If you and I were having lunch right now I'd share how each of today's readings kicked my butt. 2Kings 17 reminded me of how shallow we are and forgetful of the clarity of God's commands for our lives. Acts 20 was like a mental slide show... I had the privilege in 2005 of traveling through those towns mentioned: Troas, Assos, Ephesus, parts of Greece and ancient Macedonia. More importantly, I was reminded of how I memorized Acts 20:24 my first year out of college, wanting it to be my mission statement:
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.Then I got to Psalm 148, and heard myself humming the worship song I learned years ago which was based on this psalm.
And then I started doing what I believe all the psalms encourage us to do... I kept going. Ben Patterson, Campus Pastor of Westmont College, taught a group of us years ago to use the psalms as templates for prayer. Read them, listen, read them again, then pray them. And then build on them, adding to what they say. As I learned from how liturgy is supposed to work, rather than use my circumstances to shape my worship, the reverse should be the case. The words I say, the prayers I pray, the songs I sing, shape my understanding of life and my circumstances.
It says in 2Corinthians 1:20,
For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.So I encourage you to say yes to God and yes to your life through Psalm 148 today. Pray it, and build on it, praising Him in countless ways. He is good.
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens!
Praise him from the skies!
2 Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
3 Praise him, sun and moon!
Praise him, all you twinkling stars!
4 Praise him, skies above!
Praise him, vapors high above the clouds!
5 Let every created thing give praise to the Lord,
for he issued his command, and they came into being.
6 He set them in place forever and ever.
His decree will never be revoked.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you creatures of the ocean depths,
8 fire and hail, snow and clouds,
wind and weather that obey him,
9 mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all livestock,
small scurrying animals and birds,
11 kings of the earth and all people,
rulers and judges of the earth,
12 young men and young women,
old men and children.
13 Let them all praise the name of the Lord.
For his name is very great;
his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
14 He has made his people strong,
honoring his faithful ones—
the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord for the lovely friends in my life, and my church family.
Praise the Lord for the meaning and beauty and joy I experience nearly every day in the work I get to do.
Praise him for the capacity to exercise and enjoy his creation, the mind to read and learn, the good food on my table, my warm and comfortable bed, the roof over my head, the birds singing outside my window each morning.
His name is stupendously great, and I praise him for making himself known to me and to us. YES!