

Week of May 14
This Week’s Reading Assignment

Post your input below this post.
S.O.A.K. any verse of your choosing.
Optional Study Guide: Psalms Week 4 Study Guide

Monday
Reading: Psalm 6
Optional Study Guide: Monday
Verse of the Day: Psalm 6:9 
The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.
Discussion Question:
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment. -  Psalms 6:10
Luke 6:27-28 reads, “but to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
David was calling for justice. He was calling for the enemies of God’s work to be thwarted. In light of the four commands in Luke 6, how should we pray for our enemies? Write a prayer for someone who may be your enemy.
 
Tuesday
Reading: Psalm 26
Optional Study Guide: Tuesday
Verse of the Day: Psalm 26:11 
But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me.
Discussion Question:
David verbally proclaims God’s thanksgiving and tells of God’s wondrous deeds. Do we do this? Do we verbally proclaim God’s thanksgiving? Do we tell others of His wondrous deeds? How can we incorporate this more into our lives?
 
Wednesday
Reading: Psalm 58
Optional Study Guide: Wednesday
Verse of the Day: Psalm 58:11 
Mankind will say, "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth."
Discussion Question:
We studied Monday how we should pray for our personal enemies. But should we ask God to stop and thwart the efforts of evil men? How do we balance our prayers for justice, protection of the innocent, and mercy?
 
Thursday
Reading: Psalm 64
Optional Study Guide: Thursday
Verse of the Day: Psalm 64:10
The righteous will rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!
Discussion Question:
He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. – Psalms 64:8
This is a pattern we see in other parts of the Psalms and the scripture that people will be destroyed by their own sins and by the very evil they thought to perpetrate against others.
How do we sometimes see this in our society? How have we sometimes brought, not destruction since we are believers, but harm to ourselves because we were acting wrongly towards someone else?
 
Friday
Reading: Psalm 109
Optional Study Guide: Friday
Verse of the Day: Psalm 109:30-31 
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.
Discussion Question:
Is it right to receive God’s kindness when we have not extended kindness to others or have taken advantage of the weak?

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5/15/2017 10:55 am  #33


Re: Psalms

Monday, Psalm 6

4 Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. 5 For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?

Jehovah saves us because of who He is, because of His character and for the purpose of me giving praise to Him - for His glory and to praise His name.

My purpose to live to praise Jevoah God.

Discussion Question
David was calling for justice. He was calling for the enemies of God’s work to be thwarted. In light of the four commands in Luke 6, how should we pray for our enemies?

God will destroy all those who persist as enemies of His and His work, but I should pray for my enemies to come to repentance through receiving God's grace.
 

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5/19/2017 9:13 am  #34


Re: Psalms

Week 4 Devotion
How Should We Respond to Our Enemies?


PODCAST: How Should We Respond to Our Enemies?
 
We have read some harsh rebukes this week and in the past weeks. Our past devotional posts have dealt with the promises of the Psalms, the deliverance of God, and compassion. This week, I want to address how we should respond to our enemies.
 
The best place to look for this response is in the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount covers a lot of territory. To keep this discussion focused, I want to deal with a specific portion of it highlighted in the gospel of Luke.
 
But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. – Luke 6:27-30
 
This is a challenging teaching. One that I am not qualified to address. I struggle to understand how to apply it in my life. So, I am blessed and excited that John MacArthur wrote an excellent article on this passage: The Actions of Kingdom Love. He explores this passage in detail and explains how we should interpret and apply it in our everyday lives.
 
Unfortunately, his post is quite lengthy. So, I am going to summarize some points and use direct excerpts of other points. This summarized post will still be lengthy despite my best efforts. MacArthur is very thorough and we are both apparently long-winded writers.
 
MacArthur approaches this from the standpoint of how Christians can respond in love when the world attacks, hates, and persecutes us because of the gospel. However, his explanation of what Luke is teaching applies to loving those who are our enemies for any reason.
 
MacArthur’s article, The Actions of Kingdom Love, is a piece of stunning brilliance and insight, so I encourage you to carefully and slowly read his entire article when time permits.

How do Sinners Love?
 
MacArthur writes that we demonstrate the believability of the gospel by demonstrating a supernatural love that unbelievers cannot give. “The believability of the gospel is tied to our loving in ways that sinners can’t love.”
 
In Luke 6 verses 32-34, Jesus defines the love of sinners.  “They love those who love them,” verse 32.  “They do good to those who do good to them,” verse 33.  “They lend to those from whom they expect later to borrow in order to obligate people.”  And in all three of those verses, He says, “That’s how sinners love. 
 
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. – Luke 6:32-34
 
We are not to love like this. We are to love supernaturally, not by our will or ability, but by the power of the Holy Spirit residing in us.

How do We Show Love 

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. – Luke 6:27-30
 
Verses 27 and 28 give us 4 commands; specific things that we are to initiate.
 
1) Love your enemies
2) Do good to those who hate you.
3) Bless those who curse you.
4) Pray for those who mistreat you.
 
We are here called to (1) a certain feeling, love; (2) a certain action, do good; (3) a certain speech, bless them, and a (4) certain appeal, pray for them. 
 
We feel in a loving way toward them.  We act in a loving way toward them.  We speak in a loving way toward them.  And we pray in a loving way toward them.
 
These are things we initiate by love.  We can choose to love.  We can choose to do good.  We can choose to speak blessing.  We can choose to pray. 
 
But there are going to be things in our lives that we don’t initiate and so we come to the second point in, verses 29 and 30, to the reactions of Kingdom love, the reactions when you’re not the initiator, when you’re the object of what is being initiated.

How do We Respond to Wrongdoing? 

Look at verse 29, “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also.  Whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.  Give to everyone who asks of you and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.” 
 
Now here are four illustrations of responding to what somebody else initiates. 
 
“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also.”
 If somebody comes up and, you know, punches me in the face, I’m not going to say, “Here, hit the other side.  That’s just not normal, because built into us there are self-defense mechanisms that God has given us for the sake of self-preservation.  This is not about that.
 
What is it about?  Jesus said in John 16, “The time is going to come when they throw you out of the synagogue.”  He was telling His followers that this would happen and it did.  They were unsynagogued.  That was not a small deal because Jewish society circled around the synagogue.  The greatest single humiliation, the greatest shame was to be excommunicated from the synagogue. 
 
When someone was unsynagogued, which they were for their faith in Jesus Christ, frequently they were whipped before whoever wanted to watch.  Acts 5:40 talks about those in the early church who preached the gospel being flogged. 
 
But, there was also a symbolic humiliation in front of the synagogue congregation.  One of the officials would slap the person across the face as a symbolic indignity and humiliation.  That’s what is in view here. 
 
When they bring you in front to humiliate you and they slap you across the face, offer the other cheek, accept your humiliation.  Now don’t get too literal with this.  Turn to John 18 for a moment.  Let me show you something.
 
John 18 verse 19.  This is Jesus before the High Priest.  He had been arrested.  The High Priest questioned Jesus, verse 19, about His disciples, about His teaching.  Jesus rebuked them for acting illegally.  The reaction, verse 22, for rebuking the High Priest, one of the officers standing by gave Jesus a blow. 
 
And you’ll notice that Jesus did not say, “Here, hit the other side.”  He didn’t interpret even His own words in that literal fashion.  He answered and said, “If I’ve spoken wrongly, bear witness of the wrong.  If rightly, why do you strike Me?”  Why are you hitting Me, why don’t you just bring the witnesses in?
 
So what then does it mean, “to turn the other cheek?”  It simply means this, when you have been treated with humiliation, when you’ve been treated with shame, when you’ve been treated with sort of the anger and hostility, when you have been despised and scorned and rejected, just keep on loving and get ready to be hit again.  Don’t retaliate.  The love that has been called for here doesn’t retaliate.  It doesn’t defend itself against this kind of humiliation and rejection, hostility.  It doesn’t get angry.  It doesn’t hate when it is hit.
 
