Saturday, March 31, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapters 14

Luke 14

-Luke sets the context for the teachings in this passage by indicating where Jesus was here in chapter 14. Jesus in the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath and the Pharisees were paying close attention to him with pride and contempt. Thus, Jesus is making His key points and performing a miracle in this intimidating setting.

-Once again He proves that He is the Lord of the Sabbath by healing a man with dropsy (Luke, the physician, identifies this man’s condition, which is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in bodily tissues and cavities). This time, knowing their hearts, Jesus asks them if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not. These kept silent to see what He would do, and Jesus in fact kindly healed the suffering individual along with a question as to their willingness to help their own son or ox who may be in trouble on the Sabbath.

-Jesus then gives a parable to instruct on humility and proper exultation. *Application* Don’t assume to be great in your own eyes. Being presumptuous will end up humiliating you. Be content and wait for your moment of reward and recognition to come. The Heavenly Father sees and knows all and is the best One to receive from.

-The parable of the invited guests is expounded upon by the Christ. This earthly story with a heavenly meaning further illustrates the saying by Jesus, “Many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14).” A key reiteration in both of these parables that the Lord speaks on is the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. These types of people reveal the heart of man and are contextually important to the prideful and arrogant crowd He was speaking to. Another important word here for me is the term “compel (Luke 14:23).” *Application* This word in the Greek has a strong force to it, which indicates that we are to be persistent and eager in our witness for Christ. The Lord wants His house filled and we have a vital role in making that happen!

-Now Jesus lays it all on the line by teaching on the cost of discipleship. The wise will count up the cost and see what is entailed in following Him because it is certainly not an easy life on this earth. It will involve giving up the rights to all possessions and taking up your own personal cross each and every day in obedience to what the Lord wants from you. Those who cannot complete the course will be ridiculed and scorned. Dietrich Bonhoeffer became famous for his book “Cost of Disciplship.” He was convicted to stand for his Christian faith in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. This is an excellent treatise for everyone struggling with this concept that Jesus teaches here in the later part of Luke 14. *Application* "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die (Dietrich Donhoeffer)." This is something most of the Pharisees could never sees themselves doing because of their pride, how about us? Jesus’ words penetrate deep.

Verse to Memorize: Luke 14:11

Friday, March 30, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapters 13

Luke 13

-The Lord begins this chapter with a call for all to repent because the Heavenly Father has put everyone into the same category under the curse of sin by man’s very nature. This is also an indication that, as it is said, the just and the unjust will have trouble in this world as well as the Lord’s blessing (Matthew 5:45, John 16:33).

-A parable on patience is given using the illustration of the unproductive fig tree. Jesus here is telling His listeners that there is still time to come to repentance and be saved if they only will. Otherwise the tree (or the soul) will be cut down (perish). *Application* God is patient and kind, but He is also just. Don’t get out of balance either way on His attributes here. There is a point when His patience runs out and then all will be called into account for what has been done (Exodus 34:6-7, Psalm 7:11-12, 2 Peter 3:9). Have we turned our lives over to the One who can save our souls?

-Jesus was then teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath when He healed a woman who had been bound (key word here) by a spirit which caused her sickness of her being doubled over not having the ability to straighten her back up to be standing erect. The synagogue official was indignant because of Jesus’ Sabbath “work” and rebuked Him severely. Jesus, in righteous indignation, replied by calling his kind hypocrites because they unbound their ox or donkey so that they could have food and water on the Sabbath. Yet, they would not allow for a daughter of Abraham to be set free from her bond. Jesus in this instance humiliated His opponents and the entire crowd was rejoicing over this incredible miracle. *Application* It is not always wrong to be angry and to say sharp words. Sometimes we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to give us these hard words in the face of a situation that we know injustice is being done. God will get the glory in it when we stand for righteousness.

-A teaching on the Kingdom of God is illustrated. It is compared to a mustard seed, which starts out small but grows into a large tree for birds to nest in. It is also compared to leaven, which raises the bread to new heights of fullness.

-As Jesus was continuing His way to Jerusalem, He teaching in each city and village that He would pass through. One person remarked to Him concerning how few the people were who were receiving His message and becoming saved. Jesus took the opportunity to teach about how the path to salvation is the narrow way and that many will seek to enter but will not be able. Jesus taught that there is a relationship with Him that is required for salvation. If a person does not know God they will not enter His Kingdom. The Lord also gives us here another indication that He came for the entire world as those from all over will recline at His table in the Kingdom of God. The last will be first and some of the first will be last.

-Jesus has more strong words in the face of a threat from Herod Antipas, who wanted to kill Him according to some Pharisees. Jesus remarks that on the third day He would reach His goal. This is a prophecy of His resurrection that is related to Luke by the eyewitnesses. His mission was clear; get to Jerusalem where the prophets had been rejected and killed and make sacrifice for the human race. His desire was to gather this city of Jerusalem unto Him for salvation but He knew the reality. However, He does look forward in time when they will say, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD (Luke 13:35, Psalm 118:26)!” This will happen at His second coming when they see Him come on the clouds of glory (Daniel 7:13, Zechariah 12:10, Matthew 24:30, Mark 13:26, Revelation 1:7).

Verse to Memorize: Luke 13:3

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapters 12

Luke 12

-Jesus begins an instructional stanza on the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. He begins with announcing that their hidden motives and agendas will be revealed. *Application* In fact we are in dangerous territory when we try to hide and conceal events and issues that are corrupt and wrong. Jesus is telling us here that the Lord sees it all and will expose the heart in every matter.

-There should be no fear towards those who will persecute or even kill the body. Keep the context in mind here. He is speaking concerning the religious establishment who will eventually lead Him to the cross and attempt to destroy the spreading of the gospel. Instead we are to fear God who has power and control to banish our souls to hell.

-Next, the issue of worry is dealt with. We have great worth with our Heavenly Father and He will take care of us. Don’t deny Him and the work of His Holy Spirit. This is the blasphemy that Jesus speaks of here. Remember that He is speaking of the Pharisees, who denied the Spirit’s power and authority coming through Jesus. This is a deliberate and ongoing rejection of God’s magnificent plan for man’s salvation. *Application* Many sincere and humble servants of the Lord have great fear and consternation when approaching this passage of Scripture. If this is your case, it is a good sign that you indeed fear the Holy Spirit and God’s power in your life. The blaspheming of the Holy Spirit is a denial of Him. That is all. The point Jesus makes over and over again in this passage is that we have the ability to receive Him and the Father accepts that cry unto Him. He will never reject us if we come to Him in humility. This is what the Pharisees could never understand or do. Don’t you ever fall into that category of Jesus’ message.

-Possessions are the next topic of discussion. Jesus teaches that it is foolish to build up treasures on this earth (the temporary things). Instead, be rich toward God who gives eternal rewards and even blessings on this earth, “all these things will be added unto you (Luke 12:31).” “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:34).” *Application* God cares for us and will not let us fall. A mentor of mine shared with me this week about an instance that illustrates this well. His grandson was climbing a large tree in the yard while the grandfather was reclining in a lounge chair. The ambitious little boy got to the point where the grandfather warned him that he was too high up and to be careful because of the dangers associated. To the grandfather’s surprise the little boy exclaimed, “Catch me Papa!!!” as he leaped from his tall perch in the tree. Frantically, the grandfather leaped out of his lounging position in a desperate attempt to catch his grandson. In the nick of time he did catch the little boy as gravity pulled him to earth. What trust the little boy displayed that no matter what the situation looked like, Papa was going to make a way to catch him. The Lord is wanting that same kind of faith in our lives. Even when we may make silly decisions, like this little boy, our Abba Father will care for us and provide His covering. Fall into His loving arms and care today!

