Month: November 2015

When in affliction…

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Psalm 119

153  Consider my affliction and deliver me,

For I do not forget Your law.

154  Plead my cause and redeem me;

Revive me according to Your word.

155  Salvation is far from the wicked,

For they do not seek Your statutes.

156  Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord;

Revive me according to Your judgments.

157  Many are my persecutors and my enemies,

Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies.

158  I see the treacherous, and am disgusted,

Because they do not keep Your word.

159  Consider how I love Your precepts;

Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness.

160  The entirety of Your word is truth,

And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

The Psalmist begins asking God to consider him in his affliction and deliver him.  Throughout the section we see him in need.  The following phrases demonstrate a needy man:  Plead my cause and redeem me; Salvation is far from the wicked; Many are my persecutors and my enemies; I see the treacherous and am disgusted;  Consider how I love Your precepts.

And then, three times he asks God to revive him: according to Your word; according to Your judgments; according to Your lovingkindness.

He then ends the section reminding himself that the entirety of God’s word is truth and every one of His righteous judgments endure forever.

I love the Psalms because in them I see my life and then I see a God-fearing, God-loving man respond to life as God would have him respond and confidence follows.  Do we face afflictions?  Do we face people against us?  Do we see the wicked and become disgusted?  Yes, Yes and Yes again, we do.  Well, here is a way to respond.  Cry out to God for His consideration of His word, His judgments and His lovingkindness.

Take some time today in this section meditating on how to respond to our afflictions.

Jeremy Camp has a song written from this section of Psalm 119.  Here is the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a_CEShgxFE

Sunday is our day to observe the Lord’s Table.  We will again arrange the service around this with song and message.  Isaiah 45:22-25 are God’s call which Jesus repeated.  Only through His blood can we respond to this call.  Hallelujah.

Pray for RU tonight.  We have been having new people coming.  Pray for a Christian woman with a heart for addicted women to join us on Friday nights.

Pastor Bill has a service at Sunrise Assisted Living this afternoon.  Pray for this service to care for those who come.

Pray for our church leadership as we meet tomorrow to discuss next year’s church direction, budget and ministries. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

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Why we cry unto God

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Psalm 119

145  I cry out with my whole heart;

Hear me, O Lord!

I will keep Your statutes.

146  I cry out to You;

Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.

147  I rise before the dawning of the morning,

And cry for help;

I hope in Your word.

148  My eyes are awake through the night watches,

That I may meditate on Your word.

149  Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;

O Lord, revive me according to Your justice.

150  They draw near who follow after wickedness;

They are far from Your law.

151  You are near, O Lord,

And all Your commandments are truth.

152  Concerning Your testimonies,

I have known of old that You have founded them forever.

I don’t have much time this morning but I want you to think three thoughts about why we cry to God and to take those three thoughts back through this section.

  1. We cry to God because He cares. Others may care about our life issues but no one cares at the level that God cares.
  2. We cry to God because He is able to help us in our troubles. Others may be able but God’s ability is sufficient for every level of every trial.
  3. We cry to God because He is interested in helping us in our trails and troubles. Others may care and be able but may not be interested. God is always interested in caring and using His ability to hear our cry and to meet our need.

God wants us to cry to Him.  God is hearing when we cry to Him.  When we cry to Him He removes our anxiety and gives us His peace that passes all understanding which guards our heart in Christ Jesus.

In prayer meeting last night we identified many people we know and love who are caught in sin’s darkness. They need us to pull them into the Light, to care for them for the sake of their redemption.  We have the Light.  Those around us need to be drawn into it.  Who would God have you plead with for His glory and for their salvation?

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

No, not too many rules

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 Psalm 119

137 Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules.

138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness.

139 My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words.

140 Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it.

141 I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts.

142 Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true.

143 Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.

144 Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.

In our humanity, our sinful humanity that is, we might think that God’s rules are just too strict, too many, too prudish, or too legalistic.  Our flesh wants a few less commands and fewer guidelines.  In this section, the Psalmist lets us know that these human desires are in error for God is absolutely righteous and His rules are always right.  His testimonies are given in righteousness and in all faithfulness.  His promises are well tried, that is, they have been tested and retested and proven to be good.  We can love God’s proven word.

When we realize just how small we are in comparison to all things, we can remember God’s precepts and know our purpose.  God’s law is true.  As we learned earlier, God’s words bring light into our lives and He is the only source of that light so the confirmation of the truth of that light should encourage us when others try to speak against it. 

Even when troubles fill our lives, God’s commands are still true, are still right and faithful and bring us delight.  I can’t think of any other source of delight when trouble and anguish find me.  All other sources are based in man or in me and have crumbled.  Only the Lord in His word is so true and so faithful that it picks me up in trouble. 

And then we learn that God’s testimonies are forever.  As we understand them and place our faith in them we find life both full and now and forever.  Why would we look anywhere else first?  Nothing else is as fulfilling as God’s eternal and faithful law. 

Verse 139 shows the Psalmist compassion for his enemies when they forget God’s law.  He is zealous for them, that is, he longs to see even his enemies submitting to the life-giving word of God.   Pray for those who strive against you that they may come under the wonderful word of God and find the life that you have found. 

At the installation service on Sunday there was a photographer.  He has posted his pictures and offers them for our enjoyment.  They are his pictures so he asks that we be careful with them.  I think you will enjoy them.  http://www.whitmerstockphotos.com/Unlisted-Galleries/Events/Big-Rock-First-Baptist/n-fbgSdG/

I hope to see you tonight.  We will have a great time in prayer and Bible study. 

My parents have moved into my house.  They are in transition stage now and trying to make things fit. 

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Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

God’s word is wonderful

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Psalm 119

129  Your testimonies are wonderful;

Therefore my soul keeps them.

130  The entrance of Your words gives light;

It gives understanding to the simple.

131  I opened my mouth and panted,

For I longed for Your commandments.

132  Look upon me and be merciful to me,

As Your custom is toward those who love Your name.

133  Direct my steps by Your word,

And let no iniquity have dominion over me.

134  Redeem me from the oppression of man,

That I may keep Your precepts.

135  Make Your face shine upon Your servant,

And teach me Your statutes.

136  Rivers of water run down from my eyes,

Because men do not keep Your law.

Hey football fans, the Bears won last night!  Isn’t that wonderful?  Or is it?  For some, the winning points of their favorite team is about as wonderful as it gets.  But for us who know and love the Lord, we say with the Psalmist, “Your testimonies, Oh God, are wonderful.” (We have a better understanding and use of the word and its meaning.)

Think about the idea that God’s word is wonderful; it is full of wonder.  From beginning to end it gives light and understanding.  When we are short on wisdom God’s wonderful word comes through.  When we open our mouth in spiritual hunger it feeds us and fills us.  When we need mercy we find that it is God’s custom throughout the pages of His word to give it.

God’s wonderful word directs our steps and keeps iniquity from having dominion over us.  We have no weapons apart from God’s word and need no weapons beside God’s word.  It redeems us from men’s oppressive ways.  When we are following God’s wonderful word we know we are in the right regardless of what others may think or say.  In it we find God’s face shining on us and teaching us all about Himself.  Looking back at verse 129, because God’s word is wonderful, my soul keeps it.  The greater the wonder the greater the desire to keep it, all of it.  Get lost in the wonder of God’s word.

I heard this morning on the radio the passage where the disciples looked with wonder on Jesus, the living Word, and said, “What manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”  He is our wonderful Lord and has given us His wonderful word.  Then verse 136 speaks to those of us who know God’s word grieving over those who do not keep it.  We know what they are missing and hope and pray that they too will come under its wonder.

Sunday’s service at First Baptist Church of Big Rock could not have been better. What a thrill it was to share our church with theirs and to join with them in the installation of their new pastor.  While we are surely thrilled for Steven and Rachel, we are also thrilled for this church.  They have not had a regular pastor for ten years.  The people we talked to are so excited to have Steven there as their pastor.  Thanks to all who joined with us to make that service so wonderful.  Steven and Rachel send their love and thanks to you all. 

Thanks to Pastor Bruce Dunford, Rich and Ben for making sure there was a service at Grace for Life Sunday. For those who could not make it to Big Rock I understand the service at home went well.  Praise God for bringing His people together under His word.

Be sure to take time praying for our school kids and college kids. They are facing all types of pressures and need our prayers.  You may even be able to send them a note or a text of encouragement letting them know of your prayers and love. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

Asking for help against those who oppress us

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Psalm 119

121  I have done justice and righteousness;

Do not leave me to my oppressors.

122  Be surety for Your servant for good;

Do not let the proud oppress me.

123  My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation

And Your righteous word.

124  Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy,

And teach me Your statutes.

125  I am Your servant;

Give me understanding,

That I may know Your testimonies.

126  It is time for You to act, O Lord,

For they have regarded Your law as void.

127  Therefore I love Your commandments

More than gold, yes, than fine gold!

128  Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things

I consider to be right;

I hate every false way.

In this section the Psalmist cries out according to his actions of justice and righteousness, that is, because he has acted with justice and in righteousness, he prays the he not be left to the abuse of his oppressors.  All of us have, at times, asked God to show us favor because of our faithfulness to Him.  This is not an unusual prayer.  We know we have not lived perfectly but we do know that we have lived differently and have done so because we love and want to honor our God.  So we seek salvation from Him and from His righteous word.  We plead with God to deal with us according to His mercy for we know we have not lived perfectly and we want Him to teach us His statutes so we can live even better toward Him.

When attacked from others we want God to know that we are His servants.  While I work for the church I am God’s servant first and foremost.  Whomever you work for, you are God’s servant first; go to Him for understanding of those who are against you so that you can treat them righteously.

Have you ever prayed this prayer? “It is time for You to act, O Lord, For they have regarded Your law as void.”  When those around you do not follow God’s laws and as such make your life hard do you tell God that it is time for Him to act?  There are times when we see God at work and then there are times when we need to see Him work.  We count all of God’s words as true.  We do not doubt what He says for whatever He says is right.  His counsel is better than gold and is of more value.  We will follow Him when we are attacked by those who do not know Him.

