Archive for August, 2016

The Power of Praise

August 22, 2016

I think that I have always enjoyed singing.  Then, shortly after graduation, I was asked to play percussion on the worship team at church.

I was hooked.

I love to worship using my instruments.   (drums and percussion)  Then a few years back I tried singing while playing.

I love it.  It is also very biblical.

I.  Sing

Psalms 95:1-3

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.

Life is not a musical, but our lives should have more music.  Singing lifts the spirits.  I have seen a little boy who, when he is happy, goes around singing made up songs.  He is happy and he expresses that happiness through song.  Maybe as adults we have become too self conscious, maybe life should be a musical.

Psalms 96:1-4

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.

We may sing when we are happy, but singing to the Lord is not about us.  The Lord is great and greatly to be praised.  He deserves our worship.  It is about Him, not us.

Psalms 98:1-6

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
The Lord has made known His salvation;
His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.

We can sing in church.  We can sing in the car.  We can sing at home.  I would encourage you to incorporate more singing into your life.  Play the radio on Christian stations, buy Christian CDs.  God deserves our worship.

There is a secondary effect.  It does lift our spirits.  After the first service this morning, a lady mentioned to me that it actually seems to detox our spirits.  I liked that and told her that I was going to include it in the second service.  Sometimes our spirits need a cleansing detox.  Spend time in worship and praise.  God deserves it, and it will help us as well.

II.  Give Thanks

Psalms 100:1-4

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

God not only deserves our praise, He deserves our thanks.  When we are feeling good and things are going well it is easy to give God thanks and praise.

Psalms 107:21-22

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Some days it is not so easy.  Sometimes we may feel as if our problems are too great to give God thanks.  On those days we should still offer a sacrifice of praise.  Plus, if we would shift our focus just a little, we would see that even on the worst of days, God has blessed us in many ways.  Remember the old song and “Count Your Blessings”.

Psalms 107:31-32

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
32 Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
And praise Him in the company of the elders.

As we are told in I Thessalonians 5:18, we should give thanks in everything.  After all, we are told in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good…”

It is always right and fitting that we give God both praise and thanks.

III.  Pray

Psalms 109:1-4

Do not keep silent,
O God of my praise!
For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful
Have opened against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
They have also surrounded me with words of hatred,
And fought against me without a cause.
In return for my love they are my accusers,
But I give myself to prayer.

This is a dramatic shift from the first two points of this message.

Sometimes people are cruel.  They lie, they hurt us in a whole variety of ways.

Our response should be to pray to the God whom we praise.  He is our deliverer.

Matthew 6:43-45

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

It is human nature to hurt those that have hurt us, to reply in kind, with interest.

God has called us to be different.

We are able to be different because of God.  As we spend time in His presence in praise and thanksgiving, we are changed.  We are able to forgive and even to love our enemies, not because it comes naturally, but because we have been changed by the time we have spent in worship of the God who loves us all.

These are the sermon notes from 8/21/16,  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

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Hope and Comfort

August 17, 2016

Before I begin, I would like to make a few comments about these sermon notes.  Sermon notes are the central points of a message that was preached to a particular group of people at a certain place and time.  The central truths are presented, but much of the sermon material that connects to that particular group is not included.  The sermon notes that I am sharing today are from a funeral message for a wonderful Christian man who died at far too young of an age.  I am removing all of the personal references because there is no need for the family (If any of them read this.) to relive the pain of that day. 

I.  Tragedy:  Job 1:20-22

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

When I hear of a tragic death, or some other occurrence my thoughts go to Job.  Job lost practically everything in a single day.  His possessions were stolen or destroyed and all of his children died in a single event.  His response has become a classic line for people experiencing loss.

We are not Job.

We may not be at this point just yet.

My thoughts then turn to another famous verse.

II.  All Things  Romans 8:28

 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

It is one thing to be able to acknowledge this intellectually, but our hearts may not accept it just yet.

In the later chapters of Job, Job expresses his frustration and his desire to understand.  God basically tells Job that he is not capable of understanding the workings of God, that there are times when he must simply trust and accept.

This also, does not seem to be particularly helpful today.

My thoughts turned to another well known verse.

III.  Those Who Mourn:  Matthew 5:14

Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted.

This makes more sense.  Today we mourn.  We shall be comforted.  That is the promise of scripture.

Americans sometimes have a tendency to rush the mourning process.  There is no need to rush.  It is appropriate for people who have suffered loss to spend a time in mourning.

How long?

As long as it takes.

The point is, that comfort from God is available throughout the process.

IV.  Joy:  Psalms 30:5

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

Mourning will not last forever.  Joy will be restored.  This is a wonderful promise.

A part of our comfort comes from the knowledge of what lies beyond death.  We return to Job for these words.

V.  My Redeemer Lives:  Job 19:25-27

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

As far back as Job, there was a hope of a life that goes beyond the grave.  That we shall see God.  For those who believe, this is a wonderful hope.

VI.  Present With The Lord:  II Corinthians 5:4-8

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

For those who believe in Jesus there is a promise of a life to come.  We leave this life, and go to be with the Lord.

VII.  A Place For You:  John 14:1-6

 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

This is a wonderful promise to those who believe in Jesus.  We remember the words that Jesus said to the thief on the cross. “Today you will be with me in paradise.”  (Luke 23:43)

VIII.  The Race is Finished:  II Timothy 4:7-8

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Hopefully, at the end of our lives we will be able to relate to these words.  I am fully confident that the young man that we are here for today has received his reward.  His race was shorter than we would have liked, but that is not for us to determine.  He has gone to his heavenly reward.

IX.  Well Done:  Matthew 25:21

 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

At the end of our lives this is what we want to hear from God.

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I have no doubt that this young man has heard these words from the Lord.

What about us?

x.  Salvation:  Romans 10:9-10

 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

At a time like this it is good to reflect on our own lives.  Are we a follower of Jesus?  Would we hear the words “Well done”?

If it were our funeral today, would our friends and family be comforted with the knowledge that we are with the Lord?

It only takes a moment to receive God’s forgiveness.

Ask God to forgive your sins, place your faith in Jesus and begin the walk with God that He intends for you to have with Him.

These are sermon notes from a funeral message preached in August of 2016.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.