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The City of God is great! — Psalm 48

The City of God is great! — Psalm 48
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 9, 2017

Some of the things man has made can cause one to wonder: “How in the world did they do that?” Such things are Angkor Wat which is a huge temple complex covering 402 acres in Cambodia, the city of Petra that was carved out of the rock in southern Jordan, the huge sky scrapers like the Tokyo Sky Tree or United Arab Emirates’ Burj Khalifa tower. Then there are the Super Tree structures of Singapore that look like massive trees from another planet.

As great as the works of man are, God is greater. The psalmist writes a poem about the City of God, Zion. Some think he is referring to Jerusalem or perhaps a heavenly city yet to be erected. I happen to believe it is both. In a beautiful rendering he gives us a grand picture of the City of God Jerusalem and the future heavenly city we will enjoy as well. He sings of her condition; God’s relation to her; his love of her; the utter terror Zion is to her enemies, while she is the everlasting joy of those who love God! Let’s see how the City of God is great…

READ: Psalm 48

Why would we want to know how great the city of God is anyway? One of the main themes of a lot of end of the world scenarios in movies is there are always a few people trying to get to a place of safety; whether it is an area, island, military base, or city. The Psalmist writes that…

I. The City of God is great because of her protection! (Vv. 1-8)

Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress. When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror. Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor. You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind. As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever. Selah

1. The Psalmist begins his poem by relating what a lot of biblical writers do by stating, “Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise”, but why does he write what he does? He tells us not so much why but rather where God is great and the idea is one of rule or reign. We see that God is great and worthy of praise “in the city of our God, his holy mountain”. We learn in another Psalm that God “has set his foundation on the holy mountain” and in fact that “the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” (Psalm 87:1-2 NIV) God’s city is his holy mountain which is descriptive of his strength and power. But the Psalmist begins to veer away from describing earthly Jerusalem and begins to wax poetic concerning God’s heavenly city. So wonderful is this city of God’s that “It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth.” It was the joy of the world because it is God’s city where he dwells, where his word is expounded and heard, and where his holy temple is! And “Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.” But here is the key to what the Psalmist wanted his listeners to understand, that when “God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.” God is the one who makes the city great, powerful, and secure. In fact, “When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror. Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.” So powerful and mighty is God’s city that her enemies are “destroyed… like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.” Was this especially true of Jerusalem? Nope, even though it had a continuous fresh water supply from the Gihon Spring which flowed along Hezekiah’s Tunnel to the Siloam Pool. Jerusalem had been overthrown quite a few times. But God’s enemies could never overthrow what his city stood for: his presence and power. And this truth is reflected in his stanza, “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.” The City of God is great because of her protection!

EXAMPLE: Now God is not a genie or good fairy who grants our wishes. He is not a wizard with a staff who stands in front of an oncoming demon declaring, “You shall not pass!” The Psalmist makes it plain that God is great because of whom he is and because of who he is he protects those he loves even in our darkest moments. King David would sing, “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest–I would flee far away and stay in the desert; Selah I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.’” (Psalms 55:4-8 NIV) Like the Psalmist we can find rest in the shelter of God. The City of God is great because of her protection!

Few things in life last. Warrantees expire, guarantees fail, and promises are sometimes unkept. Is it any wonder then that so many are skeptical of God who promises protection in a world full of broken promises? And yet his promise of protection never fails those who trust him. We discover that…

II. The City of God is great because God is always there! (Vv. 9-14)

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments. Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

1. Right away the Psalmist affirms that the Lord Almighty (the Lord of armies) had made his city secure. And interestingly it isn’t because of some vast army or military strength; it was due to something else entirely. The Psalmist did not think the city could withstand any physical attack but rather it could withstand anything man could throw at it because it was where God dwelled with his people! Being close to the Lord and in his presence is the source of comfort for God’s people. John in his final book writes of his vision of the City of God that, “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Revelation 21:22-23 NIV) The Psalmist understood this and sang, “Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.” God’s city was beautiful and powerful and caused his people to think on his presence and to speak with him daily because God is there it is his temple! And like God’s name is known in the land, his “praise reaches to the ends of the earth” as well. It reminds me of the angels the Prophet Isaiah saw who sang together, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3 NIV) Therefore everyone knows that God’s “right hand is filled with righteousness” and for the reason of who God is! He always judges correctly without prejudice. In the light of this glorious truth we learn that “Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of [God’s] judgments.” Few, if any, cities of man can boast of the same greatness simply because of the impartial judgments that are enacted within its boundaries. As David would sing, “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.” (Psalms 19:7-10 NIV) Therefore one could feel safe and secure within the City of God. In fact the writer challenges his readers to “Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels that you may tell of them to the next generation.” The City of God is great because God is always there!

EXAMPLE: As a child I would find comfort in the arms of my mother or in the steady hands of my Dad. And so it isn’t surprising that we find in the words of King David his relationship with God was comforting too. He would sing, “You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalms 139:5-10 NIV) He understood what this Psalmist did as well, that the City of God is great because God is always there!

