Bless the Lord

Psalm 103:1, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”
 
What does “Bless the Lord” mean? It means to speak well of His greatness and goodness. It is synonymous with praise. Psalm 34:1 puts them together like this: “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Notice the word mouth. To “Bless the Lord” is to speak, sing, and live according to His goodness and greatness. Psalm 103 is a personal, public, and pervasive exhortation to bless God. The psalm is stuffed with reason after reason why God should be blessed, honored, praised, and treasured.

Call to and Inspiration for Praise!

Psalm 103 is the wellspring for so many hymns and songs of praise from far back in the past right up to the present because the psalm is pure praise and worship from start to finish. These twenty-two verses are focused on one person: Yahweh. That is the tetragrammaton, the covenant making and never breaking name of God. This is the only name of God used in the 103rd and it is not a descriptive name like Jehovah-jireh (Genesis 22:14) or Jehovah-shalom (Judges 6:23-24, “Peace be unto thee, fear not). Yahweh is His own name – the I AM. The One who eternally exists. No beginning. No ending. He is constant and independent and sovereign. God is truth, love, light, life, beauty, perfection, holiness, and joy. He is everything, and He alone is worthy of worship. All praise is riveted on the Eternal God and His gospel truth.

Together Again!

The 103rd Psalm will be our text this morning, our first one back since March 15. Follow this link for information about today’s service. We look forward to worshipping together, up on the hill once again. If you do not feel comfortable gathering, or if you do not feel well, please remain at home and follow along on the live-steam.
 
Following the time of worship we will honor our 2020 graduates: Bailee Allen, Kylee Fain, Jesse Eaton, and Will Isaacs. That will also be live-streamed.

Read more...

Would You Bow Down?

Everybody lives by faith in something or someone. The difference between a true believe and an unbeliever is not the presence of faith but the object of their faith. Daniel 3 is the text for today’s study and this evening’s sermon. There we find that leaders and influencers from across the great Babylonian Empire were assembled to worship the 90′ high and 9′ wide golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected. He wanted to unify his diverse empire by means of religion and fear. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Faith Tried by Fire

Trials are used by God to develop our faith. The same trials are used by the enemy to destroy us. During such times we will either be drawn closer to the Lord or further away from him. 
 
The Babylonian authorities showed up because of the King’s commands. They all stood up for the image’s dedication. When the music played they all bowed down. All except for three. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to break God’s Law. They had already proven a willingness to cooperate with their new pagan leaders, but they would not compromise the clear commands of scripture. Instead, they were willing to pay the price that comes with trusting God.
 
I wonder if the Apostle Peter had these three men in mind when he wrote 1 Peter 1:7; 4:12:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego were confident in the Lord’s control of  their situation. They stood tall when everyone else bowed low.
 
Would you bow down?
 
That is a question to ask and answer as we work through Daniel 3 tonight at 7pm. 

Read more...

But There Is a God in Heaven

Nebuchadnezzar was so troubled he couldn’t sleep. His problem wasn’t just a weird or scary dream. The king feared losing what he had gained and still desired. Those fears about security and safety highlighted his struggle with ultimate issues: “Who am I? How did I get here? Why am I here? Where am I going? What does it matter?”
Nebuchadnezzar was so troubled he couldn’t think clearly. Since the wise men of the realm couldn’t explain his dream before they interpreted it, he commanded that they all be executed. In stepped Daniel. He got involved, along with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Their involvement was characterized by tact, prayer, practicality, thanksgiving, purposefulness, and humility. As Daniel stood before Nebuchadnezzar, this ruthless government leader asked him, “Are you able to tell me the dream I had and its interpretation?” (2:24b)

Not Me. But God

Every eye in the room was fixed on Daniel. A lot depended on what he was about to say and do. Time seems to stand still in meaningful moments like this, and the senses seem to be sharpened. Not only were all eyes focused on Daniel, but every ear was straining to hear exactly what he would say. What they heard was, “No. There is not a wise man, astrologer, magician, or soothsayer who can show the king what he desires.”

No doubt there were audible gasps in the room at that moment. Arioch the Captain of the Guard may have looked stunned and betrayed. I imagine Nebuchadnezzar’s eyes were instantly enflamed with fury. Perhaps not a few wise men sighed and hung their heads. All of this would have transpired in mere seconds, you understand, because there was not a wise man, astrologer, magician, or soothsayer who can show the king what he desires. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has let King Nebuchadnezzar know what will happen in the last days.”  (vv. 27-28)

You’ve heard it said before, but it’s a truth worth repeating, with men it is impossible, but not with God, for with God all things are possible. That’s not restricted to interpreting dreams.
 
This morning (and next Sunday) we will have an 11am drive-in service, and it will also be live-streamed. Please join us!

Read more...

Praise God!

Isaiah 12:2, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”

Here is a hymn of praise which all those who trust God and His salvation may joyfully sing. God always delivers, and He will deliver those who are faithful to Him. The text doubles the personal name of God as an emphatic reminder that He is the covenant-keeping God. This is why our salvation is certain, not because of our faithfulness but because of His. He is our strength. He has saved us from the penalty of our sins, is saving us from the power of sin in our day to day lives, and will save us from sin’s presence in the life to come (see also 2 Corinthians 1:9-10). Those who trust God have much about which to sing. Praise Him!


Read more...

Timeless Truth for Temporary Troubles

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
 
Times are tough right now. COVID-19 is easily transmitted, is highly contagious, and attacks the lungs. All of these reasons make the virus particularly virulent for seniors or anyone with a compromised immune system. This disease is serious. We know that much, and that’s about all we know.
 
Not knowing creates discomfort and anxiety. We want our questions satisfactorily answered. There is much we don’t know about COVID-19 and will never know. But there was a lot we didn’t last year at this time, and that will be true next year at this time. We are limited.
 
The problem isn’t with our limitations or with our questions. There is no shame in having questions. What we do with the questions is the issue. Don’t allow difficult life situations to cause you to forget what we do know. “Never doubt in the darkness what God has taught you in the light.”
 
Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
 
Isaiah 45:22 says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
 
Our temporary troubles will be overcome by God’s timeless truths. Trust God’s Word. That will be our focus this morning during our 11am livestream. Here are your options for viewing the broadcast:

 


Read more...

Saturday Spurgeon Selection

Luke 19:40, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”

But could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if he who opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice. Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to testify in praise of him who created them by the word of his power; they could extol the wisdom and power of their Maker who called them into being. Shall not we speak well of him who made us anew, and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham?
 
The old rocks could tell of chaos and order, and the handiwork of God in successive stages of creation’s drama; and cannot we talk of God’s decrees, of God’s great work in ancient times, in all that he did for his church in the days of old? If the stones were to speak, they could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry, and made them fit for the temple, and cannot we tell of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of his word, that he might build us into his temple? If the stones should cry out they would magnify their builder, who polished them and fashioned them after the similitude of a palace; and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God? If the stones could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time hath a great stone been rolled as a memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify of Ebenezers, stones of help, pillars of remembrance.
 
The broken stones of the law cry out against us, but Christ himself, who has rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, speaks for us. Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them: we will hush their noise with ours; we will break forth into sacred song, and bless the majesty of the Most High, all our days glorifying him who is called by Jacob the Shepherd and Stone of Israel.

Read more...