These studies will resume on 11/7

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    Up to this point, Isaiah has preached against primarily Jerusalem (Judah) – the southern tribes of God’s people. At this point, God will now direct His judgment in eleven chapters against the nations surrounding Judah. This is done for a few reasons:


    1. These nations are guilty of sin and sin has to be punished.

    2. God had warned Israel not to trust in men (2:22); therefore, they should not trust in nations for their security. God, alone, is to be trusted.

    3. God has promised that He will establish a new body of people (pictured as a Kingdom, with the Son of David as the King – 7:14; 9:6-7). How will these foreign nations react to this new kingdom? Well, on one hand, they will flow to this new kingdom (2:1-4); on the other hand, God will destroy the kingdoms so they cannot inhibit the establishment of this new kingdom.

    4. In a culture in which gods of conquering nations were viewed as more powerful than those of conquered nations, God would show that He, indeed, was God Almighty. Israel should not trust other gods as Ahaz had done.


    Most of the punishment God will bring on these nations will be through Assyria, the “rod of His anger” (10:5). Smith comments these chapters: “teach the principle that believers should not be motivated by fear to compromise their beliefs about the sovereignty of God. They should confidently serve God regardless of their situation, knowing that his plans are being fulfilled” (292).


    Babylon is the first nation critiqued by Isaiah, in chapters 13-14. Assyria was the dominant and most threatening power in Isaiah’s day, but Isaiah will begin with Babylon. Why? Although Assyria would fight against Judah, that nation would not be victorious. But, Babylon will. Babylon is the nation in which Hezekiah will place ill-founded trust – chapter 39. Babylon is the nation who will carry Judah into exile for 70 years.


    There is a brief message against the world empire of Assyria (14:24-27), which Isaiah delivered the year King Ahaz died. Isaiah had already spoken extensively about Assyria (chapter 10) and he will deal with Assyria more in the historical section (chapters 36-37). Here, we have just a short message that God will break and remove Assyria (verse 26).


    “Here is the final issue of biblical faith. If there is one almighty Creator of the universe, who is intimately and purposefully involved with his creation, then there is no power on earth, least of all human pride, which can successfully rise up against him (43:13; Ps. 33:6-11; Prov. 19:12)” (Oswalt, 328).


    Isaiah also preaches against Philistia (14:28-32) and Moab (chapters 15 & 16). Finally (for now), Isaiah rebukes Damascus (17:1-3) and the northern tribes of Israel (17:4-14).


    The key point: Don’t trust in men nor nations of men! Where is our confidence? It ought not to be in Wall St. nor in Main St. Neither in Congress or the President. Not in Republicans or Democrats. Not in the military or our own weapons. Salvation comes from the Lord! We must consent and obey His will (1:19). If there is one message that pervades these chapters it is: Be humble & submit to God! (James 4:7)

    One other key point, in the words of John from Revelation 11:15 (whose setting would be similar to Isaiah’s): “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” The Son of David will establish His kingdom and the nations of the world will not stop Him.

–Paul Holland

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Rich Realities from Revelation Studies in the Apocalypse that Give us Hope

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    The Christians in Asia Minor, in the first century, are being tempted to compromise their faith and their doctrine. They were told, in essence: “You must change or you will make yourself irrelevant!” Part of this temptation stemmed from their pagan surroundings. The threat of death was a reality for some (Antipas) and on the horizon for others.

    So, Jesus gives them a description of Himself (Revelation, chapter 1). In a series of letters to each congregation, He tells them what they are doing right and what they need to correct. At the end of each letter, He promises blessings if they will overcome (chapters 2-3). Next, Jesus gives them a description of God in heaven and Jesus at His side (chapters 4-5). 

    In chapter 6, God begins showing the Christians what type of future lies in wait for the Empire and all of its inhabitants, including Christians: war, famine, death, fear for those who refuse to repent. In the middle of that type of imagery, Jesus reminds the Christians what awaits them in chapter 7 if they keep their robes white.

