Psalms

A Psalm about God

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100 A Psalm for giving thanks.

      Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

           Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!

      Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

      Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!

      For the Lord is good;

his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.

This short Psalm of five verses has sixteen direct references to God!  Yes, this Psalm is about God and calls us to praise Him for who He is and for all that He does.  By God’s grace we can enter into His presence and we are singing because of His great salvation to us.  God made us; we are His people.  Creation indicates both design and ownership.  When we have the deep questions of life, we should take them to our Creator.  When we have questions about where we belong, we should take them to our owner. 

Entering into His gates speak of His city, the place where God lives, and we are called to enter it.  Again, in our sin, according to Revelation 21:27, we cannot enter His city.  Only by God’s grace and through faith in the work of Christ for us, can we ever enter into God’s gates, so we enter with thanksgiving and with praise.  His name is worthy of all the praise and blessing we can bring. 

All of this is because the Lord is good to us; His steadfast, undeserved, and unchangeable love never changes and never runs out.  We are so very thankful that our Lord’s steadfast love towards us endures forever.  (Husbands, this is the example of love we are called with which to love our wives.  Yes, this is a high calling.)  Even when we are unfaithful, our God is faithful to us.  We have so many reasons to come into His courts with praise and with thanksgiving.  

Take a moment to re-read this Psalm and to enjoy this meditation on God. 

As our world continues to live in fear, we are drawn to greater faith in the God above the world.  All of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, have been sown seeds of great fear.  We have and are still hearing conflicting reports from week to week.  Many people are ignoring the warnings and the sickness is on the rise in some places.  We must look to our Lord and Savior, the one who alone is called by Isaiah: “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. No, I don’t want to get sick. Yes, I want to live above the fear.  Let us edify one another in love.  We need to hear from one another all that God is doing for us today.  We are called to live above the fear.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

We all can dwell, live, in the refuge and protection of our Lord Most High

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Psalm 90:1 (HCSB)

Lord, You have been our refuge

in every generation. (from generation to generation)

Psalm 91:1–2 (HCSB)

The one who lives under the protection of the Most High

dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say  to the Lord, “My (source of) refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

By the grace of God, my parents have found their refuge in the Lord, Most High.  By the grace of God, their parents found their refuge in the Lord, Most High.  And as far as I know, even my parents, parents, parents, found their refuge in the Lord, Most High.  These ancestors of mine date back to the mid 1800’s and would have been alive during the American Civil War.  My grandparents were alive during WW I and WW II.  My parents were alive during the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis, the Korean War, and the Vietnam war.  They all lived through outbreaks of diseases and viruses, plagues that took thousands of lives and crippled thousands more. 

In meditation on Psalm 90:1 and 91:1 today, I had the wonderful realization that from generation to generation the Lord has been the refuge of our family.  In the hours of their trials, diseases, wars, political crisis, and death, they found their place of safety in the protection of the Lord Most High. 

Furthermore, in the same way that Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, my grandparents at least twice back are also currently with the Lord Jesus who was their refuge in life and their Savior for eternity. 

What does God want from me?  He wants me to hold on to the same promises in Psalm 90 and 91 that were read by my family for generations past and will be read for generations forward.  God is the same and His refuge, His place of protection, is where we can dwell, where we can live every day of this life and forevermore. 

God’s steadfast love never changes, and His mercies endure forever.  Great is His faithfulness both to our generations past, present, and future. 

So far, my dad and mom are at peace.  There are some moving issues that are being worked out but in talking to them, they are at peace.  Thank you all for your prayers for them.  Please continue to uphold them before the Lord.  God is and has been their refuge for many years.  He is not going to forsake them today. 

As the US approaches July 4th, this could be the most unusual, strange, and even most violent Independence Day ever.  Let’s join in prayer for our brothers and sisters in the US to know God’s protection and care in the days and weeks ahead. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God is always our Good Shepherd

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Psalm 80

      Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,

you who lead Joseph like a flock.

        You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.

          Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,

        stir up your might

and come to save us!