When rights and property and possessions are wrongly taken, this love is quick to love again and, therefore, be wronged again, because the person stays in the place to continue to show the love to the enemy because he cares about the enemy’s soul.  So we could say this love is vulnerable.  By its constant availability and openness and honesty, it maintains a constant vulnerability. 
 
No matter how many times they hit you, keep loving them because it’s that love that’s inexplicable; it’s that love that speaks of the work of God in your heart.  Here is this Christian relentlessly, continually reaching out to the contemptuous enemy with love for the soul of that enemy.
 
And the second reaction in verse 29 is another abuse that happened to Christians and still does in some form.  “Whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.  Whoever takes away your outer garment, don’t withhold your inner garment. 
 
One of the ways that they persecuted the believers, the early believers, was to take their cloak so that they were left naked.  Believe me, the land of Israel can be very cold in the winter.  It snows in Jerusalem.  This was a severe abuse of these believers.  And He says, “If they take your cloak, keep loving them even if they take your shirt.”  Don’t retaliate.  Don’t seek vengeance. 
 
They never really are the enemy; they are always the mission field.  This goes for abortionists, homosexuals and lesbians, and all the people that pervert and corrupt our culture.  Don’t forget, they may hate our faith and hate our gospel; they aren’t any different than these people.  They have to be loved.  And it’s not a love that tolerates their iniquity; it’s a love that continues to speak into their life the gospel no matter how evilly they treat us.
 
This is graphically illustrated.  Jesus came to be crucified, and one of the things they did when they crucified Him was they took His garment, didn’t they?  What did they do with it?  They gambled for it.  They took His outer cloak and took His inner cloak and they put him up there stark naked.  What a graphic illustration.  They’ve taken everything.  He’s naked.  And there He is and out of His mouth comes this, “Father – ” What? – “forgive them.  That’s that relentless love.  You can take my coat, you can take my shirt and I will love you anyway, whatever the cost.
 
Third illustration is in verse 30.  “Give to everyone who asks of you.  This is in a borrowing context.  Somebody comes and says, “I want you to lend me something.  I’m in need.”  Do it.  That context is made clear down in verses 34 and 35 because Jesus cycles back through these illustrations and there makes it clear that He’s talking about lending to someone who may never pay you back.  This again is self-denial.  The person has a need.  The person comes and says, “I have a need.  I can’t meet the need.  Can I please borrow?  This isn’t a…this isn’t a beggar.  This isn’t a professional beggar; this isn’t some beggar or some kind of a con man.  This is somebody who apparently has a real need, but they’re going to take advantage of your generosity.  They’re going to say, “Oh, you’re a Christian, so give me this and give me this and give me that.”  Go ahead and give it to them.  This is a crucial illustration of grace, isn’t it?
 
And then He closes with a fourth illustration of theft.  “Whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.”  One of the things that also happened to these early believers was people robbed them.  They humiliated them, slapped them, mistreating them, abusing them in that fashion.  Took away their clothes.  They came trading on their goodness, borrowing money they never intended to pay back.  And they robbed them.  And they still do.  Even up until modern times, Christians being persecuted in some parts of the world have their possessions taken.  That’s happened all through history.  Christians persecuted, their personal belongings taken, their homes looted.  But when they do that, don’t demand it back.
 
The world doesn’t know anything about this kind of love.  This is not possible to them.  I mean, worldly love would say, “I’m going to love you as long as you don’t hurt me and harm me, as long as you don’t abuse me, as long as you don’t defraud me by taking and not paying back, and as long as you don’t rob me.  I will love you, but, boy, the day you abuse me, you’re done.”  And we’ve elevated that attitude to a virtue.  And this is a great time in the world today to love with this kind of love because the world doesn’t understand it.  Sinners can’t love this way.

