Archive for the 'Jim Harris' Category

00:0000:00

Partake_SD.jpg

Pe

Right mouse click to save this Podcast as a MP3.

G'day! Welcome to Partake and our continuing series "Scriptural Delights!" going through the wonder that is Psalm 119!  Here is our nineteenth podcast of the series!  Today we look at the seventeenth of its twenty-two letters, Pe, and its verses 129 to 136. The bible reading is done by Sharona.

129 Your statutes are wonderful;

therefore I obey them.

130 The unfolding of your words gives light;

it gives understanding to the simple.

131 I open my mouth and pant,

longing for your commands.

132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,

as you always do to those who love your name.

133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;

let no sin rule over me.

134 Redeem me from the oppression of men,

that I may obey your precepts.

135 Make your face shine upon your servant

and teach me your decrees.

136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,

for your law is not obeyed.

Thanks Sharona!  The study tonight was written and recorded by my mentor and friend, Jim Harris.  This is 3rd in this series and he has one more to do.

Greetings! This study in the section associated with the Hebrew letter ‘PE' makes us consider the role of the word of God in bringing understanding to our minds, moral and spiritual direction to our lives, and heart satisfaction in our relationship with the Lord. To ease us into this, we look elsewhere in Scripture first. In Numbers 6:24-26, we read of the Aaronic Blessing. As the High Priest of the people of Israel, Aaron was instructed to bless them in the Name of the Lord.

‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face towards you and give you peace.'

It's my feeling that this priestly blessing was in the psalmist's mind when he wrote this stanza, PE. ‘Turn to me and be gracious to me' (132).  The NIV reads ‘have mercy on me.' Older translations use ‘be gracious' but it amounts to the same, as both words imply acceptance, forgiveness and peace with God. Then, in verse 135, he says, ‘Make your face shine upon your servant'. So, asking God to turn towards him, to be gracious to him, to make his face shine upon him? I'm sure you can see the connection between this Psalm and that Blessing.

How is the Christian equivalent of that blessing conferred upon us today? It's done by the Holy Spirit through the word of God, the words of Scripture. Many church services include or conclude with these very words of Scripture, spoken as a ‘benediction' or ‘announcement of blessing from the Lord' upon his people. It also happens in our personal lives. As we read, believe, and respond to the wonderful words of God, we receive a rich blessing upon ourselves. The very first verse picks this up, ‘Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.' The last verse takes a different but related line, ‘Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.' Here's a man who really does understand the way in which the Lord confers his blessing upon his believing people, and grieves that there are those who profess to belong to the Lord but refuse to obey his word. Let's make sure that isn't true of any of us!

Now let's see how God's word brings his blessing, as we explore these verses.

It begins by bringing understanding. Verse 130, ‘The unfolding of you words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.' By ‘simple' he is not describing those with what we would call ‘learning difficulties', but those whose understanding has not yet matured enough for them to be fully aware of God's will and ways. Where there's a willingness to learn about spiritual matters, the word of God will bring what the psalmist calls ‘light'. This is a process which combines insight and wisdom. We gain further insight into the Lord and his ways with humankind; into the realm of spiritual realities and experience; into the whole meaning of Jesus and his work of redemption; into  what it means to live by the Spirit, and so on. We also receive the gift of wisdom, which enables us to apply what we know through insight to our lives in this world. That way we can live to the praise and glory of God.

Scripture also gives us direction. It shows us the right way to live, morally and spiritually. That affects our attitudes towards other people and our relationships with them. We live by the combination of the grace and truth that was evident in the Lord Jesus. God's word also helps us pick our way through the moral maze life of the 21st - what to avoid and what to be involved with. Verse 133, ‘Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.'

Finally, Scripture also enables us to enjoy heart-satisfaction in our relationship with the Lord. In verse 131 he is ‘longing for (the Lord's) commands' and describes himself ‘panting' like a thirsty animal. In 134 he wishes to be free from the force of human opinions and pressure, so that he can respond fully to the Lord. In 135 he is looking for a shining sense of God's presence, as he responds to what the Lord shows him in his word. This is the language of a truly devotional life; a servant of God who wants to walk closely with the Lord and to enjoy his presence.

To see a New Testament example of how all this fits together, read Luke 24:13-35 when you can, and see how what's written there can be true for us, as we walk through life in close fellowship with our risen Lord Jesus. Take note of verse 32, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?'

The LORD bless you and keep you!

Right mouse click to save this Podcast as a MP3.

