1 Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,
3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
5 For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children;
6 That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children,
7 That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;
Psalm 78 is a review of God’s working with Israel. It is a sad review because of the constant rebellion of the people that God constantly drew to Himself. In the opening verses we find that God is concerned with generations of people and so tells His people to continually remind their children about His law, His works, and His grace.
As the father of six and as one who grew up in a pastor’s home, I have come to realize the incredible value of influence. When we were at Victory Homes I repeatedly saw the results of bad parental influence. We took boys from “Christian” homes whose parents did not live much like Christians at home. More often than not, these boys rejected the Lord because of the inconsistencies they saw in their parent’s profession.
I grew up with parents who truly lived what they believed and when I came into my teen years their faith became my faith. As an adult, their trust in God spurred me on to trust God. Their commitment to the Scriptures encouraged me to commit to them. And their love for others for Jesus’ sake led me to love others for Jesus’ sake. It was my desire that my children see the same Lord in me that I saw in my parents.
Regardless of whether you grew up in a Christian home or not, you have the opportunity to show God to your children, and for some of you, to your grandchildren. While having fun with them show them the handiwork of God. Begin training their hearts to see the God of creation and the Christ of salvation. Begin showing them that you happily live under His Lordship and fully rejoice in His grace. As they see Christ in us it will easier for them to come to Christ themselves.
There are no spiritual guarantees. But when we live the Lord before our children they will develop a God-consciousness that the Holy Spirit will use in His time to draw them to Himself. What a great opportunity we have to show our children the realities of God while they are in our homes.
Thank you for your prayers for last night. We had a great start for Kids 4 Truth and for the new year for youth group. Take seriously our children’s need of our prayers and regular influence for God.
I am also thankful for those who can commit to prayer meeting each week. Prayer meetings have been called the ‘power source’ for the church. God uniquely partners with those who seek His face in prayer. We are committed to this spiritual activity.
Men, we have a prayer breakfast this Saturday morning at Denny’s at 7:30. All are invited. It is a great time for those of us who meet.
Friday night at 7:30 we will showing the movie “Drop Box.” Bring a blanket or a lawn chair.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 I cried out to God with my voice—To God with my voice;
And He gave ear to me.
2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing;
My soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered God, and was troubled;
I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.
10 And I said, “This is my anguish;
But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the works of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will also meditate on all Your work,
And talk of Your deeds.
In this Psalm, and it is worth your reading, the Psalmist, Asaph, begins in a great turmoil of his spirit and his life. He sought the Lord and nothing changed; he was still in misery. His anguish continues down through verse 9. As we go through life there are times when we will find ourselves in this condition. Problems arise, they get bigger than life, there appears to be no way out, our very soul goes into anguish, depression sticks its ugly head into us, and God is nowhere to be found. This is not a new problem, it has happened to people for thousands of years of time.
However, in verse 10 we see the Psalmist get a grip on something and hang on for dear life. He decides to remember the facts of God that he knows to be true. God’s right hand has always held His people, has always provided for them and carefully and lovingly cared for them. Asaph remembers the works of God and then he remembers the wonders of God. God is wonderful and He never changes. When our lives go down into the pit, God doesn’t change and His testimonies are still there for us. The wonders of God include His amazing grace that continually saves us from our sin and continually prepares us for eternal life with Him in the place that He has prepared for us.
Then in verse 12 the Psalmist decides to change what he is meditating on. At the beginning of the Psalm he is meditating on his problems, his sorrows, and his difficulties. Now he is going to meditate on what he knows to be true about his God. For the remainder of the Psalm we read about Asaph’s change of heart toward his problems as he focuses his mind and heart and soul on the his God.
My friends, we seldom need medication to escape from life’s emotional pain. What we need is to learn to refocus our thinking. Bring our thoughts into the captivity of Jesus Christ. Focus on truths about His mercy, His love, His grace, and His eternal plans for our lives. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice. When we learn to do this we will find ourselves coming out of the pit of despair and up into the Light of God’s goodness and love.
Tonight is our mid-week prayer and Bible study. As we have studied prayer I have come again to emphasize its necessity. Join with us at 7:00 for prayer. If you cannot stay for Bible study at least join us for prayer.
We begin our Kids 4 Truth ministry tonight. Jodi and Dawn are ready for the beginning of a new year of teaching our children God’s truth every Wednesday night. Pray that God will send children from VBS out with us.
Have a great day in the Lord, PS
1 God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us,
2 That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth.
5 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
6 Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.
Note in this Psalm the correlation between praising God and gladness and joy. When we are able to take our focus off of ourselves and onto the Lord it is a time of gladness and joy. Then, when our focus is on praise there is righteous judgment and righteous government. Ah, here is the problem in America; the people are not praising the Lord! Oh how I wish they would.
When people praise the Lord the earth yields its increase. Crops and animals, fruits and vegetables grow better when God is blessing us. Imagine a time when our work just prospered. We did our regular labor but the outcome increased. We knew God’s blessing on our labors.
This begs a question to me; do we spend focused time praising the Lord? Are we able to openly praise Him at home, at work, at school, at play and every car ride in between? Yes, God is worthy of our praise and praise to Him has such amazing benefits. Let’s take time today and this week and this month praising the Lord our God. Make a continuing list of all that you can praise Him for. If you would, send me your list. Let’s make a new effort to praise the Lord.
I am thankful for Sunday. It was a good day at our church. It was a mentally stretching day as we looked at the Holy Spirit’s place in prayer in the Sunday school hour, we looked at the folly of idolatry in the morning service and at the will of God in the discipleship time. If you will stay with us you will be stretched and hopefully strengthened in you walk of faith in the Lord.
Our back to school emphasis was a blessing and I hope an encouragement to all of our school age kids. We gathered around them for prayer to let them know that we are truly encompassing them in prayer and are for them.
Have a great day in the Lord, PS
1 Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
2 Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious.
3 Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
4 All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah
5 Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.
17 I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.
19 But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!
When I read the Psalms and see the exuberance with which they praised God I sometimes think that we are missing something in our praise. This Psalm speaks to a time of great trial, a time when God oppressed his people. It speaks of the enemies bringing defeat and difficulty. But then it speaks to God hearing and turning back the trial and bringing his abundance. Maybe the church today has not had enough trials.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not wish for frontal attacks from the enemy bringing us to the brink of destruction. I do wish that we would pray to God from the edge of the cliff and see Him do for us what we could never do for ourselves. I long to see His mighty hand work on our behalf through the salvation of men and women in the community and thus to build His church.
The greatest praise comes after the greatest blessings. We praise God for our eternal salvation and we should. Do we realize what even that took? Do we recognize what God engineered to bring our salvation to pass? We love to praise God for answered prayer so maybe we should pray more and expect Him to answer more. God has not turned away our prayer nor His mercy from us. Make a joyful shout unto the Lord.
This is a little late in the day but I had something come up early this morning. I do trust you have prayed for Pastor Bill’s services today. One begins in a few minutes.
Remember the spiritual battles that take place every Friday and pray for men and women to come to Reformers Unanimous tonight. Real answers from the word of God are available to those who come.
Pray for Sunday. I will be speaking from Isaiah 44 looking at the creation of idols. It is back to school Sunday and I will be looking at idols of the intellect that have shaped us and taken us away from God’s plan for us to live in His image. Our children are inundated with idolatrous teachings from the temple of humanism. So are we. God created us in His image and likeness and wants us to reflect Him in our lives. We are ever trying to reflect our own image instead. Pray that Sunday’s message will be clear and helpful to us all.
Remember Nancy Hall in your prayers. She is having ups and downs in her recovery.
Have a great day in the Lord,