Sunday, June 28, 2020

Psalm 73: Comparison, Envy, and Jealousy (Summer Playlist Series)

Today, we are continuing our summer series my pastor is calling Summer Playlist.  Our summer playlist is from various Psalms (Songs) from the book of Psalms.  Today, my pastor is teaching from Psalm 73 which covers the topic of jealousy.  Comparison and envy will result in jealousy.

Comparison, Envy, and Jealousy
Comparing ourselves to others leads to envy and jealousy.

The following Bible study notes are based on my pastor's sermon.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Psalm 73:  Comparison and Envy

Psalm 73 is a Psalm of Asaph.  Asaph, according to Aubry Buster at Bible Odyssey, was a Levite singer in David's court.  

Let's read Psalm 73.

God certainly is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!
But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no pains in their death,
And their belly is fat.
They are not in trouble like other people,
Nor are they tormented together with the rest of mankind.
Therefore arrogance is their necklace;
The garment of violence covers them.
Their eye bulges from fatness;
The imaginations of their heart overflow.
They mock and wickedly speak of oppression;
They speak from on high.
They have set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue parades through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return here,
And abundant waters are drunk by them.
11 They say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge with the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the wicked;
And always at ease, they have increased in wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
And washed my hands in innocence;
14 For I have been stricken all day long,
And punished every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will speak this way,”
Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.
16 When I thought of understanding this,
It was troublesome in my sight
17 Until I entered the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
18 You indeed put them on slippery ground;
You dropped them into ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes,
Lord, when stirred, You will despise their image.

21 When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
22 Then I was stupid and ignorant;
I was like an animal before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
24 You will guide me with Your plan,
And afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom do I have in heaven but You?
And with You, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
28 But as for me, the nearness of God is good for me;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
So that I may tell of all Your works. (Psalm 73)

Psalm 73:26 Wall Decal
This Psalm 73:26 wall decal is available here.

Have you ever made a comparison between your life and someone else's life?  We all do this.  Sometimes we compare ourselves with others and we don't even realize. it.  We notice other people's homes, cars, families, etc. and we compare those people to ourselves.  We must be careful about this because comparison leads to jealousy.

God is just and God is good.  We can sing of the goodness of God.

Verse 1:  God is good to those who are pure in heart (to those who truly trust and know Him).

Verses 2-3:  Asaph began to stumble.  He came close to stumbling but he didn't completely fall.  He began to fall because he began to envy the experiences of the wicked.  He was jealous of their prosperity.  

Verse 4:  The wicked had it easy.  They faced little or no trouble and they were wealthy.  Their bellies were fat, meaning they needed nothing.

Verse 5:  The wicked had no disadvantages.

Verse 6:  BUT it wasn't the material wealth that was the problem.  The problem was the hearts behind the wealth.  They were prideful and arrogant.

Verse 7:  What they had was never enough.  They always wanted more.

Verse 8:  They put themselves on par with God.

Verse 9:  No one could shut them up.

Verse 10:  Even though they speak with malice, they still have a following.

Verse 11:  They question God's authority and knowledge.  They have no accountability.

Verse 12:  They are always at ease.

The Personal Experience

Verse 13-15:  Asaph wonders if all he has done is in vain.  He has kept his heart pure and yet, he has been stricken and chastened.  He has served God his whole life and yet this is God's treatment of him?  

When your world has been turned upside down, is God still good?

Verses 16-18:  Is God good?  Is He just?

Experiencing the Presence of God

God is both good and just.  Just because God doesn't judge in the temporal doesn't mean He won't judge and punish in the eternal.

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.
In the gale and the storm is His way,
And clouds are the dust beneath His feet. - Nahum 1:3

But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:8

There is coming a day when this world will be judged.

Verse 23:  God is good and will hold your hand just like you hold a child's hand so he won't fall.  He will give counsel and receive us into glory.

If you experience something terrible, rest in His presence.  Grab your Father's hand and allow Him to use your pain to lead others to Him.


Comparison, Envy, and Jealousy
Comparison leads to envy and jealousy.

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Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Ultimate Backyard STEAM Camp with Green Kid Crafts

Green Kid Crafts Summer Camp
Green Kid Crafts Summer Camp
The Green Kid Crafts Backyard STEAM Summer Camp has started and they are excited to give you a sneak peak into the program's extras!

The Ultimate Backyard STEAM Summer Camp Guide

Green Kid Crafts STEAM Summer Camp Guide
STEAM Summer Camp Guide

Campside Chats

Campside Chats

As part of their summer extras, they are offering a complimentary live event: Campside Chats with a STEAM Expert!
Green Kid Crafts Summer Camp
Green Kid Crafts Summer Camp

In this monthly event on Facebook Live, kids can have their most burning STEAM questions answered by scientists.

Link to Facebook Event:

Link to submit a question:  (Expired)

If your kids have questions that are hard to answer, submit them and have them answered by Green Kid Crafts' featured STEAM Scientists!  If you don't participate in our Summer Program, you can still catch the replay :)

They are also preparing a special Giveaway every month and additional resources on their blog.

Make it a Green Summer
  • All box subscribers are eligible for Green Kid Crafts STEAM Camp Extras.
Take 10% off any new 3+ month subscription with code GREENSUMMER

Green Kid Crafts Summer Camp
The Ultimate Backyard STEAM Camp with Green Kid Crafts

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A Study on Psalm 67 (Summer Playlist Series)

A Study on Psalm 67 Summer Playlist Series

This morning, we continue our summer playlist series at my church.  One of our associate pastors shares his personal experiences in 2020 thus far.  This year has already been a tough one for many of us and his journey thus far is no exception.  Like my associate pastor, perhaps you have suffered many difficult situations in addition to COVID19.  Our pastor is sharing today from Psalm 67.  This Psalm provides encouragement for difficult challenges.  Let's take a look at Psalm 67 right now.

Psalm 67

God be gracious to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us— Selah
That Your way may be known on the 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 will judge the peoples with fairness
And guide the nations on the earth. Selah
May the peoples praise You, God;
May all the peoples praise You.
The earth has yielded its produce;
God, our God, blesses us.
God blesses us,
So that all the ends of the earth may fear Him. 

Now, let's summarize my pastor's main points regarding Psalm 67.  I encourage you to watch the following video or listen to it as you read this post in order to benefit from my pastor's entire sermon.

1.  The Elements of God's Blessing

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us. - Psalm 67:1

When we understand what God's blessing contains, we better understand its value and significance for our lives.  There are two key ingredients.

A.  God's Good Grace

God gives people amazing gifts that they don't deserve and couldn't possibly earn.  The greatest example of God's grace was seen on the cross as Jesus, who knew no sin, became a sacrifice for our sin so that we might have the opportunity to have a relationship with him.  We cannot earn God's grace.  This truth helps us focus on God's goodness as we realize that He gives freely what we cannot earn through works.

B.  God's Shining Favor

His face shines upon us.  His face shines upon us like a parent's face shines upon his or her child.  Isn't that awesome?  It is a wonderful truth that God's face is shining on ME!  

In the light of a king's face, there is life and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain. - Proverbs 16:15

Non Christian people are watching us.  We claim to know, to love, and to follow Jesus Christ.  We say that He is our Savior, our Lord, and our Friend.  "What difference does He make to these Christians?" the world asks searchingly.  "Where is their God?"  It may be said without fear of contradiction that the greatest hindrance to evangelism in the world today is the failure of the church to supply evidence in her own life and work of the saving power of God.  Rightly may we pray for ourselves that we may have God's blessing and mercy and the light of His countenance - not that we may then monopolize His grace and bask in the sunshine of His favor, but that others may see in us His blessing and His beauty, and be drawn to Him through us. - John Stott

2.  The Effects of God's Blessing

That Your way may be known on Earth, Your saving power among all the nations.  Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You!  Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for You judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon Earth.  Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.  God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear Him! - Psalm 67:2-7
Psalm 67 Wall Art
This Psalm 67 wall art is available here.

A.  God will be known.

I'm going to directly quote my pastor here because it's so good.

Knowledge is a powerful thing.  We are living in the most knowledgeable time in world history.  We have more access to more information in an instant than previous generations did in their combined lifespans. Knowledge can be the difference between war and peace.  Knowledge is the difference between wealth and poverty.  We have an information overload.  We know everything from how many people have tested positive for coronavirus worldwide to who certain celebrities are currently dating. But there is one piece of knowledge that has the power to literally transform your life, not just for the here and now, but for all eternity.  It is the way of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. - Pastor Josh Allen

B.  God alone has saving power.

We desperately need a Savior.  People search all around looking for someone who can fix their problems ASAP.  People need hope in the midst of despair.  Perhaps they look to a politician, a wealthy person, or someone - some human - who will bail them out of their circumstances and instantly make everything all better again.

Jesus is our Savior.  He has already come and He's coming back.  He alone has the power to forgive your sin and lead you onto a straight path.  

He doesn't just have the power to make bad people better.  He has the power to raise spiritually dead people to new life. - Pastor Josh Allen

C.  He alone gives lasting joy.

Sometimes people mistakenly believe that happiness and joy are the same thing.  Happiness and joy are very different.  Happiness is based on current circumstances.  Joy is found in the comfort and truth of Jesus no matter the circumstances.  There is great and unmeasurable joy in salvation through Jesus.  Nothing can take that away - not COVID, not quarantine, not pain - nothing.

D.  He alone judges impartially.

God does not judge people according to skin color, the amount of money they have, gender, or who their parents and other ancestors are.  The only thing that matters is whether or not we have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  

I have a relationship with Jesus.  Do you?

E.  God will be praised.

When something is important, it is often repeated to help us remember.  Read Psalm 67 again.  The phrase "Let all the people praise you" is repeated several times.  That's important. We are all always praising someone or something.  Are you praising God?

F.  God will be feared.

Here, my pastor points us to Luke 8.  In this chapter, a woman touches the garment of Jesus so that she will be healed.  In the Bible, people do no worship the receiver of a miracle.  They worship the miracle giver.  

We tend to get this backwards, don't we?  When someone receives a miracle or a blessing, we focus on the person who received the blessing or the miracle.  We put them up on a pedestal.  We must follow the examples the Bible gives us and turn our attention to the miracle giver and the One who showers blessings upon us.  We must turn our focus to Jesus.

And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this that even the winds and seas obey Him? - Matthew 8:27
Matthew 8:27
This Matthew 8:27 wall art is available here.

The should be our prayer moving forward:

God, would you bless me that the nations might know You?

Would You bless me that the nations might praise You?

Would You bless me that the nations might fear You? 

A Study on Psalm 67 Summer Playlist Series
A Study on Psalm 67 (Summer Playlist Series)

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Psalm 126: God Loves You (Summer Playlist Series)

Psalm 126:  God Loves You
A Study Through the Psalms
The book of Psalms is a book of songs, poems, and hymns.  Some of them are psalms of Thanksgiving.  Some of them are songs of lament.  A psalm of lament is a psalm of tears, grief, and frustration.

Psalm 126:  A Psalm of Thanksgiving for Return from Captivity
A Song of Ascents

1.  When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion,
We were like those who dream.

2.  Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”

3.  The Lord has done great things for us;
We are glad.
Psalm 126:3 Canvas Wall Art
This item is available here.

4.  Restore our captivity, O Lord,
As the streams in the South.

5.  Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.

6.  He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

The superscription for Psalm 126 means "Psalm of Ascent."  There are 14 psalms of ascent.  Psalms of ascent were traveling psalms.

If you are in a bad place in your life and you then  your situation will never end, it will.  Someday your circumstances will change.  As we read through Psalm 126, you'll notice how quickly circumstances can change.  In verse 2, the psalmist writes of laughter.  In verse 5, the psalmist writes of sowing in tears.

Just like circumstances can quickly change from bad to good, circumstances can also quickly change from good to bad.  No matter how wonderful things might seem right now, you will shed tears again.  If you are in a season of sorrow right now, God can and will use your circumstances for His good.  He can use them for your good too.  Don't waste your sorrow.  Allow God to use it.

What can we learn from Psalm 126?

1.  There will be lots of tears in life. 

Tears are OK.  God gave us tear ducts for a reason.  Tears can be joyful or sorrowful.

Don't make laughter the goal of your life because you can't laugh all the time.  The Bible teaches us there there is a time to laugh and also a time to mourn.  In fact, the Bible tells us that there is an appointed time for everything.
There is an appointed time for everything. 
And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace. - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
This item is available here.
 Even Jesus cried.
Jesus wept. -  John 11:35

When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it. - Luke 19:41

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. - Hebrews 5:7
Crying is part of being human.

2.  There will be even more tears when you live the Christ centered life.  

The more you get serious about following Jesus, you will weep more, not less.  What does it mean to get serious about following Jesus?  What does it mean to be saved?  Learn more here.

When you get saved, you get a new heart.  Of course, you don't get a physical new heart, but you get a new heart condition - a heart for the Lord.  When Christ comes into your heart, your heart becomes tender.  As Christ followers with new hearts, we will weep when we see evil and hurt around us.  We will weep as we see millions being deceived by Satan and believing his lies.

Our sin should make us weep.

Don't avoid or suppress your tears.  We learn in Psalm 126:5 that tears produce joy.  

God is full of grace and deeply loves us.

Let's take a look at another Psalm.  Let's read Psalm 139.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.

You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 O that You would slay the wicked, O God;
Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
20 For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. - Psalm 139
God's heart is attracted to our tears.  When we weep, he hears us.  He loves us so much that he sent us a Redeemer and this world so desperately needs a Redeemer.  You can tell Jesus anything and you can cry freely when you talk to Him.

Our world is broken and we should weep more.  Our hearts should break over all that breaks the heart of God.

Tears are not forever for those of us who know Jesus - for those of us who have a relationship with Him, but for those who do not know Him, their tears will never end.


Sunday, June 7, 2020

We Cannot Steal God's Glory - Psalm 115 (Summer Playlist Series)

My pastor is taking us through a summer series he is calling the Summer Playlist.  We are studying through the Psalms.  The Psalms is a book of songs, poems, and prayers, thus the title "Summer Playlist."  Today, we are reading Psalm 115.  Psalm 115 teaches us that we are to give glory to God, not to ourselves. 

We cannot steal God's glory.
We cannot steal God's glory.
The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.

You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Let's read through Psalm 115.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
But to Your name give glory
Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.
Why should the nations say,
“Where, now, is their God?”
But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
They have eyes, but they cannot see;
They have ears, but they cannot hear;
They have noses, but they cannot smell;
They have hands, but they cannot feel;
They have feet, but they cannot walk;
They cannot make a sound with their throat.
Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trusts in them.
O Israel, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the Lord,
The small together with the great.
May the Lord give you increase,
You and your children.
May you be blessed of the Lord,
Maker of heaven and earth.
The heavens are the heavens of the Lord,
But the earth He has given to the sons of men.
The dead do not praise the Lord,
Nor do any who go down into silence;
But as for us, we will bless the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
Praise the Lord!
To God be the Glory - Precious Moments
Precious Moments:  To God be the Glory
All glory belongs to God and we can't steal His thunder.  God is not going to share His glory with anyone. 
We are to recognize and declare God's glory.  How do we define God's glory?  Glory is who God is and what God does.  To glorify God means that life is not about us.  Sometimes we make glory about ourselves.  We are glory-stealers.  "Me-ism" is the god that we worship.  God is serious about His glory.

Reasons for Not Stealing God's Glory

1.  God is loving and faithful.  God is the source of of love.  He is always faithful, perfectly faithful. 
2.  God is sovereign.  God is in control.  We don't have to be afraid because God is sovereign.  We are to worship only Him.  We can glorify God in every circumstance because He even uses bad for good. 
3.  God is living.  Never give glory to idols.  They are dead.  Everything will fade away except for the glory of God.
4.  God is our protector and provider.  He is our rear guard.
Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. - Isaiah 58:8

We are surrounded by God's glory.
The sooner we remove ourselves from the center of our lives, the sooner God takes over.
Psalm 115 is a collection of songs sang after a Passover meal.
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed "Not My will, but Yours."  Jesus perfectly modeled for us the surrendering to God's will.
What is one area of your life right now where you make it about you and not God?  Where are you robbing God of His glory?  Surrender your life to God.  
We Cannot Steal God's Glory.

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