Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Psalms Saturday #10 – His Steadfast Love Endures Forever – Psalms 100

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Psalms Saturday #10 – His Steadfast Love Endures Forever – Psalms 100 – 03/12/2016

A Psalm for giving thanks

Psalms 100:1 (ESV) Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! 2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

This Psalm is awesome in its praise and thanksgiving to the LORD. I love this because it gives great examples of praise and thanksgiving and my hope is that you please enjoy this great Psalm of praise, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching and encouraging moments. I aim to look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!

This verse even although it is only a few words long really speaks to me on a personal level. One of my personality faults is that I am like Chandler in the TV series Friends and I apply nervous humor to situations and one of my “common jokes” is my inability to sing in a manner that is beautiful to others. I often joke that I “make a joyful noise!” and I will give you an example of this below…

The church I attend on a Sunday had a real worship leader problem due to the Senior Pastor being unavailable, one of the worship leaders being sick and another was out of town and my wife, even although she was getting over sickness stepped into help, when she texted the Assistant Pastor she joked that I could sing and it was met with much hilarity.

We have to realize with worship that God care more about the heart of the worshipper than the exterior package. One of the things that put me off church when I was a young seeker bouncing between churches (see my testimony page for a fuller description) is one church I went to which was described as a “Charismatic church” where the ones who were held us as the “best worshippers” or “so full of the spirit” were also the ones who could turn on the “joyful noise” like a faucet (tap) and usually lived the most worldly lives outside the church and only came for the experience and were not deeply grounded in any faith as they all left within a few years and lived in the world, never to return to Jesus.

I say this not in a judgmental tone but one of concern for those folks, I did likewise but I also returned. I say it also because we have to check our hearts that we are not doing what Jesus accused the Pharisees or religious people of…

Matthew 6:1 (ESV) Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Yes Jesus speaks about giving and praying but he also touches on practicing your righteousness before other people and we have to be genuine in our worship to God and if we are weeping we are weeping, if we have our hands up and look worshipful then let us be worshipful in the inside too because we all need honesty and transparency and really need not to be fake and I pray for us all that we are the same through the week as we are on a Sunday morning when all the people we worship with see us being “worshipful”. It should be a life of worship as opposed to an hour a week and the Psalmist goes on to talk about how we should serve the LORD.

V2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

How should we serve the LORD? With gladness of course! I would go so far as to say that if you are serving the LORD with grumpiness or with a less than stellar attitude then I would ask for the good of yourself and the people you are serving then please take a time out from serving. Often time’s people are called to serving and I know from personal experience from when I was trying to “trudge on” and becoming “burned out” that folks were not volunteering to take my place because they saw that that ministry was covered. So you may very well be doing harm to yourself but also to the ministry at large.

If that continues then you will get what I call the “cataloguing Christian” where they start to list the ministries they have been involved in to puff themselves up, make themselves feel good and justify why they are griping about their present circumstances that in many cases they have volunteered for. This leads to the ones who people are relying on not actually wanting to come to church and you will rarely see these people coming into the presence of the LORD with singing! If you are reading this and questing what I am saying then please take a look at your own church and have a look at how many folks are shouldering most of the burden and that will give you an idea where you can help.

How do we avoid this? Well it can be two fold…

Leaders

We should not be just looking to “fill spots in a roster” and we should be looking to fill positions with people who are suited to what we are asking for, a decent example you would not ask someone who is horrible with kids to take a class of 6-8 year old screaming kids.

We should also look for willing but capable people to fill spots and train then up well by giving them decent support and while they are learning have a safety net where they can “fail on a small scale” as a learning curve.

We need to be observant for “burn out” and if someone is doing six months in a row doing Children’s ministry and not getting any fellowship then they may very well get burned out.

We can’t be pressuring people into doing something, whether it’s doing a task, giving or making someone feel like they are being pressured into doing something.

Volunteers

Be honest about your callings, don’t be pressured into something and be willing to help and try things out, if it is not for you then be honest about it and help to find someone to replace you.

V3 Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

He deserves our songs of praise because he is good, he is God and he really has that divine right to worship, it is what we were created for and this is also why the Psalmist calls us “his people and the sheep of his pasture”.

The Psalmist also states that “he made us” and that is true. If you have been following along in our bible studies in the book of Genesis you will know that we were literally made from the dust of the ground. We have to realize that the very breath in our bodies is a gift from God. When we fail to acknowledge this and give God the true place he deserves it leads to a self-worship that is unfulfilling and often leads to disappointment.

Who do you live for? Is it you or is it God? We are his people and we are the sheep of his pasture and like any good shepherd he knows his flock. Everything we have been provided has come from God. We read in Psalm 24 the following…

Psalms 24:1 (ESV) The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, does that change the way you view your surroundings? The meat you eat were made my animals created by God, the plants you eat were made by God, the water you drink was made by…you guessed it. Is it any wonder the Psalmist continues with…

V4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Feel like a benefits or a welfare case yet? That is not my intention but we are like the 30 something who still lives at home because Mom and Dad are cheaper than the real world! Then if we get a bump in the road we whine like a 3 year old! Often times when we get mad in our own first world problems it is not due to a major catastrophe it is due to something that has upset us that we will not even remember in five years!

On the flip side we should enter his courts with praise and here is why! Even if you are the poorest person in your church, living from paycheck to paycheck but just paying your bills, you are being provided for and God has seen you through it. You are still much wealthier than many are in developing countries.

V5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

And this is why we praise the LORD, because he is good, he loves us, his faithfulness is forever and his love endures forever. This is all from the father of truth so you can be guaranteed of the validity and truth of what is said.

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 125 which speaks of trusting in the LORD, the LORDs faithfulness and the importance of righteousness, all in all a terrific Psalm and I hope that you don’t miss it. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The LORD’s prayer – Part 2 – Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven

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The LORD’s prayer – Part 2 – Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven

Matthew 6:10 (KJV) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Jesus continues in his prayer, well I have always found it funny that we refer to it as the LORDs Prayer as it was a guideline in how WE should pray, it is OUR prayer too! After defending the name of God, giving the standard in which we should keep in honoring and keeping the name holy Jesus then goes on to talk about the heart behind the prayer.

We can say these words in a mutter like, mumbling through fashion as I have many times and that it how I learned this prayer, but the point of these articles are to look at what it all actually means. We can say “thy kingdom come” until we are blue in the face but if your hearts don’t match the words then we have a problem. When you pray are you really asking for “Thy will be done?” and do you understand the level of surrender that would take to go all in?

When we read the epistles we see often people who got this down, Paul, James, John, Jude & Peter all got this down by addressing or calling themselves either “servants” or “bondservants” of Jesus Christ in Epistles that are authored in their name. Are you getting where I am coming from now? By stating in prayer that you want the will of God to supersede and come first in your life goes against all form of human nature. Humans by default are more “My will be done” creatures and this will not come naturally. It is not in most people’s nature to serve first; if it is then I applaud you and wish I was more like you in that respect. I am a selfish person by nature and I do get aggrieved if I don’t get what I feel I deserve, so saying “thy will be done” the aspect of total surrender to a will that is not my own and a direction that in all actuality I may not like is something that I know I have to do but I do not find it easy all of the time.

We know it is God’s kingdom; we are reminded of this at the start of the verse, when we do God’s will we should be looking to build up God’s kingdom and not ours. I think I have spoken prior about how I baulk at lots of kudos and praise from the front of buildings and I am not keen to have folks look up to me as someone who should know things. Why I teach a bible study I have no idea, the studies come from the Spirit and are very little to do with me, whatever God does in this mission field will be in spite of be and not because of me.

We can’t plan out God’s kingdom, I know I have been guilty of this when I was a more immature Christian and this is exactly why God would only give me one piece of a puzzle at a time, I would be moving everything I could in order to do God’s work for him and often times that would not be in the timing that God wants. I am a knucklehead and despite the fact that I mean well, I would mess up if it was all up to me. All we are called to be is obedient and be ready to be used by God.

Whilst it is his kingdom we have to realize that is true both “in earth as it is in heaven” that the will of God will be done in both places and the ownership of that kingdom is uniquely God’s. Let’s look at heaven, is there any sin? Is there any rebellion against God? Are there anyone standing against God in heaven? Of course not! We as Christians should be praying without ceasing for his will to be carried out not just in heaven, but down here on earth. There is still work to be done down here and the very person who is reading it might just be the tool used by God to accomplish the next task for him.

Are you ready to request that his will be done both in heaven and on earth? Are you willing to go mind, body and soul into doing whatever God tells you to do to fulfill his will, his glory and his honor in your neighborhood? You won’t have to go as extreme as Jesus did when he fully submitted to the fathers will by becoming the sacrifice for our sins of a wooden cross on that dark hill at Calvary. Jesus is stating what he is stating knowing that he will do that for you, he did it for you whether you accept it or not, he rose again and conquered death on that third day to fulfil prophecy, show he was who he said he was and also meet with his disciples prior to ascending into heaven. Jesus is willing to put that into action, as one of his followers are you?

Just as I could easily do a household chore without the help of my daughter, I know that when she asks “if she can help daddy?” Then I beam with delight and take her up on her offer of help. Our prayers to God are the same way, God can accomplish his will without our participation or prayer, however we get to pray and we are allowed to partake in the glory of God. Remember he is “Our father” and like any loving father he loves it when his children make contact with him.

When was the last time you contacted him and gave him your all?

I pray that this article has been educational, challenging, convicting and exhorting, I pray that you received it well and please feel free to like, share and comment on whatever social media you wish as the LORD leads you too.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG