‘’Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You (Jeremiah 32:17).’’

Spoken Language

Language is a conceptual system.

To verbally communicate with understanding, it is necessary for speakers to express their thoughts in an orderly fashion. For effective communication, both the speaker and the hearer must know and adhere to grammatical rules of syntax.

Every language must function within the parameters of its own logical system. Languages may be similar, and they may have common parts of speech, such as verbs, nouns and adjectives; they may also have their peculiar idiosyncrasies.

You might say that each language is a complete system based on common understandings of the meanings of words. When words are arranged logically within grammatical contexts they can convey meaningful information from speakers to hearers. Thus parties can engage in discussions for sharing their thoughts.

We use both spoken and written language to express our feelings, our desires, our needs, our displeasures and our loves. Language empowers us. We can use it to speak up for issues we believe in, such as freedom of speech and respect for others.

The Language of Visual Imagery

There’s another sort of systematic language of which we may not be aware. It is the language of communication and persuasion through visual means. Advertisers use it to good effect for encouraging people to buy goods or services. Graphic artists, commercial or otherwise, appeal to our sense of sight. They use colour, texture, shape and form to gain an entrance into our minds.

Without realising it, from an early age, we all learn to ‘read’ and ‘interpret’ drawings and paintings. Each painting or drawing is a system in itself, because it functions by conforming to the rules of a particular format – for example, it may follow the optical rules of impressionism, the illusionary rules of pointillism, or the mind-bending rules of surrealism.

According to our preferences we may be attracted to a particular style of painting; and when we have an affinity for that type, there’s a good chance the artist will successfully communicate his feelings and concepts to us. We’ll like what he has to say, and we’ll probably seek out more of his works for our enjoyment.

So what’s all this got to do with our Christian beliefs?

Tomes have been written on the subject of theological systems based on the Bible. The mainstream ones championed today are: Covenant Theology, Dispensational Theology and *New Covenant Theology.

We can spend precious hours of our life studying these theologies in the hope that we may gain a better understanding of the Bible, but logic dictates they can’t all be right!

There’s no doubt that systematic theologies can be very influential in shaping our interpretations of God’s Word; therefore we must be circumspect, and we must test (1 Thessalonians 5:21) each system for its veracity.

Just as we learn to ‘read’ a painting with understanding and learn to speak a language for expressing coherent concepts, we must read the Word of God with understanding and speak it to others to the praise and glory of God (Matthew 28:19, 20).

As we study the Bible we learn that it is far more than a system – It is the very Word of God that gives us a glimpse of Him (1 John 1:1-4). We learn (Acts 17:11 Romans 15:4) that He is our awesome Creator who has brought into being (John 1:1-3) every system, every dynasty, every star, every atom, and the very air we breathe! We learn that all things are under His **sovereign control, and we humbly acknowledge that everything exists for His glory.


*My Understanding of New Covenant Theology

A. Blake White’s ‘What is New Covenant Theology?

**Freewill and the Sovereignty of God

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End of the Age

‘“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Matthew 24:42-44).”’

Some Christians are obsessed with forthcoming events that have been prophesied to take place at the end of the age. Christ has told us to be vigilant and to be prepared for His second coming [see verses above], but He has also given us other commands to be obeyed. We are to be loving (John 13:34), compassionate (1 Peter 3:8) and Christlike, but our great mission is to *proclaim the gospel, i.e., to tell people of all nations to repent and to believe in Jesus (cf. Mark 1:15). We are to make disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19, 20). This is the great commission given by Christ to His church. He gives this command to every single member of His church, to every believer and lover of Him.

In obeying the command to be watchful (Matthew 24:42), some Christians have become so occupied with searching for signs of Christ’s second coming that they have very little time or concern for the great commission of making disciples. They have no time for carrying their cross (Matthew 10:38; Luke 14:27), serving one another (Galatians 5:13) and for dispensing Christ’s love. For them Christ’s return has become an obsession.

There’s a huge pitfall in expending too much time and energy on the subject. To begin with, there are **four main millennial scenarios, and two of them differ on the timing of Christ’s second coming for His saints (Matthew 25:31). They all agree on the timing of the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) which will take place after the millennium. They are all in accord concerning the certainty of a millennium (Revelation 20:1-7), and two camps place the period of the tribulation (Daniel 9:26; 12:1, 29; Matthew 24:21) immediately before the millennium. Some believe the millennium is literally a span of a thousand years in real time; while others understand it to be a figure of speech symbolic of a long period of time, and yet others believe we are already living in the millennium which according to them started at the time of Christ’s ascension.

