What's in your "bucket list"?

Some time ago, there was a movie out with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman called the "bucket list".  It dealt with the very question on the poster and is important to us all.  How many people have you known where were all ready to retire and then died suddenly, with all of their dreams unfulfilled?  We all "want" things, some necessary, some not, but since our time on this green Earth is limited, its a good idea if we prioritize our time and talents.  Here is how Jesus addressed the desire to accumulate "things"....

WEB: Luke Chapter 12

[16] He spoke a parable to them, saying, "“The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly. [17] He reasoned within himself, saying, ‘What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?’ [18] He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. [19] I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.”’

[20] “But God said to him, ‘You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’ [21] So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”"

[22] He said to his disciples, "“Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear. [23] Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. [24] Consider the ravens: they don’t sow, they don’t reap, they have no warehouse or barn, and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds! [25] Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height? [26] If then you aren’t able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest? [27] Consider the lilies, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. [28] But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith? [29] Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious. [30] For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. [31] But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you. [32] Don’t be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. [33] Sell that which you have, and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don’t grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn’t fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth destroys. [34] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

It is not wrong to desire the necessities of this life.  But, to make the acquisition of possessions your priority is stupidity.  Why?  Because they won't last, that is WHY!!!  Laying up treasures in heaven, loving God and your neighbor as well should be foremost in all our minds.  God has given us today... use it to the best of your ability.  Glorify God by your actions and do not worry about tomorrow because it is not promised to any of us.  Want to do things... fine... make your "bucket list".  Only be sure to put God first... you will be glad you did!!!!

Feb. 24 Exodus 5

Feb. 24
Exodus 5

Exo 5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said to Pharaoh, "This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.' "
Exo 5:2 Pharaoh said, "Who is Yahweh, that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go? I don't know Yahweh, and moreover I will not let Israel go."
Exo 5:3 They said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh, our God, lest he fall on us with pestilence, or with the sword."
Exo 5:4 The king of Egypt said to them, "Why do you, Moses and Aaron, take the people from their work? Get back to your burdens!"
Exo 5:5 Pharaoh said, "Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens."
Exo 5:6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying,
Exo 5:7 "You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves.
Exo 5:8 The number of the bricks, which they made before, you require from them. You shall not diminish anything of it, for they are idle; therefore they cry, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'
Exo 5:9 Let heavier work be laid on the men, that they may labor therein; and don't let them pay any attention to lying words."
Exo 5:10 The taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spoke to the people, saying, This is what Pharaoh says: "I will not give you straw.
Exo 5:11 Go yourselves, get straw where you can find it, for nothing of your work shall be diminished."
Exo 5:12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.
Exo 5:13 The taskmasters were urgent saying, "Fulfill your work quota daily, as when there was straw!"
Exo 5:14 The officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, "Why haven't you fulfilled your quota both yesterday and today, in making brick as before?"
Exo 5:15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, saying, "Why do you deal this way with your servants?
Exo 5:16 No straw is given to your servants, and they tell us, 'Make brick!' and behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people."
Exo 5:17 But he said, "You are idle! You are idle! Therefore you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to Yahweh.'
Exo 5:18 Go therefore now, and work, for no straw shall be given to you, yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks!"
Exo 5:19 The officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble, when it was said, "You shall not diminish anything from your daily quota of bricks!"
Exo 5:20 They met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh:
Exo 5:21 and they said to them, "May Yahweh look at you, and judge, because you have made us a stench to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us."
Exo 5:22 Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, "Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it that you have sent me?
Exo 5:23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people; neither have you delivered your people at all."