    That brings us to the seven trumpets, or at least the first six (the seventh picks up at 11:15). Through these trumpets, God calls on Rome and unfaithful Christians to repent. In this imagery, God uses many allusions to the plagues He brought on the nation of Egypt under Moses. Just as Egypt persecuted the Israelites and God punished her, so Rome persecutes Christians and God will punish her.

    Eight times through these trumpets, we are told that one-third were punished, destroyed, or killed. God begins by affecting the grass, then the sea, then the rivers, then the daylight. Slowly but surely, God is moving in on the very people who are persecuting His beloved children. 

    In the fifth and sixth trumpets, God unleashes a horrible army of 200,000,000 locusts dressed in military attire led by King Destroyer. This army passes over the Euphrates River just as other nations did in Old Testament history. Rome is going down.

    But the matter I wish to bring to your attention, the rich reality in Revelation that gives us hope, is that God still wants mankind to repent. These seven trumpets, in fact, might be viewed as God’s call for man to repent. The last two verses of the sixth trumpet (9:20-21) show us that God really did want man to repent. Yet, they refused.

    The truth is still germane; God does not wish “any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). That was true of Rome and it is true of you and me today. If we repent, He will gladly forgive.

–Paul Holland

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Today Is the Day

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Yesterday is gone and tomorrow never arrives. This is the reason we make the most of today.

We can’t change the past. What has been done is done. There is no going back. Paul understood this when he said, “forgetting what lies behind” (Phil. 3:13). Paul could not change the foolishness of yesterday, but he could accept the forgiveness of God for his sin and move on with vigor.

While the past is set in stone and cannot be changed, the future can still be written, but yet is fragile and uncertain (see James 4:13-16). We should look into the future with the greatest of humility. In truth, we don’t know that we have a future! (not on earth anyway). The uncertainty of tomorrow should cause deep inward reflection today.

Today is the day that we have the most control over. However, even the infidel seizes the day (in his own way). He does so because he has no future. In contrast to that, the Christian seizes the day because he does have a future.

The Christian seizes the day by remembering His Lord and His Will in all his pursuits. He seizes the day by being sober-minded and waiting on the Lord (see Ps. 27:14).

Remember not to dwell too much on the past, nor on the future. “This is the day the Lord hath made…” (Ps. 118:24). “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

Daren Schroeder

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Separating the Seed from the Hull

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Romania is well known for sunflower seed production. According to a USDA report in April, total sunflower seed production is estimated to reach 1.85 million metric tons in 2016-2017. That is a 9% increase over the 2015/2016 marketing year. Sunflower oil is the predominant cooking oil (although it is a mouthful to say in Romanian: ulei de floarea soarelui) and sunflower seeds are a key snack.

I am impressed with those who can split a sunflower seed from its hull with their mouths – the “chew and spit” method. I worked with a preacher who could do it. I cannot. Maybe I just don’t have the patience; I usually just chew up the hull with the seed. At least I’m getting fiber!

Marketing hulled sunflower seeds takes more ingenuity. An air huller pushes high speed air into a chamber that holds the seeds. The force of the air pushes the seeds against a metal plate that splits the hull and separates it from the seeds. You can do the same thing at home with a coffee can and an air hose.

The Greek word for “air” is the same word for “Spirit.” Jesus tells Nicodemus, making a play on the word for “wind/Spirit:” “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:6-8).

Following the message of the Spirit, the “hull” of our sins is separated from the “seed” of our hearts. Paul uses a different, more forceful analogy – “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). Either way, it is the Spirit working through His word that separates us from our sins. We just need to have the courage and humility to endure the process.

–Paul Holland

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From a biblical point of view “Dew”

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Dayton’s Daily “Dew”

When it comes to God’s creation, how many times have we studied an object and wondered, “How did God think of that?” Or perhaps, “What possible purpose can that thing serve?”

     Dew is a deposit of water droplets, formed at night by the condensation of water vapor from the air, onto the surface of objects exposed to the sky. It forms on clear nights when the air is calm or winds are light. The process that produces the dew begins as the sun begins to set and night begins to fall. Objects exposed to the open air cool faster than the air around them, and if it is sufficiently humid, water vapor condenses out of the air and covers the object. Dew may also be drawn from the ground. What an amazing creation God has given us! 

     From a biblical point of view “Dew” is used to refer to blessings, favor, prosperity, resurrection, long life, and to describe how an army covers the earth. It can also describe how an eagle covers her young or how God covers His people. We can see a well-known example in Isaac’s blessing of Jacob “Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine.” Gen.27:28

     Dew was something that Gideon used to test God: Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.” And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.” God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground. Judges 6:36-40. 

“Let My teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass.” Deut. 32:2. Distill means to “run down,” “flow” or “stream.” This is a way of saying God sends His truth to cover the earth like dew! God has covered us with His truth. If we fail to drink in every drop, we may, like the plants of arid climates, never survive until the latter rains. As Christ says, we must endure to the end.

Dayton’s Daily Dew is a Daily Devotional emailed every Monday-Friday

Bill Dayton

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Revive us again

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Bonus files (PDF) on church discipline by Tommy South.

What the Bible says about church discipline 1

What the Bible says about church discipline 2

What the Bible says about church discipline 3


  1. 11:11 – READ – REVIVAL!
    1. In Rev. 11 it looks like God’s people have been destroyed; all seems to be lost.
    2. The devil and his helpers are in a party like atmosphere thinking they have finally won.
  • Revival is an important word and it is one our world recognizes.




  • 5 stanzas are in this hymn and each one ends with, REVIE US AGAIN!
  • The opening words as well as the title say, “We praise thee, O God.”
  • Revival may make us feel better, but spiritually there is a greater purpose.
  • Revival should help us praise, honor and glorify God.
  • As our hymn continues, it speaks of the “Son” who was given for us.
  • It is “Jesus” who “died” for us.
    1. When we need reviving, we need to remember someone came to help us.
    2. Someone came to pay a debt we could never pay.
  • Our debt was so great we were “cut off from God – we were an enemy of God – Rom. 5:10.
    1. We are not “redeemed with silver and gold,” but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
    2. Revival comes by thinking about the cross.
  • Every Sunday should be REVIVAL day because of what Jesus did.


  • In the second stanza of our hymn we read about the “spirit of light.”
    1. If we look at our modern culture, we see a lot of talk about the Holy Spirit, but not light.
    2. People claim strange things about the Holy Spirit which confuse rather than illuminate.
  • The Holy Spirit “combined spiritual things with spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:13).
  • As the words in our song read, He has “shown us our savior and scattered our night.”
  • Jesus said the Holy Spirit would “bear witness of Him” (Jn. 15:26).
    1. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would “guide the apostles into all truth” (Jn. 16:13) and this is what He did.
    2. The Holy Spirit tells us about the “lamb” who was slain” (line 3 of our hymn).
  • It is Jesus bore “all our sins” and can “cleanse every stain.”
  • Jesus bore the full penalty for every single sin.
  • 1 Jn. 1:9 says the sacrifice of Jesus has the ability to cleanse from “all unrighteousness.”
  • In Ps. 19:12 we find a desire to be cleansed from “hidden faults.”
    1. Verse 13 in Ps. 19 refers to “deliberate / presumptuous sin” (Jesus sacrifice deals with these).
    2. 2:14 speaks of being cleansed from all iniquity.”
  • Based on what we have seen thus far, is it in wonder that “Hallelujah” is used 3 times in the chorus?
  • As we go through life our mindset should be (4th stanza), ALL GLORY AND PRAISE.
  • The word “grace” is used in the 4th line of our song. 5:2.
    1. Paul said we can “stand” in grace (Rom. 5:2).
    2. God has bought us; He has “sought us” and He “guides” us through His word.
  • Every single day our minds should be centered on and around God.

    ***************darnos vida

    1. Rev. 11:11 – LEER – avivamiento!
    i) En Apocalipsis 11 se ve como el pueblo de Dios han sido destruidos; todo parece estar perdido.
    ii) El diablo y sus ayudantes están en un partido como el ambiente pensando que finalmente han ganado.
    2) El avivamiento es una palabra importante y es uno nuestro mundo reconoce.

