RebuildMarch 29-April 2
Reengage in Serving Him
Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! – Psalm 106:1 (ESV)
Henry David Thoreau, in his classic book, Walden, told of a powerful custom of the Mucclasse Indians. Once each year, they had a village clean-up called a “busk.” First, they would make new clothes for themselves as well as furniture and cooking utensils. They would keep all of these new things in a building outside of the village. When everything was ready, they would begin their annual spring cleaning.
Every corner of every house was scrubbed. Every stick of furniture was thrown out. Every child’s toy went to the garbage heap. The dirt paths were swept, and the weeds were plucked up. All of the village’s trash was gathered together into a pile in the center of the village. Then the chief set it on fire. On the fourth morning, they washed and bathed and dressed in their new clothes. The chief started a new fire, and from the flames, each family took burning sticks home to start their fires. The old was gone; life was beginning again!
Psalm 106 was sung by pilgrims as they made their way to Jerusalem to renew their hearts for worship. The psalmist being with “Praise.” Praise refers to “a price, or the value of something.” We praise, we understand, and worship according to, the value of God to us. God’s “good” nature and God’s “love” drive the psalmist to want to give praise and thanks to God. The word “love” could also be translated as “mercy.” Over and over again, in Scripture, we see God’s people wander in their faith, and God shows them mercy and restores them. This psalm of praise was a time of renewal and reengaging in God’s plan for them.
Pastor Jim reminded us in the sermon one of the ways we give thanks to God for His mercy is by serving Him. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:1, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” In what ways are you offering yourself in service to God?
Tell God why you value Him. Ask God to show you how you can serve Him today.
Reengage in Sharing Him
Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all His praise? – Psalm 106:2 (ESV)
A certain duke once boarded a prison ship. As he passed the crew of prisoners, he asked several of them what their offenses were. Almost every man claimed he was innocent. They laid the blame on someone else or accused the judge of yielding to bribery. One young fellow, however, spoke out, “Sir, I deserve to be here. I stole some money. No one is at fault but myself. I’m guilty.” Upon hearing this, the duke seized him by the shoulder and shouted, “You scoundrel, you! What are you doing here with all these honest men? Get out of their company at once!” He was then set at liberty while the rest were left to tug at the oars. (Charles Spurgeon)
To be set free from the penalty of our sins, we must admit we are sinners. Everyone who understands their sins’ depths should also understand the depths of God’s mercy and share that hope with others.
Billy Graham said: “As an evangelist, I have often felt too far spent to minister from the pulpit to men and women who have filled stadiums to hear a message from the Lord. Yet again and again my weakness has vanished, and my strength has been renewed. I have been filled with God’s power not only in my soul but physically. On many occasions, God has become especially real, and has sent His unseen angelic visitors to touch my body to let me be His messenger for heaven, speaking as a dying man to dying men.”
The psalmist asks who will share the depth of God’s mercy and His mighty deeds with others. Pastor Jim asked, “Who’s Your One?” Have you thought of someone you can tell about the mercy of God this week?
Thank God for His mighty deeds! Ask God to renew your strength and passion for sharing His mercy. Ask God to lead you to someone who needs to hear about God’s love.
Reengage in Serving His Church
Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times! – Psalm 106:3 (ESV)
In his book, Written in Blood, Robert Coleman tells the story of a little boy whose sister needed a blood transfusion. The doctor explained that she had the same disease the boy had recovered from two years earlier. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the boy was the ideal donor. “Would you give your blood to Mary?” the doctor asked. Johnny hesitated. His lower lip started to tremble. Then he smiled and said, “Sure, for my sister.” Soon the two children were wheeled into the hospital room–Mary, pale and thin; Johnny, robust and healthy. Neither spoke, but when their eyes met, Johnny grinned. As the nurse inserted the needle into his arm, Johnny’s smile faded. He watched the blood flow through the tube.
With the ordeal almost over, his voice, slightly shaky, broke the silence. “Doctor, when do I die?’ Only then did the doctor realize why Johnny had hesitated, why his lip had trembled when he’d agreed to donate his blood. He’s thought giving his blood to his sister meant giving up his life. In that brief moment, he’d made his great decision. Johnny, fortunately, didn’t have to die to save his sister.
Each of us has a condition more serious than Mary, and it required Jesus to give not just His blood but His life. The psalmist teaches there are blessings for those “who observe justice” and “who do righteousness at all times.” The motivation for doing the right thing is because we have been the recipients of God’s mercy and beneficiaries of His wondrous deeds.
We were challenged in the sermon to Reengage in serving the church as a way of showing gratitude toward God. Did you take time to pray about the signup sheet you were given on Sunday? Where is God leading you to serve?
Thank God for the blessings He has recently given you. Praise Him for His justice and righteousness. Thank Him for the opportunity to serve His people through the local church.
Reengage for God’s Sake
Yet He saved them for His Name’s sake, that He might make known His mighty power. – Psalm 106:8 (ESV)
Jeff Strite tells the story of a highly regarded and well-respected preacher, Owen Crouch. He had retired from full-time preaching and lived on a limited income. So he was delighted when some businessmen approached him about joining their company. Because of his sterling reputation, they wanted him to be their treasurer. Crouch was given a decent salary to sign the company’s paperwork and make out its checks. However, the businessmen and the company turned out to be corrupt . When the company’s officers were taken to court, the only man whose name was on the paperwork was Owen’s. He went to jail.
Jeff asks an important question, “How would you have responded to that situation?” Owen Crouch hadn’t done anything wrong. He was lied to. Used. Exploited. And victimized. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. But Owen Crouch didn’t think about it that way. He saw it as an opportunity to serve the Jesus he loved. He began a prison ministry. He preached. He counseled. And he baptized prisoners into Christ.
Owen Crouch had an excellent reputation. More importantly, Owen wanted to represent God well. Psalm 106 teaches, God saved us for “His Name’s sake.” Every Christian represents the power of God to forgive and change sinners. God wants others to learn about His power by seeing our lives.
Are you currently facing a challenging situation that is an opportunity to serve God and represent His Name? What’s one good thing people can learn about God from watching your life and service?
Thank God for saving you. Thank God for wanting to use you to help others find Him.
Who’s Your One?
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord! – Psalm 106:48 (ESV)
President Franklin Roosevelt, referring to December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese bombed the Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, said, “It was a day that will live in infamy.” An infamous day is remembered because an event of unspeakable evil or some other horrible event occurred. Another infamous day is September 11, 2001, when America suffered a brutal terrorist attack.
Today, we remember Good Friday. This is perhaps the most infamous day in all of history. At the same time, it is one of the most glorious days in all of history. Today has the distinction of being both a day of intense evil and a day that witnessed the triumph of good over evil. It was infamous because the Creator is put to death by His creatures! However, it was a famous day in history because sin was defeated; the power of Satan was broken; and because the Prince of Life defeated death!
Psalm 106 commands us to “Praise the Lord!” There is no greater reason to praise God than what He did for us on the cross. On the cross, Jesus was hanging between two thieves. Both had the opportunity to place their faith in Jesus, but only one chose to believe. We read that one of the robbers was converted while on his cross next to Jesus when He asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, and Jesus said to Him, “Truly I say to you today you shall be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
We have been asking all week, “Who’s Your One?” On the first Good Friday, a thief on the cross was Jesus’ “One.” People will be more open to the Easter message this weekend than most of the year. Use this weekend to reach out to your “One.”
If you are able, watch the Passion of the Christ sometime today. Praise Jesus for what He did for you and the world on Good Friday!