Last night I went out to say hello to Neil when he got home…it was well after sunset, so I stopped for a second and looked up at the sky. The stars were so bright that they captured our attention…Neil and I both stood out in the driveway just staring at the sparkling sky for a few minutes. And then we started talking about how crazy it was that what we were looking at was the light of an explosion that took place forever ago…so it’s kind of like we were looking at the past. Which led to a discussion of time travel and Quantum Leap and other mind-blowing science-fictiony sort of subjects. By the time we went in, I was just overwhelmed with the feeling that the world…the galaxy…is so big. There’s so much that’s beyond our physical and mental grasp…even considering how large our universe is can make my head feel like it’s going to explode. And I felt glad that a trustworthy, all-powerful, loving God is in charge of it all…
…and, as always, I felt amazed that the King who has all of the galaxy in the palm of His hand knows me by name. And cares about every single day of my life. I’ll say it again — we are beloved by an amazing God. And, being His beloved children, we are called to His service. We’re called to be obedient to His Word and to go out into the world in His name, helping those who are heart-broken and in need. We’re called to tell everyone about His love. The last words of Jesus that Matthew recorded in Matt. 28: 19-20 command us to do just that….”Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”
But we don’t go out on this mission unprotected. In Ephesians, Paul teaches us about the armor that our King issues to each of His subjects…and over this next week, I want to discuss that armor and how we use it. If you want to get a head-start on the topic, check out chapter six of Ephesians.
As for tonight, I’d like to share a few Psalms of praise. I know that tomorrow is our Independence Day and so there might be celebratory fireworks in your near future…but, tonight, take a moment to go out and check out the glorious stars lighting up the heavens. Celebrate the freedom that Jesus paid for with His life…He has freed you from the power of death and sin…and he who the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36)
Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars ;
he puts the deep into storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the people of the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.
The LORD foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth- he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.
No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name!
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you!
Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.
He set them in place for ever and ever;
he gave a decree that will never pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens,
old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
He has raised up for his people a horn,
the praise of all his saints,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the LORD!