Month: January 2016

Generational praise

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Psalm 145:4–9

4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.

5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.

6 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness.

7 They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness.

8 The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.

9 The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.

From generation to generation, people are forgotten. My dad will bring up a “great” baseball player that he watched when he was kid. He will tell me about this great players stats and abilities. I have that deer-in-the-headlights look having never even heard the name of this “great” ball player he is remembering. When I was 30, I mentioned a great actor from my youth and the kids looked at me the same way. Greatness is usually and eventually forgotten. But the greatness of God is never forgotten.

 

From generation to generation we continue to be awed by God’s greatness. We gather and talk about God’s mercy and love; we compare notes about His creative genius and power; we sing old and new songs declaring His amazing grace. God never gets old and He is never forgotten.

 

It is the qualities of God that we continue to dwell on. God is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. We see these qualities poured out into our lives and pray for those who do not know Him to have these wonderful qualities poured into their lives so that they too can rejoice with us in the greatness of our God.

 

Praise Him today.

 

Pray for a man, Esmeraldo, who is dying of cancer. He is a patient of Sonia’s whose family asked her to call her pastor. She told them that we were not Catholic but they wanted her pastor anyway. I went to see Esmeraldo and read Psalm 23 and John 10 showing that the Lord of Psalm 23 is the Lord Jesus Christ. I pointed this man to Jesus as the Savior and Lord he needs. Pray as Sonia goes back to work today that she will be able to exalt the Lord Jesus to this family and that this man will place his full faith in Christ alone.

 

I will be bringing and important message to our church this Sunday. In this study on Spiritual Gifts I have come to realize that the only unity a church can have is unity in the Holy Spirit. Church dinners and special meetings are nice but if the Holy Spirit is absent unity is short lived if existent at all. God longs for us to be unified in Him. Come ready to look carefully at this with me Sunday morning.

 

Come praying for our church business meeting. These are not dreaded times for our church but times of determining the direction of the next year. Pray for us all to be filled with God’s wisdom as we gather.

 

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

A Theme of Greater Praise

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Psalm 145:1–3

1 I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.

2 Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.

3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.

The theme of the next five Psalms is praise to God. Some might even say that the Psalmist overdoes it and just takes this praise to God too far. We think nothing of telling the praises of a great play, a great movie, a great restaurant, or a great performer/athlete. In fact, we can talk about a favorite whatever over and over until our friends and family tell us to stop talking about that. Think about this, everything on this earth that we speak well of got its ability, its beauty, or its strength from God. In fact, there is nothing that we have that did not come from God’s elements, God’s giving someone wisdom and abilities, or God’s direct design.

 

Is it over-the-top then to bless God’s name forever and ever? Is it too much to bless Him every day and to praise His name forever and ever? Since the Lord is indeed great and greatly to be praised, and since His greatness is unsearchable, then, yes, the Lord is worthy of all of the praise that we could ever give and then some. As we look at Psalms 145-150 we will be talking a lot about praise to God. Since praise is a form of worship I hope that we all will grow to worship God with a greater intensity.

 

Last night we talked about the seraphim around the throne of God who sing day and night, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the whole earth is filled with His glory.” We then asked what their perspective of earth might be and how would our lives change if we could learn to view the earth from the perspective of the praising seraphim. Let’s praise the Lord today.

 

On Saturday, February 13th, my son Steve needs a few people to run a nursery. His church in Big Rock is having a one-day marriage seminar and he wants all of the church people to be in the seminar. If you have time to help out on that day give him a call or send him a text letting him know you could help. 312-505-8401

 

Sunday is our church’s annual meeting. At this meeting we will be voting on the slate of officers, voting on the 2016 budget, and voting on an amendment to the church constitution adding a position of Missions Director. We will then be hearing reports from the different church ministries while we are having lunch. The church is providing lunch we only ask you to bring a dessert. Non-members are invited to stay to have lunch and to hear the reports.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Following the Lord brings more than we signed up for

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Psalm 144:1–4

1 Blessed be the Lord my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle—

2 My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.

3 Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?

4 Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow.

9 I will sing a new song to You, O God; On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,

10 The One who gives salvation to kings, Who delivers David His servant From the deadly sword.

15 Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

When I came to Jesus Christ and placed my faith in Him as my Savior and followed Him as my Lord little did I know where my life would go. I did not follow Him for great peace but He gave it to me. I did not follow Him for great joy but He gave it to me. I did not follow Him to keep me from great errors but He did. I did not follow Him to make sure I was taken care of but He has taken care of me. I did not follow Him to gain great relationships in this life but He has given me those also.

Life is short and what is our short life that it would gain the attention of an eternal God? But He does pay attention to our short lives and He does care about its details. He oversees and He directs. He protects and He provides. In turn, our natural response is to worship and praise Him and to do so loudly.

This Psalm speaks to God’s protection of the king and to God’s provision to the nation. He raises their sons with strength and beauties their daughters making them secure. He fills their fields with flocks and their barns with grain. When God’s people follow Him He takes care of them in ways they never could have imagined. When we follow God by faith we too see God caring for us in ways beyond our hopes.

The end result is that we are a happy people. We are happy whose God is the Lord. Rejoice in Him with me today.

We asked Sunday for ladies to sign up for nursery duty. If you did not get to Dawn on Sunday send me a note and I can pass it on to her. We need to get the nursery schedule filled and just don’t have enough volunteers. Thanks for your help in this.

Tonight is our Kids4Truth, youth group and adult prayer and Bible study.   Join with us at 7:00 for this important part of our week.

Pray for one another. Listen to the Holy Spirit who will lead you to pray for those who need it the most.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Positive self-talk because we belong to God

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Psalm 143:9–12

9 Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter.

10 Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.

11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

12 In Your mercy cut off my enemies, And destroy all those who afflict my soul; For I am Your servant.

So often in my reading the verbs jump out at me.   Instead of giving the entire Psalm today I am focusing on the last four verses. (Feel free to read the entire Psalm.)

 

As the Psalmist struggled against the enemies of this life he always turned to the only One who could help him. Again here we see that same wonderful formula. He has enemies but he does not allow them to take control of his mind and life. He goes to the Lord for shelter asking Him to do the action of deliverance. We are usually unable to deliver ourselves and going to the Lord as our Deliverer is the best place to start. We are needy; He is able. We are powerless; He is mighty.

 

He then asks the Lord to teach him to do His will. Instead of explaining his need, the Psalmist reminds himself that God is God, His Spirit is good and He will lead him in the land of uprightness. So often self-talk is negative. Try this self-talk the next time you are being attacked by the world around you, the devil outside of you or your own flesh within. Remind yourself of God’s good teachings, His good Spirit, and His total ability as God to deliver you.

 

The next verse is another verb: revive. To ask to be revived is to assume that some level of reviving is needed. When I took CPR we learned to revive people who were not breathing or whose hearts had stopped beating. While travelling I stayed with a husband and wife my parent’s age. I was getting ready for the day when I heard the woman fall. Going into the kitchen I found her on the floor and unconscious. I administered CPR and called 911. She needed to be revived. When do we need to be revived? We sometime fall from the life God has for us and need Him to revive us with His grace and truth.

 

Finally, the Psalmist asks that in His mercy He would cut off the enemies of his soul. Why does the he think that God will help him in this way? The last phrase tells us that the Psalmist knew something about his relationship to God, he was God’s servant; that is, he belonged to God. God knows those who belong to Him and takes care of them. He always cares for His own. So the next time you need God’s help, remember this, you belong to Him. He will deliver you for He cares greatly for you.

 

Once again I am thanking God for our church. We so enjoy when we gather together with one another for the glory and praise of God Almighty. We are diverse body with people of many ages and cultures and when we can praise God together it is wonderful. Pray with me for those whom we invite to come to church. Throughout the week we are inviting people and praying for them to come. Only the Lord can get them up on Sunday to be here. Pray that those invited will hear the call of the Lord and join with us for their salvation and for God’s glory.

 

Our friend Bonnie Verway died on Saturday. Her journey here ended and her life with Christ began. She died at her daughter Kris’s home and just stopped breathing. Pray for Kris and Mike and their families as they work through the loss of their mom and grandma. Death is always painful and the separation is never easy.

 

Pray also for a friend named Dan who is in the midst of a battle with bladder cancer. He has had surgery and is in chemo treatment. Dan has a wife and two daughters. Pray that they will all see the healing hand of God.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

The works of the Godhead in the Gifts of the Spirit

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1 Corinthians 12:4-6 teach us that the Holy Spirit gifts us to serve the Lord Jesus with the power from the Father. God gets the glory and all profit. Join us as we continue the study on the church, unity in diversity.

The work of the Godhead in the gifts of the Spirit from Pastor Steve Schroeder on Vimeo.

Depression and Improvement

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Psalm 142

1 I cry out to the Lord with my voice; With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.

2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.

3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk They have secretly set a snare for me.

4 Look on my right hand and see, For there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul.

5 I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.

6 Attend to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I.

7 Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me.”

I find in this Psalm, which was written when David fleeing from Saul’s army was hiding in cave, a journey from depression to improvement of thought. David was in a bad way. He had been anointed as king of Israel but Saul was committed to killing him and was hunting him like one would hunt an animal. David found refuge in a cave but Saul was gaining on him. With nowhere to go and certain death seeming apparent, David went into a bout of depression.

Read the first six verses focusing on verse 4. When we listen to ourselves and allow our minds to take us to the worst possible places, I want you to see that we go to places that are untrue, places that deceive our thinking bringing us to false conclusions. David was in a bad place, no doubt. But in verse 4 he accepted false conclusions. He said that he looked on his right hand and saw no one who acknowledged him. He found no refuge. No one cared for his soul.   These are all untrue statements! On David’s right hand were the strongest and bravest soldiers alive. All around him were men who looked to him for physical and for spiritual leadership. He was surrounded by refuge both from man and from God. Had not the prophet of God, Samuel himself anointed David as king? Was Saul going to thwart the work of God? Had God not protected David all along and was God going to stop being his refuge now? Did no one care for his soul? Didn’t David have two wives back home and children and parents who cared for his soul?

Here is my point: when we allow depression into our minds it can and will take us to untrue places. These false realities, which we allow to become our realities, make us think dark thoughts that just are not so. The longer we stay there the more we focus on those dark thoughts the harder it is to come out and back into the light of the truth.

In verse 9 David realizes that he has put himself into a prison of his own making and asks God to bring him out so that he can praise His name. David sees those good people surrounding him and leans on them. He is then able to see that God has dealt bountifully with him and is not going to leave him now.

 

Learn from David that good people can fall into depression but that depressing thoughts are usually exaggerations if not outright false realities that lead us into dark places away from the light of the truth. Bring your mind into the light, rejoice in the Lord, and look at those who are there for you and be thankful.

 

After church last night I spent an hour with our friends, Fred and Bonnie. At the end of our time we had a prayer time of rejoicing, thanking God for all that He has done in our lives. You know what, even in a hospital room, a prayer of praise and thanksgiving is in order and brings peace and blessing.

 

Bobbi spent time yesterday with Bonnie Verway; caring for her while Kris slept. Bonne is not eating much at all and we are praying for her peaceful transition from here to the presence of Jesus.

 

All is well. God is God. We are at peace.

 

Have a great day in Him,

 

PS

God delivers us from the snares and traps

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Psalm 141:8-10

But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;

In You I take refuge;

Do not leave my soul destitute.

Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,

And from the traps of the workers of iniquity.

Let the wicked fall into their own nets,

While I escape safely.

 

Many of the themes of the Psalms are directed toward the enemies of the Psalmist. In this life we do have enemies. Ours are identified by the world, the flesh and the devil. The world around us wants to force us into its mold. Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to it. Our own flesh is against God for in our flesh nothing good dwells. Even though we are redeemed by the blood of Christ and given a new heart for God, our flesh is still tied to this world and has sinful desires that must be resisted. The devil is our constant enemy ever deceiving and desiring to draw us away from God.

 

As we face these enemies we must find our refuge in the Lord. Looking to Him we are able to see the temptations for the lies that they are. God will not leave our souls desolate for He has redeemed them from destruction.

 

Snares and traps are hunters tools designed to be invisible to the prey until they step into it. In our spiritual battles we don’t always see the snares and traps until we are caught in them. We seek the Lord to keep us from those snares and traps that our enemies lay out for us.

 

In fact, the Psalmist asks that the wicked around him be caught in their own traps while he safely escapes. I envision myself walking through a mine field unscathed, looking back and seeing the ones who planted the mines unable to get to me for fear of stepping on their own traps. God does lead us through the mine-fields of life but the wicked are on their own. God brings us out of temptation’s snares so that we can live victoriously giving glory to Him.

 

“Lord, lead us not into temptation today but delver us from the evil one for yours is the kingdom and the honor and the glory forever.”

 

Bonnie Verway was sent home to her daughter’s house yesterday. Nothing has changed in her condition. Pray for them all to know God’s peace in this time of transition from here to heaven.

 

Be in prayer for our college students to remain focused on the Lord and their studies. Pray for our school age kids to walk with the Lord and remain faithful to Him and to His word.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS