Friday, March 31, 2017

Psalm 90 - Timeless God

There are a lot of wonderful tings to write about in Psalm 90.

I decided to write about a theme that shows up in a couple of ways - the timelessness of God. Look at these verses.

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 

2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 

4 A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. 

Here are a few random thoughts about what it means to have a timeless God.

  • God is outside of and is not confined by time. He created it. 
  • When I am impatient I need to remember that God is at work. He just doesn't have to be on my time schedule since He is not bound by time.
  • I remembered the verse, 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."
What are your thoughts about God's timelessness? I'd love to know what you think.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Psalm 89 - I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord

1 A Contemplation of Ethan the Ezrahite. 
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever
 With my mouth will I make known 
Thy faithfulness to all generations.

2 For I have said, "Mercy shall be built up forever; 
Thy faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens."
3 "I have made a covenant with My chosen, 
I have sworn to My servant David:
4 'Your seed I will establish forever, 
And build up your throne to all generations.' " Selah

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Psalm 88 - Heman the Ezrahite

(Of course the first thing I thought of was He Man from my children's childhood.)

I don't remember ever reading the name Heman the Ezrahite, but he is mentioned 16 times in the NIV Bible. This article will tell you about him. Heman the Ezrahite

I'm not going to try to summarize that article here.

Psalm 88 is the only psalm associated with Heman. He was in a dark place when he wrote it! But even in his depressed state he made this statement of faith.

1. LORD, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you.

In the rest of the psalm he tells how bad things are and how depressed he is. But even in the middle of that he says, "But I cry to you for help, LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you."

So....that's my advice to all of us from today's psalm. Go ahead and tell God how bad you feel and ask Him if He's ever going to do something about your problems. That's OK. But then remember, and say to Him, "You are the God who saves me." Then live with that truth in your heart.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Psalm 87 - Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken

You may know the name John Newton as the writer of the text of "Amazing Grace." He wrote many other hymn texts.

Another of his very well known hymn texts is "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken." The text was based on Psalm 87:3, Psalm 48 and Isaiah 33:20-21. (Which is why I'm blogging about it on a post about Psalm 87.

The tune was written by Franz Joseph Hayden. He wanted a national anthem as impressive as the one England had so he wrote this tune.
You may recognize the tune AUSTRIA.

It's not a hymn we sing at Hilldale, but many churches around the world sing it all the time. It's a beautiful tune and a great text.

Here's a beautiful handbell and organ arrangement.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Psalm 86 - An Undivided Heart

11 Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

The psalmist asked God to him an undivided heart. 
In Ezekiel, God said that He would give His people an undivided heart.
Our hearts, my heart, can be scattered in so many ways. I want to live a holy life but I get distracted by the world. I suppose I could list a lot of different ways my heart is divided, but it will do you more good for you to look into your own heart to see how it may be divided.
Jesus said that we can't serve two masters, that we will hate one and love the other.
13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
But I can't put my heart together on my own. The psalmist couldn't put his heart together on his own. And we can see in Ezekiel that God knows that. The children of Israel couldn't keep the law, they turned from God and He sent them out into exile. But here God was promising Ezekiel that He would gather them back, give them back to the land of Israel, but the best part - whether Ezekiel realized it or not - was the promise of a New Covenant. 

I'm probably leaving out some of my thoughts of how I'm getting here.... but that's just how it's going tonight. :-) 
If any man is in Christ he is a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17, says the same thing that Ezekiel said - replacing a heart of stone with a heart of flesh.
Hmmmm. OK. I'm on two different tracks but I think they have the same answer.
1. Is a non-believer getting a new heart.
2. Is a believer who has a new heart but the cares of life or the temptations of the world have divided his heart. 
The answer for both of these is for the LORD to change the heart.
Are you dealing with a divided heart? I'm guessing yes - because we all do. Even the Apostle Paul did. See what he says in Romans 7 But he also gives the answer in Romans 7
24 Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
I've gone on long enough. I hope I put out enough dots that you can connect some of them.
Bottom line:
Do you have heart issues? Jesus Christ is the answer.

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.

Psalm 79 - for His Glory

Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the glory of your name. Save us and forgive our sins for the honor of your name.
Psalms 79:9 NLT

Our Internet is out at home so I'm trying to blog from my phone. It looks different and doesn't seem to work exactly the same way, so I'm going to make this short. 

