“The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything. Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! Praise the Lord, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom. Let all that I am praise the Lord.” Psalms 103:19-22 NLT
God is the Sovereign Lord! He rules over all Creation! His army of angels march under His command! The mighty host are active on behalf of God's children and join all of creation in worship of God. These creatures are servants of God that minister to those who belong to Him.“For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” Psalms 34:7 NLT “Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.” Hebrews 1:14 NLT The ultimate act of every human is the worship of Almighty God! When we join creation in praise to God we are fulfilling the highest purpose of our lives. “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.” Revelation 4:11 NLT The fall of Adam to sin brought depravity to the world. Creation groans in desire of liberation from sin. We are living in a time and place that is corrupt and rebellious. Darkness has invaded what was once a place of perfect harmony. In an instant the dominion that was under man's authority was forfeited to an illegitimate dictator named Satan. This is why there is evil in this current state of life. However, Christ Jesus the LORD has stepped into the world in human form. In the incarnation, He took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh, yet He never sinned (see 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15 and 7:26)! “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” Romans 8:3 NLT He donned the robe of humanity to overcome the sin that had cursed us. He took upon Himself the sin of the whole world! In this way He has restored what was lost. Those who repent of their sin and submit to His Lordship are born again to harmony with God. One day, creation will be released from its bondage and together we will join in absolute harmony to worship our Creator! “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.” Romans 8:19-24 NLT That is the day my soul longs for!! What a day that will be!
“The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone— as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!” Psalms 103:6-18 NLT
God is eternally just! He is aware of the plight of all people. His character is such that He is moved with compassion toward those who are unjustly treated. He has made Himself known to Moses and the children of Israel as well as to all who revere Him! Although we have sinned against Him, He is yet merciful and compassionate toward us. His patience has allowed us to live. He is better to us than we deserve. If He treated us according to our transgressions we would all be doomed to hell. Thank God that He has, in His mercy and grace, removed the sins of His repentant children as far as the east is from the west. This can be interpreted as infinity, never to be retrieved. God chooses not to ever recall our past sins that are forgiven! What an absolute relief! God knows our human condition. He looks upon us in tender compassion. This compassion is what has brought us redemption. He loves us and wants us to be reunited with Him. He knows the shortness of our mortal lives. There is hope. His love is extended forever to those who fear Him and obey Him! His salvation is available and accessible. For those who choose Him, and submit themselves to Him, even their children and grandchildren have God’s generational blessings bestowed upon them. I choose Jesus! I choose life! I choose blessing rather than cursing! I am most honored to know Him and serve Him! May His blessing come upon my family throughout the generations!
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles.
Psalms 103:1-5 NLT
One of my favorite Psalms!
May all that is within me bless His name! May I never forget the good things He does for me. He has pardoned my past, given me power for the present, and a bright prospect for the future! He heals me when disease attempts to attack my body and He redeems my life from death and destruction. All my hope is in Him! Let this world fade into oblivion! My life is hid with Christ in God! For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 NLT
“But you, O Lord, will sit on your throne forever. Your fame will endure to every generation. You will arise and have mercy on Jerusalem — and now is the time to pity her, now is the time you promised to help. For your people love every stone in her walls and cherish even the dust in her streets. Then the nations will tremble before the Lord. The kings of the earth will tremble before his glory. For the Lord will rebuild Jerusalem. He will appear in his glory. He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas. Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord. Tell them the Lord looked down from his heavenly sanctuary. He looked down to earth from heaven to hear the groans of the prisoners, to release those condemned to die. And so the Lord’s fame will be celebrated in Zion, his praises in Jerusalem, when multitudes gather together and kingdoms come to worship the Lord. He broke my strength in midlife, cutting short my days. But I cried to him, “O my God, who lives forever, don’t take my life while I am so young! Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them. But you are always the same; you will live forever. The children of your people will live in security. Their children’s children will thrive in your presence.”
Psalms 102:12-28 NLT
God sits eternally upon the throne of heaven!!! This doesn’t mean that He never moves, gets up, or walks among His people. The statement is an implied recognition of His eternal Lordship and Kingdom. There is only One God!!! No one else can sit in His place of Dominion and Authority! He abides alone as the self existent, all sufficient One! He needs no one and no thing! We need Him!! By Him, all things exist. He is the source of life. He came from nowhere. He created all things from nothing. He precedes all things! He stood on nothing and spoke out into the vast expanse of formlessness and creation came to be! I’m about to have a shouting fit right at this moment. I am so thankful that I know who made me, everything around and above me, and where I am going when I leave this temporary world. Jerusalem is mentioned in this Psalm. To the Jew, Jerusalem is the center of worship and the most treasured place on earth. Christians also love Jerusalem. The Judaeo-Christian heritage is intertwined. Indeed, Jesus Himself was a Jew. We are true Jews when we accept Jesus as the Messiah (Christ). “For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.” Romans 2:28-29 NLT This change of heart comes through the Lord Jesus Christ!(see 2 Corinthians 5:17) I am honored to call myself a born again Jew! One day, all nations, tribes, and tongues, who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, will gather in that great eternal city of New Jerusalem (see Revelation 21 and 22) and will walk in union with their Lord and Master. We walk with Him and we have the dominion of the earth restored to us (see Genesis 1:28). No Satan to contend with and no sin to tempt us. We will live with the Resurrected Lord on His resurrected earth in resurrected bodies as the resurrected saints of Almighty God! This body we live in is getting older and perishing. This world we live in is winding its way down. A new day is coming for the child of God who has committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ! He will change the current heaven and earth like clothes and our life will take a metamorphosis from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal to immortal! (see 1 Corinthians 15:51-58). Hallelujah! Imagine what it will be like when we will live in absolute tranquility and utter utopia. No hospitals, funeral homes, doctors office visits, nursing homes, accidents, assaults, abuse, thievery, or death! Our children (who have also trusted in Jesus) will join us in that city of eternal light and we will all gather as the family of God at the table of grace! Praise the name of our Matchless Lord Jesus!!!