      Restore us, O God;

let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Jesus Christ called himself the Good Shepherd.  The Psalmist knew God as his Shepherd.  God, the Good Shepherd, is always leading his people with carefulness and with his steadfast love.  From the family of Jacob, a dysfunctional family by any definition, God shepherded Joseph from the favorite son to the slave of Pharaoh, to the head prisoner, to the vizier of Egypt so that Joseph could prepare the way for God to save His nation.  Only God can prepare a path like this. 

God is still shepherding His people; Jesus is our Good Shepherd.  Psalm 23 so carefully lays out our Shepherd’s care in guiding, providing, and protecting us. 

Even so, there are times we feel a need to cry out to God more.  There are times when we will seek His face with greater fervency and desperation.  This is one of those times.  While nations are reopening, Covid is still here.  It will be like malaria, influenza, polio, and AIDS; we will know it is here and try to live with it.  However, since Covid has so many unknowns our fear level is high.  We need to seek God’s face with a greater fervency. 

We agree with the Psalmist, “Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” 

Here at JIBC, we are thankful that we can have public services again.  We are also thankful that God has protected us so far.  We are thankful for the many Zoom groups that are meeting together for study, counsel, prayer, and encouragement.  Furthermore, we are seeking the shine of God’s face upon us to know His leading for us. 

Today I need to ask your prayers for my parents.  For 2 ½ years they lived with me. When I left the US, we found a place for them not far from my brother’s house.  For eight months or so they lived there until dad’s physical condition required more care and my sister decided to take them into her home in Pennsylvania.  After fourteen months with her both of my parent’s health has become quite fragile and in need of more nursing care than my sister can provide.  On Monday dad and mom will be moving into a nursing home near Philadelphia.  Because of Covid my sister cannot go in with them to help them set up and get moved in, they can only bring them to the door and say goodbye.  Dad and mom are people of great faith, they really are, and yet this transition is going to be difficult.  Pray for their well being on every level as God shepherds them again. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God With Us

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Psalm 73

23     Nevertheless, I am continually with you;

you hold my right hand.

24     You guide me with your counsel,

and afterward you will receive me to glory.

25     Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

26     My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27     For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;

you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.

28     But for me it is good to be near God;

I have made the Lord God my refuge,

that I may tell of all your works.

From the creation of man, God has enjoyed being with the men and women of His creation.  In this Psalm we read that the Psalmist was continually with God and God held his right hand.  When I walk with Jared, I often hold his hand, or he holds mine.  Jared is much more secure in his walk when he is held on to.  Perhaps that is the picture here.  It is not that we cannot live apart from God holding on to us, but our life is much more secure when He does.   

The Psalmist continues that when he is with God and held by His hand, he also hears the counsel of God both for the good of this life and for going into the next life.  As we face life and death, God’s close presence with us makes all the difference.  We have God to look forward to in heaven and when we look to Him in this life, there is nothing on earth that compares.  God is our strength when our human hearts fail; He is our portion forever. 

The Psalmist ends stating even more clearly that it is good to be near God; God is His refuge, his place of safety.  Jesus promised His disciples that He would be with them always.  Jesus promised to send them, and us, His Holy Spirit to be with us always in this life.  We too can say that we enjoy being with God as God enjoys being with us.  God holds our right hand and we hear His counsel.  God’s presence is all the difference as we go through life and thus we know that we are prepared to see Him in heaven. 

With this in mind, we tell others of all His wonderful works. 

Open, yes, church is open.  JIBC has been open for two Sundays now.  We are thankful for those who have joined with us as we gather, sing, pray, read Scripture and hear God’s word preached.  The fellowship is sweet through the masks and distancing.  We are still sanitizing the building, taking temperature, and keep record of who comes so we can gather with a level of safety.  We will again have service this coming Sunday with those who will attend. 

Our services are still available on Facebook at “Jakarta International Baptist Church,” as well as on YouTube at “JIBC Online Ministry.” 

We pray for each of you every week.  Please send us any special requests you may have by email or WhatsApp. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God is our present God, He is with us right now, today.