We got wonderful news from Brent yesterday. Becky’s surgery was completed and the doctors gave them a 90% assurance that the removed tumor was benign.  Hallelujah! and thanks to God for showing His favor.  We rejoice in answered prayer and thank God for giving Becky her life.

Tomorrow morning is our men’s prayer breakfast. Meet us at 7:30 at Denny’s by the mall. 

Sunday morning many of us are going to the First Baptist Church of Big Rock for Steven’s installation service there. The service starts at 11:00.  The church address is 201 Lincoln Ave, Big Rock.  Take I-88 to Route 56 toward Sugar Grove. Do not get off at Sugar Grove but stay on 56 which will turn into Route 30.  Route 30 will take you into Big Rock.  On the west side of town is Lincoln Ave.  Turn left on Lincoln Ave and you will soon see the church on your right. We will be joining the congregation for lunch at the church.  If you plan on staying please bring a dish to share. 

There will also be service at Grace for Life. Pastor Bruce Dunford will be bringing the message there from Colossians 3:1-17 a message entitled, “Right with the World.”  There will not be any Sunday school this Sunday. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

Don’t live a double-minded life but love God’s law

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Psalm 119

113  I hate the double-minded,

But I love Your law.

114  You are my hiding place and my shield;

I hope in Your word.

115  Depart from me, you evildoers,

For I will keep the commandments of my God!

116  Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live;

And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.

117  Hold me up, and I shall be safe,

And I shall observe Your statutes continually.

118  You reject all those who stray from Your statutes,

For their deceit is falsehood.

119  You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross;

Therefore I love Your testimonies.

120  My flesh trembles for fear of You,

And I am afraid of Your judgments.

Look at the first verse in the section.  “I hate the double-minded,  But I love Your law.”  We are seeing that the first verse in the section gives the heading for the section.  So we should take a minute to understand what or who the double-minded are.  James speaks of the double-minded and says that they are unstable in all their ways.  A double-minded person can’t make up their mind of which way they are going to follow.  They know the truth but are pulled by enemy and can’t decide which way to go.  They are double-minded.

Now, before we think to harsh about those double-minded people, I have to admit that there are times that I struggle with making the right decision too.  I suppose that at that moment I too am double-minded.  So, at those times I need to hate my own double-mindedness and love God’s law.  With this realization we go on to verse 115 and demand to the evildoers, those who lead us in a double-minded way, to depart from us letting them know that we love God’s law and His ways.  We then want to be upheld by God’s word that we may live and not be ashamed of taking ill-chosen directions.

When we follow the Lord we are safe and we are going to observe His statutes while rejecting those who don’t.  We put away the wicked like worthless dross, which is what the end of their path is and instead we live in the fear of God trembling so we don’t follow the double-minded.

Walk with the Lord today with a single focus, a single purpose, and a single love.  Put away all double-mindedness and those who would lead you astray.  Enjoy the Lord in His truth, His love and His perfect way.

Remember the Sivnksty family today as Becky’s surgery is today.

Bob Johansen is visiting his nephew John today. Pray for John to hear the gospel and come to faith in Christ.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

There is only One light

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Psalm 119

105  Your word is a lamp to my feet

And a light to my path.

106  I have sworn and confirmed

That I will keep Your righteous judgments.

107  I am afflicted very much;

Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.

108  Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord,

And teach me Your judgments.

109  My life is continually in my hand,

Yet I do not forget Your law.

110  The wicked have laid a snare for me,

Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts.

111  Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever,

For they are the rejoicing of my heart.

112  I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes

Forever, to the very end.

God’s word, our lamp.  God’s word, our light.  There is no other lamp; there is no other light.  The studies of men are no more than observations of human behavior.  They cannot provide light but proclaiming to have light lead people into greater darkness.  The behavioral medicines keep people in darkness trying to make them feel better in their darkness.  Only the light of God’s word gives guidance and brings us out of darkness.  No human source gives us the light of God’s word.

As young parents, Bobbi and I studied different parenting methods.  We met a couple who taught us “first time obedience training.”  This was the most biblical training we found.  We began to teach our boys to obey us the first time we spoke.  Their behavior responded to the training and our home was a peaceful place.  Their hearts were impacted and their energies were under control.  Love, consistency, and consequences is how God dealt with His children and how He taught us to deal with ours.  We never used behavioral medication although we could have.  Instead our boys learned self-control and then Holy Spirit control.  God’s light was the key to our parenting.

The rest of the Psalm gives instances of the Light from God guiding the Psalmist.  Ask God to show you how His light can and should guide your life.

Tom’s surgery yesterday was successful. We are thankful to God for this.  Tom is supposed to come home today.  How amazing this is! 

Marlene Lavryk is in surgery today for an angioplasty. Pray for success for her heart.  She is in Edward Hospital.

Becky Sivnksty has her surgery tomorrow.

I look forward to seeing you tonight.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS