Psalms

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

 

God’s Opportunities, the Enemies, and Sleep

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Psalm 3

1     Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!

Many are they who rise up against me.

2     Many are they who say of me,

There is no help for him in God.”   Selah

3     But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,

My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

4     I cried to the Lord with my voice,

And He heard me from His holy hill.   Selah

5     I lay down and slept;

I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.

Do you have people or circumstances that are troubling you today?  I do. The task before me in the time allotted seems impossible.  When I focus on it I am overwhelmed.  1 Corinthians 16:9 says, “For a great door of opportunity is opened before me, and there are many adversaries.”  God is the one who opens doors of opportunity for us to do his will; Satan and the world and the flesh are against God’s open opportunities and fight against them.  We feel like we are in the middle of the opportunity from God and the opposition of the adversaries.

David was running for his life from his son, Absalom.  David was God’s anointed king of Israel. Absalom and all of his counselors became David’s enemies to doing God’s will.  He said that his enemies increased and his enemies told him that there was no help for him in God.  Yes, the enemies of our souls and of our opportunities would love to sow seeds of doubt into our hearts telling us that even God can’t help us with this one.  Just as David knew better, “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me… I cried to the Lord with my voice and He heard me from His holy hill,” so should we.  Though we may feel like there is no way to get to God’s opportunity for us, though we may feel like the enemies have won, God is the difference maker for his people.

Notice with me what happened for David and can happen for us.  As David was well aware of his enemies and of their desire for his death, he looked to the Lord in prayer and then David knew that God was in control so then David slept.  He what? Yes, he was able to sleep and to wake up refreshed and sustained in the most vulnerable part of his day because he knew that God was with him and for him.

When our situations are overwhelming, God wants us to lay them before Him so that He can give us His rest in our souls. Instead of worrying all night we will be able to sleep and to wake up refreshed both physically and spiritually.  Are you sleeping well when your enemies are mounting up against you?  Are you at peace knowing that God is in control and that He is going to accomplish His will through you?  Let us learn from David today, cast our cares upon the Lord, rest in Him and even be able to sleep.  Psalm 23:2

 

Pray for us as we minister at Sunrise Assisted Living this morning. Pray for God’s word to be an encouragement to the hearts of those who attend the service.  Week after week we share in fellowship with music and the Word loving these dear  people for Jesus’ sake.  We all leave refreshed. 

 Pray for our church to know the plans of God for us.  We are certain that He has a plan, at this point it is still behind the clouds, unclear to us all.  We would like to have a church prayer meeting where we would all be able to gather for the express purpose of seeking the Lord. 

 Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

In the will of God

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Caleb and Lindsey with fam at Ohare

Psalm 37:23-24

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,

And He delights in his way.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;

For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

Here we are at 10:30 last night at the O’hare International terminal saying goodbye to Caleb and Lindsey for a year.  They boarded their plane around midnight and flew out around 12:30.  It was a time mixed with great joy and grief.  The great joy comes from the heart that Caleb and Lindsey share to do the will of God wherever that Will takes them.  Our hearts overflow with joy to know that our son and his wife are stepping into an opportunity to live and share Christ with people who have never heard His name.

All Christian parents should wish this for their children.  Instead of chasing the illusive riches of this world they are chasing the eternal riches of heaven.  Their lives are set like an arrow toward the target of Thailand to see what God has for them in the Asian world.  We know this could be the full direction of their lives and therein lies the grief.  To be that far from family is not easy.  So we chose to focus on the joy of them following the clear will of God and in that we greatly rejoice.

We began praying for both Caleb and Lindsey (though we did not know her yet) when they were born.  We prayed they would come to know Christ and would seek His will for their lives.  Last night was an answer to that prayer.  The time of transition is both exciting and fearful.  Pray with us for them that God will show HImself near and open unique doors for them.  Pray for their safety and for wisdom in all of their steps.  Pray for Lindsey as she is the first of her family to live so far away from South Bend and for her mom.  Pray for them as they start their new job teaching English to Thai children.  Pray for unique and clear opportunities to tell them of Jesus.

 

Tonight is our regular prayer time.  Our church, our community, our country and our world needs our prayers.  We need the wisdom of God to build His church His way.  We are begging God for His wisdom and guidance. 

If you are sending your children to camp we are going to need registrations soon.  If you would like to sponsor a child for camp we have children and teens who needs sponsorship. 

Have a great day in the Lord ,
PS 

The mind of Jesus while on the Cross

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Psalm 22

6     But I am a worm, and no man;

A reproach of men, and despised by the people.

7     All those who see Me ridicule Me;

They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

8     “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him;

Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”

9     But You are He who took Me out of the womb;

You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.

10   I was cast upon You from birth.

From My mother’s womb

You have been My God.

11   Be not far from Me,

For trouble is near;

For there is none to help.

12   Many bulls have surrounded Me;

Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.

13   They gape at Me with their mouths,

Like a raging and roaring lion.

14   I am poured out like water,

And all My bones are out of joint;

My heart is like wax;

It has melted within Me.

15   My strength is dried up like a potsherd,

And My tongue clings to My jaws;

You have brought Me to the dust of death.

16   For dogs have surrounded Me;

The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.

They pierced My hands and My feet;

17   I can count all My bones.

They look and stare at Me.

18   They divide My garments among them,

And for My clothing they cast lots.

It is difficult for us to understand prophecy given and prophecy fulfilled.  Here in Psalm 22, hundreds of years before Christ and even before the practice of crucifixion, the Psalmist portrays the crucified Lord Jesus Christ.  We read here about the unknowable misery of the Savior’s human body.  His suffering was physical, emotional and spiritual. He was rejected by man, by friends, and by God.  He was mocked and humiliated to the very core of who He was by those who denied everything about Him.

No one there that day knew what was taking place.  No one there knew that the Father was behind this stage and that He had arranged every player to accomplish His purposes.  But the Son took the full brunt of the Father’s wrath for our sins.  The Son took the full shame for all that we would do to shame the Father.  The Son received the blows of heart and mind that we deserved.  The Son, as predicted both here and in Isaiah 53, bore the anger of hell and earth as men and demons determined to make His last hours on earth the worst they could possibly be.

As we consider Good Friday, let us in no way minimize the crucifixion of Jesus.  Let us not pass this off with anything less than the full burden (at least as much as we can understand) that He bore for us.  Let our love for our Lord Jesus, the only Savior, the only Redeemer increase more and more as we consider His beautiful and horrible sacrifice so that we could  have peace with God through saving justification.  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

If you can, join us at 7:00 tonight for a reminder of the work of Christ on our behalf.  Dave, Rob, Tom and myself will be bringing thoughts on the last hours of the life of Christ from the book of Matthew. 

We passed out many invitations in Naperville and at North Central College yesterday.  Pray that some people will come.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

The results of choosing to live according to God’s word

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Psalm 112

1     Praise the Lord!

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,

Who delights greatly in His commandments.

2     His descendants will be mighty on earth;

The generation of the upright will be blessed.

3     Wealth and riches will be in his house,

And his righteousness endures forever.

4     Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;

He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

5     A good man deals graciously and lends;

He will guide his affairs with discretion.

6     Surely he will never be shaken;

The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.

7     He will not be afraid of evil tidings;

His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

8     His heart is established;

He will not be afraid,

Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.

9     He has dispersed abroad,

He has given to the poor;

His righteousness endures forever;

His horn will be exalted with honor.

10   The wicked will see it and be grieved;

He will gnash his teeth and melt away;

The desire of the wicked shall perish.

We read this passage in church Sunday morning.  There are so many good reasons to choose to live for God and to follow His righteousness.  I hope you will take time to re-read this Psalm today and see yourself in its’ descriptions.

My dad was supposed to be going in this afternoon for his procedure to install the defibrillator.  The hospital just called and moved it up to 8:30 this morning.  This changes my schedule so I am rushing this out to you before taking my mom up to the hospital.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Where did salvation start?

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John 1

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

When we think about salvation we think of the day we trusted Christ and were saved from our sin. We think of the what Christ did and we sing and rejoice for the rest of our lives rejoicing over His love and His desire to save us.

Sunday morning I will be bringing a message on the infrastructure  of our salvation.  Looking at John 1 today we see just how far back God was at work to provide our salvation.  His work goes back to the beginning of Creation. God was at work.  God made all things by His Word, Jesus Christ is the Word. He brought life out of nothing and put light into darkness.  To this day, when the Word of God works in men’s hearts it effectively brings dead hearts to life as He shines the light of His truth in them.

Our salvation is much more than our confession of faith and commitment to follow Christ as Lord.  It is more than the removal of our sins.  For while it is all of that, our salvation goes back to the first offering offered for sins all the way to the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.  Rejoice in the depth of your salvation today.  Rejoice in all that God did to make your salvation both available and just a prayer away.  Hallelujah! What a Savior.

I do hope to see you Sunday.  We will again be doing a sermon intro and then a break with a song before going back to the sermon.  If you are used to coming when the sermon starts you should come earlier.  This will be a powerful message on God’s plans for our salvation.  We will look at John 1 and 1 Corinthians 15:7-11 enjoying the purposeful plans of God’s grace which I am calling the Infrastructure of our Salvation.

Please keep RU in your prayers tonight.  God keeps bringing people out.  Even though it is only a few it is people who would not be walking with God today were it not for RU’s ministry in their lives.

Pastor Bill will be speaking at Sunrise north this afternoon.  Pray for those who come to that service to be encouraged by the Word given.

Pray for a friend named Mary whose mother. Lorraine, was admitted last night.  Lorraine is 90 and has never professed Christ as her Savior.  Pray for Mary and her husband as they seek to once again point Lorraine to Jesus.

Rob’s sister is also in the hospital and in need of our prayers.  Pray for her to hear and to receive the good news.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS