Know Your Bible

VOL. 5                           August 20, 2006                           NO. 31


    Have you heard the one about the lonely frog? He telephoned a psychic hotline to find out what his future holds. His personal psychic advisor tells him he would soon be meeting a beautiful young girl, who would be desirous to learn everything about him.

    The frog was very thrilled. "Will I meet her at a party?" he croaks. "No," says the psychic, "in a biology class."

    Friends, there is a simple moral to this story; things are not always what they seem. Things that seem to be great and wonderful often turn out to be entirely the opposite. Have you ever heard of "fools gold?" Do you remember the lyrics to an older song, "fools rush in, where angels fear to tread?"

    Sometimes our eager expectations turn to dark disappointments. Grandiose desires can lead to danger. In the frog’s case, it turned out to be dissection.

    The allurement of this world most always proves to be the downfall of im-mature Christians. We must grow in knowledge of God’s word and equip ourselves with armor suitable to protect ourselves against the "rulers of darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness," Ephesians 6:10-17.

    Satan’s basic temptation techniques involve our lack of self-control. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life can overwhelm our righteous morals. John says "and the world passes away, and the lust thereof; but he that does the will of God abides forever," 1 John 2:15-17.

    Satan’s tactics have not changed since the Garden of Eden. Eve fell for the devil’s deception when she ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. With some persuasion from the father of lies, she "saw that the tree was good for food...pleasant to the eyes...a tree to be desired to make one wise," Genesis 3:6.

    Friend, you know the rest of the story. This turned out to be the greatest mistake any human being ever made. The sad irony of it all is that it still goes on every day.

    We must learn that things are not always what they seem! We must grow in faith and maturity to have our "senses exercised to discern both good and evil," Hebrews 5:14.

---Wendell Ward

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"Give me understanding and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart" (Psalm 119:34).

    In the context of Psalm 119:33-40, we wish to study the importance of "whole heart" service to God. From this scripture, consider these four qualities which result from giving one's whole heart to God.


    "Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end" (33). Starting a race is one thing, crossing the finish line is something different. If we are to keep on running the Christian race, it will be because we have our whole heart in it: "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1). We must stay focused on the reward we are striving for: " in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown." (1 Cor. 9:24,25). That imperishable reward is the "end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls" - heaven (1 Pet. 1:9).

    Therefore, it is not to physical strength and genetics that this race depends, but full surrender to God. If we are not properly nourished from a steady diet of divine truth (cf. 1 Pet. 2:2), and have not committed to spiritual exercises (1 Tim. 4:7), we will be unfit to finish the Christian race. We are cautioned to "not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart"(Gal. 6:9). In contrast to losing heart, we must develop endurance in our spiritual service. For example, Jesus teaches us that we "always ought to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1). Do you pray as you ought to? Again, the apostle Paul rebukes the Corinthians for their perversion of the Lord's supper and, describing the ill effect it had on them spiritually said, "for this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep" (1 Cor. 11:30). Such neglect of this memorial caused them to lose heart. However, by implication we can see the spiritual benefit of the Lord's Supper when observed properly with the whole heart obeying truth.


    "Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it" (vs. 35). Such delight is descriptive of what we have set our affections on, what we count as essential to our being and, consequently, what we greatly desire. God's children follow a different value's system. No longer are the material things of the world counted first, but rather the guidance we receive through the Bible. David stated regarding God's commandments, "More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward" (Psalm 19:10,11).

    Jesus teaches us that in which we truly delight is indicative of where our hearts are: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt. 6:21). We are therefore admonished to seek after and delight in the things of God: "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:1,2). In other words, seek God with your whole heart.


    "Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way" (vs. 36,37). Discernment is the ability to distinguish between the good and bad, the necessary and unnecessary. Such can only come from our whole-hearted reception of divine truth in our lives. Using the figure of food to describe God's truth, the inspired author states, "But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14). Paul's prayer for the church at Philippi was "that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent..." (Phil. 1:9,10).

    Such whole-hearted discernment will cause one to identify and turn away from "covetousness" and "worthless things". To covet means to "fix one's desire upon, to lust after" that which is unlawful, hence, an inordinate, unlawful desire (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine, pp 252,253). Jesus teaches, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Luke 12:15). Again, "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt. 6:24). With the whole heart given to God, one can make the discriminate between good and evil, and he will have the faith to choose the good.


    "Establish Your word to Your servant, who is devoted to fearing You. Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Your judgments are good. Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness" (vs. 38-40). Such devotion comes from the whole heart trusting in God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), and gives us confidence in our faith. Therefore, like Abraham, who "...did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform" (Rom. 4:20,21), we too may have the assurance of receiving the promises of God for us. To doubt His promises indicates a lack of whole-hearted trust (cf. James 1:6-8), and such doubt leads to fear. But those devoted to God will allow Him to bear their burdens of fear and anxiety (Phil. 4:6,7; 1 Pet. 5:7). To the younger preacher Timothy, Paul wrote: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God" (2 Tim. 1:7,8). Timothy's ability to serve God courageously and confidently depended on just how much he was devoted. May we, too, be devoted to God with our whole heart, and serve Him with the blessed assurance that he will remove our reproach and revive us in righteousness.

—Dan Richardson

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