Month: February 2016

A Praising Focus

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Psalm 148:7–14

7 Praise the Lord from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths;

8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

9 Mountains and all hills; Fruitful trees and all cedars;

10 Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl;

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth;

12 Both young men and maidens; Old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.

14 And He has exalted the horn of His people, The praise of all His saints— Of the children of Israel, A people near to Him. Praise the Lord!

I am readied to live today when I praise the Lord for when praising Him I am not complaining.  When focusing on His works I exalt His name above all His works and I join those who live praising lives.

God’s name and person is worthy of all praise because He truly is God and truly is above everything that He has made. This focus readies me for everything that comes my way knowing that God has brought it and has prepared me for it.

There is no name like His name.  All cultures have had their great people whose names were remembered for a time.  God’s name is above all and His name is remembered in all cultures and in all generations of all time.  At the name of Jesus every knee of every age will bow.  There is none other name given by which we must be saved.

Lord, make me a bold ambassador of Your name every day.

 

The weeks are taking wings and flying by. Just yesterday it was Sunday and already it is Friday, whew. Much has been done in the church this week. The downstairs hall and classrooms will be finished today. They look amazing! I am so thankful for the flooded basement and all that it has required us to do. What a beautiful mistake. 

Sunday morning I will be speaking from 1 Corinthians 14:1. Having studied this all week I think the debate over speaking in tongues has taken away the real message of chapter 14. The first phrase of the chapter is the message. We will be looking at this come Sunday morning.

Remember today to keep those who need to come to RU in your prayers. People are hurting all over. Last Sunday afternoon Pastor Bill was called to a home where a 22 year old son overdosed on drugs and died. There are hurting people all over who need the hope offered here on Friday nights. Pray with us for God to bring people in at the time of their need for His hope.

Tomorrow morning around 10:00 Bob will be at church putting stuff back in and getting the lower level ready for Sunday. If you have a couple of hours and can help it would be greatly appreciated.

Pastor Bill is at Sunrise this afternoon. Pray for his service there.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Praise from creation of their Creator

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Psalm 148:1–6

1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights!

2 Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!

3 Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light!

4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created.

6 He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.

When the people in Jerusalem hailed Jesus on Palm Sunday, they shouted with great praise to Him, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna!”  So great was their praise that the Pharisees told Jesus to tell them to stop.  In essence, they thought that Jesus was not worthy of such praise and that He, knowing this, should stop them.  Jesus response to the Pharisees is a favorite of mine.  He said, “I tell you the truth, if these would cease their praise, the very rocks and trees would immediately cry out.” (in praise)

I have wished that just for a moment the people would have ceased praising Jesus so that we could have record of the rocks and the trees verbally proclaiming praise and glory to Jesus, their Creator.  If rocks and trees and sun and moon, and stars of heavens and waters above and below were to proclaim praise to their Creator we would be in awe.  Perhaps those who believe in an evolutionist theory, hearing all of nature proclaim Jesus as their Creator, would have second thoughts.  Perhaps those who think the earth or the sun or nature are all gods at some level would hear them all proclaim Jesus as Lord and King, would have second thoughts.

Well, in the Psalmist mind, these objects of nature all do proclaim the praise of their Creator.  We must join with all nature in praise and honor of our Creator, our Lord, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We are stuck in the Midwest today.  It is winter and it is cold.  But then, that is the season.  We have been a bit spoiled of late with warmer temperatures but the reality is that it is the Midwest and it is winter.  Thank God for His faithfulness to His seasons all of which have a part in what God planned and does.

 I heard someone say that the American people, through the election process, are looking for someone to make their lives better, a savior, of sorts.  How sad that all of the current candidates are incapable of being that savior.  In reality, people are looking for Jesus Christ who will come one day and will rule and reign in righteousness, justice, and mercy.  He will not be elected but will just take over and every knee will bow to Him.  Until then we only have the best that men can offer. 

 Yesterday I posted two recent sermons on the church website.

 Have a great day in the Lord,


PS

The Greatest Potential, The Greatest Ingredient, The Greatest Failure

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1 Corinthians 12 and 13 tell the Christian church that they have the Holy Spirit of God living in its members. This is great potential. We also learn that the greatest ingredient for the success of the church is love. Then we learn that without love we are nothing. Listen as Pastor Steve teaches his church how they can do anything God wants them to do but first may need to repent of a lack of love.

 

Three Questions regarding Unity in the Church

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From 1 Corinthians 12, Pastor Steve continues a series on unity and diversity in the Christian church.

 

We are still recipients of God’s great blessings

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Psalm 147:12–20

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!

13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you.

14 He makes peace in your borders, And fills you with the finest wheat.

15 He sends out His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.

16 He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes;

17 He casts out His hail like morsels; Who can stand before His cold?

18 He sends out His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.

19 He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel.

20 He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the Lord!

While we do not think the Bible teaches a prosperity gospel, that is a teaching that if you live for Jesus you will get rich, we do see teachings like these where God promises to take care of His people.   We have to remember that this was written for the nation of Israel whom God had abundantly blessed from the battlefield to the farmer’s field. Everything they did succeeded as long as they kept their God first and gave Him their firstfruits and their worship.

