Reading: Psalm 68
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.
May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;
may his foes flee before him.
May you blow them away like smoke—
as wax melts before the fire,
may the wicked perish before God.
But may the righteous be glad
and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.
Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him—his name is the LORD.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
he leads out the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land (NIV).
Anyone who has read through the Book of Psalms will readily admit there is a great deal of variety from psalm to psalm. Some psalms are filled with joyous praise, while others are personal or even national laments. Some are filled with humble contrition, while others call for retribution against one’s foes. Each psalm is reflective of the state the psalmist finds himself in. In this respect the psalms act as a Spirit-inspired mirror of the human condition. The highs and lows of life are reflected there.
Psalm 68 is a hymn of triumph—national triumph. Think of it as a triumphant processional song. The enemies have been vanquished and God’s army has returned victorious. May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him.
Because God has won the victory, His people can rejoice before Him. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD.
In his life time David experienced many victories over his foes, but he did not take credit for his successes. He knew that his triumphs came from the LORD. God was his defender—but not only his—God was also the defender of the fatherless and the widow.
We too have experienced a great victory. It was won for us on Mount Calvary. Satan and the power of sin and death were defeated there. Jesus triumphed over hell and the grave through his resurrection. That victory is ours by faith. Rejoice before him—his name is the LORD!
Response: LORD God, I thank you for the victory Jesus won on my behalf at the cross. I praise you for your unconditional love. Help me walk triumphantly in life today because of you. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you experiencing victory today?
Based on the enthusiasm expressed by some attendees, the recent Dig and Delve Conference in Ottawa, Canada was a huge success. Over lunch University of Ottawa students Noah Galbraith, Sebastian Tansil and Alex Hoffmann discussed what they saw as personal highlights of the conference.
Photo of Dr. John Patrick courtesy of Mark Peterkins for Spark Ottawa
Noah Galbraith was particularly impressed by Dr. Fazale Rana’s conference opening lecture entitled, “Finding Adam: Is There a Scientific Case for a Historical Adam and Eve?”
“I was impressed by the way he (Dr. Rana) integrated mainstream science with biblical teaching. And he used accessible language. You didn’t have to be a biology major to follow what he was saying.”
Dr. Rana presented evidence from the fields of microbiology and genetics, which indicates that all of humanity descended from a common ancestral couple—the Biblical Adam and Eve. Furthermore, the current scientific literature on this topic acknowledges this common descent from our first parents.
This is the second annual Dig and Delve Conference and it took place at Dominion-Chalmers United Church on Friday evening November 13th through Saturday the 14th.
George Sinclair of Church of the Messiah is the chairman of the organizing committee. He was pleased with the tenor of the conference and the growth in attendance.
“Last year we had 275 attend our inaugural conference, but this year by my estimation we doubled that number. It took a step of faith. We moved to a larger venue and looking back we can see it was the right move.”
Reverend Sinclair went on to explain that the committee’s goal is to grow this annual event into one of the premier world class conferences on Christian apologetics.
“We want to do apologetics humbly, not in a confrontational style. It should be an event where skeptics can ask their questions and get a respectful answer without hostility.”
The theme of this year’s conference was BEING HUMAN: Scientifically? Uniquely? Sexually? Freely? Really?
The organizers felt that, “With many contradictory voices at play it was important that we create a hospitable conference to reflect on the tough questions of human origins, sexual and gender identities, and most importantly a Biblical perspective on what it means to be the image of God in the world today. We hope that our conference will stir healthy conversations that push us toward lives of integrity as we follow Jesus.”
Back at the lunch table three university students were engaged in one of those healthy conversations. They were soon joined by a fourth friend Michael Tan.
Sebastian Tansil commented that he gained a lot from Dr. John Patrick’s lectures. “I realized we need to know how to think about these topics. We need to know the questions to ask.”
His friend Alex Hoffmann found John Stackhouse’s lecture on a survey of worldviews particularly meaningful. “Unlike the notions of karma, the Christian worldview makes it clear that because of our sin nature we are incapable of our own salvation.”
Michael Tan added that the real meat is the gospel. “We need to broaden our approach to the gospel. All these questions are avenues by which we can engage with others.”
It’s these conversations and the ones that will follow in the months ahead that will determine if Dig and Delve 2015 has truly hit its target.
Next year’s Dig and Delve Conference is slated for November 4th and 5th.
This report by David Kitz originally appeared in Spark Ottawa.
Reading: Psalm 67
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us—
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him (NIV).
This is perhaps the most evangelical of all the psalms. By that I mean there is good news in this psalm, and the good news of God’s loving-kindness, which is found here, is not to be kept to oneself. It is to be taken to the whole world. Twice within this short psalm the psalmist declares, “May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.”
Like any loving parent, God draws pleasure from blessing his children. But is there a divine motivation that extends beyond the family of God? As the opening verse of this psalm makes clear, God desires to bless us, so that his ways and his salvation may be known all over this world.
So then, Psalm 67 should be our prayer, not only for us, but for the world. That includes the world that does not know Jesus. May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
In other words, God’s blessing is not to be selfishly hoarded. It is to extend around the world and beyond the family of God. Is God in fact, blessing us abundantly, so that we may in turn bless others? Is he blessing us, so that we may make his salvation known among all nations? That certainly would appear to be the plan according to Psalm 67.
There is a great harvest day that is still coming on the earth. It is not a harvest of wheat, corn or rice, but a harvest of souls that will be swept into the Kingdom of God. If this psalm is to be believed, it is a harvest that is propelled and swelled by our joyous praise.
Is your thanksgiving for God’s blessing extending beyond the borders of your family?
Response: LORD God, I thank you for all the blessings you have showered on my life. Most of all I thank you for my salvation through Jesus Christ. Show me how I can extend your blessing to others. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you taken the message of God’s salvation across borders? How?
Today is my wife’s birthday and as a tribute to her I am re-blogging this post by JD Blom. I know I have a few choice verses I could contribute to the Book of Elkanah.
Originally posted on A DEVOTED LIFE:
I suspect that there was a “Book of Elkanah” that never made it into the Cannon of Scripture. We only have one passage from the “Book of Elkanah”, which was recorded in 1 Samuel 1:8. However, I am confident that this could not have been the only passage espoused from the oracle, Elkanah.
In fairness to Elkanah, I believe that every husband pens their own collection of romance-killing proclamations. These collections are the thoughtless, misguided, and blatantly stupid sayings that periodically have come out of every husband’s mouth. There are just some husbands whose epistle of stupid sayings have more stanzas than average. I bet that the Elkanah’s book was a thick book; it probably included multiple volumes…
View original 683 more words
Nothing cuts to the heart like God’s word.
Originally posted on CHRISTian poetry ~ by deborah ann:
Your Word Lord,
it is mighty powerful
it is commanding
it is boldly truthful.
It is alive and active,
it is full of energy
it is razor-sharp
for it pierces inwardly.
Your Word Lord,
it cuts to the core
it penetrates the soul
showing all You abhor.
It is always at work,
it obliterates the dark
it is jolting . . .
for it is raw and stark.
Your Word Lord,
it punctures the heart
it perforates the mind
separates the two apart.
It is discerning,
it conquers and divides
it see those who have
its truth living inside.
Your Word Lord,
no one must ignore
for one day our lives . . .
to You, we’ll account for!
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder
of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and…
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Reading: Psalm 66
I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you—
vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats
Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me! (NIV).
I grew up in a family that prayed. But that statement might give you the wrong impression. It might be more accurate to say, “I grew up in a family that religiously recited prayers.”
We recited a common table prayer before every meal and the Lord’s Prayer before breakfast. My mother taught me a very scary bedtime prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.
To a six-year-old, that’s a scary prayer. It’s enough to keep you awake lest your soul be carried off in the night, while you’re off in la-la land.
I don’t think I really prayed—prayed from the heart—until the end of my grade four school year. The memory is still fresh in my mind. The little one-room country school I attended was closing. In September I would be bussed to the big school in town. This change was frightening. The familiar was being taken away and in its place was something big, strange and intimidating. Could I survive there? Could I thrive there? These thoughts troubled me.
On my last walk home from my country school, I left the country road and walked into a grove of poplars. That’s where I prayed—not a meaningless recited prayer—but a prayer from my heart to God. I asked for wisdom, strength and God’s favour for the challenging year ahead. God answered. After all these years I can say, “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”
Response: LORD God, thank you for answering prayer—not once but thousands of times. Again and again you have proven your love for me. You are the God who hears me. Amen.
Your Turn: When did you learn to pray from the heart? Do you remember the occasion?
Here are some great thoughts to get your week started:
Originally posted on encourage, comfort, edify:
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Phil 2:1)
It was the final part that floored me …
Lord please help me to forget myself long enough to lend a helping hand! X