Psalms

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

Mighty praise to God by All

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Psalm 150

1 Praise the Lord!

Praise God in His sanctuary;

Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

2 Praise Him for His mighty acts;

Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;

Praise Him with the lute and harp!

4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;

Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

5 Praise Him with loud cymbals;

Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

We are taught here to praise God, where to praise God, why to praise God, how to praise God and who should praise God.  We are to praise Him in His mighty firmament.  This tells us to praise God outside under His skies when they are beautiful and when they are acting mightily.  In the peace and in the storm we are to praise God outside.

We are to praise God for His mighty acts and according to His excellent greatness.  God has created every natural resource we have.  He has done all of His creation with excellence.  Watch nature videos and praise God.

Praise God with instruments.  Praise Him with trumpets, with stringed instruments, with noisy instruments and even with dance.  Jump up and down in praise of God.  Praise God with every instrument that you can imagine; use them all to praise God and to exalt His worthy name.

Everything with breath should be praising to God.  Everything.  You, your dog, your cat, your neighbors, every animal that breathes is to praise the Lord.  How often do we think of praising God with our pets?  He created them all and they all are subservient to Him. Lift up your voice and your body in praise to God. Hold nothing back.  Don’t worry about what someone else might think.  Praise the Lord!

What would church worship be like if we practiced this kind of praise?  It would be loud, it would be free, it would be wonderful!  Lift up all that you are and all that you have in praise to the Lord.  Praise the Lord.

I met a pastor for breakfast this morning and heard a hissing coming from my tire.  I had picked up a nail. Fortunately I was across the street from a tire shop and drove over before the pastor showed up, dropped off the car, and picked it up after.  All is better and I did not have to change a tire on the side of the road. Praise the Lord.

We had a great time of prayer and Bible study last night.  Our Kids4Truth was well attended and the kids were very attentive.  I thank God for this ministry of our church.  We do need some more workers.  If you could volunteer once a month it would be a great help.  See me if you can.

Our Art of Marriage class has begun well.  We had a good group Sunday morning and a few more on Monday night.  If you missed the first week jump in for week two.  Don’t get too far behind.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God is worthy of all praise for all that He does

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Psalm 149

Praise the Lord.

Sing to the Lord a new song,     his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;     let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing     and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes delight in his people;     he crowns the humble with victory. Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor     and sing for joy on their beds.

May the praise of God be in their mouths     and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations     and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters,     their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them—     this is the glory of all his faithful people.

Praise the Lord.

I see four sections in this short Psalm

  1. Praise to God
  2. Pleasure from God
  3. Punishment toward those deserving of judgment
  4. More praise to God.

God is always worthy of all of our praise, our new song for Him is to be sung in the assembly.  We are to rejoice in our Maker and our King.  We are to praise Him with actions and great music.  Whatever we can do to exalt the name of the Lord, He is worthy of it.

When God takes pleasure in man He saves.  The action of God’s pleasure is salvation.  Here the pleasure and salvation of God are specifically directed toward the humble.  God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.  “Thank You, Oh Lord for your saving grace.  Help me and ever remind me of the need to walk humbly with my God.”

Praise of God and judgment of the wicked went hand in hand.  The action of praise was recognition of those who rejected and refused to praise.  Their rejection put them in a position of judgment.

Whatever God does is worthy of praise.  We often don’t give God the praise that belongs to Him.  Everything He does is good and righteous and has His eternal plan woven in it.  Therefore, He is always worthy of praise.  Praise the Lord!

Thanks to all who made mention of my birthday on Sunday.  Your love is evident and was enjoyed.  It was a great day mostly because we gathered in God’s house and enjoyed His word together.  The cake was good and the fellowship was wonderful.  Let’s repeat last Sunday next Sunday, except for the cake. 

In an effort to encourage those of you who might have a desire to edify others through writing, I want to give you an opportunity to develop that gift.  Here is the deal, you write a one page devotional and send it to me.  I may make some suggestions and send it back.  When we agree that you are communicating the passage correctly I will post your devotional on this page.  You then will enjoy the thrill of knowing that you edified someone else with a gift you desired to use. 

I hope to see you tonight.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

A Praising Focus

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Psalm 148:7–14

7 Praise the Lord from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths;

8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

9 Mountains and all hills; Fruitful trees and all cedars;

10 Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl;

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth;

12 Both young men and maidens; Old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.

14 And He has exalted the horn of His people, The praise of all His saints— Of the children of Israel, A people near to Him. Praise the Lord!

I am readied to live today when I praise the Lord for when praising Him I am not complaining.  When focusing on His works I exalt His name above all His works and I join those who live praising lives.

God’s name and person is worthy of all praise because He truly is God and truly is above everything that He has made. This focus readies me for everything that comes my way knowing that God has brought it and has prepared me for it.

There is no name like His name.  All cultures have had their great people whose names were remembered for a time.  God’s name is above all and His name is remembered in all cultures and in all generations of all time.  At the name of Jesus every knee of every age will bow.  There is none other name given by which we must be saved.

Lord, make me a bold ambassador of Your name every day.

 

The weeks are taking wings and flying by. Just yesterday it was Sunday and already it is Friday, whew. Much has been done in the church this week. The downstairs hall and classrooms will be finished today. They look amazing! I am so thankful for the flooded basement and all that it has required us to do. What a beautiful mistake. 

Sunday morning I will be speaking from 1 Corinthians 14:1. Having studied this all week I think the debate over speaking in tongues has taken away the real message of chapter 14. The first phrase of the chapter is the message. We will be looking at this come Sunday morning.

Remember today to keep those who need to come to RU in your prayers. People are hurting all over. Last Sunday afternoon Pastor Bill was called to a home where a 22 year old son overdosed on drugs and died. There are hurting people all over who need the hope offered here on Friday nights. Pray with us for God to bring people in at the time of their need for His hope.

Tomorrow morning around 10:00 Bob will be at church putting stuff back in and getting the lower level ready for Sunday. If you have a couple of hours and can help it would be greatly appreciated.

Pastor Bill is at Sunrise this afternoon. Pray for his service there.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Praise from creation of their Creator

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Psalm 148:1–6

1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights!

2 Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!

3 Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light!

4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created.

6 He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.

When the people in Jerusalem hailed Jesus on Palm Sunday, they shouted with great praise to Him, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna!”  So great was their praise that the Pharisees told Jesus to tell them to stop.  In essence, they thought that Jesus was not worthy of such praise and that He, knowing this, should stop them.  Jesus response to the Pharisees is a favorite of mine.  He said, “I tell you the truth, if these would cease their praise, the very rocks and trees would immediately cry out.” (in praise)

I have wished that just for a moment the people would have ceased praising Jesus so that we could have record of the rocks and the trees verbally proclaiming praise and glory to Jesus, their Creator.  If rocks and trees and sun and moon, and stars of heavens and waters above and below were to proclaim praise to their Creator we would be in awe.  Perhaps those who believe in an evolutionist theory, hearing all of nature proclaim Jesus as their Creator, would have second thoughts.  Perhaps those who think the earth or the sun or nature are all gods at some level would hear them all proclaim Jesus as Lord and King, would have second thoughts.

Well, in the Psalmist mind, these objects of nature all do proclaim the praise of their Creator.  We must join with all nature in praise and honor of our Creator, our Lord, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We are stuck in the Midwest today.  It is winter and it is cold.  But then, that is the season.  We have been a bit spoiled of late with warmer temperatures but the reality is that it is the Midwest and it is winter.  Thank God for His faithfulness to His seasons all of which have a part in what God planned and does.

 I heard someone say that the American people, through the election process, are looking for someone to make their lives better, a savior, of sorts.  How sad that all of the current candidates are incapable of being that savior.  In reality, people are looking for Jesus Christ who will come one day and will rule and reign in righteousness, justice, and mercy.  He will not be elected but will just take over and every knee will bow to Him.  Until then we only have the best that men can offer. 

 Yesterday I posted two recent sermons on the church website.

 Have a great day in the Lord,


PS

We are still recipients of God’s great blessings

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Psalm 147:12–20

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!

13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you.

14 He makes peace in your borders, And fills you with the finest wheat.

15 He sends out His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.

16 He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes;

17 He casts out His hail like morsels; Who can stand before His cold?

18 He sends out His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.

19 He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel.

20 He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the Lord!

While we do not think the Bible teaches a prosperity gospel, that is a teaching that if you live for Jesus you will get rich, we do see teachings like these where God promises to take care of His people.   We have to remember that this was written for the nation of Israel whom God had abundantly blessed from the battlefield to the farmer’s field. Everything they did succeeded as long as they kept their God first and gave Him their firstfruits and their worship.

 

God set His love on Israel. He took delight in them as His chosen people, His special treasure, His nation. God brought them from a small obscure family, the family of Abraham who only had one son of promise, to a nation of millions coming out of Egypt and millions more by the time David became king. They had property, they had prosperity, and they had the promise of continued blessing. Their enemies were afraid of them because God fought on their side.

 

What a time that must have been; what a glorious kingdom that would have been to be a citizen of. And yet, when we come into the New Testament we find the same language used of the Church, the Bride of Christ. We are chosen by God and precious. We are His special people. We are the ones whom Jesus had in His mind on the cross when He endured it for the joy that was set before Him. In this sense, we too, as God’s adopted children, grafted in by grace, enjoy all of the blessings of God, all of His riches in this life and the next.

 

Rejoice today in all that God has done for you and continues to do for you and in you for His glory and for His kingdom.

 

I am keeping up with uploading the Sunday sermons to the church web site. Check them out at www.graceforlifebc.com If you are using your smart-phone there is a tab in the corner that is one or two lines. Click those lines and the website menu opens up. Go to “sermons” and you can listen to or watch the recent messages.

 

Next Sunday morning and next Monday night we are beginning “The Art of Marriage” video series. The class starts at 9:20 on Sunday morning and at 7:00 Monday evening. We all need help at some time in our marriages. Some of you who would like to be married can benefit from these tools in preparation. The cost is $15 for a book. Please let Bobbi or me know that you are planning to attend.

 

Come tonight at 7:00 for prayer and Bible study time. Kids4Truth will be at the church but the youth group is meeting at Ben’s apartment as the downstairs’ floor is setting and cannot be walked on.

 

Ed’s surgery went very well. His knee replacement is already helping him. Pray for his quick recovery.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Trust the right Source, then praise Him

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Psalm 146:1–10

1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

2 While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

3 Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.

5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God,

6 Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever,

7 Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.

8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous.

9 The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

10 The Lord shall reign forever— Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord and praise Him all the way to your soul and then back out again from your soul. While we have any being left in us we will praise the Lord. We have trusted leaders and others who have let us down; do not put your trust in princes nor in a son of man, in whom there is not nor can be the help you really need. We may look to men for help but God wants us to look to Him first and foremost. We have to know that those around us can and will fail us while God will never fail.

 

The result of trusting on God and waiting on Him is a happiness that comes upon us when He works for us. Happy is the one who has the God of Jacob for his help whose hope is in the Lord His God.

 

God is powerful enough to make heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. He keeps truth forever; He executes justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry and freedom to the prisoners. When we trust in men for these things our changes are 50/50 give a little or take a little. But when our hope is in God, He opens our eyes, He raises us up, He gives us freedom, He watches over the strangers, and He relieves the fatherless and the widow because He reigns forever, to all generations.

 

Here is my takeaway thought: stop trusting those who let you down, go the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, He is able and won’t let you down. In the end, you will praise Him.

 

Keep the RU ministry in your prayers today. People who want to come to get hope and help go through spiritual battles throughout the day on Friday. They know what they need and want but their addictive desires keep them from walking in the doors. Pray for people we don’t know who are battling for their very lives today. Pray they will come in and find the Lord Jesus sufficient to their needs.

 

Pray for Pastor Bill as he ministers the word at Sunrise north today. There is a decent size congregation of people who gather each week to sing the hymns and hear God’s word.

 

Thank you for your prayers for the daycare. Continue to seek God with me for His unique provision. $1,000 came in as a gift and we are very thankful for this wonderful provision. Pray with us for sufficient help to meet the needs.

 

Men, tomorrow morning at 7:30 some of us will be meeting at Denny’s for breakfast, Bible study and prayer. Join us, if you can.

 

There is no dinner after church this Sunday as we ate together last Sunday.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Can you praise the Lord at all times?

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Psalm 145:17–21

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.

“Oh Lord, are you righteous in all of Your ways? Are you gracious in all of Your works?   Are you near to us when we call upon You, when we call upon you in truth? Are you fulfilling our desires? Do we live in a righteous and holy fear of You? Do you hear our cry and are you saving us? Oh Lord, are you preserving us? Do we live to love you? “

 

When we question God we have trouble at verse 21, living with continual praise to the Lord and joining others who are living lives of praise to Him.

 

Why do we question God? I think we question God when we don’t see Him answering our prayers and when we don’t see Him coming through in the hour of our need. Is God interested in meeting our needs? We know that He is. Does God need to operate on our time schedules? Of course not but it sure would help if He would come through when we need Him to. So when God acts on His timetable instead of ours we have trouble praising Him at that moment.

 

The life of faith rests in all that God is doing. He is working to shape us, to guide us, to bring us into His perfect and complete will. May our mouths speak the praise of the Lord and with all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever.

 

I have often asked for prayer for the daycare. The State of Illinois has placed us in a very difficult situation. It is a long story but the end result is that we are behind in paying our staff. We need $9,000 just as soon as God can give it to us. We have people interested in buying the daycare from us and we have money coming in around the 20th of the month but we are behind and there is no catching up. Pray with Connie and me for God’s great and abundant provision.

 

Tonight is the funeral for Bonnie Verway. Pray for her adult children, Mike and Kris and their spouses and children as they go through a difficult hour.

 

Tonight is also our Wednesday night church times. Kids4Truth, youth group, and adult prayer and Bible studies will go on as usual. Make time for this important time of our church week.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS

God is able, He has proved it

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Psalm 145:10–16

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.

Often in the Psalms we have seen statements about God followed by statements of His abilities to take care of us.  In this section we see that formula used to show us that God will uphold us when we fall, raise us up when are bowed down by the weights of life, feed us when we are hungry and satisfy all of our desires. 

 

God’s works praise Him.  A builder might press his company crest into the sidewalk leading up to a house he built.  The completed house blesses the name of the builder.  Manufacturers put their names on their products so that those who see it and like it will bless the manufacturer and want their product.  When your children got good grades you put that report card on the refrigerator as a way to bless them for their work.  God’s works are no different.  When we see something that God made we should bless Him for His works.  There are no works like God’s works for He has indeed made all things.

 

God’s works speak of the glory of His kingdom and demonstrate His power.  Who but God can hang planets and stars in space, put the earth in the exact orbit of the sun, perfectly balance the hydrogen and nitrogen in our system to sustain life, and then set up season cycles to feed an entire planet year after year?  God’s works show us His glory and His power. 

 

God’s kingdom will never fail.  All of the kingdoms of men eventually fail but God’s kingdom will endure forever.  God’s rule has gone from generation to generation for thousands of years.  This is our God.  This is the One we go to in our hour of need.  Is this God able to lift us when we fall, straighten us when we are bowed down, feed us when we are hungry and satisfy our desires?   Oh yes He is.  God has never failed even one of His own and He is not going to start by failing you or me.  Bless God’s name today as the One who is always there for your every need. 

Yesterday was our church’s annual business meeting.  It was a blessing and a joy to hear from the different ministries.  God is using many of us throughout the year to accomplish His purposes here and we are glad to be used by Him. Thanks to all of you who reported and to the attention you gave to your reports.  I came home thanking God for each of you and for the ministries you represent. 

 

As we go forward we are looking to the Holy Spirit of God to manifest His power amongst us.  We desire that 2016 be a year of unique conversions, unique healings, unique victories and unique provision.  We are seeking God’s wisdom through all of the members and know that when the Holy Spirit manifests Himself through any of us all of us will know and will rejoice.  We are one “body” united by Christ Himself to move in a unified way to do God’s work here. 

 

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Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Generational praise

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Psalm 145:4–9

4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.

5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.

6 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness.

7 They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness.

8 The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.

9 The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.

From generation to generation, people are forgotten. My dad will bring up a “great” baseball player that he watched when he was kid. He will tell me about this great players stats and abilities. I have that deer-in-the-headlights look having never even heard the name of this “great” ball player he is remembering. When I was 30, I mentioned a great actor from my youth and the kids looked at me the same way. Greatness is usually and eventually forgotten. But the greatness of God is never forgotten.

 

From generation to generation we continue to be awed by God’s greatness. We gather and talk about God’s mercy and love; we compare notes about His creative genius and power; we sing old and new songs declaring His amazing grace. God never gets old and He is never forgotten.

 

It is the qualities of God that we continue to dwell on. God is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. We see these qualities poured out into our lives and pray for those who do not know Him to have these wonderful qualities poured into their lives so that they too can rejoice with us in the greatness of our God.

 

Praise Him today.

 

Pray for a man, Esmeraldo, who is dying of cancer. He is a patient of Sonia’s whose family asked her to call her pastor. She told them that we were not Catholic but they wanted her pastor anyway. I went to see Esmeraldo and read Psalm 23 and John 10 showing that the Lord of Psalm 23 is the Lord Jesus Christ. I pointed this man to Jesus as the Savior and Lord he needs. Pray as Sonia goes back to work today that she will be able to exalt the Lord Jesus to this family and that this man will place his full faith in Christ alone.

 

I will be bringing and important message to our church this Sunday. In this study on Spiritual Gifts I have come to realize that the only unity a church can have is unity in the Holy Spirit. Church dinners and special meetings are nice but if the Holy Spirit is absent unity is short lived if existent at all. God longs for us to be unified in Him. Come ready to look carefully at this with me Sunday morning.

 

Come praying for our church business meeting. These are not dreaded times for our church but times of determining the direction of the next year. Pray for us all to be filled with God’s wisdom as we gather.

 

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

A Theme of Greater Praise

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Psalm 145:1–3

1 I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.

2 Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.

3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.

The theme of the next five Psalms is praise to God. Some might even say that the Psalmist overdoes it and just takes this praise to God too far. We think nothing of telling the praises of a great play, a great movie, a great restaurant, or a great performer/athlete. In fact, we can talk about a favorite whatever over and over until our friends and family tell us to stop talking about that. Think about this, everything on this earth that we speak well of got its ability, its beauty, or its strength from God. In fact, there is nothing that we have that did not come from God’s elements, God’s giving someone wisdom and abilities, or God’s direct design.

 

Is it over-the-top then to bless God’s name forever and ever? Is it too much to bless Him every day and to praise His name forever and ever? Since the Lord is indeed great and greatly to be praised, and since His greatness is unsearchable, then, yes, the Lord is worthy of all of the praise that we could ever give and then some. As we look at Psalms 145-150 we will be talking a lot about praise to God. Since praise is a form of worship I hope that we all will grow to worship God with a greater intensity.

 

Last night we talked about the seraphim around the throne of God who sing day and night, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the whole earth is filled with His glory.” We then asked what their perspective of earth might be and how would our lives change if we could learn to view the earth from the perspective of the praising seraphim. Let’s praise the Lord today.

 

On Saturday, February 13th, my son Steve needs a few people to run a nursery. His church in Big Rock is having a one-day marriage seminar and he wants all of the church people to be in the seminar. If you have time to help out on that day give him a call or send him a text letting him know you could help. 312-505-8401

 

Sunday is our church’s annual meeting. At this meeting we will be voting on the slate of officers, voting on the 2016 budget, and voting on an amendment to the church constitution adding a position of Missions Director. We will then be hearing reports from the different church ministries while we are having lunch. The church is providing lunch we only ask you to bring a dessert. Non-members are invited to stay to have lunch and to hear the reports.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS