PRAYER & CALL TO WORSHIP | Psalm 63:1-4 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
We have been reminded by Psalm 66 that there is much to praise God for– things seen and things heard. The phrase “Awesome God” has come up many times. Of course it reminds me of Rich Mullins’ worship song “Awesome God.” Thinking about the message we have been presented, another song of Rich’s has kept coming to mind. It is “Sing Your Praise to the Lord.” I was fortunate to hear him and his group perform it live at one of our college’s special casual evening get-together times. Of course, he wrote and performed many songs over a number of years. This particular song was noticed by Amy Grant, who then recorded it. It became a hit single for her. It was the gateway to her picking up other songs of his.
Rich was blessed with talent and vision, and a true love for God and His people. His life was always about sharing the Gospel and trying to set an example. Rich would always say that he was a terrible singer. That would be a bit harsh, I think. Honestly, his singing paled in comparison to his piano playing and ability to play other instruments. But it always revealed his heart and enthusiasm for Christ. More importantly he had the gift of being able to translate praise to God into terms and songs that people could appreciate and remember.
I don’t know if you have heard it, so I thought I would share a link to a version of him performing it
As Rich reminds us, singing praise not only glorifies God. It is good for us. Sing your praise in whatever way and through what ever song you choose. God will appreciate it and it is good for you!
Well, sloppy joe is on the menu for our family this week. I prefer the McCormick Sloppy Joe seasoning mix with a few added ingredients sometimes (like jalapeno). Yet, not everyone in our home enjoys a sloppy joe dinner. It is Camryn. She always rolls her eyes the sight of sloppy joe.
Other than sloppy joe, I am asking and hoping that you hold on to this from Sunday: even in difficulty God listens.
This Sunday Lisa, the girls and I will be out of town. I have been asked to speak at a church in southern Ohio. We are looking forward to this opportunity!
Here at Calvary, we will enjoy the ministry of Steve Glick. He will preaching from Psalm 13 – “Are We There Yet?”
First, the ladies community group begins this Thursday at 7 pm. This is a five week study of the letter to the Philippians. Lisa Sperry and Berdetta Sperry will be leading this exciting time. 22 ladies have committed to enjoying one another and God’s Word together!
Second, our men’s community group thinking through 1 Thessalonians will be meeting this Thursday as well. We will be together at 6:30.
On Labor Day I had an interesting experience. In the evening I went to walk around Clague Park in Westlake and ended my walk by stopping to look around the lake from the high viewing area on the west side of the lake. As I was leaving through the main walkway two women passed me coming from their car, going to the area where I had been. One of them was probably around my age. The other I would estimate to be about 20 years older. They passed by me, and the older woman turned back to look at me. She walked up to me, touched my chest, and said, “You look like nice man.” Then she started talking very rapidly. She was one of those people who spoke with her hands as much as with her mouth, so she waved and gestured a lot as she spoke. I smiled at her and tried to pay attention. The main problem I had was that she was not speaking English. Her language was one I completely didn’t recognize. The other woman must have noticed the expression of surprised confusion on my face. She began saying: “Mother, he doesn’t speak Romanian!” She continued talking, and her daughter repeated her comment a half dozen more times. I still tried to be polite and listen. Finally the daughter came over and took her mother by the arm and led her toward the lake. As I walked to the car I heard the daughter chiding her mother—“Bok, bok, bok, bok, bok!” What the woman said to me, I’ll never know.
As I was driving home I thought it sure was great that God can understand me no matter what language I speak. In the “conversation” that I experienced, I felt that she was comfortable sharing something with me, and I tried to return a feeling of acceptance and respect. Unfortunately the meaning of her words was entirely lost on me. I am reminded of words from a Psalm that we visited earlier, Psalm 139:
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” — Psalm 139:1-6 (NIV)
What a blessing that God knows our thoughts and what we need to say before we even speak! He knows where we have been and where we are going. He can do what we as humans cannot. The rest of the Psalm relates David’s thoughts that no matter how he feels, no matter where he goes, and no matter how dark the situation seems, God sees and guides him no matter how bad things look.
I hope I never find myself in a situation similar to the Romanian speaking woman, where no matter how much I say or how hard I try I can’t be understood. One way to ensure that is to adopt David’s prayer in the last two verses of the psalm:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (vs. 23, 24)
We can be assured that God always understands us and knows our needs and desires. He alone knows how to bring us through the problems we can’t conquer ourselves. We can talk to Him in our own language, and He will hear and understand. And what we can’t speak adequately, the Spirit speaks for us. We will never be at a loss for words with God.
Psalm 66 is about the direction of worship. This direction of worship consists of two parts. First, there is come and see what God has done. And second, there is come and hear what God has done. It is important to note what is to happen first: come and see. In order to come and hear or in order to come and hear effectively, one must first come and see. There is something about the seeing that affects a person’s hearing.
We saw last Sunday that we come and see what God has done, his deeds, in his Word. His Word is filled with words. These words tell us his deeds – what he has done, what he is doing and what he will do. These deeds show that God is awesome. The psalmist then gave two examples of God’s deeds recorded for us in his word. First, he turned the sea into dry land. And second, they crossed the river on foot. We can see the first deed in Exodus 14. The second deed is seen in Joshua 3. Both deeds are very similar – difficulty. God’s people faced difficulty in both moments. In Exodus 14, God’s people faced difficulty behind then and difficulty ahead of them. In Joshua 3, God’s people faced difficulty again. And in these difficulties what was to be seen? God is awesome.
This Sunday we will be back in Psalm 66 to look at the second direction of worship: come and hear what God is done. As we prepare for this Sunday, keep reviewing this truth: God will be awesome in my difficulty.
We will also be enjoying one another at the Lord’s table. So be preparing for communion together.
This Friday evening at 6 pm is our evening fellowship and fire. There is a great number planning to come! I believe last count was 23. If you have not RSVP’d yet and are planning on coming just send me a quick email or text. Be sure to RSVP by Wednesday evening. Now, we have two big objectives for this Friday. The first is to bring a guest or more with you. Bring someone with you who needs to hear the good news of Jesus or needs to be encouraged by the good news of Jesus. The second objective is to share what God has done recently for your soul. We will spend the evening around the fire hearing from one another that our God is awesome!!
Jimmy John’s sandwiches will be our main entree. You are bringing side dishes to share. The plan is to begin inside with dinner and then make our way outside for the fire and time of hearing.
Tomorrow is our Wednesday Morning Community Group. We meet at 9:30 to get encouraged by God’s Word and to pray together. If you are available, this will be a time to refresh your soul.
Our ladies community group begins September 16 at 7 pm. It is a study of the letter to the Philippians. Lisa Sperry and Berdetta Sperry will be leading this time together. There are already special things happening with this group!
Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.”
GRACE & ASSURANCE | Psalm 66:16, 18-20
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!
This past Sunday pastor James encouraged us to consider Psalm 71:18 and how we would continue David’s comment, “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until…” — what? That could have many valid answers. I suppose my answer might be, ”O God, do not forsake me, EVER.” That is not a cop-out, but a realization that I never want God to leave or forsake me. I will never be strong or self-sufficient enough to do without His strength, support, and guidance. I have had some major physical challenges over the years, and He has always seen me through them. I hope to continue teaching and encouraging others in the Word as long as I am able. I certainly don’t have the position or special role that David had, but I believe each of us is equipped to serve in some way that brings glory to God. I pray that I can always do that.
I have another remembrance today. Tomorrow (the day this message will be posted) will be my mother’s 86th birthday. She departed this Earth in 2003 at the age of 68. I have missed her. While studying the Psalms I am reminded of an acknowledgement David made regarding his mother:
“Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did” (Psalm 86:16, NIV).
In many of the Psalms David looks to God as his leader in the vein of being a father. Through my study, I didn’t find any Psalms where David refers to the leadership or faith of his own earthly father, Jesse. We know that Jesse’s line of ancestry is important in the ancestry of Christ. Jesse was the grandson of Ruth and Boaz. What little else we know about Jesse comes from 1 Samuel, when he brings out each of his other sons in turn to meet Samuel, while leaving David, the youngest, to tend the sheep in the field. I don’t get the feeling that Jesse thought much of David, or that he spent much time or effort in raising him or teaching him in the ways of God.
Although we know even less about David’s mother, he did refer to her a few times in the Psalms. The verse presented above is the most telling. David recognizes his mother’s faith and devotion to God and credits her example in his life. We don’t find him making similar claims about his father Jesse. I was blessed to have both a mother and father of genuine faith. My dad was the more vocal person, trying to instruct and share Scripture. He taught us to be truthful and treat others well. My mother let her life speak for her faith—always helping, sharing, and loving those who needed it. She served the church in whatever capacity she was needed. She shared Christ’s love and compassion with others, trying to meet needs both physical and spiritual. She taught us to treat others likewise. Perhaps I can say I was more blessed than David in at least one respect—both of my parents served God and set an example for me.
Whatever stage of life we might be in, I pray that each of us can appreciate what the past has taught us and allow God to be the rock and fortress throughout our lives as David did. Our ultimate success and destination depends on Him.