“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High.” Psalm 92:1
Christians love to worship God! Psalm 92 says it is good to thank and praise the Most High God—the Father, Son, and Spirit. The weekly services of Faith, Hope & Peace Ministries provide an opportunity to worship the Triune God. We hear God’s Word, learn of the great love of Jesus and receive the forgiveness of sins, and offer God our thanksgiving and praise. How pleasant it is to receive God’s rich blessings and to worship Him—and how pleasant to do it together! We feel joy in our hearts whenever we see one another and join in the worship of God.
Moreover, our worship doesn’t stop after the weekly service is over. All through the week and all through the day, together or alone, Christians worship the living God. We live continually in God’s abundant grace and respond with thanks and praise. Moment by moment, awake or sleeping, we are held in the strong love of our Savior, Jesus, who atoned for our sins by His death on the cross and reconciled us to the Father. How good it is to tell the Lord “Thank You” for all He has done! Every day we can find many things for which to thank God. Life and health, family and friends, food and drink are all gifts from God. Eternal life is His greatest gift—available to all who trust in Jesus.
How pleasant, also, to sing joyful songs to God! In the quiet of your heart or aloud you can sing praise to God for all that He is and all that He does. Just choose one of your favorite hymns, or make up a new song if you wish. Many unnecessary worries fall away the moment God’s children call upon His saving name.
In the resurrection light of Jesus we see clearly how very good our God is. How good it is to thank and praise our God—the Father, Son, and Spirit!
O Most High, what You have done for me is wonderful beyond all telling. Assist me to give You thanks and to praise Your name in this life until I worship You in glory hereafter; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1
This week, we in the USA are remembering 9-11, the day terrorists hijacked airplanes and flew them into buildings in New York City and Washington, D.C., killing thousands. Most of us recall exactly where we were when we heard the terrible news. Since that day new words have come into our vocabulary, like “homeland security” and “suspicious packages” and “terror alert level.” If we didn’t already know it before then, September 11th convinced us that the world—and even our own country—is a dangerous place.
However, no matter what danger we face, we who trust in the Lord can live without fear. The Lord is there for us! Look at the Psalm verse above. David asks “Whom shall I fear?” And the answer is “No one!” With the Lord on his side, David could live in confidence, even when danger was swirling around him. With the Lord on our side, we can live with confidence too. The Lord is our light! He shines in the darkness for us. The Lord is our salvation! He rescues us from every evil. Jesus Christ our precious Savior suffered and died on the cross to deliver us from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Jesus rose from the dead, triumphant over every enemy forever. The Holy Spirit fills our hearts with faith, hope, and peace.
Every day brings challenges and trials to the people of God. Yet through it all—every hour, every moment—here is the Lord, by your side, helping and defending you, comforting you through His Word, assuring you of His love. No fear shall trouble you, dear child of God; the Lord is on your side this day and always.
Lord Jesus, for my salvation you suffered death on the cross and rose victorious over all my foes. Thank You that when I am afraid, I can trust in You. Amen.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
This month’s devotions will look at verses from the book of Psalms. The twenty-third psalm is a favorite of many Christians. In the first verse of this psalm David declares that he will not want. In other words, he will not be in need; he will have all he requires. How could David be so sure? Because the Lord was his shepherd! Like a shepherd carefully tends his sheep, guiding them to food and water, protecting them from predators, and making sure they return safely to the sheep pen, so the almighty Lord God took care of His dear David. In love God looked after David, providing for him, caring for him, protecting him. With his loving and mighty Lord watching over him like a shepherd over his flock, David was confident that his life was in good hands.
Your life is also in good hands! The Lord who was David’s shepherd is also your shepherd. You are dear to God’s heart just as David was. In love God formed you and made you; you are God’s unique and special creation! You are also the reason God sent His only-begotten Son to live and die and rise! At your Baptism, God washed away your sins and gave you faith in Jesus, renewing you by the power of the Holy Spirit. How much God must love you!
And because God loves you, He is committed to caring for you. Every day of your life, as a shepherd looks after his sheep, God looks after you. He provides for you, cares for you, and protects you. Not one day and not one moment will pass without God’s tender mercy surrounding you. Just look around and see how God sends people to supply what you need—food and drink, help and aid, and the comfort and encouragement of His Word. At the start of every day, when you close your eyes at night, and every moment in between you can confidently declare with David: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Dear Lord, because You love me and provide for me I have all that I need. Thank You for watching over me like a shepherd watches over his sheep. Be with me this day also. I need You every hour. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10: 25
For all my life I have been a regular church attendee. Granted, my motivation wasn’t always that pure. As a child I went because my parents made me. Consequently, much of my “inspiration” came from the threat of punishment. Despite my occasional protests, particularly in my teen years, they still made me go. They wouldn’t have it any other way and, to be honest, looking back on it, neither would I.
I say that because the “habit” of worship is in many ways just that . . . a habit. Now, typically we think of habits as things we have to kick. However, there are good habits as well and attending worship is one of them. It is a learned behavior that has to be instilled in us because, on our own, our Old Adams would never choose to go. The inclination of our sinful nature, if we are to be honest, would always be to choose to do something else other than worship. This is especially true in this day and age when there is so much competition for our time and attention most of which is easily accessible and much more appealing to our sinful flesh. Worship was always a good part of my life; I just didn’t realize it when I was younger. Unfortunately, it just took my maturity level a little while to catch up.
Neglecting the “habit” of worship can be dangerous for the believer. Worship is where God gives us his gifts of Word and Sacrament. These are the very things which sustain our faith and keep us focused on Christ and his cross. That’s why the author of Hebrews gives the warning in the above verse for those who were beginning to develop a new habit (which was probably an old habit) of not gathering together for worship. The risk, to be blunt, was an atrophying faith that could not stand in the face of that “Day” when it came.
That “Day” he refers to in this passage is the “Day of the Lord” or “Judgment Day.” Granted, that certainly has an ominous ring to it but it does for a reason . . . it is ominous. At some point in the future, at a time we just don’t know, Christ our Lord will return and there will be a reckoning. How firm will our faith be at that time?
The encouragement given in this verse is, in light of the coming judgment, we as Christians are not to neglect the things that feed and strengthen our faith. Grace upon grace comes to us in worship as we confess our sins, receive absolution, hear God’s Word about Christ death and resurrection for us and for our sins, and as we eat his body and drink his blood in his holy supper. Forgiveness of sins abounds in worship and where there is the forgiveness of sins there is life and salvation. To put it simply, worship is what we need.
Gracious God, you are the giver of all good gifts. We thank you that in your goodness you give to us the gift of worship whereby you feed and nourish our souls. Help us always to hunger and thirst for your word that we might be continually strengthened to walk with you all the days of our lives until you come in your glory to take us to be with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.