Psalms

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