Friday, July 9, 2021
From the moment of conception, right through to birth, God knit us together in our mother's womb. Think about that.
Friday, July 9, 2021
In verse 13, David writes this about God, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." The God of the universe, the one who knows you so well, so intimately, he is the one that created you. He created you bit by bit, cell by cell. From the moment of conception, right through to birth, he knit us together in our mother's womb. Think about that. When you knit something, it is not a fast process. It requires concentration, it requires specific moves that are calculated to have a certain outcome. God knit you together very patiently in your mother's womb. He knows you that intimately, stitch by stitch. So, when you consider how you're made, when you think about the complexity of your body, the way it works, knowing that that God intimately spent time with us, putting us together, how could you not but worship Him? It is just such an incredible thought to me. When I think about the sanctity of life, this passage for me speaks so much about how important life is, and that God has purpose and a calling on our lives, as we'll see in a moment.
Continuing in verse 15, "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." See, God knew you before you were born. While you were being made, he was right there in the womb with you. You were known by God before a single day of your life came to be. Life doesn't begin at birth, life begins at conception. You were known by God every single moment of your life throughout your life. They were written in his book. He is writing the story of your life.
Continuing in verse 17, "How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! If I were to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand - when I awake, I am still with you." When you think about the way that God loves you, when you think about the depth of His love and the magnitude of His love, it is truly awesome. It's like counting grains of sand. It's impossible. If you've ever gone to the beach and tried to count grains of sand, you know it is impossible. That's how many thoughts God has about you. The way God thinks about you is unmatched by anybody else. It is precious, it is priceless, and it is infinite. Infinite are the thoughts of God towards you.
Let's pray. Father, thank you. Thank you that you have known us. You knew all the days that were to be ordained for us before one of them came to be. You knit us together, stitch by stitch, in our mother's womb. And you continue to desire to know us, to be with us, to go before us, and to be a part of our lives. We thank you for that. Father, thank you for the thoughts of love that you have towards us, and thank you that you, the God of the universe, would care enough to work in our lives. Father, that is an encouraging thought. It is a sobering thought. We love you for that, we worship you, and we give you thanks. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen. Hey everyone, until next time, don't just have a great day, but go and make a great day.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
There is not a single place on Earth that you can go without God being present.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Today, we are continuing to look at Psalm 139. As we said on July 5, Psalm 139 was written by King David of Israel. We will go through verses 7 to 14 verse by verse. Starting in verses 7-8, David writes this about God, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there." You see, there is not a single place on Earth that you can go without God being present, there is not a single place above the earth or below the earth that you can go without God being present. God has a characteristic known as omnipresence, which is a big word that means his whole being is fully present everywhere at the same time. It's not that a part of God is over here, and another part is over here. No, he is fully present everywhere at the same time. That is such a comforting thought for me and I'm encouraged by that, because I can never be without the presence of God in my life. That's what David is saying. He asks, "Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" The answer is "Nowhere."
In verse nine, David continues, "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." No matter where you go, no matter how early in the day it is, or how late in the evening, no matter how close you are, or how far (even to the furthest point out in the sea), God will always be with you, to guide you and protect you. His hand his right hand, which is the hand of his favor, will be upon you. He will hold you fast, he will not delay.
David continues in verse 11. He says, 'If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.' You see, God even sees you in the darkness. Darkness is dark to us humans, but is not dark to God. It's almost like he has night goggles on. When it's dark to us, we may not be able to see anything around us, but God sees you. He sees you. His light is upon you, and he will see you and will let his light shine upon you, even though you can't necessarily see it. He has his light on you. Again, that is a comforting thought for me to know that every move that you make, every move that I make, God knows exactly where we are. It's not in a weird way, though. Remember that Police song from the 80s, "Every Breath You Take"? It was sort of like someone following you, almost like in a creeper sense. But no, David is talking about God's loving hand there to guide you and lead you no matter where you go. You see, no place is unfamiliar to God. He has loving eyes looking on you for your best interest, to guide you and lead you through every moment of life. I hope you find encouragement in that today.
Let's pray knowing that God knows every move we make. Father, we thank you because you know exactly where we are at all times. We can never escape your loving presence. May that give us encouragement today, may it give us courage when we're scared to face the things that are ahead of us in our day. May we take encouragement knowing you're right there with us, right by our side, going through this with you, with your hand upon us. Thank you Father for this, in Jesus' name. Amen. Remember, don't just have a great day, go and make a great day.
Friday, May 28, 2021
The Psalms are so clear in how we are to approach God in worship. And it's always interesting because it's never about us, it's always about him.
