Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Psalm 47- Olympic Opening Ceremonies

"Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy,
How awesome is the Lord Most High,
the great King over all the earth!...

For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to Him a song of praise,
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on His holy throne."

This is an excerpt from the Psalm I read early today and it was perfect for today.

As the XXX Olympic Open Ceremony finished I was moved by a preview of heaven.  In London representatives from  all nations (almost) were assembled in one place all wearing their unique garb.  Members of all nations were singing together.  They were singing "Hey Jude" all in one accord.  How awesome was that!

Here is a YouTube clip of it.  The quality isn't great but hopefully you saw it live.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqzCvVWEY0M

This is a great preview of heaven.  All nations will shout to God with cries of joy.  They will sing to Him a song of praise because God reigns over all the nations.  Hopefully Sir Paul McCartney is a brother and can help lead us in song in the throne room.

As moving as this scene was heaven will be infinitely more moving.  I can't wait!  Enjoy the Olympics and wait in eager anticipation to the time all nations will be gathered together before our great God.  As my friend Palngji would say, "Be blessed today."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Reaction to the Colorado Tragedy

All of you probably know about the horrible masacre in Colorado at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.  A 24 year-old man came into a theatre and took at least a dozen innocent lives and injured scores of others.  It was monstrous.

Monstrous.  That is my first reaction and the reaction of millions of others.  "What kind of a freak could do this?!"  How many of you thought that?  I did.

When I was in Germany I got the chance to visit a concentration camp in Flossenburg.  This camp was the place where Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed along with, literally, a pile of others.  As I was being driven to the concentration camp I thought I was going to see a place where innocent lives were ruined and taken by monsters.  This is not what I saw.

After taking the tour I felt immense guilt.  I had become friends with many Germans and found them to be just like me.  During the tour I had found that much of the ground that was the concentration camp was now the backyard for normal families.  I left the concentration camp with this thought, "I could have participated in this."

I could have been a German during WWII and let the monstrosity of the Holocaust happen or perhaps I could have participated.  This is frightening.

When we hear of this "monster" in Colorado we ask "What kind of a freak could do this?!"  A human one, that's what kind.  We humans are built with a default setting, "monstrous enemy of God and man."  In all of us in the capability to do evil.

The salvation from sin offered by the Almighty is the only thing that can fix this default setting that has been in place since The Fall of Man.  Salvation is not just freedom from the penalty of sin, it is freedom from sin.  From one degree of glory to the next we are saved from sin until His work in us is complete.

Without God we are all monsters in one degree or another.  The only way to fix this is to cry out to God through faith in Jesus for salvation today.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Psalm 29- The Voice of the Lord

"Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
with flashes of lightening.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in His temple all cry, 'Glory!'

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to His people;
the Lord blesses His people with peace."

Isn't that awesome.  The voice of the Lord is so powerful in this Psalm.  "The Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon."  The cedars of Lebanon were trees that grew to 120 feet tall and 30 feet around.  Breaking one of those would be like shattering a Red Wood.  Or "Sirion (skips) like a young wild ox."  Sirion was a mountain.  Can you imagine a voice that could make a mountain dance?

It's clear that the voice of the Lord is powerful.  It's also clear that His voice is just a part of Him.  What a mighty God we serve!  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness today.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Psalm 27- Seek His Face

I'm not going to write much about this Psalm.  The Psalm speaks for itself and the two songs I've linked will say more than I ever could.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me,
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

One thing I ask of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek Him in His temple.
For in the day of trouble
He will keep me safe in His dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, O Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, 'Seek His face!'
Your face, Lord, will I seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.

Teach me your way, O Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord."

Here are the two songs that I thought of when I read this Psalm. O Lord You're Beautiful http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jethTOQMZY and Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8mBurjrWMo

Seek His face today.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July repost

I posted this last year and I think it's perfect again for this year.

Declaration of Dependence

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary of one man to dissolve the bands which have connected him to his self, and to reject the Powers of the earth, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires he should declare the causes which impel him to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that all men fall short of the glory of God, and that the wages of sin is death.  When any Form of Living instituted by Men becomes destructive to man he should abolish it and institute a new Life. laying its foundation on such powers that will provide life.

I, therefore, do declare that I am abolished from the Allegiance to the self and the Powers of the earth.  Not that I would be free and independent from all control, but rather that I would place my life in the hands of one who would fulfill my needs and provide me with life.

I declare dependence to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The foregoing Declaration was engrossed and signed by the following members:

Matt Ray

Declare your Dependence today.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Psalm 19- Worship Like a Sadducee

Please read Psalm 19.  I will highlight a few verses rather than including the entire Psalm but please read the whole Psalm.

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands."
Verse 1

"The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the Lord are sure
and altogether righteous."
Verse 9

"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."
Verse 14

In Jewish culture there were two religious camps that had a basic difference.  The Pharisees, who believed in the afterlife, and the Sadducees, who did not.  I remember the difference this way; the Sadducees didn't believe in the resurrection so they were sad you see.

I have come to appreciate the Sadducees.  The Sadducees believed that there was nothing after this life.  Yet, they still worshipped and obeyed God.  I can honestly say that if I believed this life was it I would, at best, be a hedonist who attempted some morality.  I would eat, drink and be merry because this life is it.  As some kids in my youth group say, "Y.O.L.O." (you only live once).

But the Sadducees weren't hedonistic.  They obeyed God's commands and worshipped Him with all their hearts.

We need to worship like the Sadducees.  To explain why, here is an excerpt from A. W. Tozer's Whatever Happened to Worship? (A Call to True Worship)

"I once heard Dr. George D. Watson, one of the great Bible teachers of his generation, point out that men can have two kinds of love of God... the love of gratitude or the love of excellence.  He urged that we go on from gratefulness to a love of God just because He is God and because of the excellence of His character."

The Sadducees didn't worship God because He gave them eternal life; they worshipped God because He is God.  We need to do that.  Ask yourself this, "If God didn't offer me salvation would I still worship Him?" or ask like John Piper did, "If you could have all the goodness of heaven but God wasn't there would you want to go?"

Luckily these questions are somewhat of a moot point.  God does offer us salvation by faith and He will be the glowing sun of heaven.  But we should be able to worship God just for who He is.  In Isaiah and Revelation we see the elders, seraphs, the four living creatures and angels doing just that.  They haven't been saved by God, yet all day and night forever they say "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory."

Thank God for His blessings, but spend time this week worshipping God for His attributes.  Pick an attribute of God and worship Him for that today.