Some of the 150 Psalms exhort “Sing to the Lord a new song” (Psa. 149:1). Each day the same old Psalm can be like a new song if we have fresh eyes for worshiping God!
Sometimes I like to read just
The verses I’ve highlighted
from the Psalms written by David and others inspired by God—the most inspirational ones for me. It occurred to me that stringing the highlight lyric verses together would create its own beautiful Psalm that would be especially motivating to me—and perhaps to you [all New Living Translation]:
♦ “They delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night … bearing fruit each season” (1:2). Now that I’m awake more each night, this is a way to bear more fruit!
♦ “Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (5:3). If we’re going to bother praying, shouldn’t we expect an answer! And if we ask for God’s will to be done, we can expect it!
♦ “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done” (9:1). We need to actually give thanks, not just feel it.
♦ “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you” (16:2). James concurs: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17, New King James Version).
♦ “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of our presence and the pleasures of living with you forever” (16:11). No wonder we should seek for glory, honor and immortality! (Rom. 2:7).
♦ The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart… They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them” (19:8, 11). Funny that people think they are done away. Wishful! And they miss out!
♦ “For you have given him his heart’s desire; you have withheld nothing he requested” (21:2). That’s how it looks to me when I look back on 49 years of living this Way.
♦ “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need” (23:1). This dumb sheep has been most blessed!
♦ Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow” (25:4). At key junctures, God has planted me in the right place at the right time, like He did for Joseph and Esther.
♦ “I am trusting you, O Lord … My future is in your hands” (31:15). Like God said in Jer. 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
♦ “Trust in the Lord and do good… Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires… The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (37:3, 4, 23). God knows me!
♦ “O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name” (44:8). It’s the command we can’t possibly fully do: “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name” (29:2, NKJV).
♦ “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you” (51:10-12). Sometimes I tell God that I’d be happy for Him to make we obey Him, since that’s what I reallly want to do, but He gives us free moral agency so we have to develop character by making right choices.
♦ “Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near” (65:3-4). It’s hard to forgive ourselves and to believe that God removes our sins as far as east is from west, says the God who cannot lie!
♦ “You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny” (73:24). Hang on! No, participate!
Only halfway through … looks like a second new Psalm is on order! Reading the Psalms while praying is a wonderful way to make our prayers more effective.
What’s your new Psalm?
April 26, 2019—Looks like an ordinary Friday. The “good” ones are past. Freeways are full and for most it’s back to the grind.
Not knowing that this is a day with incredible meaning. On this day in 1447 BC, or close to it, the Israelites walked
Through the Red Sea
dry shod! God parted the waters and Israel walked through during the night. This pictured baptism (I Corinthians 10:2). In the morning God released the two walls of water onto the pursuing chariots, and now they were out of Egypt representing sin and out of Pharaoh’s clutches representing Satan’s. Forty years later, same day,
The walls of Jericho came a-tumbling down
Israel could now enter the Promised Land.
A physical people specially chosen by God because of the obedience of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) pictured the spiritual journey spiritual Israel (Galatians 6:16), also specially chosen by God (I Peter 2:9), would make.
Sodom & Gomorrah Wiped Out
Lot served unleavened bread to the two angels, so it was obviously during the time period of the Days of Unleavened Bread before God commanded Moses and the Israelites to keep His Holy Days in Exodus 12 and listed them in Leviticus 23. I won’t be surprised to find out after Christ returns that it likewise occurred on the seventh Day of Unleavened Bread. Because chalk up another supernatural victory!
So what is this day? The Feast of Red Sea Parting? The Feast of Jericho A-tumbling Down? The Feast of Sodom & Gormorrah no more-a?
No, it’s the seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:15-20).
What? How can a day associated with such awesome miracles be called by food! “The Battle of the Alamo is not called the Battle of Beans, Tortillas and Salsa” (Charles Melear)!
The answer is that Unleavened Bread is about Jesus Christ. He is the unleavened bread of life (John 6:48). He uses the symbol of unleavened bread to represent His sinless body (I Cor. 11:24) that was broken for each one of us to receive physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing. A matzo is just not so puffed up. Not so full of it. Not so pretentious. Not much to look at and be proud about. Hard to go awry over a rye crisp.
In 1969 when I first learned about the Days of Unleavened Bread, I asked Doris Johnson, who was like my mother in the faith, “What do we eat?” She handed me a box of rye crisp. I don’t really like rye crisp. Good thing I saw her again in only a day to straighten me out because she just laughed when she learned that I thought she meant that’s all I could eat for the seven Days of Unleavened Bread! In first love I had made it through the first day!
Jesus says that we have to eat His body to have life (John 6:53) and many disciples walked away after this hard saying. His body is the Church of called-out believers (I Corinthians 12:27).
He causes obstacles to part, fall or suffer fire and brimstone.
What counts today is the same. These are the seven Days of Unleavened Bread not the seven Days of Leavened Bread. Before the first Day of Unleavened Bread we had removed all leaven representing sin from our homes, cars and work. Passover night all our sins were forgiven as we recommitted to God’s way in total surrender. We got off to a great unleavened start!
Our focus is on Jesus Christ
the Unleavened Bread of Life, who is leading us while we have to live in this Egyptian world of sin but must not be a part of it (John 17:15). After baptism, He lives in us through the Holy Spirit. He is leading us on to the promised eternal life which we will receive at the resurrection.
Victory over sin is through Jesus Christ our Unleavened Bread!
Minds on Jesus Christ and His “sincerity and truth” will not be succumbing to “malice and wickedness,” Paul taught the Corinthians who were keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread. “Therefore let us keep the feast,” Paul writes (I Corinthians 5:7-8).
Today is a “high day” (John 19:31)—a day experiencing such meaningful joy—greatly treasured on high! Where ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9)!
Definitely no ordinary Friday. Total victory over sin! Through the Holy Spirit which will be the focus of the next Holy Day—Pentecost—in the glorious Plan of God!
Looking to see what Jesus did? We get an eyeful in John 13.
On the way to Jerusalem facing the greatest challenge of His meaning-packed 3-1/2 years on earth, with scourging and crucifixion imminent, all his clueless disciples wanted to do was argue about who was the greatest — how could they know about Mohammed Ali back then! But they thought they deserved to have the honor of sitting at Christ’s right hand in His kingdom.
At His last Passover with His beloved disciples, before instituting the new symbols of unleavened bread and wine symbolizing recommitment to our Lamb of God Savior, Jesus knew they needed an attitude makeover before being ready for such a commitment. Earlier He had tried to teach them that they must be servants and not seek to lord it over like the Gentiles (Matt. 20:25-28). And they were right back at it again (Luke 22:24)!
So He got up, filled a basin with water and
Washed their feet!
This totally shocked them because this dirty task (from trodding the dusty roads) was something not done by even the lowliest servants. The practice was to hand a guest a basin of water and let them wash their own feet (Luke 7:44, Gen. 18:4). Ugh, such filth! You do it!
With action speaking louder than words, Jesus shouted at them by pure heart example that the greatest would be the humble servants demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ their Savior living in them.
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
You also should wash one another’s feet
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15, NIV).
By the foot-washing ceremony He instituted in His last Passover, Jesus was also symbolizing washing away sin and making us spiritually clean.
More than just a beautiful annual ceremony, we are inspired to wash feet wherever our service is needed. Bring on the feet! No matter how dirty, deformed or yellowed! Let’s do it!
“You shall never wash my feet!”
At this point, the idea of washing somebody’s feet didn’t repulse him. But no way did he want to humble himself to let somebody wash his!
After 48 years of doing the annual ceremony and also striving to wash feet in Christ-centered servant leadership all these years long, I have found it’s much harder to put out your feet so somebody else can have the growing experience of such loving service.
It sounds like such humility to kneel but it’s strangely easier than sitting in the chair and wondering what they are thinking about your ugly feet.
Jesus let Mary anoint his feet with expensive spices. Another time He let a woman wash His feet with her tears and dry them with her hair.
Oh, the joy of watching somebody open your choice present more than trying to come up with the words to thank them for theirs. “You shouldn’t have.” We probably mean it.
When I was first converted, the man and woman who were like father and mother to me in the Church would regularly do so many nice things for me. But when I tried to do something nice back for them, they would refuse to let me! They were self-reliant live-off-the-land ranchers. I’ll give you the shirt off my back but you keep yours on! … oh, so you don’t freeze or get sunburned. One day I had a heart-to-heart talk to them about it, and they proved their humble serving conversion by yielding.
One of the funniest escapades I ever witnessed among converted brethren was at the conclusion of eating out at a restaurant with several men who are very generous and known for picking up the check. What a hoot to see them jockeying to be the one to get their hands on the check! They weren’t used to being treated that way!
