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"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?...Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly;" 2 Cor 9:24-26

Testimonies vs. Covetousness

Posted by Emma on March 31, 2010 | Filed under: Bible,Christianity,Psalm 119,Studying the Word

“Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.” -Psalm 119:36

This verse makes it appear that God’s testimonies and covetousness are opposites, and they are. To truly live in God’s testimonies is to be content. People who covet are rarely content. However, there is more to this verse then meets the eye when reading it in English.

The first word is הט (hat). This is a verb meaning incline. It is particularly talking about inclining one’s heart unto God and His commands. This is to be pulled their way. It is to move towards them, move towards doing them more and more. It is to want to do them. We should ask God to incline our hearts towards Him.

The second word is לבי (libi) which means the inner man. This is the mind, will and heart. It is specifically referring to inclinations, resolutions and determinations of the will. It is the inclination to follow. The Psalmist is asking that his will and resolutions are inclined toward God. He is determined to follow God. Your will and inclinations govern what you do. You must be determined to follow God.

The word אל (el) is a preposition denoting motion to or direction towards. Where this this direction towards? It is towards God’s testimonies. The word (take out later) עדותיך (edivotecha) means thy testimonies. It is talking about God’s laws. They are a testimony to who He is. As we do them we become more like Him and we learn of His characteristics, who He is.

ואל (ve’al) is made up of a ו (vav) which is the conjunction and. The root of the word is an adverb of negation, not, no. It is a negative. This is what we do not want. The Psalmist does not want what he is about to state.

We again have the word אל (el) which is a preposition denoting motion to or direction towards. This time it is a very different direction. The final word of the verse is בצע (batza) which is gain made by violence, unjust gain. This is getting things the wrong way. Christians should stay far from unjust gain. Unjust gain can come in many forms, it can be from stealing, deception, falsehoods, or any number of other sly sins. It is anything that is not gotten properly and honestly. Covetousness often leads to unjust gain. We want something so bad we do anything to get it. This is not good. We must be content in the Lord and flee unjust gain.

The testimonies of the Lord and unjust gains are opposites. We cannot walk in both paths. We are either heading toward the testimonies of the Lord and being more like the Lord or we are heading toward unjust gain and the kingdom of the devil. We should earnestly pray that God would incline our hearts toward His testimonies and not to unjust gain and covetousness. Follow the Lord. Flee unjust gain. Always honor God.

Saying Something

Posted by Emma on | Filed under: Daily Thought,Media,Picture Perfect

In case you did not know, I am a photographer.

For a little over a year, I have been attempting to take a picture a day.
Because of this, I have a lot of pictures. But they are just pictures.

They do nothing, they do not communicate much. I want my pictures to communicate. I want them to say
And so during the month of April, I am going to try each day to take a picture that communicates something and post it here. I hope you will enjoy them, but even if you do not I know it will be a good exercise for me.

Delighting

Posted by Emma on March 30, 2010 | Filed under: Bible,Christianity,Psalm 119,Studying the Word

“Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.” -Psalm 119:35

What a wonderful prayer to pray. We truly do need God’s help to walk in His commandments.

The first word of this verse is הדריכני (haderichiny). The form of the verb used in this verse means to cause to tread or march, to lead. It is asking God to lead. It brings to my mind the image of a shepherd leading his flock along the way. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We should allow Him to lead us in the way.

The next word is בנתיב (binitiv). The ב (beit) at the beginning of the word is the preposition in. The root word means path or pathway. It is talking about a figurative path. We should allow the Good Shepherd to lead us in this path.

The word מצותיך (mitzivoticha) means thy commandments. These are God’s commandments. The things He has instructed us to do. They are found throughout the Bible. God did not hide from us what He wants us to be doing. He laid it out. It can be summed up in two commands, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. If you really look at it, the others all explain how to do these two. (This does not make all the others less important, it just puts things in a context.)

כי (chy) is a conjunction meaning that, for, or when. It is connected with the word  בו (bo). I could not find a good definition for  בו (bo), but it seems that it would be something along the lines of in, or therein. However I am not sure so do not take that as the actually Hebrew definition.

The final word in this verse is חפצתי (chaphatzity) which is a verb meaning delight in, take pleasure in. It is to enjoy something. To have joy as you are doing things. The Psalmist delights in the way of God’s commandments. He finds enjoyment and pleasure in them. They are not burdensome to him, but wonderful. We should look at God’s commands in the same light, they are not burdensome, but something to take pleasure and joy in. To truly delight in the path of God’s commandments is something to aspire for.

