Saturday, March 30, 2013

“Psalm 117 Small Psalm with a Big Message”

Psalm 117 is the shortest Psalm in the Bible.  It is made up of 2 verses which are made up of 33 words.  It also takes its place as the middle chapter of the Bible.  Although not as well-known as some of the other Psalms; this Psalm takes its place as not only a conspicuous, but also one of the most important of all the Psalms.


This Psalm in spite of its short length contains several of the main themes we find throughout the Holy Scriptures: the need to praise God, His mercy that is shown to man; and the truthfulness of His Word. As a matter of fact, the principles we read of in Psa 117 are so important that the Apostle Paul quoted portions of this Psalm in Romans 15:11.




Psalm 117:1-2




Psa 117:1 - O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. 



The Requirement…


O praise the LORD, … praise him, …


In the first verse, we find a universal truth that applies to every inhabitant of the world… the requirement to “Praise the Lord”.   What do we mean by the term “praise”?   In this verse two different Hebrew words are translated “praise”.


1.  In the first phrase “praise”  is derived from the Hebrew word “halal”  which has the idea of drawing other’s attention to an object that has been beautified. 


Think of it like this…. a man is throwing a victory party after winning a trophy in an athletic contest.  He takes the trophy, polishes it until it shines brightly, clears off the mantle above his fireplace and then places the trophy on display on the center of the mantel to be clearly seen by all party attendees.   


He has done everything He can for others to see his trophy.  He invited them to his house to see it, he shined it to attract their attention, he placed it where it was conspicuous and can be easily examined.  This is how we should share our Lord with others every day.  This is the first word for “praise”.



2.  In the second phrase “praise” is translated from the Hebrew word “shabach”.   This word carries with it two basic ideas… “to speak loudly” and “to pacify, to bring peace, to keep a relationship”.   


The basic idea is this… The greatness of our Lord demands that He be glorified and honored.  One of the ways we can meet this requirement is through boldly, unashamedly telling others of His greatness, much like a street preacher would proclaim the truths of God loudly so all could hear his message. 


By meeting this requirement, as Christians, in a sense we are “keeping peace with God”.. In other words, by keeping His commands to be a faithful witness, we will be pleasing to God and allowing unhindered communion to take place.  In that sense we are pacifying God by keeping our responsibility to Him.




Who Is Required To Do These Things?...


… all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. 


Who is to praise the Lord?  Everyone! 


Nations” is the Hebrew word “gowy” and refers to Gentile nations. Remember, in those days Gentiles were commonly restricted from the temple worship.  Here, the Psalmist is emphasizing that not simply Jews, but Gentiles also, are held accountable to praise the Lord, although it was not a common occurrence.


 People” is the Hebrew word “any collection or group of people” which would include both Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, bond and free, black and white, male and female.  Here, the Psalmist is emphasizing that ALL mankind, no matter what might be their gender, nationality, language, race etc etc is obligated to praise its Creator and Lord.






The Reason For The Requirement….


Psa 117:2 - For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.



Now the Psalmist explains the dual basis for the requirement to praise Him in all things…  


his merciful kindness is great toward us”


First of all, we are to praise Him because of His “merciful kindness”.  The term “merciful kindness” comes from a single Hebrew word “checed” .  Checed is a type of kindness shown to the undeserving that beautifies the giver.  


Mother Teresa is a wonderful example of this kind of kindness.  She went and invested her life in helping the needy in foreign lands.  She was not obligated to do this, she did it of her choosing.  In spite of her being physically unattractive, she became VERY attractive and honorable to all who knew of her wonderful works of kindness.  


Our Lord’s kindness on our behalf demands that we praise and honor Him.  He deserves it. His works of self-sacrificial kindness to us prominently excels over any acts of kindness performed by fallen man.  Keep in mind His temporal, earthly, kindness is shown to lost and saved alike (Matt 5:45).  Because of this ALL MANKIND is to praise and honor Him.



the truth of the LORD endureth for ever”


The second reason that we are obligated to praise our Lord is because His Word endureth forever.  The phrase “endureth forever” is based on one Hebrew word (gabar) that means “to go to the vanishing point”  “time out of mind” or “forever”.  


What a wonderful certainty!  The truths of God’s Word exist as far as the eye can see.  We cannot even imagine a time in our mind when His Word will become null and void.  His truths are in effect throughout eternity.  His Word contains truths that apply to both just and unjust.  Also, keep in mind His Word is to be taken to all the world (Acts 1:8). No wonder all mankind is to praise and honor the Lord for His eternal truths.