Conclusion:

The City of God is great because of her protection! The City of God is great because God is always there!
—-
This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Worship is God’s idea! – 2 Kings 17:35-36; Numbers 28:1-2; Matthew 4:8-10

Worship is God’s idea! – 2 Kings 17:35-36; Numbers 28:1-2; Matthew 4:8-10
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 10, 2013 AM

As a youngster, church for me was boring; it was full of weird sounding words, repetition, a lot of kneeling, standing, genuflecting, and symbolism that was beyond my comprehension. Later I learned that each part was symbolic and allegedly necessary if I desired to “know God” and come near Him. Of course, this simply was not true. Church was not meant to be a myriad of regulations and endless repetitions. Also, I used to think that church was worship, but I learned this was not completely true either. While we go to church to worship, worship is more than church. Worship is God’s idea!

The king of Assyria had given an order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” He did not know the Lord, but he wanted his captured subjects to be placated. In doing so, the Samaritans maintained their ways and ended up corrupting the true worship of God. They began to practice syncretism, combining their worship of idols with the worship of God; “each group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places.” They, like many in our day and age do, misunderstood God’s idea of worship! This morning we will discover anew what God’s idea of worship is meant to be.

READ: 2 Kings 17:35-36; Numbers 28:1-2; Matthew 4:8-10

Far too often human beings begin to think that worship is all about them and as such, we can bring anything into our worship that makes us feel better. We forget that this is not God’s idea of worship. We discover…

I. Worship of God is to be distinctive! (2 Kings 17:35-36 NIV)

When the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. But the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices.”

1. Right up to the day of the writing of 2 Kings the Samaritans maintained their ways. They did not worship God. While they “worshiped the LORD,” they did not worship God from the heart and in the ways, He specified, “they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.” Nor did the people keep the laws He gave to Jacob’s descendants. God had changed Jacob’s name to Israel to show everyone that he and his descendants were to become a distinct people in the world. This distinctiveness was being broken down by the Samaritans; in fact, they persisted in their former practices! This should sound all too familiar. There are those who in our day who say they worship God, but have readily adopted other religious ideals, theologies, and beliefs. However, “When the made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: ‘Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them.’” God’s command was plain, His people called by His name were to be distinctive from the pagan nations around them and they were to worship God alone! “But the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices.” God was not to be treated casually as some territorial deity that was handmade by a human being. He alone was God and demanded that His people’s worship of Him was to be distinctive! He would tell them, “You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods!” (v. 37) this command has not changed, we are not to bring ungodly practices or beliefs into our worship; our worship of God is to be distinctive!

EXAMPLE: Have you ever seen those bumper stickers that have the word “Co-exist” spelled out with different religious symbols? It promotes and encourages the ignorance that all religions are the same. This is a totally false notion and ungodly. The sad truth is we live in a nation of syncretism. People love to cut and paste their own proclivity to their personal beliefs about God. When we do, we will suffer from what we have decided to obey in our lives. 2 Kings goes on to lament, “Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did.” (v. 17) Wow! The Bible teaches us that our worship of God is to be distinctive!

Far too often as human beings, we begin to think that if our worship pleases us, then it must please God! So, we begin to allow all kinds of attitudes to influence our worship. If we feel good, it must be good worship. Is this true? The Bible teaches us that…

II. Worship of God is to be pleasing to Him! (Numbers 28:1-2 NIV)

The LORD said to Moses, “Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: ‘See that you present to me at the appointed time the food for my offerings made by fire, as an aroma pleasing to me.’”

1. On the eve of the conquest and occupation of Canaan, it was necessary that the younger generation be instructed concerning the offerings and worship of God that was appropriate for the settled, agricultural way of life they would soon be living. If older generations are either unwilling or neglect the teaching of younger generations about the true worship of God, they will neglect what they are supposed to be doing and how they are to worship the Lord. This is why, “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: “See that you present to me at the appointed time the food for my offerings made by fire, as an aroma pleasing to me.’” Notice what occurs here in Numbers. The people had just entered into the Promised Land. In fact, the old generation, except for a few godly men, died in the wilderness because of their disobedience to follow God! “Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers, except Caleb… because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” And, “Joshua son of Nun, will enter it.” (Deuteronomy 1:35-37 NIV) Now this new generation may have felt that because most of them were unborn when the former laws were given; they might have a good reason not to worship as mom, dad, and the grandparents did! However, they not only had these laws written, to be read to them, but again repeated from God himself! Perhaps they were tempted to think that since these were old things done a long time ago, they did not relate to them personally, they did not need to adhere to them as strictly. Or perhaps since they were headed into a new area, they needed to worship in newer ways in order to fit into the societies they encountered. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. None of these was a good enough reason to neglect worship that is pleasing to God. Worship is not about us, it is not based on how we feel, nor does it concern adhering to society’s ungodly standards. Whatever the reason they forgot that worship is a command from God, supposed to be done at an appointed time, in a prescribed way! The Bible teaches that worship of God is to be pleasing to Him!

EXAMPLE: What we get out of our worship is never as important as to what we bring to our worship. What do you do to make sure your worship is pleasing to God? Psalms teaches us, “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” (Psalms 29:2 NIV) Hebrews teaches us, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’” (Hebrews 12:28-29 NIV) In fact, Paul may have it best when he wrote, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1 NIV) Our worship of God is to be pleasing to Him!

Far too often human beings begin to think that worship is all about them — how they feel and how God is to relate to them. We forget that this is not God’s idea of worship. We discover…

III. Worship of God is to be focused on Him alone! (Matthew 4:8-10 NIV)

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

1. After being baptized, Jesus was led immediately by the Spirit of God into the desert for a period of testing. This period of time was a necessary under God’s direction. After fasting 40 days, when the Lord was hungry, the tests began. The first test pertained to the matter of sonship. The second test by Satan appealed to personal popularity. Satan’s final test related to God’s plan for Jesus. It was and is God’s design that Jesus would rule the world through the human heart. “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.” The god of this age and the prince of this world took the King of kings to a place where he tried to tempt Him from His journey to the cross. “‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’” However, this would have thwarted God’s plan for salvation and would have meant Jesus was worshiping an inferior. That is always the world’s and Satan’s desire for God’s children, that they would give allegiance to that which is spiritually substandard. This is how believers are always easily distracted from their worship of God and His Son. We willingly chase after that which is inferior thinking that we are gaining something superior. Notice dear child of the King His ready response, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only!’” That is to be the Son’s choice and ours as well! Scripture reiterates over and over the singular lesson that God is a jealous God; jealous of that which He lovingly formed, that which He lovingly sought after, and that which He lovingly gave His one and only Son to die for! Satan loves to lead the weak-willed and spiritually shallow to the heights of personal satisfaction and whisper to our insecure souls, “All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.” He does it with intoxicating power, with the pornography of emotional lust, or the loneliness of heart. And, like addicts drawn to cocaine, we willingly sell ourselves on the altar of inferior worship. The answer for us is found in the words of Deuteronomy echoed by Jesus, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only!” Our worship of God is to be focused on Him alone!

EXAMPLE: Of course most of us do not think we are actually worshipping Satan when we acquiesce ourselves to ungodly things instead of the Lord, but we are. In fact, we can so delude ourselves that we might actually think that what we do on our own spare time is of no consequence to God and nothing could be further from the truth. He is the one who knows when a sparrow falls and numbers the hairs on our heads. (Matthew 10:29-30) Jesus reminds us, “You are worth more than many sparrows!” (v. 31) and then He teaches us what true worship is all about: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33 NIV) Worship is not just about our exaltation of God, it is our acknowledgement of Who He truly is! Our worship of God is to be focused on Him alone!

Conclusion:

Our worship of God is to be distinctive!
Our worship of God is to be pleasing to Him!
Our worship of God is to be focused on Him alone!

This article is copyrighted © 2013 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Luke 19:28-44 – Honoring Christ!

Luke 19:28-44 – Honoring Christ!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
March 25, 2012 AM

The 82nd Airborne Division returned from Desert Storm. Their transport planes landed at Pope Air Force Base in front of a gathered crowd. Upon disembarking their aircraft, the troops marched before their commanding general. It was an impressive scene. The general spoke briefly. In essence he praised the troops for courageously facing the enemy and bringing a victory. Through bravery in battle, they had honored both their country and their commander. Theirs was a job well done.

In the Bible verses before us, Christ was on His way to Jerusalem to face the difficult circumstances that awaited Him there. He was following the Father’s direction in coming to the place of His rejection and crucifixion. Jesus lived a life of dedication that He was inviting His followers to live. We honor Him by following in His footsteps. As faithful Christian soldiers, we obey Jesus as Lord, praise Him as King, and share His concern regardless of life’s circumstances. Ours is a life of honoring Christ! Let’s discover how…

READ: Luke 19:28-44

The text begins with Jesus at the very gates of Jerusalem. Several times He had made reference to what awaited Him there—rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection. Jesus knew it was God’s will for Him to head toward the cross. His approach to the city was deliberate because His mission was essential. In spite of Jesus’ repeated teachings, however, the disciples remained clueless, yet we find two disciples ready and willing to do what their Master asked of them. Through their actions we discover that in honoring Christ, we are to…