Others have different notions regarding the timing of the tribulation, and indeed, some believe that it took place when Herod’s ***temple was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70 (cf. Mark 13:1-3).

Christians have argued about the sequencing of end time events ever since the New Testament (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5) was written, which indicates that the matter is never going to be resolved by men. Indeed, Jesus Himself said, ‘“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:36-39).”’

We cannot change times and events that have been predestined (Romans 8:29, 30; Ephesians 1:5, 11) by God from before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), but we can be grateful and thankful, praising the Father for His grace and mercy (Exodus 34:6), because He has set us in time and space to be His children (John 1:12). Through the loving obedience of His Son (cf. Matthew 26:42) who gave His life for us He has made us partakers of His kingdom (25:34). Whatever sequence of events will ultimately take place, we [believers] know that we are secure in Jesus (Hebrews 13:5). Not one of us will be lost (John 6:39), and we shall all praise Him, adore Him and worship Him for evermore in the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1).

Meanwhile let us be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2; 16:13), true to His Word, and obedient children in Him (1 Peter 1:14).

Jesus said, ‘“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates of the city (Revelation 22: 12-14).”’

‘He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen (vv. 20, 21).’

*Proclamation of the Gospel

**The Resurrection [See ‘Timing of the Resurrection’]

***The Temples of God

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The Mysteries of the Kingdom

‘He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given (Matthew 13:11).”’

In the everyday sense, a ‘mystery’ is knowledge withheld. In Scripture it is knowledge that is made known by divine revelation, i.e., knowledge revealed in a manner, and at a time appointed by God, to those who have been illuminated by the Holy Spirit.

The Old Testament prophets wrote and spoke their prophesies, but they did not fully comprehend them. An understanding of them would come later, when a knowledge of God’s purposes would be revealed to the writers of the New Testament. God revealed these hidden mysteries to Paul the Apostle and to other writers of the New Testament.

In Colossians 1:26-28 Paul tells of a significant mystery that was made known to him and which he earnestly imparted to the church. He wrote of ‘the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.’

Note that this mystery is revealed to God’s saints (v. 26) – not to the natural man who does not receive the things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14).

And what exactly is this ‘mystery’? It is the knowledge of the *’hope’ which is laid up for those with God-given faith by His grace (Ephesians 2:8). They have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus, and their sins have been forgiven (Colossians 1:14). They will inherit eternal life, i.e., ‘the riches of the glory,’ because of Christ in them (v. 27).

Having made peace through the blood of His cross, Jesus ‘has reconciled all things to’ His Father (v. 20). This is true of all born-again Christians who were once ‘alienated’, and by their wicked works were ‘enemies’ of the Father (v. 21).

The Blindness of Israel

A fundamental aspect of God’s mystery of salvation is the blindness of Israel (Romans 11:25), which is still true today. Jews do not accept Jesus as their Messiah, and they cannot comprehend a Jewish remnant ever sharing the kingdom with Gentiles on account of their common salvation – despite the fact the Jews were to be a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6; Luke 2:32; Acts 26:23)

Not only are the majority of Jews blind to the mystery of salvation through the blood of Jesus, but in this respect they are no different to the majority of Gentiles. By contrast, Jesus explained to His believing disciples,’“To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may not see and not perceive, And hearing they may not hear and not understand; Lest they should turn  And their sins be forgiven them (Mark 4:11, 12)’’”’

But there will come a time when there will be an influx of Israelites into the kingdom, as the following verses testify: ‘And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come from Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins (Romans 11:26, 27).”’

Paul is not prophesying that every physical descendant of Abraham will be saved; rather that the new Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), which is composed of both Jews and Gentiles, will be saved. They are the ‘new creation’ spoken of in Galatians 6:15: ‘For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.’

Jews and Gentiles Comprise the Kingdom

Paul sums it up this way: ’In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to the good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him (Ephesians 1:7-10).’

He goes on to explain: ‘For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles – if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may know my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power (3:1-7).’

Just as Paul could not restrain himself from preaching the mystery, as Christ’s ambassador (6:20), I pray that we too have the same faithful zeal as ambassadors of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:1). Amen.


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‘Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5).’

What is this *’hope’ of which Paul writes in Romans and in his other epistles?

Paul didn’t want us to be ignorant (Romans 11:25), or in any doubt about our faith; for our hope is in Jesus who is at the heart of the **gospel of salvation. The mystery (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 1:9, 10) of that Hope was revealed to Paul, i.e., the gathering together of all things in Christ Himself who preached His gospel of salvation (John 11:26) and gave His life for it (John 3:16). Paul wanted all the churches to be inspired by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) and to be equipped (Ephesians 4:12) for the preaching of this good news [gospel] to the whole world.

This Spirit-powered proclamation of hope was first manifested at Pentecost with the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) at the formation of the church. The apostle Peter boldly announced to those who had gathered together from many parts of the known world the message of this glorious hope. He said the gospel would be preached to the whole world. In the words of Jesus those assembled together would be witnesses to Him: ‘“in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).”’

The New Kingdom of Hope

God’s Scriptures inform us that He created the world (John 1:1-3) for this very purpose, to bring unto Himself a redeemed and precious ***people who would live with Him and His Father forever (Revelation 21:3, 4). This state of perfection (cf. Hebrews 7:11) is the hope He gives to all believers in His Son (John 3:36; 5:24; 6:47).

The Scriptures do not inform us in precise detail as to the nature of the new kingdom, but in the knowledge that God gives us of Himself through the revelation of His Son and through His Word and through His creation, our expectations will in no way match the reality which will be far more wonderful, awesome, beautiful and mind boggling than ever we could imagine. This is the most desirable life for which anyone could lust. We are told not to lust (cf. Exodus 20:17), but it is not a a sin to ardently desire to be in the presence of God. We can’t love Him enough for all that He has done for us and is doing for us and has in store for us.

The Good News of Hope

Because of the ****revelation of Himself and the good news of our salvation we worship Him. He is our hope. He is our all (Colossians 3:11). Although we may lack many things and find ourselves in extremely difficult situations – even some of our brothers and sisters in Christ who face death on account of their hope – we can’t stop praising God and giving Him the glory (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).

Our hope is summarised by Peter in the first chapter of his first Epistle, verse 3:

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed at the last time.’

Paul also encourages us with these words:

‘For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope, because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of the corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:20, 21).’

‘Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance (Romans 8:23-25).’

‘For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Jesus Christ, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:4-6).’

Appropriately I’ll finish by quoting from Paul’s epistle to the Romans:

‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13).’

May this be our everyday realisation.


*Is there Hope Beyond Lawlessness?

*A Christian’s Hope

**Proclamation of the Gospel

***Biblical Perspective – God’s People

***The Redemption of God’s People

****The Mystery of God’s Progressive Revelation

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Beware of Satan

‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).’

In my experience very little is said from the pulpit about satan, and yet he is the adversary [antidikos] of Christ for as long as he has opportunity (2 Peter 3:7). Of course he is no match for Christ who has already conquered him (cf. John 16:33) by rising from the dead (Mark 16:6) and by making the same prospect of resurrection true for all who are in Him (Romans 8:11). As Christ rose from the dead, so shall all believers rise from the dead at His second coming (1 Corinthians 15:20, 52).

Satan has been vanquished; for all true Christians have already risen in Christ (1 John 5:20) in spirit. They have been enlivened by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8) and they have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14-16). They constitute His living body (cf. Romans 12:1) on earth. In that sense the Kingdom of God is already established on earth, as has been the case since the resurrection of Jesus. God’s will is being done (Luke 1:2) by those who love and obey Him (cf. John 15:14). His church is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17) and His house of prayer (1 Timothy 2:1).

Nevertheless satan continues his attacks on the church (cf. Revelation 2:10) and he would like to destroy it, but that will not be possible; for God’s will will be accomplished (Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 16:18).

I can understand preachers focussing on Christ (cf. Matthew 6:33), rather than on His adversary, but New Testament writers were keen to warn their brethren to be on their guard against satan (Ephesians 6:10-18). Therefore all who preach the gospel, i.e., disciples of Christ, should also warn of satan’s designs.

His desire is to bring down as many as he can (1 Peter 5:8) and to keep his victims in the realm of evil. Those who are not yet born of the Sprit (John 3:3-8) may be unaware they are aligned with him, and others may even rejoice in their rebellion against God. Some wilfully join forces with satan to attack and persecute Christians. We see persecution of this sort around the world, particularly in *China and **Iraq. In the former country many Christians have been imprisoned on account of worshipping Christ. Their meeting places have been destroyed because of government policies against organised religions. There have been beheadings of Christians in ***Nigeria.

The evil power of satan is patently obvious (Ephesians 2:2). He is cunning (Genesis 3:1-7) and deceptive. He seduces the unwary with his idols (Ezekiel 20:39) that appeal to the lusts of the flesh (Romans 1:24, 25). In worshipping them, satan’s victims are lured into dungeons of darkness where the only prospect for them is pain and death (John 3:19). Greed, self-indulgence (Romans 1:29; Ephesians 4:18, 19) and idol worship (Isaiah 2:8) inextricably suck them into a frightening blackhole of no escape, unless the Lord intervenes (Isaiah 2:19-21; 2 Peter 2:9, 10) and brings redemption (Titus 2:11-14) through the saving power of Jesus.