OK, it should go without saying that God does not want mooches and freeloaders! But there is a right time and place to let others learn the joy of washing feet. It’s simply a not-so-obvious fact that they can’t use the basin without somebody contributing the dirty feet!
A corollary: For really beautiful Christ-centered servant leadership, it takes beautiful Christ-centered responsive followers. As the “Life’s a Dance” song by John Michael Montgomery puts it so well,
“Sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow”
Life takes basin and feet. When the time calls for it, use the basin, offer feet. Always follow our Servant Leader, Jesus Christ!
“Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany” (John 12:1) in A.D. 31. What do you know, today is six days before Passover 2019!
The last six days of our Savior’s life followed. He didn’t just hide out. And this wasn’t like my next six pretty uneventful days. Or yours.
Who’d He see? What’d He do? Say? What can we learn from the events and sayings of Jesus Christ right before His supreme sacrifice for our sins? He had prophecies to fulfill. He dealt with the religious leaders. He shared thoughts that would motivate His Disciples down through the ages.
“The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8)
Since that time Christ knew the unspeakable excruciating [relating to crucifixion] suffering that awaited Him. “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour” (John 12:27).
In six days Jesus was going to know dread, betrayal, rejection, pain and agony like no one ever would—to become your Savior!
At this crucial time, Jesus stayed with Mary, Martha and Lazarus who were very special to Him. With our ability to cover many miles in our cars, how often do we feel like we just don’t have time to stop and fellowship. I’m constantly finding out that brethren passed right through Canon City while visiting the Royal Gorge without stopping for a meal or night’s stay. The flip side is that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were not too finicky to share what they had instead of thinking it wouldn’t be worthy for the Son of God. I doubt if they had a guest bedroom and bathroom for Jesus. And what about the 12 Disciples! The Bible preaches
It only happens when people humbly serve and humbly be served. How are we doing?
When Judas criticized [and others were thinking it] Mary for “wasting” the fragrant oil in anointing Jesus for His coming burial, Jesus silenced them:
“She has done what she could (Mark 14:8)”
Martha is always seen physically serving, which was expected of women back then. I’m sure Jesus appreciated that because He would end up washing the feet of His Disciples. But Mary had a habit of “choosing the best part” in serving Christ (Luke 10:42), and the Son of God went out of His way, against the grain of His society, to honor women.
My pastor John Kennedy was fond of saying: “Give God something to bless.” Give five loaves and two fish and He will feed all and give 12 baskets back. I think the excess went back to the boy who gave all he had for Christ to bless (Luke 6:46).
On the Sabbath before His crucifixion, not on Sunday as tradition has it all wrong, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey to fulfill the prophecy of Zech. 9:9. This was the 10th of Nisan in A.D. 31.
In Exodus 12:3-7 God told Israel to have each man/family select a lamb without blemish to be their Passover lamb on the 10th day of the month of Nisan, kill it at twilight on the 14th and sprinkle some of its blood on the doorposts and lintel of the houses where they eat it.
When Joshua brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, after crossing the Jordan River they camped in Gilgal on the 10th day of Nisan, were circumcised, and then “kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight” (Josh. 4:19, 5:10).
Jesus had walked all the way from Galilee, walked uphill to get to Bethany, but then He arranged for the donkey ride to fulfill Zechariah and Exodus. The people strewed palms in His path and shouted Hosannas to the Son of David and to the King of Israel! Jesus was royally selected to be
“Christ our Passover” (1 Cor. 5:7)
As He drew near to Jerusalem, Jesus saw this special city to God and wept (Luke 19:41). He knew the terrible suffering coming to the people at the hands of the Romans in A.D. 70. He wept that they didn’t know who would be bringing them peace “because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (v. 44, New International Version).
I hope how the New Living Translation puts this will shake us to the core: “because you have rejected the opportunity God offered you.”
“When the hour had come,” Jesus sat down with His Disciples: “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you” (Luke 22:14-15).
Hello Family around the earth, how are you today?
As Christians, we love to talk and sing about proclaiming God’s glory and holiness. Well, God says “The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Lev. 23:2).
When I first heard about these feasts in 1969 at age 19, I couldn’t believe that I’d been going to church my whole life and never heard anything about them. God’s feasts? Holy convocations? Wow! I wanted to keep them!
Passover service Thursday night, April 18
will be my 49th. On this night back about 1447 B.C. the death angel passed over Israelite homes in Goshen that had blood smeared on the top and sides of the doors. That prefigured this night in 31 A.D. when Jesus Christ shed His blood for sin. For my sin. And I hope you can see how you fit into that.
A week from this Thursday night we do as Paul commanded and
“Proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26)
We renew our commitment to God in the special Passover service instituted by Jesus Christ. We wash feet. We eat a small piece of unleavened bread and then drink a small portion of wine. We read our Savior’s last words to His disciples and then end with a hymn. It’s a solemn night of joy unspeakable when you will feel closer to God and your brethren than any other time of year.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Justification and grace bring on a lifetime of sanctification, service and growth through the living Christ living in us!
The Sabbath and Annual Sabbaths picture and teach how the Father and Jesus Christ are reproducing themselves and building the Family—and they show the timing of how it will be accomplished.
A huge way to give God some of the glory due His name (Psa. 29:2) is to keep His Sabbaths and Holy Days. That’s the best way to proclaim them.
Now you have been proclaimed to. God is calling you. Choose. And be faithful (Rev. 17:14).
Thank you in advance for comments and shares, welcome to the Family, and let’s become friends,
Hello Family around the world, how are you today?
You must be wonderin’ who’s been sippin’ the spiked eggnog a little too much! Wonderin’ where I’ve been for the last three months? Shoveling snow give me a brain freeze?
Saturday, April 6, 2019—this is the day God thinks is New Year’s Day (Ex. 12:2). And He says “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” That’s good enough for me. Dick Clark’s a nice guy but I’m in with Moses, Aaron and Miriam. More importantly, with God!
“Oh, He was talking to Jews”
That’s what people say, and so we think God’s Happy New Year doesn’t apply to anybody else. That couldn’t be more wrong and we are missing out on huge truths that affect far beyond 24 hours. Satan knows how to play the anti-Semitism card for all it’s worth!
Actually, God was talking “to all the congregation of Israel” (v. 3). That means me on several crucial levels. The congregation of Israel became God’s “church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38, English Revised Version), and I’m blessed to be part of His Church of God today. The “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16).
And actually, God was talking to all 12 tribes of Israel, not just the tribe of Judah (Jews). Because God opened my mind to see the truth about which day is His Happy New Year, He also lets me see from the Bible and history that I am blessed to live in Manassah. Manassah means “forgetful” and we are rightly named as we are forgetting God on every front!
More than all that, respecting His calendar ties right in with understanding and keeping His Holy Days. Exodus 12 goes on to discuss the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread which we celebrate in two weeks! The irony is that the Jews don’t really keep these days dismissively called “Jewish” but Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the Church of God did and still do keep these cherished days which are therefore Christian. I like to say Christish! This will be my 49th year of rejoicing in God’s glorious Holy Days!
When I first learned about God’s Holy Days 48 years ago, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard anything before from ministers and churches. Why wouldn’t we want to keep Holy Days God tells us to observe! I couldn’t wait to start keeping them.
Who would have guessed that God’s Happy New Year has so much to do with building the Family of God! Hey, you don’t have to guess now that I’ve shared it with you! This has to be shocking to many of you, as it was to me, and feel free to write me any questions.
On God’s sacred Hebrew calendar tomorrow is Nisan 1. I’m posting this Friday morning, and I’m guessing tomorrow is going to be a glorious day to enjoy the ride! Somehow you’d expect a day God designates to lead off the year to be a dandy!
That the spring Holy Days are so late this year enabled me to know that Punxsutawney Phil was so way off in his prediction of an early spring as I was in guessing how to spell its name.
Who needs Times Square to feel that it’s the right time for a new year. Creation is ready to party! The dead of winter is springing to life! The furnace is still turned on but doesn’t kick on. No more hunkering under blankets and layering in jackets. We’re hitting 70s and it feels so good to be alive out working on the yard. The wife’s plants are popping up. Green and growth are in the air.
And here’s something an old moose can really appreciate: there isn’t pressure to stay up till midnight to ring in God’s New Year. God’s days start at sunset. Even I can stay up until 7!
So bring on Saturday — always special but this week more so as Happy New Year!
“I said to
The man who stood at the gate of the year:
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied: ‘Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way’”–Minnie Louise Haskins, broadcast by King George VI in 1939 at the beginning of World War II.
Is there any of that eggnog left! Happy New Year!
Thanks in advance for your comments and shares, welcome to the Family of God, and let’s become friends,