Psalms 79 is a song of lament - 
  • : to express sorrowregret, or unhappiness about something
Full Definition
    intransitive verb
  • : to mourn aloud : wail
  • transitive verb
  • 1 : to express sorrowmourning, or regret for often demonstratively :mourn
  • 2 : to regret strongly
  • synonyms see deplore

Jerusalem had been destroyed. Thousands had died. Where was God? How long would He stay away?

That's as far as I got last night blogging with my phone.....

Here's where I was headed.
Salvation is from God. God giving us salvation brings glory to His name. Forgiving our sins gives honor to His name.

Yes... salvation is a wonderful gift for us, but it is more than that. It shows the glory and honor of God. His righteousness demands a penalty, a payment, for sin. But because He is glorious and honorable He offers salvation. When we come to Him and ask for forgiveness it, and then He gives it, that shows His honor and glory.

I think that's pretty cool!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Psalm 78 - Those Who Don't Learn History...

...are doomed to repeat it. The saying by George Santayana was originally stated as "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Since Wikipedia says Santayana was an atheist he may not have been familiar with Psalm 78, but if he had read it he would have seen this. (This is a shortened version of vs.1-7. If you haven't read them yet you should.)

We're going to tell you the praiseworthy things that the LORD has done. He commanded that we teach his laws to our children and their children so they would trust in God and not forget what He had done and would keep His commandments.

After the opening verses Psalm 78 recounts the history of the children of Israel. The psalmist says we should teach our children so they WON'T repeat the history of their ancestors.

8 They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

We need to do the same thing. We need to teach our children and grandchildren the ways of the LORD. Tell them how great He is. Teach them the history of Israel and let them see how the Israelites 10 they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law. 11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.

If we and our children don't learn from the mistakes of the Israelites we are doomed to repeat it.

You should do this with your own history too. It's is definitely more personal and relate-able when it is YOUR story. Teach your children the good things you have done as you followed the LORD and about His greatness. Don't be ashamed to tell them your mistakes. They don't necessarily need to know all the terrible details, but let them know how your life was messed up when you turned away from God and how He put it back together when you returned to Him. (If that's your story.) In both cases tell them that you are telling them these stories so they will follow you in the good things and avoid your mistakes. 

Bottom line:
Teach your children history so they aren't doomed to repeat it. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Psalm 77 - Remembering

Have you noticed how easy it is to get discouraged? How easy it is to think that God has abandoned you? To question whether God even cares about you anymore? Everything is going wrong (so you think) so you just know that God has turned His back on you and forgotten you.

The writer of Psalm 77 was feeling that same way. He cried for help. He couldn't be comforted. He felt rejected by God.
7 “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? 8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

He was really in a bad place.

But look what he did. He remembered. 

He remembered what God had done in the past.
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

For some reason we have really short memories when it comes to what God has done for us and really long memories of the bad things that happen to us. We need to consciously work on reversing that.

How much worry could you avoid if you remembered how God had cared for you in the past? Would you live your life differently - like without fear or sorrow - if you remembered how God had answered your prayers in the past? Could you... well....ask your own question about something that keeps you from living Jesus' words in John 10:10 "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Would remembering how great God is and what He has done in the past answer that question?

Perhaps you could keep a list of things in the back of your Bible - a list of answers to prayer, times God took care of you in difficult times, times that He showed you the right path to take.... those kinds of things. Then the next time you're all worried or feel like God has abandoned you or turned against you, go through your list and remember all that God has done for you. 

Bottom line:
Remembering what God has done for you will get you through the difficult times of life.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Psalm 76 - God Is Greater

The theme of Psalm 76 is that God is greater.

  • He's greater than armies with their arrows and shields and swords. v.3
  • He is more majestic than mountains full of prey. v.4
  • He is more powerful than the valiant and warriors. v.5
  • With just a word He is more powerful than chariots and horses. v.6
  • He is greater than rulers and kings. v.12
The Apostle John gives us more to think about when considering how God is greater.

20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

And you can read the book of Hebrews and see how Jesus is greater than - well.... everything: angels, the old covenant and sacrificial system, the priesthood and more. will you live your life differently with that in mind?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hilldale's Passion Play 2017 - The Great I Am

Passion Play Rehearsals for Sunday, March 26

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.

Psalm 75 - But As for Me

We live in a world that puts a lot of pressure on everyone. There is pressure to be politically correct in everything you say. There is pressure to look a certain way; how much to weigh, what color to die your hair, what brand or style of clothes to wear, what kind of car to drive or how big of a house to live in.

There are also pressures from the world to be like the world. Stand up for your rights! Don't let anyone walk over you! Take what you want and don't worry about who you have to hurt to get where you want to be.

The world tells us that we don't need God. People shake their fists at God and live in wickedness. vs. 4-5

Paul described the worldly life like this.
Galatians 5:19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But we can choose different paths. Look what the psalmist said in verse 9

But as for me...
I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

Joshua made the same statement.

15 "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD , choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD ."

So the question of the day is... what will you choose? The ways of the world where you shake your fist at God or will you say "but as for me" and choose Christ?
Choose to follow the Lord, live by the Spirit and instead of the list you see in Galatians 5:19-21 You'll see the fruit of the Spirit in your life. These things will be evident to others.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Psalm 74 - Opposites Have You Covered

What struck me as I was reading Psalm 74 was how the psalmist describes God using opposites.

You split open the sea - You fed the sea monster to the desert creatures.
You open up springs and streams - You dry up ever-flowing rivers.
You rule the day - and the night.
You established the sun - and the moon.
You created summer - and winter.
I like this even though they spelled desert wrong. 

To me, today, this shows how God is above everything, in control of everything, can do anything. The opposites show that He is not limited to just one thing or the other.

Knowing that should give us great comfort and hope.
Do you have problems or trials? Don't think that God is limited to how you see a solution. If He can cause springs to come forth and dry up rivers that have always flowed he can take care of you in any number of ways. You may need a new spring. You may need a river to dry up. He can do and does both - either. I hope you're catching what I"m trying to say. I don't feel like I'm using enough words. But on the other hand. I like to give examples that aren't too specific because I think it is important that you fill in the blanks with your own situation. Sometimes when a preacher or someone gives a specific example of a sin, or an answer to prayer, or whatever.... the listener/reader only sees that one example. If I give you just the principle behind something, then it is my prayer that  you can apply that principle to your own life and your own situation.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Psalm 73 - What I Desire

25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. 26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

One of my all-time favorite worship songs is "Made Me Glad" written by Miriam Webster (C) 2001 Hillsong Music. The second verse is taken from Psalm 73:25. Part of the chorus is from v. 26. 

What do you desire?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Psalm 72 - Praying for Those in Charge

Psalm 72 is a prayer of David for his son Solomon. Since we don't have kings around these parts we may think that we don't relate to this psalm. But what's good for the king should be good for anyone who is in authority. You can start with the President, but keep going. Senators, congressmen, governors, state legislators, mayors, local sheriff and police officers.....

The prayer David had for Solomon has many things in it that we should use as a guide as we pray for all of those listed above (and others.)

I'm using the NIV and NLT for my thoughts below.

  • Give your love of justice to the king and let him judge the people in righteousness.
  • Let the poor always be treated fairly.
  • Help him defend the poor.
  • Help him rescue the children of the needy.
  • May the king's reign be refreshing like Spring rain.

Even if the mayor or governor or president or whoever isn't someone you voted for these are things that you can pray for him or her. Now the whole part about "may the king reign forever" is NOT something you'll want to pray no matter if you voted for that person or not. Ha!

The Apostle Paul also gave instructions about praying for those in authority.
1 Timothy 2:1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior,

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Psalm 71 - Random Thoughts

I need to blog something about Psalm 71 but my day started early. Not only did we lose an hour of sleep (I tried to go to bed early) but then we had deacons' meeting at 7:00 which means I got to church at 6:30 to get things ready for worship. Not complaining, just explaining.

Now, Aaron and Melissa and Cheryl and I are visiting.... so.... I'm going to read Psalm 71 to them and post our random thoughts. I won't put our names next to what we say - you know, to protect the innocent or guilty or whatever..... hahahaha.

First eight verses.

God is my rock.

My praise is always about Him.

Trust is built on a relationship.

It is through God's strength and protection that we are examples for others.

Verses 9-14

Our hope is in the Lord. He doesn't leave us.

We can always bring our worries and struggles to God and ask Him for help.

