Month: November 2015

Only go to the One who can help

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Psalm 123

1     Unto You I lift up my eyes,

O You who dwell in the heavens.

2     Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,

As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,

So our eyes look to the Lord our

God,

Until He has mercy on us.

3     Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!

For we are exceedingly filled with contempt.

4     Our soul is exceedingly filled

With the scorn of those who are at ease,

With the contempt of the proud.

Let’s look at the end of this Psalm to understand the beginning.

“For we are exceedingly filled with contempt.  Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorn of those who are at ease, with the contempt of the proud.”  As if life is not hard enough on its own, there are those times when the contempt of the proud fills us and makes us miserable.  It was not his own contempt, his own depression, that brought down this Psalmist but the contempt of others.  When those around us think too highly of themselves they can attack us and make us feel weakened and in need of greater mercy.

During these episodes of life there is only one place to go.  There is only one God who can make the difference.  He is the God who dwells in the heavens.  He is above all of this mess and all of these messy people.  To Him we look.

Now look at the picture drawn for us here and learn from it.  The eyes of a male slave look to his master.  The eyes of a woman slave look to her mistress.  If you were owned by a master, you were his or her slave, and in the process of life you had a need, to whom could you go to ask for help?  If you asked another slave you would not be asking someone who could help.  If you asked the master next door he or she would feel no compulsion to help you.  But if you asked the one who owned you they would be the only ones from whom you would have any hope of help.  This illustration is used to make it clear to us that there is only One place to go for help in time of our greatest need.

As a slave can only look to his or to her owner “so” our eyes can only look to our God for help in our time of need, especially when others look at us with contempt.  We have a terrible habit of calling a friend as our first line of defense.  When problems arise we tend to call someone else before going to the only One who can make a difference.  Let’s change that habit and begin a new habit of crying out to God first and begging Him for His mercy to be poured out upon us.  For when God pours out His mercy upon us we are helped indeed.

I hope you understood and enjoyed the point of yesterday’s message.  When God is carrying us, which He is all the time, we are at peace.  Security results from trusting Him to be our Keeper.  Psalm 121 is a beautiful parallel to Isaiah 46:3-4.  May all of us learn to relax in the carrying arms of God almighty.

On Sunday nights I am hosting an open discussion of the Sunday morning’s message.  We have done this for two weeks now and it has been a great time for those involved.  We are using Google Hangout for those away who want to check in with a question or be a part of the conversation. 

This coming Saturday night and Sunday afternoon is the Naperville Men’s Glee Club Christmas concert.  Saturday night the concert is at Saints Margret and Mary Catholic church in Naperville.  Sunday’s concert is at Knox Presbyterian church also in Naperville.  The Saturday night concert is a more serious concert while the Sunday afternoon concert will have more for children’s involvement with some lighter moments in it.  The cost of tickets is $15 for adults and $12 for children and seniors.  Call or email me for tickets.  Check out concert details at http://www.nmgc.org

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

Does going to Church make you Glad?

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Psalm 122

1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

2 Our feet have been standing

Within your gates, O Jerusalem!

3 Jerusalem is built

As a city that is compact together,

4 Where the tribes go up,

The tribes of the Lord,

To the Testimony of Israel,

To give thanks to the name of the Lord.

 

The Psalmist so loved the house of the Lord that he thought the city of Jerusalem was built as a place where the tribes would come to give thanks to the Lord. Going to the house of the Lord, for them, was going to a place of sacrifices for atonement of sin and place of worship of God. When Ezra rebuilt the Temple he read the Law of God in Jerusalem for the first time in perhaps 80 or more years.

 

The house of God was called by Jesus a house of prayer for all nations. Not that it wasn’t a place of worship and of the Word but it was to primarily be a place of prayer. It appears to us today that churches have become places of great programs, a place where spectators come to watch those up front. I don’t think the Psalmist was a spectator in the house of the Lord. He loved the Temple and said that he would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.

 

So, are we glad to go into the house of the Lord? Do we look forward to our times in church together? Do we see ourselves as participants or spectators? If we see ourselves as a part of the exaltation of the Lord in prayer, worship and the Word then we won’t want to miss even one time together. Let us be glad when we gather and rejoice together as fellow-participants to exalt the Savior in His house, the church of Jesus Christ.

 

Speaking of being glad to come to the house of the Lord, tonight we are looking forward to the reading of the Word, the singing of songs of praise and thanks, and testimonies from you. Join us at 7:00 for our Thanksgiving praise service. It is a unique service when you bring the message and we all give thanks.

 

After the service we will hang out together for a pie social. Bring a pie, some cool whip or ice cream or some apple cider and enjoy the fellowship of one another in Christ.

 

Pray for the city of Chicago as we all reel over the shooting of a teenager by a policeman. It is a grievous time for all involved and needs to be a time of both justice and correction.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS

Let the Lord carry you

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Psalm 121:1–8

1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help?

2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.

4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.

6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

As I read this Psalm I thought of Sunday’s message from Isaiah 46. In that passage Isaiah tells us that God carries us from the womb, through our life and even into the days of our grey hair. Isaiah is teaching that God is God apart from all idols, which are not gods at all but are merely heavy decorated objects who need to be carried, can be stolen, and can’t say anything.

But God, our heavenly Father, does not need to be carried, no, He carries us! With that in mind, re-read Psalm 121.

Here is the question: Do you trust God to carry you? I am finding that the answer to this question determines whether I allow God to carry or whether I try to carry myself. When God carries me I have no controls. I don’t always like that feeling. But when God carries me He does a far better job, life is peaceful, and there are no regrets.

“I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from where comes my help. My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Can He carry you?

Without being repetitive, I want to say that Sunday was a wonderful day here at church. The Spirit of the people was filled with worship and praise. The attentiveness to the Word was exciting. I thank God for His work amongst us.

Sunday night a few of us met to review the morning message and the insights gained were a great help to us. This is going to be a regular occurrence and I encourage you to join up with us whether online or in person.

Pray for my service at Sunrise in a few minutes.

See you tomorrow night for the Thanksgiving praise service.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

God’s call from Genesis to Revelation – Isaiah 45:22

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In Isaiah 45:22 God calls all people of all time to turn to Him and be saved. Jesus reiterates this call in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” In this message, Pastor Steve explains God’s call and shows how that apart from God’s…

God’s call from Genesis to Revelation from Pastor Steve Schroeder on Vimeo.

What is the level of your peace? It corresponds to your love for God’s word

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Psalm 119

165  Great peace have those who love Your law,

And nothing causes them to stumble.

167  My soul keeps Your testimonies,

And I love them exceedingly.

While meditating on this today, I had the following logical progression:

  1. Those who love God’s law have great peace.
  2. Those who love God’s law and have His peace do not stumble from life’s trials nor from life’s temptations.
  3. When we keep God’s testimonies our love for them grows.

Then the antithesis:

  1. Those without peace do not love God’s law.
  2. Those who stumble from life’s trials and life’s temptation do not love God’s law.
  3. Those who do not keep God’s testimonies do not love God’s testimonies.

I then asked myself, “What do I love?  I do love God’s law so how can I love it more and thus increase my peace and my personal victory over life’s trials and life’s temptations?  Do I love God’s law and God’s testimonies more than any sin?  Do I love God’s law with a love that is above all sin and thus giving me His great peace?”

Whenever we sin we have a war in our soul.  1 Peter 2:12 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.  When we love God’s law and abstain from sin because we love God’s law we continue in His great peace.  Travel with me to a greater love for God’s law leading to a greater peace and a greater desire to keep His testimonies from the place of exceeding love for them all.

 

Welcome to Friday and the end of another week.  If your day is like mine there is much to do before the end of the day.  Pray for one another that the work might get done so that we can enjoy our worship of God and our fellowship of one another Sunday.

Are any of you familiar with Google Hangout?  I would like to set up a Google Hangout for Sunday evenings as a place to review and discuss Sunday morning’s message.  If you have knowledge of this please give me a call and walk me through it.

Do pray today for Pastor Bill’s service at Sunrise Assisted living.  Pray for those who attend to be encouraged and comforted from God’s word.

Pray for RU tonight.  God is sending us a few new people to minister to.  Pray for them to overcome the challenges of getting here and to come tonight.  Pray for a young man named Robert who needs to make right decisions.  He first of all needs Christ.