Feb. 24, 25 Matthew 28

Feb. 24, 25
Matthew 28

Mat 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
Mat 28:2 Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and came and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it.
Mat 28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
Mat 28:4 For fear of him, the guards shook, and became like dead men.
Mat 28:5 The angel answered the women, "Don't be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified.
Mat 28:6 He is not here, for he has risen, just like he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying.
Mat 28:7 Go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has risen from the dead, and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him.' Behold, I have told you."
Mat 28:8 They departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word.
Mat 28:9 As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" They came and took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.
Mat 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid. Go tell my brothers that they should go into Galilee, and there they will see me."
Mat 28:11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city, and told the chief priests all the things that had happened.
Mat 28:12 When they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of silver to the soldiers,
Mat 28:13 saying, "Say that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
Mat 28:14 If this comes to the governor's ears, we will persuade him and make you free of worry."
Mat 28:15 So they took the money and did as they were told. This saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continues until this day.
Mat 28:16 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them.
Mat 28:17 When they saw him, they bowed down to him, but some doubted.
Mat 28:18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.
Mat 28:19 Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

"THE BOOK OF PSALMS" Introduction To The Psalms by Mark Copeland


                      Introduction To The Psalms

The value of the Old Testament to the Christian is expressed several
times in the New Testament:

   For whatever things were written before were written for our
   learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the
   Scriptures might have hope.  (Ro 15:4)

   Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they
   were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages
   have come.  (1Co 10:11)

Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of the Old Testament scriptures
he had learned as a child:

   But you must continue in the things which you have learned and
   been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and
   that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are
   able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in 
   Christ Jesus.

   All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
   for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
   righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly 
   equipped for every good work.  (2Ti 3:14-17)

Of the books of the Old Testament, this is especially true of the book
of Psalms!  The value of the Psalms for the Christian is so great, we
should do what we can to become more familiar with them.  Allow me to

Why Study The Psalms?

As Christians, we are commanded to utilize the Psalms:

   Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
   singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,  (Ep 5:19)

   Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
   teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and 
   spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
                                                         (Col 3:16)

   Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful?
   Let him sing psalms.  (Jm 5:13)

Thus the Psalms are useful for singing praises to God.  They are also
useful for teaching and confirming that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah.
Note the use Jesus made of them (Lk 24:44-47), and also Peter's use of
them in his first gospel sermon (Ac 2:25-28,34-35).

It has been said that in the Psalms one finds "expressed the eager
yearning and longing for God's presence".  It certainly contains
"prayers and songs of joyous trust and praise."  Indeed, every emotion
known to man is expressed in beautiful and inspired terms (e.g., joy,
anger, praise, repentance, trust, even doubt).  Filled with some
emotion for which you cannot find the words to express it?  It is
likely you will find it expressed in the book of Psalms!

I would therefore suggest that the Psalms are capable of serving as:

   * The Christian's "hymnal" to assist us in our praise to God

   * The Christian's "prayer book" in which we learn how to approach
     God in prayer

   * The Christian's "book of evidences" to strengthen our faith in
     Jesus Christ

   * The Christian's "training guide" for living holy and righteous
     lives before God 

The Aim Of This Study

It is my prayer that as we study this book we will accomplish the
following goals:

Become more familiar with Old Testament poetry - This is essential to
getting more out the Psalms, and important if we are to avoid
misinterpreting them

Develop an appreciation and working knowledge of the Psalms - So one
may utilize them for his or her own comfort and encouragement, and in
counseling and comforting others

Glean a clearer picture of God's character - To better understand His
love, mercy and deliverance towards the righteous, but also His wrath
and judgment against the wicked

Learn more of the Christ in prophecy - To note descriptions of His
suffering and glorious reign found in the Psalms, some of which are not
found elsewhere in Scripture

Consider examples of fulfilled prophecies - To see in fulfilled
prophecy irrefutable arguments for the inspiration of the Scriptures,
and for the claim that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah

These are just a few of the reasons why the Book of Psalms should be
read and studied by every Christian, and hopefully this study will help
to meet these objectives.

Characteristics Of Hebrew Poetry

Before we get into the background of the Psalms themselves, it may
prove beneficial to consider some things about Hebrew poetry.  Not only
will this help to better understand the nature of the Psalms, but it
can also assist in proper interpretation of this portion of Scripture.

One of the things that makes Hebrew poetry different is...

1) The Use Of "Thought Rhyme"

Also known as "parallelism", thought rhyme involves arranging thoughts
in relation to each other.  This is done without a concern as to
whether certain words rhyme with each other (as found in most modern
poetry).  In the Psalms, we find several different kinds of thought

Synonymous parallelism - The thought of first line is repeated in the
second line, expressed in different words for the sake of emphasis.  A
good example is found in Ps 24:2...

              For He has founded it upon the seas,
              And established it upon the waters. (same idea, reworded)

Antithetical parallelism - The truth presented in one line is
strengthened by a contrasting statement in the next line.  Consider
this example from Ps 1:6...

              For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
              But the way of the ungodly shall perish. (note the

Synthetic parallelism - The first and second lines bear some definite
relation to each other (such as cause and effect, or proposition and
conclusion).  A good example is Ps 119:11...

              Your word I have hidden in my heart, (cause)
              That I might not sin against You!  (effect)

Progressive parallelism - There are several varieties of this form, the
most common being:

   Stair-like - Composed of several lines, each providing a complete
   element of the aggregate or composite thought.  Notice Ps 1:1...

              Blessed is the man...
              Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
              Nor stands in the path of sinners,
              Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; (note the
   Climatic - Here the principal idea in the first line is repeated and
   expanded to complete the thought.  An example is found in Ps 29:1...

              Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones (give what?)
              Give unto the LORD glory and strength.  (the answer)

Introverted parallelism - The first line is closely related in thought
to the fourth, and the second to the third.  For example, consider Psa

              Because he has set his love upon Me, (note line 4)
              therefore I will deliver him; (note line 3)
              I will set him on high, (note line 2)
              because he has known My name. (note line 1)

It is often fascinating to note how creative the Hebrew poets were as
they composed their poetry using "thought rhyme" rather than "word
rhyme".  In some cases it even helps in interpreting difficult
expressions or phrases.  Another characteristic of Hebrew poetry is...

2) The Lack Of Poetic Rhythm

Much modern poetry has standard measures of identifiable rhythm, as in
the poem "Mary Had A Little Lamb."  With the Hebrews, however, the art
of poetic rhythm was of secondary consideration.  Some suggest that it
is not likely that the Hebrew poets had standard measures, worked out
and carefully defined.  Again, their focus was on "thought rhyme," not
"word rhyme."

Finally, an important characteristic of Hebrew poetry is...

3) The Use Of Figurative Expression

The Psalms are filled with figurative expressions, and as such it is
important to keep certain principles of interpretation in mind...

a) The figure must be accepted and dealt with as a figure of speech,
   not as a literal statement

For example, in Ps 18:31, the Lord is called "a rock."  He is like a
rock, but not one literally.  In Ps 51:4, David says "Against You, You
only, have I sinned."  Yet he is confessing his sin of adultery with
Bathsheba, in which he sinned not only against the Lord, but against
his wife, against Uriah, and many others.  David was speaking
figuratively for the sake of expressing his deep grief in sinning
against God, and we must allow for figurative expressions including
hyperbole in poetic writings.  One needs to be careful and not develop
doctrinal beliefs  upon what may be figurative expressions not intended
to be taken literally.

b) The figure must be interpreted in light of its meaning in the
   setting in which it was used

For example, in Ps 23:4, we find the well-known phrase:  "the valley
of the shadow of death."  It is not uncommon to hear the phrase applied
at funerals to the act of dying.   In the setting of the psalm,
however, it refers to a treacherous place (such as a steep valley,
where deep shadows can easily cause a misstep resulting in death),
where the guiding hand of a shepherd would be very helpful to sheep to
avoid death.  It is therefore applicable to any time one is in perilous
straits and in need of God's guiding hand.    

