Psalms

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

 

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