God’s House Forever

I “stumbled” upon this verse today from Psalm 84…

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. [Psalm 84:10]

Now, consider the closing verse of the beloved Psalm 23…

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. [Psalm 23:6]

Do you see it? One day in the courts of God would far exceed a 1000 years elsewhere. I agree with that. I am right there with the psalmist. But now consider this, through faith in Jesus Christ, we get more than one day in God’s courts. Actually, we get to dwell in God’s HOUSE…FOREVER. Did you just get goose bumps? Yup me too 🙂

All praise be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

Who is Your Counselor?

Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.
[Psalms 119:24 ESV]

Who is your counselor? For many, counselors are found on Facebook or Twitter or other social media forums. The counselors are celebrities and other so-called experts in whatever one is seeking “counseling”. A major event happens in the world/nation and people rush to social media to see what their favorite celebrity is saying about it, because you know, they certainly are non-bias and wise (sense the sarcasm). A tragedy happens in one’s life and they seek comfort in the finite things/people of this world.

The psalmist in Psalm 119 seeks his counseling in the Law of the Lord. He searches scripture and seeks to know the wisdom of God. A major event happens and he goes to scripture. A tragedy has taken place in his life, and he goes to scripture. Who is your counselor? I am going to fill you in on a secret. Are you ready for this?

Celebrities don’t know it all.

Don’t get me wrong, there are good things out there on social media. I mean, I’m writing this post on a social media platform. My point is, be careful who your counselors are. Make sure the source of the counsel is the Word of God. Seek GOD’S wisdom for then and only then will you find true counsel.

The Pastor -|—

Beauty

“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.”
[Psalm 50:2]

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder;
oh Lord,
heal my eyes that I may behold the beauty that is You.
May I see You for who You are.
May I be awed by You.
May I not be seduced by the world’s beauty,
except to be drawn to You.
The beauty of Your creation is perfect, as You are perfect.
The beauty of life is perfect, as You are perfect.
Oh Lord,
beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,
heal my eyes that I may behold You.

The Pastor -|—

Ascribe

Holy God, loving Father,
You anointed Jesus in the Jordan River
and proclaimed him Your beloved Son,
but all too often I overlook this very important fact;
that Jesus is not just your Son
but Your Son who died as the
perfect,
spotless lamb
for the atonement of our sins.
May I be drawn into an ever deeper understanding
of the divine nature of our Lord and Savior,
so much so,
that I ascribe to You what is due Your holy name;
for to see and know Jesus
is to see and know You.
All glory, strength and honor
be ascribed unto You,
oh God,
through Christ Jesus my Lord.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Something Different

I did something different last night.

Last night was Thanksgiving Eve worship. The service itself was pretty straight forward; nothing out of the ordinary. We did accept non-perishable food items as part of the offering, but that’s not weird; especially for Thanksgiving. The “different” happened during the “Prayers of Thanksgiving”; the spot where, on Sunday, the bulletin reads, “Prayers of the Church”. On Sundays I simply lead those prayers by ending each petition with “Lord in your mercy”, to which the congregation responds, “Hear our prayer”. Last night, though, I did something different.

[What is it already? Stop beating around the bush!]
[Easy now, I’m getting to it.]

During the “Prayers of Thanksgiving” I explained that I was going to start and then let the congregation add what they are thankful for. It was going to be like what many families do at Thanksgiving; going around the table sharing what they are thankful for, much to the chagrin of many children.

[Hurry up, I want some pumpkin pie]

I finished my part of the prayer and was blown away by what happened next. People didn’t just name something they were thankful for, but rather they prayed a prayer, giving thanks and praise to God. The Prayers of Thanksgiving turned into a genuine Prayers of the Church or Prayers of the People. I mean, that’s how it is supposed to be, right? People prayed from their heart. I almost felt bad ending the prayers when I did. We could have gone on for quite a while. People offered up a variety of prayers but the overwhelming topic of the prayers was Jesus and the salvation we have through him. Kind of puts Thanksgiving into perspective, doesn’t it?

Sure, I am thankful for my wife and children. I am thankful for my home and clothes and food on my table. I am thankful for my health and ability to earn a living. Those things are great and I thank God for them. Most of all, though, is the blessing of all blessings: Jesus. Period. For without him, everything else is just stuff that will fade away.

And now, I hope “the different” that happened last night becomes “the norm” for future worship services; people praying the prayers of the church. The people offering their petitions. Yes, I going to do that “different” thing again. So get ready, Living Word, your pastor is going to change some things up 🙂

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever. [Psalm 136:1-3]

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving; giving Him all your thanks and praise; for His steadfast loves endures forever and ever. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Fear? Be Still!

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

[Psalm 46:10-11]

Texas church shooting: “So many babies” among those slain in Sutherland Springs

A Family Was Praying in a Texas Church. Then 8 Were Dead

At least 26 dead in South Texas church shooting, officials say

Those are just a few headlines that I found concerning the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Not knowing any more details, those headlines are enough to send chills up and down anyone’s spine. What a scary event; Christians gathering in a sanctuary to worship God almighty through Jesus Christ our Lord. Satan has definitely fired a shot across our bow and has gotten the attention of many. But God says…

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

This is not a suggestion to try. This is not a request. This is a command. For Satan is not god. This world is not god. I AM God, He says. Period. So…

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

Many people were killed and injured, but God is still God. Satan would have you turn in upon yourself for safety and security. Satan would have you turn to the world for peace. Satan would have you put your hope in locked doors and armed guards. Satan would have you take your eyes off the prize. But God says…

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

Satan would have you live in fear. Fear?

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The Pastor -|—

 

Cling to Jesus

It’s happened again. An individual has taken the lives of a number of people and has injured more in New York City near the World Trade Center memorial. I don’t have all the details but you can go to the news outlet of your choice and read for yourself.

We are still recovering from the Las Vegas shooting, now this. I just shock my head when I first learned of this and I can’t help but wonder, “Am I safe anywhere“? I can almost hear the cries now:
Why God, why?
~ How long, oh Lord?
~ When will this stop?

Not again!

Etc, etc, etc…

So many questions. So much anger. So much fear. I get all of that, but remember, no matter the situation; no matter what is going on, God is still God and therefore…

1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
[Psalm 42:1-5]

I will remember in prayer those who have been affected by this violence, but I will not let go of my God. I will not shake my fists at Him. I will not accuse Him of being weak or indifferent. I will worship Him still, for I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, [Job 19:25-26] This violence is not the eternal reality for those who are in Christ. This world is indeed messed up; filled with sin and death, but God has overcome the world through Jesus Christ. Cling to him and be at peace.

Praise be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Pastor -|—