Friday, May 28, 2021
Today I want to talk to you about this idea of exalting God. That sounds lofty, that sounds huge, and it is. But the Psalms are so clear in how we are to approach God in worship. And it's always interesting because it's never about us, it's always about him. I want to read Psalm 100 and draw seven principles from it. Psalm 100 says this, "Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord himself is God; it is he who made us, and not we ourselves. We are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. For the Lord is good; His loving kindness is everlasting, and his faithfulness to all generations."
How do we exalt God? Well, let me tell you, there are seven things that just jump out of this psalm. The first thing is this that you shout for joy. It says, "Shout joyfully to the Lord." What's interesting about the word 'shout' here is it's actually the word that is used for a battle cry. Now, when we talk about a battle cry, think of that movie, Braveheart, that came out in the 90s. In it you have these massive armies on the field, right? And they're shouting as they're going toward one another. That was a battle cry. It was a cry of triumph. It was a cry that would deafen the ears of anyone listening. He says, "Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth." That's the first thing in exalting God. It's okay to shout and to give him the praise, and do it as a battle cry.
The second thing is "Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful singing." So, if the first is shout with a battle cry of joy, the second is serve him. Serve God, serve the Lord with gladness. Come before him and serve him with gladness. The third is this, "come before him with joyful singing." So, we shout triumphantly, we serve Him, and we sing joyfully, or lift our voices joyfully to him. The fourth is, "Know that the Lord himself is God." Know that he is God, and we are not. Know that he is the one who is in control, and he is the one orchestrating all things. It has nothing to do with us. The fifth, "It is he who made us and not we, ourselves." See what God has done, see what he is doing and see what he has done. The sixth is this from verse four, "Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise." Enter His gates with thanksgiving. This psalm is a song of thanksgiving. When we say thanksgiving, that means "God we are giving you thanks." We are saying thank you for who you are, for what you've done for us, and how you're working in our lives. And then it says, "Give him thanks, bless his name." What does that mean? Praise him. Give him all the glory, give him all of it, everything because he deserves it. Why? Look at verse five, "For the Lord is good; his loving kindness is everlasting, and his faithfulness to all generations." He alone is worthy, it has nothing to do with what we can do on our own strength, and our own being.
So, let me just recap that. To exalt the Lord, you shout for joy with a battle cry, it's a triumphant shout. You serve Him, you sing joyfully, you know that he is God, know that he is the one who has created everything. You see what he has done, he made us, we didn't make him. You enter His gates with thanksgiving, shouting that thanks to him. And then lastly, you praise his name. That is how we exalt God. That is how we worship Him. And I want to challenge you today. If you're going into church this coming Sunday, or during the week, or whatever that looks like for you, I want to challenge you to worship God with abandon. Worship God and exalt Him as psalm 100 goes through. You shout joyfully, you proclaim it. You serve Him, you sing joyfully, you know that he is God. You see what he has done, you enter those gates with thanksgiving, and you praise his name.
Father, thank you so much for how we can come before you in worship. Thank you that we can praise you. I pray, Lord, that we would just stay laser-focused on who you are, what you've done, your strength, and how you are mindful of us individually. Let us remember how you love us unconditionally. In church this week and even throughout our day, throughout our week, even if we're just driving in our car, let us shout triumphantly for you because of what you've done and who you are. We thank you, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
The Bible is rich with insight about how to know God. In fact, the Bible IS how we know God, who he is and his characteristics and attributes.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Today, I'm going to talk about a very big topic in a very small amount of time. It's the idea of, "how do I know God?" The Bible is rich with insight about how to know God. In fact, the Bible IS how we know God, who he is and his characteristics and attributes. I want to focus in on one specific area from Psalm 119. I think there are seven principles that we can draw from this, and you can dig into this a little bit more on your own time. We are in Psalm 119:9-16. We don't know who wrote this song, but whoever wrote it knew God. It says, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."
Now, there's a lot there. We're going to quickly draw seven principles and answer the question, "How can I know God?" First thing is Keeping the Word. He says, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word." In other words, by keeping the word of God, keeping the teachings of the Scriptures, holding on to them. The second thing he says is, "I will seek you with all of my heart, do not let me stray from your commands." Seek God, go after him. You search out for him, you go with everything that you are. He says, "I seek you with all of my heart." That means with all of my mind, with all of my understanding, I'm going to pursue you, God. Then he says, "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." So the third thing is this, Hide the Word. Now, that's a strange way to say it, but think of it this way: treasure it. When you have something that you deeply love and treasure, maybe it's a family heirloom, or maybe it's something that is significant or valuable, you hide it away. You keep it separate to keep it safe, and to keep it preserved. That's what he's saying. Hide the word, treasure the word of God, keep it in a safe place. Then he says, "Praise be to you, O Lord, teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth." So, the fourth thing is to Proclaim. When he says recount, we think of remembering, but the word actually here means to proclaim with my lips. I will shout, I will proclaim all of the laws that come from God's mouth. Proclaim the truth. That's the fourth thing.
