Why do the nations rage[a] and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break[b] them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus[h] charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”7
Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus[h] charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief.
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
5 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.[a]
In life we as Christians constantly face challenging times where we are pressured to question God’s character and plans for our lives. This can be from family, workmates or our own guilt over sin. Psalm 25 comes out of a time of great affliction for David when he also would have been tempted to ask such questions. Facing a reality of bringing shame upon himself and God due to his own sin, David cries out to God for forgiveness, for God’s own name’s sake. David has the confidence to cry out to God for forgiveness as he meditates on God’s good character. Bringing God’s good character and covenant promises to mind assures him that God will make a way for him to be pardoned of his guilt and taken from the path of shame and lead in the path of honour. God has made a way through Jesus Christ who was afflicted and shamed on the cross, dying alone. Jesus has taken our shame and given us his place of honour, therefore we can have confidence that as we face trails and temptations in this life, God who loves us will lead us forward.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
6 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12 Who is the man who fears the Lord?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
13 His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
14 The friendship[b] of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.
22 Redeem Israel, O God,
out of all his troubles.
Starting out in life we all develop expectations on how it will work out. But when these expectations are not met we can question God’s power, promises and care. Psalm 135 draws our eyes up to praise God for he is in control and is working out a far greater life than we could ever imagine. God is bringing all things together for a life that brings praise and honour to Christ and brings us joy in him.
Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord, give praise, O servants of the Lord, 2 who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God! 3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant![a] 4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession.
5 For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. 6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. 7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
8 He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast; 9 who in your midst, O Egypt, sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants; 10 who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings, 11 Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan, 12 and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.
13 Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown,[b] O Lord, throughout all ages. 14 For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.
15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 16 They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; 17 they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. 18 Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.
19 O house of Israel, bless the Lord! O house of Aaron, bless the Lord! 20 O house of Levi, bless the Lord! You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord! 21 Blessed be the Lord from Zion, he who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the Lord!
Is there any thing more pressing for us than to know who we are and what are here for – our Identity and Purpose. Today, we’re looking at how God, through the Bible, answers those questions and asking how we can apply this truth in a tangible way in our lives.
In Gen 1 God reveals himself to the newly freed nation of Israel from slavery. His introduction sets him apart as the only true God who is uncreated and has all authority. And also reveals his fatherly love for his creation as shown in his original plan, placing them as gardeners in the garden of eden and his rescuing Israel from slavery by his grace.
In Isaiah Ch 9 he is given a vision to encourage the people of Judah who are faced with a coming invasion from Assyria or with oppressive allegiances. God gives them hope in the form of a Child who will be an eternal divine King. He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.
Christmas is one of the most aesthetically beautiful holidays we celebrate today. But is there more to this holiday than aesthetic beauty, than carols and presents? What is the real story of Christmas?