    EL HIMNO Acabamos de terminar – Te alabamos, oh Dios enfatiza el avivamiento.

    1) 5 estrofas están en este himno y cada uno termina por, REVIE nosotros otra vez!
    2) Las palabras de apertura, así como el título dice: “Te alabamos, oh Dios.”
    3) Revival puede hacernos sentir mejor, pero espiritualmente hay un propósito mayor.
    4) Revival nos debe ayudar a la alabanza, honor y gloria a Dios.
    5) Como nuestro himno continúa, se habla del “Hijo” que fue dado por nosotros.
    6) Es “Jesús” que “murió” por nosotros.
    i) Cuando necesitamos revivir, tenemos que recordar que alguien vino a ayudarnos.
    ii) Una persona vino a pagar una deuda que nunca podría pagar.
    7) Nuestra deuda era tan grande que nos “separados de Dios – estábamos un enemigo de Dios – Rom. 05:10.
    i) No estamos “redimidos con plata y oro”, sino con la sangre preciosa de Cristo (1 Ped. 1: 18-19).
    ii) avivamiento viene por pensar en la cruz.
    iii) Todos los domingos debería ser día REVIVAL por lo que Jesús hizo.

    8) En la segunda estrofa de nuestro himno leemos acerca del “espíritu de la luz.”
    i) Si nos fijamos en nuestra cultura moderna, vemos un montón de hablar acerca del Espíritu Santo, pero no la luz.
    ii) La gente dice cosas extrañas sobre el Espíritu Santo que confunden más que iluminan.
    iii) El Espíritu Santo “cosas espirituales combinadas con palabras espirituales” (1 Cor. 2:13).
    9) Como las palabras leen nuestra canción, Él “nos ha mostrado nuestro salvador y dispersa nuestra noche.”
    10) Jesús dijo que el Espíritu Santo debe «dar testimonio de Él” (Jn. 15:26).
    i) Jesús dijo que el Espíritu Santo debe «guiar a los apóstoles a toda la verdad” (Jn. 16:13) y esto es lo que hizo.
    ii) El Espíritu Santo nos habla de la “cordero” que fue inmolado “(línea 3 de nuestro himno).
    11) Es Jesús llevó “todos nuestros pecados” y puede “limpiar toda mancha.”
    12) Jesús cargó la pena completa por cada pecado.
    13) 1 Jn. 1: 9 dice que el sacrificio de Jesús tiene la capacidad de limpiar de “toda maldad.”
    14) En Ps. 19:12 encontramos un deseo de ser limpiado de “vicios ocultos”.
    i) El versículo 13 en Ps. 19 se refiere a “deliberada SIN / presuntuoso” (ofertas de sacrificio de Jesús con estos).
    ii) Tit. 02:14 habla de ser limpiado de todo pecado “.
    15) Sobre la base de lo que hemos visto hasta ahora, es en es de extrañar que “Aleluya” se utiliza 3 veces en el coro?
    16) A medida que avanzamos por la vida de nuestro modo de pensar debe ser (cuarta estrofa), toda la gloria y la alabanza.
    17) La palabra “gracia” se utiliza en la cuarta línea de nuestra canción. ROM. 5: 2.
    i) Pablo dijo que podemos “stand” en la gracia (Rom. 5: 2).
    ii) Dios nos ha comprado; Él ha “buscado de Estados Unidos”, y “guías” nosotros a través de su palabra.
    iii) Cada día nuestras mentes deben estar centrados en y alrededor de Dios.

    18) En la última línea de nuestra REVIVAL himno es la primera palabra que vemos.
    19) darnos vida.


  • In the last line of our hymn REVIVAL is the first word we see.
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Rich Realities from Revelation Studies in the Apocalypse that Give us Hope

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The Christians in the Roman Empire were challenged by foes within (doctrinal compromise) and fears without (threat of death and irrelevance in a pagan society). The heart of the message of the revelation is the coming destruction of the nation of Rome. But, in the process of punishing the pagans, especially for their treatment of Christ’s people, God will also be purifying those very disciples.

In the letters to the seven churches of Christ in Asia Minor, Jesus warned them that testing and tribulation were coming (2:10), war with the sword of His mouth was coming (2:16), great tribulation was coming (2:22). Further, He was coming as a thief (3:3), in an hour of testing (3:10), urging fellowship with those who choose faithfulness over compromise (3:20).

That “tribulation” and “hour of testing” are portrayed in chapter 6. This chapter begins the portrayal of God moving against “Babylon” on one hand and the unfaithful Christians on the other but everyone will be impacted for better or for worse. God’s judgment is portrayed as a warrior on a white horse (6:2), bringing war (6:4) and, in its wake, famine (6:5-6) and death (6:8).

Death will touch many people, both saved and non-saved. The saved, the martyrs for the cause of Christ, will cry out for justice, for vindication (6:9-11). God will hear; their prayers have already been presented before the throne of the Lamb (5:8). The non-saved will also cry out but not for vindication. They will cry out to be spared from the “wrath of the Lamb” (6:16-17).

For those saved, God has a special vision for them in chapter 7. Before God unleashes the four winds of wrath (7:1-2), He’ll make sure the saved know that God knows who they are (7:3). Just as we saw in 5:11, there is a multitude in heaven (cf. Hebrews 11 & 12:1-2): 144,000 (7:4-8). This great multitude is clothed in white (see 3:5); they are the ones who have already died faithful to Jesus Christ (7:14).

For those who will “overcome” and will remain faithful to the Lamb, even if it means death, I see eight blessings given in 7:15-17:

  1. They are before the throne of God;
  2. They serve Him day and night in His temple (Here is a picture of Christians serving as priests before God – 1:6; 5:10; Exo. 19:6.);
  3. He spreads His tabernacle over them (fulfilling Ezekiel’s prophecy from 37:27);
  4. They hunger no longer (Isaiah 49:10);
  5. They thirst no more;
  6. The sun does not beat down on them nor does the heat;
  7. The Lamb is their shepherd and will guide them to springs of the water of life;
  8. God will wipe every tear from their eyes.

Passing on into chapter 8, the seventh seal is broken and there is silence for half an hour. The world waits as God prepares to wreak havoc on the Roman Empire, the prostitute who has abused and killed His faithful children. Have you ever been in the eye of a hurricane? Chapter 8:1-2 are the “eye” of the hurricane which is the wrath of the Lamb. Even so, God blows trumpets (seven to be precise), calling on mankind to soften their hearts, open their ears, and respond in repentance and obedience.

The lesson to give us hope that I offer from chapters 6 and 7 is that “the Lord knows those who are His” (to borrow Paul’s words from 2 Timothy 2:19) and He has awesome blessings waiting for us if we will just stay faithful to the Gospel.

–Paul Holland

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Eye Has Not Seen… Heaven?

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    There are certain passages that are popularly used – out of context. One such passage is that found in 1 Corinthians 2:9, where Paul writes: “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” This passage does not refer to heaven.

    First, ear has heard what God has prepared for man in heaven. You might even say eye has seen what God has prepared for man in heaven. Revelation 4, 5, 7, 14, 19, 21-22 gives us a host of various images that describe what God has prepared for man in heaven. The eye of John has seen it, in vision, and our ears have heard it. I hope you keep those images in your heart each day.

    No, 1 Corinthians 2:9 is about something else. The context of 1 Corinthians 2 (and chapter 1) is the wisdom of God revealed through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross if you look back, beginning around 1:17. In the immediate context, Paul refers to the “testimony of God,” i. e., the Gospel (2:1).

    Paul preached among the Corinthians “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling” (2:3) and his preaching itself was “not in persuasive words of wisdom” (2:4). Rather, it was the Holy Spirit operating miraculously through Paul’s preaching and miraculous gifts that gave a foundation to the message he was preaching. This was done so that their (and our) faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (2:5).

    Paul writes that neither he, nor Apollos, nor Cephas did not preach a wisdom “of this age,” that is an earthly-mindset wisdom, but “God’s wisdom in a mystery” (2:7). This wisdom had been hidden throughout the ages but God has revealed this mystery “to our glory.”

