Bethany Presbyterian Church http://bethanypresby.org Bridgeville, PA Sun, 03 Aug 2014 04:00:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Do You Remember the Time…? http://bethanypresby.org/2014/08/sermons/do-you-remember-the-time/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=do-you-remember-the-time http://bethanypresby.org/2014/08/sermons/do-you-remember-the-time/#comments Sun, 03 Aug 2014 04:00:09 +0000 http://bethanypresby.org/?p=3570 Read the rest]]> Read the rest]]> http://bethanypresby.org/2014/08/sermons/do-you-remember-the-time/feed/ 0 “Do You Remember the Time…?” http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/do-you-remember-the-time-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=do-you-remember-the-time-2 http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/do-you-remember-the-time-2/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:50:00 +0000 http://bethanypresby.org/?p=3573 Read the rest]]> Read the rest]]> http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/do-you-remember-the-time-2/feed/ 0 August 2014 Newsletter http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/newsletters/august-2014-newsletter/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=august-2014-newsletter http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/newsletters/august-2014-newsletter/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:41:03 +0000 http://bethanypresby.org/?p=3563 Read the rest]]> Read the rest]]> http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/newsletters/august-2014-newsletter/feed/ 0 Devotional: Jul 28 – Aug 2 http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/bicentennial/devotional-jul-28-aug-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=devotional-jul-28-aug-2 http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/bicentennial/devotional-jul-28-aug-2/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:00:13 +0000 http://bethanypresby.org/?p=3560 Read the rest]]> Experiencing the Devotional Readings

To help you experience each day’s reading and devotion, it’s suggested that you read the Scripture passage and read it more slowly a second time. Then, read the devotion and reflect upon how God is speaking to you through the passage. Finally, take the time to pray, using the exhortation that closes each devotion. (Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from the New Living Translation.)

July 28, 2014 Psalm 76

Asaph may have written this after God’s miraculous deliverance of Judah from Sennacherib and his Assyrian army         (2 Kings 19:32-36). Verses 5-7 describe a complete and decisive victory by the Lord over His enemy. The Psalmist then acknowledges God’s judgment to “rescue the oppressed” (NLT); “save all the afflicted” (NIV); and “save all the meek” (KJV). The Lord cares for the oppressed, the afflicted, and the meek of the world. We are thus reminded to likewise pray and care for those in need of God’s mercy and love. Then comes verse 10, the Hebrew translation of which is uncertain. A search of several Bible versions reveals two truths in the verse. God uses the defiance of the wicked to demonstrate His glory, in the same way that He hardened Pharaoh’s heart before the Hebrews were allowed to leave Egypt (Exodus 11:9). And He then restrains evil in the world through his patience and longsuffering (Romans 9:22). The Psalmist concludes with an exhortation to draw closer to the Lord by committing our lives to Him in humble obedience and submission to His will. Will you make a holy commitment to Him today? Tell God how awesome He is and praise Him just because of who He is! Thank Him for all that he’s done for Bethany in the last 200 years and for what He’s done in your life!

July 29, 2014 Psalm 77

Have you ever felt as though you had to search for God? At times, has He seemed distant, unapproachable, as though He’s forgotten you? We’ve probably all experienced this at some time in our walk with Him. The Bible tells us that, at all times, we should “be still” and have faith in Him (Psalm 46:10). We’re also told to wait on Him, for He is our only hope (Psalm 62:5). During our times in the spiritual desert, the Psalmist reminds us to remember the Lord’s awesome deeds and mighty works in our lives, deeds and works done for us because of His unfailing love. We need to remember that He does not change (Hebrews 13:8) and He is our Rock (Psalms 19:14 & 92:15)! He has a purpose for His silence, to teach us patience and perseverance, and to build up our faith. Since He does not change and is our Rock, we can continue to rely on Him in prayer and know that He is still there, loving us and guiding us. As the Psalm concludes, we, too, can be confident that God will continue to lead us through the sea of life’s turmoils, along a path only He knew was there. All we have to do is follow Him. Dear Lord and God, help us at Bethany to know that You are always with us in good times and bad. Give us the faith to follow You as You guide us toward a deeper relationship with You. In Christ’s name, Amen.

