Sunday, March 26, 2017

Psalm 85 - When God Blesses a Nation

What does that mean to you? We sing "God bless America" and other patriotic songs that mention God. Many religious leaders jumped on the Trump train to make America great again - asking God to bless us again.

But what does that look like? Everyone getting a pay raise? Our trade deficit going away? Creating hundreds of thousand of new jobs? Having politicians that do what we want them to do? having an Army that can beat ISIS and anyone else that threatens the American dream?

The psalmists (sons of Korah) tell us that God showed them favor and restored their fortunes, forgave and covered their sins, and set aside His anger. But apparently that was in the past because now they are asking God to restore and revive them again. They wanted to see His unfailing love and His salvation.

They were ready and willing to do these things.

  • They asked.
  • They listened.
  • They would not turn to folly.
  • They would fear Him.
Here is how God would bless them.
  • 10 Love and faithfulness meet together; 
  • righteousness and peace kiss each other. 
  • 11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
  •  and righteousness looks down from heaven. 
  • 12 The LORD will indeed give what is good, 
  • and our land will yield its harvest. does that line up with your thoughts about God blessing America?
Are we willing to ask then listen? Will we turn from our folly? (And I'm talking about the Christians.) Will we fear Him? (Which means we follow His commands.)

We need to pray that God will restore and revive us (Christians) again and that our nation would return to Him. It will be easier to reach the rest of the nation when we are living the way we should. 
      Just thinking out loud.....

March 26 Rehearsals

This is the updated rehearsal schedule for March 26. (updated March 23)

 Be sure and check back so you don't miss any important information. Of course there will be posts on Facebook that will bring you here. You can also look for a QR code in the Sunday bulletin. Of course, you don't need a QR code if you have the blog bookmarked on your browser.

This Sunday, March 26, we have these rehearsals.
2:00 NO Children's Choir (Spring Break)
2:00 Youth Choir
3:00 Handbells in Choir Room
3:00 Creation Scene in Sanctuary -
4:00 - 5:30 Adult choir on stage
6:00 Actors on stage (Jesus, John the Elder, John, and James) (Still looking for Peter)

Entrance to the building will be available through the "ugly metal doors" as I like to call them.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Psalm 84 - A Lovely Dwelling Place's in German, but have you heard anything this lovely lately? Ooooooo. I think I'll listen to it again.
Here's the translation if you need it.

.Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen,
Herr Zebaoth!
Meine Seele verlanget und sehnet sich
nach den Vorhöfen des Herrn;
mein Leib und Seele freuen sich
in dem lebendigen Gott.

Wohl denen, die in deinem Hause wohnen,
die loben dich immerdar
How lovely are thy dwelling places,
O Lord of Hosts!
My soul requires and yearns for
the courts of the Lord;
My body and soul rejoice
in the living God.

Blessed are they that dwell in thy house;
they praise you forever

Look how the psalmist longs for the Lords' house.

How lovely is Your dwelling place, LORD Almighty.
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD.
Better is one day in Your house than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Jesus said in John 14
1 "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
3 "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

I think sometimes we only focus on that heavenly dwelling place. I'm not saying it won't be wonderful. It will be beyond any of our thoughts or dreams.

But there is more to following Jesus than that beautiful home in heaven. The psalmist knew that too. It's not the place. It's the person.

v2 My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

The reason God's dwelling place is lovely is because HE is there. The reason heaven will be so glorious is because HE is there. Streets made of gold are worthless without Christ.
Another thought.
God doesn't "dwell" in our churches. Not like they understood in Old Testament times. But He is dwelling in us if we are followers of Christ. And when we gather together in worship He is there. I have to wonder about those who don't want to ever attend a worship service where we sing God's praise. They say they want to go to heaven, but they don't seem to care about a relationship with God now. That's what heaven is. It is dwelling with God. It's not fishing all the time or golfing or growing roses without thorns. It is being in the presence of Almighty God.
Where are you in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Do you long for Him? Do you want to gather with His people and sing His praises? 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Psalm 83 - A Prayer for Israel

Five years ago I blogged "150 Days of Psalms." I've not looked at the old posts because I wanted to possibly have a new take, a fresh look - and I didn't want to be influenced by what I wrote before. I suppose it might be interesting to look after-the-fact at a psalm, but I haven't done that yet.

But today..... I looked.... and now I can't think of something different to say.

Here's what I said five years ago. I think it still works.

Today's Psalm is one that Israel still needs to use as a prayer - only the names have changed to the modern names of the same people: Iran, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, etc.

Christians can use that same prayer using these same names, plus they can add: China, North Korea, Indonesia, Sudan and many more.

14 Like fire that burns the forest And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, 15 So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm. 16 Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O LORD. 17 Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish, 18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the LORD, Are the Most High over all the earth.

Pray today for Israel and for the Persecuted Church.

But I would add this - something that I left out. It looks like my thought before was for the "consuming fire" side of God. That was the psalmists desire too. But he added this (and I think I overlooked this) "That they may seek Your name, O LORD" and "That they may know that You alone, whose name is the LORD, Are the Most High over all the earth."

Sometimes I get caught up in wishing something terrible would happen to the "bad guys" that I forget that I also need to pray that they would come to know the Lord. We still need to pray for Israel and for the Persecuted Church, but we need to pray both parts of this psalm - May they be humiliated and perish, but also, may they seek the Lord and know Him.

A side note.......
Every day I do a search for that day's psalm. Every day there are many beautiful pictures with a verse of the psalm written on it. Today, there are only pictures like the one I used before: maps of the holy lands, charts comparing the old names of Israel's enemies with their new names... those kinds of things. So I made this one. Not exactly a pretty mountain scene or a butterfly on a flower, but it matches the verse.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Psalm 82 - Judging the Judges

Psalm 82 is a little confusing at first. What is he (the psalmist) talking about "gods?"
All of the commentaries that I read say the psalmist is talking about "judges."
Here's a nice explanation that I found. you are gods

Here is what this psalm says judges should do and not do.

  • Don't judge unjustly
  • Don't show partiality to the wicked
  • Defend the weak and the fatherless
  • Uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed
  • Rescue the weak and the needy
We should demand the same from our judges.

And then we should live our lives as we expect them to live.

What are some things that you can do to defend the weak and fatherless?
What are you doing to help the poor and the oppressed?
Are you rescuing the weak and the needy?

Somehow - over the decades - the church has abandoned our call and given many of these things over to the federal government. Now the government is jillions of dollars in debt and the church has become fat and lazy.

WE should change that. What are your ideas of how to live our lives within these guidelines for the judges? We can't judge the judges without judging ourselves.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Psalm 81 - A Call to Worship

Psalm 81 gives several instructions for worship. It doesn't come right out and say, "this is how you should worship" but it is all in there.

Sing and shout
"Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!" v.1

Play instruments
"Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre." v.2

Celebrate special feasts 
"Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;" v.3

It's a command, not a suggestion
"this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob." v.4

Remember what God has done in the past
vs. 5-7

Don't worship any other gods
"You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me." v.9 (8-10)

There is condemnation for those who do not listen to God and reward for those who do.

The choice is yours.
Will you answer God's call to worship Him?
Will you listen to Him?
Will you be satisfied with the blessings He gives?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Psalm 80 - Shine On Us

3 Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

7 Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

19 Restore us, LORD God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.