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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Great Thou Art

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"How Great Thou Art"

"Great are the works of the Lord; they are studied by all who delight in them." "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever" (Psalm 111:2,10). Psalm 111

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:

We both enjoy observing God's creation, otherwise referred to as nature. You can see the works of the Lord all around you regardless of where you live, although I must admit living in the country it seems the observance of His works is even more abundant and evident. Presently we see the tiny corn plants emerging through the loose soil that in several months will stand over 7 feet tall!

Psalm 48:1 declares, "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised." Absolutely, God is great in His divine nature, but in our passage today we focus on the greatness of His works. The Psalmist proclaims, "Great are the works of the Lord." It's truly amazing what the Lord has done in creation from the micro to the macro.

George Washington Carver"They (His works) are studied by all who delight in them." George Washington Carver wrote "I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour if we will only tune in."  As a devout Christian, Carver considered his laboratory, "God's Little Workshop."

Part of delighting in God is studying His works which should lead us to delighting in them. Another version uses this phrase "they are pondered". We are called Scripturally to study these marvelous gifts from God. Study means to reflectively examine and investigate.

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

What a great Creator God we serve! One of the theological "proofs" for the existence of God is known as the teleological, which asserts that the very design so evident in the order shows a Designer behind it. I see God's handiwork and design everywhere I look.

But there's a part of this Scripture portion that I find especially insightful: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments" Worded another way; Fearing the Lord and obeying His commandments result in gaining wisdom and good understanding. Or to word this concept negatively; choosing not to fear the Lord or obey His commands leads to foolishness.

Of course we see in our age a massive departure from fearing the Lord and keeping His commands. The verse comes to mind "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:20-22).

We make this declaration today through another Psalm of David, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).

"How Great Thou Art" continues in the third verse with an extolling of God's work in the redemption of His people.

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died, to take away my sin.

Indeed, "His praise endures forever."  Amen!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your works surround us and add such depth and beauty to our daily experiences in life.  You not only tend to our daily needs but through Your great works You delight our senses by that which we see, touch, hear, and feel as we admire Your handiwork. Help us to pause in our busy schedules to listen to the rippling brook, smell the tree blossoms, observe the mountain grandeur and  recognize Your creative power in the plentiful ornamentals that we have the privilege of planting, growing and tending over the warm months each year. Your great works are observed in the Scriptures and admired in our daily lives.  How wonderfully extravagant is Your works that we enjoy each day, for it is truly the heavens declaring Your glory and the firmament showing Your handiwork. For them we are grateful. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"How Great Thou Art" 
Video  (a bit more contemporary)  Not specified
Video  (traditional) Homecoming

Having shared most of the hymn in the body of our message today we really should share the last verse and refrain!

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, "My God, how great thou art!"

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

"How Great Is Our God"  Video  Chris Tomlin

"All Creatures Of Our God And King"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

Rick MasciantonioRick Masciantonio, a long-time friend we met in the church we served in New England is visiting us for several days while he attends a "Banner Of Truth" pastor's conference. He is a very serious student of God's Word and quite a number of his sermons are posted online.

Here is the latest that supplements this message well in regard to the point on fearing God. "The Everlasting Gospel and the Fear of God" Audio
  This message is a very powerful explanation of the crumbling foundations all about us.

In a couple of days we will share about an experience we had with Rick helping us out with a long overdue project that serves as a spiritual lesson.

Jay Smith Off today's topic but very interesting and timely in "understanding the times". Jay Smith is a missionary with a very unusual and bold approach, seeking to present the message of Christ to the Islamic radicals in London. Jay is an expert in Christian-Muslim Apologetics, having worked with Muslims for [over] 23 years. He is famous for his unique evangelistic ministry. Every weekend he leads dozens of Christians to the Speakers Corner in Hyde Park in London, where they meet with hundreds of Muslims face to face, to make friends, answer tough questions, debate the latest research and ideas, and share their faith. Smith heads up Hyde Park Christian Fellowship, and emphasizes the use of Polemics with Muslims, over Apologetics. I have met him personally and he is the real deal. He has a very interesting perspective on recent events in London in this video.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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