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Psalm 46

      God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

      Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

      though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

      There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

      God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

      The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

he utters his voice, the earth melts.

      The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

      Come, behold the works of the Lord,

how he has brought desolations on the earth.

      He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

he burns the chariots with fire.

10     “Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

11     The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

The use of language is important in communicating any thought or intent.  As we read this Psalm today we must notice and rejoice that every person who has ever read this Psalm has read it in the present tense.  These expressions, “God is,” and “there is,” and “is with us,” and “is our fortress,” and “I am God,” stir our hearts and bring great hope and rejoicing. All that God is will never change and His present hope, help and presence in our lives carries us today. 

As the world begins to return to work and worship, we will know that the Covid virus us not gone.  I trust we have had ample time to confirm to our souls that God is greater than Covid and that while it has just come on the scene, God has always been here and been with us.  While the information on Covid has changed a hundred times or more, now the WHO is telling us that Covid cannot be transmitted by asymptomatic people, God’s information has never changed.  No expert has proven Him wrong on any subject at any level.  God is as true today as He was when this Psalm was written. 

Come with me today and let us rejoice in the current love and power of our God.  Let us rejoice in His moment-by-moment presence in our lives.  Let us be still and know that He is God, that He is with us, and that He is our fortress, and all that of this is true right now, today. 

The Indonesian government has lifted the ban on religious gatherings; JIBC will be open and gathering for church here in our auditorium this coming Sunday, June 14th. Yes, we will follow the protocols of sanitizing and distancing, and checking temperatures, and wearing masks. We have removed 2/3 of the chairs and will have both masks and hand sanitizers for all. Then, we are going to gather and rejoice. While we will not have Sunday school or nurseries yet; we will have three sanitized rooms available for parents to take their children. 

Our message this Sunday will come from Psalm 34, a psalm of praise and thanksgiving. Our hearts will be lifted together as we sing and pray and rejoice in our God. For those who are comfortable to do so, gather with us by 10:45.

For those who are not yet comfortable gathering publicly, we will still be posting our recorded music and video for you. As a church, we love every one of you and long for the day when we will all be ready to gather, to share the Lord’s Table, and to rejoice in the Lord together. Psalm 34:3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! That day is coming by God’s good grace toward us.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

One long contrast between the righteous and the wicked

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In these devotionals, you do not usually see a 40 verse Psalm to read.  In this Psalm we see a continual comparison between the righteous and the wicked.  As you read it notice the blessings of God upon the righteous, which blessings also use the words “deliver,” “dwell forever,” and other such words of God’s protection and blessing.  As you read about the contrasting wicked, notice words like “cut off,” “not be found,” and “was no more.”

The value of this Psalm for us today is that the wicked, those who are against God and against His values of life, justice, and righteousness, seem to be in control.  The wicked have taken center stage in so many places, especially in the US cities.  Godless men and women are using violence, destruction, and theft to promote their anger and desire for anarchy.  They are causing everyone, it seems, to listen to them and to give in to their violence.  According to Psalm 37, it is the righteous who are established forever.  It is the wicked who will be cut off and forgotten. 

While it seems the wicked are prospering, God is in control and they will soon be gone and forgotten.

Enjoy this Psalm, overlay it on today’s riotous actions.  God is not asleep; He has established boundaries of all human activity; He is taking care of the righteous. 

Psalm 37

      Fret not yourself because of evildoers;

be not envious of wrongdoers!

      For they will soon fade like the grass

and wither like the green herb.

      Trust in the Lord, and do good;

dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

      Delight yourself in the Lord,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

      Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in him, and he will act.

      He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,

and your justice as the noonday.

      Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;

fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,

over the man who carries out evil devices!

      Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!

Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

      For the evildoers shall be cut off,

but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10     In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;

though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.

11     But the meek shall inherit the land

and delight themselves in abundant peace.

12     The wicked plots against the righteous

and gnashes his teeth at him,

13     but the Lord laughs at the wicked,

for he sees that his day is coming.

14     The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows

to bring down the poor and needy,

to slay those whose way is upright;

15     their sword shall enter their own heart,

and their bows shall be broken.