-Now Jesus warns to be ready for His second coming. His message is to be faithful and alert in serving the Master. *Application* Don’t let apathy and complacency invade and destroy your life. The Lord requires us to be good stewards of His endowments, gifts, and responsibilities. He will hold us accountable for what we do with our time, talent, and treasure. Do the Lord’s will and reserve nothing for yourself. He has bought us, as believers, with a price; therefore glory Him with all you have and be subject to Him alone (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

-Christ relates the division that He will cause with His coming crucifixion and resurrection. The belief in Him is the dividing line and it will separate even families. Jesus is making a plea for discernment and acceptance of the Lord’s will and plan for mankind. He is also realizing that those He is speaking about, again the unbelieving Pharisees, are in great danger of the judgment of God because of their unwillingness to accept the truth. *Application* Make the vital efforts to settle all of your accounts with God and man. Analyze the present time and understand in His wisdom. Judge what is right.

Verses to Memorize: Luke 12:31, 34

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapters 11

Luke 11

-Prayer is dealt with first in this chapter as the disciples asked Him for teaching on it. He gave them the model prayer. *Application* For the Lord’s model prayer focus on the reverence and fear of the Lord (worship), the provision of God, the confession of sin, the forgiving of others, and ask not to be lead into temptation.

-Jesus goes on to teach about the goodness of God and His responses to us when we pray. The vital point here is threefold. Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened unto you. It is notable that the Lord ends His instruction with the fact that it is the Holy Spirit that is the ultimate answer to our prayers as far as receiving something or someone. Jesus will usher in a new dispensation with the Holy Spirit indwelling believers upon His departure from the earth (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7).

-Jesus was then defending His ministry amidst hostile accusations as some wanted to associate His miracles to the work of Satan. Jesus makes His case on “a kingdom divided against itself (Luke 11:17-18). He also called them into accountability. If it is not Satan who is doing these miracles, which He proves was not, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. Then the Lord instructs on strength and how to overcome the enemy. *Application* He is speaking on spiritual warfare here in this section, which is important for us to note. We do not have the power to overcome these spiritual forces that come against us to try to destroy us. We may clean up our house (speaking of our being) with some temporary, feel-good antidotes, but Jesus teaches that only He has the authority for complete restoration and cleansing. Anything less will get worse in the final analysis. He ends the section by saying “blessed are those who hear the Word of God and observe it (Luke 11:28).”

-The wickedness of the generation in which Jesus came to minister was called out next. His condemnation on them was just because they were seeking external signs without believing in His righteous acts (i.e. the cross and resurrection). This is the sign of Jonah if we care to contemplate it. Here in this short Old Testament narrative we see that Jonah is revived after three days in the deep, the pit of death, inside a great fish (Jonah 1-4). Jesus was predicting His crucifixion and resurrection, which this unbelieving generation would cast aside. This is why we can see the Queen of the South and the men of Nineveh, who repented, standing against these faithless people in the judgment. It is interesting to note here that these are Gentile examples of faith, which shows us that the whole world was certainly on the Savior’s mind as He gave admonishment. These Jewish people were not recognizing the Greatness that was in there midst.

-After these statements, Jesus calls us to be lights and witnesses of His majesty. He focuses on the eyes. *Application* They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, and we see here that Jesus concurs. There is something about a look, a glance, a gaze that tells us the story about a person to the core of their being. Be sure there is light coming out of your eyes. Light comes from the heart.

-Jesus is then invited to a home of a Pharisee for lunch, which He accepted. The Lord knew exactly what He was getting into here and took the opportunity to criticize the hypocrisy of these religious leaders, lawyers also being among them. At the heart of Jesus’ teaching was that they disregarded justice and the love of God for selfish motivations and desires. For the lawyers they had a hand in taking away the key of knowledge and hindering those who were entering into a faith relationship (Luke 11:52). This infuriated the religious leaders and they began to be very hostile to the Lord and question with motives of tripping Him up on many subjects. They once again did not recognize the visitation of their Messiah. *Application* This is tragic, but shows the pride that can be in people wise in their own thinking. Always be humble enough to hear when the Lord is speaking to you.

Verse to Memorize: Luke 11:13

Monday, March 26, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapters 10

Luke 10

-The 70 are sent out in pairs ahead of Jesus to where He was going to come. There was organization that we can see here in the ministry of Christ as He was asking them to beseech the Lord of the harvest for laborers. The Lord sends them out as lambs in the midst of wolves with no money, no bag, no shoes, and the instruction to greet no one on the way (steadfast determination in their purpose). They would meet opposition and the Lord was preparing them for it. *Application* The enemy will do much to distract and thwart if possible God’s will. Our full reliance must be on Him. Focus on Christ the author and completer of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).

-Jesus continued to instruct with a command to bless the houses that they would go to with a word of peace. If that is accepted there will be a peaceful situation with rest in that place. If not the blessing would return to the ones who were sent out. They were to stay in the houses of peace and receive what these would give out of their generosity. They were instructed not to move from house to house. They were to proclaim the nearness of the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. They were to shake the dust off their feet in protest to their rejection of the Kingdom of God if they were not received.

-Apparently Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (where Jesus headquartered His earthly ministry) did not receive this prophetic word from the Lord. They would be severely judged because of their rejection of Jesus.

-The 70 returned with an excellent report and great joy as the demons were subject to them in Jesus’ Name. Christ’s remark is interesting. He was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightening. *Interpretative Issue* Is this Jesus stating what was about to happen with the initiation of His Kingdom at the cross and His resurrection? Or was He scolding the disciples because they may have come back with a source of pride, which led to the downfall of Satan originally? Scholars disagree on these points. The context to me indicates that this was a time of joy and celebration, which would lead to the conclusion that this statement depicts Jesus getting excited about the work He was about to do for mankind.

-The vital point here is salvation. The real reason to celebrate anything and have hope is because the believers’ names are recorded in heaven as God’s children. The infants (simple) can grasp these salvific comments whereas the earthly wise and intelligent have a hard time comprehending the grace of God. *Application* It comes down to sufficiency on the Lord. The pride of man can certainly keep him from coming to acknowledge his dependence on a Savior.

-Greatness, even Deity, was in these disciples midst and Jesus took the opportunity to teach them who He was at this point.

-We now get the story of the Good Samaritan. The real obedience to loving others is the one who demonstrates his love by tangible action. This is the point of the parable. *Application* We need to be people who are rich in compassion and mercy loving even our enemies. This is expressed not only in word and thought, but by deed.

-This chapter ends with the incident of Mary and Martha. Martha was so preoccupied with routine cleaning and hospitality issues that she forgot the more important things of relationship, fellowship, and abiding in the presence of Christ Jesus. Worry was Martha’s issue, and Jesus spotted it well. *Application* Make time for the most important things in life. God should be at the forefront of that. Abide in Him (John 15:5).

Verse to Memorize: Luke 10:17

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapters 9

Luke 9

-The disciples are now beginning to be given power and authority over unclean spirits and to heal diseases as the narrative advances. They take nothing with them as they learn more and more how to live by faith. This also begins to teach them the power of community among what will be the early Christians. They will find acceptance in some, but shake the dust off their feet from those places and people that reject their message by not receiving them.

-Now the 5,000 are fed after the disciples returned and gave an account of all that they had done. Another faith lesson was demonstrated in the multiplication of the five loaves and two fish.

-The time sequence moves ahead without much information as Jesus questions them about who people were saying He was. This happens in Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13, Mark 8:27), which in that time would have been a significant journey from where the multiplication took place on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. The point in this city of pagan Greek and Roman influence was well taken by Peter. He is the first to identify Jesus as the Messiah in His public ministry as the “Christ of God (Luke 9:20).” This is extremely significant and Peter is out front as a leader of the group of disciples in making this confession. Jesus instructed them to tell no one. Why? This was His time of coming in the first incarnation as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. There was heightened Messianic expectation, but Jesus knew that His time had not yet come. His response is pointed and calculated. “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day (Luke 9:22).” This was His mission the first time around on this earth and He would let nothing deter Him from that being accomplished. Then He stated something that must have left an indelible mark on His followers, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself (Luke 9:23-25)? *Application* The Christian life is still a life of denial, yielding, and surrendering. If you have not given your life completely over to Jesus, do so without delay. Your time on earth is the testing ground for eternity.

-Jesus is transfigured on the mountain as He speaks with Moses and Elijah. Peter, James, and John are with Him and awake to see this incredible sight. They also hear the voice of God as He claims Him as His Son and Chosen One. The One to whom they should listen.

-Coming down from that experience one would think would lead to supreme faith and power, but Luke notes that the very next day the disciples could not even cast out a demon from a boy. Jesus rebukes them for being an unbelieving and perverted generation. He expressed indignation for having to put up with this lack of faith. Then Jesus healed the boy and gave him back to his father.

-Jesus reiterated the fact that He was about to suffer under the hands of men. But His disciples did not understand what He meant because it was concealed from their perception. Plus they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.

-An argument arose among the disciples as to who was the greatest. Jesus presented them with a child and taught them humility. *Application* “The least among all of you, this is the one who is great (Luke 9:48).”

-Jesus then instructs John not hinder those doing things in the Name of Jesus, “for he who is not against you is for you (Luke 9:50).” *Application* The danger for us is to ridicule and denounce those who claim the Name of Christ yet are of another denomination than us. Christians need to stress unity rather than petty differences. Of course there may be significant doctrinal issues to consider and false teaching, but our warning is clear here from Scripture, those who are not against Jesus Christ are for Him. Be careful who you criticize.

-As Jesus determines to go up to Jerusalem He encounters the animosity of the Samaritans and takes advantage of this opportunity to teach James and John about grace and salvation. His point should be well taken that He rebuked the spirit that was behind them on this occasion. *Application* Do not get embroiled with personal disputes and character assassinations. Know the spirit behind them and attack that, not the person. Like the old saying goes, “love the sinner and hate the sin.”

-In the last section of this chapter, Jesus says some things to delve into our priorities. A list of excuses is given by diverse people as to following the Lord. *Application* Too often we want to put other things in front of doing the will of God in our lives. If we are not careful, we can get sidetracked and never accomplish His will for our lives. “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).” In other words, get busy with the work of the Lord and enjoy His treasure rather than the status quo.

Verse to Memorize: Luke 9:48

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapters 7 & 8

Luke 7

-This is a great chapter centered around faith, and in the case of John the Baptist and the Pharisees, a lack of it. This narrative passage brings us to the point of decision, using many examples, as to what to make of this Man. Who is He? What is His authority? His claims can only be that of Deity, and we see people here in this section wrestling with that conundrum. We see the great faith of the generous centurion and the sinful woman. We observe the continuous miracles and spectacles that became associated with them. Most of all we see the saving faith that gives one peace and contentment. *Application* Where are you at today in your own faith struggle? Are you like John the Baptist and the Pharisees trying to make sense of everything God is trying to reveal in your life? Or are you turning all authority and devotion over to the Lord like the centurion, widow, and sinful woman? Anoint Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life by faith trusting Him for all things temporal and eternal.

Verse to Memorize: Luke 7:50


Luke 8

-Jesus taught in parables most often in His ministry. Luke 8 gives us the parable of the sower (those who give the testimony of the LORD) and the seed (the Word of God). As the seed goes out it lands on four different types of soils.

-The first type of soil is on the road where there is a trampling and easy fodder for flying birds. This soil, Jesus teaches, is people who have heard the truth of the gospel, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart. These never believe and therefore are missing salvation.

-The second type of soil is filled with rocks and cannot contain the moisture required for continual growth. These are people who hear the word and receive it, but as they go on their way (the follow through) they fall away (by definition apostasy, Hebrews 3:12; 6:1-9). There is a tasting of the Holy Spirit and the power of the age to come that comes through belief, but no sealing work is done (Ephesians 4:30) and in time of temptation, Jesus says, they fall away.

-The third type of soil has thorns that grow up with the seed and choke it out of productivity for bearing a crop. These are people who have heard, but go on their way and get choked out by the cares, worries, pressures, riches, and pleasures of this earthly life. No fruit comes to maturity with them. There is debate among biblical scholars as to the salvation of this group of people. On one side it could be said that these don’t really know God and are not genuine in their faith (Matthew 7:16-29). On the other hand, there is substantial evidence in the Scriptures that one can be carnal (worldly, fleshly, sinful) and still make it to the eternal Kingdom as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:11-16). In fact the book of 1 Corinthians is written to some believers who were very deep in sin and immorality, yet Paul addresses them as saints (1 Corinthians 1:2). This is the more proper position in my opinion, but I would never be dogmatic on this issue. *Application* The danger here is licentiousness. We can become so worldly that the things of God have little appeal to us. Our selfish pleasures are what end up consuming us and we become no good for the Lord. The Bible speaks of God’s severe discipline in cases like these (1 John 5:16, Hebrews 10:30-31; 12:5). God’s grace may be sufficient for salvation, but there are always consequences for disobedience and sin.

-The fouth type of soil is the good soil, which produces a crop a hundred times as great. These are the ones who have heard the word with an honest and good heart (it is always about the heart), and hold it fast bearing fruit with perseverance. The LORD is looking to and fro throughout the earth to strongly support those who in their heart are completely His (2 Chronicles 16:9). *Application* This is certainly our challenge and hopefully our destiny. The LORD shows up to aid His servants who are completely faithful. Have a heart that is after God (1 Kings 11:4).

-Jesus goes on to conclude that everything will be exposed and nothing will remain hidden. His point in verse 18 should be well taken. “Take care how you listen.” *Application* The voice of the Lord calls; are you listening?

-Increase is a major thrust in Jesus’ teaching here as well. *Application* Keep working hard to bring spiritual fruit.

-Next Jesus describes His true family. He is not being rude as His biological relatives come to see Him; He is simply making a point. “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it (Luke 8:21).” *Application* James picks up on Jesus’ teaching with his letter later on in the New Testament. Our actions reveal what we really believe.

-Jesus calms the storm on the Sea of Galilee and then asked the disciples where their faith was. He demonstrated power for even the forces of nature, which they had never seen before. This left them fearful and amazed. *Application* When was the last time you left someone stunned and amazed by your faith? Be daring and see what the Lord will do for you! This is the simple teaching from this harrowing experience.

-Now the miracle of Gerasene demoniac is narrated. Jesus demonstrates His power to heal a person who has no one to help and no hope for sanity. His response is different with this individual who wanted to follow Him. Jesus tells the man to return to his house and describe what great things God had done for him. This man did exactly that. He became an evangelist with an incredible testimony!

-The chapter ends with a couple of more healing miracles performed by Jesus. He heals a woman who had a twelve year hemorrhage because of her faith. Belief is also a requirement for the resuscitation from death of a twelve year old girl. Jesus tells them not to be afraid, only believe. *Application* Faith of this kind is certainly rare, but it can happen. Miracles happen every day. Have you ever realized that the simple act of thinking is a miracle and outside the realm of the natural (see C.S. Lewis, Miracles, especially chapter 3)? Thinking is supernatural event. Think about it J!