I. Obey Jesus as our Lord! (Luke 19:28-32)
1. Defiance takes the easy path, obedience walks the rough road! — Leeferism
1) At this point, approximately two miles from Jerusalem, Jesus sends a committee of two unknown disciples to find a young donkey in the village ahead. The unique detail about the donkey was that it was one “which no one has ever ridden.” The donkey’s uniqueness shows that the animal was reserved for special use. Upon finding the animal, the disciples were to untie it and bring it to Jesus. Jesus added that if someone asks “Why are you untying it?” the two disciples were to respond saying “The Lord needs it.” This statement was an authoritative claim. Jesus had a right to ride the animal because of whom He was. An unusual command was to be obeyed. It’s also important to know that the Mastermind of the universe knows the hairs on our heads, the sparrows that fall, and the location of a tied-up donkey. He pays attention to the little details and is never caught off guard. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is overlooked. Those who were sent followed Jesus’ instructions and accomplished their assignment. “Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.” The disciples went to the town, found the young donkey tied where it was supposed to be, and proceeded to untie it. When questioned about their actions, they gave the answer Jesus had given them. They then brought the young donkey to Jesus. Mission accomplished! In honoring Christ, we are to obey Jesus as our Lord!
EXAMPLE: Five-year-old Jenna was not having a good start to her day. Every attempt to arrange the world according to her liking was having the opposite result. Arguing didn’t work. Pouting didn’t work. Crying didn’t work. Finally her mother reminded her of the Bible verse she had been learning: “Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11) Apparently Jenna had been thinking about this verse, because she was quick to answer: “But Mom, it doesn’t say that I won’t sin; it says that I might not sin.” Often our willingness to obey God is like that, we look for the loophole whenever there is a command we do not want to obey. Have you done that lately? In honoring Christ, we are to obey Jesus as our Lord!

Genuine praise comes from the heart. Such praise filled the scene of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Excited feelings flowed freely. His was not the typical warhorse approach of earthly kings but the humble donkey approach of the Heavenly King. There would be a future time of the King of kings’ arrival as the conquering ruler, but for this time Jesus was the suffering Messiah. In previous situations, Jesus had silenced His disciples. However, Jesus went along with their enthusiasm and allowed the demonstration. In these actions we learn that in honoring Christ, we are to…

II. Praise Jesus as our King! (Luke 19:35-40)
1. The more time spent praising God is less time centered on self! — Leeferism
1) Matthew recorded the Zechariah 9:9 prophecy that declared Israel’s King arriving on a donkey (Matthew 21:5). The disciples went into action. They threw their robes on the donkey and lifted the Lord up on its back. Just a few days later Jesus’ executioners would lift Him up on the cross. Luke tells us, “As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.” And in fact that, “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen!” To the crowds, Jesus was “the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” The kind of King Jesus was would bring “Peace in heaven and (our praise) glory in the highest!” It is the glory of God in Jesus’ death and resurrection that brings peace that surpasses all our understanding! Matthew and Mark record the throwing of branches cut from the trees and fields (Matthew 21:8; Mark 11:8), and the Gospel of John records the palm branches (John 12:13). The red carpet greeting had all the trappings of Israel’s historical kings as they had made their way into Jerusalem. The coronation event was spontaneously coming together, and Jesus was not issuing any restraint. The people proclaimed that Jesus was the promised King, in the line of David, who had God’s authority and approval. But not all were pleased, the Pharisees were indignant and tell Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” Jesus replied, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Jesus was publically presenting Himself to the nation, and God was determined this fact would be acknowledged. If the people didn’t acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, the stones would! In honoring Christ, we are to praise Jesus as our King!
EXAMPLE: Les Lamborn, for Our Daily Bread, wrote, “I used to view the worship service in church as a time for entertainment. Speaking of folks like me, Sören Kierkegaard said that we tend to think of church as a kind of theater: We sit in the audience, attentively watching the actors onstage. If we are sufficiently entertained, we show our gratitude with applause. Church, though, should be the opposite of the theater. God is the audience for our worship. What matters most takes place within the hearts of the congregation—not onstage. We should leave a worship service asking ourselves not ‘What did I get out of it?’ but rather ‘Was God pleased with what happened?’” Our praise, I think, should reflect the same kind of attitude. In honoring Christ, we are to praise Jesus as our King!

This coronation doesn’t end as it should. Jesus was not enthroned but crucified. The rejection, the suffering, the crucifixion and the resurrection came as predicted. One day He will return, and it will be a day of glory and honor. Yet, at this moment, we see Jesus approaching the city of Jerusalem and His emotions get the better of Him. Why? Jesus was never apathetic. He never said, “I don’t care.” His heart always reached out to people with love. His eyes saw what was there as well as what was going to be. In this poignant moment we realize that in honoring Christ, we are to…

III. Share Jesus’ concern! (Luke 19:41-44)
1. The ultimate fate of folks around you should give you pause! — Leeferism
1) An overwhelming sadness stirred Christ’s emotions. Jesus saw a city so blinded by sin that it refused to receive the long-awaited Messiah. Jesus wept, is an action meaning “He burst into tears.” Surrounded by the praise of the disciples, Jesus cried. The fate of those who rejected Him broke His heart. Jesus’ words were given between sobs! “If you, even you, had only known” is a conditional statement left hanging. Jerusalem wrote Jesus off as its King and therefore forfeited its opportunity of peace with God, or salvation. In its unbelief, the city dismissed the Messiah, and its moment of salvation had come and gone. Now it was hidden from their eyes. When Jerusalem wrote Jesus off, it sealed its doom. Without the peace of God the judgment of sin does its work. In prophetic language—“the days will come upon you”—Jesus painted images of military conquest. His foresight was a product of His divine insight. The first future picture involved enemies building an embankment against Jerusalem. In a siege, embankments served as both a protection and a base of operation. The reference is to the palisade the Romans later would build around the city. The word surround denoted the wall the Romans would build around the city that would completely cut off all escape routes. That the attackers would hem the city in on every side refers to the relentless pressure of attacks. “They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” What started as a battlefield would degenerate into a crime scene. The devastation would be so complete that Jerusalem would be leveled. Those who rejected Jesus would suffer the consequences of their actions! All of this occurred in A.D. 70 when Titus and his Roman legions laid Jerusalem to waste. This is why Jesus wept! In honoring Christ we are to share Jesus’ concern for those who reject Him!
EXAMPLE: I confess I like my self-made comfort zones. There is a certain security in the familiar; however, this can be dangerous in the life of the Christian. Longfellow wrote, “The vine still clings to the moldering wall, but at every gust the dead leaves fall.” Like that vine, many churches today cling to the crumbling wall of traditional programs, losing members like dead leaves carried away by the biting winds of our times. To put it another way: We refuse to leave our comfort zones. We like to stick to the familiar, the predictable, and the usual. It is time we honored Jesus more than our own personal comfort! In honoring Christ we are to share Jesus’ concern for those who reject Him!

Conclusion:
In honoring Christ, we are to obey Jesus as our Lord! In honoring Christ, we are to praise Jesus as our King! In honoring Christ we are to share Jesus’ concern for those who reject Him! How are you honoring Christ?

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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John 3:13-18 – The love of God revealed!

John 3:13-18 – The love of God revealed!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
February 5, 2012 AM

The “Blind Men and the Elephant” is a fable that originated in India. It was translated into English in the 19th century as a poem by the writer John Godfrey Saxe. He incorrectly saw it as a means to warn against religious intolerance. Therefore, the story has become widely used in philosophy and religion classes to illustrate the need for either religious or cultural tolerance, thinking that we form our reality and belief system on our limited experiences. In other words, perhaps each religious faith only holds partial truths that make up one part of God. However, the original tale actually dealt with the spiritual blindness of the four individuals and how if blind men could not grasp the physical reality of an elephant they could touch, how are we, spiritually blind people, going to grasp a God whom we cannot see.

This brings up a very interesting notion. If people in our day and age have a distorted view of spiritual things, especially where it concerns the Bible, God, and Jesus Christ, how do Christians help them to see the truth? We live in a nation full of folks with the opinion that religion should be all about them and what many evangelical churches have taught for the past several decades has only added to the confusion. Many cater to the self-centered nature of the situation rather than teaching the truth of Scripture. Jesus dealt with a myopic spirituality as well. The Jews of his day thought that God only loved them and that he should respond to others the way they thought he should. It was a startling revelation when Jesus taught that God loved and desired a relationship with anyone who would come to him by faith. It was the love of God revealed, let’s discover how and what this means for us today.

READ: John 3:13-18

The Bible teaches us over and over that God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts, yet we quickly forget this truth. From Hollywood to television and into popular culture the media and mainstream desires to mold God into their image. They squeeze him into a bottle that he simply cannot fit into. The love of God is grander than our constraints and in fact we do not completely comprehend it. Jesus demonstrated this for us in that…

I. The love of God is revealed from heaven! (v. 13)
1. We only hear what we want to hear!
1) Jesus tried to speak to his listeners on a level they would understand, yet they deliberately refused to do so. He earlier told Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.” (v. 12) We find Jesus teaching his followers in parables so that only they would understand what he was instructing them. He warns, “He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:9 NIV) When asked why, he tells them that he did it to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” (Matthew 13:13-14 NIV) The idea of having “ears to hear” means being able to comprehend the spiritual truth Jesus was teaching. Now, dear adolescent of the Lord do you have ears to hear what I am talking about? This is why Jesus tells Nicodemus, “No one has ever gone into heaven” and then come back to earth and able to give clear teaching about divine matters, “except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man!” The Son of Man being a descriptive term for the Messiah. Jesus of course was referring to himself. Therefore, what we refused to comprehend or acknowledge has occurred, the love of God is revealed from heaven in Jesus Christ!
EXAMPLE: Cindy Kienow, who works at a popular restaurant in Hutchinson, Kansas, had been waiting on one of particular customer for 3 years. He always tipped her well, sometimes leaving as much as half the tab. Then, one day, he outdid himself—he gave her a $10,000 tip for a $26 meal! He told her, “I want you to know this is not a joke.” What an amazing display of radical generosity, however, an even more radical display was the love of God revealed from heaven!

No one had gone into heaven, but God was more than willing to come to earth! Now this is a rather radical and remarkable thing because mankind has constantly throughout history tried to reach up to the gods they create, but here in the pages of Scripture we discover that God through Jesus has reached down to mankind. In fact, God did something so extraordinary and so wonderful that it is hard for many of us to grasp. We discover that…

II. The love of God is revealed through the death of his Son! (Vv. 14-16)
1. Sacrifice is at the heart of God’s love!
1) When we think of love in our day and age we filter it through our experiences and what we are constantly taught. Love for us means something quite different from what Jesus meant here. The idea of love here is one of sacrifice. The amazing thing is God did not have to do what he did he did it because of his grace. We equate love with emotion. We think it is dependent upon need or yearning, yet the Bible tells us that God is sufficient in of himself. He needs nothing else, including fellowship. Now think about this for a moment my Biblical Buckaroo. If we know that God is all powerful, all knowing, all holy, everywhere all the time, then why would we ever think he is insecure? Contrary to what some would have you think, God does not need your praise or your friendship because he is lonely or in need! We find that God sent his Son to be “lifted up” as a means of spiritual healing just as the brass snake was lifted up before the rebellious Jews in the wilderness so that if they were willing to look at it and trust in God to heal them, they would be saved. (Numbers 24:4-9) And God did it for our faith and trust in him because, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15 NIV) However, behind this wonderful truth is a horrible reality: God’s Son would willingly die for us on a cruel cross that would be lifted up! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV) The love of God is revealed through the death of his Son!
EXAMPLE: The story is told of a young preacher named Augustus Toplady, who was taking a walk through the English countryside when a sudden storm swept across the landscape. Toplady spotted a wide rock formation with an opening—a cleft—where he sought shelter until the storm passed. As he sat out the deluge, he contemplated the connection between his shelter and God’s love. He had no paper to write on but found a playing card on the floor of the cave-like structure and began to write the words to the beloved hymn “Rock of Ages.” Written on that stormy day in 1775, this hymn has been a source of strength for Christians ever since.

Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.

The love of God is revealed through the death of his Son!

Sarcasm aside, most men want to emulate a leader who would ride into the enemy’s fire to save a fallen comrade! Women want a white knight that would gallantly ride in, scoop them up, and save them from the dragon’s teeth! Now you may think you are too jaded enough that you do not desire this in your life, but deep within the human heart there is a yearning for nobility and salvation, for sacrifice and honor. Let me share with you a wonderful truth: Both of these things have come true and are yours for the asking. In fact, we discover that…

III. The love of God is revealed through our faith! (Vv. 17-18)
1. Faith cannot be earned, passed on, inherited, or given away by us or anyone!
1) “Consequently,” Paul would write that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NIV) What is the message? Namely, that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” The word “perish”, in verse 16, does not mean annihilation or total destruction but rather a final destiny of “ruin” in hell apart from God. We learn that Jesus spoke vibrantly about the truth of eternal damnation for those who refuse to believe. It is startling for some sophisticates to realize that Jesus sternly warned his listeners, “I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” (Luke 12:5 NIV) That one to fear that Jesus spoke of was God who loved the world! Yet God also tells us that “I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32 NIV) The truth is that he desires everyone be saved! In fact it “pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3b-4 NIV) It is a truth that mystifies scholars and confounds common folk. You cannot be good enough, do enough, or wish it to be so enough because it is the simple truth, dear child, that “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18 NIV) The choice is yours. The love of God is revealed through our faith!
EXAMPLE: I read a story about a believer who was invited to a dinner party where he was seated next to a belligerent unbeliever who delighted in taunting Christians. Throughout the evening, the man baited him mercilessly about the evils of Christendom throughout the ages. With each insult, the Christian calmly replied, “That’s an interesting point of view.” And then he asked a question that revealed genuine interest in the man and deflected the discussion away from the issue that divided them. As the two were walking out the door at the end of the evening, the man fired a final jab, at which point the believer put his arm around the other man’s shoulders and chuckled. “My friend,” he said, “all night long you’ve been trying to talk to me about religion. Are you a religious nut?” The man’s animosity dissolved in a burst of laughter and then in sobriety, for he was indeed a religious nut. All human beings are. We’re insatiably and incurably religious—hounded by the relentless love of God, though we may try to keep him away. (Edited from a story by David H. Roper, RBC Ministries, Daily Bread, June 11, 2009) The love of God is revealed through our faith!

Conclusion:
The love of God is revealed from heaven, the love of God is revealed through the death of his Son and the love of God is revealed through our faith! Do you know the love of God in your life?

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Now thank we all our God! — Psalm 100

Now thank we all our God! – Psalm 100
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 20, 2011 AM

For some people being thankful is kind of like the story told about a 4-year-old daughter and her mother who were strolling through an open-air market. As the little girl stared at a large pile of oranges, a generous vendor took one from the pile and handed it to the little girl. “What do you say to the nice man?” the mother asked her daughter. The little girl looked at the orange, then thrust it toward the man and said, “Peel it!” Often, thankfulness is something we learn and grow into. How easy it is for us to respond to God’s graciousness like that 4-year-old. An attitude of being thankful is a mark of a maturing faith.

The early Pilgrims understood this. In fact, after surviving the first years in the American wilderness, they deliberately set out to print a song book of praise taken from the Psalms. The Bay Psalm Book is an important piece of our nation’s history. It was the first book entirely written and printed in the Colonies. When one considers the difficulties of mere survival during this time, accounting for the short time of 20 years after the first arrivals in Plymouth in 1620, the magnitude of the effort and accomplishment is even more impressive. The first printing press in New England was purchased and imported specifically to print this book in order to give God praise and thanksgiving! Why would our forefathers make such a big deal out of praising and thanking God? Let’s find out…

READ: Psalm 100

Music in worship by the Pilgrims was done without musical accompaniment, by the whole congregation, with men on one side and women on the other. Calling themselves “Separatists”, they believed in separating themselves from ungodly influences of the world and the Anglican Church even in singing! They had sailed to America from England for freedom of worship. Scripture was taught both literally and historically. This Psalm reminded them to be thankful for God’s provision. Why? Because…

I. An attitude of gratitude honors the Lord and changes our life! (Vv. 1-2)

1. Joy is the best proof of having the presence of God in our life!
1) Notice how the Psalmist sings in these first two verses – he relates, “shout for joy,” “worship… with gladness,” and “come… with joyful songs!” The focus of this glad, joyful singing and shouting is “the Lord.” A rejoicing believer is one of the best advertisements for God. It is a fact that when you are joyfully singing to the Lord, you forget about the cares of life. David would sing, “Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him!” (Psalm 64:10 NIV) Paul would write the persecuted church, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NIV) Paul knew that a believer who joyful encourages others refreshes those around them. He wrote to Philemon, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” (Philemon 1:7 NIV) There are three things that are the enemies of a joyful heart: 1) boredom, 2) worry, and 3) self-centerness. However, when our focus is on the Lord and encouraging others to “come before Him with joyful song,” we honor God with the happiness of our hearts. A joy is multiplied when it is divided with others! Today if you are downcast, sad-faced, or wallowing in disappointment, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” An attitude of gratitude honors the Lord, and it can change your life!

EXAMPLE: The Pilgrims knew that joy is a decision of the human heart and a determination of our will. We decide whether to rejoice and be glad in each day that God has made or not. And in doing so, we bring the joy of the Lord to others around us. You cannot fake it, nor manufacture it. It is something that grows out of the happy heart of the believer, boils over in their soul, and splashes out on others. It is infectious, vibrant, lovely, and wonderful. Contrary to popular folk myth, the early Pilgrims were neither grim nor straight-laced folk. In fact they were some of the most happy, joyous, and loving people on earth. Pilgrims did not wear dire black clothing or big buckles on their boots and belts. Quite the contrary they loved colorful clothing, telling stories, dancing, and singing songs that remembered an attitude of gratitude which honored the Lord. They knew their attitude could change their whole outlook on life!

This attitude would serve them well the first few years of their settling on America’s shores. Most would die that first year from disease, cold, and the weather. Ill-prepared, they were resilient folk who loved God wholeheartedly. They left England for America in order to practice their faith the way God desired them to. This Psalm was one of their favorites. Why? They understood…

II. Gratitude should always be the keynote of our worship of God! (v. 3)

1. He who puts God first, will be happy at last!
1) Notice what David states: “Know that the Lord is God.” He calls the people to recognize and “know” God’s words, works, and character. When we “know” intrinsically who God is in our lives, our humble obedience is the only fitting reaction. We also understand that God is the one “who made us, and we are his.” When we recognize God’s authority and kingship in our lives, we become “his people, the sheep of his pasture.” This is why David could sing, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” (Psalm 23:1 NIV) David did not need to worry about anything. His Creator and Shepherd would provide. Later, the Psalmist would say, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Psalm 95:6-7 NIV) Paul would relate, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV) Our care is to be founded in the Shepherd of our souls Jesus Christ. “I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me,” Jesus related. (John 10:14) Our gratitude should always be the keynote of our worship of God, who is our good shepherd!

EXAMPLE: After the Pilgrims survived the first year and began to see some sort of success, they paused to thank God for His love and care. They declared several days of thanksgiving and praise. Edward Winslow, one of the early pilgrims, wrote a small book in 1624 where he thanked God for the “hope of converting the Heathen of their evil ways, and convincing them to the true knowledge and worship of the living God, and so consequently the salvation of their souls by the merits of Jesus Christ….” He saw “the good providence of God working” in the “preservation from so many dangerous plots and treacheries, as have been intended against us; as also in giving his blessing so powerfully upon the weak means we had… they might easily have swallowed us up…. Blessed therefore be his name, that hath done so great things for us, and hath wrought so great a change amongst us.” He could not help himself; he just had to thank God for all his care! Gratitude should always be the keynote of our worship of God.

The religious practices of the pilgrims, as I stated earlier, included the unaccompanied singing of metered and rhymed versions of the psalms. To sing the hymns, many rural congregations practiced what was known as “lining out”, a technique that involved their own memory and the leadership of someone with a powerful voice; the leader would sing one line at a time, and the congregation would sing it back. Again, this Psalm was a favorite to sing. Why? Because…

III. God is worthy of our thanks and praise! (Vv. 4-5)

1. Thankfulness is a duty before it is a feeling!
1) Notice that David commands his listeners to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving.” It is a call to worship God with thankful hearts. God is found in two places – at home in heaven and a thankful human heart. This is why Scripture reminds us to “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever…. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1-3, 26) Thanksgiving proceeds from a heart that has been redeemed by God. However, also notice that we are called to “enter… his courts with praise.” In fact, Psalm 107:31-32 commands us to “give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men,” and to “exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.” God teaches us that “the people I formed for myself” were specifically created to “proclaim my praise.” (Isaiah 43:20 NIV) The reason we thank and praise God is because he “is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations!” (v. 5) God is steadfast towards those who love him. Every generation, from David down to now, is reminded God is worthy of our thanks and praise!

EXAMPLE: Pastor John Robinson ended his farewell letter to the Pilgrims onboard the Mayflower, before they left England by encouraging them to praise God’s “name all the days of your and our lives.” Pastor Robinson could not go but wanted them to remember God who took care of them no matter what happened. It was good advice, because most would perish within the first year of landing in Massachusetts. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast to acknowledge God’s providence. It lasted three days and was interspersed with praise and prayer. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. The proclamation was written by Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward. It began, “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.” Whether surviving severe conditions or a “civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity,” our forefathers understood that God is worthy of our thanks and praise!

Conclusion:

What are some of the discouragements in our lives? They are not always the big difficulties, but often the petty annoyances, the little trials from which we cannot escape. If you are looking for a way to increase your thanks, why not this week memorize Psalm 100. These five short verses containing less than a hundred words could launch you into a new adventure of thanksgiving. Put it into your mind and heart today. Repeat it to a friend. Offer it as a silent prayer before each meal every day. Say it aloud and allow the Lord to change your focus from problems to praise.
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Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2011 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Today’s Thoughts… Praise God!?

Today’s Thoughts… Praise God!?
By Pastor Lee Hemen
April 11, 2010

Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. – (Matthew 5:19-20, NIV)

Recently I have begun to notice that today’s church has become like the Pharisees of old. Now you may think I mean judgmental and narrow-minded, but I do not mean this at all. The church today, like the Pharisees, has become spiritually myopic. We think everything is about “praising Jesus.” In fact, we have begun to think that this means that anything we do, “praises Jesus.” Now do not get me wrong here and you will need to read this with some spiritual insight. I am not saying we should not praise Jesus with everything we do, but that Christians today have become spiritually myopic like the Pharisees.

The Pharisees were all about “praising God.” In fact, they did it so much that they sought to praise God in every area of their lives, including by tithing the very spices in their cupboards! (Matthew 23:23) They continually lived in the holy moment. They continually sought a miracle moment with God. For some Christians, we do the very same thing. We have replaced serving God and giving ourselves daily to him with trying to stuff ourselves with praise and worship. We have become so sated with our own need for a miracle moment that nothing else matters to us except our daily or weekend fix.

The Pharisee’s praise of God made them blind to the call of God and the needs of sin-stained world. And that is exactly what has occurred in the Christian church today. We allow others to do the ministry God has called us to, we think that mission is a vacation instead of a lifelong calling, and we run to the altar of praise and worship in order to have our spiritual cup filled again and again. We are living for the holy moment instead of being the sacrifice God has called us to be. We have forgotten the very same thing the Pharisees did, that the praise of God comes from a life totally given over to him, not through doing things to please ourselves.

Dear child of God, praise God today by giving yourself completely away for his use in his kingdom.
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Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission. You now have my permission…

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Today’s Thoughts, Psalm 8:1-9

March 20, 2008
by Pastor Lee Hemen

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalms 8:1-9)

Today is my birthday. Nothing fancy, just me and my wife celebrating over a couple of nice t-bone steaks. We even did it big time and went to Wal-Mart to buy towels for our bathroom. I know, I know, you are thinking “Wow! What a over the top life you live, Pastor!” Whatever you may think, I had a fantastic birthday. You know why? Each day I am reminded of just how majestic God truly is. I can see it in the heavens He created, hear it in the laughter of His children, or when I experience it in the love of my family and friends. But most of all in the fact that the Creator of the universe loved me enough that He chose me to be one of His own. What more could I want or desire than that?

Today was indeed great. I had a friend buy me lunch, got to tease his son who is learning the restaurant trade, and I not only got those steaks cooked by my lovely wife, but I also got a card from my daughter that proclaimed me the “greatest Dad who ever lived!” Now, I ask you what more could any reasonable person want or need in life than these? I just have to sing like David did:

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalms 8:1-9)

Can you? Oh I pray you can.

NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety. This devotional will follow Morning by Morning by C H Spurgeon. You may use it however you desire.

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