Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Thursday, May 22, 2014
"Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting." - Psalm 147:1
Statistics indicate that only about 15-20% of our population today regularly attends church. But there are a lot of reasons for attending church. I suspect that only about 15-20% of those in our churches are really there because they have a strong and vibrant relationship with Jesus. These are the people that I might expect truly praise the Lord.
But we should all be praising the Lord. King David, author of this psalm, tells us it is "good to sing praises to our God." It is good. In Genesis 1, each day as God creates, at the end of the day He exclaims, "It is good." It is as it should be. It is how God had intended it to be. Praising the Lord is good. When people praise the Lord it is as it should be. It is how God intended it to be.
We praise the Lord because "he is gracious". He is filled with grace. We know that we should be filled with grace, and we try to be gracious, and perhaps it would be easier if it didn't involve others. There are some people, of course, that it's easy to be gracious to, but if you love only those who love you, where does that get you? We have to love those who seem unlovable. We have to show grace to those who don't deserve grace. Because, by definition, none of us deserve grace. But God gives it to us anyway.
A "song of praise is fitting." It is the right thing to do to praise God. He deserves our praise. In fact, He alone deserves our praise. So it is fitting when we can pause to give Him praise.
Priase the Lord! How good it is...
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
This passage is an often used passage that reminds us of the need to stay connected to Christ. If we are going to live fruitful lives, we must be "in Christ.""Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." - John 15:4
From this verse, we understand that if we stay in Christ, Christ will stay in us. This means that it's up to us. Christ has promised to be there if we turn to Him. If we make the effort to remain in Christ, He will remain in us, He will be with us. I'm not saying that we are saved if we make the effort.... Salvation is by faith alone. But to have a continuing relationship with Christ, we must remain in Him.
What does it mean to remain in Christ. He gives us an answer in verse 10, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love..." So first and foremost, we do those things Jesus said we should do. Obedience is the key to remaining in Christ. Which means we should be in the Word so we know what Jesus said we should do. We must know the Bible if we hope to know what Jesus expects of us.
But obedience to commands can quickly deteriorate into a legalistic set of rules. Do this, but don't do this... These legalistic rules can take the love and grace out of our relationships. But that's not Christ. That's why in verse 12 He gives us a new command, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
So read the Bible, and put into practice what you read. But be careful not to let commands interfere with your love for Christ. And be careful to love one another, and treat everyone you meet with the love Jesus has for you.
Be filled with love, and you will bear much fruit!
Sunday, May 18, 2014
We have been in a series titled Got Junk? for the last five weeks. This past Sunday was the last in that series. The series has been looking at the junk that builds up in our lives. The excess baggage that gets so hard to deal with and takes up so much time. Things like the fears that keep us from reaching forward or stepping out and embracing what's next, the condemnation and guilt we feel from past mistakes, family issues and bad relationships, and the financial stuff and the worries that go with that. These types of excess baggage keep us from being close to God, and they keep us from ever reaching the plans God has for our lives.
This past week, as we finished the series, we looked at the financial baggage, how do you properly and biblically deal with debt? What does the Bible have to say about Satan's attempts to trip us up in the area of our finances?
To read the message, click here...