Saturday In The Psalms—Sing A New Song

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! (Psalm 96:1).

God is so great—His worth is infinite—that He deserves a new song every time we sing to Him. There is no need to copy or duplicate something done before, but we should continually find new ways to praise Him.

Look at the angels encircling God’s throne. They continually sing out, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” as they perceive new dimensions of God’s grace, love, faithfulness, beauty, and majesty.

“Oh! Did you see that? Holy!” 

“Look at that! Amazing!” 

“Wow, I just saw something else breathtaking” Worthy!”

Our praise of God should follow that example: “Holy! Holy! Holy!” This is what Psalm 96 tells us…

Sing!
Bless His name!
Tell how good He is!
Declare His glory everywhere!
He is great!
He is greatly to be praised!
Look at His majesty!
Stand in awe of His beauty!
Give Him the glory due His name!
Worship! 
Thrill at the beauty of His holiness!
Bow before His majesty!
Rejoice!
Be glad!
Listen to creation praising their Creator!
Join creation in their song!
He is coming soon!
Maranatha!
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing it now and forever and ever!

12 Blessings While Going Through A Valley

Watch overValley times come to all people. Even Christians.

The Songs Of Ascent in the Psalms imply this, since the pilgrims are ascending from a valley to the place of worship in Jerusalem. But this idea of going through a valley is especially seen in Psalm 121.

The song starts by saying I lift my eyes up to the hills. He then sings that he found his help in God. This idea of help is not what we think of in today’s world. It’s not like dialing 9-1-1, reporting our need, and waiting for help to arrive. It’s not even like driving to a hospital, checking into the emergency room, and waiting for a doctor to see us.

The idea of help in the Bible is a picture of surrounding. It’s not something we have to wait to arrive, but something—or should I say Someone—Who is already right there!

In verses 4-8 the phrase watch over is used five times. This too gives us the idea of the closeness of our help. The Hebrew word translated watch over has four powerful word pictures:

  1. A Gardener carefully watching over his precious garden.
  2. A Soldier dutifully guarding a valuable treasure.
  3. A Watchman diligently scanning the horizon for any approaching enemies.
  4. A Shepherd lovingly attending to his flock.

I especially like the picture of shepherd, because of another valley reference. The opening words to Psalm 23 are, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Then we read what the Good Shepherd does for His sheep when they are in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Our Shepherd…

  1. Gives us His confidence so we will fear no evil
  2. Reveals His close, intimate presence
  3. Protects us with His rod
  4. Guides us with His staff
  5. Brings comfort to our hurts
  6. Provides us with food
  7. Anoints us with His blessings
  8. Pours out His overflowing blessings
  9. Allows His goodness and love to always follow us
  10. Gives us the assurance of eternal life

Then adding a couple of more blessings from Psalm 121, we see He…

11.  Never lets our foot slip (121:3)

12. Never sleeps or slumbers, so that we can rest securely (121:3-4)

Remember these songs of ascent are sung by those coming out of the valley. They are sung to remind us of God’s deliverance, they are also sung as encouragement to those still in the Valley.

Keep singingJesus went through the darkest Valley anyone has ever gone through. It wasn’t just the valley of the shadow of death, He went through death, hell and the grave. He overcame for you and me! He now walks with us in our valleys. He says to us, “I’ve been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. I will never leave you or forsake you. I know this valley. I know how to get you out of this valley. Trust Me!”

We, too, who have been through the valleys and are now singing the song of ascent, need to sing loudly for those who are still in the valleys. We need to sing songs of assurance to them: “I have been in that same valley. I know how dark it is. But I know God watched over me and brought me safely through. Now I have a much better vantage point. And I say to you, trust Him! He is watching over you too. He will not let your foot slip. He will not sleep or slumber. He will protect you, and anoint you, and feed you, and give you His own dear presence. Don’t stop walking!”

If you would like to see the full video of this message, please check out our Facebook page.

I’ll be continuing our look at the Psalms Of Ascent soon, and I’d love for you to join us on this journey!

You Are God’s Lavish Gift To Others

GratefulI have noticed a couple of things about thank-full people (people who are full of thanks). In a single word the difference is ABUNDANCE.

  • Thank-full people have an abundance mentality—they believe there’s plenty for everyone; that God’s grace overflows and is boundless.
  • Thank-full people want others to find this abundant life too. As Charles Spurgeon prayed, “I would then that the quickening Spirit would come down upon me, and upon you, upon every one of us in abundance, to create men valiant for truth and mighty for the Lord.”

This abundance mentality is what Paul is referring to when he writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). Both words dwell and richly convey someone who is so saturated in the abundance of God, that they cannot help wanting to share it with everyone!

So how do Christians lavish their thank-fullness and peace-fullness on others? The rest of that verse in Colossians tells us:

  1. We teach.
  2. We admonish with all wisdom.
  3. We sing.

Teaching others is always rooted in love, and is for the benefit of the other person (Ephesians 4:15, 25, 29).

Wisdom is the Greek word sophia. It means heavenly insight that is extremely practical. That’s what we need when we admonish those we love. This word means to warn people if they are on a wrong path. We love them enough to speak a loving word of warning (Proverbs 27:5-6).

And we sing out of our abundant overflow. The word of Christ dwells in us so richly that it literally bursts out of us in song! Have you ever been around someone so full of God’s presence that their words almost seem to be a song?

But don’t miss out on this. The lavish gift God wants to pour out on people is YOU! Notice how many times the pronoun you is used in Colossians 3:15-17. YOU are God’s gift to your family, your friends, your co-workers, your community!

Don’t rob others of this amazing gift by becoming ungrateful.

Grateful is graceful. 
Graceful is thankful. 
Thankful is worshipful.
Worshipful is God-full.

“The essence of Christianity is that we give the Son of God a chance to live and move and have His being in us, and the meaning of all spiritual growth is that He has an increasing opportunity to manifest Himself in our mortal flesh.” —Oswald Chambers

What will you do to remain thank-full, and remain God’s lavish gift to others?

Part three of our 3-part series on gratitude is coming up this Sunday. If you don’t have a home church in the Cedar Springs area, I would be so thank-full to have you come join us!

Links & Quotes

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“Long-term studies have measured the substantial impact of marriage on financial stability, as well as relationship longevity and health outcomes.” Read more in 5 Facts About Cohabitation You May Not Know.

“Since the beginning of the war on poverty, marriage has declined sharply. In 1964, 7 percent of U.S. children were born outside marriage. Today, the number is 41 percent. Society is dividing into two castes. In the top half, children are raised by married couples with college education; in the bottom half, children are raised by single mothers with a high-school degree or less. When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school.” Read more in How The Welfare State Penalizes Parents Who Marry.

Parents, check this out: A Letter To My Children About Fifty Shades Of Grey.

“Do you desire God and His way and His promises more than anything, and do you believe that He can and will honor your faith and obedience by being unashamed to call Himself your God, and to use all His wisdom and power and love to turn the path of obedience into the path of life and joy? That is the crisis you face now: Do you desire Him? Will you trust Him? The Word of God to you is: God is worthy and God is able.” —John Piper

“But this is the badge of a true child of God: that a man endures to the end.” —Charles Spurgeon

Kids with Down Syndrome aren’t likely to be singers, as the strain on vocal chords and fine motor skills to move their mouth isn’t usually possible. But Madison defies the odds. And the song she picked to memorize and sing is perfect. Click this link to read more behind-the-scenes information, and then watch this―

Links & Quotes

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John Calvin explaining how singing together in church is like praying together. “We do this [sing corporately] openly, that all men mutually, each one from his brother, may receive the confession of faith and be invited and prompted by his example.” —John Calvin

“It is not that we prepare a palace for God, but that He comes into our mortal flesh and we do our ordinary work, in an ordinary setting, amongst ordinary people, as for Him.” —Oswald Chambers

“Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children’s, liberty. Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges. Let it be written in primers, spelling books, and in almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice.” —Abraham Lincoln

This makes me respect Tim Tebow even more―he is organizing Valentine proms for students with special needs.

Have you ever read how Solomon describes his bride in the Song of Songs? The talented folks at The Overview Bible Project have actually put this together, and it is quite…eye-opening! Check it out.

[VIDEO] I like Kid President! Check out his letter to the future―

Poetry Saturday—Away With Our Fears

Charles WesleyAway with our fears!
The glad morning appears
When an heir of salvation was born!
From Jehovah I came,
For His glory I am,
And to Him I with singing return.

Thee, Jesus, alone,
The fountain I own
Of my life and felicity here;
And cheerfully sing
My Redeemer and King,
Till His sign in the heavens appear.

With thanks I rejoice
In Thy fatherly choice
Of my state and condition below;
If of parents I came
Who honored Thy name,
‘Twas Thy wisdom appointed it so.

I sing of Thy grace,
From my earliest days
Ever near to allure and defend;
Hitherto Thou hast been
My preserver from sin,
And I trust Thou wilt save to the end.

O the infinite cares,
And temptations, and snares,
Thy hand hath conducted me through!
O the blessings bestowed
By a bountiful God,
And the mercies eternally new!

What a mercy is this,
What a heaven of bliss,
How unspeakably happy am I!
Gathered into the fold,
With Thy people enrolled,
With Thy people to live and to die!

O the goodness of God,
Employing a clod
His tribute of glory to raise!
His standard to bear,
And with triumph declare
His unspeakable riches of grace.

O the fathomless love,
That has deigned to approve
And prosper the work of my hands!
With my pastoral crook
I went over the brook,
And, behold, I am spread into bands!

Who, I ask in amaze,
Hath begotten me these?
And inquire from what quarter they came?
My full heart it replies,
They are born from the skies,
And gives glory to God and the Lamb.

All honor and praise
To the Father of grace,
To the Spirit, and Son, I return!
The business pursue
He hath made me to do,
And rejoice that I ever was born.

In a rapture of joy
My life I employ,
The God of my life to proclaim;
‘Tis worth living for this,
To administer bliss
And salvation in Jesus’ name.

My remnant of days
I spend in His praise,
Who died the whole world to redeem:
Be they many or few,
My days are His due,
And they all are devoted to Him. —Charles Wesley (supposedly this poem was written on the occasion of his birthday)

 

Poetry Saturday—It Couldn’t Be Done

Edgar A. GuestSomebody said that it couldn’t be done,
but he with a chuckle replied
that maybe it couldn’t, but he would be one
who wouldn’t say no ‘till he tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
on his face. If he worried, he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
that couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: ‘Oh, you’ll never do that;
at least no one ever has done it;’
but he took off his coat and took off his hat
and the first thing he knew he’d begun it.
With the lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
without any doubting or quiddit,
he started to sing as he tackled the thing
that couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
there are thousands to prophesy failure;
there are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
the dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle right in with a bit of a grin,
then take off your coat and go to it;
just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
that ‘cannot be done,’ and you’ll do it. —Edgar A. Guest

 

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