The fifth thing is this, he says, "I rejoice in following your statutes, as one rejoices in great riches." The fifth is Rejoice in How Just God Is. "I rejoice in following your statutes," or following your instructions and your laws, "as one rejoices in great riches." So, rejoice in how just God truly is. The sixth thing is this, "I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways." This is Meditate on God's Call for You, specifically. He says "precepts and ways," meaning his instruction. Meditate on it. Think about it. When you're going throughout the day, it's not just about opening the Bible and seeing a couple words, it's meditating on it, thinking through what that means. He says to meditate on the precepts, the instructions, the path that God is setting you on. The seventh thing is this, "I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." Delight in His Word, find the joy and satisfaction in His Word to us.
So, let me answer that question that I started with. How do we truly know God? It's by knowing his word, and let me just recap the seven things. I know God by keeping his word, by seeking God with all that I am, by hiding his word in my heart and treasuring it, and by proclaiming the truth. I had a pastor friend tell me if you really want to understand something, you teach it. Proclaim it, proclaim the truth. Number five, rejoice in how just God is. Number six, meditate on how God calls us and what He has called us for. Seven, delight in His Word with joy and satisfaction. I don't know where you are today. I don't know what you're wrestling with. I don't know what your day looks like or what you're walking into. But know this, that God is with you. And God is for you. The way that you can be sure of that, the way that you can truly know him, is by the seven things that we talked about today.
Let me pray for you. Father, again, thank you so much for the Bible. Thank you so much for how you speak to us through it. I pray that we would remember these seven steps on how we can truly know you, so that there's no question, no hesitation. For that person who's watching or listening right now and they're just not sure, let them be encouraged. Lord, let them open that book and let them walk through those steps to understand, truly, who you are. We thank you for how you've clearly revealed yourself to us through your word. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, May 24, 2021
Worshiping God is a lifestyle. Worshiping God is is how we conduct ourselves and what we're allowing God to do in our own lives.
Monday, May 24, 2021
Psalm 51:10, 12, 15-17
Today, I want to look at a psalm that I think really is a great starting point for how we are to worship God. It's written by David, it's Psalm 51. And I'm going to read some select verses from Psalm 51. Starting in verse 10, he says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." And then verse 12, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit." And then jumping ahead to verses 15-17, "Oh, Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare your praise. For you do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise, I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, Oh God, you will not despise."
David wrote this at a very difficult time in his life, when he was filled with grief. He was completely humbled and ashamed because he had just committed adultery, and he comes back to God, and he's begging through this prayer for forgiveness. He's doing a couple different things here. First, he says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, renew a steadfast spirit within me." He's like, God, I know, I screwed up. I know, I screwed up, God cleanse my heart, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Then, he says, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation, sustain me with a willing spirit." He is longing for what God's going to do in his life, how God is going to continue to pull him through. Then, he says, "Lord opened my lips, that my mouth may declare your praise. For you do not delight and sacrifice, otherwise, I would give it. You're not pleased in a burnt offering."
Let me pray for you. Father, thank you so much for the gift of your word, and just how clear it is that we don't need to be perfect. Lord, we just ask that you give us that clean spirit, the willing spirit, that we would recognize we are broken. We surrender to you, and pray that we would be obedient. Whoever's reading right now, whatever they're struggling with right now Lord, I pray that they would just have the courage to say, "God we know that we are broken and we give it to you." In Jesus' name, amen.
Friday, May 21, 2021
It's important that you remind yourself of appointments, dates, holidays, etc. But even more importantly, you need to find a plan to remind yourself of the greatness of God.
Friday, May 21, 2021
So I want to talk to you about a brief reminder of God's greatness from Psalm 63:2-3, Listen to it, take it in, and think about how great God is. The Psalmist says, "I have seen you, God, in the sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself, how I praise you." He talks about God's power, glory, and love. Think about the power of God - he's omnipotent. Think about the glory of God and the unfailing love of God. God is great. He loves us when we don't deserve it. He glorifies himself through us, and we get some of the credit sometimes. He's all powerful. He's over your life, over this world, and over everything that happens, even if it doesn't make sense. For that, we need to be reminded of God's greatness. Maybe you need to put that verse on your phone every day when you wake up. God is great. Maybe you need to write yourself a note and put it on your mirror for when you shave, or put on makeup, or whatever you do in the mirror. You need to remind yourself of God's greatness.
