Posted 1 day ago

Sing a New Song

Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Sing to the LORD; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. (Psalms 96:1-2 NLT)

Psalm 96 call us to sing a new song to The Lord. But what does that mean? Does that mean we are to always buy the latest worship album, learn the chords and sing the new tunes? That would make this command about the latest Christian worship album and not about God. I’m sure the Christian music artist is happy with that interpretation. But there’s much more here.

The context of this Psalm is the moment the Ark of God finally entered it’s resting place in Jerusalem from the house of Obed Edom. This is the famous incident in which David disrobes in front of a disapproving wife in wild celebration that Gods presence was coming to the city. 

David penned these words in response to the NEW THING God was doing. David instructs us to sing a new song when God does something new! This makes our worship what it is supposed to be about… GOD and His rule and reign. 

O nations of the world, recognize the LORD; recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong. Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts. (Psalms 96:7-8 NLT)

The Ark coming to Jerusalem was a foretaste of God’s reign coming to the Earth. Of course the true Ark Jesus came to Jerusalem to a new song and palm trees being waved. Finally in Revelation 5, when the Lamb takes the scroll and begins to rule, the people from every nation sing a new song again! Why? Because Gods reign was becoming more real with every new occasion for Joy among His people.

We sing a new song for every new sign of the reign of God, that’s what this Psalm is calling us to do. Remember that Jesus told us all heaven rejoices when one sinner repents. Why? Because the reign of God is becoming more certain by the soul!

Sometimes we look at our lives and wonder what’s new? What’s really there to sing about? But here’s the truth: God is doing something new. He renews your mind by the Word. He makes all things new in creation through redemption. He renews your youth like the Eagles. He saves the lost and lonely.

Because of the new thing God is doing we always have reason to sing.

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Posted 2 days ago

How to Worship

There’s a lot said about worship in the Christian church. What is it? What does it look like? What’s the difference between true and false worship? What kind of music is most worshipful?

But have we gone to God’s Word?
Psalm 95 is about HOW the people of God are to worship God according to God.

Psalm 95:1–5 (ESV) Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

First we see that worship is not about us. Its not about how it makes us feel, what it does for our senses, or where we are at when we are called to do it. Let us sing joyfully because of WHO HE IS not what we feel. We are joyful because the King is our King! He has made Himself known to us.

Psalm 95:6–7a (ESV) Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! 7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. 

Secondly we bow down, we kneel, it’s the universal sign of honor and respect. In other words, we don’t “just stand there”remaining still and motionless. Our God is just that great - reverence is called for. We express worship with our whole body, not simply our heads, eyes and hands.

Notice the final section

Psalm 95:7b–11 (ESV) Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, 9 when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. 10 For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” 11 Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”

Worship is meant to open our hearts. Worship is meant to soften our hearts. When we open our mouths, our hearts are opened. Think of it, when you are mad at someone you often refuse to speak to them. Why? Because you want to express the hardness of your heart. 

It has been said the speech part of our brains are the most dominant part of our brains. What we do with our mouth has a profound affect on everything else about us. James confirms this telling us one’s whole life can be set on fire by the tongue (James 3:6). Worship is meant to open our hearts.

The people in the wilderness tested God by complaining about their conditions. They never were satisfied or glad in God. Such a heart is closed to Him and experiences His wrath. Worship is joyful expression where we are… not to “get something” from Him. Be joyful in God today, no matter what happens, that is worship at its best!

So then…
Worship is not about us.
Worship is respect and honor toward God.
Worship is meant to open us up to God and His will. 
Worship is about right now, where we are, enjoy our God.

That is how God wants us to worship.

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Posted 5 days ago

God’s Vengeance is Better than Revenge

Hurst will happen. We cannot avoid them.
Psalm 94 is a call for the God of vengeance to do something about the harm being done to His people:

Psalm 94:1–2 (ESV) 1 O Lord, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! 2 Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve!