Appreciating these characteristics of Hebrew poetry can help the Psalms
become more meaningful, and understanding these characteristics can
also help avoid misinterpreting the Psalms to teach doctrines the
psalmist had no intention of teaching!

Background Material On The Psalms

Having examined some of unique characteristics of Hebrew poetry in
general, let's now focus on the book of Psalms itself...

1) The Origin Of The Word "Psalm"

The Greek word is "psalmos", from the Hebrew word "zmr" meaning "to
pluck"; i.e., taking hold of the strings of an instrument with the
fingers.  It implies that the psalms were originally composed to be
accompanied by a stringed instrument.  "Psalms are songs for the lyre,
and therefore lyric poems in the strictest sense."(Delitzsch, Psalms,
Vol. I, p. 7)  David and others therefore originally wrote the Psalms
to be sung to the accompaniment of the harp.

In New Testament worship, we are told to sing the psalms to the
accompaniment of the heart:

   "...in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody
   in your heart to the Lord" (Ep 5:19)

The phrase, "making melody," comes from the Greek word "psallontes"
(literally, plucking the strings of).  Therefore, we are to "pluck the
strings of our heart" as we sing the psalms (i.e., to sing with

2) The History Of The Psalms

The oldest of the Psalms originate from the time of Moses (1400 B.C.). 
We have three psalms penned by Moses:

Exo 15:1-15 - a song of triumph following the crossing of the Red Sea

Deut 32, 33 - a song of exhortation to keep the Law after entering

Ps 90 - a song of meditation, reflection, and prayer

After Moses, the writing of Psalms had its "peaks" and "valleys"...

In David (1000 B.C.), the sacred lyric attained to its full maturity.

With Solomon, the creation of psalms began to decline; this was "the
age of the proverb."  

Only twice after this did the creation of psalms rise to any height,
and then only for a short period:  under Jehoshaphat (875 B.C.) and
again under Hezekiah (725 B.C.).

3) The Authors Of The Psalms

David - Commonly thought to be the author of the book of Psalms, but he
actually wrote only about seventy-three (73), less than half.

Asaph - The music director during the reigns of David and Solomon (1
Chr 16:1-7).  He wrote twelve (12) psalms.

The Sons of Korah - These were Levites who served in the Temple (1 Chr
26:1-19).  They wrote twelve (12) psalms.

Solomon - At least two (2) psalms are attributed to him (Ps 72, 127). 
That he wrote many more is stated in 1Ki 4:29-32.

Moses - As indicated above, he wrote the earliest psalms; one is
included in Psalms (Ps 90).

Heman - Contemporary with David and Asaph, and is known as "the singer"
(1Ch 6:33).  He wrote one psalm (Ps 88) that has been preserved.

Ethan - A companion with Asaph and Heman in the Temple worship (1 Chr
15:19).  He wrote one psalm (Ps 89).

Anonymous - The authorship of forty-eight (48) of the psalms is

4) The Arrangement Of The Psalms

The Psalms were originally collected into five "books", apparently
according to the material found within them...

Book I (Ps 1-41)
Book II (Ps 42-72)
Book III (Ps 73-89)
Book IV (Ps 90-106)
Book V (Ps 107-150)

The Psalms can also be arranged into chief "groups"...

Alphabetic or Acrostic - These psalms have lines which in Hebrew start
with words whose first letters follow a certain pattern.  For example,
in Ps 119 the first eight lines start with words beginning with the
Hebrew letter ALEPH, the second eight lines with words beginning with
BETH, etc.  This may have been done to aid in the memorization of the

Ethical - These psalms teach moral principles.  A good example is Psa

Hallelujah - These are psalms of praise, beginning and/or ending with
"hallelujah" or "praise Jehovah".  Ps 103 is one such example.

Historical - Psalms which review the history of God's dealings with His
people.  A good sample would be Ps 106.

