Enduring love

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 118 (day seven)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”  (v 1)  God’s love is not partial or temporary.  God’s love is resilient, undiluted and permanent!  It is how we survive.  The only way.  I am preparing today for the ordination service for Josh Bolch.  Sweet, spiritual privilege Sunday night for us to lay hands on this young pastor.  In preparation, I’m reading again Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:16.  “Therefore, we do not lose heart, for though our outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renewed day by day.”    Why does God not give up on us?  Because He LOVES us in His Son.  Why does He not get weary with our weakness and doubt?  Because HIS LOVE ENDURES forever!  “I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor things present, nor things to come. . .shall separate us from the love of God.” (Romans 8:38)  Why?  Because His love endures forever!

Christian assertiveness

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 118 (day six)
“The Lord is with me. . .  I will look in triumph on my enemies.   (vs 7)  Assertiveness is a good thing.  In the right moment, it is a Christ-like thing.  It is not a sin to “overcome the world” or even desire to.  Sometimes I get fuzzy on this point.  I remember Christ’s teaching on loving enemies.  I also remember Him cleansing the temple and publically confronting the Pharisees.  Maybe I don’t always know HOW to balance these two responsibilities.  I do know that I MUST balance these two responsibilities.  Psalm 118 assumes that we recognize the tension that exists between the Lord and this rebellious world.  There is a war going on.  Being passive or apologetic is not an option.  Assertiveness is (can be) a good thing.  On Monday, Memorial Day, I will be grateful for people who did not back down from a fight.  I will also remember that the same is required of me.

Message of Christ

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 118 (day four)
Psalm 118 is the final psalm of the Egyptian Hallel (praise), chapters 113-118.  It was recited or sung at the Passover by every Jewish family.  118 was the last psalm recited, following the final blessing.  It may well have been the psalm sung by Jesus and the disciples at the Last Supper before they went out to Gethsemane.  It is giving thanks to God for His deliverance.  It was recited at the Passover and its theme is remembered at our present day Lord’s Supper.  In Passover, it looked ahead to the coming Messiah.  In our Lord’s Supper, it acknowledges Christ as the Messiah come to earth.  Jesus used this psalm to refer to himself in Matthew 21:42.  Reference is made to Psalm 118 by Jeremiah, Ezra, and Peter.  The message of Christ is a thread through all of Scripture.  God has so inspired His Word to communicate His vast love through all of history.  Want to know God and His plan for you?  Read His Word!


Re: Verse reading–Psalm 118 (day three)
“From the house of the Lord we bless you.”  A friend of mine, in commenting a few days ago on verses 26 and 27 of this Psalm, which give us a picture of people assembling for a worship service, made this remark: Some songs you just want to sing in a group.  That’s exactly right.  The psalmist recounts how the Lord has rescued, saved, preserved, defended, and delivered time after time.  And near the end of this Psalm, he gathers with people to remember together with them all the ways in which the Lord has saved their necks.  It seems strange to say it, but people forget these kinds of things.  We just do.  So we need to remind each other.  This is one way we come to know God better.  Some songs you just want to sing in a group.

Paper Prayer Chain

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 118 (day two)
It’s not the prayer chain that consists of five people I call to alert everyone of a need for prayer. It’s a prayer chain hanging from the wall in my kitchen. Each paper link represents a specific prayer that my young boys have prayed and seen God answer. The latest addition to the chain reads, “God, bless our family with a baby.” Around November, we are expecting our family to grow, and our prayer chain is growing too! Psalm 118 serves as a paper prayer chain too. Recited every Passover, Jewish families would recall the Lord’s miraculous deliverance from Egypt. Remembering the answered prayer stirred up thankfulness, and thankfulness stirs up joy. Maybe that’s why the apostle Paul taught his churches to be thankful (Philippians 4:6)? He knew that thankfulness was the pathway to the joy he expected from them…and us (Philippians 4:4). Start your own paper prayer chain or answered prayer list. It is a simple step down the path of life long joy.

