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Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

psalm21

This morning, I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 2. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: The one who submits to the kingship of Jesus Christ is blessed.

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Dan Gannon of Renton Bible Church preaching on Psalm 98. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah whose coming brings joy to the world.

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One of your parents may have said to you, “How many times do I have to tell you this?” I know I heard it growing up, and many of you have said it to your own kids.

Why is repetition necessary? Because we forget. We don’t remember everything we’ve ever heard and we definitely don’t put it all into practice.

God tells us over four hundred times in His Word not be afraid. Isaiah 41:10 is one of those places: Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” 

He tells us four hundred times because we forget. Yes, we read and hear His promise. But shortly thereafter, when we face uncertainty or anything anxiety-inducing, we forget His precious promise and begin to fret.

The promise of God isn’t simply strength, help, and upholding, as wonderful as all of those are. God promises Himself to us! The presence He gives is Himself — the omnipresent One who is present with His people in a special and intimate way. The strength He gives is Himself — the One who is omnipotent. The help He gives is Himself — the God who is able. The upholding He gives is Himself — the God is faithful to His covenant promises.

What, or whom, do we have to fear if God gives us Himself? Let’s not forget that.

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This morning I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga of Southwest Hills Baptist Church preach on John 17:20-26. What follows is a summary of his sermon in the space of one sentence: What will you and I do this week to further the unity among His people that Jesus prayed for?

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The Old 100th on Thanksgiving

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Psalm 100

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.

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As young Christians, we learned to pray mostly by listening to other believers pray. We learn to speak in the same way – by imitation.

We can also learn to pray, and learn some of the most important principles of prayer, as we read God’s Word. Listen to the apostle Paul’s words to the Christians in Philippi:  “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now” (1:3-5).

Every time he thought of the Philippian Christians, he was full of joy and thanked God. But what can we learn about prayer from these verses?

First, he prayed frequently“All my remembrance of you” and “in my every prayer for you all” make it clear that Paul prayed for them regularly – it wasn’t simply a one-time thing.

Second, he prayed comprehensively. Paul was careful in his prayers to mention everyone in the congregation, hence the phrase “for you all.” He wasn’t satisfied with a blanket prayer (“God, bless all of the Philippian believers”), or only pray for a few. No, he prayed for all of them.

Third, he prayed gratefully. Notice that he began by saying, “I thank my God.” Paul’s continuous prayer for them wasn’t grudging, it was grateful. He was genuinely thankful to God for them and how supportive they had been of him in his ministry to them and others.

Listen to the apostle Paul and learn from him. May our prayer increasingly be frequent, comprehensive, and grateful!

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Steinberg New Yorker

Politicians have a way of disrespecting much of the American voting public. They sometimes refer to everything outside of the New York-Washington, D.C.-Boston-Los Angeles bubble as “flyover country.” In other words, the parts of the country you fly over when you’re going to the “important” places. They don’t realize what they’re missing.

As bad as that is, those of us who love God’s Word can do the same thing by the way we treat books of the Bible. If we’re not paying attention, we can look at the very beginning of a number of books – the greeting – as flyover country. We skip it in order to get to “the good stuff.” If we do that, though, we miss out on some very important truths.

Philippians 1:1-2 should not be ignored or rushed over in our haste. Paul writes, “Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Much could be written about these two verses, but I’ll limit myself to a thought from verse 1. Paul says that as Christians, we are simultaneously “in Christ Jesus” and “in Philippi.” 

Through faith in Christ alone for our salvation, we are united with Christ. We are in Him and He is in us. By God’s grace and mercy, we’ve been brought into a living and legal relationship with Jesus and we share in the redemption He accomplished and all of His blessings. Union with Christ is the basis from which our election, calling, regeneration, repentance, faith, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification take place. We are “tied” to Christ in such a way that we’ll never be untied.

At the same time, we are in the world – “in Philippi,” so to speak. God didn’t remove us from this world the moment we repented and believed the gospel, did He? If He did, you wouldn’t be reading this and I wouldn’t be writing it, either! We’re “in Christ,” but we’re not yet in heaven. God has given us a job to do as long as we’re living in this world – to glorify Him and to enjoy Him forever (1 Cor. 10:31 and Question and Answer #1 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism). We’ve been called to make Him visible, put Him on display, and reflect Him wherever He’s placed us. He has set us apart (the meaning of “saint”) to serve Him.

The Lord determines who we are (united with Christ), where we live (our particular place in this world), and what we’re supposed to do (glorify Him in all things). It was true for the Christians in Philippi and it’s true for us, too.

There is no “flyover country.” If only we, and the politicians, would realize it. We don’t know what we’re missing!

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