Imprecatory - These psalms invoke God to bring punishment or judgment
upon one's enemies.  Consider Ps 69 as an example.

Messianic - Psalms pertaining to the coming Messiah.  For example, look
at Ps 2 or Ps 110.

Penitential - These are psalms expressing sorrow for sins that have
been committed.  A classic example is David's psalm in Ps 51.

Songs Of Ascent (or Songs Of Degrees) - These psalms were possibly sung
by pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem to observe the feasts.  They are 
grouped together as Ps 120-134.

Suffering - These psalms are cries of those suffering affliction.  Psa
102 is a typical example.

Thanksgiving - Psalms of grateful praise to Jehovah for blessings
received.  For example, take a look at Ps 100.

The various "styles" of the psalms can be described as...

Didactic - Psalms of teaching and instruction (e.g., Ps 1).

Liturgical - Responsive readings, for use in special services (e.g.,
Ps 136).

Meditation - The ancient Hebrews were given to meditation, which spirit
finds expression in many of the psalms (e.g., Ps 119).

Praise and Devotion - Psalms of joyful praise (e.g., Ps 148).

Prayer and Petition - Psalms which were sung in an attitude of prayer
(e.g., Ps 51).

Hopefully, this brief background of the Book Of Psalms will help one
gain a better feel and appreciation for this type of Scripture.  

Review Questions For The Introduction

1) According to Ro 15:4, why was the Old Testament written?
   - For our learning
   - That through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures we might
     have hope

2) According to 1Co 10:11, why were the events in Old Testament times
   - For our admonition

3) As Paul reminded Timothy, of what value were the Scriptures (Old
   Testament) he had learned as a child? (cf. 2Ti 3:14-15)
   - They were able to make him wise regarding the salvation through
     faith in Christ Jesus

4) What is Scripture profitable for, including the Old Testament? (cf.
   2Ti 3:16-17)
   - Doctrine
   - Reproof
   - Correction
   - Instruction in righteousness
   - To make the man of God complete, thoroughly equipped for every 
     good work

5) What three Scriptures teach Christians to utilize the Psalms?
   - Ep 5:19; Col 3:16; Jm 5:13

6) What are the Psalms capable of serving for the Christian?
   - As the Christian's "hymnal"
   - As the Christian's "prayer book"
   - As the Christian's "book of evidence"
   - As the Christian's "training guide" for living holy and righteous

7) What will be the aim of this study in the Psalms?
   - To become more familiar with Old Testament poetry
   - To develop an appreciation and working knowledge of the Psalms
   - To glean a clearer picture of God's character
   - To learn more of the Christ in prophecy
   - To consider examples of fulfilled prophecies

8) What three characteristics of Hebrew poetry were pointed out in this
   - The use of "thought rhyme"
   - The lack of poetic rhythm
   - The use of figurative expression

9) List the five different types of "parallelism" described in this
   - Synonymous
   - Antithetical
   - Synthetic
   - Progressive
   - Introverted

10) What was the original meaning of the word "psalm"?
   - To pluck

11) In New Testament worship, what is the instrument upon which melody
    is to be played? (cf. Ep 5:19)
   - The heart

12) Who wrote some of the earliest Psalms?
   - Moses

13) When did the writing of Psalms reach its peak?
   - During the time of David

14) List some of the authors who penned the Psalms in our Bible.
   - David (73), Asaph (12), the sons of Korah (12), Solomon (2), Moses
     (1), Heman (1), Ethan (1), anonymous (48)

15) List different "groups" into which the Psalms can be placed.
   - Alphabetic (Acrostic), Ethical, Hallelujah, Historical, 
     Imprecatory, Messianic, Penitential, Songs Of Ascent (Degrees),
     Suffering, Thanksgiving

16) List the different "styles" of the Psalms.
   - Didactic, Liturgical, Meditation, Praise and Devotion, Prayer and