16     Better is the little that the righteous has

than the abundance of many wicked.

17     For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,

but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18     The Lord knows the days of the blameless,

and their heritage will remain forever;

19     they are not put to shame in evil times;

in the days of famine they have abundance.

20     But the wicked will perish;

the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;

they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21     The wicked borrows but does not pay back,

but the righteous is generous and gives;

22     for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,

but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23     The steps of a man are established by the Lord,

when he delights in his way;

24     though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,

for the Lord upholds his hand.

25     I have been young, and now am old,

yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken

or his children begging for bread.

26     He is ever lending generously,

and his children become a blessing.

27     Turn away from evil and do good;

so shall you dwell forever.

28     For the Lord loves justice;

he will not forsake his saints.

        They are preserved forever,

but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

29     The righteous shall inherit the land

and dwell upon it forever.

30     The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,

and his tongue speaks justice.

31     The law of his God is in his heart;

his steps do not slip.

32     The wicked watches for the righteous

and seeks to put him to death.

33     The Lord will not abandon him to his power

or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

34     Wait for the Lord and keep his way,

and he will exalt you to inherit the land;

you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

35     I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,

spreading himself like a green laurel tree.

36     But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;

though I sought him, he could not be found.

37     Mark the blameless and behold the upright,

for there is a future for the man of peace.

38     But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;

the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39     The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;

he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.

40     The Lord helps them and delivers them;

he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,

because they take refuge in him.

Be encouraged my friends.  Our hope is not in the White House nor in the Courthouse.  We go to God’s house, open His word together and find our identity there.  We will dwell forever with our God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  The wicked only have a moment to make their play, we have eternity with the God of all creation and of all salvation.  Be at peace in Him.  (BTW this Psalm is written to all people of all places and of all races. God does not see color, He sees eternal souls created in His image.) 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Exalt the Lord together, He answers our fearful cry

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Psalm 34

      I will bless the Lord at all times;

his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

      My soul makes its boast in the Lord;

let the humble hear and be glad.

      Oh, magnify the Lord with me,

and let us exalt his name together!

      I sought the Lord, and he answered me

and delivered me from all my fears.

      Those who look to him are radiant,

and their faces shall never be ashamed.

      This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him

and saved him out of all his troubles.

      The angel of the Lord encamps

around those who fear him, and delivers them.

You have heard it said that the Bible is a dynamic book. Dynamic is the opposite of static.  Something static is unmoving, unfertilized, inactive, stationary, unable to help itself much less anyone else.  A broken-down car on the side of the road is static.  But the Bible is dynamic, it is alive, it moves in us, it applies to every day of our varied lives.  The Bible is life-giving to everyone who picks it up, opens its’ pages and lets it speak to them.  The Bible is the very breath of God breathed into our gasping souls.  It is like CPR to a patient who needs to be resuscitated.

If you read Psalm 34:1-7 in December it would have meant something to you then and encouraged your heart in whatever difficulty you were facing.  But as you read this passage today, after Covid-19, after world-wide infections, after cities and countries faced huge death tolls and infections, after government failures around the world, after the terrible riots and loss of life and livelihood in the US, this living word breathes the vital life of God into us.

Let’s face it, our fears are different now then they were six months ago.  Our fears have a totally different face and depth to them.  We have been the poor man or the poor woman who cried out hoping the Lord would hear us and save us from all our troubles.  And even our troubles have taken shapes we could not have imagined six months ago.  Some of you have gone for two to three months without a paycheck.  Some of you have suffered at the hands of the Covid virus.  Some of you have lost loved ones and friends whom you would not normally have lost.  We have all faced a level of isolation that we don’t like.  Our fears are quite different, and our cries to the Lord have been extremely specific. 

In today’s passage we find hope; the angel of the Lord encamps around those of us who fear the Lord.  We can look back and see the deliverance of the hand of God. We know that our fears can be lifted by our faith and that our faith in a Sovereign God allays our fears.  So yes, bless the Lord, praise Him continually, make your boast in Him and be glad. Magnify the Lord with me today and let us all exalt His name together.

Tomorrow, the malls here are going to open.  The lights were on last night as they were preparing to have customers for the first time in two months.  Before long now, the church should open up as well.  I can’t wait. Let’s pray that we, as a society, are ready to deal with Covid as a new virus on the block. It is going to still be here.  Let’s pray for God’s protection, be careful, and look for ways to care for those around us who are still hurting, confused, or wondering what God is doing.

Be in prayer for our Sunday service online.  May God continue to use His word even though we are not gathering. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

The Lord is on His throne above the flood

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Psalm 29

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;

the Lord is enthroned as King forever.

11 The Lord gives strength to his people;

the Lord blesses his people with peace.

This passage brings me back to where God wants me to be, that is, acknowledging that He sits on His throne in full control over the flood.  The flood was the greatest act of judgment in history.  It was the greatest loss of human life at one time.  This Covid virus is another time of great human loss.  This Scripture reminds me that God sits on His throne over the flood.  Has God ever not been in control?  Has God ever gotten off His throne?

As we watch the news and hear of the loss of life and livelihood around the world, yes, God is on His throne above this flood.  Remember this, a king on his throne was his place of authority and power; God on His throne is His place of eternal authority and all power.  When we need strength, it is to the Lord’s throne we must go.  When we need peace, it is God’s blessing we must seek. 

What are our needs today?  Is God able?  Is God listening when we call out to Him?  Though His response may seem slow, God is able, God is listening, and God is working in our world and in our lives for our good and for His glory.  May we cry out to Him with as much zeal as we have.  “He sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

They are seeking guidance from the wrong source

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Psalm 2

1     Why do the nations rage,

And the people plot a vain thing?

2     The kings of the earth set themselves,

And the rulers take counsel together,

Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,

3     “Let us break Their bonds in pieces

And cast away Their cords from us.”

4     He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;

The Lord shall hold them in derision.

5     Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,

And distress them in His deep displeasure:

6     “Yet I have set My King

On My holy hill of Zion.”

 

It should be very clear to those of us who follow Christ and seek the wisdom of God that the nations today are raging against this pandemic, against the virus, and against each other far apart from the counsel of the Lord.  They take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed.  The nations seek to break the bonds of God from their lives and to cast off His loving cords of restraint and guidance.  Not once have I heard a national leader tell us that we need to seek the face of God, repent from our sin, and cry out to Him for mercy.  (If you have heard of a national leader who has said this, please send me the link to the article.)

The doom and gloom of this pandemic are the primary news stories.  We hear about some people who are acting quite heroically during this time and we hear about others who are taking advantage of this time to make some quick money or to gain political clout.  Conspiracy theories abound with different levels of validation.  Some say it will take years, others say it will be better in a few months. They debate between the value of human life and the value of human economy.  Someone else said that the news companies are liking this because more people are watching news and as their ratings go up so do their profit margins.

Please notice verse 4.  God is laughing at man’s roaring’s apart from Him.  God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, so God is not laughing at the pains of mankind; however, God knows that those who are raging against Him have it all wrong.  We could say that they are all “barking up the wrong tree.”  Until they seek God’s wisdom, they are going to get it wrong.  There is one King of glory and He is the Lord of hosts.  Psalm 24:10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

Until the nations seek God’s wisdom all we can hope for is the best of human ideas. But what we really need is leaders who are truly seeking God’s face, His wisdom, and His answers.  Let us pray that those who are in leadership over us will stop their human raging and will seek counsel from the King of glory, the Lord of hosts.

For the first time since March 21st, I took Jared to the store last night.  Since he has no concept of wearing a mask, he had no sense of keeping it on his nose.  I took three masks because of his swallowing issues and could have taken more.  It was quite comical to keep pulling the mask up over his nose and wondering if it was doing any good at all.  We are thankful for Jared’s good health.  He has been very good about being quarantined for so long.  He repeatedly asks to go to church, to put on his tie and go to church.  Church has been a weekly part of Jared’s life since he was born, and he must be wondering why we don’t go.  Thank you who have prayed for him so diligently.  He is really doing well. 

Tomorrow is Ascension Day here in Indonesia.  Each year the Christian churches put on a combined service to celebrate the ascension of Christ.  This year, the service is prerecorded and is available on https://ascensionday.online.church   The service will begin at 10:00 AM Jakarta time which is 12 hours earlier than Chicago time.  Join us for an hour of music and prayer and worship as we celebrate the ascension of our Savior and His call for us to continue on for Him. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

In His silence, God is still good to us

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Psalm 13

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”

and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;

my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing the Lord’s praise,

for he has been good to me.

 

There were times in the Psalmist life when he felt God was not hearing his prayer.  In verses 1-4 he shares the fear of the silence of God.  As I read this Psalm it reminded me of today, this Covid-19 day.  All of us have prayed and asked God to remove this virus, to bring it to an end, or to heal our friends or family from it. God has seemed to be silent.  He has seemed to hide His face from us and to leave sorrow in our hearts.  Our eyes need His light, or we too might sleep the sleep of death.  Those who reject God, His enemies, have assumed that we will be overcome and seem to rejoice when those who call upon the Lord get sick.

This is not an overreach.  We are struggling today with the apparent silence of God.

In verse 5, the Psalmist changes his focus, and so must we.  God’s unfailing love is His steadfast, never changing, undeserved love.  This is a love that we can trust even when we have doubts.  Our hearts can rejoice knowing that God has a salvation planned for us.  We may not know when His salvation will come but we are certain it will; His unfailing love will not leave us alone.

Because God’s love is steadfast, we can sing His praise.  Note here that the Psalmist does not say that his circumstances have changed, but his focus has changed.  In the middle of our Covid-19 days, we can rest in the unfailing love of God and we can sing His praises for His goodness to us.  God is good to us: He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins so that we can be made righteous in Him.  So, while our circumstances seem bleak, our eternity is secure.  Sing God’s praises with me today; He has been good to us.

Let’s keep our meditation in the right place

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Psalm 1

1      Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

    but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

    He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

 

It should be interesting that passages we have known and studied take on a new light while living in a world-wide crisis.  When we take our time to read and listen to the news, we find our minds running to many places and not all of them are godly.  The unrighteous of this world are clamoring for position and power hoping that when all of this is behind us that they will have done the right thing.  Conspiracy theories abound.  Conversations quickly go to what the government is doing wrong and that they should be more concerned about the lives of people.

The message of Psalm 1 has become more focused than ever.  We are called here to delight ourselves in the law of the Lord and to meditate on it day and night.  We have more time at home than ever before. We have more time to meditate on the Lord and upon His word than ever before.  Furthermore, we have a greater need for God’s mind than ever before.  As people of God, we need God’s knowledge to know His counsel.  In Job 35:16, 38:2, and 42:3 we find the expression “counsel without knowledge.”  Since no one today knows the mind of God and most are not interested in knowing God’s knowledge about this crisis, their counsel is without God’s knowledge.

My friends, if we want to be people of strength, refreshment, fruitfulness, security, and blessing (Psalm 1:3, the tree), then our primary source of meditation must be the Word of God, His holy Scriptures.  Each of us who are redeemed have the Holy Spirit of God living in us whom Jesus sent to guide us into all truth and to teach us clarity regarding Himself.  If we are going to be people of the light, people of the blessing, then we are to meditate in God’s law day and night.

This world is in such desperate need of people with good answers.  I cannot give them answers about Covid 19 nor about the economy nor about when we will get back to normal, whatever that will look like.  But I can tell them that God is good, that God is just, that God is merciful, that God cares about them, and that God is fully in control today.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He has written the last chapter and is moving the entire world population to where He wants us.  This world needs answers and God will to show them to His people who meditate on His word first and foremost.

Our church here in Jakarta is giving out food baskets every week.  This began when one man saw the upcoming need and donated 5 jt, or $300.00 toward the project.  Since then, 57 food baskets, sembako bags, have been given.  Each week, God burdens someone and the account increases.  If you have been wanting to help people who are legitimately suffering due to a lack of work due to the crisis, 100% of what is given goes to buy food.  Each food unit cost Rp 150,000 or about $10. If you are in the US and want to donate to this you can use our Paypal account, stevebobbi6@hotmail.com.  If you are in Indonesia you can donate to CIMB Niaga account IDR : 800 130 149 700 

As you give, pray that these food gifts will show the love of Christ to those whose hearts are far from Christ to realize that the Christians in the community love them with the love of Christ.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

There is only one everlasting Kingdom; God is over all kingdoms

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Psalm 145

10    All Your works shall praise You, O Lord,

And Your saints shall bless You.

11    They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,

And talk of Your power,

12    To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,

And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.

13    Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

14    The Lord upholds all who fall,

And raises up all who are bowed down.

15    The eyes of all look expectantly to You,

And You give them their food in due season.

16    You open Your hand

And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

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.

Today is Indonesia’s fifth Presidential election. Before 1998 the elections had no effect on the presidency here. Now, the people of Indonesia are operating in a democracy where free elections are a part of their lives. Election day is also a holiday from work. Businesses and factories are closed so everyone can have the opportunity to vote.

Look with me at Psalm 145 in light of the kingdoms of this earth. God declares that His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and that He is the one we expectantly look to. God wants us to know that when we cry out to Him that He opens His hands and satisfies us. When we cry out to God He is the one who hears our cry and saves us.

Ever since I was 18 years old, I have participated in local and federal elections. Some time the ones that I thought best got elected and some time the ones I thought best did not get elected. I learned early on that God in heaven was in control of the elections and that He puts up whom He will put and that He puts down whom He will put down. And while I have often grieved at the will of the people, that is the one that was voted into office, I have had to rest in the overarching will of God. Remember this: at each election, God is not being voted on and He never leaves His throne.

I am very thankful to be in Indonesia and to be a part of this great country. It is thrilling to see democracy at work and to know that a free people are participating in a free election to determine who will guide their country. As is true everywhere that people vote, there seems to be a candidate better for our future, and we who know the Lord, desire this candidate to be elected. Nonetheless, God’s kingdom will not be affected by the outcome of today’s election for His is an everlasting kingdom and His throne is securely His. Rest in this truth today.

As you vote today, cry out to God with greater passion and plead with Him to show His might in Indonesia today. Pray that the desires of the wicked, those who are against God, would be thwarted while the desire of the righteous will be granted. By the time today ends, God’s will is going to be known and His people will be thankful for the clarity of His way.

21    My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,

And all flesh shall bless His holy name

Forever and ever.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

April 1st is National Atheist Day

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Psalm 14
1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
3 They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.

Pardon my attempt at satire today, but April 1st has always been April fools’ day. This is the day when we try to “fool” someone into doing something or believing something unreal. One day my young sons put pickles on my peanut butter and jelly sandwich to fool their day. When the person realizes that they have been tricked, we cry out, “April fools!” According to Psalm 14:1, April 1st is also National Atheist Day, the day when all atheists proclaim to their own foolishness that they neither want nor need God.

Only a fool proclaims that they have no need of God in their lives. Only a fool decides that he or she is greater than their Creator and determine that they can live successfully without Him. Only a fool speeds through the darkness of life without any spiritual guidance fully believing that they won’t be hurt in their spiritual darkness. Only a fool takes his or her friends and family through the trials and challenges of life believing that they can figure it all out on their own.

We have fools at all levels of society and culture today. We have talented fools, beautiful fools, powerful fools, and very rich fools all around us. We see them on television, YouTube, in theaters, in government offices, and yes, even in churches. Everyone who thinks that they can go through life without God is a fool. They might believe that God exists but if they believe they can function without God’s guidance, help, and grace, they are a functional fool.

So yes, today is April fool’s day. Let us not be fooled by Satan to join those who throughout time and culture are the greater fools.

This past week, God has provided several opportunities to talk to people about their souls. Here in JIBC we have coming those who are not followers of Jesus Christ. As the Lord begins to open conversations, He is also bringing conviction of sin and the promise of eternal life by faith in His grace. While I am thankful for these conversations, I am praying for those who still don’t see the need of this salvation. Knowing about God is just not enough for even the demons know about God and their knowledge of God makes them tremble in fear. Pray for clarity of the Word in people’s hearts and the impartation of faith to believe and surrender to Christ.
Sunday afternoon, we had twelve church people over for lunch. It was great time of fellowship and of hearing about their journeys to faith in Christ. When God wants to save, He will send those with HIs word to reach the hearts of those He is going to save. What a thrill to hear how God works.
Justin and his family left us Friday morning. They left their mark on the people here and we are so thankful that they could make the trip.
Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

A Psalm of God’s Heart for the Nations

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 Psalm 96:1-13 (ESV)

Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

96 Oh sing to the Lord a new song;

sing to the Lord, all the earth!

2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;

tell of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous works among all the peoples!

4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;

he is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,

but the Lord made the heavens.

6 Splendor and majesty are before him;

strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,

ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!

8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

bring an offering, and come into his courts!

9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;

tremble before him, all the earth!

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!

Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;

he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;

let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

12 let the field exult, and everything in it!

Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy

13 before the Lord, for he comes,

for he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness,

and the peoples in his faithfulness.

 Look back over this Psalm and identify the heart of God for nations and peoples.  As I read this Psalm I was even more drawn to our new ministry time in Indonesia.  God wants His message of His salvation to go to all people.  When we give God’s message to the nations and peoples of the world we are giving glory to Him.  

 Remember to pray for the nations of the world and the people in those nations to hear the glorious gospel of God’s grace and His offer of life through His Son. 

 A note of clarification, Steven Kirk’s funeral service is at 1:00.  After the funeral lunch is being served and all are welcome to stay with the family until 4:00 or whenever.  

Have a great day in the Lord, 

PS

 

Are you steadfast in God’s steadfast love?

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Psalm 57:1–11 (ESV)

1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. 2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. 3 He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

4 My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! 6 They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah

7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! 8 Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Throughout the Psalms the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, it carries the Psalmist from trouble to trouble and from enemy to enemy. In the steadfast love of God fear turns to faith and insecurity turn to rock-solid security as the people of God find God ever faithful and true.

In this passage the Psalmist finds his soul in the midst of lions, fiery beasts – men whose teeth are like spears and arrows and whose tongues are like swords. What a frightful picture of a bad day! They even set a net to catch him, to trap him, to tear him down; they dug a pit for him to fall into and be destroyed. Then in verse 7 we see an amazing reaction: his heart is steadfast in God’s steadfast love. He can sing and make melody. Go back and read verses 7-11 and ask yourself if your heart is this secure in the steadfast love and faithfulness of God?

In this passage there are two words used for steadfast. The word used for God’s steadfast love is the Hebrew word “hesed,” which is impossible to translate with one English word. It includes God’s mercy, God’s infinite love, His gracious love, His love that is extended without any expectation of return, and His love that cannot fail His people. So when the Psalmist knows the “hesed” love of God his soul is steadfast, that is, it is secure, made sure, confident in this life that he is not alone and that God is on his side.

How confident are you in the steadfast love of God? When enemies seek your pain, your entrapment, and even your destruction are you secure in God’s love and faithfulness? Since we have the very same God before us that the Psalmist did, we too can be as secure, as steadfast as he was. Let us join in exalting the Lord whose glory is over all the earth.

 

September 11th will always be a day for us to remember. As we remember the day our country was attacked, let’s remember to pray for the thousands of families who lost loved ones that day. The ones who died were not soldiers; they were normal Americans going to work expecting a normal day to come home from. The families who lost their loved ones still need our prayers. Pray for them to know God’s peace, God’s grace, and God’s steadfast love.

Pray with us about Jared’s well being. He is on a newer diet to help control his seizures. In the process of this diet Jared seems to be having stomach troubles. Since he really cannot communicate with us we are going back and forth with the nutritionist looking for answers.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS