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Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

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This morning I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 95. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Our worship should be joyful, thankful, centered on God, which results in a softened heart that believes and obeys God.

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This morning, I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 88. The following is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: God understands our discouragement – if you have any doubt, simply look to the sufferings of Christ on behalf of His people.

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga and four other men preach a sermon called “Wisdom from the Aged.” Here is a summary of their sermon in one sentence: A commitment to God’s Word, His mercy and grace, discipline, and being a blessing will help you live for the Lord wherever He has placed you.

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table-in-the-wilderness

Then they spoke against God; they said, “Can God prepare a table the wilderness?” (Psalm 78:19).

Psalm 78, written by Asaph, is a record of Israel’s continued sin and God’s continued forgiveness and faithfulness. These were the generations that were delivered from Egypt,  spent forty years wandering in the wilderness, and were taken into the promised land. Each had seen God do miraculous things, but they continued to sin and disobey God, who in turn disciplined them.

At a certain point, in their sin, the Israelites asked if God could prepare a table in the wilderness. Let’s think about that. The God who created the universe out of nothing…created human beings out of the dust of the earth…made a nation with as many people as sand on the seashore through a very old man and a woman who was beyond her childbearing years…spoke through a burning bush…sent ten plagues on the nation of Egypt…split the Red Sea so that His people escaped and the Egyptian army drowned…provided manna to eat…provided water from a rock to drink…provided His people with meat to eat…led them with a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day…provided for His people so that their shoes and clothes didn’t wear out…and drove out the enemies of Israel from the promised land. “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?” Yes, I think He can!

Fast-forward about four thousand years and ask the same question: “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?” Can He take my heart, which is a wilderness, and prepare a table there? Yes, because it’s exactly what He did in 1980 when He removed my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh. He’s given me a new heart but not a perfect one, therefore He continues to work. Can God forgive sin that seems unforgivable…give love when there is only hatred…give hope when things seem hopeless…give overwhelming comfort in the midst of great pain…provide for your every need…sustain you at all times…give patience when it’s extremely hard…open spiritually and physically blind eyes…open spiritually and physically deaf ears…reform your, and your church’s, thinking according to God’s Word…revive your, and your church’s, love and zeal for the Him…save someone you’ve prayed for as long as you can remember…give courage and boldness just when you need it…give strength to the weary…and give you joy instead of mourning? Yes, I think He can! Not only that, but He’s also faithful to forgive us when we don’t believe He can.

 

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conscience

This morning I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Joel Lundy preach on Romans 2:14-16. God has given every human being a conscience, which we should use as a basis for proclaiming the gospel to everyone.

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Psalm-78

This morning, I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 78:1-8. What follows is a one-sentence summary of his sermon: The older generations of Christians must teach the younger generations who God is, what He’s done, and His Word.

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“We’ve missed you in church” (or “We’ve missed you at Bible study”).

“Well, things have been really tough lately. We’re really going through it right now.”

You’ve heard that exchange before. I know I have. Maybe you’ve said either of those lines yourself. But is it right – is it what God wants?

Pslam 119:143-144 says, “Trouble and anguish have come upon me, yet Your commandments are my delight. Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.” Life had gotten tough for the psalmist. He describes it as “trouble” and “anguish” Whatever he was experiencing could easily be described as God’s “dark providence,” which could have kept him from God, His Word, and His people. But it didn’t.

Why hadn’t the suffering psalmist drifted from God? Because He was sustained by God’s Word. God’s commandments (His Word, in other words) were his delight in the midst of his troubles. He didn’t succumb to the temptation of ignoring God when things weren’t going well. In fact, when life got tough, the psalmist ran towards God, and not away from Him. In his troubles and anguish, he was sustained by God through His Word. As he poured over God’s Law day and night, He was nourished and strengthened by what he read.

If (and when) we’re “really going through it” and things are tough, we need to be in God’s Word and with His people more than ever, and not away from them. His Word is our delight in trouble and anguish. He uses it to sustain us for His glory and our good!

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