Verse to Memorize: Luke 8:15

Friday, March 23, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapter 6


Luke 6

-Luke depicts some episodes that prove that the Lord Jesus Christ has power over the man-made traditions of the Sabbath. In the first event, His disciples were eating picked grain, which the Pharisees denounced as illegal. Jesus refuted them from Scripture with the account of David and his men eating consecrated bread on the Sabbath (1 Samuel 21:6). The other event was a healing of a man with a withered hand in the synagogue where He was teaching. The Pharisees were enraged by this act and sought to accuse Him, but He maintained that He was Lord of the Sabbath and to do good was more important. *Application* How legalistic are we concerning the Sabbath, which would be Saturday, or the Christian’s traditional day of rest on Sunday? Jesus teaches us here that we should keep our love fervent for Him and others on the day in which we set aside as holy. To neglect common sense practices makes a mockery of the Lord’s day. When I was recently in Israel our hotel had Shabbat elevators that would stop on every floor just so the orthodox Jews would not have to perform manual, as they would define it, labor. I also noticed in our return flight home that landed during Shabbat, that there were no orthodox Jews on the airplane (the trip over found us with many orthodox Jews on the flight with which I had some interesting conversations). These are modern practices simply designed by a thought of man and his tradition that have hindered people from doing common every day things. I believe in the mind of God it is senseless and strays far from the original purpose of simple worshiping Him and devoting a day to recuperation in our schedules. That being said, it is important for us to slow down and repose for a day each week and meditate on His glory. Just avoid getting legalistic about it as Jesus teaches here.

-After an entire night of intense prayer on the mountain, Jesus comes to the point where He chooses His twelve disciples that will be His main priority in His earthly ministry. It lists the twelve and gives some family, political, and character traits of these called out men. *Application* This certainly was a monumental decision that the Christ had to make and I want us to notice how He approached it as our perfect model. First, He went off (Luke 6:12). He got away from the crowds and the distractions of life to a place where He could meditate exactly on what the Father was telling Him. He didn’t ask man’s opinion, but depended on God for the answer. Secondly, He spent the necessary time required to hear from God. He did not rush things. Thirdly, He sacrificed His own well being to hear God’s direction. No doubt in His physical body He would have grown tired and weary, but the matter of selecting men that would carry forth His message to the world was a greater factor in His decision. Here we see the surrender of earthly things for the building of the spiritual Kingdom. Finally, He took specific action once He got His direction and selected the twelve who would change the course of human history.

-The Beatitudes are given as He fixed His gaze on the large crowd of people gathered around Him. This is a level place in the coastal region; therefore, we do not associate this teaching with the famous Sermon on the Mount from Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 5-7). In this list of blessings we see the essence of Christ’s purpose and ministry. All of these are worth deep meditation and deliberation and then application. Jesus sums it up best like this, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say (Luke 6:46)?” *Application* Build your life’s house on a strong foundation that will not be moved by coming to, hearing about, and acting on the Word of the Lord. Otherwise, when the storms of life come you will collapse and be ruined.

Verse to Memorize: Luke 6:46

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapter 5

Luke 5

-The chapter begins with Jesus taking Simon’s boat and pushing out a little ways into the Sea of Galilee to teach the crowds that were pressing around Him. What a scene this must have been as people were hungry to see and hear this man of God. They simply could not get enough and wanted more and more knowledge and instruction from Jesus. So He provided it.

-As He finished speaking, aware of Simon’s need for a large catch of fish and knowing all things, He implored Simon to put his boat out into the deep and let down his net for a catch of fish. This didn’t make sense to Peter because he had labored all night to no avail. He didn’t think any fish were in the area, but he obeyed nonetheless. Suddenly a miracle occurred as too many fish were caught to even be contained in his boat. They signaled to their partners to come assist with their boat because the nets were about to break from the weight. Both boats were filled to the point that they began to sink. When Simon saw this, he fell at Jesus feet and said, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord (Luke 5:8)!” *Application* When we are confronted with the Higher power of Christ Jesus in our lives, it brings us face to face with our limitations and imperfections. At times we don’t feel like we could ever measure up to His goodness, righteousness, grace, and forgiveness. At these times, remember that the LORD loves us and grants to us gifts that are immeasurable and unattainable on our own. Just enjoy His good pleasure on you for the lavish presents He affords.

-Peter, James, and John (James and John the sons of Zebedee) left everything behind and followed Jesus in order to catch men from that point forward. It wasn’t that they would never go fishing again, but their lives now had a new and powerful purpose that was above the mundane existence they had known before. I wonder what Jesus had been teaching on that day in the boat when the crowds were pressing in on Him. It must have been a wonderful and powerful message that stirred complete life change. It must have also involved confession of sin and turning all over to the LORD in repentance.

-Luke next delineates some of Jesus’ healings based on people’s faith in Him. Leprosy was cleansed and a paralyzed man healed and forgiven. It is interesting to note that Jesus instructed the man that had leprosy to go to the priest as a testimony to them. Jesus never strayed away from the Law of Moses. He obeyed the Scriptures in every point.

-With the situation of the healing of the paralyzed man, several things can be noted. Here we see the Pharisees (strict followers of the Law and Jewish man-made tradition) and teachers of the Law were present from all over Galilee, Judea, and even Jerusalem. The word about Christ was drawing important religious people. Power for healing was given Him so that they all could know that He was from God and was in fact God in the form of man. This was an opportunity to accept Him and receive eternal life, and God was at work producing fear and amazement in their midst. Jesus was not only about healing the physical disease, but the spiritual condition as well. It was sad that it took the physical healing, which could be realized, for them to understand the magnitude of this Messiah. Also, here we see the power of friends. The paralyzed man was totally dependent on his friends to carry him to the place where Jesus could minister healing to him. These friends, with dogged determination, made sure that their friend had a chance to be seen by the Lord. They went to great lengths to bring this lame man to Christ. *Application* How involved are we in the lives of our unsaved or broken friends? Are we carrying them to Christ in a spiritual sense? Do all you can to bring your friends into spiritual growth and healing when you know there is a need.

-Now Jesus calls Levi (Matthew), the tax collector. It is interesting that Jesus went out and noticed him while he was sitting at his place of work in the tax booth. What did Jesus notice about this individual? Did He notice the longing for something better? Did He observe the frustration of a life being lived for self? Obviously Jesus knew the heart of Levi and called him to follow Him. The Scriptures say simply that Matthew left everything behind and followed Jesus just as Peter, James, and John had done. *Application* This is a poignant example for us when we get the call of God on our own lives for either salvation or life mission. Don’t delay in accepting the call. Don’t be like the rich young ruler who could not give everything up to follow the Lord (Mark 10:17-22).

-Levi (Matthew) was in love with his new Lord and gave a big reception for Him in his house. This drew the ire of the Pharisees and their scribes because of the sinful nature of the people Jesus was hanging out with. Jesus, knowing their hearts, taught that the whole reason for His coming was for people like these that needed healing spiritually from the condition of sin. He did not come to call the righteous (or should we say the self-righteous), but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). Then they questioned Jesus on His disciples’ conduct and their lack of fasting. Jesus simply reminded them that this was a time of celebration for them while the bridegroom was with them. A time would come He predicted that they would fast when He was gone from them.

-Jesus then gives the “new wine skin” teaching. He is offering the new way of the Lord to this rigid class of individuals who could not understand the pure and direct teaching of God. What He meant was that it was new in a sense that it was not perverted with the traditions of men and condemnation that these Pharisees had created. These religious zealots would never capitulate to the truth that Jesus was bringing and therefore a “new wine skin” was necessary. The skins that held wine in Jesus’ time were goatskins that formed watertight bags for preservation. New wine expands as it ages in these pliable bags. A used skin, having become more rigid, would break and spill the new wine because of its stiffness, strictness, and unwillingness to change. *Application* This is a perfect example by the Man who has all wisdom. It is a reminder for us in our day and time not to get so rigid with our customs and ways that we do church that we neglect the Holy Spirit and what He is doing in our midst. Methods will change to reach new cultures and peoples that we come across. The Word of God will never change and has power to any generation. Stay flexible so that the Lord can be appealing to everyone. Be all things to all people as Paul was (1 Corinthians 9:18-23).

Verse to Memorize: Luke 5:20

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapter 4


Luke 4

-Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, went back toward the north and west through the wilderness from the Jordan Valley. For 40 days He fasted and was tempted by the devil in every way (Luke 4:13).

-Three of the temptations are listed. Satan first tempts Him at the point of greatest weakness, which he will always do, being His hunger. Jesus, as with each temptation, answers the devil’s temptation with the Word of God. The second temptation revolved around world domination and granting Him king of worldly kingdoms, which had been given to the devil. Satan wanted to be worshiped, and Jesus rightly combated that lure with Scripture proclaiming that only the LORD God was to be worshiped. The third temptation involved putting the LORD God to the test. The devil actually uses Scripture this time in an attempt to trip the Son of God up, but once again he fails. After the devil completes his temptations he leaves for a more opportune time. Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit was able to say no to each and every enticement that the devil threw at Him. *Application* Don’t reason with the devil when he attacks you in order to pull you away with his temptations. Rely on the Word of God and stand firm in its authority. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

-Jesus now returns to the region of Galilee in the power of the Spirit and word was quickly getting out about Him in the area. He began teaching in their synagogues and was being praised by all. *Application* Jesus Christ’s custom was to be in the synagogue. The Jewish faith in many ways had been corrupted by the teachings and traditions of man, which we will see later, but Jesus was a faithful attendee in the House of God. How much more should we be attending a local body of believers in the church (Hebrews 10:25)?

-As Christ Jesus came to His hometown of Nazareth, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and was handed the scroll of Isaiah. He read from it Isaiah 61:1-2. To summarize, the Spirit of the LORD was upon Him by anointing to preach the gospel to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind (literally and spiritually), free those who are oppressed, and proclaim the favorable year of the LORD. This Jesus said was fulfilled in those peoples hearing (Luke 4:21). These gracious words were well spoken of by all and they were wondering, “Is this not Joseph’s son (Luke 4:22)?” Matthew gives us further insight into this as Jesus could not do many miracles here in Nazareth because of the lack of belief (Matthew 13:57-58). The crowd got so filled with rage over Jesus’ comments concerning them not welcoming Him as the Prophet in His hometown that they intended to throw Him off a cliff that the town had been built on. However, Jesus somehow passed through their midst at this point and went on His way.

-Jesus now returned to Capernaum and was again teaching on the Sabbath. He taught with authority and power, which was amazing to the people and He cast out demons and healed the sick. The incident of healing Simon Peter’s mother-in-law is notated here as well as other notable miracles. The demons knew He was the Christ, but Jesus would not let them speak. Jesus did not come to establish an earthly kingdom in this first incarnation. Thus is His reasoning for not allowing the proclamation of His favored status in these instances.

-Jesus goes out to a secluded place and the crowds were coming to Him to keep Him in their locale. His statement to them was that He must preach the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, for that was His purpose for which He was sent. He kept on preaching and teaching in the synagogues of Judea (all the country of the Jews including Galilee). *Application* The teaching of the LORD will come and go. It is up to us to gravitate to it when it is presented. If we balk at the opportunities afforded to us in the spiritual realm, we may very well miss our chance. We also see here the importance of spreading the gospel out to further reaches. Evangelize as Jesus did!

Verse to Memorize: Luke 4:18-19

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapter 3

Luke 3

-Luke gives us detailed description of the political powers in the region as the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus commence. It is in the reign of Tiberius Caesar of Rome, Pontius Pilate governor of Judah, Herod the tetrarch of Galilee to name the most important. Recently in 1961, an inscription was found in Caesarea Maritima on stone verifying Tiberius and Pontius Pilate’s rule at the same time (

-It was at this time that the Word of God came to John, son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. He began to preach a baptism of repentance in the entire district around the Jordan in the spirit of Elijah and Isaiah (Luke 3:4-6, Matthew 11:11-15). His warning was to this generation that he called a “brood (a group whose members share a common background, family) of vipers” (Luke 3:7). There was a distinct call to bear the fruits of repentance so that they would not be cut off from the line of faith, which the true children of Abraham possessed.

-The reoccurring question, “What shall we do?” comes up in the text (Luke 3:10, 12, 14). For the crowd John says “share” (Luke 3:11), for the tax collectors John says “collect no more than what you have been ordered to” (Luke 3:13), and for the soldiers John says “don’t take money by force, accuse falsely, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14). John addresses the obvious sins of each distinct group. *Application* This should call us to self introspection and examination as to what the fruits of repentance would look like in our lives. Our question needs to be as these, “What shall I do?”

-We also see here in the text the great Messianic expectation that was circulating through the populace of the Jews. John was a candidate, but he quickly dismissed that possibility claiming that One was coming that was much mightier than he. This One would baptize with the Holy Spirit (indwelling) and fire (judgment). John knew his proper role in God’s salvation plan and faithfully fulfilled his mission. He was a voice crying out in the wilderness to return to the God of Abraham. *Application* Do we faithfully serve the LORD in the role and mission He has designed for our lives? Are we decreasing as He increases in our own lives (John 3:30)?

-Another part of John’s mission was to call out the corruption in the government. This led to a confrontation with Herod Antipas, when John reprimanded him for marrying his brother’s wife and other wicked things, which he had done. This denunciation landed John in prison and later beheaded for his righteous cause (Matthew 14:1-12). *Application* Persecution will arise when we take a stand for what is right and just under the LORD’s authority. We will no doubt pay a price for our boldness, but the LORD will give us victory in the final analysis. Always keep that in mind.

-Now the baptism of Jesus is described. This initiates His public ministry at the age of 30. His baptism was not a baptism of repentance as the others since He had no sin. This was simply done in obedience to His Father who had sent Him to purify the sins of the world by His death on the cross. He placed our sin on Himself. He took the punishment for us.

-We see here in this passage an evidence of the Trinity. This is the biblical doctrine of the Three in One of God the Father who spoke, God the Holy Spirit who descended in the form of a dove, and God the Son who was the incarnate Jesus Christ. They are all in the same place here and in other parts of Scripture each are given the attribute of Deity.

-Now Luke denotes the genealogy of Jesus to trace back His Divine line to fulfill the prophecies particularly of Judah and David. This line is important as it goes all the way back to Adam, where the sin nature originated. Christ Jesus will become the life giving Adam for mankind in His atoning work on the cross and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45).

Verse to Memorize: Luke 3:16

Monday, March 19, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapter 2

Luke 2 
-In the days of Caesar Augustus a decree went out that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth, that is the Roman Empire. It was the first census taken while Quirinius (or Kyrenios) was governor of Syria. Luke again is detailed in his account and gives us historical insight that is helpful for our timeline for the events in Jesus Christ’s life. This event was crucial in the fulfillment of the prophecies given as to where the Messiah would be born (Micah 5:2). God was orchestrating events perfectly for the incarnation of His Son.
-Joseph went up (the elevation is what the “up” refers to here, we often think of “up” as north, but to the Jews they always referenced Jerusalem and that vicinity as going “up” to it) from Galilee, from Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem. Joseph was of the line of David; therefore, this is where he was required to go to register along with his espoused wife, Mary, who was also of the house of David. The Davidic fulfillment here should not be underestimated or overlooked. This is an incredibly important development in the fulfillment of Old Testament promises (2 Samuel 7). Here also we see the line of Judah and Jesus as the Scriptural fulfillment of Shiloh (Genesis 49:10).
-While in Bethlehem Ephrathah, the days were completed for Mary to give birth, which she did in a cave designed to house animals because there was no room in the crowded town at this time because of the census. She laid Him in a manger (a feeding trough) and clothed Him in cloths (interesting here in that the same word for these cloths is for the grave cloths that bodies were wrapped in, this could be a forward look towards His mission in coming). The cloths were traditional for swaddling a baby; a practice that is still prevalent in many parts of the world.
-In the same region there appeared an angel to shepherds who were watching the sheep by night. The appearance terribly frightened them, but the angel of the LORD calmed them and gave them the news of the Savior and where to find Him. Then a multitude of angels appeared and were glorifying God in the highest declaring peace and good will among men through this anointed One. The shepherds were more than likely keeping sheep for the massive amounts of sacrifices offered at the nearby Temple in Jerusalem. This again is a foreshadowing and relevant in the economy of Christ Jesus’ purpose for coming.
-The shepherds made haste to find Mary and Joseph and the newborn King. As they found them they related what had happened and all who heard it wondered at these things, but Mary treasured them and pondered them in her heart. As the shepherd went back to their lives and routines, they glorified and praised God for all they had heard and seen. Their lives were forever changed! *Application* When we truly encounter God and His life transforming power, we too are forever changed glorifying and praising His Holy Name.
-The scene now shifts to Jerusalem and the Temple area when Jesus was eight days old and ready for the lawful circumcision of the Jews. It was now that He received officially His Name of Jesus, which had been given by the angel before His birth. He was the first born and presented to the LORD as Holy according to the Law of the LORD. Here a sacrifice was made according to the offering required of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. This indicates Joseph and Mary’s financial state as being low in economic status because these were low income sacrifices that were allowed for by the Law. Jesus did not come from the crème de la crème of the world.
-Here at the Temple the family encounters two Holy Spirit filled prophets. The first was Simeon, who had been told by God that he would see the LORD’s Christ before his passing death. His remark was that he could now depart in peace because his eyes had seen God’s salvation that the LORD had prepared for all peoples “A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel (Luke 2:32).” Simeon blessed the entire family and prophesied over them some incredible things concerning the Christ. The other person was a woman, Anna, a prophetess from the tribe of Asher who had been a widow for many years laboring in the Temple with fasting and prayers. She was now 84 years old and began thanking God for the redemption of Jerusalem when she saw them.
-A time gap is between verses 38 and 39. Matthew in his gospel fills in some important events of this gap. Jesus’ family goes back to Bethlehem and eventually find a house to stay in. This is when the magi from the east come and visit with their gifts (Matthew 2:1-12). Also the family flees to Egypt for a period of time before it is safe to come back and live in Nazareth (Matthew 2:13-23).
-Jesus continued to grow in stature and wisdom and the grace of the LORD was upon him as a lad.
-When He was twelve, He went with His family, as was custom, to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration feast. As the family was returning in a caravan of people they realized that Jesus was not amongst them after a day’s travel. He had stayed back in Jerusalem listening and asking questions of the teachers in the Temple. All who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. *Application* My son has amazed people at his current age of twelve with his knowledge of aviation. He has been intrigued and devoted to this field from the time he was a small youth. It has been his focus and preoccupation in life. When I read this passage, I am reminded how much Jesus must have gravitated to His Father and His Word. By the time He was old enough to engage with these teachers He was well educated in what He was discussing. Of course He had no sin nature to distract from His mission and He was God. This helped His complete understanding no doubt. It is a challenge to us to get deep into the things of God and devote all we have to understanding Him and His will for our lives.
-The frantic parents of Jesus looked for three days for their Son before finding Him in the Temple. They were put out, but Jesus reminded them that this was His Father’s House and that He had to be there. I’m sure this was a moment of revelation for Mary and Joseph when they realized once again the supernatural nature of their Boy, but the Scriptures tell us that they certainly did not have complete understanding of the statement that Jesus made to them. Jesus did live in subjection to them as they went back to Nazareth and Mary kept all these things in her heart. “Jesus kept on increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52).” *Application* At the end of each day evaluate yourself with these four requirements…1. How did I become wiser? What did I learn today? There is always something that you learn in a day of life. Think about what that was. 2. How did I take care of my physical being today? Did I exercise properly and did I eat the right kinds of foods? Did I get the proper amount of rest for my body? Think about treating your body, which is the temple of God as He indwells it, well. 3. How did I grow in my walk with God today? Did I spend time getting to know Him better through His Word and meditating on His voice? See the spiritual nature of things in your life. 4. How did I improve my social life with others? Who did I talk to? Did I treat my neighbor as well as I treated myself? Did I recognize other people’s worth as being created in the image of God? Love your fellow man, and especially those you are closest to.
Verse to Memorize: Luke 2:52

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Luke Bible Study Notes Chapter 1

Luke 1

-Luke, the physician (Colossians 4:14), writes a detailed-accurate history of the events of the life of Jesus Christ in chronological order from the eyewitnesses in a compiled work. He writes it to the most excellent Theophilus, who is more than likely an individual person of importance; although, it could possibly be a group of people.

-This occurred in the days of Herod the Great, king of Judah. He was only half Jewish, half Idumaean (a descendent of the Edomites) and was highly distrusted by the Jewish populace. He was wealthy and a friend of the Roman Empire, which gave him his kingdom by Senate vote from Rome.

- The history begins with the story of Zacharias the priest of God from the Abijah division and his wife Elizabeth, who was from the daughters of Aaron. Zacharias is visited by Gabriel, the angel who stands in the presence of God. The prophecy of his son, John (John the Baptist), was revealed. This is the one who would come in the spirit of Elijah before the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5-6) for the purpose of turning them back in repentance to the LORD. Luke gives us many insightful developments and descriptions of the events of John’s birth and Elizabeth’s interaction with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

-Chapter 1 also reveals the events of Gabriel’s appearance in Nazareth to Mary, the virgin, when she is impregnated by the Holy Spirit as the favored mother of God. This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. Her song in verses 46-55 gives us vivid description of her relationship with the LORD she was carrying in her womb as His bondslave. It also prophecies the fulfillment of Jesus’ ministry and the completion of His covenant with His people.

-Zacharias’ prophecy completes the first chapter with a compilation of all the Scriptures that are about to be fulfilled through Jesus Christ for the redemption of His people and salvation from their enemies. It denotes the Davidic kingship as the eternal throne and underscores the tender mercies of our God.

-A verse describing John’s life as he grew up in the deserts is inserted at the end of the chapter.

Verse to Memorize: Luke 1:37

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 74-75

Psalm 74 

-Theme: A plea in a fallen state for God to help His people defend His cause and covenant. God hears and shows mercy even in His times of wrath (Habakkuk 3:2).

-*Application* This psalm was probably written by a descendant of Asaph after the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BC. What a devastating event in the lives of these believers who saw their world torn apart by godless men in a rage of fury and oppression. This happened basically because of the false teachers, corrupt prophets, and wicked kings that lead the southern kingdom into idolatrous ruin. For us, we are reminded that the LORD’s blessing is fragile and can be taken away by our nation’s own idolatry. Our comeback comes with recognition that God is our only true hope. It is to Him that we must plead our cause. His promises endure to the faithful and He will not forget the life of His afflicted forever. He will consider His covenant and recompense the wicked. 

Psalm 75 

-Theme: God is the final and ultimate judge for this world. The arrogant and prideful will not be lifted up, but brought low before His glory. Give Him thanks and praise as the wicked will be cut off and the righteous lifted up.

-*Application* Do you declare the LORD’s wondrous works who sets the appointed time of the wicked one’s destruction? God is in control and will one day pour out His wrath on all those who oppose Him. Which side are you on? I for one will always chose the LORD. He lifts the righteous up!

Verse to memorize: Psalm 74:12

Friday, March 16, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 71-73

Psalm 71

-Theme: The testimony of a life centered in the LORD from youth to old age. He is the constant help through the course of our time on earth.
-*Application* Is God your rock of habitation? This is something we may not be familiar with in our modern culture, especially if we do not live in a mountainous area. The rock is immovable by man and creates a natural barrier to trouble. It is a place of safety where one can resist the enemy with confidence. The best example of this in our era would probably be the mountains of Afghanistan where rebels have been able to hold off the world’s most powerful armies time and time again. God is our rock of habitation and our fortress in this ruthless and depraved world. The psalmist contemplates life through this passage as he clings to the LORD’s salvation. He sees the LORD’s sustaining power from his birth all the way into old age. He wants the LORD beside him until the very end and to use his life to declare God’s greatness unto the next generation. There is none like God and He must be praised in the lives of His people. If this does not happen, the next generation will not know of His greatness and deliverance.

Psalm 72

-Theme: The psalm of the impeccable king and his reign with a forward view toward the reign of the Messiah, who alone can rule with perfect justice and whose citizens will enjoy endless peace.
-*Application* When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. When the wicked rule, the people groan (Proverbs 29:2). We anticipate Jesus Christ’s righteous rule when there will be an abundance of peace and sustenance for all. We look forward to the day when the whole earth will be filled with His glory. Blessed be His glorious Name forever!

Psalm 73

-Theme: The temporary prosperity of the wicked compared to the everlasting rewards of the righteous (pure in heart). We should live holy lives, waiting and trusting in God for our future.
-*Application* The pure in heart is the most important element in the union with God and His blessing (Matthew 5:8). This essential component allows us to see God and His long term consecration that will not slip, fall, or be destroyed in sudden terror. It is the LORD’s counsel that should guide you all your days. He is the One who can receive you into His glory. We should desire nothing on this earth. It is temporary and will fail in the end.

Verses to memorize: Psalm 73:24-25

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 69-70


Psalm 69 

-Theme: In the lowest of circumstances God is our salvation and help and inheritance. We look forward to the day when evil and injustice will be gone forever.

-*Application* There are many things that the enemy comes at us with in an attempt to destroy us and devastate us in this journey of faith in our life. He is just to come to the aid of those who wait on Him. So even when you encounter immense opposition and accusation, remember to keep praying to the LORD of your salvation. At the acceptable time He will answer you with saving truth to deliver you and not let you sink. His compassion is forever and His desire is for you to turn to Him in your moments of need. The psalmist is clear in his approach. He wants an answer quick, but he is willing to wait. In his sickness, broken heart, and discomfort he found no one but God to set him securely on high. We see in the middle of this passage a prophecy of the crucifixion in verse 21. Therefore, we can identify this psalm with the agony and feelings Christ Jesus experienced on the cross as He died for the sins of the entire human race (Matthew 27:34, 46-50, Mark 15:34-37, Luke 23:36, John 19:28-30). So in our affliction and pain revive your heart in the hope of the LORD. His salvation is for those who love His Name! 

Psalm 70 

-Theme: An urgent prayer for help in a time of affliction and need.

-*Application* We must realize where our help comes from in the critical moments of need. It is sometimes necessary to beg the LORD for quick help and deliverance without delay as we see in this passage. This is simply honesty with God in our abiding relationship with the most powerful force in the universe. He is our ever-present aid in times of uncertainty.

Verse to memorize: Psalm 70:5

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes 67-68


Psalm 67

-Theme: God’s blessing comes with the spreading of the gospel message around His entire world. Let all the people’s praise Him!

-*Application* I am currently on mission in Mission/McAllen, Texas this spring break. Our burden is for people in every place to call upon the Name of the LORD in order to be saved (Acts 26:18). The way of the LORD must be proclaimed and known throughout all the earth. We as Christian believers have a responsibility to take that Word forth as soldiers of a spiritual army (2 Timothy 2:1-4). God has people chosen from every tongue, tribe, and nation for His eternal Kingdom, and we must be witnesses of His salvation because of it truth and goodness. This is also prophesied to be completed before Christ’s second coming (Matthew 24:14). May all the earth fear and reverence Him.

Psalm 68

-Theme: God’s enemies have no chance of sustained success. Remember the power and the glory of God as He defends and provides.

-*Application* God’s enemies will be scattered before Him. When He decides to act, nothing can stop Him. He will be exalted. He is a Father for the fatherless and a judge for the widows. He makes a home for the lonely and leads out the prisoners into prosperity. “Only the rebellious will live in a parched land (Psalms 68:6).” The mountains of Bashan (Mount Hermon in particular) spoken of here in this chapter refer to where many believe the transfiguration occurred (Matthew 17:1-9, 2 Peter 1:16-18). They are the mightiest peaks in the Holy Land and are truly majestic sights. Even this beautiful mountain range looks with envy on the mountain (small by size comparison is Mt. Zion) in Jerusalem where the Savior will bring forth His great salvation. “Surely the LORD will dwell there forever (Psalm 68:16).” Verse 19 speaks deeply into our spirit when we meditate on it. God actually bears our burden daily and saves us from the separation from Him we rightly deserve. What a loving God who gives us deliverances and escapes from death (Psalm 68:20). Bless His Holy Name! Sing to Him and ascribe to Him strength!

Verse to memorize: Psalm 68:19

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Psalms 65-66

Psalm 65

-Theme: The provision of God and thankfulness of His many blessings.

-*Application* The greatest gift of God is His presence and relationship in one’s life. Through His propitiation He brings us near in a union that will never die (Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2; 4:10, Ephesians 4:30, John 10:28-29). His most awesome deed is His salvation that He imputes to us through faith in Jesus Christ (Psalm 32:2; 65:5). His power is displayed in nature clearly as well and even it worships Him. Let all the nations know of His greatness!

Psalm 66

-Theme: God is to be praised for His powerful works and answers the prayers of His people.

-*Application* All the earth will worship the LORD. How great it is for those who give Him honor and exaltation of their own accord and desire. He keeps us in life and does allow our feet to slip. Even though we will be tried and tested, we will shine forth as gold (1 Peter 1:7). He will come to the aid of His people and restore them. Blessed be the One who hears us when we call out to Him. However, if we regard (cherish) wickedness (sin) in our heart, the LORD will not hear (respond).

Verses to memorize: Psalm 66:18-19

Monday, March 12, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 62-64

Psalm 62

-Theme: Wait on the LORD who is our hope and help. He is the only Rock of our salvation. Trust in Him at all times.
-*Application* We must remember that the power, the honor, and the glory belongs to God. This is sometimes difficult to ponder in this world where evil is so prevalent and seems to thrive. When this seems to be the case, it is an indication of our temporary and limited understanding of the big picture. We have a stronghold in God when oppression comes. Don’t try to scheme and fix your issues in your own power. Don’t set your heart on your riches to make your way smooth. This is a false way and destruction awaits those who trust in these methods.

Psalm 63

-Theme: Desire God’s presence, provision, and protection no matter where you are because only He satisfies fully.
-*Application* David writes this psalm with his Judean wilderness experience in mind. He was running for his life in harsh terrain where there was very limited water and provision. He had to rely on God and seek Him earnestly for not only physical sustenance, but spiritual comfort as well. His attitude remained strong and positive because he continued to thirst and yearn for God blessing His name despite his plight. He meditated even upon his bed in the night watches and he simply clung to His Maker to uphold him. He saw ahead and the victory was assured in his faith. We must live lives as such when times are difficult. Meditate on Him and His goodness.

Psalm 64

-Theme: The dread of the enemy is overcome by certain recompense of the LORD.
-*Application* David voices his concern to his God when he is troubled. Here is our example to be forthright with our loving Father with a heart of expectation for deliverance. We see an evaluation of the enemy here by David because he knows their misconduct and deeds. The enemy must be known if we are to pray and expect results. Don’t be aloof to Satan and his tactics. Have faith like David does here in this chapter that God will shoot the evil ones down and make them stumble. All will fear the LORD eventually. Be righteous and glad in the LORD. Take refuge in Him for the upright in heart will glory and prevail!

Verse to Memorize: Psalm 62:2

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 59-61

Psalm 59

-Theme: A prayer for deliverance and for praise to the God who saves, loves, and shields.

-*Application* The enemies of God do not deserve His grace nor will they receive it. Only the repentant will obtain the mercy of the Heavenly Father. It is fallacious to think that God’s wrath will not be upon the wicked who does not turn from his sin. God will be a shield to only those who call upon Him and come into submission to His will and His plan for salvation (Psalm 116:13-17, John 14:6, Romans 10:13, James 4:7-10). We cannot thumb our nose at God and get away with it. He desires for all the earth to know Him and come into conformity with His righteousness, which comes through trusting in Jesus Christ, His Son. We should sing of this One’s strength and lovingkindness to protect us from the evil in this world.