July 30, 2014 Psalm 78

Longsuffering – a word used in the King James and New King James Versions to describe God’s patience and endurance for the unrepentant and disobedient. This lengthy Psalm recounts God’s longsuffering of His chosen people after Moses led them out of Egypt. The Book of Judges also tells a similar story of the Hebrews’ repeated cycles of disobedience, turning to God, His appointment of a Judge, a season of peace, then back to disobedience again. In both stories, God could have destroyed His people completely, but instead chose to demonstrate His love through His longsuffering (Genesis 8:20-21). Every time we see a rainbow in the sky, we’re reminded that the Lord has promised never to destroy all living things again with a flood (Genesis 9:14-16). Asaph writes that God’s longsuffering is expressed in His mercy and forgiveness, and He remembers that we are mortal. He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14) and a temporary mist (James 4:14). And we are reminded early on in this Psalm to teach our children about God and the lessons He taught in the past – the glorious deeds, wonders, laws, and instructions of God. Why? So that each new generation may “set its hope anew on God” and, like Simon Peter, be able to say to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68 NIV). Thank God for His longsuffering for us, as He lovingly led us to repentance and acceptance of His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior.

July 31, 2014 Psalm 79      

Is it alright to question God? Asaph did in verse 5. Abraham did repeatedly in Genesis 18. Jesus did on the cross. It is alright to question God, but not to think that we know better. God’s will for us is “good, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12:2 NIV), and our faith helps us to accept His will for our lives. Ephesians 1:11 tells us that He “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (NIV). God’s will was for the nation of Israel to obey Him and worship only Him. However, their disobedience resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, which Asaph laments about in this Psalm. But even though he laments and questions, he still trusts the Lord to do what’s right and just, avenging His enemies and providing salvation for those who love Him. For all of this, we, like Asaph, can offer God our praise and thankfulness! Let’s thank and praise the Lord for His good, pleasing, and perfect will for our lives, and ask Him for a stronger faith to be patient and accept that will lovingly.

August 1, 2014 Psalm 80

“You who dwell between the cherubim…” (v.1 NKJV). That’s where God was present in the Tabernacle, on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant, between the two gold cherubim (see Exodus 25:22). Think about that for a minute. The Creator of the universe, maker of Heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible, was present on the Ark cover, between the cherubim! When Moses asked Him His name at the burning bush, He responded – “I AM WHO I AM” (or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE). His ways and His mysteries are higher and greater than ours (Job 11:7-9 & Isaiah 55:9). This is the God we worship and to whom we turn when we’re in need. He is the one and only true and living God (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39). We pray for the Lord’s favor to be with us, to get us through a trial and guide us along His path. Three times the Psalmist asks God to turn His people toward Him and to make His face to shine upon them (vv. 3, 7, 19). As we turn away from disobedient rebellion against God, He can begin to turn us toward Him. The plea for God to shine His face upon us is a plea for His approval and blessing (Numbers 6:24-26). When we turn toward the Lord and enjoy His approval, we, like the Psalmist, can be assured in His deliverance and protection! Dear Lord, we turn to You and cry out “Abba Father”, for You are our Rock and our Redeemer. Help us to constantly rely on Your love, mercy, and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

August 2, 2014 Psalm 81

After reading this Psalm, do you wonder about the stubbornness of the human spirit? God heard the cries of anguish from the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt, and He saved them. He led them through the wilderness with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. He gave them His commandments, the covenants, the priesthood, the Tabernacle, and His promises (Romans 9:4). But they still strayed from Him and worshipped foreign false Gods, which were idols. Even after the Lord gave them stern warnings about the consequences of their disobedience, they continued to reject Him. The desire of God’s heart for His chosen people is expressed in verse 13 – Oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths! James 1:22b expresses a similar truth. Under the New Covenant, we are also His chosen people through faith in Jesus Christ. God’s desire is the same for us as for the Israelites – don’t just listen to the Word, but do it! We all have a stubborn streak that rears its ugly head at times. We think know better than God; we act apart from His will; we simply disobey Him. In this, our bicentennial year and into the future, let’s resolve to listen to God’s Word and do what it says, let’s follow Him and walk in His paths! Then we can claim His promise that He’ll bless us abundantly! Let’s ask the Lord to give us a steadfast spirit to help us to obey Him more consistently.

