Guardian of Jerusalem

2 Beautiful in its loftiness,
    the joy of the whole earth,
like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion,
    the city of the Great King.
3 God is in her citadels;
    he has shown himself to be her fortress. Psalm 48:2-3

When these verses were written, they were clearly referencing Jerusalem, the city of God, specifically, but they have a more general application of “the place where God dwells.” The Gospel has gone out into all the world now, and many Christians look fondly on Jerusalem as being a Holy City (“the joy of the whole earth”).

Similarly, those same Christians – meaning, we – look fondly towards Heaven, or as the Revelations 21 refers to it “the new Jerusalem.” We await our reward but realize the Day is not here yet. Even as I write this, the tiny nation of Israel is in a state of heightened alert. Obviously Hamas and all of the Muslim world would love to see Israel wiped off the map, and many of their leaders have stated so publicly.

Pray pray pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray that God would continue to confuse the minds of her enemies.

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If He Isn’t There…

Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,
    in the city of our God, his holy mountain. Psalm 48:1

Every now and again we get glimpses of heaven and the God who reigns there. Here in this passage the writers are talking about a holy mountain. Something grandiose, something huge, something holy because the Lord God is there. We tend to glamorize heaven and what it will be like there with the streets of gold and harps and all, but if the Lord God Almighty is not there, it wouldn’t be heaven. Heaven is just one more of God’s marvelous creations. Him being there makes it heaven. It’s a simple concept but so easy to miss.

And so it is on earth. The absence of God in a place makes it truly “hell on Earth.” Ukraine, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and other nations are in the news lately for being incredibly harsh on Christians. For many, it’s their “hell on Earth,” but it tells you something about what’s happening in those lands. Don’t for a minute think the church will be stamped out in those lands.

On the contrary, the reason for the persecution is because the politicians are getting nervous about what’s happening. What they rarely understand is the dynamic nature of the Church in times of persecution: it grows in proportion to the persecution, which totally goes against all reason and logic.

So, choose one of those nations above and pray for the Believers who are wondering what’s happening in the world around them.

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Practice and Prayer

9 The nobles of the nations assemble
    as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
    he is greatly exalted. Psalm 47:9

It’s easy to criticize leaders when they’re not doing what we think or what we elected them to do. They obviously have hundreds of people pulling from all sides hoping to get a hearing in front of these powerful people. They want to be liked and to do what is best, quite often, for them to be re-elected. They want the media to like them. They rarely, I’m afraid, want to do what is best for the people who put them into office? Why else would there be $17 trillion in debt, open borders, billions in waste, and endless regulations that hinder businesses from moving forward?

As this verse notes, “the kinds of the earth belong to God.” They are directly responsible to Him for their actions – whether they realize it or not.

We, on the other hand, have an obligation to submit to them and subsequently to pray for them. I know it’s not a fun thing to do considering all the blunders they seem to make pretty regularly, but if we’re not praying for them to make wise decisions, who is?

Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:1–4, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

While it’s not something that’s written explicitly in Scripture, “the more you disagree with policy and laws, the more you should pray for those making policy.” After all, we need the practice and they need the prayer!

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He Reigns

8 God reigns over the nations;
    God is seated on his holy throne. Psalm 47:8

As you consider the troubles in the world: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, China, Nigeria, South Sudan, Ukraine, Russia, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Burma, and dozens of other nations not to mention the terrorist organizations that make our daily news, it’s easy to lose heart and give up.

The sons of Korah wrote this verse but there are others throughout the Bible who have made this point: God rules over the nations. Nothing escapes his view. Nothing. He’s not sleeping; He does not slumber.

We may not like how He reigns or stands back and watches evil being perpetrated, but we certainly shouldn’t question His motives in how He reigns. Clearly He has a perfect “big picture” view while still being able to minister to us individually.

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Shouts of Joy

5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
    the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
    sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
    sing to him a psalm of praise. Psalm 47:5-7

Why do we hold back our praise?

Why do we “self-edit” in our churches during worship and praise time?

You’d think that in church would be the “safest” place to lay it all out there. God doesn’t need our praise and worship. He certainly deserves it, but he has need of nothing, including worship from his creation.

What’s holding you back?

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