Restore to Me the Joy of Your Salvation

Do you feel guilty or feel bad about something that you've done...thought...said? Ashamed? Full of regret? Have you shared your struggle(s) with anyone?

In Psalm 51, David shares how he felt when he was dramatically confronted with his sins by the propet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-25): an extended experience of lust and adultery that led to murder and resulted in tremendous guilt and the loss of his infant son shortly after his birth. In this Psalm, he experiences the fulness and depth of guilt, shame and regret, yet in the very realization of how his sin is not just against Uriah and Bathsheba, his court and his nation, but against God...David experiences the joy of hope in God's forgiveness and ultimate salvation. This Psalm is a great example of why David was known as a man who was "after God's own heart." His example of dealing with his adultery, murder, lying and covering up his sin when confronted is a great example not only of true repentance, but of faith and hope in God's power and will to save. To redeem. To transform us into the people he envisions us to be.

In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells a story about two men praying. He highlights the spiritual result of being humble and in touch with one's own sinfulness in a healthy way (c.f., Psalm 51:14-19). Repentance and inward spiritual transformation must occur in order for ritual sacrifices to be meaningful (c.f., Psalm 51:18-21).

Psalm 103 reminds us that the God who made us from dust knows exactly who and what we are. He made us. He knows we are weak and sinful and he loves and forgives us. He is full of compassion and grace. "Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in kindness."

Hebrews 10 explains that Jesus is the ultimate "once and for all" sacrifice that really does take away our sins for good. So "let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

The Christian’s Memorial Day

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Last Sunday was the day before Memorial Day in the U.S. as well as Pentecost Sunday.  For Christians, every Sunday is memorial day, as we join together to celebrate the Lord's Supper.
It was an encouraging time of meeting for the Augusta Church! We had several sisters from the Atlanta and Columbia churches come join our agape feast.  In celebration of Pentecost and in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 14:27, a brother said a prayer of thanksgiving for the Holy Spirit in Russian and his wife translated. Another brother prayed for our enemies and that they would see that violent actions perpetuated against innocents in God's isn't pleasing to God and would turn from doing evil in the name of that which is good.
We continued with The Lord's Supper and discussed Psalm 95 and the author of Hebrews speaking directly to portions of this psalm in chapters 3 and 4 by arguing that returning to the old covenant won't bring the rest that God promised his people.

 In using this psalm to point to the author's time (and beyond), the author says:

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God's people. For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His. Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens — Jesus the Son of God — let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. (Hebrews 4:8-16, HCSB)
Jesus, the one true high priest, is the reason we have hope to someday enter the rest God promised to the Israelites so long ago. As long as we hold on to what we believed when we first chose to follow Christ and be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, we can enter the true promised land, the new Jerusalem!

Exodus 6:2-9 The Four (sometimes Five) Cups of Passover

passover sederDuring the course of a traditional Jewish Passover seder there are four cups of wine which are drunk by those present.  Each cup is connected to an aspect of deliverance mentioned by God in Exodus 6:6-7 (Read Exodus 6:2-9 for full context).  Some Jewish groups have a Fifth Cup which is not drunk, it will be drunk when  Messiah comes (cf. Matthew 26:29).

For our Midweek Bible Study we will discuss this passage and it's fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

We will be meeting at the Hayes' House tonight (Tuesday, April 10, 2012).

What Jews Can Learn From the New Testament

There's an interesting, free online for a limited time, article in the recent issue of Biblical Archaeology Review entitled What Jews (and Christians too) Should Know About the New Testament by the popular Jewish scholar, teacher, and author Amy-Jill Levine.  Dr. Levine is an Orthodox Jew who teaches both New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University.  She has spent the bulk of her career introducing the New Testament to a Jewish audience and getting Christians and Jews alike to appreciate that the New Testament is fundamentally a collection of Jewish documents intended for a largely Jewish audience and composed by Jewish authors.  This understanding of a common and shared heritage among Jews and Christians in the early centuries of Christianity fosters an environment where both groups can experience a deeper understanding and perhaps growth in spiritual depth from reading and applying the teachings of Jesus, the Apostles and the other New Testament writers.

The Faith of a Military Man: Luke 7:1-10

Synagogue at Capernaum

Remains of a 4th c. AD Synagogue Built on the Site of Original 1st Century Synagogue Built by Roman Centurion

Luke 7:1-10

Jesus was amazed at this man's faith. He had more faith than all of Israel during Jesus' time.

Would Jesus be able to say the same about anyone in your church? Why or why not?

Where does faith come from?

What evidence is there in the text to support Jesus' statement about the centurion?

God Prepares Men to Lead His People Exodus 17-18

Exodus 17-18

God Prepares Men to Lead His People

God has already called and established Moses and his brother Aaron as leaders over his people, as well as Joshua ben Nun, a capable young man, as Moses' protegé and intern leader-in-training.  Now, God begins to prepare and groom leaders, old and new, from among His people. 

Passages:

  1. Ex 17:1-7
  2. Ex 17:8-16
  3. Ex 18:1-27


God Lovingly Provides For His Ungrateful People

manna

The people gather manna as instructed in Exodus 16

Today we read and discussed Exodus 15:22-27, Exodus 16:1-36, and Exodus 17:1-7 which together show how God lovingly provided for His people after freeing them from slavery in Egypt by providing them with water, meat, and daily bread for forty years while he prepared them to be a holy people ready to enter the Promised Land and while they complained nearly the entire time.