When you do look at what the psalmist says, when you remind yourself of God's greatness, he says, "Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself." In other words, the Psalmist says he would rather have God's love than be alive. In fact, God's love is what gives us life. Are you in love with God? Have you remembered his greatness? Have you forgotten? Have you let the distractions of this world pull you away? I think of the great hymn, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full into his wonderful face. And the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." I would even add greatness there.
Maybe you need to have a little heart-to-heart with God, spend a little time with God. A little reflection about God's greatness. Because I know this, when you acknowledge God's greatness, God will bring greatness into your life. Think about how good he's been to you. Think about all the things he's done for you. If you're a Christian and if he did nothing more than forgive your sins, put you in right relationship with Him, and promise that you don't need to do anything more, that would be enough. And yet, he does so much more. So, let's thank God for his greatness.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
...today I want to talk to you about how you can get some satisfaction.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Anyway, so they had a song called, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," and today I want to talk to you about how you can get some satisfaction. If any of you know Mick, Keith Richards, and the other guys, maybe you could send them this. Then, maybe they can get some satisfaction. This idea comes from Psalm 63:5-7, where the psalmist says this about God. He says, "God, you satisfy me more than the richest of foods. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings."
Think about an amazing dinner. What's your favorite food? Have you had to go to an amazing white-linen restaurant and have an amazing dinner. When you leave, you're not too full, not too empty. The psalmist goes on, saying, "I will praise you with songs of joy" because he's so satisfied. He lies awake thinking of God, meditating on him through the night. Those are pleasant thoughts. "I think how much you have helped me." That's satisfying. "I sing for joy in the shadow of your protecting wings." What is the psalmist saying? He's saying, "Every time I think about you, God, I get excited. You're better than than an amazing meal. I think about you at night. You help me when I have needs." How can you get some satisfaction? Start thinking more accurately about God. Start thinking about how good he is. Another kind of meal related metaphor is when the Bible says, "Taste and see, that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).
Let's pray. Father in heaven, you are the most satisfying person in the universe. Forgive us for trying to find satisfaction in people, places, and things. Help us to find satisfaction in you, in thinking about you, falling more deeply in love with you. Help us to be satisfied in you. And everything else that we get in life is gravy. I asked this in Jesus' name, amen.
Friday, May 14, 2021
Today, I want to ask you to do a spiritual gut check.
Friday, May 14, 2021
Today, I want to ask you to do a spiritual gut check. In other words, I want you to not worry so much about what others say. That is still important - I just said it was. But I want you to hold yourself to the highest standard you can. Do a spiritual gut check. I get this from a verse that I think about very, very often, like many other scriptures that roll around in my head. It comes from the very end of Psalm 139, verses 23 to 24. I want you to take it in, because I think it just says what it means, and means what it says. It doesn't need a lot of explaining, but it does need a lot of applying in many people's lives. David says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Search me, O God, and know my heart. In other words, what's in my heart? Try me. In all my mind, what am I thinking about? See if there is any offensive way in me. That refers to your actions. Lead me in the way of everlasting life - in other words, lead me the right way. David is saying that sometimes we need a gut check. Sometimes we let things slide in our life that we shouldn't let slide. Sometimes we have anxious thoughts that we have no business being anxious about. Sometimes there are things in our life that are character slippage. If you let character slippage go on too long, your character will change. I don't know what's going on in your life, but one of the most challenging prayers is to say, search me, O God and know my heart. Ask God to look into your heart, look into your mind, look into your actions. Those are the three things David calls out. Say, "God, what do I need to change?"
Are there things in your heart that you need to change? An attitude toward a person, or things in your mind? The things you think about a lot, or things in the way you're living, where you're going, what you're doing? Search me O God, and know my heart. I know this is a very humbling, sobering thought, but it's an important one. The best thing in life is when you challenge yourself more than anyone else in the world does. When I challenge myself, I hold myself to the highest standards, and I know when I do that, I'll be the best Christian I could be, the best husband I could be, the best person I could be. I hope the same is true for you.
Let's pray. God, I just pray this prayer, search me and search all who are reading this. Search us, O God, and know our hearts. Try us in all our mind, see if there is any offensive way or action in us, and lead us in the way of righteous, everlasting life. God, just help us see where we need to grow and help us work on changing it. In Jesus' name. Amen.