Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Psalm of Praise

Today's message on Turning Point was an examination of the anatomy of praise. Dr. David Jeremiah began his sermon mentioning all of the choices that we have. For example. We choose one house out of hundreds in the area we wish to live. We choose one car out of thousands, one or two cereals out of 200, one cell phone out of hundreds available. Sometimes we choose well, then other times we don't. The regret of purchasing the wrong house, especially after the close of escrow and you have already moved in might be highly frustrating and more complicated to fix than other choices.

Dr. Jeremiah mentioned that people often feel worse when material things get better in their lives. The rise of materialistic wealth can often lead to negative feeling within our inner lives.

Who hasn't seen or heard about extremely wealthy Hollywood stars who deal with higher amounts of depression, loneliness, embarrassment from highly publicized scandals and heart-wrenching exposure of their secrets to the world. Their private matters, such as reasons for divorce become public spectacles and often contain much grief due to the revelations of the destructive personal lives that they lead. I will be doing a more detailed post about how the praise and adulation of Hollywood stars often leads to miserable personal lives as a result. But part of the reason for this is the fact that many are caught up in pride as a result of their fame. As I had mentioned in a previous post, the latest issue of WorldNetDaily's periodical called "Whistleblower" discusses the insanity of Hollywood. One particular nugget of truth is the fact that so many celebrities get caught up in one or more of the following stumbling blocks that prevent them to gravitate towards a true relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ and/or any acknowledgment of the God of the Bible:
1. Pride
2. Indifference
3. Hatred towards the faithful in Christ.

Any other religion is OK with them (Scientology, Islam, Buddhism, Wicca etc.) . But Christianity is frowned upon, (most definitely and wholeheartedly) by most of the elitist and prestigious T.V. and boxoffice stars! More about this in a later post.

Back to this topic.

Dr. Jeremiah mentioned that Esterbrook (who wasn't a particularly religious person) once wrote (paraphrased here) - 'We need to stop focusing on ourselves and be thankful for our blessings in life and spread those blessings to others.'

Being thankful doesn't come naturally to us. Christians learn to praise supernaturally.

Psalm 32 is the story of David's grief and guilt over what he had done. He realized that what he had done was due to being out of fellowship with the Lord.

In the middle of Psalm 33, we find him back in fellowship with God. He expresses that his joy has been restored.

Just like David, we have a lot to be thankful for! Starting at Psalm 33:4, 5, we find that we don't want to take God's Word for granted.

Psa 33:4 For the word of the LORD [is] right; and all his works [are done] in truth.

Psa 33:5 He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.



A. We are to Praise God For His Word.

1. In this verse, we find that God's Word is pure. It is His Word that we can trust. The Bible is a book of absolutes whereas we often live in a world where people pronounce that truth is only relative. If we really want to know what is right and what is wrong, we find it out in God's Word. His Word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. More is revealed to us as we go from the Old Testament to the New Testament. But God's Word is settled in heaven, forever. It's pure.

We are truly fortunate that we can read the Bible freely here. In China, Bibles must be smuggled in. People there are often just grateful if they have a few pages ripped out from God's Word to study!

2. We are to Praise God For His Word is Powerful.

Psa 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.


Psa 33:7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.


Psa 33:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.


Psa 33:9 For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast.


In Psalm 33:6-9, the psalmist ususe Genesis to show the power of God's spoken Word. "And God said" is mentioned eight times! He spoke and all was created. God's written Word is the enscripturalization of His spoken Word.

Scripture is sharper than a two-edged sword. We read of praises and conflicts and His Word is pure and powerful.

B. We Are to Praise God for His Work.

1. We are to praise Him for His providential work.

Proverbs 19:21 - [There are] many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

In the midst of all the chaos on earth due to man's free will choices to participate in evil, sin and death, God's providential work stands sure through the counsel of Almighty God.

Now, some may ask, what about Iraq and the war on terrorism. What about Hurricane Katrina?

God doesn't cause them but stands behind them as He is in the ultimate control of our eternal destiny. If and when everything falls apart here; what happens to us? We are ultimately, no matter what happens here, in the hands of Almighty God!

This is quite a paradox. But, does this mean that we are to just jump off of a high-rise building? That would be silly. Our time is in His hands.

Jesus told us that in this world we would have trouble. But He has overcome the world. Knowing this and knowing Him is what matters most in this life!! God's counsel endures forever! We are to lock onto Him, and Him alone!! What does He ask of us? Repent!! That is what David did in Psalm 32!



Psa 32:1 ¶ [[[A Psalm] of David, Maschil.]] Blessed [is he whose] transgression [is] forgiven, [whose] sin [is] covered.


Psa 32:2 Blessed [is] the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit [there is] no guile.


Psa 32:3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.


Psa 32:4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.


Psa 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.


Psa 32:6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.


Psa 32:7 Thou [art] my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.


Psa 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.


Psa 32:9 Be ye not as the horse, [or] as the mule, [which] have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.


Psa 32:10 Many sorrows [shall be] to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.


Psa 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all [ye that are] upright in heart.


4. Praise God in His Preserving Work

Our nation is under God. The Bible tells us that blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord! This nation was founded on God's Word. What other nation imprints "In God We Trust" on it's currency?

5. Praise God for His Protecting Work.

Psalm 33:13-15




Psa 33:13 The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.


Psa 33:14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.


Psa 33:15 He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.


(to be continued...)

7 comments:

Christinewjc said...

Another interesting & revealing WND poll question:

Do you read the Bible?

No – and I don't read any other fairy tales, either

No – I have too many other things to do with my time

No – I tried and couldn't understand it

No
That's none of your business – religion is a private matter

Yes – I don't believe in its God, but it's a good source of wisdom, morality and ancient history

Yes – you can't be an educated person and not be familiar with it

Yes, but not as much as I should

Yes, regularly – I'd be lost without it

Yes

*******
Current results as of 11/19/06 at 2:32 p.m. PT:

Do you read the Bible?

Yes, but not as much as I should 38.12% (756)


Yes, regularly – I'd be lost without it 36.06% (715)


Yes 9.33% (185)


No 5.90% (117)


Yes – you can't be an educated person and not be familiar with it 5.35% (106)


That's none of your business – religion is a private matter 1.87% (37)


No – and I don't read any other fairy tales, either 1.77% (35)


No – I tried and couldn't understand it 0.91% (18)


No – I have too many other things to do with my time 0.35% (7)


Yes – I don't believe in its God, but it's a good source of wisdom, morality and ancient history 0.35% (7)



TOTAL VOTES: 1983

Christinewjc said...

Do you read the Bible?

Yes, but not as much as I should 37.96% (940)


Yes, regularly – I'd be lost without it 37.08% (918)


Yes 9.57% (237)


No 5.33% (132)


Yes – you can't be an educated person and not be familiar with it 5.13% (127)


That's none of your business – religion is a private matter 1.66% (41)


No – and I don't read any other fairy tales, either 1.53% (38)


No – I tried and couldn't understand it 0.97% (24)


No – I have too many other things to do with my time 0.44% (11)


Yes – I don't believe in its God, but it's a good source of wisdom, morality and ancient history 0.32% (8)



TOTAL VOTES: 2476

Results as of 6:57 p.m. PT

Christinewjc said...

Do you read the Bible?

Yes, regularly – I'd be lost without it 38.10% (1034)


Yes, but not as much as I should 37.21% (1010)


Yes 9.69% (263)


Yes – you can't be an educated person and not be familiar with it 5.42% (147)


No 4.97% (135)


That's none of your business – religion is a private matter 1.58% (43)


No – and I don't read any other fairy tales, either 1.40% (38)


No – I tried and couldn't understand it 0.92% (25)


No – I have too many other things to do with my time 0.41% (11)


Yes – I don't believe in its God, but it's a good source of wisdom, morality and ancient history 0.29% (8)



TOTAL VOTES: 2714

(As of 9:47 p.m. PT)

Stephen said...

As someone who doesn't know what WND

This poll shows that of a self-selecting sample size of 2714, of a population of unknown size, the majority claim to have read the Bible.

This tells me that of those people who read WND and who care enough to respond to an online survey, most of them probably consider themselves Christian.

I conclude that WND probably has a strong Christian readership in the order of a few thousand people.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Stephen,

Granted, it's not a scientific poll. I just thought it was interesting to see how many people chose to answer it! Sundays may be a "slow readership day" there, but many times I have seen the polls reach over 7,000 answers.

What is even more interesting, is to compare that poll with ones that are more scientifically sound. It has been reported in surveys done that 70% of Americans call themselves "Christian", yet only 8% of born-again evangelicals genuinely have a Biblical worldview! (See chart at Barna poll site)

That truly shocked me! But it could give much credence to Jesus' admonition that "narrow is the way to life" and "wide is the path to destruction!"

Mat 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

Mat 7:14 "Because* narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Footnotes:
7:14 NU-Text and M-Text read How . . . !


George Barna has done extensive research on stats such as this, and his results probably have more scientific value.

limpy99 said...

"The regret of purchasing the wrong house, especially after the close of escrow and you have already moved in might be highly frustrating and more complicated to fix than other choices"

I can't say I purchased the worng house, but I can tell any of you out there looking at ahouse built before 1950 that you might want to take a really, really, really long look at the wiring.

ebsfwan said...

It has been reported in surveys done that 70% of Americans call themselves "Christian", yet only 8% of born-again evangelicals genuinely have a Biblical worldview!

It looks like only 8% are realists. :)