Lord, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea! Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you. For my days disappear like smoke, and my bones burn like red-hot coals. My heart is sick, withered like grass, and I have lost my appetite. Because of my groaning, I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like an owl in the desert, like a little owl in a far-off wilderness. I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof. My enemies taunt me day after day. They mock and curse me. I eat ashes for food. My tears run down into my drink because of your anger and wrath. For you have picked me up and thrown me out. My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass.”
Psalms 102:1-11 NLT
The Psalmist was afflicted and overwhelmed. Do you ever feel that way? When life is overwhelming and adversities are on every side, pray! Pour out your heart to God! He is the only place you can find shelter from the storm, a fortress in battle, and a strong tower from the enemy. All of us must recognize our humanness and our limited ability to handle the stresses and the strains of our lives. We need a strength stronger than ourselves. We need a steadfast rock upon which we can stand. The Lord Jesus Christ is that Rock! His is the strength! His is the solid ground beneath our feet! “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”
Matthew 7:24-25 NLT Build your life upon the Lord Jesus Christ. No situation of life can destroy the home that is built upon The Rock!
“I will sing of your love and justice, Lord. I will praise you with songs. I will be careful to live a blameless life— when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride. I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me. I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence. My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the Lord from their grip.”
Psalms 101:1-8 NLT
What a Psalm!! Several things are declared in this Scripture!
1. Praise to God. The psalmist acknowledges the love and justice of God. He exclaims his praise in song.
We, too, should praise Him!
2. The psalmist wants to live a life of integrity. Integrity, by definition, is “soundness”. The idea is something solid, consistent, and consecrated. When someone walks in integrity they are trustworthy and above reproach. I love the way the psalmist says that he will walk in his house with integrity (“perfect heart” - King James Version). Each of us should live in private with trustworthy consecration! Our private lives should be foundational to our public living! I have heard it said like this: “Integrity is doing what is right when no one is watching!”
3. He refuses to look at vile and vulgar things. This is essential if we are to walk in holiness. Our eyes are the light of our lives. Jesus made this clear in Matthew 6:22-23. “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Matthew 6:22-23 NLT It was Eve’s eye that led her into temptation in Genesis 3:1-7. She saw that the fruit “looked” good. In 1 John 2 we are warned about this same thing. “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” 1 John 2:15-16 NLT May God help us reject vile and vulgar things as well!!
4. Hate for the crooked ways of men. We, too, must hate the crooked character and conduct of this culture. We must live by what is true and just! “For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3:10-12 NLT We must not hang out with wicked people. Yes, we should love them, and pray for their deliverance, but we must not get tangled up in their pernicious ways! “Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”” 1 Corinthians 15:33 NLT We must be very careful who we make our closest friends. These people must be of godly character if we are to walk pleasing to God!
5. Ridding the city of ungodliness. We must engage the culture with the light of Jesus Christ and allow His light to dispel the darkness from our homes, our churches, our communities, our businesses, our houses of government, and every crevice of our land. “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Matthew 5:13-16 NLT Salt must be shaken out of the container and light must be exposed to the darkness. We, as the body of Jesus Christ, the church, must engage and impact the culture for the cause of Christ Jesus our Lord!! Oh if only we had more godly men and women of character!! My heart aches with this contemplation! “Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth!” Psalms 12:1 NLT
I encourage you to read the whole chapter of Psalm 12.
“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”
Psalms 100:1-5 NLT
Everyone, and everything, was made to glorify God! The very life we have is an exclamation of His greatness! However, not everyone acknowledges their Creator. In their stubborn sinfulness, many meander around in life from birth to death and fail to willfully acknowledge the Lord or humbly submit their lives to Him. Some even blame God for the suffering and sorrow of this life. A choice has to be made!
Today, willingly, I acknowledge my Creator and Lord! I shout out His name in joyful celebration! Gladly, I serve Him! There is no other way of life for me! I was made to worship Him and bring glory to His Holy Name! I would not be here if it weren't for Him! I didn't make myself and I didn't make the world around me. I simply get to live this life and I have the opportunity to submit to the One who gave it to me. I choose to submit my life into His gracious and merciful hands. He is my Father! As one of His sheep, I find provision in His pasture and protection in His fold. I thank Him for His daily care, His forgiveness of my past, His presence with me now, the promise of life everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations! God is good!!! God, in His goodness, gave origin to life, purpose to life, and the certain prospect of everlasting life. His mercy has allowed each of us to get up this morning and try again. Yesterday is gone! Today is here. Live today to glory Him. His truth endures to all generations. His Person is eternal, His Word is TRUE, His presence is faithful, and those who cast their lot with Him will live forever. Yes, life's circumstances can prescribe a bitter pill of suffering and sorrow. In those moments, we can lose our way. Jeremiah the prophet felt that sting. In the Old Testament book of Lamentations he expresses his utter heartbreak over the pain and suffering that accompanied the Babylonian invasion of the Holy City Jerusalem in late 586 or early 585 B.C. “He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink. He has made me chew on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust. Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!” The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:15-24 NLT Regardless of the muck and mess in this world, there remains the blessed hope for every child of God. Jesus will return and all things will be made new. Live your life today in light of the life that is coming. Shout joyful praises!!!
“The Lord is king! Let the nations tremble! He sits on his throne between the cherubim. Let the whole earth quake! The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem, exalted above all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Your name is holy! Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established fairness. You have acted with justice and righteousness throughout Israel. Exalt the Lord our God! Bow low before his feet, for he is holy! Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel also called on his name. They cried to the Lord for help, and he answered them. He spoke to Israel from the pillar of cloud, and they followed the laws and decrees he gave them. O Lord our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God to them, but you punished them when they went wrong. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain in Jerusalem, for the Lord our God is holy!”
Psalms 99:1-9 NLT
God, the God of Israel, is Holy! His name is Holy! He is the epitome of fairness and justice! He was known by Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. He spoke from the cloud to direct Israel on their journey through the wilderness. He gave them laws to live by. These laws established righteous, stable, and civil life. When they sinned, He disciplined them, but forgiveness was also known through Him. Aren’t you glad?? This same God is Lord to all! He has made Himself known to us in the person of Jesus Christ! Although Israel, as a whole, rejected Christ the first time, the second time He comes He will be known to the whole world as the One True God! There will be no question about who He is!!! “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him— even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!” Revelation 1:7 NLT I choose to bow before Him now. I call Him Savior and Lord!!! My lot is cast and my gait (manner of walking) is fixed. My future is secure in Him!!! I sorrow for those who don’t know Him. To know Him is to know life and eternal life. Indeed, His Name is Holy!!!!!
“Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power! The Lord has announced his victory and has revealed his righteousness to every nation! He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel. The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song, with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn. Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the earth and all living things join in. Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.”
Psalms 98:1-9 NLT
Song your own new song of praise to the Lord today. Let your heart pour out words of adoration to God! Tell of His excellent greatness. Shout to the top of your lungs about His Holiness! Join in with the multitude of saints around the world in harmonious symphony. He has brought us salvation, given us everlasting life, and mercifully guided us through this dark world. The light of His Word has illuminated our path. His angels have guarded our steps. His grace has sustained us. His love has assured and comforted us. His joy has strengthened us. His peace has settled us. His kindness has encouraged us. His goodness has overwhelmed us. His patience has tolerated us. His mercies are new each day!!
Join with all of creation and lift your voice in declaring the power of Almighty God! He is coming! The earth itself, and all its creatures, groan in anticipation of His glorious reclamation of this earth. His justice will be known on that day! Once again, we will walk in absolute harmony with our Lord as Adam did in the garden of Eden. Just as God gave victory to Israel, He gives victory to all who trust in His Son, Jesus Christ! This world may have its hardships but, through it all, God has promised us victory. We, as His saints, are not fighting for victory, we are walking with victory. The Conquering King is coming!
“For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)”
Romans 8:19-25 NLT
Are you looking forward to that day? I sure am!! Praise Him for being your Lord, Father, and Savior today!
Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right. May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord and praise his holy name!” Psalms 97:11-12 NLT
Godly! A word that does not describe most of us. To be godly is to be devout or pious; to act like God! I'm not really fond of the word "pious" because it can give the idea of hypocritical conduct that is meant to appear godly. Many today attend church or associate themselves with "Christian" or the "I believe in God" mentality. However, there are few devout disciples of Jesus Christ! The godly are the ones who live their lives to honor God in all their dealings. Theirs is a faith beyond association, it is dedication! The godly aspire to represent the One they call Master! The eyes of the Lord are all over the earth, looking to find those whose hearts are after Him! “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him..." 2 Chronicles 16:9a NLT Listen to these verses: “Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth!” Psalms 12:1 NLT “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” Luke 6:46 NLT “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6 NLT Are you godly?
Rev. Curtis Norris