Paypal Donate If you find these resources helpful to you, please do prayerfully consider making a donation. You can support via PayPal, the universal and most secure way to donate money online. You do not need to be a member of Paypal to use their facilities and all major credit cards are accepted. Thank you

Click on the appropriate link to subscribe to this website

I heart FeedBurnerAdd to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

00:0000:00

Partake_SD.jpg

Ayin

Right mouse click to save this Podcast as a MP3.

G'day! Welcome to Partake and our continuing series "Scriptural Delights!"  Here is our eighteenth podcast going through the wonder that is Psalm 119!  Today we look at the sixteenth of its twenty-two letters, Ayin, and its verses 121 to 128.

121 I have done what is righteous and just;

do not leave me to my oppressors.

122 Ensure your servant's well-being;

let not the arrogant oppress me.

123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,

looking for your righteous promise.

124 Deal with your servant according to your love

and teach me your decrees.

125 I am your servant; give me discernment

that I may understand your statutes.

126 It is time for you to act, O LORD;

your law is being broken.

127 Because I love your commands

more than gold, more than pure gold,

128 and because I consider all your precepts right,

I hate every wrong path.

Hi there! This is Jim Harris sharing some ideas with you from the 16th section of Psalm 119, in which all the verses begin with the Hebrew letter ‘AYIN'. Three times in these 8 verses you'll find the words ‘your servant'. They are in verses 122, 124 and 125. That gives a flavour to this section of the psalm. He knows that he has been called in his personal life and, probably, in a public role to serve the Lord. He feels the cost of doing that and appeals to the Lord for help in various ways. All true believers in Jesus today are called to serve the Lord. It begins with simply the way we live. That means that our lifestyle, our priorities and our values about what is right and wrong, will often bring us into conflict with people living and working around us. Should the Lord call us into a specific role in serving Him, in our local church perhaps, or in the wider world through a Christian mission or agency, the pressure will come in a different way, from those who object to the work we are doing in the name of Christ. Like the psalmist we, too, must turn to the Lord for his comfort and strengthening in the situation.

In the first two verses here, he is concerned for his own well-being. ‘I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors. Ensure your servant's well-being; let not the arrogant oppress me.' He is suffering from ‘people-pressure' and he's not too keen on it. But we take note of the fact that he's not engaging with them in a war of words but, rather, he's turned to the Lord with an urgent plea for His help. He's resorted to prayer, rather than to disputation, as the best way of dealing with the problem. That's a good example to follow. Our arguments will tend to harden people in their opposition. Sometimes it will even give them some satisfaction to know that they've got to us. Like Jesus before his enemies, we will find that being silent before them but verbal towards God is usually the best way of handling the matter. After all, the Spirit of God can reach those parts in people that none of us can get to!

As we move on, it's clear that he is being called to endure, to keep going, while the Lord is actually handling the situation for him. God's timing and the servant's wishes do not coincide. The Lord seems to be hanging about - why doesn't He get on with it? ‘My eyes fail, looking for your salvation.' And, in verse 126, a wake-up call to the Lord, ‘It is time for you to act, O Lord!' His impatience, on the one hand, is due to his humanity.  He's sharing with us the stress we all feel when our prayers are not being answered with the degree of urgency we feel the case merits. On the other hand, he has a genuine concern, that those who profess to be God's people are actually flouting - breaking - His Law. Now, whatever happens, or doesn't happen to him personally, surely that situation needs to be addressed! So, in verses 127-128 we read, ‘Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.' That kind of love for the Lord and his word runs through the whole of this challenging psalm. In fact, it will be found everywhere in Scripture. Devotion to the Lord is expressed by a desire to live His way and to please Him. The Apostle Paul prayed for the Christians at Colosse that they might, ‘live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way.' You'll find that in Colossians 1:10.

Before we leave this servant of the Lord, let's have a look at verse 124. ‘Deal with your servant according to your love.' That's a confident request, rooted in his experience of what God is like. To use a New Testament expression, he knows that ‘God is love', therefore all His dealings with us spring from that love, are informed and shaped by that love, and are working towards the best possible end for us. At present, it seems He is working along a strange route and to a different timetable, but in the end, all will be well. Remember,

‘Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'

Read Romans 5:1-8 when you can, and let the Holy Spirit bring home to your heart the tremendous truth of God's love at work for you, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Right mouse click to save this Podcast as a MP3.

