Sunday Devotional: Psalm 147

“Hallelujah!
How good it is to sing to our God,
for praise is pleasant and lovely.

The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;
He gathers Israel’s exiled people.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.
Our Lord is great, vast in power;
His understanding is infinite.
The Lord helps the afflicted
but brings the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
play the lyre to our God,
who covers the sky with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
and causes grass to grow on the hills.
He provides the animals with their food,
and the young ravens, what they cry for.

He is not impressed by the strength of a horse;
He does not value the power of a man.
The Lord values those who fear Him,
those who put their hope in His faithful love.

Exalt the Lord, Jerusalem;
praise your God, Zion!
For He strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your children within you.
He endows your territory with prosperity;
He satisfies you with the finest wheat.

He sends His command throughout the earth;
His word runs swiftly.
He spreads snow like wool;
He scatters frost like ashes;
He throws His hailstones like crumbs.
Who can withstand His cold?
He sends His word and melts them;
He unleashes His winds, and the waters flow.

He declares His word to Jacob,
His statutes and judgments to Israel.
He has not done this for any nation;
they do not know His judgments.
Hallelujah!” (Psalm 147)

In times of discouragement and suffering it’s important to remember a psalm like this one.  It reminds us again of who God is and what He has done/is doing.  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  He is abundant in strength.  He brings peace where peace is needed.  He takes care of those who are His.

We have so much to be thankful for even in the midst of trials and tribulations.  This week let us be reminded of this so that we can share with others the hope that we have.

 

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Thursday Quote Day: A.W. Tozer

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features a quote from pastor and author A.W. Tozer:

“The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the church is famishing for want of His presence.  The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and that God is in us. This would…cause our hearts to be enlarged…” (A.W. Tozer)

Sunday Devotional: Revelation 22:20-21

 “He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.”

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” (Revelation 22:20-21)

These are the last words written in the New Testament.  The apostle John wrote these words while sitting in exile on the island of Patmos.  With all the struggles and the persecution that the church was facing at that time, John had hope.  Because he held firm to the belief that Jesus was returning.

We as part of the church today hold that belief as well.  We also know that God’s timing is not the same as our timing.  We do not know the exact day or hour but Jesus has promised He will return.  And as we go through living our lives and following the calling that God has for each of us individually and collectively, we echo the words that John wrote here: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

This week, let us cling to that hope.  Let us in the midst of hardships and struggles cry out to God.  And let us share the hope that we have even in the midst of suffering.  Jesus is coming again.

Sunday Devotional: John 16:31-33

“Jesus responded to them, “Do you now believe? Look: An hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”  (John 16:31-33)

Jesus always made it a point to tell His disciples how hard the road would be in following Him  He never sugarcoated it.  It was a path of struggle and pain and loneliness.  But it was all worth it because of who it was they were following.

Here as the days were drawing closer to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, Jesus tells them of what was to come.  Even in the midst of turmoil, Jesus brings peace.  Even in the midst of suffering, Jesus brings hope.

I’m reminded today of all the heartache and struggles that these words still resonate.  Even though there is immense suffering in this world, we can take heart.  Jesus has overcome the world!  So as we endure the trials and tribulations of this world, let us keep on the path of following Jesus.  Let us be courageous in following Him.

Sunday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15

Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15)

Paul is writing to the Thessalonian church and in these verses here is finishing up the letter.  Like most of his letters to the various churches he helped to plant, he would finish his letters by encouraging and exhorting them to continue to do good and to follow Jesus.  Here is no exception.  Paul gave some practical applications to what he had shared with them throughout the letter and encouraged them to keep on being faithful.

He wanted the believers to encourage and give recognition to those who were leading them, their pastors and elders.  It is a tough job to minister and tend the flock and Paul wanted the people to acknowledge that and care for those in charge.  He wanted the believers to be at peace and to be agents of that to the world.  He wanted them to exhort, to comfort, to help, to be patient, and to pursue good.

We live very much in a time where it seems the discouraged aren’t being comforted, that the weak aren’t being helped, that there is no patience with people, that evil is being repaid with evil.  That should not be so with followers of Jesus.  We are called to love one another,especially fellow Christians.  We are called to be the light of the world, to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.  We are to be different in a way that stands out and points people to Jesus.

It is hard sometimes…a lot of the times to keep pursuing what is good.  It is hard when there is discouragement everywhere.  When God is mocked or hated and His people despised.  However, we are called to be faithful in continuing to do good, to seek justice and mercy, to show grace to one another, to love one another, to call out sin and to repent.  Let us keep doing just that.  Let us lean on Christ and keep pursuing good and being faithful to the calling that God has for us.

 

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 24

“The earth and everything in it,
the world and its inhabitants,
belong to the Lord;
for He laid its foundation on the seas
and established it on the rivers.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in His holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who has not set his mind on what is false,
and who has not sworn deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord,
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek Him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.Selah

Lift up your heads, you gates!
Rise up, ancient doors!
Then the King of glory will come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates!
Rise up, ancient doors!
Then the King of glory will come in.
Who is He, this King of glory?
The Lord of Hosts,
He is the King of glory.Selah”

This psalm that David wrote poses one of the most important questions to be asked “Who is He, this King of glory?”  This is a question that we must all ask.  Who is God?  He is the King of glory.  he is the one that is strong and mighty.  He is the one who is mighty in battle.  He is the one who brings salvation.  He is the one who rules over the Earth and its inhabitants.

The Lord is worthy of honor and glory because of who He is and what He’s done.  He is the King of glory.  There are a lot of things that try to vie for our worship and praise but He is the only one worthy to receive it.  This week let us fix our eyes on Him.  Let us give thanks and honor Him.  And let us share the good news of all that He is done with those around us.