    This wisdom, the “testimony of God” Paul had preached (2:1), was withheld from the “rulers of this age” (2:8). Why? If they had understood the wisdom of God – sending Jesus to the cross for our salvation – they would not have “crucified the Lord of glory.” That’s why God kept this wise plan of salvation hidden throughout the ages. If Satan had known the cross of Christ was in God’s plan all along, he would have done everything he could to keep Christ off the cross, not put Him on it.

    “Just as it is written,” Paul writes, and then quotes the above passage, which comes from the Greek translation of Isaiah 64:4 & 65:17. We’ll come back to the Isaiah passage in just a moment. But in this passage, observe in verse 10 that Paul writes: “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit.” Paul goes on to describe the process of inspiration and revelation – God, through the Holy Spirit, revealed these things (“eye has not seen nor ear heard”) to Paul who then wrote down these spiritual things in spiritual words (2:12-13).

    The context shows us that what “eye has not seen nor ear heard, and which has not entered the heart of man” is the Gospel age with all of its spiritual blessings available now through Jesus Christ. We have those spiritual blessings. They are no longer a mystery! This passage is the exact same context as what we hear from the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:10-12.

    Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner, commenting on this quotation (of Isaiah 64:4) in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, agree: “Thus Paul, in citing this Scripture, shows that the wisdom that he and other apostles and prophets preach is nothing less than the fullness of God’s plan of salvation. What Isaiah promised as part of a dramatic divine intervention (see 64:1), Paul takes to be fulfilled in the message and proclamation of the cross” (pg. 701; emph. added).

    Since Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, applies those two passages from Isaiah to the Christian (Gospel) age, then let us interpret those contexts from Isaiah as predicting the coming of Jesus Christ and His church.

–Paul Holland

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Faithful Love Higher than the Clouds Psalm 108

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    Sometimes, when it rains, it pours. Sometimes it feels like you are on the receiving end of everything that is bad or negative or that drains you of your time, energy, and finances. You are diagnosed with a disease that is treatable but it has been fatal in other people. You have a parent who has several health issues and/or demands a lot of time and care. The country feels like it is going to you-know-where in a hand basket. The church, Christianity, is beat-up on all sides by people who hate Christianity and the pressure is on to conform or go out of existence. On an individual level, a congregational level, and a national level, we feel like, sometimes, we are in an up-hill battle.

    That’s when we have to be reminded of the love of God – that God’s love is “higher than the clouds.”

    Psalm 108 is a composite of two earlier psalms, Psalm 57 and 60. Psalm 57 says that it was written by David when he was hiding from King Saul in the cave. Psalm 60 was written when David was in battle against the Edomites in the valley called the “Valley of Salt.”

WORSHIP (1-6):

    David begins by praising God. He writes that his heart is “steadfast.” The verb here means “established, firm.” His heart is stable and devoted to the God of heaven. So, he will sing praises with his soul (literally, “glory”). It seems to me that David uses the word “glory” here as a parallel with the use of God’s “glory” in verse 5. That is, it is David’s “glory” to worship the God of glory.

    In verse 2, he calls on his instruments to “awake” so that he can use them to praise the God of heaven and with the instruments in his hands and the song in his heart, he will “awaken the dawn!” Verse 3: His worship will not be alone, as an individual. He will give thanks to Jehovah, “among the peoples.” He will sing praises “among the nations.” All things have been created by God; therefore, all things should worship or “glorify” God.

    Why should man glorify / worship God? In verse 4, David tells us why: the lovingkindness of God and His truth. So, again in verse 5, David praises God by singing. God is more important than anything on earth and our relationship with God is more important than anything on earth. He must be exalted in our own lives and in our own hearts.

POWER (7-9):

    The power to answer prayers is found in the hand of God. This next paragraph shows that God is sovereign over the universe and holds every nation in His hands. “God has spoken in His holiness” (verse 7). That is, God speaks from heaven from where He rules and controls all that happens on the earth. What has God said from His holy dwelling place? That He controls all that happens on the earth.

SALVATION (10-13):

    David worships God because David realizes that God has the power to answer His prayer and bring salvation / deliverance to him. 

