Month: December 2015
1 When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are glad.
4 Bring back our captivity, O Lord,
As the streams in the South.
5 Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
6 He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.
The setting of this Psalm is important for our understanding and for our application. Israel had been taken into captivity and then, after over 70 years, returned to their land. Both their being taken into captivity and their release was undoubtedly the hand of God at work.
In verse 1 the Psalmist speaks of the Lord returning them from captivity to Zion and it being like a dream come true. They were filled with laughter and singing. While they were in Babylon there was not a lot of laughter and there was no open singing of the Lord’s songs. But now singing filled the air and the outcry of the people, for all nations to hear was, “The Lord has done great things for us.”
When God brings us out of our distress we too should rejoice with laughter and with singing and with public blessing of His name. We too should let others know that God has brought us from our “captivity” to rejoicing. Release from sin’s grip, release from bodily pain, release from relational chains and emotional misery is the work of God. He who does all things for our good and for our glory deserves our rejoicing in Him. “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”
Then, when God restores us we are glad to get back to life. Verses 5-6 have often been used for sowing the seeds of the gospel with weeping but in the context I see people who had lost their ability for normal life rejoicing that they can get back to that. They are taking the seeds, which they have not planted for over 70 years, and are back in their fields planting. They are so glad to be back at normal work of providing for their families that they are weeping as they plant. They plant, they plant precious seeds with the rain of their tears and are going to come out of the fields with rejoicing feeding their own families from their own hands again.
The greatest part of God’s healing in our lives is our ability to get back to normal life. Don’t remain in your pity but get back to work, get back to normal self-preserving life. Rejoice that God has returned your abilities and start using them with tears of rejoicing. You will reap the benefit of your work in many ways.
We rejoiced with Pastor Bill yesterday in 62 years of continual pastoral ministry. We are blessed to have him as part of our congregation. His testimony of faithful care for people is his message to us. Pastor Bill longs to see us all caring for others for Jesus sake for the sake of the gospel.
I introduced a sermon theme for the month of December entitled, “At the name of Jesus…” It is my goal through the month that each of us will come to a greater love of the Lord Jesus but more than that a greater understanding of the power of the Lord and the use of His name to accomplish His purposes.
Next Sunday will be our annual Christmas service where with song and readings the birth of Christ will be exalted. Invite family and friends to this Christmas service.
Have a great day in the Lord, PS
Only those in the Lord are secure
1 Those who trust in the Lord Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people From this time forth and forever.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest On the land allotted to the righteous, Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.
4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, And to those who are upright in their hearts.
5 As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, The Lord shall lead them away With the workers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel!
This Psalm is about those who trust in the Lord. When we trust in ourselves or in those around us, when we trust in human logic, and when we look to experience we will not be secure in life. No, we will make costly mistakes that may lead us into some sinfully binding situation. Human confidence in men, women, governments, finances, or any other human logic can fail.
So the Psalmist begins with the security of those who trust in the Lord. In fact, he compares their security with the security of Mount Zion, which shall never be moved. While all other sources of security may fail, God’s mountain never will. Earthquakes will shake our lives but God’s mountain cannot be moved.
I have often wondered why, usually in retrospect, something looked so good to me only to have it fail me. Why didn’t I see through the façade? Why didn’t I ask the Lord for more information or wait on Him before I leapt into something that later failed me?
I hope to go forward now trusting only in the Lord. I long to be so secure in Him that nothing less than Him can sway me. May I be as secure in the Lord as Mount Zion is secure in the earth.
Sorry to get this out so late today. My mornings sometimes fluctuate and today was one of those mornings. Pray with me for a man named Lee. We prayed over him this morning for healing of a port for his dialysis. The healing power of God would also speak to his heart.
Men, we have prayer breakfast this Saturday at 7:30 at Denny’s. See you there.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,”
Let Israel now say—
2 “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
When men rose up against us,
3 Then they would have swallowed us alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us;
4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
The stream would have gone over our soul;
5 Then the swollen waters
Would have gone over our soul.”
6 Blessed be the Lord,
Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
When men rise against us God is on our side. That is the message of this Psalm. Here are the actions that it feels like happens when people rise up against us:
- They swallow us alive
- Their anger is kindled like a fire
- They are like a flood overwhelming us
- They are like a stream over its banks flooding over our very souls
- They are like fowlers who set traps for birds
The Psalmist must have had some very active and aggressive enemies, to say the least. It doesn’t feel good when people attack us. When we make a statement of value and it is misinterpreted and turned against us it can affect everything from our digestion to our sleep. And if the enemy is supposed to be a Christian, our church attendance is affected. If the problem continues many parts of our lives can be affected and we may feel just like the Psalmist did.
Now we have to notice the end of the Psalm. For when our enemy traps us, the Lord breaks the trap and enables our escape. You see, no one steps into a trap on purpose. Traps are set to catch the prey unawares. So when we find ourselves in a trap designed by our enemy the Lord is the One who comes and releases us from that trap. The God who made heaven and earth is able to bring about our total release and return to a rejoicing life.
I have placed a link of two men who found a bald eagle in a trap and released it. Watch the video and think about the Lord releasing you from the trap of your enemies who would love to see you held down from God’s purposes for your life.
The parents of the boys at Victory Academy took home new information from last weekend’s visit. Pray with us for these parents to have an ear to listen to the Holy Spirit and to make the needed changes in their lives and homes. Pray for the staff to be strengthened for the next few weeks before Christmas break.
If you are planning on going to my concert this weekend, Saturday night or Sunday, please contact me or Bobbi for tickets.
Have a great day in the Lord,