Summer of Psalms

 

Summer of Psalms

By Luke Anderson

Psalms 118:19-25

19: Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

20: This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.

21: I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.

22: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

23: This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

24: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25: Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success!

This passage is rich with hope and meaning.  Every verse could be looked at as an individual promise or prophecy of what is to come.

At the end of the day we see that the Lord is sovereign in all things.

Psalms was written hundreds of years before Christ, yet we have an image of Christ in verse 22.  The stone is an image of Christ. The world cast Him aside, yet He was and is the foundation God builds His church upon.

God does not need the perfect to accomplish His will. He needs the willing! Verse 23 says, “This is the Lord’s doing.”  It IS marvelous in our eyes how He can take average and broken people to advance His kingdom!

Verse 24 is a special verse in my own family.  There is a popular song called “This is the Day that the Lord has Made”.  If you are unfamiliar with it, you can find it on YouTube.  It puts the words of verse 24 into song.

When our kids get up in the morning and are sometimes grumpy, (shocking, I know!) I have them sing this song.  It is a powerful verse that gives meaning to the day.  This is just not another random day that we need to get through.

This IS the day that the LORD has made; for us! There is meaning and significance in this day.  The Lord has ordainedthis day to happen from the beginning of time.  He has a plan specifically for you today that fits in His greater plan.

My dad would often say to me. “Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life!” As annoying as it was when I was thinking only of myself and thinking how hard the day was going to be for me, the truth is, every morning is an opportunity for a new start.

Let us instead rejoice AND be glad in it! He is our King and our Redeemer. Verse 25 shows us how we can cry out to God to save us and give us success over our selfishness and inward thinking.

Summer of Psalms

Summer of Psalms

By Elder Tim Corcoran

Ps 118:14-18

14 The Lord is my strength and my song;  he has become my salvation.

15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,

16  the right hand of the Lord exalts,  the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”

17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.

18 The Lord has disciplined me severely,  but he has not given me over to death.

What does this tell me about God?  That he provides salvation and is worthy of praise for that.  God’s actions are valiant- brave, showing courage and determination.  Even in times of strife, I trust in God who does good and acts valiantly.  My belief is in the Lord, who gives eternal salvation.
To “recount the deeds of the Lord” reminds us that God’s purpose for us is to glorify him by retelling what he has done in our lives and through history.
“The Lord has disciplined me” to me means that everything may not be enjoyable, but will be to the benefit of me and the kingdom in the end.

 

Keep up the summer giving thanks challenge that was introduced at the beginning of June.
We will continue through July 31.
Every day, send a text or email to someone who will keep you accountable.
In that simple daily message, note two things:
1) a truth about God to give thanks, and 2) something else for which you are thankful.

Summer of Psalms

 

 

 

 

 

By Riverwood Elder Matt Townsley

 

Last week, we reflected on Psalm 118:1-4.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.” (ESV)

The first verse in which the author (likely King David) sings praises to God for his love that endures forever.  And in the next verses, the author suggests who ought to be singing these praises: an entire nation (Israel), the priests (house of Aaron) and anyone else (those who fear the Lord) which includes you and me!  Yet, when riots, protests, a pandemic and so many other crazy things are happening around us, life can seem so bleak.

First, a reminder:
How are you doing in the summer giving thanks challenge?  In case you missed last week’s email, here’s a quick recap based upon the theme from Psalm 118:1-4

Beginning June 1 and ending July 31, send a text or email to someone who will keep you accountable (and guys, if you need a partner, my contact information is below).

In that simple daily message, note two things: 1)a truth about God to give thanks, and 2)something else for which you’re thankful.

Finally, I think it is important for us all to reflect upon current events taking over the news headlines.  Regardless of your perspectives on the problem or solution, I hope we can all agree to pray.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Will you pray with me?
In hearing from our ministry partner, Patrick Ray, in North Minneapolis, many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have the potential to be in harm’s way right now. As followers of Jesus, we know that God is the ultimate healer.  May each of us humble ourselves, seek His face, and pray that He will heal our land.

Peace in God’s Eternalness

By Erin Bird

How are you doing? Hanging in there? I am discovering many people are at a similar stage in this pandemic – tired, stressed, and worn out. Some are tired of the boredom. Some are stressed because of the increased work this pandemic has brought. Some are frustrated due to lack of human connection, while some are pulling out their hair from TOO much human contact (primarily little kids clinging to mom!).

I think our new series comes at a perfect time. I want to look at Job 38 with you for a few weeks, because inside of this chapter lie several clues into God’s character that I believe can help you gain some peace and joy in these days.

Quick Review

Last week, I gave an extremely quick overview of the book of Job. If you missed it or need a reminder, head here. (If you’d like to have an even greater understanding of the book of Job, watch this video and/or this video if you didn’t last week.) In my microwaved review of Job, I pointed out that Job 38 is a strange chapter where God basically flexes in front of Job and his “friends.” Some people read Job 38 and don’t find comfort in God’s presence, but rather fear.

However, I want to break down this chapter and help you see that a “fear” of God can actually bring you peace. To help you see it, let’s begin by looking at verses 4-7:

4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7 when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7 ESV)

Grandpa God

There is a famous quote (falsely attributed to Mark Twain) that makes me smile:

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

The author humorously points out how time contributes to our understanding of the world. The father in the author’s quote wasn’t ignorant, it was the 14-year-old version of the author that was. But as he aged, he started realizing how wise his father actually was, because his father had so much more life experience than he.

stars in space with a bluish purple glowThat’s what makes Grandpas and mentors so beloved. They share out of the wisdom they have compiled from their years of life, and it brings understanding and peace to the younger person.

In Job 38:4-7, God shows Job just how “old” he really is. The Heavenly Father says He was there when He “laid the foundation of the earth,” when he “laid its cornerstone,” and heard the “morning stars” sing their songs for the first time ever. And not only was God there before the beginning, He will also be ruling and reigning when time reaches its end.

This means God is eternal. But unlike our dads, grandpas, and mentors, God hasn’t grown in wisdom; He possessed all wisdom at the very beginning. And if you are impressed with your grandpa’s insights, how much more impressed should you be with an eternal God?

Short-term vs Long-Term

You and I so often are focused on the here and now. Our eyes are filled with the problems immediately in front of us, which is why the past month has felt like a decade. Our emotions are flailing in the waters of our minds, barely keeping afloat. So with our attention on the problems of today, we find ourselves frustrated, sad, and lacking peace.

Instead, I want to encourage you to lift your eyes up on to the eternal God. He was there when the stars sang their first song. He was there when the earth’s foundation was set. He was there when Adam and Eve broke the only commandment given them. He was there when the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt for 400 years. He was there through the black plague and the flu of 1917-18. And He is here in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.

And guess what? He will still be God when this has passed (whenever that will be).

Because He is eternal, rest in Him. He’s got you. He’s not surprised by this pandemic. And He already sees what is on the other side of it.

So put your trust in Him. Express that trust in prayer. And every time your heart wants to run to worry, stress, frustration, and the such, cry out to the eternal God:

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

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