Psalms 104–God Works!!!

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God works! Throughout the Psalms, the psalmists have praised God for who he is, for what he has done in their lives and the lives of his chosen people Israel. In Psalms 104, the writer acknowledges God’s work of creation. It is no small wonder–this universe, that God has created. From the smallest particle, to the most distant galaxy, one can see God’s signature everywhere.  The universe is so vast, that there are stars we see–whose light has been traveling here since the time of Moses. There are particles so small that we only know that they are there because we can see their end product.

We see God’s hand in the lives of people. How we become selfless in crisis, how we love our children unconditionally. We see his order shine in the midst of chaos.  God worked hard to create a place of wonder, and create us in his spiritual image. Still, men do all they can as a race of people, to discount His very existence and impact in their lives.

Still, God’s wonders appear in grass, in lives, in planets and in the hearts of those that trust him. He takes wicked murderers like David, Moses and Paul and turns them into the greatest men of God. He uses lovely, but timid ladies like Naomi, Ruth or Esther; and through them, changes the world. He works through us as well. 

Each kind word, selfless deed and introduction to strangers–is another miracle from his hand. We never know what an impact he has through us, by our simple availability. God works–around us, through us and sadly even sometimes despite us! Help me Father to be available, and useful to show the handiwork you have created.

God Bless You

my soul!

    Lord my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
    covering yourself with light as with a garment,
    stretching out the heavens like a tent.
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;
he makes the clouds his chariot;
    he rides on the wings of the wind;
he makes his messengers winds,
    his ministers a flaming fire.

He set the earth on its foundations,
    so that it should never be moved.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled;
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
    to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
    so that they might not again cover the earth.

10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
    they flow between the hills;
11 they give drink to every beast of the field;
    the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
    they sing among the branches.
13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
    the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
    and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
15     and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
    and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

Psalm 103–Bless the Lord, Oh my Soul

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Our family has a tradition; whenever we are having a meal together, and happen to start eating before we pray–we begin the prayer with Psalm 103:1. “Bless the Lord, oh my soul AND ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME, bless His holy name.” Certainly, David was not speaking of a meal in his blessing for God–David’s most beloved friend.  In David’s Life, he made some pretty awful mistakes.  Murder, adultery, pride and disregard for justice were among the sins that almost toppled the Great King of Israel. Yet, in the midst of these awful deeds, David took responsibility for his own behavior; and threw himself on the alter’s mercy seat–David simply asked  God to forgive and restore him.

God did as David asked, and made him the father of Israel.  David’s lineage bore our Savior, Jesus.  In this psalm, David reminds us that God is truly amazing, caring and forgiving.  God simply loves as only a Father can. He restores us. He removes our sin from out of our sight–“As far as the East is from the West.” He loves us with an everlasting love.  

It is important to note that this psalm is written well before the appearance of the Savior–yet, David reminds us of God’s desire to forgive and remove our sin from us. The God of the Old Testament is the absolute same as the God of the New Testament! His nature was, is and always will be to care for his own–like David.  All we have to do is humbly come before him and ask! He does not promise to remove our consequence–but, God does promise to remove our sin. Such a promise deserves our love and blessing–from all that is within us! Bless His holy name!!!!

God Bless You

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Psalm 102-God’s Love for Israel

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Through thousands of years, God chose, raised, cared for, disciplined and loved the people of Israel.  Like any father, God set His heart on raising the nation to honor Him and be His ambassador to the rest of the world. Through the generations, Israel had times where they represented God well, and other times that they completely walked away.  God, however, never walked away from Israel.

He allowed Israel to suffer the consequences of her choices.  They were captured, divided, scattered and enslaved. They rose to great heights and sunk into anonymity, and have reemerged as a great nation. In all of their journey, Israel has produced the Lord and Savior–Jesus; Who literally takes away the sins of the world.  He did not allow their sin and independence impede his mission to redeem the rest of the world. He made that decision a personal one–between us and him.

Still, at the end of days, He will still set his chosen Israel apart. That is why the world, for the most part, resents them.  The world hates God–why wouldn’t they hate His chosen people.  Still, God loves Israel and will always be their protector. He will raise them up no matter what the world thinks.  He is God! he will always protect the ones he loves.

  God Bless You

But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever;

    your renown endures through all generations.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
    for it is time to show favor to her;
    the appointed time has come.
14 For her stones are dear to your servants;
    her very dust moves them to pity.
15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
    all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.
16 For the Lord will rebuild Zion
    and appear in his glory.
17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute;
    he will not despise their plea.

