Some times we can get easily distracted and miss our focus and the direction we need to follow.
On Wednesday (Nov 20 2013), a massive cargo plane bound for McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas from JFKAirport in NY City landed at the wrong airport and is temporarily stuck. Upon the plane touching down the pilot says, “Ahh – yes sir, we just landed at the other airport!” The Boeing 747 was set to land at McConnel but instead landed at the much smaller airport about 10 miles north, Jabara Airport. Jabara is so small an airport that it does not have a control tower and doesn’t even handle jumbo jets. Officials hope to have the plane take off from Jabara to McConnell, but according to CNN the airport’s runway may be too short – the Boeing 747 needs a runway 9,199 feet long to take off and the Jabara runway is 6101 feet; about three thousand feet too short!  After ten hours of re-organization the plane was able to take off and land at its intended destination.
Turn to Psalm 103 and we’ll see how this distracted & detoured landing relates to us today.
Psalm 103 is a psalm of David. The word Psalm in Hebrew is tehilla, which means “to praise or to glory; to make music”. When the Psalms were translated into Greek, the title Psalmos was given, which means “songs; or ψάλλω: means twanging or striking with the fingers on musical strings, making melody”.
So, the Psalms are a book meant to be prayed & praised to the glory of God. Prayer should lead to praise and praise back to prayer. In this psalm we can see 3 beautiful truths.
There is a LORD to bless (103:1-2) SPBC LOVE GOD
The psalmist David commands himself twice to bless the LORD; in the entire psalm he gives the command 6x. The name of God [LORD – YHWH] is used 11x in this psalm. David uses this name of God to show his personal relationship with God. His point is that God is worthy to be worshiped because he is a God who blesses with His presence and personal benefits.
To bless something means to speak well and say good things. So, David enters this psalm with the hope of expressing praise and adoration of God – the LORD who is personal and relational towards him.
David also says, “forget not all his benefits”. There was something inside David’s soul, and in ours today, that is prone to distracted and detoured landings away from God.
The glory of God’s person and presence deserves all our souls praise and blessing. And yet, even that is not enough. There will always be a shortfall between the magnitude of God’s worth and the reality of our worship. We fail to worship God appropriately both in our substance and in our strength. If we truly could see the Lord God for all He was and is then the praise and passion of our hearts would explode in worship. “My soul and all that is within me would bless His holy name!”
ð There are places in front of the WashingtonMonument, Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls and many other massive figures that you can stand and completely miss seeing them. The place is with your back turned towards them. The same is true of God. Though you may not see or bless Him, it does not mean He is not there. Turn around (repent) and see His blessings.
ð Consider that all of creation, from the highest Heaven to every lowly land, brings praise to the Lord (Psalms 8, 19). As these bring glory to God so shall His people speak gratitude and good of God.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Psalm 107:2).
There is a LORD who blesses (103:2-5)
As the psalmist rouses from spiritual sleep to see the Lord’s benefits, he recalls to mind and memory at least 5-fold of the blessings of God:
1) “forgives all your iniquity”
David knows this above all people (cf. Psalm 32, 51). God’s forgiveness is central to our ability to relate to Him. His forgiveness is extended through mercy (not getting what we deserve) and grace (getting what we don’t deserve).
Forgiveness acknowledges the hurt, the wound and the scar but then brings healing by mending together what was torn. Restoration and reconciliation occurs because the painful consequences have been dealt with.
- Testimony of person who has deeply experienced God’s forgiveness and able to communicate the power of the gospel to cleanse a heart from depravity (2Corinthians 5:17-21).
2) “heals all your diseases”
David relates sin as to a disease that dries our strength and deadens our soul (Psalm 32:3-4). And yet David knows that God heals not just the spiritual but also the emotional and physical pains caused by sin.
- Testimony of person who has experienced healing physically, emotionally or spiritually. This may or may not be full healing on this side of eternity but is learning how God is in the process of restoring all things in His new creation and kingdom (2Corinthians 12:9; Revelation 21:3-4).
3) “redeems your life from the pit”
Redemption is a picture of rescue and deliverance. God intervenes into hopeless situations with His strength and salvation.
- Testimony of person who has experienced God’s intervening grace and deliverance from undesirable circumstances; seeing how God works all things together for good; giving thanks (1Thess 5:17) and finding joy (James 1:4) in all circumstances.
4) “crowns you with steadfast love and mercy”
David notes that God crowns [encircles] His children with steadfast love [hesed] and mercy. In other words, David is saying that the believer cannot get away from the love of God – it follows you all the days of your life (cf. Psalm 23, 139).
- Testimony of person who experiences the faithfulness of God in the midst of an unfaithful world and unfaithful relationships. You are finding God more satisfying than anything or anyone else in life (Psalm 73:25).
5) “satisfies you with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle”
Even the crumbs from God’s table are better than the banquet of the world (cf. Matthew 15:27). God’s goodness and grace renews and revives a person like nothing else in the world – even more so than entertainment, technology, medicine or whatever the world has to offer.
PS: Some of you senior saints need to share your testimony with younger believers.
à Pray: Consider connection and mentoring moving into 2014.
- Testimony of person who is experiencing personal renewal and spiritual revival. You are growing in humility, brokenness and greater devotion to the Lord (Luke 16:9-14).
There is a LORD who is overwhelmingly benevolent (103:6-14)
God’s benevolent care and compassion is seen with great involvement in the lives of people. Do not be mistaken to think that God is withdrawn.
– He works righteousness and justice for oppressed SPBC LOVE OTHERS
- outsiders, outcasts, untouchables, undesirables, disenfranchised, disabled, orphans, widows, sick and sickly and all sinners – GOD is working for these and more!
– He reveals His ways and his acts
– He made Himself known as seen in Scripture [Moses, people of Israel]
– He will not always chide nor keep his anger forever
– He does not deal with us according to our sins
– so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him
– He shows compassion to his children
– He knows our frame
– Those who have been blessed by God are to be a blessing to others.
- Invest & Invite… especially as we move toward Christmas season
- Give generously of self through time, talents and treasures
- International Missions Offering in Dec ($2250 + SENT 2014)
- Multiplying Groups
- Multiply worship experiences
- Multiply ministry opportunities
- Church Plants & Planting in 2014-15
There is a LORD to bless with abundant expansion (103:15-22)
The flow of Psalm 103 shows David expanding the edges of worship. It starts with the glory of the LORD and enters into our souls to reflect that glory and praise to our Creator. And when we grow to understand the glory of God then our hearts, our minds, our dreams and desires and actions will be stretched into ever-widening enlargened expansions of abundant blessing to God and others.
“The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children” (103:17)
“His kingdom rules over all… in all places of his dominion” (103:19, 22)
The way we say this at SPBC is that our vision is to “Grow Godly Generations”. In other words, there is influence and impact to be had for the glory of God in thousands of ways.
à We must not stop thinking with courage and creativity for the glory of God.
In gratefulness and blessing to God:
– Have those stand who have attended SPBC for 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 years
- Pray these continue to unite and strengthen our body
– Have those stand who have attended SPBC for < 5 years
- Pray for these to renew our urgency around gospel and outreach
God is The LORD who is merciful and gracious… have you trusted Him?