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Verse of the Month - Aug 2017

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[3] Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. (Psalm 63:3 ESV)

If you live in Nebraska during the summers and spend any amount of time outside, you will surely become thirsty.  If you don’t seek out a drink to quench your thirst, the result can be detrimental to your health.  But it is important to point out that what you drink matters.  For instance, if you tried to drink sand, it wouldn’t satisfy your thirst at all. It would actually accentuate the problem you feel.  If you drank a glass of milk, your thirst might be subsided momentarily, but it would actually dehydrate you further.  The solution to our physical thirst is to drink something that will actually work to hydrate you, such as water or gatorade. The truth is that our physical thirst is a shadow of our deep spiritual thirst that needs to be quenched.  In Ecclesiastes 3:11, Solomon writes that God has placed eternity into the heart of man.  In other words, God has created you with an ingrained thirst for Him.  Sadly, we often at times try to quench that thirst with things that only leave us more thirsty.  So what is the answer?

In Psalm 63 we observe the plea of David for the presence of God.  The psalm comes in three stages which can be labeled as thirst, fulfillment, and deliverance.  In verse 1, David describes his thirst for God.  We get the picture that God is like the rare commodity of water in a desert which David longs and thirsts for.  David has an understanding that in the “wilderness” times of life, his soul needs to drink from the eternal well that never runs dry.  David finds his fulfillment as he looks upon God and sees His power and glory (v 2).  These two characteristics of God reassure David of God’s sovereign control, His matchless beauty, and unfading love which does not shift regardless of life circumstance.  They are like a cold glass of water in the desert place!  David responds in doxology by saying, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (v. 3).  Seeing God and beholding His glory and power builds in David a trust of deliverance knowing that ultimately all things will be made right.

For the Christian today, we can drink of the Jesus who is the living water in times of wilderness because on the cross Jesus thirsted and shed His blood for us.  By the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us, we too can behold God’s power and glory found in the person and work of our Lord Jesus.  From “his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” and in Jesus we have seen the glory of God. (Jn 1:14, 16).  

Written by Pastor Rick Bartek

Posted by Rick Bartek with

Verse of the Month - July 2017

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[5] Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! (Psalm 89:5 ESV)

Psalm 89 is a song of lament from God’s people.  The reality that the Bible contains lament should in and of itself be a great comfort for us today.  The truth of living in a fallen world is that in different seasons and times of life we all deal with sorrow, whether it be due to sickness, death of a loved one, broken relationships, a wayward child, addictions, etc.  The great news is that the Bible gives us permission to grieve, and it is in our grief that we are able to experience the faithfulness of a God who gives us a garment of praise out of our distress.

The psalmist builds this lament upon the faithfulness and steadfast love of God.  But why?  What is it about God’s faithfulness and steadfast love that gives us permission and confidence to bring our troubles to him?  Some would argue that sorrow is proof that our God is not faithful. But this is not true because God’s faithfulness is not circumstantial, rather God’s faithfulness is a part of His character.  Although our circumstances may change, our God does not.  This is why the psalmist can proclaim in verse one that God is faithful to all generations.  Times change, sin damages, our flesh fails, but our God redeems through his steadfast love and faithfulness.  This was the promise that God gave to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David.  In times of difficulty, we should cling to a God whose Word is unable to fail.  The psalmist does this by calling to mind the promise given to David that his throne would be eternal (vv 3-4).  

The beauty for the church today is that God kept his promise to David through Jesus.  It is in Jesus that God’s steadfast love and faithfulness is most clearly seen.  The death of Jesus for our sins is the evidence that God takes evil and uses it for good.  Because of this truth the Apostle Paul writes, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Cor 1:20).  So now we too can sing as Israel did, “Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!”

Written by Pastor Rick Bartek

Posted by Rick Bartek with