Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Christmas is All About by Lowndes

What Christmas Is All About

Christmas will always be for us
A time to reflect on Christ
The gift God gave to the entire world
Was the gift of His life

We know Christmas is not about tinsel
Nor fancy Christmas wreaths
Nor is it about all the decorations
That adorns our Christmas trees

And it’s not about Holly or Mistletoe
Hanging from our doors
Nor is it about the gifts that are left
By the jolly Santa Claus

Christmas is more than all of this
And the only reason why
We celebrate Christ’s birth together
And the wonder of His life

So remember as you celebrate
Just what it’s all about
And invite the Lord to join with you
Instead of leaving Him out

For He will always be the reason
We celebrate this day
No substitute the world may offer
Can take that meaning away

By M.S.Lowndes ~ 2007

Monday, October 25, 2010

Psalms 147

Why Praise God?
The background of Psalms 147
·         This passage is referring to Israel when they were coming back to Jerusalem from their exile.
·         This chapter was probably written during the autumn feast of Tabernacles, in reference to what verse 14. 
·         Verse 13 makes reference to the “dedication of the walls in the times of Nehemiah.”
·         Approximately 445 B.C. when they finished the walls and were calling for a celebration and gathering of all the people of Israel to dedicate the finishing of the walls of Jerusalem.  The significance of the rebuilding of the walls was that it was also a time of restoration for the people of Israel.  God had a bigger plan then just the walls. We will see as we look into the chapter how God does that with Israel.
·         God’s hand was in the total project of rebuilding the walls and the people of Israel.  The Persian King Artaxerxes sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls.  Nehemiah had lots of opposition and struggles in getting them rebuild. 
Think about this for a minute, we build a house, do a remodel project we have marital issues before it’s done.  Imagine building a massive city walls.
·         Nehemiah persevered and got the job. Neh. 6:16
Power of God was made known to all who knew that the walls were being rebuilt. 
Ok, this is God showing Israel why they need to praise and worship God for what He has done.  It is equally important why we need to praise Him also.
The Four “C’s” of why we need to praise God. 

1.      We are Commanded to Praise!  Verse 1
·         Praise in different forms to God is mentioned 167 times in just Psalms alone.  Do you think maybe it is important??
·         God telling Israel continually in the O.T. was not good enough.
Israel still didn’t praise God for all that he did for the them..

·         In the OT the goodness of God is shown in what he does well for Israel.  He provided for Israel in many amazing ways but they were not grateful. They complained.
He gave them quail, manna, protection, land flowing with milk and honey.  Yet they still complained and were disobedient.
·         Takes energy to be thankful and it is our sin nature coming out when we complain. 
We are so much like Israel today, we are commanded to worship God and yet we don’t listen.
In Matthew 4:10 Jesus is tell Satan that “You should worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” 
During Israel time they had many gods that they could worship and get distracted by.  It is not any different today, we have many things that we worship or that takes priority over praising God.  What do you think the Israelites would say if they could look into our world today?

·         Praise bring great joy to God.  It should be not just a Sunday morning thing. But a daily practice to God.
Play an instrument or sing.  It is an outward expression of giving God the praise he is due.

·         It is good to praise God because God is morally prefect and glorious. 
·         Ps. 106:1 for he is good and his love endures forever.
·         The works of God are good; for they reveal his attributes of wisdom and power (All through Psalms is talks about them).
·         Who God is to Israel and it hasn’t changed with us all these years.  In fact he loved us so much he paid the ultimate price for our sins.  This in itself should be enough to praise Him.
·         Praise is not just for those who can sing because I can’t sing very well.  It is more than that. It comes when we are doing to God.

2.      Because He is our Creator(contractor) vs. 2,4, 8  Verse 7 singing-noise/howling of animals.
·         Vs. 2 builds is fortifying, rebuilding, and same word in Hebrew that is in Gen. 2:22
·         God wants to bring in the Israelites that are all over the countryside from the exile. It has been 150 plus years since Jerusalem and the Israelites were as a nation.
·         God has named all the stars, who do we think we are to rename the stars. 
·         Do you think he has a big book with all the names and how many stars he has?
·         God cares enough to give a name to each star, wow amazing
3.      He is a Caring(Provider and healer) vs. 9, 16-18 - - vs. 3,6
Vs. 16- Hoarfrost Ex. 16:14 fine-flake on ground like the manna that God gave Israel.
God is not only concerned for the Israel and their basic needs, but he is also concerned for the livestock as well.  He loves all of His creation all through the scriptures and it is good.
He knows how many stars and the names of each one.  What a great memory.  I wish I had that kind of brain.
Heals: makes fresh the brokenhearted or the crushed (restores the shattered or was once whole) Ps. 34:18
Binds: reminds me of when I was a fireman/emt and how you come to an injured person and fix their wounds or painful spots. Reminds me of a mother who cares for a young child who gets hurt.
Lifts up:  more than just lifting up, but is God who surrounds/encircles the humble or gentle
4.      He the main Controller(Power) vs. 5, 10
Vs. 10:
Reminder that there is a total dependence on God.

Vs. 11
Awe or fear of God
His steadfast love is vital when we think about the Israelites and how many times they tried God.  God still loved them and kept bringing them back to Him.  This chapter proves that he loved Israel so much that he was bringing them back together as a nation and restoring Jerusalem.

Romans 12:1-2
We are His creation, we are in need of His care and provision, we need His healing hands over us, and through His control and power we have been redeemed through His blood and we are forgiven of our sins.  Through this we should be praising and worshiping God daily. 
How do we apply this to our lives?
1.      Come to church with a spirit of worship and not complaining or looking for this that are not done right.  Thankfulness  Ps. 111
2.      Share with others what he is doing in your life and if you can’t find anything that He is doing in your life then maybe, it’s time to do soul searching.  Sharing with each other is a time to encourage each other.  Rom. 1:11-12 Our gifts God has given each of us.
3.      Build up and strengthen those around us.  Christ was the example for us. Eph. 4:31-32  Christ forgave us of all our sins and what more do we need to sing His praises and not complain.
4.      Praise needs to be to God.  Our Focus
Ps. 115:1
Worship and praising God is not just something that we do natural, but a command from God.
A.W. Tozer said, "Without worship, we go about miserable." God doesn't want us to be miserable -- He has a perfect plan for our lives. He has done so many things to show us that He loves us and doesn't want us to be miserable.