Psalm 151

Okay, I know you didn’t fall for that. There is no Psalm 151.  There are only 150 recorded in the OT book of Psalms.

Yesterday at Grace I spoke from Jonah chapter two, you can listen here.  Sometime after Jonah enjoyed the flight from the belly of the Big Fish to the shore, he sat down and, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote out what had just happened.  Apparently during the three days and three nights in the big boy’s belly, he had time to reflect and process just how awesome it was that God delivered him. In what I called a potential 151st psalm, Jonah gave God praise for the great thing He had done for him.  Like many of the psalms, we read about the despair of Jonah’s sin, the consequences of his actions and the Lord’s hand in a remarkable delivery. God is faithful as our sovereign Lord of all.  For that we praise Him.

Jonah recalled what happened and how God was sovereign over every detail.  After Jonah disobeyed and ran the other way as fast as possible, God allowed him to be tossed overboard and soon delivered by the really large fish. In Jonah’s psalm he says it was God who threw him overboard and the waves and billows that were messing with him, were all God’s.  So after the bad day at sea, Jonah looked back and saw God at work the whole time.

How about writing your own Psalm 151 as a praise to God for how He has worked in your life.  Remember, He invites us to be a part of His story.  So, take a few minutes. Think back on a time when you were really going through something hard. It may have been running from God, like Jonah, or simply a difficult time, like the death of a loved one, or loss of job.  During that time you may not have noticed God’s grace in the details, but afterwards it was more obvious that God never left you. He is sovereign over the mess of our lives and all the while loving us and inviting us to be a part of His amazing story of grace.

Think and pray about it. Write it out.  Feel free to use the ‘comment’ section below for your “not real long” psalm of praise. Or if you’d rather, you can email it to: pmarksblog@gmail.com

Classic Passages

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across Proverbs 3:5-6. Many of you know that I read the Proverbs through each month. Along with the monthly drive-by, I also see this passage referred to often in cards and even in a Bible my dad once signed for me. I love this passage.

Prov 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

What I’m learning is what it means to ‘trust’. We trust God for our salvation, through Jesus. We trust that ‘all things work together for good’, Rom 8:28. But are we trusting Him with today.

What is it that God is leading you to trust Him with today? Your financial stuff? Job? Family? A snag? A bump in your road? Your health? What is it that God wants you to turn over to Him and know that He’s got your back? He doesn’t promise that it all goes away and everything is great, and good, and comfortable. What He tells us, is that as we trust Him and acknowledge Him, He’ll make our paths straight. He’ll make sense out of our chaos because He is ALWAYS working.

Trust Him. Go ahead, I’m right behind you.

Come Here…You!

Throughout our study in John we’re noticing Jesus’ invitation to come and follow Him.  Yesterday I broke it down to three invitations: Come and See – Come and Follow – Come and Die!

Where are you with Jesus?  He invites us to “come and see”. Check it out. “You gotta see this!” And that’s more than just an invitation to a great church service with amazing music and fog machines.  That’s about an honest look at Christianity and it’s claims.  Remember the gal from Samaria, “Come and see this Jesus, you gotta check this out”.  She could say that because she had already seen, and believed.

“Come and follow” is the invitation to become a genuine follower of Christ by placing your faith in Him as Savior. Exchanging your life for His. Crossing the line of faith.  Repenting of your sins, seeing yourself and your sins as filthy rags, and telling Jesus you believe WHO He is, and WHAT He’s done for you.  Pray the prayer!  I hope several did that at Grace yesterday. If YOU never have, I hope you will.

“Come and die” is the hard part of giving your all to Jesus.  This isn’t the same as being saved. This is an act of the (already)child of God giving full surrender to a life dedicated to the mission of Jesus.  There is a cost to consider.  This is obedience.  This is where God calls/leads us to give our all.

Wherever you are, Jesus reaches out His arms and says, “come here…come to Me!”

Aren’t you glad?

Summer Memorizing

Several weeks ago I threw a challenge out to our church family to memorize a block of verses in Titus 2. To my amazement, several have taken up the challenge and are making it happen. One guy walked into church this past Sunday carrying his written out verse reminding me how hard it is to memorize “at our age”. This morning one of our young ones rattled of all 4 verses in record time.

I love how kids memorize. They get the words, and I’m pretty sure they get the meaning. But the best thing is, it’s in their minds. Remember Romans 12:1,2? The much needed transformation of life takes place as our minds are renewed. To memorize and meditate on God’s Sacred Writings is perhaps the best way to renew your mind. Here’s a verse you can memorize if you haven’t already.

I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.

Ps 119:11 ESV

This little girl today is way ahead of the curve. Sure she said it real fast, and she might have a hard time defining some of the big words, but it’s in there. It’s in her mind, a mind that is being renewed. And if it’s in her mind, it’s in her heart.

It’s not too late to take up the challenge. Memorize Titus 2:11-14. Soon, I’ll pass on the next verse to work on.

Ordinary or Extraordinary

Perhaps there are many ways to distinguish between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Be it with someone’s performance, or someone’s character, or the “new car” versus the old one. Somethings are ordinary, and that’s good. Then there are the extraordinary. When it comes to life, do you want ordinary, or have you considered extraordinary?

I found a definition in Acts 5. (Best to read the chapter, save me writing out a whole sermon here!)

“We must obey God rather than men” 29

What made Peter’s confession so strong was that behind this statement was a life of amazing adventure. Extraordinary adventure that seemed to follow these Apostles. All they did was live it out.

Obviously we have a pretty cool healing ministry happening when people from all around Jerusalem are bringing their sick to just fall under the shadow of Peter. That’s not normal. And it’s really not something we’re suppossed to shoot for today when we think of being extraordinary. (Though I must admit it would be pretty cool to do.)

After the guys were imprisoned for this extraordinary ministry, “an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”

So, they did.

The next day the Apostles find themselves again in front of the council. Mr. BigShot councilman says, “I told you plainly not to teach in THIS NAME…” That’s when Peter gives us these words that mark the line between ordinary and extraordinary.

You see the ordinary response from most of us would be… “Well, gosh, if they don’t want me saying the name of Jesus outloud, maybe I should find a more subtle way to express my beliefs.” I say ordinary because that’s so what we would expect today. That’ how we respond. That’s probably exactly what I would have done. I mean these are powerful people telling me what to say and not say. But not the extraordinary Peter.

So, check out verse 42, “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

THAT’S IT!

That’s the extraordinary life. It’s not about shadows that heal, or standing before the powerful leaders and getting all up in their face about your beliefs. It’s not about miracles and amazing things that make you say, WOW. No, it’s about being about Jesus! Seriously, that’s it. That’s the extraordinary life.

For the apostles, to “obey God, rather than man” meant to preach and teach Jesus Christ. It was more than a Sunday morning declaration, it was a way of living.

Did it cost them something? Um…yeah. v40.

What’s the extraordinary life look like for you today? I’m just sayin

What do you think?