More Oomph Please

With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save their lives from those who would condemn them. Psalm 109:30-31

In a lot of churches I’ve attended, there seems to be a lack of enthusiasm in praise. We go through the motions of singing and worship but the “oomph” seems to have disappeared. Perhaps it’s the church circles I run in. Maybe there are other reasons.

Take these verses for example, what does it mean to ‘greatly extol the Lord?’
Does it mean shouting?
Does it mean going wild in worship?

What would it look like if we practiced what we sang?

I recall many years ago attending a church where the people shouted when the words of the song were “Shout to the Lord All the Earth.” I remember being taken aback with those actions but was also refreshed because we were actually doing what we were singing.

Absolutely God meets us where we are when we worship. That can be quiet or it can be loud.

I suppose it would shock many in the congregation to be demonstrably vocal about some of the things we sing, but it also might encourage others who have similar thoughts about worship.

A thought.

Continue ReadingMore Oomph Please

To Their Own Devices

But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices. Psalm 80:11-12

Sin has its own natural consequences, and some of those consequences are more apparent than others.

When a nation wants to forego God and go its own way, consequences will follow.
when a sinner want to do the same, consequences will follow.

Because we don’t see those consequences right away, it’s easy to assume that nothing bad will happen, ever.

Not a week goes by where I hear the story of a cold case, where some detective saw something that wasn’t normal about a crime and digs and digs and digs until he uncovers the truth, often 30 or 40 years later. After the trial has ended and a few years have passed, the perpetrator probably thinks he is free.

It really is no different for a nation. After shunning and disowning God and His principles, the nation begins to deteriorate, slowly at first and then rapidly.

We are seeing that all over the world in real time lately. When a nation openly mocks God, that nation is doomed. The only question remains, when does it collapse in whole and what does that look like?

Pray for mercy upon the nation you live in.

Pray that God would spare if there are still 100 righteous people, and then make sure you’re one of those 100.

Continue ReadingTo Their Own Devices

A Vapor and Then Gone

He remembered that they were but flesh,
a passing breeze that does not return. Psalm 78:39

For more than 30 verses, the psalm writer speaks about the Lord’s patience towards Israel and mankind in general. God saved them out of darkness but they blew it time and again.

This verse speaks to our frail nature and temporal existence here on earth. Of course, God knew this but He expected more from us. He expected that we wouldn’t be as fickle and disobedient as we are.

We’re but a passing breeze, here today and gone tomorrow.

We don’t quite understand that until we get older and realize that the younger years are gone and cannot be reclaimed.

All the wasted time is gone.

All the unkind and harsh words cannot be untold.

All those actions we thought about taking can be accomplished, but with each passing day, it becomes a tiny bit more difficult because quite frankly, we’re not as young as we once were. We also realize that those ages we once considered old are now upon us!

So, what does that mean for us as we read this in 2021? Recall that in many Old and New Testament verses, the authors talk about redeeming the time or making the most of the day for the days are evil. Entire movies have been made about this theme

Do that, because, well, we’re not getting younger anymore.

9 Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10 The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:9-11

Continue ReadingA Vapor and Then Gone

Home Sweet Home

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy. Psalm 137:1

When I occasionally return to my hometown in Pennsylvania, I go with fondness. Even though I’ve not been there in years or lived there in 40 years, there’s a familiarity and fondness I have for it. It’s ‘home.’ Having traveled the world and lived in numerous places, there really is no place like home, a place where you belong.

David was like that with Jerusalem. Living in 21st century, we don’t quite understand his fondness. Yes, it was home for him but it was much more than that. It’s where God met the nation in big ways. It’s where the temple was built. God had created a covenant with the entire nation of Israel, and Israel was its center.

As I type this, nations are continuing to conspire against Israel even though its leadership has changed hands. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray that she will be protected and that many will come to know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on a personal level. Pray that there will be peace within its walls. Ask the Lord to confuse and confound its enemies.

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I Forgot

He saved them from the hand of the foe;
from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.
11 The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them survived.
12 Then they believed his promises
and sang his praise.

13 But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold. Psalm 106:10-15

How long has it been since you told someone your testimony? Can you remember the last time?

The salvation we so freely enjoy came at a great cost to our Savior. That’s not a new statement to any of us.

My other question is, did we forget what He did? Of course we didn’t. How could we possibly forget the most life changing event in our lives?

So, that’s the challenge for you this week. Tell someone else about your salvation experience. Most of us can remember as if it were yesterday, though some of the details are a little fuzzy at this point. Tell it anyhow.

Continue ReadingI Forgot