18 Let this be written for a future generation,
    that a people not yet created may praise the Lord:
19 “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high,
    from heaven he viewed the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners
    and release those condemned to death.”
21 So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion
    and his praise in Jerusalem
22 when the peoples and the kingdoms
    assemble to worship the Lord.

Psalm 101-The Code for God’s Annointed

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David wrote Psalm 101  like a covenant.  He is expressing to God his intent to be the King, the man and the servant God had anointed him to be. We often lose sight of the fact that David was anointed as king when he was young. Saul was at the pinnacle of his reign as Israel’s first King and David was simply his family’s baby brother. David sought the Lord his entire life, and as God’s anointed–he bore a great responsibility. 

For the servant leader, Psalm 101 actually becomes a guide to life–“Life 101”. David promises to honor and praise God. He promises to live a life that is above reproach. As king, he promises to clear his court of the proud, the wicked, the deceitful and the merciless.  In short, David promises to be the king, God called him to be.

We are also God’s anointed. Through Christ, we are set apart to follow him, serve him and spend eternity with him. We should take lessons from David’s commitment–and live a life worthy of God’s call. Such a life entails that we seek him, honor him and live in a way that brings him glory.  We distance ourselves from evil and surround ourselves with those that love him.  We do not tolerate wickedness, pride, deceit or mercilessness. We are quick to praise and thank God–because he redeemed us a a great price.

It is a path worth taking–“Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things will be added to you!” Matthew 6:33. From David to Jesus and now to us–let’s adopt a code for life.

God Bless You

I will sing of your love and justice;
    to you, Lord, I will sing praise.
I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
    when will you come to me?

I will conduct the affairs of my house
    with a blameless heart.
I will not look with approval
    on anything that is vile.

I hate what faithless people do;
    I will have no part in it.
The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
    I will have nothing to do with what is evil.

Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret,
    I will put to silence;
whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart,
    I will not tolerate.

My eyes will be on the faithful in the land,
    that they may dwell with me;
the one whose walk is blameless
    will minister to me.

No one who practices deceit
    will dwell in my house;
no one who speaks falsely
    will stand in my presence.

Every morning I will put to silence
    all the wicked in the land;
I will cut off every evildoer
    from the city of the Lord.

Psalm 100–How To Enter God’s Presence

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In this age of identity protection, it seems like there is a need to have a password to go anywhere or do anything.  What is my user ID, What is my password…Well, to enter into the presence of God, the user ID is Jesus and the password is “Thank You”.  As the psalmist saw it, we are to come into God’s presence with a grateful heart and worshipful mindset.  

To be in the worshipful mindset, we need to understand Who God; is and who we are in him.  He is God-our Creator, our Master and Lord. But, He is also Father, Shepherd, and Savior.  God is our Provider, Healer, Shelter and Guide.  He is God.  We should come into His presence humbly, gratefully and joyfully.  When we do, we should be singing praises, giving thanks and expecting to be received with open arms. 

There is no mystery about who God is. There is no reason we cannot enter His presence each day. That is where we should be. We simply need to do so with the right spirit and the right heart–We simply need to know He is God, and that He is glad to see us!!

God Bless You

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 99–The Clearest Picture of the Majesty of God

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It is rare that the mightiest of Kings, the most powerful of leaders, the name that would make all nations tremble–would actually be the one that loves His creation with the most gentle and sacrificial heart.  This God; mighty and awesome in every way–on this day, allowed His only begotten son to die. He did that because, while he could have swept away the world and all that was in it; He chose instead to redeem the world–with the sacrifice of His most beloved companion.

While we will never completely understand the awesome nature of almighty God; we cannot discount the truth that He truly is the master of the universe. What is more, with the vast and beautiful universe before us–no picture is more breathtaking and awe inspiring, than the picture of His love for man; Jesus stretched out on a cross–on a Passover weekend so many years ago. The Psalmist so eloquently penned the amazing greatness of God in Psalm 99, but, His greatness is best articulated in the amazing grace of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

The Lord reigns–on this we can rest assured! But God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. There is no clearer demonstration of the absolute love and majesty of our Heavenly Father–than that sweet gift given on this Good Friday!!

God Bless You

The Lord reigns,

    let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
    let the earth shake.
Great is the Lord in Zion;
    he is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name—
    he is holy.

The King is mighty, he loves justice—
    you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
    what is just and right.
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his footstool;
    he is holy.

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
    Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the Lord
    and he answered them.
He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
    they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.

Lord our God,
    you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
    though you punished their misdeeds.[a]
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his holy mountain,
    for the Lord our God is holy.

Psalm 98–Keep it Fresh and Keep It Real

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The psalmist’s theme this week is to praise God for who He is and for what He has done. All week, we have looked at the different aspects of God’s greatness; and have seen that no matter our opinion, He is God; and He still reigns.

Today, the message is simple, “Keep it fresh!” Sometimes, we become so involved in the routine that we lose sight of the purpose. That is exactly what the writer is warning the reader about.

We need to look at our relationship with God daily.  We need to recognize each day his glory, greatness and provision in our lives.  As we do, His power and majesty registers in our day, and we never lose sight of who He is and who we are in Him.  If we do, however, lose sight–then we begin do our lives as a religion and not a relationship. At that point, we start worshiping the rituals and not the creator.  So, that is why the psalmist reminds us to sing God a new song–make your worship about Him and not about the discipline of worship.  As we do that, we are engulfed and embraced by a power and a peace that transcends understanding.

God Bless You

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
    and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
    and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.

Psalms 97–The Lord Reigns

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The Lord reigns. Whether you believe in God or not–He still reigns. Whether you are alive or not–The Lord still reigns. Whether you follow Him or trust Him–Yep, He still reigns.  All the fuss over whether there is a God, whether God’s name should be used in schools, government, sporting events or on TV…yep, all moot–He still reigns.

God is really unaffected by what we think of Him. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, men have been trying to best Him, destroy Him and eradicate Him from their lives. God wants people to know however that He Loves us! He sent Christ to die for our sins–while we were yet sinners. He has always accepted us as we are–We need to trust Him–but, even if we do not…He still reigns!

This weekend is the time each year that we acknowledge His sacrifice for us and the redemption we are offered by allowing him to be a part of our lives. If we embrace that; it will change us literally, forever! The funny thing is, however; if we do not follow him, if we do not accept the free gift God offers, if we do not allow him to redeem us…well ,even then…Yep, He still reigns!!!

God Bless You

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
    let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
    and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
    the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
    before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    and all peoples see his glory.

All who worship images are put to shame,
    those who boast in idols—
    worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and rejoices
    and the villages of Judah are glad
    because of your judgments, Lord.
For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.
10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
    for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
    and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light shines[a] on the righteous
    and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
    and praise his holy name.

Psalm 96–Who Should Praise God

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It seems the psalms group into themes.  This week’s theme is ascribing to God the praise and honor He deserves. Today’s focus is simple–Who should praise the Lord?  As the psalmist looked around and took note of who should praise the Lord, he realized that the group includes everyone.  Each person that God has created, each nation that he has formed. The creation he has called into being, the peoples and  families he has put together all should praise the Lord.

When one takes stock today at the wonders of the Lord, the lives he has affected, the extent of God’s glory–we all are left knowing we too should praise the Lord.  We owe Him everything. God gave us life, He gave us order and civilization.  He gave us families and the fellowships of believers to provide community and support. God gave us the ability to pray, and read his word; to know his heart and mind. He gave us His one and only Son, to redeem our lost condition. He sent His spirit to comfort and guide us in this journey.

There is little doubt that God has provided, protected and prepared us for eternity–for that reason, we should praise Him–as should the world around us! So, Let’s praise God this day!

God Bless You

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his[a] holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Psalm 95–Learn From Other’s Mistakes

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They had no excuse! The children of Israel were led from Egypt by the very presence of God. They were fed, watered, protected and blessed by a loving God; that wanted nothing more, than to bless them and release them into a free life in their own land. 

The Bible chronicles the story of their lives, their failures and of God’s patience; but, at some point, God saw that the slaves he led out were never going to accept the freedom he was providing. So, he never let them fully enjoy it. 

Their kid’s however–born into freedom, would know nothing other than God’s presence and his leadership.  They not only entered Canaan; but, they followed God’s leadership and cleared Canaan. It was their land–and still is today. It was a matter of trust.  The same God provided the same blessing–but, it was the trust and faith of the people that made the difference.

Like Israel, we have no excuse. We have God’s word to chronicle His power and Love. He has made clear through nature, history and His spirit–that he is in charge, and simply wants to bless us, if we will trust him. Still, like Israel, we struggle to accept the freedom God offers.  What’s more, we are always hedging to do things in our power, rather than counting upon his power to protect and lead us on the journey. As the psalmist sings–“Let’s be different and simply trust and praise God.”  Then, like the 2nd generation, we can enjoy the blessing God longs to share with us. It is a gift–We simply have to accept it. On this week of Easter–embrace and accept the gift God longs to share!!!

God Bless You

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,[a]
    as you did that day at Massah[b] in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
    they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”