Praise God!

childrens-choir

Today’s Reading – Psalms 146 – 150 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 27 – 28; Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “0714 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” – (Psalm 150:1-6)

“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” (Psalms 66:1-2)

I remember visiting Solid Rock Baptist Church years ago, and Pastor Clark had noticed some teenagers that weren’t singing. He rebuked them, saying, “Open your big fat mouth and praise God”. I will never forget it, and I often want to shout the same thing at our church.

It is interesting how many times the word praise is used in the Psalms. In fact, every psalm that we have read this morning mentions the word “praise” several times. The Lord deserves our praise. We should praise him first because of who He is; and then because of all that He’s done for us. We should praise God all the time, but it is especially important to praise the Lord in the church house. We can praise Him through our singing, and in our prayers and testimonies. We serve an awesome God, so “open your big fat mouth and praise God”!


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The Good Ole Days

Good Ole Days

Today’s Reading – Psalms 133 – 139 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24; Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

Read the “0712 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s reading – “Unity“.

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?” (Psalms 137:1-4)

Psalm 137 is a very sad psalm written after the Israelites had lost their land, and had been taken into captivity by the Babylonians. In this psalm they are remembering the good ole days, when they were safe and secure inside of their borders, and when they had the freedom and privelege to worship and serve God freely. But, that was all gone. As a nation, they had forsaken God’s word, neglected His worship, and had allowed all of the wicked practices of the heathen to enter in. Though God had warned them of the consequences many times through His prophets, the people just would not listen, so God had to judge them. In this psalm, they are looking back, and wishing that they could go back and do things differently.

I see a prophetic parallel to America in this psalm. I believe if we continue down the path that we are travelling as a nation, we too will lose everything, and will one day be looking back in regret, wishing we could go back and re-do things. We have not lost everything yet, but we can see the hand of God’s judgment beginning to fall upon this once great nation. It doesn’t have to happen though. We could repent, and go back to what we were when we were founded. Of course, we had some problems back then as well, and I do not advocate that we do everything exactly as we did then, but I do believe we need to put God back on the throne in this land. Our nation has become a godless, corrupt, and extremely immoral place. We have come to accept and even promote many things which God has declared to be evil. We are forsaking the houses of God’s worship, and instead are consumed with chasing possessions and pleasure. If we keep going, someday soon it will all be gone. But then, we will remember. I guess it won’t be all bad, though, because while we are remembering what we lost, we also will remember God. Just a thought.


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Unmoveable

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 108 – 114 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 15 – 16; Psalms 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

Read the “0708 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Surely he shall not be moved forever…” (Psalm 112:6)

“…his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7)

“His heart is established…” (Psalm 112:8)

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed….A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6,8)

There is far too much instability among God’s people today; they just can’t seem to make up there minds as to where they stand. The Bible says about Jesus that His face was set like a flint, meaning He wasn’t budging from the will of God. Why is it that His children, however, are always moving in their doctrinal positions, and in their personal convictions. We need to learn the lesson that the Psalmist teaches here in the 112th Psalm.

Notice the characteristics of this unbending, righteous man spoken of here in the Psalm 112:

1 He is unmoveable about His Bible.

“[He] delighteth greatly in his commandments” (v. 1)

He is not the type of guy that changes the Bible he uses, or what he believes about the Bible. He is bull-dogmatic about Bible principles. He believes and applies what God says; and doesn’t deviate off of the course that the Word charts.

2 He is gracious and full of compassion. (v. 4)

Even though you are not going to move him about what he believes, he will be gracious and compassionate with those who have not yet grown to where he is. He gives people who are heading in the right direction time to get there. He is willing to give somebody a second and third chance when they demonstrate true contrition and repentance.

3 He is generous in his giving. (vs. 5, 9)

He knows that the source of all of his wealth is God. He knows also that God expects him to distribute the wealth that he has given him in order to be a blessing and a help to others.

How often do we change our minds and our actions regarding our Christian walk. We need to be a little more like this man mentioned in the Psalm. We need to dig in, find out what we believe from the Bible, and stick with it until the Lord takes us home.


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Never Satisfied

Never Satisfied

Today’s Reading – Psalms 106 – 107 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 13 – 14Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “0707 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:15)

The Scripture referenced above has to do with the children of Israel during their wilderness wanderings. It seems that the people were always griping and complaining about their condition; always discontented about what God had provided for them. You will remember that God gave them manna from Heaven, but the people lusted after meat. God gave them what they wanted, but at what price? The Psalmist tells us they received leanness into their souls. I don’t think that God was upset with them because they had a physical hunger; but He did judge them because they put their lust for the physical above their love for Him.

How often do we put our physical, and other fleshly desires over the things of God. There is nothing wrong with food, but when we become so consumed with eating, playing, enjoying, etc. that we become negligent of the spiritual we too will suffer the consequences of a spiritual famine. I love to eat, I love to enjoy the good things that God has given us to enjoy in this life, but I don’t want to trade off the spiritual blessings that God has for me because of an over-appetite for the physical.

Notice the historical reference of this event from Numbers 11:

“And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.” (Numbers 11:33)

Our flesh is enemy # 1. If we are not careful, we will allow our flesh to take over our lives. We may be physically fat, but we will also be spiritually famished.


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So Great Is His Mercy

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 103 – 105 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 11 – 12; Psalms 26 – 30; Proverbs 6)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Read the “0706 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – (Psalm 103:10-12)

I have a good friend who is an evangelist, and every time I ask him how he is doing, he always says, “Better than I deserve”. He’s right. He doesn’t deserve to be doing as good as he is doing, but God has been very good to him; and good to me as well. Today’s passage teaches this truth, which is perhaps the most wonderful truth in the entire Bible: that God is merciful to sinners. Of course, I must be clear to point out that this truth only applies to sinners who have received the gift of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a principle in the Bible called sowing and reaping, which basically teaches that we will reap in judgment what we sow in sin. But for the Christian, this principle does not completely apply. Those of us who are the children of God will never reap in judgment what we sowed in sin. The judgment of our sin was reaped by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. He suffered for what I sowed. Now, to be sure, there will always be corrective consequences for sin in this life, and perhaps loss of reward in eternity for the disobedient Christian, but we will never get what we truly deserve for our rebellion against God. God is merciful. He has removed our sins. He truly has made them white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18) All of our past sins are gone completely, and He will not “impute” any new sins to our account. (Romans 4:8) What a wonderful God we serve! Have you taken time today to thank the Lord for His mercy? Have you told the Lord how much that you appreciate what He did for you on the Cross? Think about it: if you and I received what we deserved we would be burning in the Lake of Fire right now, but our God is merciful to those who come to Him in repentance and faith. Praise His Name!!


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O Be Careful Little Eyes

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 96 – 102 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 9 – 10; Psalms 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read the “0705 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “Enduring to All Generations“, and “Before His Presence

“I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” (Psalms 101:2-3)

Before I get into my main thought for this morning’s devotion, let me point out that in Psalm 101, David uses the phrase “I will”, or “will I” 9 times. These were very bold, and almost cocky assertions on his part, and I am pretty sure that he failed to keep every one of these promises during the course of his life. He was, as we are, human. I am very careful not to make too many promises about what I will or will not do, because I have been known to break a promise or two in my lifetime as well. However, I do believe that it is good to set up some standards and boundaries in our lives based upon the principles that we are taught in the Word; and we should ask the Lord to help us to maintain them.

In vs. 2 & 3 of this psalm, David determines that he will behave himself wisely, and that he will set no wicked thing before his eyes. In the culture that we live in today, we almost have to put blindfolds on in order to fulfill this promise. There are so many “wicked things” for us to look at. Let’s be honest, you absolutely cannot turn on the television without setting some kind of wicked thing before your eyes. Wickedness is blatantly visible in our culture. To be perfectly frank, I am ashamed to say that I have seen some things in our church that should have never entered into my eyes. Things that were condemned just a few years ago are condoned and even promoted today, and it is getting worse every day. It is impossible for us to interact with this culture without allowing wicked images to enter into our eyes, and then ultimately into our hearts. Yet, we must strive to put some blinders on our physical and spiritual eyes that will keep us from beholding sin and thinking about things that could destroy us spiritually.

In Sunday School we sing a song that says:

“O be careful little eyes what you see,

O be careful little eyes what you see,

For the Father up above is looking down in love,

O be careful little eyes what you see.”

Christian, please be careful. If you have a television, you will need to block much of the programming, and you will have to turn off many of the commercials. The ads are often worse than the shows themselves. Don’t let your children watch the TV unsupervised. There is just way too much poison coming through that box. The Internet is obviously a huge problem also. And, there are many places, like the movies or the beach, that we will need to avoid if we want to keep our eyes from beholding sin.

Let me say a word to you ladies. Please be careful about what you wear, especially in the summer months. Immodest dress can be a big stumblingblock to many men. Job had to make a “covenant” with his eyes not to look upon a maid. I think if he were living today he would have a tough time keeping that promise.

Obviously, I cannot address every application that could be made from these verses in Psalm 101, but I think you get the idea. I understand that we are living in some desperately wicked times, but don’t get swept away by the culture. Don’t just be content to be a little more conservative than the culture, either. Determine to please God with what you allow yourself to see, and also how you behave.


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Happy Birthday America

Happy Birthday America

Today’s Reading – Psalms 90 – 95 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 7 – 8; Psalms 16 – 20; Proverbs 4)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read the “0704 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “A Penny for Your Thoughts” and “Are You Thriving or Just Surviving?

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. …If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:32; 36)

Praise the Lord for America!  This is the greatest nation on the face of the earth.  When I think about Independence Day I am filled with praise and gratitude to our God for three specific things:

1  I thank the Lord for Jesus who died on the cross for my sins, giving me liberty from the Law and from the bondage of sin.  To think that Christ would love someone like me is really beyond my comprehension.

2  I also thank the Lord for the men and women of God throughout the centuries who have given their lives delivering the message of salvation.  I could not be saved today if it weren’t for people who sacrificed greatly communicating the truth of God’s Word.

3  Finally, I am filled with gratitude for the men and women who have given their lives for the cause of freedom here in America.  With all of her faults, America is by far the best place in the world to live.  I can carry my Bible here; I can open it on any street corner and proclaim the glorious name of Christ.  I have the freedom to worship God here according to the convictions that God has given me through His Word.  I do a lot of complaining about the direction our country is heading sometimes; but today I am going to lay aside  all of the negatives, and be thankful for the blessing of America!

One more thing.  I am going to think today about what sacrifice I can make to send the message of Christ to not just America, but to every living, breathing soul on this earth.

Thank you Jesus for setting me free from sin.  Thank you America for giving me the freedom to thank and serve Jesus.


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Visit This Vine

Grape Vine

Today’s Reading – Psalms 80 – 85  (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 3 – 4; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0702 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.” (Psalm 80:14 & 15)

The context of this passage of Scripture involves a time period in the history of Israel (the vine) when the people of God were under judgment due to their falling away from Him. Most people believe that it specifically involves the time of the Babylonian captivity. You will remember that God raised up the nation of Babylon to come and judge the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 BC because God’s people had turned away from Him and had fallen deeply into idolatry and immorality. The psalmist was pleading with God to return His favor to the vine (Israel), and to allow her to be restored to a place of God’s blessing; a place of provision and protection.

As a child of God today, I desire the same thing for my home, my church, and my nation. I so desperately want to see God move in my family and in my church. I want to see the evidence of God’s hand in the place where He has called me to live and to minister. I want God to visit the vine called Jersey Shore Baptist Church. I want God to use this place as a bright light in a dark world. I want to see multitudes of souls saved here; and I want to see the wayward saints return to the vineyard.

I believe this can happen. I believe we can see a great revival, even in these last days. But how is it going to happen? The answer to that question is found in vv 3, 7, & 19. Three times the psalmist pleads with God to:

“Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

Notice that it begins with a movement of God. The Psalmist asks God to move in the hearts of the people and cause them to desire to be turned toward the things of God. I guess that’s kind of what God has called me to do as a preacher. My job, in part, is to plead with the people and exhort them to turn away from the world and their sin; and turn back toward God. There cannot be a salvation without a turning. Don’t misunderstand, I do not believe that this Psalm is specifically dealing with the salvation of a soul from Hell, but the principle can be applied. In order for a person to be saved they obviously have to turn to God; and in order to be moving in the direction of God, one must be moving away from their sin.

The same is true for the revival of our worldly, cold and indifferent hearts in the local church. We need to turn away from our sin and all of the trifles that this world has to offer; and turn back to God with all of our hearts. We are living here for a purpose; but merely living here is not that purpose. We are here to glorify our Lord in this dark world by shining the light of His glorious gospel.

God, please visit the vine of my life, my family, and my church; and cause me to turn away from all of those things that are hindering me from fulfilling your perfect will for my life. Help me to glorify you in everything that I do and say; and help me to wet the appetite of the people around me for the things of God.


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Slippery Places

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 73 – 77 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 17 – 22; Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 30 – 31)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0630 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.” – (Psalm 73:2)

“Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.” – (Psalm 73:18)

I remember one day years ago when I was working as a youth director at the Christian Bible Baptist Church in South Toms River, I was picking up one of the guys from the youth group during an ice storm. Everything was covered with ice. I watched as this young man very carefully left his house and walked toward my truck. I turned my head for a minute, and when I looked back he was nowhere in sight. I assumed that he went back inside for a moment because he had forgotten something. That’s when I saw a hand stretching up to grab the mirror on the pasenger door of the vehicle. He was holding on to that mirror for dear life. With all of his strength he pulled himself up, and steadied himself to get in the cab. I don’t think that I have ever laughed so hard in all of my life. The young man could not even stand on his own simply because the ground underneath him was too slippery.

I may be taking too much liberty with this passage, but I can not help but notice that twice in Psalm 73 there is a reference made to slipping. In verse 2 the psalmist says that he had almost slipped because of his envy of the prosperity of wicked people. Then again in verse 18 we see another reference to a slippery place. I got to thinking that God’s people often fall because they tread 0n slippery places. You can make the application here wherever it fits in your life, but a slippery place is a place, person or thing that presents to us a great temptation to sin. Maybe for you it’s the wrong crowd, or it could be sitting home alone on the internet; but it is a place where you can easily fall into sin. If you don’t want to fall, stay away from slippery places.

By the way, did you ever notice that when you fall off your feet, you often have a difficult time getting back up on your own. It is the same when you fall into sin. Don’t be too prideful to call out to someone and ask them for help.


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Make His Praise Glorious

glory-of-god-pic

Today’s Reading – Psalms 65 – 68 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 10 – 12; Psalms 136 – 140; Proverbs 28)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the  “0628 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read an earlier post from this passage – “What Are You Thinking About?”

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” – (Psalm 66:1-2)

Our God is an awesome, and wonderful, and great, and powerful God. The English language really does not contain enough adjectives to describe how glorious our God is. Yet, we who have been saved through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ are encouraged to learn about the greatness of God from His Word, and then communicate our appreciation and admiration to Him first, and then to the people around us. In order to do this, we must first study God. One of the reasons why many Christians hava a tough time praising Him is because they don’t know Him; and there are others who are praising Him, but not according to knowledge. We are commanded to study God through the Scriptures. If the God you serve seems vague or small to you, it is because you do not know Him very well. Open the Bible and read about His awesome power, as well as His infinite wisdom, and loving compassion. He is wonderful. Get to know Him.

Once we know some things about God, we are to sing about Him. These Psalms were all originally songs, and many of them are songs of praise. I sometimes get a kick out of watching the song service at our church. I often see people going through the motions, thoughtlessly and half-heartedly mouthing the words of the hymns. Every once in a while I have to shake myself, and remember what I am singing, and to whom I am doing it. Singing is a form of praise and worship. When we sing the songs of God, we are worshipping Him, and praising Him. If there is one part of our church service that I have really been trying to work on, it is the song service.

Notice also Psalm 66:3:

“Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.”

Finally, we are to speak our praise to God, and for God continuously. The Scripture says that the redeemed of the Lord are supposed to “say so” (Psam 107:2). We have an awful lot to be thankful for; and an awful lot to praise Him for. My preacher in Texas used to say, “if you’re not going to Hell, you ain’t got no problems; and you ought to be shouting.” He is right. I once heard Pastor Charlie Clark say, “Open your big, fat mouth, and praise God.” Perhaps if we started praising the Lord as we ought to, more people would be attracted to our God. Just a thought.


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