Psalm 60

-Theme: Real and lasting help comes from God alone. Trust the LORD to do mighty things in situations that seem out of control.

-*Application* Those times in our lives when it seems like God has forgotten and rejected us even when we have done nothing wrong are very perplexing and can be disturbing. David says that we have a banner when we continue to fear God in these times. Think of a banner for a moment. It displays a message for all to see. In this case, the psalmist proclaims that our banner that we have been given displays the truth that eventually we will be delivered, saved by His right hand, and answered by Him at the opportune time. Everything is the LORD’s and He will take us through times of testing to see where our reliance lies. Is it in man and his philosophies? That the Bible says is in vain (Psalm 60:11; 146:3). Or is it in God? Through Him we shall do valiantly and tread down the adversaries. Our best ally is always God and His truth. He is superior.

Psalm 61

-Theme: The faithfulness of God to those who take refuge in Him and make their vows to Him in fear day by day. He is the Rock that is higher than us.

-*Application* Our heart at times will be faint like David’s was in this passage. He was on the run for his life from either King Saul or his own son Absalom. We, like David, must come to the place where we trust in that higher source of power and strength, which is beyond our own capabilities. God is our refuge and it is in His wings we are comforted and protected and preserved. Sing praise unto the LORD for His higher help!

Verse to Memorize: Psalm 60:11

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 56-58

Psalm 56

-Theme: At the times we are afraid, we can trust in the LORD, our deliverer and savior who provides the light of living.
-*Application* Psalm 56:3 is the first verse of Scripture my father taught me as a lad when he began to give me chores and an allowance. What a benefit this verse has been throughout my life during times of fear and anxiety. This simple verse says it all. When we are afraid, our trust must be in the One who can come to our aid and release us from the dominion of this natural world controlled by a terrorizing enemy. As a child we have many natural fears, but trusting in the LORD is the best defense to be taught. He is the God of peace even in the fiercest storm. This I have learned through experience over the years of life. He is my Light of life; I need not walk in the scary darkness. Here is the principle: Fear of the LORD always over the fear of man. It will allow you to live a radical life of faithful obedience and peace.

Psalm 57

-Theme: Praise and adulation belongs to the LORD who is to be exalted above all of heaven and earth among all the peoples. He accomplishes all things and saves from the enemy sending forth lovingkindness, truth, and refuge.
-*Application* This is a psalm of perseverance and steadfastness in the praise and song of the heart during times of trouble. How wonderful to remember the greatness of our God to overcome life’s trials and tribulations.

Psalm 58

-Theme: A prayer for God’s justice over false gods and the wicked. There will be joy in the LORD’s righteous and faithful judgment. Surely there is reward for the righteous.
-*Application* This is an imprecatory prayer unto the God who is aware of all the injustice and depravity among the sons of men on this earth. It is an indication to us as to how we should approach our attitudes towards sin and the horrors that it causes. Being friends with the world makes you an enemy of God (James 4:4). Hate sin with all your heart. Rejoice to see the vindication of the LORD upon wickedness. For just one application of what this looks like in our modern society see concerning the situation in Uganda.

Verse to Memorize: Psalm 56:3

Friday, March 9, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 53-55

Psalm 53

-Theme: All have sinned and become corrupted in the eyes of God. No one understands and seeks after the LORD. His salvation will come out of Zion (where Jesus was crucified). God will restore His captive people.

-*Application* Here is the doctrine of the depravity of man set to a psalm. We simply have no hope apart from the saving work of the LORD through Jesus Christ our Savior. This last verse is prophetic as to the place that God’s salvation would come from. Hallelujah, praise our suffering Servant and what He has done to save us wretched fools!

Psalm 54

-Theme: A cry for salvation from the strangers, violent, and idolatrous (enemies of God). God will recompense and destroy evil in His faithfulness. He is the deliverer who gives us satisfaction.

-*Application* Too many times we fret over what evil people plot and plan against us. We have a tendency in our flesh to worry and stress over their schemes and tricks designed to make us look and feel bad. However, chapters like this one help us understand that God is observing and sees all that we are going through for righteousness sake. His judgment will eventually come and they will be destroyed if they do not turn to Him. This gives us confidence in continuing to do the right things in our sacrificial life unto Him.

Psalm 55 

-Theme: An expression of what it is like when a close friend does us wrong and hurts us. When this happens the burden is too difficult to carry alone.

-*Application* Wounds from a trusted friend create a restlessness and distraction that can be compared to nothing else. There is that incredible sense of let down when we realize that their intentions were selfish and deceitful. The point is that we should be very careful as to who we put our trust in. God is the One who is totally faithful. It should not surprise us when friends and loved ones let us down. Cease striving with situations like these and let God’s wrath be your vengeance. If you take an active role in retribution, the conflict inevitably increases and you are left bitter and angry. A better course of action is dynamic forgiveness. Trust in the LORD in these tough times and continue to demonstrate true and abiding love in the midst of disappointment. The key is in verse 22, “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Remember that He is with you if you keep His ways and your enemies will be taken care of in due time.

Verse to Memorize: Psalm 55:22

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 50-52

Psalm 50

-Theme: Contrast of the righteous Judge, God, and those who live in rebellion against His authority. The LORD desires sincere thanks, trust, and sacrifice.

-*Application* Romans 12:1-2 reminds us of the total offering of our bodies to the LORD in surrendered submission. This is our holy and acceptable offering unto the LORD, our total transformation spiritually into the will and image of God. We are not to be conformed to this world and it lusts any longer if we have given everything in our being to Christ (1 Peter 1:14). How tragic it is go against the will of the Father who owns everything and has knowledge and control of all. This rebellious state will not go unpunished and there will be none to deliver in that day. Please don’t turn away from God. He is wholly other than us and is supreme. He deserves our sacrifice of thanksgiving that honors Him. He is the only God of salvation.

Psalm 51

-Theme: The honest, humble, contrite, and broken plea for mercy unto the great God of our salvation will be heard and responded to by the LORD. He is the One who can blot out our sin.

-*Application* It is comforting to know that we can call upon the LORD and he will save us from the horrible things we do in life that displease Him (Romans 10:13). He is gracious, loving, and compassionate to those who turn unto Him and confess their iniquity. He will not turn the repentant away. He can actually cleanse us and take away our reproach by His great power offered to us by the cross of Christ Jesus. Our responsibility as we see here in this chapter is to know our transgressions as He knows them. Further, we must realize that it is God and God alone who we have sinned against when we do evil. Finally, we must acknowledge that He is just and blameless in His judgment and fully come under His authority. O, the blessings that will proceed out of our lives when we come into conformity with His will and desires. We are washed clean and we are given the wisdom and truth that we so earnestly and desperately seek from Him. We will have joy and gladness of heart that is now clean and steadfast in alliance with Him and His purposes. Our salvation is assured and we will become teachers of the way to peace and rest converting the sinners with His Word. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:17).” Of course the opposite is true of the unrepentant. The LORD resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).

Psalm 52

-Theme: The ridiculous nature of living a life filled with evil and ill intent. God will judge these and break them down forever. On the other hand, be converted to God for spiritual sustenance by trusting in His lovingkindness and mercy.

-*Application* Lovers of evil will not prevail even though they may boast for a little while, speak falsehood, and devise destruction upon the godly. God and His people will have the final say in this matter. Don’t ever trust in the abundance of your riches. They cannot and will not save you. If your desire is for evil and corruption, abandon it while there is still breathe in you, before it is too late and you suffer pain and agony forever in spiritual separation from all that is good. You godly ones, wait on the Name of the LORD, for it is good and His presence endures forever.

Verses to Memorize: Psalm 51:10, 17