Last edited by TBG (5/19/2017 9:14 am)

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5/21/2017 7:48 pm  #35


Re: Psalms

Week of May 22
This Week’s Reading Assignment

Post your input below this post.
S.O.A.K. any verse of your choosing.

Only 4 days this week, and the Psalms are all easy to read Psalms of encouragement!

So, I don't have a study guide for these because I think they are more clearly understood and applied.

Also, no verse of the day or discussion question because there are so many great verses to SOAK and meditate on and so much obvious discussion material.

Monday: Psalm 16
Tuesday: Psalm 37
Wednesday: Psalm 27
Thursday: Psalm 18
 

Last edited by TBG (5/21/2017 7:52 pm)

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5/22/2017 11:29 am  #36


Re: Psalms

Last Tuesday, Psalm 26

26:1 Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.

David is running for his life, yet he trusts God without wavering. Why do we sometimes find it hard to trust God with how things in our lives are playing out? We need to see God as David saw Him, as Yahweh, as Jehovah - our covenant God with a personal relationship with us. And as new covenant believers, as the God who dwells in us and has an intimate relationship with us where He promises to work out His purposes in our lives. 26:2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind.

Trials expose what is in our hearts and our response to them is either an encouragement or a reproof. Either way, it helps reveal the gaps between our character and the character of Christ and so moves us along the path towards maturity, holiness, and sanctification.

26:3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.
When we keep God's unchanging character in view, it encourages us to go through life in His security and truth.

For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 2 Corinthians 6:16-17  

26:8 O LORD, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where your glory dwells.

Do we love to be in the place of Jehovah's (our covenant God) glory and long for that more than anything else we desire, go after, spend out time with in life? Do we long to view and meditate on God's glory? Heb 12:1-2 teach us that if we are looking at other things they can hinder us from setting our eyes on Christ and therefore be a stumbling block to us in persevering in the faith.

 

Last edited by TBG (5/22/2017 11:34 am)

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5/22/2017 11:38 am  #37


Re: Psalms

Last Wednesday, Psalm 58

58:11 Mankind will say, "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth."

We must be patient and trust God's righteous judgment that He will judge, He will bring forgiveness and make all things right. But we must have patience and bear with our enemies as God patiently bore with us when we were His enemies and shows us unconditional unending forgiveness even of our current sins that we still do against Him. 

Ultimately all evil will be punished and the penalty paid. No one will escape judgment for their wrong doing. For those who accept Christ, Christ will pay the penalty and take the judgment, but justice will be done.
 

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5/22/2017 11:42 am  #38


Re: Psalms

Last Thursday, Psalm 64

64:10  Let the righteous one rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult!

If one is righteous, one will rejoice in God, not in anything else that we are trying to seek pleasure from and the things that consume our time and attention, that includes our circumstances. We should rejoice in God and not our circumstances or how our life is going.  We should rejoice in the God with whom we have a special relationship.

If we are righteous, we will rejoice in God; if we are upright we will praise Him.
 

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5/22/2017 11:51 am  #39


Re: Psalms

Last Friday, Psalm 109

109:4  In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. 

We need to respond much more like this when we feel frustrated or there is tension in a relationship. We need to not just pray, but to give ourselves, devote ourselves to prayer.

109:16  For he did not remember to show kindness, but pursued the poor and needy and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.

You see this Biblical pattern that God considers it a great wickedness to not show kindness and mercy. We need to note this and not gloss over God's call for mercy and kindness in our lives and to work for this in our communities.

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5/22/2017 11:55 am  #40


Re: Psalms

Monday, Psalm 16

16:2  I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” 

The Lord, Jehovah, is my chosen portion and my cup. He is what I choose for my inheritance; He is what I value.
There is nothing good in my life apart from God. Or alternatively, there is nothing good in me apart from God.

16:11  You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Why seek joy and fulfillment elsewhere? He has shown us the path of life, why would we stray to any other path?

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