Praise and problems

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 118 (day one)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. . .They (the nations) swarmed around me like bees. . .the stone that the builders rejected has become the capstone. . .this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  (vs 1, 12, 22, 24)  Life is always a strange mixture of good and bad, joy and sorrow.  Our praise remains constant.  God’s goodness does not change when circumstances are painful or tense.  Our obligation to worship doesn’t change either.  “Shall we ACCEPT good from God and not ACCEPT adversity” said Job (Job 2:10)  Great question!  Paul and Silas sang hymns of praise in prison at midnight.  Great liberty!  So, when our enemies surround us like a swarm of bees. . .when the builders (i.e. the leaders) reject Christ and build culture on secular values, (there will be days like this)believers see God’s hand and God’s goodness.  This is God’s day, let us rejoice in it!

Gather the people

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 95 (day seven)
“COME, let us sing for joy to the Lord”  (vs 1)  It is spiritual work to gather the people of God.  No voice rings truer the love of Heaven than the one that invites/calls/encourages/reminds people of the power and blessing of worship.  People get distracted and “dis integrated”.  Overwhelmed and stressed.  If we want a Sunday School class to stay focused we must always be gathering/encouraging them.  Same with a church or a family.  “GATHER the people, the men and the women and the children and the alien who is in your town, in order that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this Law.” ( Deuternonomy 31:12)  How long has it been since the people in our circle of influence have heard this loving invitation from you?  “COME, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our God our maker.” (Psalm 95:6)

Push the Reset!

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 95 (day four)  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to ‘push the reset button’ sometimes in life!  While we would like to back up and reset our circumstances, so as to avoid a bad consequence,  God often uses a ‘reset’ to correct our direction of travel.  Verses 3-5 remind us exactly who God is, for the purpose of reorienting our lives to Him.  He did that with Job.  Job had lost sight of who God was and how He ruled.  In Job 38-41, God gives Job a ‘reset’…He gives him a not-so-gentle reminder of who God is.  Job repents and returns to God in faith.  In Psalm 95, the Psalmist reminds us who God is and cautions us not to follow the wrong path of the nation of Israel in the wilderness.  He resets and reorients our lives to Him.  Is there an area of your life that needs a ‘reset’?  Does you thinking need to be reoriented to God?  “For the Lord is a great God And a great King above all gods.”


Re: Verse reading–Psalm 95 (day three)  “Today, if only you would hear his voice…”  Jesus took this Psalm seriously.  He did not hurry about in his life because he along with the Psalmist knew something about this world.  He knew, in the words of late Dallas Willard, that “the universe was a perfectly safe place for us to be.”  Whether a little girl lay dying, or he himself suffered hunger in a trackless wilderness, or temple guards travelled to arrest him by night, Jesus found himself and others at home in God’s good universe.  Even adverse circumstances took place within a world that God made and that God commands.  Jesus’s ancestors in the desert did not take this reality seriously.  Our Lord shows us how it looks for a human being to live a life that confidently remembers today the Creator’s voice of authority over every created thing.

I’m Tired. Are You?

I’m tired. I don’t mean that in any metaphorical sense. There is no deeper meaning here. At the moment that I’m writing these words, I find myself physically and emotionally worn out. To read, “they will not enter My rest” (95:11) is for me particularly disturbing! Who is it who doesn’t find rest? I don’t want to be that guy! The one who misses rest is the one who misses worship. Worship isn’t first about singing songs about God or to God. Worship is first about seeing God as He really is, Creator and Ruler, and second about submitting to Him. “Let us worship and bow down; let us kneel…” (95:6). The real problem for the guy who won’t rest is that he won’t submit. How can he rest if he has to act as creator and ruler in all or some area of his life? So why am I so tired? Is it because I have failed to rest? Have I failed to rest because I have failed to worship? I’m tired. Are you?