Have we forgotten our Maker?
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand….” Psalm 95:1-7a
In Hosea 8:14, we read that “Israel hath forgotten his Maker.” They were still a religious people, but they had forgotten who the LORD God was and how to worship and serve Him.
These words are not only true of Old Testament Israel at the time of Hosea the prophet; they are true of us today. As a nation and people, we have forgotten our Maker and we neglect to give Him the glory and praise due unto His name.
We need to remember that “the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3).
In spite of man’s attempts to escape this fact, the truth still remains that the LORD (Jehovah) God of the Bible (the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost) has created us and all things by His almighty word (Gen. 1-2; Neh. 9:6). It is He who formed us in our mothers’ wombs and gave us life (Ps. 139:13-16), and He it is who sustains our lives (cf. Ps. 145:15-16).
And, not only is He the Creator and Sustainer of all things, He gave His only begotten Son and redeemed us through the innocent sufferings and death of Christ Jesus that we might have forgiveness for all our sins and again be alive to Him and worship His name (cf. Ps. 130:7-8; Jn. 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10; Rom. 5:8-11).
Isn’t it about time we remember our Creator; look to Him to forgive our sins for the sake of the holy life and bitter sufferings and death of the Son, Christ Jesus, and then worship and serve Him with our lives?
If we do not humbly kneel before Him now, we shall be humbled and kneel before Him on the Last Day when He executes His judgment upon all people (cf. Phil. 2:5-11; Ps. 2).
O Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, for the sake of Christ Jesus, our Savior, forgive us for our many sins against You, and grant that we might kneel before You and worship You both now and for evermore in heaven! Amen.
Do you harden your hearts against the LORD?
“To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, [and] as [in] the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with [this] generation, and said, It [is] a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest..” Psalm 95:7b-11
Will you enter God’s eternal rest, or are you hardening your heart against Him? God’s Word comes to you. You have it in your Bible, and it is still preached by faithful ministers; but will you hear it and believe it?
The Children of Israel heard God’s words through Moses and even directly from God Himself on Mt. Sinai. They saw God’s mighty works in Egypt, at the Red Sea and in the wilderness. But did they believe? Did they trust in the LORD God to lead and guide them, provide for them in their journeys and bring them safely into the Promised Land? The answer is, No! Again and again, they grumbled and complained. Again and again they disobeyed the commandments of the LORD. And, when it was time to go up and take possession of the land the LORD was giving them, they doubted God’s Word to them and wanted to return to Egypt. Therefore, because of their unbelief, they did not enter into the promised rest.
Now, the Word of the LORD comes to you. It calls you to repent of your sinful ways and rebellion against the LORD and receive forgiveness and life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God’s own dear Son. Will you hear God’s Word? Will you acknowledge your utter sinfulness and rebelliousness before the LORD? Will you come to God and trust in Him to receive you and forgive you of all your sins because Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God in human flesh, fulfilled the righteous demands of God’s law for you and then bore your punishment upon the cross and rose again?
If you refuse to repent and turn to the Lord Jesus for mercy, you go astray in your heart. You do not know the way of the LORD, and you will not enter into His eternal rest! But if you humble yourself before the LORD, hear His Word and believe, you will receive of His mercy and be blessed with the eternal joys of heaven for Jesus’ sake!
LORD God, have mercy upon us and grant that we not harden our hearts against You and the truth of Your Word. By Your Holy Spirit, grant us true repentance and faith In Jesus Christ our Savior. In His name we pray. Amen.
Are you suffering?
“I know, O LORD, that thy judgments [are] right, and [that] thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.” Psalm 119:75-76
Are you suffering? Are you facing hardships and difficulties in your life? Do you know pain and heartache all too well?
As Christians, we learn from God’s Word that His judgments are always right — God makes no mistakes in His dealings with us. When He afflicts us and chastens us, He is being faithful to us, as a loving Father.
You need not feel that God has forgotten about you, or that you are suffering wrongfully. God has a purpose and a plan, and He is working for your good (cf. Rom. 8:28; Heb. 12:3-11). Peter writes: “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls [to him] in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Pet. 4:19).
In our suffering, we can also find comfort! That comfort lies in the “merciful kindness” of our God. Even in our suffering, God has not dealt with us as we deserve. As the Scripture says, “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; cf. Lam. 3:21-23).
Instead of punishing us for our sins, God laid them upon His own Son, Jesus Christ, and punished Him in our stead. Our sins were punished upon Jesus’ cross, and Jesus’ resurrection on the third day proves that God no longer holds our sins against us (cf. Rom. 4:25). So, dear Christian, take comfort! God is being merciful and kind to you even in your suffering!
O faithful and merciful Father, comfort us in our affliction with the knowledge that You are doing what is good and right for us; and grant us the assurance promised us in Your Word that we have forgiveness and life through faith in Thy Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.
Why I won’t be in heaven
Again and again I hear preachers telling mourning loved ones that this person or that is, without a doubt, in heaven because of how much he loved Jesus, how many people’s lives she touched, how strong a faith he had or how much good she accomplished in her lifetime.
I can’t help but wonder, “Was it enough?” After all, God’s Word commands us to love the LORD God with all our heart, soul and mind; to love others as much as we love ourselves; to be holy and perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. It says our best works, in and of themselves, are like filthy and unclean rags in God’s eyes.
So, I just want to make a few things clear before I die. I might even suggest these words be read on that occasion so there is no doubt:
- I won’t be in heaven because of how much I loved Jesus; I will be in heaven because of how much Jesus loved me!
- I won’t be in heaven because of any good things I’ve done; I will be in heaven because of all the good and perfect things Jesus did for me!
- I won’t be in heaven because of all I’ve sacrificed for Jesus; I will be in heaven because of all Jesus sacrificed for me when He gave His life on the cross and paid the just penalty for my sin.
- I won’t be in heaven because I died a good death for Jesus; I will be in heaven because Jesus died a good death for me, conquered sin and death and rose again to be my ever-living Savior!
- I won’t even be in heaven because of my strong and enduring faith; I will be in heaven because Jesus gave me His Spirit at my baptism, and the Holy Spirit endured me and patiently and again and again throughout my life revealed to me my utter sinfulness but assured me of forgiveness and acceptance for Jesus sake!
So, you see, I won’t be in heaven because of me – I’ve failed and come short; but I will be in heaven because of Jesus – He did it all!
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” (Rom. 3:23-24).
To quote from the hymn (emphasis mine), “Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness,” written by Ludwig von Zinzendorf and translated by John Wesley, nearly 300 years ago, “When from the dust of death I rise to claim my mansion in the skies, e’en then, this shall be all my plea: Jesus hath lived and died for me.“
Church YouTube Channel
The church now has its own YouTube channel where worship service videos and other materials may be watched. The web address is: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVfTHbq6uVGyPgyG7Pz4Rkw.
The Case for Christ
Lee Strobel, a journalist, examines “The Case for Christ” and turns from atheism to the Christian Faith. The video is useful because it answers the misconceptions and objections of many in regard to Christ, who He is and what He did for our salvation. It may be watched at: http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FJ9FMMNU.
The Case for Faith
Lee Strobel, a journalist, examines “The Case for Faith.” How can Christianity claim Jesus is the only way? and, If there is a good and loving God, how can there be so much evil in this world? Though the video may fall short in explaining the fall of man and its affect on man’s free will and our inability, of ourselves, to know and come to Christ, the video and his book provide good and useful answers for our own doubts and for the objections of others. It’s certainly worth watching and considering: http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FJ0J2FNU.
Preparing for Sunday
Scripture Readings for Sunday are: Psalm 68:20-35; Daniel 4:1-37; Mark 3:1-21. Please read them in their context as you prepare for worship.
Sunday Adult Bible Class will continue its study of the Book of Genesis, in chapter 9.
Verse to Remember
“Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory [due unto] his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.” Psalm 96:7-9
Remember to Pray
Remember to pray for our church and for all our members, that none be lost to Christ’s kingdom but that all continue in repentance and be strengthened and built up in the true and saving faith in Christ Jesus through the hearing and study of His Word. We continue to pray for all who have been sick or who are suffering among us – especially for Tim, Mel, Bill – for our extended families – for Janet’s sister, for Jessica, Naomi, and Tristan – and for believers who are alone and have no congregation. We remember the churches and pastors in the Philippines. We pray for those suffering and persecuted around the world. And we pray for our nation and its rulers, that our people would repent and look to God for mercy, forgiveness and direction.
Prayer Request cards are located in the back of the church and may be filled out and given to the pastor or an usher to include people or requests in the Sunday prayers.
A special fund to assist those in need has been started by the church council. Members may designate special offerings for this fund if they wish. The pastor and council members are authorized to distribute money from this fund when needed.
[Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible]