Month: August 2015

God’s continued and repeated actions to save His chosen. Isaiah 42-44

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<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/137714584″>God's continued and repeated actions to save His chosen. Isaiah 42-44</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user3461934″>Pastor Steve Schroeder</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Powerful praise

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Psalm 66:1–5

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,
PS

How people of God deal with their troubles

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Psalm 63:1–7

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,
PS

God’s power and mercy against our enemies

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Psalm 62

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

Comfort One Another, Isaiah 40:1

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<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/137035828″>Comfort one another, Isaiah 40:1</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user3461934″>Pastor Steve Schroeder</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

God continues to call and pour out His life-giving water

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Isaiah 44

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,

PS

A heart steadfast in God

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Psalm 57:7–11

   My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!  I will sing and make melody!

       Awake, my glory!  Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awake the dawn!

   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