Remember Victory Academy in your prayers that the boys there would give their hearts and lives to Jesus.  Pray for the staff to ever reflect the love of God and the truths of His word.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

 

Submitted and Committed

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Psalm 119

169 Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to Your word.

170 Let my supplication come before You; Deliver me according to Your word.

171 My lips shall utter praise, For You teach me Your statutes.

172 My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.

173 Let Your hand become my help, For  I have chosen Your precepts.

174 I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight.

175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise You; And let Your judgments help me.

176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.

In this, the concluding section of Psalm 119, we find a crescendo of emphasis on the purpose and power of God’s word.  While all of these have probably been mentioned in previous sections, the Psalmist bears them out again for emphasis.

Give me understanding according to Your word; Deliver me according to Your word; You teach me Your statutes; All Your commandments are righteousness; Let Your hand help me; Your law is my delight; let Your judgments help me.

I have learned in this study that while I am to live submitted to God’s word, I am also to live committed to God’s word. There are no areas where I act first and get permission later. There is no getting around God’s word because I don’t like it.  Living submitted to and committed to the entirety of the this Book is the best way to live and the only way that truly glorifies God and makes sense out of life.

This Psalm begins with “1 Blessed are the 1 undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD! 2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the b whole heart!”  He ends with 175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise You; And let Your judgments help me. 176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.

The blessed ones are those who walk in the law of the Lord, keep His testimonies, and seek Him with their whole heart.  But since we will stray from God’s word, we cry to Him to seek us our for we have not forgotten His commandments.  We know that God’s judgements are a help to us and enable us to live and to praise Him.  May Psalm 119 become a dear friend to us all and a place we go back to regularly for guidance, light, and necessary reminders for life.

As the old saying goes, “time flies when we are having fun.” This week, time has just flown by.  My parents are now moved into my house. I have needed to do some electrical work and their presence pushed that work to the top of the list. Doing that work required tearing out drywall, replacing it, taping it and painting it.  I am now in the sanding stage.  In the mean time, Jared has needed some attention for his good.  Whew!  Time flies. 

It is Wednesday.  I look forward to our time together tonight. Remember that if you cannot stay for our Bible study we would love to have you with us for prayer.  God wants to know the level of our dependence upon Him. Our prayer as a church brings that before God.  Our cry is that God would use us to reach people for Him or take us home.  If we are not pursuing His kingdom in this life and are not seeing Him blessing on our efforts then our time here is finished.  Since I do not think our time is finished I am begging God to use this church in a greater way for His kingdom.  Join us in this prayer to God.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

We can have “great peace”

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Psalm 119

161  Princes persecute me without a cause,

But my heart stands in awe of Your word.

162  I rejoice at Your word

As one who finds great treasure.

163  I hate and abhor lying,

But I love Your law.

164  Seven times a day I praise You,

Because of Your righteous judgments.

165  Great peace have those who love Your law,

And nothing causes them to stumble.

166  Lord, I hope for Your salvation,

And I do Your commandments.

167  My soul keeps Your testimonies,

And I love them exceedingly.

168  I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,

For all my ways are before You.

Many of the sections of this Psalm are focused on God’s actions toward us.  This section is focused on our actions toward God.  Take a look at the actions of the Psalmist.

He stands in awe of God’s word, he rejoices at God’s word, he hates lying but loves God’s law, he praises God seven times a day, he hopes for God’s salvation, he does God’s commands, he keeps God’s testimonies and loves them exceedingly, and he keeps God’s precepts and His testimonies.  All of his ways are before God anyway.

In light of this, look back at verse 165.  When he kept and loved God’s laws, great peace was the result.  How is your peace level?  At what level do you keep what God says and love His law?  If God’s word is a bore to you then your peace level is going to be low. If you only keep the parts you like but not all of God’s word then your peace level may be at half.  But when we love and keep God’s word as best as we can, our peace level is over the top!  He said we can have “great peace.”  Notice that with God’s peace comes greater confidence, that is, we are not easily offended.  In fact, nothing, no circumstance of life, no other person, nothing will cause us to stumble.

Take time today to love God’s law.  Learn how secure you can be in it.  This is a great place to live, in great peace.

My keyboard is not working right so I am going to cut this off short today.  I thank God for Sunday, it was a glorious day with you with Him. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS