Success According to Psalm 147

There are many activities which are good if allowed a small portion of one’s time and attention but bad if given too much time and attention. That is my assessment of the quest to make my life productive. I suppose that asking whether my life is productive is inherent to life as designed by God. Furthermore, the question is prompted by the parable of the talents in Matthew 25: 14-30. Reading that parable prompts one to ask himself if he is a profitable servant. Am I making good use of the abilities and opportunities given to me? However, attention to that question needs to be limited by the fact that my life is not about me. It is about God. My effectiveness and my role is a small issue in comparison to the much larger issue of whether God is being honored. To the extent that I focus on my effectiveness Psalm 147:11 seems a good measure. “The LORD takes pleasure ….” The ultimate human success is for God to take pleasure in me. And how does it happen that God takes pleasure in someone? “The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.” To fear God is an attitude. To hope in His mercy is an expectation. Together they make me a source of pleasure for God.


Receive, Yet Restrain

According to God’s design I celebrate pleasure and welcome comfort (I Timothy 4:3-4).  Nonetheless, it is impossible that my human pleasure and comfort will not need to be restrained. 

Ephesians 4:19  “… being past feeling, have given themselves over to ________,1 to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

I Peter 4:3-4  “the will of the Gentiles – when we walked in _________ ….   …they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation2 ….”

Jude 4  “For certain men … turn the grace of our God into _________1  ….”

1 The Greek word used here, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary,  “denotes excess” and “absence of restraint ….”

2 “Dissipation”  means wasteful or squandering and is the word used in the  NKJV, NASB, and the NIV of I Peter 4:4.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.  Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,  W.E. Vine, MacDonald Publishing Co.,, McLean, VA,

Moral Inconsistency

Moral inconsistency is pathetic, despicable, and difficult to avoid.  You may be a victim of moral inconsistency.  For denouncing some offences you are labeled morally courageous and heroic, and commended for taking the role of a prophet.  But similar discussion of other vices brings charges of being judgmental and legalistic.  Audience response is not the measure of Spirit-filled preaching.

Guests, From His Experience

The Bible calls for Christians, and especially church overseers, to be hospitable.

This couple, with three young children, were missionaries in Europe.  Temporarily back in the United States,  they described their work.  They slept Saturday night in our home.  We were eating Sunday morning breakfast when their little boy asked his mother, “Are the guests going to Sunday School too?”

We chuckled and his mother explained, “We are the guests.”

Sold me.

When We Disagree

There are issues and questions  over which godly, intelligent, and studious Christians have disagreed for decades and  generations.  Many, if not most, of us are troubled by the disagreement.  Some react with vigorous debate, attempting to prove the right  answer.

Some withdraw, guessing that if the issue has not been resolved after years of discussion,  most likely a clear answer does not exist.  So they are not interested.

Suggestions for proceeding:  1)  I will beware of “foolish, ignorant disputes.”  I Timothy 2: 14,24.    2)  If a question or issue is prompted by Scripture, I should be interested.   3)  I will not quarrel. I Timothy  2: 24    4) I may retreat to Psalm 131, “Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me.”  5) No one lives long enough to thoroughly review every issue.  For some subjects I will trust my elders.



Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

God is pleased by faith, but we can’t use faith to manipulate God.

It seems that different conclusions reached by godly, gifted, and experienced Bible students come not from stupidity, perversity, or ignorance, but because they assign different weight to the items of evidence.