To those who are saved:


1Pet 2:9-10 (KJV)

9) But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

10) Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.


Need I say more?


To those who are not saved:


Acts 14:15-17 (KJV)

15) And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

16) Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

17) Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.


Won’t you turn to Christ?  He has been so kind to all of us.



If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.


If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at 


May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.



Please visit…
Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web:
Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog:
Settled In Heaven Ministries Video Blog:
Email Us At:
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.” 

Friday, March 29, 2013

“Preparing For The Unknown”

We are all faced with the unknown every minute of every day.  In a matter of a few short moments the path of our life can be radically, permanently, altered.  In a moment or two we can be involved in a devastating car accident; our Doctor can relate to us our latest test results that are as flagged as “malignant”; our preteen daughter can tell us of their unplanned pregnancy; or we can receive a phone call telling us of the death of a loved one.  The list goes on and on. 


This type of event is actually quite common.  How many of us can honestly say that our life has never been shaken by an unforeseen occurrence?  For the few of us who have escaped this experience, we should count ourselves highly blessed of God.   For most of us, we know the gut wrenching feeling of having our lives thrown into turmoil suddenly and unexpectedly.


What are we to do when these events intrude into our lives?  How can we prepare for these times?  Is it possible to face these unforeseen events with peace and confidence?  Let’s take a few moments to search for the answer to these questions in the Word of God.


We will be looking at our Lord’s teachings on ways to prepare for the unknown by looking at the writings of four great men: Solomon, Isaiah, James and God Himself, Jesus Christ.




Proverbs 27:1          Isaiah 56:1,2,12       James 4:13-16                   Matthew 6:33-34





The Lesson We Can Learn From Solomon:


King Solomon, under the leadership of the Spirit of God, recognized the uncertain future of every man when he penned Proverbs 27:1…  Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.  


Solomon understood that we all have a tendency to forget the uncertainty of our lives; many times, we assume that we can control what takes place in our future.  One day passes and then the next with no tragedies or unexpected incidents so we begin to assume that our life will continue on in this way.  In Solomon’s wisdom he reminds us to never make such an assumption.


From Solomon we learn to never assume we can know or control what the future holds for us.  We are to always live life recognizing that the very nature of our physical life on earth is one of uncertainty.  Because of this, we must take care to be sure we are prepared for what may lie ahead.



The Lesson We Can Learn From Isaiah:


Another mistake many of us make is to assume that the future will always bring increased prosperity to us.  The false prophets of Isaiah’s day were prophesying a very clear message…  Tomorrow you will be more prosperous than today… therefore, it’s party time… live it up!  Isa 56:12…  Come ye, [say they], I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, [and] much more abundant.  


Isaiah’s message, on the other hand, was directly opposite to the message of the false prophets. He declared that Judah needed to come to the Lord exercising repentance and submission to His will for their lives. It would be through submission to Jehovah that they would be assured of the Lord’s presence with them.  We find Isaiah’s message to Judah earlier in this same chapter Isa 56:1-2Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation [is] near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.  Blessed [is] the man [that] doeth this, and the son of man [that] layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.


If we understand the person and work of our Lord we can easily understand the importance of His presence with us during these uncertain times that we face.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is:

1.    A Caring Friend that sticketh closer than a brother, we will never be alone. (Pro 18:24)

2.    The Sovereign Lord who can intervene in any event we may face (1 Tim 6:15-16)

3.    The Enabling Savior who promises to give us mercy and strength in times of need (Heb 4:16)

4.    The Understanding Deity who fully understands what we are going through (Heb 4:14-15, 1 Cor 4:5)

5.    Covenant Maker that promises if we are His, anything we face will be for our benefit (Rom 8:28)

6.    The Loving God that will love us with a love from which we cannot be separated  (Roms 8:35-39)

7.    The Comforter who give us peace and security in the midst of future events in life (John 14:16-18)


From Isaiah we learn of our need to recognize the uncertainty of our future and the absolute necessity to have unhindered communion with our Lord. 

(For those who have never had a personal relationship with Christ, by coming to Christ in repentance and belief, you can be receive forgiveness of your sins and enter into a living relationship of communion with Jesus.)

(For those who are saved, we are to be glorifying Christ with our lives and to repent of the sin that enters our lives… guaranteeing unhindered communion with Him.)



The Lesson We Can Learn From James:


James, the brother of Jesus, reminds us of the uncertainty of our future in James 4:13-16… Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:  Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye [ought] to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 

James is explaining that our future is not in our hands.  He tells us that our lives are temporal and that we cannot know with certainty that our life will extend another day. 

He goes further to emphasize that our Lord is the One that controls the future events in our lives.  And since our very life is controlled by the Lord, His will for our future will come to pass.  Our future is in His hands, it is under His control.  His desires will take place in our life and all of our plans for the future are to be made in submission to His will.   


From James we learn to recognize our Lord is in control of our future and our need to recognize that control and fittingly, make our plans in alignment with His revealed will for our lives.



The Lesson We Can Learn From Christ:


In Matthew 6:33-34, our Lord addresses the same issue of preparation for the unknown future.  In His teachings, we find a fitting summary of the Bible principles that we have already studied…  


But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.

When we desire for the Lord to rule our lives and we are seeking to understand and fulfill His will we can be assured that He will supply our needs.  He will make certain His will is done in our lives and that which He supplies to us will be for our good. (Rom 8:28). 


From Christ we learn that there is no need for worry or concern.  The Lord will always take care of the future needs of His people, always working for their benefit and His glory.





How to prepare for an unknown future is clearly described to us within the pages of God’s Holy Word. 


These principles of preparedness can be summarized as follows:

1.    We must come to an understanding that what our future holds is beyond our knowledge and our control.  However, this same future is under the control of the Sovereign of the Universe, the Lord Jesus Christ.

2.    Because the future is not known by us, nor is it in our control, we must make certain that we have a relationship with Christ, the One who controls every aspect of our future. It is through repentance of sin and faith in Christ and His work, that we can receive forgiveness, justification and enter into communion with Him.

3.    Once we possess communion with Christ, our desires will be pointed toward submission to His will in every aspect of our lives.  This includes a desire for His will to be done in our lives as the future unfolds to us.

4.    As our future unfolds before us, we can face whatever may take place with no anxiety but with peace and a feeling of security.  We can know that our Lord is with us, will care for us, and will bring about what is for our good and His glory. 


Ps 46:1-3  God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [Though] the waters thereof roar [and] be troubled, [though] the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.



If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.


If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at 


May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.



Please visit…
Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web:
Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog:
Settled In Heaven Ministries Video Blog:
Email Us At:
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.” 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

“SIH’s Think On These Things: 1 Cor 13:13b”

1Cor 13:13 (KJV)

13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.


In our final look at 1 Cor 13:13, we’ll be looking at the phrase but the greatest of these [is] charity”.   When comparing the graces of faith, hope, and love; the grace of love is the greatest of the three. 


The question that is immediately brought to our mind is “Why is love considered the greatest of the three?”  Although this question was obvious, the answer is not as clear, nor do we come to it quickly.  After all, we are saved by faith, how could there be a greater grace?  The second coming of our Lord is described as “the blessed hope” what greater grace keeps us motivated and consistent in our service to Christ?  Why then is love described as the greatest of the three?


I believe the answer rests in the context of this verse.  Keep in mind, we saw in the last devotion that, in comparison to the short lived gifts of prophecy, knowledge and tongues, the graces of faith, hope and love “abideth” (ie lasted for a longer period of time).  The theme of this verse is comparing the length of existence of God’s gifts and graces. Keeping with this theme helps us to understand why love is greater than faith or hope.  Love will exist long after faith and hope have gone out of existence. 


Love is the only eternal grace of the three.  Keep in mind, faith is defined in God’s Word as the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebs 11:).  Faith will only be exercised this side of heaven.  Once we enter our eternal home at His second coming, we will no longer exercise faith because all will then be seen and the substance of all we have hoped for will be received.   Hope is the assurance of the fulfillment of God’s promises.  Following the second coming, and our entrance into our eternal home, there will be no promises left to be fulfilled, hence, no need for hope.     


But when it comes to love, we will exercise love throughout our eternal existence with Christ.  We will be loving our Savior and loving our spiritual family members for an eternally.  This is one of the greatest reasons why love is the greatest gift compared to knowledge, prophecy, tongues, hope and faith.


What a privilege it is to be able to exercise the eternal grace of love even while we are yet in our temporal existence here on earth.  What a wonderful declaration of what eternity will be like when we exercise our love for Christ and others here on earth.  As we begin our day, let us seek to sincerely display the wonderful eternal grace of God’s love that He has given to His people.


May the Lord bless us as we “Think On These Things”.