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Psa 105:1-3 – “O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.”
Today, April 28th, is the sixth anniversary of Settled In Heaven Ministries. Over the past 6 years, the Lord has graciously allowed and enabled us to proclaim His Word through the SIH internet-based ministries. To honor Him and thank Him for His gracious intervention in this ministry, I would like us to look at three short verses from Psalm 105:
(1) O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Two of the greatest ways we can show our appreciation TO OTHERS for all that the Lord has done for us is:
- “call upon his name” –
The phrase “to call upon” can refer to a few different ideas. It can mean “to invite”, “to call for help” or “to proclaim publicly”. Any of these three can flow from a heart of appreciation for the Lord.
Do we invite our Lord to use His spirit to control every aspect of our life? Do we invite Him to come and use us as He sees fit? These are ways for Christians to express our thanks for all He has done for us.
Do we look to our Lord in times of need? Do we refuse to take the “easy way out” of problems, but instead, ask the Lord for grace to help us do what is pleasing and honorable to Him in any given situation? If so, we are saying “Thank You” to the Lord for all He has done for us.
Do we unashamedly tell others about our Lord and who He is? When the opportunity arises, are we willing to risk our relationship with a loved one or a friend to share with them their sinful condition, their inability to save themselves. and their desperate need of Christ? When we do these things we are declaring our gratefulness to Him through self-sacrifice showing His love to others.
- “make known his deeds among the people”
The second way that we can show our appreciation for the Lord and all He has done for us is by telling others what He has done for us. Not only His death on the cross for our sins, but the very personal things He has done for us during our lifetimes. The times He intervened by grace and healed our bodies (or our broken hearts), the times He protected us during times of danger, and the times He accompanied us through the storms of life granting us peace and enablement.
All of these are important messages that others need to hear from us, as they face many of the same issues that He has already brought us through. In doing so, we are declaring our thankfulness for the Lord and all He has done for us.
(2) Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works
Four of the greatest ways we can show our appreciation TO OURSELVES for all that the Lord has done for us is:
- “Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him:”
Not only are we to rehearse His greatness to others, but also we should display our thankfulness to Him by telling Him what He has done for us. In doing so, we are forcing ourselves to notice His acts of grace in our lives and humbles us It reminds us of our shortcomings, inabilities, and our continual need of Him.
- “talk ye of all his wondrous works.”
As we pray, we can speak to Him from hearts of gratitude and need throughout the day, constantly reminding ourselves of all He has done for us. By doing this, we are showing ourselves that we do recognize our indebtedness to Him and our need to constantly hold a spirit of gratefulness.
(3) Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
- “Glory ye in his holy name:”
We are to be encouraged and strengthened when we think of His holiness, his character, and the privilege we have been given to serve Him. We are not to be motivated to serve Him for the praise of men, but simply to see our Lord be glorified and honored in us.
- “let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.”
When we see ourselves seeking a closer relationship with the Lord, we know with certainty, our seeking is due to His intervention in our lives. What a cause for rejoicing and appreciation on behalf of the people of God
SIH ministries is our feeble attempt to say “Thank You” to the Lord for all He has done for us throughout our lifetime. As we look back at what has taken place over the years, all we can do is echo the words of King David who said…
“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” (Psa 40:1-3)
That is what has been; currently is; and, by God grace, will continue to be the desire of our hearts… to say thank you to the Lord for all He has done for us by declaring His greatness. And through it all, to lead men to Christ for salvation and to place a greater reverence of the Lord in the hearts of His people.
Secondly I would just like to thank all of you who have so faithfully taken part in the ministries here at SIH…. Thanks to the followers, commenters, likers, visitors, readers, rebloggers and social site sharers. Believe me, you all have been a great human encouragement as we have sought to faithfully post on a daily basis.
Thirdly, please be in prayer for the ministries here at SIH. By God’s grace, over the years we have tried to be constantly adding to our ministries in an attempt to reach the most number of people with His Word.
Also, you can follow SIH on the following social sites:
Lord willing, within the next year, SIH will be greatly expanding our ministries on:
May the Lord bless you for your faithfulness to Him and…
MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU AS YOU STUDY HIS WORD!
With the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.
As Christians, we have the responsibility to…
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)
So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s end our 5 part series on Halloween:
- A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)
- A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats
- A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
- A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
- A Summary of Our Study On Halloween
May the Lord be glorified in our study….
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2Co 6:14-18)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:1-2)
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (Jas 1:27)
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1Pe 1:13-16)
Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. (1Co 8:7-13)
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (1Co 10:31-33)
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Php 4:6-9)
In our previous studies we have seen 4 basic principles concerning the Halloween festival:
- The festival of Halloween’s history is connected with the belief that the spirits of dead men walk the earth, it was observed in preparation for the worship of “the Lord of Darkness”, it was held to appease and secure peace with these spirits for the upcoming year.
- The death symbols of Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Vampires, and Bats all were connected to the spirits of the dead which did not immediately go to their eternal state, but were able to dwell on the earth, avoiding the judgment they were facing and wreaking havoc among earthly beings.
- The sorcery symbols of Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons were related to the casting of magical spells and incantations that affect mankind. Also, the worship of false gods through idols derived from God’s creation (moon, planets, etc) was associated with these symbols.
- The necromancy symbols of Séances and Ouija Boards has the purpose of communicating with the spirits of the dead.
The Halloween festival, its related characters, and their connection to the occult, are very important considerations in the examination of our level of participation in the holiday.
Some areas of our examination should include:
- Are we properly separating ourselves from the sin of this world by participating in the Halloween festival? (2Co 6:14-18)
- Is our level of involvement in Halloween considered “conforming” (molded into the shape of) or “fashioned” to this world? (Rom 12:1-2) (1Pe 1:13-16)
- Is the Halloween celebration “spotting” our testimony for the Lord? (Jas 1:27)
- Is our participation in Halloween causing our weaker brothers to “stumble” in their walk for Christ? In other words, are they encouraged to make bad life choices based on the example we are setting? (1Co 8:7-13)
- Can our participation in Halloween be done for the Lord’s glory? (1Co 10:31-33)
- When we are participating in this celebration can we be having our minds on that which is true, honest, just etc.? (Php 4:6-9)
Over the years, I have seen four basic “levels” of participation in Halloween by God’s people:
- A total participation which involved decorating and dressing up with any of the symbols our study has examined. Along with participation in trick or treating and other exclusively Halloween activities.
- A participation that involves decorating and dressing up but avoiding demonic images and using only more benign symbols like princesses, cowboys etc. while still participating in trick or treating etc.
- A participation in “Harvest” or “Fall” parties on a date other than Oct 31st that totally exclude the Halloween title and avoid all aspects of the holiday (no trick or treat, no costume wearing etc.)
- No celebration of any type. No decorating, no costumes, no parties. They treat the holiday just like any other day.
Which do I believe is the proper approach?
- First, let me emphasize that every Christian must decide for him/her self as to the level of participation in Halloween activities. There is no ‘thus saith the Lord’ on the subject.
- Remember, participation in Halloween is NOT participation in the sins it represents. In other words, you can participate in Halloween and not be guilty of the sins of necromancy, the casting of spells etc.
- The question for the believer is … by participating am I appearing to condone these activities that Halloween symbolizes? Am I placing upon myself the appearance of approval or indifference to those activities? By participating am I saying…. “Hey its no big deal” ?
- So what do I think?
- Please remember, it really doesn’t matter at all what I think, all that matters is what God’s Word says. However, for the sake of you who are reading this, I need to take the time to explain what I believe…I think a full participation in Halloween, with costumes and decorations that include the occult symbols is a very questionable stand for a Christian to take. My feeling when it comes to my service to the Lord is …”it is always better to be safe than sorry”. If you have a question about an action. Don’t do it!
- By removing the occult symbols out of the Halloween celebration is certainly a big step in the right direction. “The appearance of evil” is basically being removed from the issue. However, the activity of trick or treating and wearing of any costume does have less obvious occult implications. But certainly, this is a far better than our first option. Also, by participating in trick or treat, it opens the opportunity for witnessing by distributing tracts and pocket sized Bibles with the candy that is passed out to children who come to your door. The Christian considering this option will have to weigh the gospel going out against the indirect occult association of Halloween. For me, this is a very difficult decision to make. I can easily see both sides of this option.
- I see no problem at all with the last two options of a harvest party or no celebration at all. Both are totally benign options that have no occult connections whatsoever.
If you would like to have more information about the proper Christian role in Halloween please take a look at: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/1126. This is a link from Bro John McArthur’s website and well worth our time to read it. (A special thanks to Sharon A. for sending me this link, it’s a good one! It is much appreciated.)
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
For the Christian….
So let me end this study as I began this study by saying can we, as Christians, say our participation in Halloween aligns itself with (1Th 5:21-22) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
May the Lord lead each of us to an understanding of His will and an attitude of understanding and temperance towards other Christians.
For those who have never trusted in Christ…
The greatest need that we all face in our lives is the need for the forgiveness of our sins. We all have sinned and come short of our Lord’s expectations for us. If you have never been saved, Halloween should not be your main concern, but concern about your sinful condition should take priority. How do we find forgiveness of our sins and peace with our Lord?
The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6)
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Rom 5:1-2)
Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.
If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.
Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com
Ever since I was a you boy at home, I enjoy watching scary movies. John Carpenter’s 1982 movie “The Thing” is at the top of my “favorites” list. It is a movie about scientist’s trapped with an alien in an Arctic research station. The catch is this… the alien can assume the shape and identity of any scientist at the station. You can imagine the basic idea of the movie, the scientists are constantly in fear, not knowing who is human and who is the alien. It is my ideal type of horror movie… not so gross and bloody, but scary. If you want to see a few scenes from this movie take a look on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouZkkIsLiNg You might think that I enjoy being afraid. Well, yes and no. Yes, I enjoy being afraid when I know my fear stems from a movie that is simply entertainment. I know in just a few hours, at the close of the movie, everything will be ok. However, when I face fears that exist in reality, I have an opposite reaction to them… I HATE THEM. One of the most difficult things in life, for me, is to be forced to face my worst fears. The longer I live, the more I am noticing one important truth… my fears are at their worst when I am not thinking about my Lord. Where faith is, fear shrinks away. Within the confines of Scripture, we can find many principles about how a Christian can get through the fearful times in their life… THE SCRIPTURE: And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. (1Sa 12:19-24) THE STUDY: In our text, the Lord had given the nation of Israel judges to rule over them. A judge had been given the authority from God to enforce the laws of the Lord, but they could not make any new laws. Israel saw that the other nations were ruled by kings. These kings had both the authority to uphold existing laws and to write new laws. Out of jealousy, the Israelites demanded that Samuel place into office a king, so they would be like all other nations. (1 Sam 8:) It is easy to miss the horrible sin they were committing… by asking for a King, Israel was saying, the laws of God were not sufficient meet their needs, they needed a King who could add to the laws of God. What a horrible attitude to have! No wonder, when they realized what they had done great fear fell upon them. In our Scripture, we find the basic principles Christians are to follow when faced with fears of any type: “And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.” Principle #1 – At times, we bring fearful times upon ourselves due to the sinful choices we make. By living lives of obedience to Christ we can avoid some of our fearful times. (Exo 20:19-20) “And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness:… For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.” Principle #2 – Despite our past failures, by placing the Lord first in our lives (through repentance), we can rest assured the Lord will be with us… He is a great, faithful, forgiving Lord. (Psa 130:4) “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you:” Principle #3 – During fearful times we should be thinking of others and not just ourselves. We should be prayerfully seeking to meet the spiritual and physical needs of those around us. By concentrating on others, the Lord helps take our mind off our fears and trials we are facing. (1 Thess 5:23-25) “but I will teach you the good and the right way:” Principle #4 – The fearful times of our life are great opportunites to present the truths of God to others. This can be done through our words as we tell others about Him goodness to us during fearful times. But also, it can be done through our lives as they watch us handle the fearful times with grace and peace. (James 5:10) “Only fear the LORD” Principle #5 – During our fearful times, as we concentrate on the Lord’s greatness in authority, power, faithfulness, and wisdom. This develops a reverence or “fear” of Him in our hearts and minds. In His greatness we can find comfort, and assurance, knowing He is in control and accompanying us in our daily walk. (Gen 15:1, Deut 20:3-4, Deut 31:6-8, 1 Chron 28:20, 2 King 6:16-17) “and serve him in truth with all your heart” Principle #6 – Fearful times in the life of a Christian should bring us closer to Him. Our service should be greater, our relationship to Him more intimate. This will lead to greater strength and peace during the troublesome times. (Zech 8:13) “for consider how great things he hath done for you.” Principle #7 – We are to be remembering His past gracious acts on our behalf, saying as King David did, “David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.”(1Sa 17:37, Isa 43:1, Joel 2:21) THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION For the Christian…. In these times of economic and political uncertainty, fear is beginning to enter the lives of even the strongest of Christians. During these fearful times, please remember… Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Php 4:6-7) (see also Matt 6:25-34) For those who have never trusted in Christ… Your main concern should be on your eternal destiny… And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mat 10:28) Above all else, please keep in mind, if you are eternally secure in Christ all the events of this world fade in comparison. Just knowing that you are going home to be with the Lord for an eternity, takes the sting out of even the greatest life threatening trials we may face in life…. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Co 15:55-57) Look to Jesus Christ and turn to Him in faith. He will forgive you of your sins and be with you throughout the trials this world may throw your way…. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isa 55:6-7) If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both. Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”
In the mid 70s, I attended and graduated from Waynedale High School in Apple Creek, Ohio. Waynedale had great students and fantastic teachers. I credit the Lord with using Waynedale to give me the tools I needed to further my education and succeed in life. I was blessed to have the privilege of attending Waynedale. Sorry to say, in my younger days, I did not appreciate Waynedale as I should.
For a closer look at Waynedale HS visit their websites:
Waynedale’s mascot was a golden bear. Like any high school, you could see golden bears all over the walls of the school building. Why? Because the golden bear represented who we were. The minute anyone stepped into our building they knew they were in Golden Bear Country!
This is also why our school jackets had a golden bear on them… in the neighboring communities, at the sight of the bear on our coat the people immediately knew that we attended Waynedale. By simply wearing a golden bear on our clothing we were making a statement about ourselves.
Did you know that the Lord has given us the equivalent of a golden bear coat that we are to use to declare our relationship with Him? Lets look at what the Bible has to say about our public announcement that we are Christ’s.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal 3:26-27)
In Galatians 3:26-27 – gives us a clear teaching on the role of faith and baptism in our salvation. If you notice, in verse 26 we can clearly see that faith is the entry way to adoption into the family of God. In other words, we must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to be forgiven of our sins and to become a part of God’s family.
Our Galatians text does not stop there. It goes on in verse 27 to explain the role of baptism in our salvation. Baptism is the “putting on” of Christ. By the way, the term “put on” in Greek means “to put on a suit of clothes”. In other words, baptism is like putting on clothing that publicly declares that the work of Christ has been applied to our account and we are now dead to sin and alive to Christ.
Baptism is the equivalent to my Waynedale coat. I was a student of Waynedale whether I wore my coat or not. But, if I wanted others to know I was a Waynedale student, I would put my coat on. The same principle applies to our baptism. If we have God-given faith in Christ, we are saved. Baptism has no effect on that. However, if we want others to know of our salvation experience, we are to be immersed in water (baptized). By being baptized, we are associating ourselves with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ; and, we are stating that we have died to sins and are raised to live a new life of submission to Him. (Roms 6:3-9) Once we are baptized, everyone knows we are a follower of Jesus Christ.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
For those who are saved, the most important next step in obedience to the Lord is to be immersed in water (baptism). This, in turn, pictures the work of Christ, our changed life, and our association with Him. By being baptized, we are saying to the world… “My Lord has saved me, I now commit myself to living my life for Him and I am so very grateful to be able to be called a child of the living God!”
Once we make this public declaration of our faith in Christ, we should strive to obey Him with our whole heart. For we know that our association with Him is known and we are being watched by others to see if our commitment to His service is genuine.
For those who have never been saved, first, it is vital to grasp the most important need of your life. Above all else, you are in need of the Lord’s intervention in your life and the faith He so graciously gives to those who seek His face.
By understanding the true nature of baptism, you will not be misled by those who will tell you that baptism is a necessary part of your receiving God’s salvation and adoption. Please allow me to repeat once again for clarity… faith alone is necessary for salvation. By trusting in Christ, your salvation is complete.
Baptism follows salvation and is necessary for a public declaration of your faith in Him. For a closer look at salvation and the need for faith please read my blog page on “forgiveness”.
“The name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth….neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Act 4:10-12)