If you have believed in Jesus for your salvation, you have begun to walk God’s way. The question to ponder is, have you ever asked God to run your life, to lead you? Are you willing to be a sheep that is led by the Good Shepherd and obey His voice? Do you ask Him to lead you in the path of His commandments? We like to run our own lives, be our own masters. Generally humans do not like others telling them how to live and what they are to do. They like to walk the path of their own commandments, not another’s. It is hard to root out pride and submit to walk in God’s commandments. Few of us ever reach a point where we could say we delight in them. That is very sad. As Christians we should delight to do what God has told us to do. He has give us so much, we are indebted to Him. We must fight against our flesh and earnestly pray that God will lead us in the path of His commandments. We must seek to delight in His commandments, asking God to give us His joy as we do them. We must be completely sold our for the Lord. Delight yourself in the Lord and in His commands!

Being In Control

Posted by Emma on March 28, 2010 | Filed under: Character,Daily Thought

Self-control is a very important character trait for Christians to have. Sadly, it is lacking in most Christian young people today. I was reminded of that fact this morning. Our choir, which is mostly young people, was singing at church, we were lined up waiting to go into the sanctuary. The choir members were suppose to be quiet listening to what was going on in the sanctuary. This however did not happen. A fair number of choir members were whispering back and forth. As the time that we had to wait lengthened, more whispering happened. It was sad to see that those Christian young people did not have enough self-control to be able to stand quietly for that length of time. Likely, none of them thought about it in those terms but it does not change the fact that they were not demonstrating self-control.

What is self-control? Webster defines self-control as control of one’s self; restraint exercised over one’s self. It is to be able to contain yourself and your desires. Self-control is being absolutely in control of who you are and what you do. It is being able to refrain yourself when you need to or push yourself to do something when you need to. If you have self-control, you do what you need to do and do not give in to temptations and distractions.

The Bible mentions self-control several times. Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (ESV). “Do not deprive one another, expect perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:5 (ESV). 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (ESV), “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV). “For God  gave us a spirit not to fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV) “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” 2 Tim 3:1-4 (ESV). “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, ad brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 (ESV)

It is clear that self-control is important for us to have. Work to be able to control yourself in the little areas of life and you will find that you will be able to in the big areas. In these days less and less people have self-control, the same is true of the last days. As Christians we must be different than the world, we must demonstration self-control. Support your faith with self-control and do not fall into temptation. Live for the Lord and control yourself!

Ask and Purpose

Posted by Emma on March 27, 2010 | Filed under: Bible,Christianity,Psalm 119,Studying the Word

“Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” -Psalm 119:34

The Psalmist continues on with statements that are challenging. As you read these verse really think about what they mean, the commitment that is being made. Could you make that commitment? The Psalmist is completely surrendering to the Lord. We all should take the same step of faith, but it is a hard step to take. We should ask God to bring us to a place where we could earnestly and truthfully pray Psalm 119 and we should work to get there.

The first word is הבינני (havineny) which means give understanding, make understand, teach. It is asking someone to give us understanding into an area. The Psalmist is asking God to give him understanding. We should ask God for understanding, after all He is all knowing. He can give us understanding.

The next word ואצרה (vi’etzirah) starts with a ו (vav) which expresses an intention, that or so that. The root of the word means to guard with fidelity, keep, observe. I have discussed this word before. It is doing God’s commands diligently, faithfully, and in such a way that we will not stain them.

תורתך (toratecha) means direction or instruction. It primarily refers to the instructions of God found throughout the Bible and especially in the first five books of the Bible. These are the things we should be doing and they are the things that tell us about who God is. We should treasure His instructions.

The word ואשמרנה (ni’eshimirenah) is made up of two parts. First is a ו (vav) which shows an intention, that or so that. The second part means keep, watch, preserve. Here it is talking about keeping God’s commands. Observing them to do them and preserving them through the doing of them so that we can pass them on to the next generation. We are the ones who are to be teaching the next generation what God has instructed us to do. We must do them and preserve them as holy for our children.

בכל (vichal) starts out with a ב (beit) which means with. The root of the word means the whole, all. All of what? The last word in this verse is לב (lav) which is the inner man, the mind, will, and heart. This is who you are, how you think, your emotions, your affections, your will. It is everything in you.

The Psalmist is asking God to give him understanding so that he can keep God’s instructions and commands, so that he can do them with everything he has. As Christians we should aspire to do the same. We should earnestly ask God to give us understanding into His word so that we will be able to do His instruction with everything we have. We are to be loving Him with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Part of loving Him is obeying Him. How can we obey Him if we do not know what He wants us to do? Ask God to give you understand into His word and purpose to follow through and do what He instructs with everything you’ve got.


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