Paypal Donate If you find these resources helpful to you, please do prayerfully consider making a donation. You can support via PayPal, the universal and most secure way to donate money online. You do not need to be a member of Paypal to use their facilities and all major credit cards are accepted. Thank you

Click on the appropriate link to subscribe to this website

I heart FeedBurnerAdd to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

00:0000:00

Partake_SD.jpg

Yodh

Right mouse click to save this Podcast as a MP3.

73 Your hands made me and formed me;

give me understanding to learn your commands.

74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,

for I have put my hope in your word.

75 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,

and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,

according to your promise to your servant.

77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.

78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;

but I will meditate on your precepts.

79 May those who fear you turn to me,

those who understand your statutes.

80 May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.

Hello! This is Jim Harris, a friend and colleague of Dave Roberts. Dave has asked me to provide some thoughts in the series he's running on Psalm 119. My brief is to talk about the tenth stanza, or set of verses, each line of which starts with the Hebrew letter ‘Yodh'. That's verses 73-80

When writing this psalm in honour of God's word and its effect upon the life of a believer, the author majored in 8 Hebrew words to describe ways in which the Lord communicates with his people. All 8 are to be found in this section. Now what does that say to us? Here's a quote that really sets us thinking, ‘The author had a theme that filled his soul - that ranged the length and breadth, the height and depth of a person's walk with God.' John Stek makes a great point with these words. This section is about the powerful effect the word of God has in shaping us, developing us, maturing us and equipping us to represent Him in this world. Four big ideas came out of it for me.

Verses 73 and 80 remind us that God made us. ‘Your hands made me and formed me.' That's the starting point for everyone who has a living relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not here by accident, nor by the will and activity of our parents alone. God was in the process of bringing us into the world. He is our Creator, so who knows better than Him how we work and what we need to know, so that we can live in His way? Every piece of equipment in our homes was designed and built for a specific purpose. To know how to use it properly you read the manufacturer's instructions. If it needs servicing or repair you find information in that maker's manual. It's ordinary common sense. And it's spiritual common sense to know that the best way to live in line with the Lord's purpose in making us, is to read his word and respond to its directions. In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul wrote, ‘All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.' It's the Maker's Manual.

Verses 74 and 79 imply that the life of a true believer, especially someone active in the Lord's work, is bound to influence other people. You can't escape it! People around us will be affected, for better or worse, by the way we live (or don't live) in accordance with Scripture. Younger and less mature Christians look to those of us who are more experienced, for guidance and example. Others will be taking note of our words and actions and won't hesitate to charge us with any inconsistency they see in our behaviour. This is true within the fellowship of a church, as well as in the home and at work. Our actions speak louder than our words, so we must let the Holy Spirit teach us through Scripture and keep in step with him in our lives. The New Testament has a lot to say about the importance being a good witness before other people. ‘Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.' Matthew 5:16.

Verses 75 and 78 show that the writer had to suffer for his faith.  The life and work he was called to were no easy ride. He speaks of ‘the arrogant' and the fact that he'd been wronged by these very people. Under the surface of the text, there is a suggestion that they'd misrepresented him; twisted his words and actions to suit their own ends. That's not easy to bear. Paul wrote, again in 2 Timothy, ‘Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.' It's not optional. But our psalmist recognises that God is at work in all this, using it to knock him into shape. He bravely goes so far as to state ‘In faithfulness you have afflicted me.' No-one volunteers for suffering but we must endure when it comes. ‘The testing of your faith develops perseverance.' James 1:3.

Finally, we notice 5 ‘wish prayers'; short prayers beginning with the word ‘May . . .' Pick them out and think about them. These are not weak prayers. They are valid and honest, reaching from the heart into other people's lives and needs. They may be expressed at any time, in any place, for anyone. Simple, but real. The apostle Paul used ‘wish prayers'. Look up Romans chapter 15:5-6 and then in verse 13, for two examples. Sometimes, when we find normal prayer difficult, these short prayers can prove valuable in helping us dispense some degree of blessing on other people in our lives. Also, why not try to find ways of using this kind of prayer as an add-on to your usual methods of praying?

‘May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.'

Right mouse click to save this Podcast as a MP3.

Paypal Donate If you find these resources helpful to you, please do prayerfully consider making a donation. You can support via PayPal, the universal and most secure way to donate money online. You do not need to be a member of Paypal to use their facilities and all major credit cards are accepted. Thank you

Click on the appropriate link to subscribe to this website

Subscribe in podnova I heart FeedBurnerAdd to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html