    David, at one time (maybe more often) felt that God had rejected him. It was a feeling of the Jews when they were taken into Babylonian exile. God had rejected them. No. God had rejected their sin and they were punished because they were sinners. But, there is only one who can provide forgiveness, salvation, and deliverance.

    In verse 12, David calls again on God’s help. This word “help” is used 65 times in the OT and most often, it is used of God’s help and then, in the context of military help. What that shows is the strength and power of the help that God provides.

    What we must do, as worshipers, is to: sing, make music, give thanks, and exalt God above all else. With God’s help, we will “make wealth,” that is, “do valiantly” or “gain the victory” (NIV). “God will provide, in God’s own time and in God’s own place” (deClaisse-Walford, 826).

    God’s faithful love is higher than the clouds. He will not forsake His own children.

–Paul Holland

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1950s TV series Perry Mason

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A Client of Perry Mason

    Our family has become hooked on the 1950s TV series Perry Mason. The show ran for nine seasons, 1957-1966, and starred Raymond Burr in the title role. He, of course, was assisted by his confidential secretary, Della Street, played by Barbara Hale, and a private investigator who seemed to be only Mason’s P.I., Paul Drake, played by William Hopper. The antagonists in the series were Lieutenant Arthur Tragg, played by Ray Collins, and the district attorney (who consistently lost to Mason), Hamilton Burger, played by William Talman.

    The show was resurrected, which is when I became familiar with it, for another ten years, 1985-1995, with Burr and Hale reprising their roles (for 26 episodes), at least until Burr’s death from kidney cancer in 1993 (four more episodes were made after his death with him ostensibly out of town). This series was made-for-TV movies.

    Mason is a creation of author E. Stanley Gardner. Gardner’s books are the third best selling book series of all time, according to With 300 million sales, it ranks behind the Goosebumps (350) and Harry Potter series (450). Gardner was, himself, a lawyer, having practiced in California for over twenty years. He wrote with an obvious knowledge of the practice.

    There are some interesting parallels between Mason and Christianity. For one, the law of Christ is and will be applied impartially and fairly. Once, having been poisoned, Lt. Tragg tells Mason, “You’ve been sticking up for criminals and now you can see the other side of the picture.” “Not ‘sticking up for criminals,’ (Mason) protested indignantly. “I have never stuck up for any criminal. I have merely asked for the orderly administration of an impartial justice …Due legal process is my own safeguard against being convicted unjustly. To my mind, that’s government. That’s law and order” (The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito,; emphasis by wikipedia).

    Jesus Christ will be impartial and fair when He renders justice on the final day. “Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality” (Acts 10:34; cf. Romans 2:11). God demands His people be impartial as well: Leviticus 19:15; James 2:1.

    Something else about the Mason novels/series… Regardless how the story-line begins, you know: 1.) someone is going to go to Mason for help; 2.) someone is (almost certainly) going to get killed; 3.) Mason’s client is going to be accused of the crime; 4.) it almost always looks like the client is guilty; 5.) Mason will find a way to exonerate his client; 6.) Mason also generally finds the guilty party; 7.) frequently the guilty party will confess his crime in the courtroom.

    Despite the fact that we know how the show is going to end (speaking in general), it is still enjoyable to watch it all play out. The girls also love the romance that flickers between Mason and Street, although I have burst their bubble by telling them it will always be just a friendship!

    God’s plan for man, once we have the full Bible in front of us, is just as predictable. 1.) God is pure love and pure holiness; 2.) He made man in his image so that man can love and can be holy; 3.) Man chose not to be holy; 4.) God had to send His Son to be holy in man’s place; 5.) God requires man to fulfill certain stipulations in order for God to share the Son’s righteousness with man; 6.) Many will fulfill those certain stipulations; most will not; 7.) Everyone will be judged (impartially) on whether they fulfilled those stipulations or not.

    Perry Mason is fairly predictable, even if the avenue he takes to the verdict of innocence is not easily foreseeable. God is just as predictable, although we do not always know how He will get each of us to that final destination.

–Paul Holland

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