 

God set His love on Israel. He took delight in them as His chosen people, His special treasure, His nation. God brought them from a small obscure family, the family of Abraham who only had one son of promise, to a nation of millions coming out of Egypt and millions more by the time David became king. They had property, they had prosperity, and they had the promise of continued blessing. Their enemies were afraid of them because God fought on their side.

 

What a time that must have been; what a glorious kingdom that would have been to be a citizen of. And yet, when we come into the New Testament we find the same language used of the Church, the Bride of Christ. We are chosen by God and precious. We are His special people. We are the ones whom Jesus had in His mind on the cross when He endured it for the joy that was set before Him. In this sense, we too, as God’s adopted children, grafted in by grace, enjoy all of the blessings of God, all of His riches in this life and the next.

 

Rejoice today in all that God has done for you and continues to do for you and in you for His glory and for His kingdom.

 

I am keeping up with uploading the Sunday sermons to the church web site. Check them out at www.graceforlifebc.com If you are using your smart-phone there is a tab in the corner that is one or two lines. Click those lines and the website menu opens up. Go to “sermons” and you can listen to or watch the recent messages.

 

Next Sunday morning and next Monday night we are beginning “The Art of Marriage” video series. The class starts at 9:20 on Sunday morning and at 7:00 Monday evening. We all need help at some time in our marriages. Some of you who would like to be married can benefit from these tools in preparation. The cost is $15 for a book. Please let Bobbi or me know that you are planning to attend.

 

Come tonight at 7:00 for prayer and Bible study time. Kids4Truth will be at the church but the youth group is meeting at Ben’s apartment as the downstairs’ floor is setting and cannot be walked on.

 

Ed’s surgery went very well. His knee replacement is already helping him. Pray for his quick recovery.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Trust the right Source, then praise Him

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Psalm 146:1–10

1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

2 While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

3 Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.

5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God,

6 Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever,

7 Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.

8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous.

9 The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

10 The Lord shall reign forever— Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord and praise Him all the way to your soul and then back out again from your soul. While we have any being left in us we will praise the Lord. We have trusted leaders and others who have let us down; do not put your trust in princes nor in a son of man, in whom there is not nor can be the help you really need. We may look to men for help but God wants us to look to Him first and foremost. We have to know that those around us can and will fail us while God will never fail.

 

The result of trusting on God and waiting on Him is a happiness that comes upon us when He works for us. Happy is the one who has the God of Jacob for his help whose hope is in the Lord His God.

 

God is powerful enough to make heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. He keeps truth forever; He executes justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry and freedom to the prisoners. When we trust in men for these things our changes are 50/50 give a little or take a little. But when our hope is in God, He opens our eyes, He raises us up, He gives us freedom, He watches over the strangers, and He relieves the fatherless and the widow because He reigns forever, to all generations.

 

Here is my takeaway thought: stop trusting those who let you down, go the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, He is able and won’t let you down. In the end, you will praise Him.

 

Keep the RU ministry in your prayers today. People who want to come to get hope and help go through spiritual battles throughout the day on Friday. They know what they need and want but their addictive desires keep them from walking in the doors. Pray for people we don’t know who are battling for their very lives today. Pray they will come in and find the Lord Jesus sufficient to their needs.

 

Pray for Pastor Bill as he ministers the word at Sunrise north today. There is a decent size congregation of people who gather each week to sing the hymns and hear God’s word.

 

Thank you for your prayers for the daycare. Continue to seek God with me for His unique provision. $1,000 came in as a gift and we are very thankful for this wonderful provision. Pray with us for sufficient help to meet the needs.

 

Men, tomorrow morning at 7:30 some of us will be meeting at Denny’s for breakfast, Bible study and prayer. Join us, if you can.

 

There is no dinner after church this Sunday as we ate together last Sunday.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Can you praise the Lord at all times?

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Psalm 145:17–21

17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.

18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

20 The Lord preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.

21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.

“Oh Lord, are you righteous in all of Your ways? Are you gracious in all of Your works?   Are you near to us when we call upon You, when we call upon you in truth? Are you fulfilling our desires? Do we live in a righteous and holy fear of You? Do you hear our cry and are you saving us? Oh Lord, are you preserving us? Do we live to love you? “

 

When we question God we have trouble at verse 21, living with continual praise to the Lord and joining others who are living lives of praise to Him.

 

Why do we question God? I think we question God when we don’t see Him answering our prayers and when we don’t see Him coming through in the hour of our need. Is God interested in meeting our needs? We know that He is. Does God need to operate on our time schedules? Of course not but it sure would help if He would come through when we need Him to. So when God acts on His timetable instead of ours we have trouble praising Him at that moment.

 

The life of faith rests in all that God is doing. He is working to shape us, to guide us, to bring us into His perfect and complete will. May our mouths speak the praise of the Lord and with all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever.

 

I have often asked for prayer for the daycare. The State of Illinois has placed us in a very difficult situation. It is a long story but the end result is that we are behind in paying our staff. We need $9,000 just as soon as God can give it to us. We have people interested in buying the daycare from us and we have money coming in around the 20th of the month but we are behind and there is no catching up. Pray with Connie and me for God’s great and abundant provision.

 

Tonight is the funeral for Bonnie Verway. Pray for her adult children, Mike and Kris and their spouses and children as they go through a difficult hour.

 

Tonight is also our Wednesday night church times. Kids4Truth, youth group, and adult prayer and Bible studies will go on as usual. Make time for this important time of our church week.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS