Monthly Archives: January 2019

The True Standard

Therefore, all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right. I hate every false way. – Psalm 119:128

You are near, O LORD, and all Your commandments are truth. Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever. – Psalm 119:151-152

While God has plainly said “All I have said is true,” yet many people attending our churches struggle taking these verses at face value. They look for loop holes or ways around the obvious meaning of a passage.

You can take great comfort in the fact that His Word is not changing. What was true in His Word two years or 2000 years ago, is still true today.  It is our great measuring rod. We can take any philosophy, ideology, teaching, or opinion from all time periods, and compare it to God’s Word, knowing His Word is the standard. His Word is the standard against which everything else is measured.

This is an important concept because it determines authority. If there was debate about the exact length of an inch or a foot, there would be no way to determine between individuals the length of anything. Distance would be subjective, capacities would be irrelevant, and confusion would reign. There would be no voice of authority for measurements. It is the same when discussing truth. His Word is defined, unchanged, and remains authoritative.  It is the measuring stick we use to line everything else up against. God’s Word is where we must turn for truth.

Therefore it is not surprising to see the chaos and confusion in the modern church. When the Bible is no longer preached as being true, when it is no longer the standard by which we determine morality, our anchor our source of authority is gone. Opinions and feelings become the authority for morality and individuals, churches and society is awash in evil, thinking it is good.

But Psalm 119 tells us how the Scriptures are the source of authority. Morality is not to be based on opinions or feelings or even laws of society, but on God’s principles as defined by His Word.

Bend & Turn

NOTE: Early this month I encouraged you to read Psalm 119. Not just to check it off a reading list but to let the text sink deep into your soul. This psalm reveals the depth of commitment the author has with God’s Word. If we want to know what Jesus, Paul, James or any other member of the early church thought about the Bible, we need to read Psalm 119. Here are more truths from Psalm 119 and our need for His Word in our life.

Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. – Psalm 119:36-37

We don’t seem to have a natural “bent” toward His Word. This is why Bible study is so important and hard to do. People struggle with Scripture, because it is not our natural bent. 

The psalmist has this simple prayer, “Incline (or bend) my heart to Your Word.” That needs to be our request. It is through His Word that I can strengthen myself to be more grateful for what I have and to resist our natural bent toward covetousness.

When we covet or desire something that is not ours, we are showing our ingratitude with the provision the LORD has given us and are looking to what others possess as a replacement. As a general rule, I believe when we are struggling with coveting something, there is a good chance we haven’t been faithful about being in His Word. And there is a significant possibility we have allowed ourselves to consumed with “worthless things “as the psalmist indicates in verse 37.

How many “worthless things “do we allow our eyes to take in? 

I’m not a legalist who claims we can never partake in recreation or enjoy a movie, or hobby that doesn’t involve anything overtly Christian. However, those benign activities can become a problem when they push us to temptation and sin. The prayer isn’t to have those things removed from us, but rather that God “turns” our eyes away. 

How does this happen?  Quite simply, it is when you are reading something and you feel that pricking of the Holy Spirit telling you this isn’t good for you. Or it’s when you are watching a movie or TV show and suddenly there is a twinge of conviction upon you because of “that scene.” At those times you are experiencing this prayer in action.

For more information on Psalm 119, pick up my book, Our Most Valuable Treasure. The book explains the concepts or “keys” of understanding the balance of the Bible , based off Psalm 119. Our Most Valuable Treasure is available thru Amazon.

Before You Open Your Bible……

Open my eyes, that I might see, wondrous things from Your Law. – Psalm 119:18

This simple prayer needs to precede our personal time in the Scriptures. Before we invest ourselves in His book, ask Him to help you.

The psalmist asks God to open the Scripture to him in a way in which he might gain insight.  When you pray this verse, you are asking God to help you be attentive to what you are reading in His Word. There are so many things which distract us from His Word, but by asking Him to “Open your eyes” you are seeking His help to remove those distractions.

Next he says “that I might see.”  The psalmist is moving beyond having his eyes opened to now “seeing” or applying things. We might say it is moving from head knowledge to heart knowledge. Not only are we to know (have our eyes opened) His Word, but we need to apply it (see it) to ourselves.

This was such a great revelation to me when many years ago, I began to understand the Bible was not meant to be a mystery to me. God wanted me to understand it – and He wants you to understand it.

You don’t need to understand everything in his Word, but by praying this you are asking Him to help you understand what you need to know. This is where a high degree of trust comes to play. God will reveal things about His Word to me which I need to know for today. Weeks, months or years from now, He will reveal further things to me. Therefore, I am not bothered or perplexed about why I don’t understand everything in the Bible. I don’t need to – right now! I am however, praying and expecting God to help me understand what I need for today’s current battle.

Finally he says “wondrous things” or some versions use the word “marvelous” things. If I go into Bible reading/study with little expectation, there is a good chance I will not see anything beyond a record of history or a cute story with a moral lesson. But God has “wondrous” or “marvelous” things in His Word and He wants to show them to us! 

Too often I hear people discount or give up on reading their Bible because they claim they don’t understand it. Or they approach the Bible as if its’ some magical code they need to figure out. God’s Word is different than all other books – God wants you to understand it and apply it to your life! Come to Him with this prayer that He open your eyes, and you will find the Word will speak to you in a way you had never previously experienced.

For more information on Psalm 119, pick up my book, Our Most Valuable Treasure. The book explains the concepts or “keys” of understanding the balance of the Bible , based off Psalm 119. Our Most Valuable Treasure is available thru Amazon.

Growing As A Believer

Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word. – Psalm 119:17

I won’t say this verse is any more important than another one but it does offer us great insight on how important God’s Word is to be in our daily life. This verse – like nearly all of Psalm 119 – is a prayer. The psalmists asks God a specific thing which will manifest itself in his daily life. He wants to grow in his relationship with God.

It starts out with the opening phrase “deal bountifully” which in Hebrew is just one word. It’s an interesting term loosely meaning “maturing” and it’s used a few different ways.

Often, it is a term of growth, maturing and celebrating.  This same Hebrew word is used in 1 Samuel 1:24 to describe when Hannah dedicated her son Samuel to serving Eli, the High Priest.   It’s also used in Genesis 21:8 to describe when Abraham’s son Isaac was weaned.  In ancient cultures many children perished in infancy.  It’s a great milestone when a child has survived from needing his mother’s milk to now being able to take solid food.  When a child is weaned, that’s a good thing, the child is maturing, and it is something to celebrate.

But “wean” alone doesn’t give you a complete understanding of the term.  In Numbers 17:8 the word is used in reference to the process of almonds being available to harvest after blossoming. In Isaiah 18:5 the same word is used in reference to grapes ripening. 

Grape vines need to be periodically cut back to allow the vine to put nutrients into the grape instead of the vine.  In fact, left to its own, a grape vine will grow in a ragged fashion and while it still produces some grapes, they won’t be as plentiful or easy to harvest due to the excessive vine and branch growth.  To have an effective and high producing vine, it needs pruned.

Our growth, our maturing, is no different. We too need pruning. If we wish to be effective and productive as Christians, we need to go through periodic pruning. We may be tempted to limit our understanding of pruning to hard times or going through adversity. That is one element of the process but I don’t think pruning needs to be thought of as just a negative event.  

When God leads us to people that we may not have encountered on our own volition, it might be an occasion of God’s pruning. When He speaks to us in a worship service or while sitting under a particularly poignant Bible lesson, that may be God’s way of pruning.  

Sometimes He points out areas in our life which need attention or He may put us in situations where we may feel uncomfortable. Serving people in those situations may be one of those ways God prunes us.

Interestingly, the psalmist is asking for this maturing, this growth process, this pruning. When he says, “Deal bountifully…” he is asking God to move in his situation to grow or mature him. To move him out of his known comfort zone into something greater.

For more information on Psalm 119, pick up my book, Our Most Valuable Treasure. The book explains the concepts or “keys” of understanding the balance of the Bible , based off Psalm 119. Our Most Valuable Treasure is available thru Amazon.

The Word – Our Weapon

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. – Psalm 119:11

According to John 10:10, we face an adversary  who wishes to destroy us. What weapon do we have to combat the forces of evil? The sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word, is our only weapon as described in Ephesians 6 and its use is mentioned for us in Psalm 119, verse 11.

Sin is a bad thing and we need to take it seriously. We must use the weapon of He has provided for us – it is His Word.

Not only is the psalmist using the Word against sin, but he says he has “hidden it” in his heart. With an unmistakable concise comment, this verse indicates the Word will help keep us from sin. With the Word in our heart, we are better able to make the right God-honoring choices which we must make every day.

In Matthew 4, Jesus is confronted by Satan three times. Each of these encounters, Jesus responds by quoting Scripture. He doesn’t become angry or look for a “safe” place, light a candle or begin a chant. He quotes Scripture. He uses it as a weapon; not against people, but against sin.

You don’t need to memorize the whole Bible to be able to use it as a weapon against sin.   Just use what you know. If you are battling lust, greed, pride or any other sin, stop in your tracks and quote the Word. It sounds so simple yet it is so powerful. Speak His Word and you will see the enemy flee. Start with just a few verses and when temptation comes your way, speak those verses! It is His Word and His promise is His Word is our weapon to use against the arrows of our enemy.

For more teaching from Psalm 119, you can pick up my first book, Our Most Valuable Treasure. It is available at

The Battle Over Personal Sin

 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh let me not wander from Your commandments! – Psalm 119:9-10

The psalmist presents a question which has been asked by countless believers, “How can I deal with all my shortcomings?” He answers himself with the conclusion, “by taking heed according to Your word. His point is we are to follow, submit to, and keep His Word.

But this isn’t just living by a list of rules or trying harder. This is a mindset; an understanding I have where sin is a problem and I need to deal with it directly. Further, it is coming to terms with the idea of His Word being the final authority and therefore I need to “heed” or follow what the Bible says before anything else.

When I accept the basic premise, the Bible is His Word, then my understanding of what He directs, through His Word, gives me a solid foundation. It becomes the bedrock of what I believe, think and act upon. If however, I do not come to Scripture with that understanding, then I have then elevated my opinion and my feelings above God’s standard.

From this verse – and many others – obedience would seem to begin with an understanding of His Word being the standard of conduct. I need to obey the teachings of Scripture, because those teaching are truth. Sin is fleeting but His Word is solid. I need to come to a point of surrender when I know this book, comes from Him and I must accept it as being His Word.

His Word is the lens I see the world through. By His Word I am able to discern His will. By reading and implementing the principles of His Word in my life, I can grow bold in my faith.

The Word is our anchor. It keeps us from wandering aimlessly and slowly moving toward anything contrary to His will. We usually are not tripped up on “big” sins in a surprise attack. It is my contention, early in that process of drifting, God’s Word takes a less relevant place in one’s life.

The man who has wrecked his marriage with an adulterous affair didn’t stumble into this sin as a random event one day. Rather, this was a slow drift. It was a series of little compromises which culminated in a disastrous liaison. Missing one day of personal Bible study probably didn’t push him over the edge. But a pattern of neglecting the Scriptures easily puts one in a vulnerable position. We must diligently maintain a commitment to His Word if we wish to walk in daily victory over sin and keep ourselves from drifting off course.

As believers, we are to know, follow, and submit to His Word.

For more teaching from Psalm 119, you can pick up my first book Our Most Valuable Treasure. It is available at

Challenge for 2019

The first of the year is often a time when we set goals for ourselves. You may want to lose weight or exercise more. Maybe your goal this year is to finish some project you’ve been working on or pursuing a dream of yours. While those are worthy goals, I wish to challenge or encourage you to make Scripture one of your goals this year. Not so much the amount of Scripture you read, but how deep the verses of the Bible sink into your being.

There is no better place to read about the Bible than the Bible itself and there is no better place in the Bible to read about the importance or value of the Scriptures than Psalm 119.

Make a point to read Psalm 119 this year – a lot. Go through it every month or even every week. Notice how what the writer thinks about God’s word, his emotional connection to it and the trust he describes he has of Psalm 119.

I’m going to present a series of posts about Psalm 119 to encourage you to immerse yourself into His Word; to allow His Word to infiltrate your life in such a way where you begin to “see” the world through the lens of His Word.

My goal isn’t to have you just read more, but it is to encourage you to allow the Scriptures to have more of you. To walk in the reality of God’s Word where upon your thoughts and actions reflect God’s character and less of your own; where you learn to trust Him and His Word above anything else.

A few years ago, after spending considerable time reading and thinking about Psalm 119, I wrote a book on it called Our Most Valuable Treasure. Many of the ideas (but not all) making up this series of posts will come from the book. The book is available on Amazon.