When we preach the gospel, which we [believers] all do by our actions and words, satan will try his utmost to discredit our witness. Therefore it is imperative for us to be on our guard (Ephesians 4:27; 1 Peter 5:8, 9) by always honouring God’s word and following the example of Jesus (Matthew 4:4). Every word that departs from our mouth should be said in love (Ephesians 4:29), unlike the words of those who love darkness (V.V. 17, 18) rather than light.

‘Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:13, 14).’

*Mass arrests of Chinese megachurch members continue; some ‘violently beaten’

**Iraq’s Christians ‘close to extinction’

***ISIS ‘beheads 11 Christian hostages’ on Christmas Day in shocking new execution video in Nigeria

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Biblical Interpretations of Psalm 68:19

I’ve previously touched on this topic of ‘interpretations’ in my article on *’Bible Versions’.

Well, as I was looking through tweets of the day on my Twitter app I came across this tweet:

‘Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; [Psalm 68:19).’

There was no reference as to which version of the Bible it came from. So I looked it up and found that it was from the New International Version, and I compared it to the Young’s Literal Version I have on my iPhone, which reads as follows:

‘Blessed [is] the Lord, day by day He layeth on us. God Himself [is] our salvation. Selah]

To help me understand the verse better I opened up ** on my computer. This program compares verse with verse in many different versions of the Bible.

To make sure I had the best possible understanding of the verse I also compared it to what is in the ***Hebrew Interlinear Bible [OT]:

‘being-blessed my-Lord day day he-is-lading to·us the·El salvation-of·us,’ which in ancient English is: ‘Blessed [be] the Lord, [who] daily loadeth us [with benefits, even] the God of our salvation. Selah’

Here is the King James Version: Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.’  You’ll note the verses are identical, apart from the inserted brackets.

The New King James Bible simply translate the verse into modern English: ‘Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah’

This is identical to verse 19 in my NIV Bible that was printed in 1983 by Thomas Nelson in Korea. [Note that the opening word, “Blessed’ replaces the word, ’Praise’.]

The Hebrew word for ‘praise’ is pronounced ‘barak’. It is the same word that God used in Genesis 1:28, ‘“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply ……”’

When God blesses us He gives us His unmerited favour, i.e., His grace (Ephesians 2:8). He showers His love upon us (Romans 5:5).

The Bible is about the ‘good news’ – His blessing of us, despite our unworthiness. In Genesis 9:1 He blessed Noah and his sons, and through Noah He blesses ‘all the families of the earth …. (Genesis 12:2, 3).’  God promised Abraham he would be a blessing, and we know that blessing today comes through the Lord Jesus whose legal lineage in Joseph can be traced back to Abraham (Matthew 1:1-17). Christ is our supreme blessing, because we believers are His children by adoption (Ephesians 1:5). At the same time we are Abraham’s ‘seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:29).’

We bless Abraham, but above all we bless Jesus who gave His life in exchange for ours (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6). Verse 19 of Psalm 68 sums it up in this fashion: We praise God and kneel before Him while acknowledging His great goodness (Exodus 34:6, 7) towards us for taking away our iniquities (cf. Psalm 103:12). He cast them upon His Son, who suffered in our place for our forgiveness and God’s gift of eternal life (John 3:16).


See below for interpretations of verse 19 from different versions of the Bible.

*Bible Versions

**Bible Hub

***Hebrew Interlinear Bible [OT]

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; [NIV]

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. Interlude [New Living Bible]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah [English Standard Version]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God of our salvation. Selah [Berean Study Bible]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah. [New American Standard]

Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah [New King James]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. [King James Bible]

Blessed be the Lord! Day after day he bears our burdens; God is our salvation. Selah [Christian Standard Bible]

We praise you, Lord God! You treat us with kindness day after day, and you rescue us.  [Contemporary English Version]

Praise the Lord, who carries our burdens day after day; he is the God who saves us. [Good News Translation]

May the Lord be praised! Day after day He bears our burdens; God is our salvation. Selah [Holman Christian Standard Bible]

Blessed be the Lord who daily carries us. God is our deliverer. [International Standard Version]

The Lord deserves praise! Day after day he carries our burden, the God who delivers us. (Selah) [NET Bible]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens, even the God who is our salvation. Selah. [New Heart English Bible]

Blessed is Lord Jehovah everyday, for God our Savior has chosen us as his inheritance; God is delivering us. [Aramaic Bible in Plain English]

Thanks be to the Lord, who daily carries our burdens for us. God is our salvation. [Selah] [GOD’S WORD Translation]

Blessed be the Lord, day by day He beareth our burden, Even the God who is our salvation. Selah [JPS Tanakh 1917]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah. [New American Standard 1977]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily lades us with benefits, even the God of our saving health. Selah [Jubilee Bible 2000]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. [King James 2000 Bible]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily beareth our burden, Even the God who is our salvation. Selah [American Standard Version]

Blessed be the Lord God, blessed be the Lord daily; and the God of our salvation shall prosper us. Pause. [Brenton Septuagint Translation]

Blessed be the Lord day by day: the God of our salvation will make our journey prosperous to us. [Douay-Rheims Bible]

Blessed be the Lord: day by day doth he load us [with good], the God who is our salvation. Selah. [Darby Bible Translation]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily beareth our burden, even the God who is our salvation. Selah [English Revised Version]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. [Webster’s Bible Translation]

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens, even the God who is our salvation. Selah. [World English Bible]

Blessed is the Lord, day by day He layeth on us. God Himself is our salvation. Selah. [Young’s Literal Translation]

Blessed [is] the Lord, day by day He layeth on us. God Himself [is] our salvation. Selah. [Young’s Literal Bible – iPhone App]

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The Desire for More and More

‘Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).”’

At this time of year we find ourselves discarding rubbish that accumulated on Christmas day. I’m not talking about unwanted and useless presents, but about all that comes as a result of the usual worldly celebrations: torn wrapping paper, fragments of pulled crackers and their contents, food packagings, cartons, cans, bottles, etc., not to mention uneaten food. We sort it into recyclable and non-recyclable bins for our local council to take away.

If we are concerned about *global warming, pollution of the air and of our oceans, and the rapid demise of animal species, all on account of our overconsumption, we might find ourselves with a tinge of guilt. But taking action on that count is a hard proposition. The practical enormity of the problem is overwhelming, because of our insatiable desire for MORE: more possessions, more travel, more profit, more fun, more pleasure, more power, more kudos – the list goes on and on!

Why are we like this? Why can’t we just say no? How is it that we are caught in this inescapable desire for more and more?

We humans have this inbuilt lust. We are never satisfied with what we have, despite the fact that many of us have far more than we need. As I say this I’m mindful that the vast majority of people do not have enough. Many are without food, adequate clothing and a roof over their heads, which in itself is an inditement against us who selfishly want more.

This desire for more is a serious **flaw of character, and yet God promises He will give abundantly more to those who already have!

Jesus said, ‘“For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him (Matthew 13:12).”

Paradoxically He tells us that those with precious little – even that which they have – it will be taken away!

Relevant Scriptures

Let’s look into this by considering two of Jesus’s parables.

The golden rule for understanding portions of Scripture is to examine them within their contexts. Let’s take for example, ‘The Parable of the Sower’ which tells of ***seeds being scattered on various grounds. We discover that seed falling on ‘good ground’ produces a crop, sometimes as much as a hundredfold (Matthew 13: 8, 23). Seed that is scattered on any other ground is unproductive, and eventually dies. The seed is good, but it is of no use unless the ground nourishes it. God multiplies where He wills.

Another parable in Matthew’s gospel speaks of multiplication: ‘“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents beside them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord (Matthew 25:20, 21).’

Considering this in its context, we discover that the parable is about the stewardship of talents that are given to the servants of Jesus. Each servant has the responsibility of using what is given to good effect. Enterprising faithful servants who have proven themselves to be responsible (V. 23) and productive are rewarded more by being given more (V. 29). The steward who had been given least had it taken away (V. 28) because he failed to use his talent in service to his master.

Jesus indirectly elucidates His parables of ‘more abundance’ by telling His disciples that if they make sacrifices in His service He will do abundantly more for them:

‘So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come everlasting life (Luke 18:29, 30).”’

Being Satisfied with Less

We have these encouragements, warnings and promises; and hopefully we act in accordance with them. As we do, we can take heart and guidance from Paul’s words:

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need (Philippians 4:11, 12).

He also said, ‘But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content (1 Timothy 6:6-8).’

So let’s not be forever striving for more possessions and the things of this world; instead let us be contented with the abundance of the Lord’s provision (John 10:10).


*Climate Change Emergency

**Sin and It’s Consequences

***Christ the Seed

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