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

Do we treat the Bible as the precious document it is?

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Do we treat the Bible as the precious document it is?

We in the western world are very blessed. We have a Bible in almost every room in our house. I certainly have at least 5-6 Bibles in my house that are either on my bookshelf or have barely been read. If we were to look into impoverished nations, such as those in Asia and Africa where they have only ever owned a few pages at a time in their native language, and see what they look like if they were to get a whole book of the Bible, like a Gospel of John or a New Testament, never mind a whole Bible, will make you think about your faith, your relationship with your Bible and hopefully inspire you to change. Here are a few scriptures I have chosen to ask the question above.

We need reminding to study and why

2 Tim 2:14 (NKJV) Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.

It is a sad indication that we don’t treat our Bibles the way we should. If we did, my new country (USA) would be in a state of revival that would make the Azusa Street Revival seem like a conservative “run of the mill” Sunday.

The graphic is of course amusing but it is meant to cause a point. I borrowed the graphic from a local pastor who I know quite well (Pastor Bob Grenier – Calvary Chapel Visalia) off his Facebook, sorry Bob!

The graphic however got me thinking and made me wonder about my own life, do I “study to show myself approved” as much as I should? I read the Bible sure, but how am I in the areas that really matter. How am I in personal readings? Do I study enough? Do I study with my wife as a couple? Do I lead by example when it comes to Bible reading? How do I engage my child and raise up the next generation of Christians? What example am I to the folks that God has allowed me to be head of that home?

Challenging stuff huh? I am not as bad as the graphic but I am certainly a long way from where I believe God would like me to be. It is not easy to publicly say that and it truly chafes at my inner being to admit. I like to be like everyone else and claim that I have it all down, but I am a fallen man, who fails his wife consistently (let’s be real here) but has been forgiven by God and also by his wife!

Continuing in the Scriptures

2 Tim 3:14 (NKJV) But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Starting a Bible plan is only the start; I have started, re-started and turned over enough leaves to fill an autumn. My wife calls me the “startup guy” because i am great at getting things moving, ministries started (I launched the church I attended since 2007’s Facebook & Twitter in 2009 before passing it on earlier this year) and then pass on the baton to someone else. Of course she is right, but I wish I had more staying power at times.

It is imperative that we teach the precious children the precious scriptures. These are not just words on a page, this book is the most maligned, most attacked, most martyred book ever, it contains the Word of God. The words that should guide your life as a Christian, as the verse says it “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

The world is going to teach them anything but the Bible, such as programs to ban school bible classes. We have had no official representation in schools for the Bible since 1962. If the kids are not getting the Bible in their homes (whether that home is Christian or Non-Christian) then they most certainly are not getting it at school.

I am a little bit of an enigma in that respect, until recently my dad did not care for the word. I was sent to a Brethren Gospel hall for Sunday School and I learned a basic foundational knowledge from there, I did not get beyond a basic knowledge as I did not follow up in the word (always have had a Bible) and didn’t read it because my parents didn’t. God rescued me from myself by sending a wonderful woman (see my Testimony page)

How deep is the Word?

Deut 11:18 (NKJV) “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth. 22 “For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him—23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.

This is critical, we have to memorize the word, write it on our hearts, we have to bind them as a fabric of our every being. (I don’t know about you dear reader, but I am being flogged by the words today and realizing my shortcomings) God promises blessings if we abide in his word.

I like the idea of writing them on your “doorposts and gates” having reminders all around your home who you serve and the standards that you must keep. In my house when you walk through the door I see the words “FAITH HOPE LOVE” which of course refers to our family verse 1 Corinthians 13:13, all around my house are different scriptures to help remind our family that when the trials come, and they will, the God is in control and all this other stuff is temporary (see my blog on trials)

The promise to drive out our enemies is one I like, what we have to realize though is that is in God’s time. Often times he will “purify us in the fire” longer than we would like. When I get trials I usually sink to my knees and pray for deliverance. What I should be praying for is open eyes to see what lesson I am being taught here.

Destroyed for rejecting knowledge

Hosea 4:6 (NKJV) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

God has written down his plan for your life (mine too) and we have the same choice as Adam and Eve. We can choose to reject God’s plan, discard the knowledge that is in the Word of God, reject God’s plan for your life and forget God’s law. There are two things I would like to say here, if you are giving up on God completely and going away from the faith, then that is tragic.

Secondly I see people who are in ministry, try to take on more than they were ever equipped to take on, the counsellor is soon in need of being counselled, the preacher should really sit down and learn for a season. The prayer has a dry prayer life and is pumping a dry well publically. The minister is living life based on what he knows of the words of God as opposed to the Word of God and he is falling into a hole that very soon will either lead to apostasy or leaving the faith.

I pray for those folks. I see so many folks sitting with their little “cyber guns” waiting to shoot at a minister, a pastor or someone in ministry that either has gone off the rails or is about to. Instead of getting down, getting humble and praying for those folks, honestly wishing their brother does not fall. They sit with a “Grinch-like smile” and take great glee at uncovering their sin in the same manner as Noah’s son Ham, where he could not wait to tell his brothers of his father’s shame. (Gen 9:20-23) Are you like Ham? Or are you like Shem and Japheth? (There are whole ministries dedicated to being Shem or Japheth’s)

What is the Word of God?

Hebrew 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I pray that as you read this, it is not my words which impact you but the Bible verses. That is the point of this whole blog/website. The word of God is center stage. I have no “show to steal” as i am just a lay person (a nobody) giving what God has put on his heart. I have no official ordination or tie in or promotion to any church/assembly or group. I write just as me.

That being said, in studying for articles like this one, my heart does get pierced. It speaks to me in a way that no other man made document has. It is a refiner, a mirror to show your imperfections and what you need to do to fix it. I am a knucklehead so I need to be told everything many times over to allow it to resonate. This is why I believe that God wrote it down for us. So that we can’t say, well if only God would tell me what he wants for me to do with my life. In the words of Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham “Well there is this book…”

How to receive the word

Acts 17:11 (NKJV) These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Now we understand the importance of the word, how do we receive it? We have two options

1) Receive it in a passive way, possibly like you are doing now
2) Receive it in a fashion like the Bereans (v10 states who they were)

The Bereans were studiers of the word, they pulled apart the scriptures and were what we would call these days and Inductive Bible student, they found out what it meant, they liked for ways to apply it to their lives, they examined the evidence and found the truths, they looked for each spiritual nugget and how it meant to their lives.

My prayer is that God make me like a Berean!

Some comfort in the Psalms

Psalm 119:105 (NKJV) Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Some comfort to end on a light note, the Word of God is there to help us be “lights in the darkness” and our Bibles are what keeps the light shining bright, we need to treasure these scriptures as they have been diligently been prepared (by hand until the later part of the 16th century)

We need to have the word engrained in our hearts; it allows us to claim victory over our struggles.

God bless and I pray this was an exhortation and a blessing to you all
TTE