Month: August 2015
1 Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
2 Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious.
3 Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
4 All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah
5 Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.
17 I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.
19 But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!
When I read the Psalms and see the exuberance with which they praised God I sometimes think that we are missing something in our praise. This Psalm speaks to a time of great trial, a time when God oppressed his people. It speaks of the enemies bringing defeat and difficulty. But then it speaks to God hearing and turning back the trial and bringing his abundance. Maybe the church today has not had enough trials.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not wish for frontal attacks from the enemy bringing us to the brink of destruction. I do wish that we would pray to God from the edge of the cliff and see Him do for us what we could never do for ourselves. I long to see His mighty hand work on our behalf through the salvation of men and women in the community and thus to build His church.
The greatest praise comes after the greatest blessings. We praise God for our eternal salvation and we should. Do we realize what even that took? Do we recognize what God engineered to bring our salvation to pass? We love to praise God for answered prayer so maybe we should pray more and expect Him to answer more. God has not turned away our prayer nor His mercy from us. Make a joyful shout unto the Lord.
This is a little late in the day but I had something come up early this morning. I do trust you have prayed for Pastor Bill’s services today. One begins in a few minutes.
Remember the spiritual battles that take place every Friday and pray for men and women to come to Reformers Unanimous tonight. Real answers from the word of God are available to those who come.
Pray for Sunday. I will be speaking from Isaiah 44 looking at the creation of idols. It is back to school Sunday and I will be looking at idols of the intellect that have shaped us and taken us away from God’s plan for us to live in His image. Our children are inundated with idolatrous teachings from the temple of humanism. So are we. God created us in His image and likeness and wants us to reflect Him in our lives. We are ever trying to reflect our own image instead. Pray that Sunday’s message will be clear and helpful to us all.
Remember Nancy Hall in your prayers. She is having ups and downs in her recovery.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.
4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
7 Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
When we think of Bible characters we tend to think of their strengths or of their utter failures. The Psalms give us insight into real people with real daily struggles. While they did not have phones, emails, and media, they had problems very similar to ours. They struggled with each other. They struggled with depression. They struggled with the seeming prosperity of the wicked. They struggled with people who hated them and sought to do them wrong. They struggled with feelings of loneliness. And they struggled with sinful temptations.
So, when people who love God have struggles what do they do? Where do they turn? Who can they go to? In this Psalm, as in so many others, we are shown to turn to the only God, the only quencher of our thirst. We are taught to look for God in His sanctuary where we can see His power and His glory. We are taught to look at His lovingkindness toward us which is better than life itself and to praise Him.
There is something about refocusing our attention away from our problems that enables us to see better. As we turn away from one focus our eyes fix on Another, on the Lord, our Rock. He satisfies us, He fills us and we then praise Him with joyful lips. At night, when we have time to focus on the problems, we are shown to meditate, focus our thoughts upon Him. He then is our help and under the shadow of His wings we can trust. Wow! What a place to take us! We go from struggling to resting in a place of absolute protection.
Come with me today and let us take our struggles to the only One who can help us through them.
As we have been praying for Desiree, the deacons have asked if we could do a pantry shower for her. A pantry shower is simply each of us bringing something that she can use in her pantry. Items that are canned or boxed tend to work better. If you find a sale on meat and want to bring that, be sure to put it in the church refrigerator and make sure Desiree gets it. As a church, it is our goal to help her and the boys through this time until she can get back to work.
Sunday morning I will be teaching chapter 10 from the book Transforming Prayer. This chapter deals with the Holy Spirit’s part in our prayers.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.
5 My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
7 In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
8 Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
11 God has spoken once,
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God.
12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
For You render to each one according to his work.
David found such strength in God. He called God his salvation, his rock, his defense, his refuge, his strength and his glory. To God belongs power, and mercy.
What enemy are you facing that God as your salvation, your rock, your defense, your refuge, your strength and your glory be of help to you? In reality, there is no enemy, human or spiritual, who God is not greater than. Since God is greater than all of our enemies, current or potential, we need never live in fear of them. They will pass away but God will remain.
To God also belongs power and mercy. He has all of the power that we need to help us in every time of life. When we understand this we know that God can carry us through. Fear then, is caused when we don’t understand the power of God to help us and to carry us.
To God also belongs all mercy. Man is filled with justice and judgment. God is filled with mercy. He knows what we deserve but desires to show us mercy. Rejoice today both in God’s power and in God’s mercy to carry you against every enemy that comes your way.
Pray with us for God’s power and mercy to open hearts in our community. Only as God opens hearts with His power and mercy will people be saved and disciple as followers of Christ. We long to see people saved but need God to open their hearts. Pray with us that He will.
Have a great day in the Lord, PS
1“Yet hear me now, O Jacob My servant,
And Israel whom I have chosen.
2 Thus says the Lord who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you:
‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant;
And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
And floods on the dry ground;
I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,
And My blessing on your offspring;
4 They will spring up among the grass
Like willows by the watercourses.’
5 One will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’;
Another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
Another will write with his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
And name himself by the name of Israel.
To a nation that was totally corrupted by sin, under the rule of Babylon and about to be taken into captivity, these words had special meaning. God made it clear that He was not going to wipe out the nation of Israel, the people of Abraham. He had chosen them, they belonged to Him. But their continual sin against God caused God to send great judgment upon them. Yet God, whose love never failed them, let them know that He was their God and they belonged to Him.
To this people, parched by their sin, God promises to pour His living water upon them. Not only was God going to meet their needs, He was going to go above and beyond their needs and give them His Spirit not just on them but on their children yet to come. God’s abundant supply to His people was going to bring them from desolation to fruitfulness. God is doing this still today. God takes one who does not know Him, one who has rejected Him for life and pours His living water into their life. Like the woman at the well, Jesus is seeking people to pour His living water into. And when He does pour out His living water into a man or woman’s life, that life flourishes in grace.
Verse 5 tells Israel that in that day, people will want to be called by the name of the people of Israel. When this was written, no one wanted to be a Hebrew. They were a defeated and dispersed people. No one wanted to be one of them. But when Jesus came and poured out His water of life, His Holy Spirit, people wanted to be named with the followers of Christ. What a joy to know that Isaiah was speaking not only to Israel but to the church today. We enjoy the calling of God, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the name of the people of God. Hallelujah!
This past weekend was an amazing weekend. Some of you went to the rally against abortion, for life, at the Planned Parenthood building in Aurora. Well over a thousand people gathered there to let our government know that we are against abortion. Continue to pray for the abolishing of abortion in our day.
Then Saturday afternoon, Pray Naperville gathered just off the River Walk and around 250 people gathered just to pray for the needs of the people of Naperville. It was a two hour service including an hour of prayer. The Holy Spirit met with us there as we prayed. That evening, men and women were on the streets of Naperville giving out the gospel to those who would stop. Dave and Rob had several opportunities to engage people with the gospel. I am certain that God answered prayer from Saturday afternoon in the outreach Saturday night.
Keep our community in prayer that God would show us just how He wants us to move to do His work.
Have a great day in the Lord,
7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!
8 Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
To read these verses by themselves is a wonderful encouragement and should draw our hearts into glorious worship of the Lord in whom our hearts are steadfast. When our hearts are steadfast in our God we sing to Him. We awake with the dawn and rejoice in the Lord. We give thanks to him among all people regardless of who they are or where we are. God is exalted above the heavens; His glory is over all the earth. What a joy to sing praises and give glory to our God whose steadfast love toward is great to the heavens and whose faithfulness is to the clouds.
I trust your heart is steadfast in the Lord, our God.
But to really gain the point of this Psalm we have to review verses 1-6. In verse 1 the Psalmist begs for God to be merciful and provide refuge until the storms of destruction pass by. The storms of destruction come. Jesus spoke of them in regards to the two builders. Both houses faced storms. One stood and one fell. In verses 2-3 he cries out to God to fulfill His purposes and save him by putting to shame those who trample on him. In verse 4 his soul is in the midst of the lions and fiery beasts describing children of man whose teeth are spears and arrows whose tongues are sharp swords.
It is after this description of being attacked with such venom and fierceness that he writes, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast.”
Is yours? Look to the same God who hears from heaven, whose love is faithful and whose glory is over all the earth. Find Him steadfast when nothing around you is.
Our prayers are with our school kids. Some started Tuesday, some Wednesday, and some today. Pray for them as they face the worldliness of other children, the humanism of the teachers, and the struggles of their own flesh to keep up with the work load. Pray for the parents who lives go into school mode. We were up early this morning as Jared’s bus arrives at 7:30. Stefani starts class at 7:00. Keep one another in your prayers these busy days of transition.
Have a great day in the Lord, PS
1 Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me;
2 my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly.
3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
5 All day long they injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps, as they have waited for my life.
7 For their crime will they escape? In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
9 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
12 I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
As David of old had enemies who sought his destruction every day, so do we. Our enemies, the world around us, the flesh within us, and the Devil and his hosts truly seek to destroy us through deception, temptation, and doubt. The enemies of our soul never quit and oppress us all day long. When we let down our guard even for a moment we are trampled on by them and we become discouraged in defeat.
Verse 5 says that the thoughts of our enemies are against us for evil. They stir up strife around us waiting for the opportunity to destroy our very lives. Make no mistake; sin is our enemy on every front. Sin does not care what it destroys only that it is pursued.
So what do we do in the face of this constant enemy? Verse 3, we put our trust in the Lord. When we are afraid, we trust in Him. We praise God’s word and place our trust in it. When we realize that God who is in us is greater than our enemies outside of us we do not need to live in fear of them. In verse 9 we read that God is for us. If God is for us who can be against us? In verse 10 we are reminded again that we have the Lord God in whose word we praise. Never stray from God’s word. Devour it every day. Live in it, love it, and make it your own. David knew how important it was that he keep his trust in God regardless of the strength of the constant attack of his enemies. God was greater and would carry him. So that David could say of the Lord, “For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.”
What did Adam and Eve do in the Garden before they sinned? They walked with God. Let us walk with God in the light of life.
Last night Rob and I went to an organizational meeting for Pray Naperville. This is a grass-roots event designed to get people of Naperville and surrounding communities to gather for prayer in Jesus name. The prayer time is scheduled for Saturday from 2:00-4:00. They have no idea how many will come. I am inviting all of you to come. There may be opportunity to lead a prayer group of six or less people depending on the amount of people who come. We are a praying church and have a place to pray in and with other Christ-followers in our community. Join us.
Tonight is our regular weekly prayer meeting, kids club and youth group. Tomorrow school starts so some of you will stay home getting kids ready for school. Do take time at home to gather as a family for prayer.
Have a great day in the Lord, PS
23 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
For the past several weeks, Tom and I have been teaching from a book called, Transforming Prayer. The basis of this book is the power of worship based prayer to change us more and more into the men and women God wants us to be. Two weeks ago I taught a lesson that had to do with bringing our prayers into line with the Word of God. There are many scriptures that either teach prayer or are recorded prayers. There are very few prayers recorded in the Bible that are filled with asking for events or health. Most prayers recorded in the Bible have to do with praise, spiritual growth, spiritual understanding, acceptance of God’s will, forgiveness of enemies, and looking forward to God’s future kingdom.
Here, the Psalmist tells us that God wants us to offer thanksgiving as our sacrifice to Him thus glorifying Him. When we thank God for all that He has given us, which is all that we have and are, we glorify Him. This is the opposite of telling someone how great we are and how great a job we have done. When we offer the sacrifice of praise we are aligning with God’s desire for our prayers.
The idea of ordering our way rightly begins with praying according to the word and will of God. We should find ourselves praying less for events and health as we line up with the will of God. I am not saying that we don’t pray for events and health but we will learn that God’s will in shaping a life and bringing that life to His plan and purpose, either salvation or submission, is of greater importance to God.
God wants to show us His salvation. What is God’s salvation? Is it a safe trip or a trip that caused us to focus on Him and thank Him for His unique guidance? What is good health? Is it life without pain or is it life that leads us to humble acceptance and joyful fulfillment of God’s will? I want to see God’s salvation both in my life and the lives of those I love. Seeing that salvation begins with aligning my prayers with God’s desires.
This Saturday there is a prayer meeting in Naperville. Tonight is a training meeting for those who want to help. It is at 7:00. I will be attending this training event. If anyone wants to join me let me know.
At 10:30 I will be having a service at Sunrise Assisted Living. If you have been wanting to bring your kids to this service, this is your last chance before school starts. I get there a few minutes early and the people there love company.
Have a great day in the Lord, PS
10 For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
When it comes to asking God for our needs, do we really believe that He is able to meet them? Or is there, perhaps, some doubt as to God’s supply, or to put it in the common talk, is God’s bank account big enough?
In this passage God wants us to understand the depth of His earthly riches and thus His ability to supply all of our needs at all times. As God looks down upon the earth, He claims ownership to things that we might think we own. For instance, the State of Wisconsin thinks they own all of the deer in the state. Therefore, you have to purchase a license to hunt the deer and when you shoot one you have to take it to the state DNR officer who tags it and gives you permission to keep it. God says that His ownership is above the Department of Natural Resources. He owns every beast in the forest.
The rancher or the dairy farmer thinks that they own their cattle. But God says that He owns them all. God knows the birds better than Audubon and He owns everything that moves in the fields and plains. He then goes on to explain that all of the world and its fullness belongs to Him. In other words, all natural resources belong to God. As the Creator of all resources and the ultimate environmentalist who keeps the earth spinning, the seasons coming and going, the water cycling and the plates of the earth from moving, I guess it all does belong to God.
