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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christmas tree (photo by Doris High)
Our friend Doris High is visiting her family in Maine and took this photo of a Christmas tree made with ___________. (* see below for answer)

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"The Mighty One Still Speaks"

"The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. "Our God comes; He does not keep silence" (Psalm 50:1,3). "The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23). “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7).

The other day we heard an interesting song on our Christian radio station with a creative way of expressing how we need to be still and listen to God's voice. It was sung by a Southern Gospel group, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound.

Shh be still
God is in this place
Ahhh can't you feel
His loving sweet embrace
Ooh come be
Amazed again by grace
Shhh be still
God is in this place

Today's first text is a solemn introduction to the fiftieth Psalm.  It speaks of the Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaking and summoning the earth. This summons goes forth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. That's every place that the human race inhabits. This speech and summons is present tense. He is speaking and summoning. This very day He is at work speaking to all who will listen and heed His voice.

However Psalm 50 is probably not on anyone's short list for favorite Psalms. It deals with a topic many prefer not to give a lot of attention to.
The NASV has this heading: "God the Judge of the Righteous and the Wicked." The ESV heads it as, "God Himself Is Judge". Some of the expressions may seem harsh to our ears but as God's people we must heed all of God's Word, not just those sections in which we prefer or necessarily find encouragement.

Today let us consider several portions from the Psalm:

1) "The heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge!" (v.6). The righteousness (holiness) of God is one of His foundational attributes. But so is His justice. We need to ever keep before us that "God Himself is judge." I grew up in a church that regularly recited the Apostles Creed which forthrightly states that "He shall come to judge the quick (living) and the dead." A spiritually healthy outlook in life includes a perspective of future judgment. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy (and through Scripture to all of us): "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead" (2 Timothy 4:1).

2)"But to the wicked God says: 'What right have you to recite My statutes or take My covenant on your lips? For you hate discipline, and you cast My words behind you'" (vv 16,17). Today especially I consider the phrase "You cast My words behind you." Just observe the condition of the human race as overall the words of God are cast away or used in mockery.

3) “Now consider this, you who forget God" (v. 22). O, how we need to communicate this to our world. Several days ago we shared a message about not forgetting God and His commands. This was a caution to believers but also consider the state of those who willingly forget God giving Him no heed at all.

4) "The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” This is a contrast to the first three points and is something we are positively called to do; offer thanksgiving and order our way rightly in obedience to God. Brooksyne and I, in our first year of marriage, memorized this verse since it was set to music from the KJV, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God."

Today He continues to speak and summon.
“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts!” (Hebrews 4:7). He knows your name and just what you are going through. There are no limitations with God. Today let us listen and heed His voice!

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we want to be still and listen to Your still small voice, whether You're speaking directly to our spirit or speaking to us through Your holy Word. At times You speak to us through song, through nature, through other believers and through the unfolding of  major and minor events in our lives. As You speak to us, we want to be careful and listen to Your voice so that we do not harden our hearts. Instead we want You to fulfill in us all Your purposes for our growth and for Your glory. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Plumbing challenge: We have devised some work-arounds for our plumbing problem (burst pipes due to freezing) we shared about yesterday such as using a garden hose from a utility sink to the washer. I am looking to replumb the area so the pipes aren't exposed to the freezing temps. I am grateful for friends like Rick Masciantonio in Massachusetts who share advice with me!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Shh, Be Still"  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

"Speak, O Lord"  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow'r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

"Word Of God Speak"  Video  MercyMe

* Christmas tree made of lobster traps!

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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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