We always need His help - even in our old age.

Verses 15-24

God is always faithful.

I will always praise Him, sing, play instruments - because He has ransomed me and His deeds are righteous.

It's important to share your faith and teach the next generation.

God is always with us even in hard times and struggles.

God is our comfort.

My thoughts.
When we are young we need to pay attention to what God is doing in our lives - how even from the day we were born God takes care of us. When we are older we need to remember what He did in earlier times and share with those younger than us. They need to hear us praising God and know the reasons behind our praise so they will praise Him too.

In other words, that's a long way to say "One generation declares your works to another." Psalm 145:4.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Psalm 70 - Poor and Needy

5 But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; LORD, do not delay.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Psalm 69 - Humble vs. Proud

Psalm 69 is one of the "Messianic" psalms. Here's a good article that talks about Messianic Psalms

But that's not what I want to blog about. I really like these verses.

32 The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.

33 For the LORD hears the cries of the needy; he does not despise his imprisoned people.

I sometimes - well, a lot of times - get so irritated at these people that start naming and claiming stuff from God. They are so smug - proud - in how they talk. They think they've thought of just the right words to say that will make God do what they want Him to do. 

But what is written here in Psalm 69 is echoed throughout scripture.

2 Samuel 22:28 NLT
28 You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them.

James and Peter both quoted Proverbs 3:34

James 4:6 NIV
6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:5 NIV
5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Jesus said, (same idea)
Matthew 5:3 NIV
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

If you have a biblical view of God - holy, almighty, omnipotent, glorious, .... the list goes on and on....
but anyway, if you see God for who He is you don't just start saying "in the name of Jesus..." and then tell God what you expect Him to do. 

Yes. We can come boldly to the throne of grace 
Hebrews 4:16 NIV
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The difference is that Hebrews is talking about approaching with confidence in God's grace and mercy. The proud have confidence in their approach. Does that make sense? I think it does. 

I don't know if I've expressed well what I'm trying to say, but I know that if you ask God to show you what He means by the verses above that the Spirit will show you. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Psalm 68 - Bonus Post

Psalm 68
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 

6 God sets the lonely in families

All through scripture we see that God cares for - and wants us to care for - the widows and the fatherless. Here is how James words it. 

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress

God sets the lonely in families, but more often than not He uses US to care for the widows and the fatherless. Are there widows or widowers near you (church, neighbors, Sr. adult assisted living places) that you should adopt as part of your family? Are you one of the families that God wants to set a lonely person in?

Do you need to be a foster care family? An adoptive family? A family that provides respite? (which means you care for foster children for a weekend when the foster family needs help)

God is probably calling you and your family to be a family that He can set a lonely person in. Why wouldn't He call you to do that? 

Psalm 68 - Cue the Musicians!

A lot, actually it seems like most, of the psalms mention praising the Lord and/or singing God's praises. Psalm 68 is no exception.

3 But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy.4 Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the LORD — rejoice in his presence!

But this psalm goes further. It describes God going into His sanctuary.

24 Your procession has come into view, O God— the procession of my God and King as he goes into the sanctuary.25 Singers are in front, musicians behind; between them are young women playing tambourines.

Singers and instrumentalists have always had a very important place in worshiping God. 

1 Chronicles 15: 16 David also ordered the Levite leaders to appoint a choir of Levites who were singers and musicians to sing joyful songs to the accompaniment of harps, lyres, and cymbals.

In Ezra and Nehemiah we read about how they appointed priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants.

AND.... we read in Job 38 that the morning stars (a choir) sang God's praises as the world was created.(I'm sure they were singing God's praises before creation.)

All of this to say, God loves choirs. When a person is part of a choir he/she is joining in a long line of singers and musicians that have been praising God since the beginning of time. The place of the singers is so important that they appointed singers when they appointed the priests and Levites and temple servants. 

I am so thankful for all of the singers and musicians who give extra time each week for rehearsals so they can present their best as they lead us in worship each week. 

Some of you reading this may need to join a choir - the one at Hilldale or the one wherever you attend church.

It is a high calling to be a singer or musician (instrumentalist) leading out in joyful praise to God. Are you following your calling? 

And....I guess I should say that even if you're not in a choir you should sing - whether you're any good or not - with the congregation as they sing. God is worthy of all our praise.