All that being said and understood, why would we go to someone else in our day of need? Who else has the supply that God has? Of course, no one does. When we go to God for our needs and He supplies them we then give Him the glory for all that He gives us. I don’t have a rich relative who when they die I will get an inheritance. But I have a heavenly Father who owns everything and has promised to meet my daily needs. I go to Him and He supplies for me. Join me today and go to God for your every need. He is able from His resources to take care of us all.
The last two Sundays have been particularly edifying to our church. As we studied God’s command for us to sing and to sing His new song we have come to understand that singing is vital to our Christian lives and to our church services. I challenged you yesterday to be on time Sunday mornings to share in the singing and to sing with abandon, like David did before the Ark of God. When visitors come to our church may they see a people of God loving Him and worshipping Him through our loud and committed singing to Him. Singing to God will change our church. It will change us and it will bring visitors who love God back to sing again with us.
I had some interrupted mornings last week and did not get many Devotionals out. This week looks a little bit more normal. I hope to get regular again with these.
Have a great day in the Lord, PS
Psalm 37:1–7 (ESV)
1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
God knew and knows that we struggle with people who don’t follow Him, His wisdom, and His love. When the enemies of God are in our lives they often become our enemies too. All too often those enemies of God are over us in authority or position and have the ability to make us both miserable and doubtful of God’s supreme position over them.
In verses 1 and 2 David reminds us that the wicked’s place in this world is short-lived. They may think that they are going to endure but God knows differently and wants us to be sure to remember His perspective. In the face of the wickedness in America today I find these two verses especially comforting.
But then in verse 3 David begins a series of actions that we who fear the Lord are to take. We are to trust, dwell, delight and commit. Trust in the Lord, dwell in the land, delight in the Lord, and commit our way unto the Lord. Two of the action has a corresponding result from God. Delighting in Him is followed by “he will give you the desires of your heart.” Committing your way to Him and trusting in Him brings the promise that “He will act.”
My friends, we do not live in a vacuum apart from God. When the wicked people over us either in the community or in the family or in the workplace seem to have the upper-hand, trust in the Lord. He has promised to provide for our heart’s needs and to act on our behalf. Don’t try to change the wicked people, instead, practice a greater commitment to the Lord Jesus. Let the gospel, God’s good news of salvation, percolate throughout your life and watch God work on the wicked.
It would be great to see you join us tonight for prayer and Bible study. Pray for our kids club and for our youth group meetings. Pray for God to shape us into the church that He wants us to be.
Have a great day in the Lord,
7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.
There are times, when reading the Scriptures, that words seem to leap off of the page into your heart. When I read verse 8 last night this happened to me.
Psalm 36, as many of them are, is a comparison between the righteous and the wicked. Have you ever found yourself comparing your self with someone else who had more than you had but cared nothing for the things of God? Have you watched the wicked prosper in every way while you struggled to pay your bills? I have. It would appear that David had similar struggles.
But David, whose heart was after God’s heart, was able with spiritual eyes to see beyond the moment to the real issues of life. He could see the problems of the wicked. Look at verse 12 “There the workers of iniquity have fallen;
They have been cast down and are not able to rise.” He knew that the prosperity of the wicked was short lived. He knew that all of their benefits would fall and leave them unable to rise.
So, David could say that the Lord abundantly satisfied the righteous with the fullness of God’s house. He could say that God gave them to drink from the river of His pleasures. What an amazing way to say it! We think that the wicked are having all the fun but David said that we are having all the pleasure. Furthermore, our pleasure comes from a river that never runs dry. This is what Jesus said to the woman at the well, who some say was some type of sex addict, that if she drank for His well she would never thirst again. When we drink from the river of God’s pleasure we learn that He who gave us our desires is the only One capable of truly satisfying our desires.
The wicked live their lives for themselves while they are falling faster and faster to their own destruction. The righteous live for Christ, enjoy His life in them, find fullness of pleasure from the Creator of pleasure, and in the end live forever with Him. What a great thought to leap off of the page for us.
When I was at Victory Homes, I hired a man out of college to work for us. Nevin came from Bob Jones and worked with us for several years. He married a girl from near Victory and has been married now for sixteen years. He and his wife Christina are great people and were able to come over Sunday afternoon and stay through till mid-afternoon Sunday. Oh, did I mention, they have 12 children? We had the best time with them all. The kids are well-behaved, energetic, happy, and they get along amazingly well. It was a true joy to have them with us. Yes, the pool got used a lot as did all our grandkid toys. We did sleep well last night but we did enjoy having them with us.
Sunday morning I preached a message on singing to the Lord. On the way out people commented on the power of the last song we sang. It is amazing to hear people who know the Lord sing unashamedly to the Lord. Next Sunday I plan to bring a message on the new song we gain when Jesus saves us.
Have a great day in the Lord,