Posts Tagged ‘Psalms’

A Light to Our Path

September 1, 2016

God has a plan and a purpose for our lives.  If we will let Him guide us, our lives will be rich and meaningful.

I.  A Light:  Psalms 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

If there is a power outage at night when we are home we suddenly find ourselves in the dark.  Maybe we have candles or a flashlight somewhere nearby. Or of course, maybe you have a flashlight app on your phone.  The point is we want to be able to have enough light to see where we are going.

We should allow the Word of God to be a light to our paths, to direct our steps.  When you walk in the dark, you might bump into something, or trip over something.  You might get hurt.  If you live your life by the instructions in the Bible, you are less likely to be hurt.

Life goes better when you follow the instructions.

II.  Open My Eyes:  Psalms 119:18

Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.

The Bible should be read in an attitude of prayer.  We need God to open our eyes to the truths that are presented.  We need God to help us to understand and to apply the principles that are contained in the Word.

Even if we have been reading the Bible for decades, God can reveal wondrous things to us.

III.  Strengthen Me:  Psalms 119:28

My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

Life can wear us out.

Spending time in the Word can bring new strength.

IV.  Sow in Tears:  Psalms 126:5-6

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.

Here in America we may not fully understand this imagery.  Our food is purchased in stores that, in our lifetime, have never had empty shelves.  We do not grow our own food.  We do not understand the imagery of taking seed that could be eaten today, and planting it in the ground hoping for a harvest in the future.

There is a way that this illustration makes more sense to us.  If we remember the parable of the sower and the seed from the gospels.  In this parable the seed is the Word of God that we share with people and some respond in faith.  We share the Word in tears, maybe not literally, but with a breaking heart, hoping that people will receive the good news of salvation in Christ.   When people do respond to the Word with faith in Jesus, we, together with the angels in heaven, rejoice in the salvation of another person.

V.  Unless the Lord:  Psalms 127:1

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

Whatever our life’s work, we need God to help us.  We use the skills and opportunities that God gives to us to complete the work that God has planned for us.  It is a dual effort.  We must do our part, but we need God to bless our efforts.

God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us.  We should ask God to direct our steps, open our eyes, give us strength and bless our efforts.

It is a wonderful thing to be living in accordance to the will of God for our lives.

These are the sermon notes from 8/28/16.  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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The Path of Life

January 16, 2014

God will lead us down the path of life, but will we follow His direction?

I.  Two Paths:  Psalms 1:1-6

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

There seems to be only two kinds of people, the godly and the ungodly.  Clearly, the godly people are blessed, while the ungodly will perish.  If we believe the scriptures, we will certainly want to be godly people, so that we may enjoy the blessings of the Lord.

II.  Joyful Trust:  Psalms 5:11-12

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
12 For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

A godly person is one who trusts in God.  One who trusts in the Lord may expect their lives to be filled with the joy of the Lord.  We are not meant to be miserable people, simply enduring this life while we hope for the next.  There will be times of testing, but our lives should be marked by the blessings of God.  We should remember that the problems of this life are temporary, but the blessings of the Lord are forever.

III.  The Path of Life:  Psalms 16:11

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

A godly person follows the path of life.  Here again there is a promise of joy in the life of the believer.  Here, the responsibility is placed on God to show us the path of life.  God is faithful, and He will reveal to us what we need to know.  We need to be faithful to continue to choose to follow the direction of the Lord.  God shows us the path.  He does not force us down it.  We should accept His invitation to follow Him.  It is in our best interest.

IV.  Prayer:  Psalms 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

This should be a prayer of all godly people.  It is not just our actions, but our words and even the thoughts of our heart should be pleasing in the sight of God.

V.  Teach Us:  Psalms 25:8-11

Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11 For Your name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

Godly people are taught by God.  Following the path of life is an ongoing learning experience.  God will teach us His ways.  It is a lifelong process.  We recognize that we fall short and need forgiveness.  We recognize that we do not know everything.   There is always more to learn.

VI.  Wait On The Lord:  Psalms 27:11-14

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Godly people wait on the Lord.  Life can be hard at times.  Do not lose heart.  Wait on the Lord.  He will strengthen us as we spend time in His presence.  He will give us wisdom and strength.  Wisdom to know what to do; and strength enough to do it.

God offers wonderful blessings to those who chose to follow Him down the path of life.

These are the sermon notes from 1/12/14.

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IV.

Joyful Service

October 22, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from October 21, 2012.

I.  Warning!:   Psalms 50:22-23

“Now consider this, you who forget God,
Lest I tear you in pieces,
And there be none to deliver:
23 Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”

The warning to those who forget God is quite somber.  Once again, we are presented with a clear choice to serve God and reap the benefits, or to reject God and suffer the consequences.

II.  Recommended Prayer: Psalms 55:17

Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.

Muslims pray faithfully five times a day.  Christians are regularly encouraged to have daily devotions.  I think that it would be appropriate to increase our commitment and have regular prayer time, three times a day.  Daniel prayed in this fashion, and it worked well for him.  In the New Testament, we are encouraged to “pray without ceasing”, so three times a day shouldn’t be too much to ask.

III.  God’s People: Psalms 100

A. Joyful Service: vv1-2

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.

We regularly come into the presence of God with singing.  It is a big part of our church services.  I do not recall ever participating in a congregational “joyful shout.  As I have been reading the Psalms I have noticed this action mentioned numerous times.  Today we are going to experiment with making a “joyful shout”

We tried out shouting “Praise God”  “Hallelujah” and “Amen”.  It was kind of fun.

I believe that joy and gladness should regularly fill the hearts of Christians as they serve the Lord.  Regular worship, and a joyful shout, can help bring joy and gladness to our hearts.

B.  We Are God’s People: v.3

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.

I have managed to take care of numerous pets over the years.  Our last cat lived to be 21, which is quite old for a cat.  If I can be trusted to watch over pets entrusted to my care, how much more can we trust God to take care of us?  He is my shepherd, I shall not want…Psalm 23.

C.  Thankfulness and Praise:  vv4-5

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

God is good to His people.  Giving Him thanks and praise is the least that we can do.  It should be a regular part of our worship and prayer to give God thanks and praise.

Conclusion:  Serving the Lord is not always easy, but joy and gladness should regularly fill the hearts of the believer as they faithfully serve the Lord.

The Heart is the Key

October 11, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from October 7, 2012.
I.  Acceptable Thoughts and Words:  Psalms 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

We can be taught to control our actions.  Change may be difficult, but with sufficient motivation, we can change.  It is more difficult to control the tongue.  James 3:8 tells us ” But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”  The key to change is the heart.  Matthew 12:33-37 tells us “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart[a] brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

So the key to true, lasting change, lies in a change of heart, and a change of heart is possible by exposure to God’s Spirit and His Word.

II.  The Word Can Change Our Lives: Psalms 19:7-11

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.

The Word of God is necessary for conversion.  It is used to make us wise.  We should rejoice over the impact that the Word of God has on our lives.  The Word of God has a role in our transformation.  Roman’s 12:1&2 says:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

God will continue to mold our hearts by His Word and by His Spirit.

III.  God Protects and Rewards the Faithful

A.  Protection:  Psalms 33:12-22

The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
14 From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
15 He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.

16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.

We can have confidence that God is looking out for us.  Even if things are going badly, God has not abandoned us.

B.  Provision: Psalms 34:8-10

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

God is good to His people.  We can place our hope, our trust, our confidence in Him.

When God sees our hearts, what does He see?

The Path of Life

October 1, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from Sunday, September 30,2012.

I.  The Will of God:  I Peter 4:1-5

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

The “will of the Gentiles” reminds me of the party culture of many colleges.  For Christians who attend those colleges, but who do not participate in the popular pastimes, there is a certain degree of alienation.  There may even be a certain amount of  rejection, or even mild persecution.  Compared to what Christians around the world go through, this is very mild.  Still, to the person experiencing it, it can feel like a major issue.  We must remember that we are called to live according to the will of God.  We should pray, as Christ prayed, “not my will, but thine, be done.  If in following the will of God for our life, we become subject to persecution, and suffering in this life, so be it.  We can remember that a day of deliverance and of judgement is coming.

II.  The Way of God: Psalms 16:7-11

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

God has given us His council in His Word.  We should read the Bible so that we can know how God would have us to live our lives.  It is the will of God for us to live according to His Word.

God also speaks to us in our hearts, by His Spirit.  We should learn to be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  By the Word of God and the Spirit of God, God’s will for our lives is revealed to us.  In the absence of specific guidance, we can pray for God’s direction and make the choice that seems best to us.  We can trust that if we have committed our ways to God, searched His Word, and asked for His guidance, that He will help us to make the right decision. He will show us the “path of life”.

As we follow the path that God has for us, the joy, gladness, peace, and the righteous pleasures of being in the will of God will be available to us.  There may be times of testing, trial, or even suffering; but overall, our lives should be filled with the joy of the Lord.

III.  The Reward of God:  Psalms 17:13-15

Arise, O Lord,
Confront him, cast him down;
Deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword,
14 With Your hand from men, O Lord,
From men of the world who have their portion in this life,
And whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure.
They are satisfied with children,
And leave the rest of their possession for their babes.

15 As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness

People who have rejected Christ receive their portion is this life.  If their lives appear to be good, we must realize that this life is all that they will have of good.  We should feel sorry for them.  As for us, we should seek the face of God in our lives daily.  One day, we will finally see Him face to face.  That will be our reward for a life of faith.  At that point, the tests, trials, and sufferings, of this life will no longer be remembered.  The things that seem so big to us now, will fade into obscurity in the light of His presence.