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Thirsting for God http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/thirsting-for-god/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=thirsting-for-god http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/thirsting-for-god/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 04:00:26 +0000 http://bethanypresby.org/?p=3557 Read the rest]]> Read the rest]]> http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/thirsting-for-god/feed/ 0 Devotional: Jul 21 – Jul 26 http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/bicentennial/devotional-jul-21-jul-26/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=devotional-jul-21-jul-26 http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/bicentennial/devotional-jul-21-jul-26/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 04:00:59 +0000 http://bethanypresby.org/?p=3554 Read the rest]]> Experiencing the Devotional Readings

To help you experience each day’s reading and devotion, it’s suggested that you read the Scripture passage and then read it more slowly a second time. Then, read the devotion and reflect upon how God is speaking to you through the passage. Finally, take the time to pray, using the exhortation that closes each devotion. (Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from the New Living Translation.)

July 21, 2014 Psalm 70

Have you ever been in urgent need of God’s help, guidance, immediate attention, or deliverance? This prayer utters ten heartfelt petitions to God in only five short verses. “Please God’, “rescue me”, “come quickly”, “help me”, “please hurry”, “O Lord do not delay” are the most desperate pleas recorded here. Our Lord hears our urgency in the same way that He hears our praises and thankfulness – with His love, mercy, and compassion. Even in the midst of his immediate need for God’s help, David asks that all those who search for Him “be filled with joy and gladness in You.” He then prays that those who love God’s salvation “shout, ‘God is great’ “. The KJV says “Let God be magnified”. Will we magnify the Lord to the rest of the world even during our times of trial and testing? In the power of His Spirit within us, we can! We are promised victory because of what Christ has done for us (1 Corinthians 15:57)! Let’s all thank God for His help in our urgent times of need, and trust Him to enable us to be victorious in all circumstances.

July 22, 2014 Psalm 71

God’s love for us began long before our conception in our mothers’ wombs. Knowing that we’d be sinners, Christ died for us anyway (Romans 5:8). He had a plan for our lives long before we were born (Jeremiah 29:11 and Ephesians 2:10). And, before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed for those who would eventually believe in Him (John 17:20-26). That love continued as the Lord formed us and watched over us “in utter seclusion” (Psalm 139:13, 15). We are aware of His love for us throughout our lives, even when we suffer hardship, because we are reminded to continue to follow and obey Him (Psalm 119:71). He walks with us always, including the tough times, and then restores and comforts us. God’s ultimate expression of His love for us came when His One and Only Son willingly went to the cross in our place and suffered our punishment, demonstrating His mercy and grace. He alone is worthy of our thanks, praise, worship, and obedience! Dear God our Father, Your unconditional and unending love for us is beyond our understanding. Help us to return that love through our obedience and worship of You and our acts of mercy toward others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

July 23, 2014 Psalm 72

Godly leaders are a blessing to those over whom they rule. Proverbs 29:2 tells us that “When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan (NIV). Godly leaders care for the poor and needy, judging them fairly, defending their causes, and rescuing them from oppressive conditions. We, too, as believers in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, are called to care for the less fortunate and be merciful to them. Jesus said to learn the meaning of “desiring mercy, not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). James 1:27a tells us that pure and faultless religion in God’s eyes is “to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (NIV). In other words, God wants us to sacrifice ourselves in holy service to those in need, showing His mercy and love to them. In this way, we are really serving Him (Matthew 26:40). Let’s ask the Lord to help us not just to do “church work”, but to do the “Kingdom work” of showing mercy to others in need.

July 24, 2014 Psalm 73

Much of this Psalm parallels Jesus’ parable about the rich man and the beggar in Luke 16:19-31. Asaph the Psalmist wonders why the wicked appear to lead such carefree and unencumbered lives. They are proud, speak only evil, boast against Heaven, and enjoy lives of ease. In the parable, the rich man has everything and never reaches out to help Lazarus, a beggar who waits at Lazarus’ gate for scraps from his table. After their deaths, Lazarus enters Heaven, while the rich man goes to Hell. Abraham tells the rich man that by living in luxury but having no mercy, he was now being punished. Asaph writes that he envied the wicked because they don’t have the problems that everyone else has. We, like Asaph, can become bitter and hardened by thinking this way. And we, like him, can find wisdom, understanding, and peace in God’s sanctuary. There, we can worship Him and know we are pleasing Him. There, we can be encouraged by fellow believers in our walk with Him. We can pray to Him and be comforted by His Spirit. We can learn more about Him and His Word and grow in our faith. Then, we can say, as Asaph wrote, that “You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.” Let’s all ask God to help us to draw closer to Him through worship, fellowship, ministry, and prayer, and resolve to let Him deal with evil.

July 25, 2014 Psalm 74

The Psalmist is likely writing about the fall of Jerusalem, at the hands of the Babylonians, in 586 B.C. He appeals to the Lord, reminding Him that He chose the Hebrews as His “own special possession.” He laments about the destruction of the Sanctuary and the rest of the city, and that God no longer speaks through His prophets. However, it was the Hebrews’ disobedience that led the Lord to vent His wrath against them. The destruction of Jerusalem was prophesied in Jeremiah 9:11-16 & 21:10, and vividly described in Jeremiah 39:1-2, 8. Ironically, the Psalmist asks God to remember His covenant promises to His people, even though the people violated and broke that covenant! The writer concludes with an appeal for the Lord to avenge His enemies, for Him to receive the praise of His people, and to restore their relationship with Him. God’s grace, mercy, and love for the nation of Israel is prophesied in Isaiah 60:10 and Zechariah 10:6, as well as several other passages in the Old Testament. Thankfully, the Lord is “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15 NIV). Thank God for being merciful to us (not dealing with us as our sins deserve) and for His grace (giving us His blessings which we don’t deserve).

July 26, 2014 Psalm 75

We are reminded to always be thankful to God for what He has done in the past and what He’s doing now in our lives and in the world. We can’t thank Him enough, but are exhorted to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). We are also reminded that the Lord is near to us. Even the Hebrew name given to Jesus in prophesy, Immanuel, means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14). In Christ, God came into this world as a man; not just any man, but as the Son of Man and the Son of God. And then, we are reminded to praise Him and always tell of His wonderful deeds.         1 Peter 2:9a gives us four reasons to praise the Lord – “we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” We are encouraged to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15). A lost world needs to hear us declare our thanks our praise to Him, and the truth that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord! Pray for God to put His song of thanks and praise into your heart, so that you draw closer to Him and bring others to the Savior.

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Waiting on God http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/waiting-on-god/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=waiting-on-god http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/waiting-on-god/#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:00:12 +0000 http://bethanypresby.org/?p=3551 Read the rest]]> Read the rest]]> http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/waiting-on-god/feed/ 0 Pittsburgh Pirates Faith Night http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/pastor/pittsburgh-pirates-faith-night/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pittsburgh-pirates-faith-night http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/pastor/pittsburgh-pirates-faith-night/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 21:06:14 +0000 http://bethanypresby.org/?p=3546 Read the rest]]> Around three weeks ago I attended a Pirates game with some of our church folks from Bethany’s Upwards Basketball and Cheerleading ministry. It was Faith Night at the ballpark, when players and coaches from the Pirates would speak with fans after the game, giving testimony to their faith in Christ.

I stuck in my pocket a pen and some paper – the Pirates’ game day booklet – to be prepared for any opportunity for an autograph of a ballplayer. You never know.

The game ended with a victory and then a long and spectacular display of fireworks. Then we ventured down to the area behind the first base dugout for the Faith Night gathering. To put it mildly, it was no intimate gathering. The several thousand fans gathered in the seats on the first base side of the field. Melany and found a couple open seats and settled in. Behind me was an older man brimming with energy and joy. He introduced himself as “Ken” and proudly proclaimed he was ninety two years old. “You’re ninety one, Dad,” his daughter gently corrected. He went on to tell me his story. He played in the Pirates’ farm system “in ’39 and ’40″, well on his way to the big leagues. Then he got called to go to war and travelled to Europe with ” thousands of us young guys on the Queen Mary.” By the end of the war he return to go to work and raise a family but kept in touch with his Pirates friends. ” The old Pirates still come to my place outside of Dubois to hunt and fish – Bobby Del Greco and Elroy Face and others. They’re younger than me. I’m ninety two.”

About that time the Pirates came out for Faith Night, joined by some New York Mets. Dozens were there to give visible testimony to their faith. Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison gave their testimonies. Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and many others answered questions from children. Manager Clint Hurdle gave the keynote address, how an eternally patient God and a loving Christian woman led him to faith in Christ and out of a life of addiction to alcohol. At the end of the program the Pirates’ chaplain led us in prayer. The folks in our section took hands, and I took the hand of my friend, Ken. The program was over.

But not for me. I turned to Ken and told him that I had been hoping to get an autograph from a Pirate ballplayer. “Yeah,” he agreed, as he gazed toward the players on the field. ” know which one I want,” I informed him. “You.”

So right there with the crowd departing, right there at the top of the page that says, ” Pirates Roster”, he took my pen and signed his name, “Ken A. Bundy”.

Then we shook hands and went our ways.

Greatness comes in many forms. Sometimes it comes in the swinging of a bat and hitting a game winning home run in a National League pennant race. Sometimes it comes in faithfully serving your country in time of war, raising a family and living out your faith joyfully and passionately, loving the Lord and life at age ninety two…or whatever.

If you want to be great, think small. Do the little things, the everyday things-like work and family, faith and serving others- with the love and joy of Jesus.

And maybe someday someone will ask you for your autograph.

Come by my study at the church and see for yourself. It is on the coffee table, the Pirates Game Day booklet- “Cutch’s picture on the cover, Ken Bundy’s autograph on page 29.

See you on Sunday,

John Hamilton

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Devotional: Jul 14 – Jul 19 http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/bicentennial/devotional-jul-14-jul-19/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=devotional-jul-14-jul-19 http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/bicentennial/devotional-jul-14-jul-19/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:41:13 +0000 http://bethanypresby.org/?p=3540 Read the rest]]> Experiencing the Devotional Readings

To help you experience each day’s reading and devotion, it’s suggested that you read the Scripture passage and read it more slowly a second time. Then, read the devotion and reflect upon how God is speaking to you through the passage. Finally, take the time to pray, using the exhortation that closes each devotion. (Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from the New Living Translation.)

July 14, 2014 Psalm 64 (David Calls God)

Ring, ring….God – Hello?

David – Dear Lord, this is your servant, David. I want to register a complaint.

God – What is the nature of your complaint?

David – My enemies are constantly making threats against me. Their words are like sharp arrows spoken from sharp tongues. They also think nothing of ambushing the innocent and they encourage each other to perpetrate evil continually.

God – Anything else?

David – Yes, as a matter of fact. As they make their evil plans, they say to themselves, “Who will ever find us out?” They think that they’ve come up with a flawless plan. The human heart and mind are bent toward wickedness.

God – The unrepentant suffer from that Adam and Eve disobedience thing. In the Garden, they believed the serpent instead of obeying Me and brought a curse upon all of man (and woman) kind. If you recall, that’s why I destroyed every living thing with the flood. I started over with Noah and his family and told them to be fruitful and multiply. I created the twelve tribes of Israel, but, their nation became so large in Egypt that the new Pharaoh feared their numbers and made them slaves. I heard their cries of anguish and had My servant Moses led them out of Egypt. In the wilderness, I gave them my Ten Commandments and made a covenant with them. But, many still sin and don’t understand that I really don’t want their animal sacrifices. I want them to obey Me and have a relationship with Me and walk with Me all their lives. You wrote about this in Psalm 51.

David – I’m so glad that we’ve had this conversation. What started as a complaint has become for me a better understanding of You and Your plan for Israel and the world. You will deal with Your enemies and, as a result, people will fear and honor You and proclaim Your mighty deeds. And the godly will find shelter in You and praise You.                                                                                                                                                                                   Us – Dear Lord and God, thank You for protecting us and guiding us into a deeper and closer relationship with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

July 15, 2014 Psalm 65

We should not allow the sin in our lives to cast a shadow over God’s love for us and His many blessings. When we confess to Him, He freely pardons us, through our faith in Christ, and restores us to a right relationship with Him (Romans 5:18). When we pray to Him, He hears us and is able, in His mighty strength, to do more than we are able to ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Our Heavenly Father desires to bless us with all good things, both spiritual and temporal (John 1:16). For all these reasons, we need to abundantly thank Him for abundantly blessing us. Being so blessed, we want to give back to Him by serving others with His love and mercy. We’ve been blessed to be a blessing! “The river of God has plenty of water: it provides a bountiful harvest…” (verse 9b). Let’s all pray for God’s continued blessing from His river of grace and let’s thank Him for our bountiful harvest.

July 16, 2014 Psalm 66

We’re almost half way through this Prayer book, and maybe you’ve noticed the Hebrew word “Selah” (NLT translates “Interlude”) appearing occasionally in the body of some Psalms. It is used three times in this Psalm, and about 73 times in 39 of the Psalms. An investigation of the Hebrew meaning of Selah reveals many possible interpretations. Since the Psalms were accompanied by music, many believe it is a musical term affecting the flow of the tune or an instruction to the singers and musicians. Other scholars think it could indicate a pause or break in the prayer, possibly exhorting the singer or reader to reflect upon what was just sung or read. That’s a most intriguing and profound translation of the word, and certainly appeals to us as we read through the book. In this Psalm, it appears after verse 4, where we’re told that God’s entire creation will praise Him (see Psalms 65:13, 69:34, 98:8, Isaiah 44:23, & Luke 19:39-40). Then, once again, after verse 7, where we read that God rules forever and “watches every movement of the nations.” Finally, it appears after verse 15, where the writer is sacrificing burnt offerings to the Lord. Burnt offerings were a voluntary demonstration of a person’s godly devotion and acknowledgement of their sins before the Lord. The word “Selah” can thus serve as a reminder for us to continually pause and meditate upon what we read in the Bible. God’s Word is worth our thoughtful and prayerful reflection as we seek to go deeper into its meaning for our lives and to encourage us in our faith. Let’s all pray for the Lord’s patience and wisdom as we journey through the Scriptures, so that we can better understand them and sing His praises and be filled with His joy!

July 17, 2014 Psalm 67

In the Great Commission, described in Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells His disciples to make disciples of everyone on earth, to baptize them in the Trinity’s name, and to teach them obedience of all His commands. A tall order, to be sure. But, Jesus assured them that He would be with them in this endeavor. He promised to give them His Holy Spirit to fill them with Heaven’s power (Luke 24:49). In our Psalm, David is prophesying about the fulfillment of the Great Commission. He beseeches the Lord’s assurance that His ways and saving power would be known in all the earth. God will be praised and the people will be filled with joy because He rules with justice and guides them throughout life. David also foresees the soul harvest of many believers for the Lord, and God’s blessing upon those who spread the truth of His love and mercy. Do you see yourself in this dramatic sharing of the Gospel to all people? It hasn’t happened yet, but we all need to continue to spread the Good News whenever we have the opportunity. Pray for the Lord to use you mightily to tell a world in desperate need of a Savior all about Him and the salvation He brings.

July 18, 2014 Psalm 68                            

Most Bible commentators believe that this is a song about returning the Ark of the Covenant from the home of Obed-edom to Jerusalem, as described in 2 Samuel 6:11-15. During that procession, there was much jubilation, celebration, and praise for the Lord because the Ark represented His presence with His people. The fact that there are seven different names used to describe God in this Psalm could point to an enlightened understanding of the person of God at the time. There are also other wonderful truths stated in this Psalm. In verse 5, God is called a “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows.” This speaks of His mercy and compassion, behaviors that we are encouraged to emulate (Hosea 6:6 & James 1:27). Verse 10 refers to us a “needy people”, because of our brokenness and need for a Savior (Romans 3:23). Verse 19 says that “He carries us in His arms” (Isaiah 40:31). Verse 20 refers to God as the “God who saves” (2 Peter 3:9). Then, in verse 35, we’re assured that the Lord gives us power (Acts 1:8) and strength (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). Thank God for being your defender and provider, and trust Him to equip you for every good work in service to Him.

July 19, 2014 Psalm 69

Once again, David is in distress because of undeserved suffering. In this Psalm, however, he writes with a definite Messianic tone. Several verses speak of Jesus’ pain and sorrow in the hours leading up to His crucifixion. In the King James Version, he writes that for God’s sake, he has had to endure shame and reproach. Jesus likewise had to bear these. David’s zeal for God’s house “hath eaten me up”, and Jesus’ clearing of the Temple prompted His disciples to remember this verse (John 2:17). David felt that his enemies’ reproach for God had fallen on him. Certainly, Jesus knew that, because the world hated him, it would also hate His followers (John 15:18). David looked for someone to take pity on him and comfort him, but found no one. Jesus likewise was abandoned by disciples after His arrest in the Garden (Mark 14:50). David wrote that, in his travail, “in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Jesus was also given vinegar on the cross when He said “I am thirsty” (John 19:28b-29). We are therefore reminded that God did not hesitate to subject His one and only Son to suffering, death, and the punishment of Hell, all for our sakes (Isaiah 53:4) . Since God had so smitten His Son, we should expect some rain to fall in our own lives along the way. We, like David, have realized our spiritual poverty and sinfulness, and have said to the Lord – “Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it” (verse 18 KJV) and “But I am poor and sorrowful: let Thy salvation, O God, set me up on high” (verse 29 KJV). Dear Lord and God, please give me the strength to endure my trials and suffering, and inspire me to praise and thank You for walking with me always. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Truth and Grace http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/truth-and-grace/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=truth-and-grace http://bethanypresby.org/2014/07/sermons/truth-and-grace/#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 04:00:45 +0000 http://bethanypresby.org/?p=3534 Read the rest]]> July 13, 2014 Service

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