I first posted this on September 29, 2006 - the first year of my blog. The friend hasn't contacted me since finishing the college he was attending. From what I know, he went to the West Coast, attended seminary, and now pastors a church in Maryland. It was difficult to lose his friendship, but I still believe in the blessing of the helping hand. Granted, in the end the friend moved on, but I still remember how wonderful it was to have been of help to someone, if only for a moment...
The psalmist commands worshippers to "Bless the LORD." (v. 1)
He speaks of SERVANTS (v.1) in the SANCTUARY (v. 2) and of their SALVATION (v. 3). Salvation? Yep. "The LORD bless you from Zion = Jersualem." And what happened in Jerusalem intended to bless the world? The sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (NOTE: See Psalm 133: 3 "...Zion, from there the LORD commanded the blessing - Life forevermore.")
What does it mean to "bless"? It means "to bestow favor upon"; some like to suggest "to make happy". I like that.
How do I bless/make happy the Lord? Service and Worship "...stand by night in the sanctuary" = service "...lift up your hands" = worship. Did you realize that your service and your worship can make the Lord happy?
How does the Lord bless me? He is called the Creator ("...made heaven and earth...") AND He has given us salvation ("...bless you from Zion." - see above).
And notice the cycle of blessing in this verse. We bless/make happy the Lord with our service and worship. The Lord makes us happy with new beginnings and with new life!
So much to see in such a little psalm. So much to do.
"Not to us, but to your name alone be all the glory; the glory belongs to you alone."
Why do we do the things that we do? If we believe in a Savior who gave His life to provide salvation, and if we believe in Him, that which we do is not done for us - it is done to the glory of Him to whom we owe all things.
A great reminder of this from the acapella group, Glad.
The other day I viewed part of a pastor’s message which encouraged believers to be responsible for their spiritual health. He was concerned that believers were being too reliant on their weekly visit to their local church and then blaming the church for not feeding them spiritually. He reminded his listeners that if they were not being satisfied in their spiritual lives, then maybe that was simply the result of their not taking personal responsibility for times of spiritual nourishment the other six days of the week.
“Many of His saints looked upon Him from the gloom of dungeons and from the martyr's flames; yet they never uttered an ill word of Him, but died extolling His surpassing charms. To keep our gaze on the Lord Jesus is noble and pleasant employment. Is it not unspeakably delightful to view the Savior in all His works and to perceive Him matchless in each? To shift the kaleidoscope, as it were, and to find fresh combinations of matchless grace? In the manger and in eternity, on the cross and on His throne, in the garden and in His kingdom, among thieves or in the midst of cherubim, He is everywhere glorious in His beauty.
“Examine carefully every little act of His life and every trait of His character, and He is as lovely in the minute as in the majestic. Judge Him as you will, you cannot censure; weigh Him as you please, and He will not be found wanting. Eternity shall not discover the shadow of a spot in our Beloved, but rather as ages revolve, His hidden glories will shine with even more inconceivable splendor, and His unutterable loveliness will continually ravish all celestial minds."
Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright (c) 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission.
Yes. He is...
A beautiful musical meditation; questions and affirmations - the essence of meditation before our Savior. Now that Easter is over for another year, may the reminders of the reality of our faith move us forward in faith, deeper in trust, and higher in praise.
During my Bible study today at the First Church of Panera, I found an old hymn that I had never heard. I'll put it here since I don't have a hymnal in my library that contains the words and music - and I can't read music.
Here's the hymn:
And here's the tune:
Worship should be the desire of every believer's heart and the duty of every believer's mind. I've long thought of the importance of worship - how it is not something we switch on and switch off on one day a week, but how it is something that should be as natural and as responsive as breathing or eating.
And it is a response, as this quote says. It is not just an occasion or an event that one attends. It is what we do when the Spirit impresses upon our spirit the beauty, the wonder, and the richness of the person of God and the reminders of what we have and who we are which are the result of God's love and care.
Thoughts of His strength and His might - worship.
Thoughts of His concern and His willingness to guide us - worship.
Thoughts of His majesty in the beauty of a sunrise, or the tapestry of His making as the sun sets - worship.
Every sigh we make, every tear that falls, every song that is sung in response to His presence in our lives - worship.
Oh heavenly Father - may your people love You and live for you in an attitude of worship. An attitude that is a natural response and a desired response with every breath we take, every thought we have, every act we perform. As your Word proclaims: "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)
I was standing by the toaster oven preparing some breakfast when this song came across the radio:
It's a wonderful hymn, and some great words. But the final line of the bridge started me thinking:
"Jesus we will be faithful till You meet us
Give us Your courage as we finish
We want to hear well done"
And the thought entered into my mind - "What if I don't hear Jesus say to me 'Well done'?"
So I went looking for an answer, and found it at Got Questions, one of my favorite Bible study sites. Essentially it is a matter of doing the things that God has asked me to do - being faithful in the little; making them daily chores, and doing them with delight in order to glorify Him.
I have much to do.
Tim Challies featured a hymn written by Luther and called it "The Best Worship Song You Don't Sing."
And he's right... These are the types of hymns I love -- words that drip with meaning and cause a worshiper to ponder about the truths they present. But sadly, hymns such as this are rarely if ever sung in contemporary church settings.
A message from the chancellor of Dallas Seminary, my alma mater, on the opportunities of growth during times of misfortune.
Let me counsel every true servant of Christ to “examine his own heart” frequently and carefully as to his state before God. This is a practice which is useful at all times: it is especially desirable at the present day. When the great plague of London was at its height people [noticed] the least symptoms that appeared on their bodies in a way that they never remarked them before. A spot here, or a spot there, which in time of health men thought nothing of, received close attention when the plague was decimating families, and striking down one after another! So it ought to be with ourselves, in the times in which we live. We ought to watch our hearts with double watchfulness. We ought to give more time to meditation, self-examination, and reflection. It is a hurrying, bustling age: if we would be kept from falling, we must make time for being frequently alone with God.
J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)
So I switched over to Netflix and looked for something entertaining. After a couple of misses, I clicked on a movie called Lion - and found myself thinking about things like "love" and "being lost" and "finding home".
"Why is this powerful, majestic, forest-stripping, lightning-bolt voice so hard for us to hear? How does it radically transform the environment, yet fall ever-so-subtly on our ears? Perhaps we’re listening with the wrong ears. God’s voice is an intense and immensely powerful force, rather than a series of sound waves. Perhaps He issues loud commands to nature’s obedient instruments but whispers His love and guidance to those whose spirits can choose and must relate to Him by faith. Perhaps if He dictated everything to us clearly and decisively, it would be the end of a relationship and the beginning of rote servitude — a condition for which He did not design us. Regardless, we need to understand that the voice we strain to hear isn’t weak. Just one word from God can change any situation at any moment. He may whisper to us, gently guide us, tell us about His plans for us, and counsel us in the midst of our circumstances, but when He issues a command, it’s done. We must never mistake His quietness for reluctance or weakness. We can depend on the power of His voice — even when we aren’t hearing it clearly."
Tiegreen, Chris (2014-09-01). The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional: 365 Days of Intimate Communication with God (p. 16). Tyndale Momentum. Kindle Edition.
Like the fire in the night
Like the ocean parted wide
Like the grave empty inside
You will see He still does
Lord, You make all things new
You bring hope alive in our hearts
And cause our Spirits to be born again.
Thank you for this new year
For all the potential it holds.
Come and kindle in us
A mighty flame
So that in our time, many will see the wonders of God
And live forever to praise Your glorious name.