Psalm 94:5–7 (ESV) 5 They crush your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage. 6 They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless; 7 and they say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

Some people are awful. We see them in the middle east and on the streets of America’s cities. People who don’t give a care about God and act like His rule is a myth. They can drive us crazy if we let them. Psalm 94 is a better response. Instead of getting mad at those who do wrong, pray for the Lord of vengeance to shine forth, rise up and judge.

There’s a reason why God’s vengeance is called for. Because we tend toward REvenge. And revenge usually ends up being more about my feelings and anger than what is just and right. You remember when Cain is marked with God so that whoever KILLS Cain will be paid back 7 fold? Just a few generations, his descendent Lamech announces his own system of Justice: He says someone hurt him and for they he is to be paid 77 fold!

Genesis 4:24 (ESV) If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.”

The problem with our idea of justice is we get personal and overreact. 
God’s judgment and God’s vengeance are two things:

1. Gods judgment and vengeance is perfect.

Psalm 94:9–11 (ESV) He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? 10 He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge— 11 the Lord—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.

He sees what we don’t see. He sees thoughts. He sees what men think. He doesn’t simply judge actions, he judges thoughts!

2. God’s judgment and vengeance is just.
This is the Psalmist’s confidence:

Psalm 94:14–15 (ESV) For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage; 15 for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Paul picks this up in Romans…

Romans 12:18–19 (ESV) If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”… 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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Posted 1 week ago

God is Greater Than the Noise

Psalm 93:1–3 (NASB95) The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The Lord has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting. 

Psalm 93 makes it clear that God is in charge and all that is here has been established by Him. He established it. The Earth is suspended in space because He made it that way. 

You can think this reality was an accident. You can believe chaos became chemistry and lead to creativity. There are some who do. But the more we inspect, the more we investigate, the more we realize just how delicate of a balance every rotation of our Earth, every sunrise, every aspect of our biological system really is. You are experiencing a miracle every day. 

Right now:
The Earth is moving at 67,000 miles per hour.
The Earth is rotating at 1000 miles per hour.
And NOTHING is under it. It’s here, doing it’s thing, every day… because God established it.
70 percent of the planet is covered in ocean but humans have only explored 5 percent of it.
By ratio comparison, the Earth is smoother than a bowling ball? The mountains and deepest valleys are still only 1/5000th of the Earth’s circumference. 
The Earth’s core is as hot at the surface of the Sun.
Only 14% of the Earth’s species have been identified.

You are experiencing a miracle every day. 

The Psalmist is not ignorant though. He knows there is plenty of noise in this world…

VERSE 3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord, The floods have lifted up their voice, The floods lift up their pounding waves.

In Ancient Israel, the sea represented chaos and disorder. In ancient religions, they considered the bad “gods” came from the sea. The Psalmist knows God is greater…
Psalm 93:4 (ESV) Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!

In spite of the noise, the Psalmist remembers that God is in charge. The little chaos around us can either frighten us or remind us that He is greater.

Psalm 93:5 (ESV) Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

Where do we go when the world is making its noise against God? When those who don’t believe clamor to be important and first? We go to the Word (decrees) and we go to Worship (your house) and we get our perspective right.

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Posted 1 week ago

A Song for the Sabbath

It’s good to rest. We were made to rest. God formed us in His image and on the 7th day God rested. It’s important we do not neglect our day to sit back, enjoy our lives, and worship our God. Yet so many of us disregard this command at the whim of a hat.

Psalm 92 is a song for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was that good they wrote a song about it.

Here’s what it says:

Psalm 92:1–4 (ESV) It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 2 to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, 3 to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. 4 For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

The Psalm opens with God’s own words on His Sabbath: “it is good.” When we Sabbath we are reminding ourselves that our work is made good because God’s first work of Creation was good. We have all that we do because of all that He did! Note verse 4: you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.”

When we Sabbath we stop to consider God’s works and 

Psalm 92:5 (ESV) How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!

When we come to worship God and hear His Word we are hearing the THOUGHTS of God. How much we need these considering all the wasted thoughts we use and carry around. 

When we Sabbath and worship our strength is renewed.

Psalm 92:10–11 (NLT) But you have made me as strong as a wild ox. You have anointed me with the finest oil. 11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents.

Paul said it like this: 2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV) Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

When we come to the Lord’s house and stay committed, we flourish:

Psalm 92:12–13 (NLT) But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. 13 For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God.

Notice, the promise to flourish in these verses is for those who are PLANTED in the house of the Lord. They commit to it and stay where they have been placed. So many Christians run around looking for the church that “suits their needs” or the church that’s not like the other church they came from. These people are not serving Christ, they are serving themselves. But those who STAY rooted in the body of believers God gave to them flourish and grow before the Lord. 

Psalm 92:14 (NLT) 14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.
I have seen this in my life and those I know. The ones who stay committed to one body of believers and serve there are the ones who last a long time and bear much fruit.

Jesus said the Sabbath is made for us. 
Let’s take full advantage of it.

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Posted 1 week ago
Posted 1 week ago

Satan’s Oldest Trick

Psalm 91 is a wonderful promise of protection.

Psalm 91:1–4 (ESV) He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

This Psalm also shows up on the lips of satan himself in the wilderness as he’s tempting Jesus. He quotes the 11th and 12th verses:

Psalm 91:11–12 (ESV) For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

But I never saw this before: Satan left a key part of those verses out in his temptation:

Matthew 4:6 (ESV) and (the devil) said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

On closer examination we see the words from Psalm 91 missing in Matthew 4 are these: "to guard you in all your ways." Satan left those out. God guards us in our ways, not satan’s suggestions.

Why did Satan leave those words out? Because Satan’s oldest trick is to keep you out of the true Word of God and get you to listen to his word.

To Eve he said, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Taking God’s true word that they could eat all but one tree and questioning it. It’s his oldest trick. And I think it may be his only trick (other than accusing us day and night). Satan seeks to separate you from God’s Word.

Because God’s Word is just that powerful.
Everything is established by God’s Word. Everything. “And God said let there be…”
Salvation happens at His Word:
2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV) For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

When you come to the scriptures, you are coming to the real, living abiding life-changing Word of God! This is no book, this is LIFE and PEACE. Get to know it. Go to the secret place and listen to the Words of life so that when Satan comes at you with a twisted version of it, you’ll spot it straight away and never fall for his garbage again.

You can approach the Bible as if it’s something to read… or you can approach it as something to absorb. Soak it in. Let it read you. And watch the power of God come alive within.

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Posted 2 weeks ago

What Number is This Day?

It’s September 1st. My 38th birthday. Day #13,879 for my life.

Appropriately, I’m looking at Psalm 90…

Psalm 90:9–12 (ESV) For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. 10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Our biggest obstacle to wisdom is one simple word - TOMORROW. 

Tomorrow hovers in our thoughts like a get-out-of-jail-free card. But assuming we have tomorrow just may be the dumbest thing we can believe. Who really knows? We are like grass. We are like vapors. I could have sworn I live longer than 13,879 days! I mean, what is that? It’s a blip! But that’s the point of Psalm 90. We are more finite than we think!

Only one Being is absolutely self-sufficient:
Psalm 90:2 (ESV) Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Some believe this Psalm of Moses was probably written shortly after the death of his sister and brother and also after the incident with the rock in which he dishonored the Lord and struck it twice thereby losing his opportunity to enter the promised land. Moses saw the end of his own life. His mission was concluding. The curtain was closing. This was it. His prayer is simple. Help me to number each day.

People spend their lives wasting time living on their own terms, foolishly making the assumption there will be a chance to get right later. And in many cases, that does happen. God is patient with us… thankfully.

But even if we are able to return “one day” later in life, what about the wasted days? How often I’ve heard of people talking about their regrets. It’s always something sinful. I’ve literally never heard someone talk about their regrets when it came to obeying God. Never. No one has ever said to me, “I’m so disappointed I spent my money wisely.” Or, “I wish I had more sex with more people before I turned 30.” No one has told me, “Walking with the Lord all those years was an absolute waste.”

I have heard, “I wasted my life on drugs/alcohol/sex etc.” And I have heard, “I was a total idiot with my money for a long time.” And, “I wish I heard about Jesus sooner.” I have heard all of those many times from many people.

Now I will be the first to admit, there are a lot of people out there who do those things, disobey God and don’t have a problem with it… yet. But eventually when the curtain starts to close, and life is more in the rear view mirror than the windshield, things may starts changing for them.

I’ve lived 13,879 days. And I’ve learned this Psalm is gets truer ever passing day.

Number EACH day.
Because you get today.
In Christ Jesus, you get to do life today - with God.

Take advantage of it… because there’s just no regretting it.

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Waiting for Forever

The Word “forever”is key to Psalm 89. Eight times it’s used to refer to the covenant between God and David.

Psalm 89:1–4 (ESV) 1 I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. 2 For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.” 3 You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: 4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’ ” Selah

"Faithfulness" occurs 7 times.

Psalm 89:5–8 (ESV) Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! 6 For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, 7 a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? 8 O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you?

We know what this Psalm is about from those numbers alone. God has faithfully committed to His King forever. That commitment was fulfilled in Christ Jesus, the Son of David and our eternal Lord, King and God.

Our God is faithful forever.
He is faithful to cause creation to work properly (verses 9/11).
He is faithful to deliver His chosen ones (verse 10).
He is faithful to His covenant (verses 19-29).
And He is faithful to DISCIPLINE His chosen people (Verses 30-33).

But the Psalmist is hoping! He’s hoping the discipline of the Lord will not out live his life (Verse 47). He’s asking to see God’s faithfulness again in his day. Will he see it? Does he see it? We don’t know. But we know that while he waited, he praised…

Psalm 89:52 (ESV) Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.

He lives between the now and not yet of God’s timing. This is where we find ourselves constantly. He speaks about how people mock him for holding out hope, how his enemies mock both him and His God.

Yet he praises!

We can feel like this Psalmist. We live between the now and not yet. We live in the faces of accusers and mockers. We live in a world rocked by sin and suffering. We live in a world of doubt. But like the Psalmist, we can look back on what has happened, remember God’s covenant faithfulness and anticipate His ultimate triumph!

Blessed be the Lord FOREVER!
Amen and amen.

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Adventures is Drearyland

The problem with much of Christian publishing is that it always has to be positive, uplifting, or come to a happy ending where the lost person is finally redeemed. It’s just not always true to life.

Psalm 88 is a Psalm of complete despair. From beginning to end, the Psalm offers no light at the end of the tunnel nor a happily ever after. Not a single note of hope or anticipation that things will work out in the end.

It begins:

Psalm 88:1–3 (ESV) 1 O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. 2 Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! 3 For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.

It ends…
Psalm 88:18 (ESV) You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.

But we need to be thankful this Psalm is in the Bible. It’s there to remind us that sometimes things in life doesn’t end the way we want, no matter what we do or hope. We can also be thankful, this is the only Psalm in the book like this! We do normally have hope and joy in the fulfillment of God’s plans and purpose, but sometimes, every once in a while, we’re going to see despair up close and personal.

If Christians want to relate to people who need hope, perhaps we need to be more open about the times when we don’t have it. Because we all do. Whether in a relationship, a job situation, a sickness or death, Christians will experience the gamut of human conditions. We rob our witness to pretend otherwise or manipulate art to promise something that life doesn’t 100% deliver.

Thankfully, we can approach God like this Psalmist does as well. He hears, and He listens and He’s there. Sure, you can deny God exists in the face of overwhelming circumstances and pain. But where doest that leave you? Your pain is still there and what’s worse, you have no one with WHOM to work it out! But this Psalmist has someone he can cry out to “day and night” without fear of retribution.

God listens to our pain… and through it as well.
And for that we can still be thankful.

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