...I live in disgrace all day long,and my face is covered with shameat the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.All this came upon us,though we had not forgotten you;we had not been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back;our feet had not strayed from your path...
In this passage, the Psalmist described how the Israelites were scattered all over. From human perspective, they were deeply humiliated, but in verse 17 the psalmist said something precious. He said that these things happen to them, but they didn't forget God and they've not been false to His covenant. The covenant here is the covenant between God and the Israelites. God told them that He will be there God and they are His people. Even though at the time God allowed the enemy to humiliate them and to have them fallen into enemy's hand, this covenant has never changed and God will keep the covenant and protect the people of Israel.
When you are encountering hardship, how do you face God? When we are in time of difficulty, sometimes nothing is going well, we could complain to God and people: "Why don't you answer our prayer, God?" "God, how can you allow these things to happen to us?" We complain because we don't want to acknowledge that God has authority over all things. The psalmist had a tremendously firm faith, so he said "Our hearts had not turned back;our feet had not strayed from your path." This reminds us of the three friends of Daniel, who refused to bow before the idol set up by King Nebuchadnezzar and were sentenced to be thrown into fire. Right before they were thrown into fire, they told the king that even if their God didn't save them, they would not bow before the golden idol, and that is strong faith!
Brothers and sisters, God never promised us that the sky will always be blue and flowers will always bloom, but God has promised that He will give us sufficient strength. Perhaps you are in a hardship that God has allowed to happen, so you must ask God to uphold your faith no matter what the circumstance is. We must firmly believe in God and persevere through the difficult circumstance by faith. The Bible tells us that those who stand firm to the end will be saved!
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, we thank you because you've put such wonderful example before us. We especially pray for the brothers and sisters who are experiencing hardship and might be having doubt. May you uphold their faith so that they will continue to follow you. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!
O God, we have heard it with our own ears - our ancestors have told usof all you did in their day,in days long ago:You drove out the pagan nations by your powerand gave all the land to our ancestors.You crushed their enemiesand set our ancestors free....You are my King and my God.You command victories for Israel. Only by your power can we push back our enemies;only in your name can we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow;I do not count on my sword to save me.You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies;you disgrace those who hate us.O God, we give glory to you all day longand constantly praise your name.
In this passage, the psalmist recalled how God led his ancestors to victory and drove out the pagan nations. He gave all the land to his ancestors, crushed their enemiesand set his ancestors free. In the Old Testament time, God led the Israelites to exit from Egypt and entered into Canaan. Every battle they fought was won by God's spirit, not by their own power or might. Hallelujah! When we read about these deeds by God, these great things that God did throughout the history of Israel, or even the deeds of God during the New Testament time such as establishment of the early church and how Peter was rescued from the prison, all these are examples before us that encourage us tremendously.
Not only that, the psalmist also talked about God's faithfulness, almightiness and righteousness. It is, however, not enough to just talk about God's righteousness and deeds. We also need to welcome God to work in our lives so that we can also experience God's victory! In verse 4, the psalmist says that "You are my King and my God." In other word, not only is God the king of the Israelites, and the king of our ancestors and spiritual giants, but God is also our king and our God. You need personal victory today, and you also need to experience God's victory and abundance. As soon as you welcome God to move and work in your life, and once again believe that God has a plan for your life, He will bring you into more abundance!
May the Spirit of the Lord help us, and let us not depend on our own power and might in our daily life, not to depend on our own bow and sword, but to depend on God, for our almighty God who is the victorious king, and He will lead us to proclaim victory against the enemy each and every day in our life!
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, we thank you because in Jesus Christ we have the authority to overcome our enemy, and we can proclaim victory every day. Holy Spirit, we welcome you to affirm our faith, so let us follow you daily and let the heart of the Lord be satisfied. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!
There I will go to the altar of God,to God - the source of all my joy.I will praise you with my harp,O God, my God!Why am I discouraged?Why is my heart so sad?I will put my hope in God!I will praise him again - my Savior and my God!
Have you ever considered why the psalmist thought that going before God was a joyful thing? We are often joyful when we do other things, like getting together with a few friends, pigging out at a new restaurant, playing sports, climbing a mountain or skiing with friends are joyful things. There are many things that make us happy, but we often don't feel that happy when we come before God, especially when we go to the altar of God. When we think about an altar, we associate it with paying a price, because altar is where we need to be obedient.
The psalmist actually said here that going to the altar was all of his joy. When we surrender ourselves before God, we can really experience God's joy, peace and satisfaction. The altar is where we are change by God; the reason why we are not joyful is because we have struggles inside, struggles between God's will and our own mind. As soon as we surrender ourselves, we will see that God's way is higher than our way and His mind is higher than our mind, and our hearts will be filled with joy! Brothers and sisters, we need to come before God and proclaim that our God is the God that gives us joy. He is the one who helps us and He is the glory on our face. So, let us serve Him, love Him and worship Him more!
Reverend Edward Miller was used mightily by God. Once I consulted him about how to prepare a sermon. He answered: "I never prepare a sermon, I just prepare myself." His word made me ponder about this. Preachers are good at preparing a sermon, but we seldom prepare ourselves. We must come before God and ask God to draw us near. Let us be eager to come before Him, not to depend on our own talents and wisdom, but to come before the Lord to watch Him closely, be near Him and be thirsty for Him. When we are that close to Him and thirst for Him, we will realize that our life is ever more abundant. May the Lord come and draw us near, so that we will run with God!
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, may you take me away with you, so that we will no longer be stuck in hardships in our life and the spiritual condition of our past. Give me an eager heart so that we will run with you, so that your joy will greatly fill us. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!
Send out your light and your truth;let them guide me.Let them lead me to your holy mountain,to the place where you live.
This passage says that God will lead the people of Israel to His holy mountain, but where is His holy mountain? Ezekiel 20:40 clearly says that God's holy mountain is where the house of Israel will serve Him and where the Israelites will bring their offerings and sacrifices. Back in the time of Book of Exodus, when God sent Moses to talk to the Israelites and said: "Let my people go so that they may serve me." Then Pharaoh asked him, "who will join you?" Pharaoh might be thinking that only young and able men are going, the old, weak and women were probably going to stay behind. Moses, however, told Pharaoh: "Everyone in the clan, even the livestock, will go together to the desert to serve God." The most important purpose of God's salvation is for us to serve Him. It's not to just have a few people serve Him, but everyone in the house of Israel ought to serve God.
Serving God is not necessarily a tangible act; serving is actually how we live. Saint Francis was a saint in the medieval time who was really good at preaching. According of the legend of the church, even cats and dogs would stop to listen to him preach. One time he was going out to preach, and lots of disciples followed him and wanted to listen to him and to learn from him. Saint Francis led the disciples for a walk and then went home. The disciples were puzzled, and they asked: "Teacher, weren't you going to preach somewhere?" He said: "I am done." "You are done? We didn't hear you say anything!" Saint Francis replied: "Actually, walking around town was same as preaching." Saint Francis had the life of God inside, so when he walked around, God's glory radiated from him, so others could see God's glorious beauty on him. The hearts of people were drawn to God, so his life was the best sermon.
Brothers and sisters, serving is supposed to be living, and we can proclaim name of the Lord through our daily life, and we can draw a lot of people to turn back to the true God through how we live. Serving can certainly also be tangible tasks, so we encourage brothers and sisters to participate in all kinds of ministry in the church according to their God-given gifts, so that the body of Christ may be built up. Church is incomplete because we have not dedicated ourselves to be used by the Lord. The Bible says that we are all parts of the body of Christ. When parts of a body work together, the body will function normally. Therefore, we ask that God help us and give us the spirit of serving among us
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, you've chosen us to serve you, so may the Holy Spirit of the Lord teach us to live out the form of Christ in our daily life, and help us to glorify your name through serving. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!
Vindicate me, my God,and plead my causeagainst an unfaithful nation.Rescue me from those who aredeceitful and wicked.You are God my stronghold.Why have you rejected me?Why must I go about mourning,oppressed by the enemy?
When you are encountering attacks in your life, you need to ask God for a spirit of prayer. Devil Satan always tries every possible way to attack us, make us depart from God and not follow Him. Whether we stay near God or far from God, the devil actually attacks us the same way, through accusations and challenges. When we are under attack, we must more firmly trust in God in order to bind all the work of devil Satan in the name of Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer is to bind the devil in the name of the Lord. It's like the parable that Jesus preached, if you want to rob a strong man, you must first bind the strong man. Otherwise if you are able to rob ten things from him, he will take back nine of them, just like in a tug of war. Prayer is the bind the enemy devil Satan in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; it will release our soul and let God's work to move freely.
May the Lord help us to see what devil Satan is doing in our lives and in our community. As soon as we understand what devil Satan does, we will be able to tear down all the strongholds in the name of Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, we often have some strongholds and camps of the enemy in our lives. They often came from habits or wounds from the past, or our own disobedience and rebelliousness that gave the enemy space to occupy. Unless we rebuke all these in the name of victorious name of Jesus Christ, or break away from everything related to our life in the past, it would be difficult for devil Satan to be cast out from our lives. May God once again shine upon us, let us see the condition inside ourselves, and help us to cleanse us with the Lord's precious blood. That way we may be reunited with God and there'd be no room for the enemy to attack us in our lives.
Not only should we pray for ourselves, but we should also pray for our families. Is there any stronghold in your family? You need to ask the Lord's Spirit to shine upon you, and ask the Lord's Spirit to remove all strongholds and cover our family with the Lord's precious blood. I often encourage brothers to pray for their families in the name of the Lord, to proclaim that the family belongs to God and devil Satan has no place in their familiars and to rebuke any deed by devil Satan in the name of the Lord. Not only should we pray for family, we also need to pray for church. We often only know how to complain about church, but we neglect the need to pray for church and for the ministers. Let us together rebuke all the deeds and disturbances caused by devil Satan, so that the church can be united and let the gospel flourish in one accord!
Pray with Pastor Tong
Dear Lord, may you give us the spirit of prayer. Let us know how to bind all the deeds of devil Satan in the victorious name of the Lord, so that your deeds may freely move among us. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!
My soul is downcast within me;therefore I will remember youfrom the land of the Jordan,the heights of Hermon - from Mount Mizar.Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls;all your waves and breakershave swept over me.By day the Lord directs his love,at night his song is with me -a prayer to the God of my life.
The psalmist taught us here that no matter what the circumstance is, we must look upon God, because He is our help and He's the light on our face and our glory. Verse 7 says that "Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls;all your waves and breakershave swept over me." This contrasts sharply with the deer that longs for water back in verse 1, which describes someone who's thirsty and eager for God. Verse 7 starts by saying that God is an abundant God, because in God there are waterfalls and waves. God is willing to provide us with all that we need, and even more precious is that He's willing to help us with a smile on His face. In other word, God is not helping us reluctantly, but He's more than happy to do so.
It's hard for Christians to believe two things. First, apart from God we can do nothing. We think that there are plenty we can do apart from God, so why does the scripture say that we can nothing without God? Perhaps we could do many things, but we can't accomplish what God wants us to do, please we'd be doing things for ourselves according to our own will. We won't be able to accomplish God's work because we don't know what's on God's mind. Also, it's hard for us to believe that we can do all things with God. Not only that it's puzzling to us, our rational mind also tells us: "How's that possible, it's impossible!" In God, however, nothing is impossible! May the Lord help us to truly believe in Him!
Today, Christians are often hanging up in the air. We don't feel worthy of the heaven, but we are not willing to go down the hell, so we are in middle of nowhere. May the Lord help us to continue to follow Him and trust Him, for He is still the most faithful and trustworthy God! Let us look upon Him in our daily life, asking the Lord to give us our daily bread, and entrust all the difficult things in life to Him. We know that God can guide us through His skillful hands, even to surpass all that we desire and please for, hallelujah! He always has answer to our life, answer to our church and the only answer for the whole wide world!
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, we thank you because you are happy to provide for us abundantly. May your give us a spirit that thirsts for you amongst us. Let us continue to look upon you and depend on you, and trust that you are the only answer in our life. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!
Why, my soul, are you downcast?Why so disturbed within me?Put your hope in God,for I will yet praise him,my Savior and my God.
Not only does God help us, he actually helps us with smile on his face, because he is more than happy to bring joy back to our life again! When Abraham grew old but did not have his own son, it was a shameful thing in the society of his time. God, however, told him that He will give Abraham a son through Sarah. Abraham bowed on the ground, but didn't really believe what God said, so he told God: "May Ishmael stand before you." God said it's not Ishmael, but a son through Sarah, and his name will be Isaac, which means laughter. In other word, God was telling Abraham: "I will affirm the covenant I made with you. I will affirm the covenant with laughter!" Later on, God actually gave Abraham a son, and he was named Isaac. The name given by God was so precious - God made him laugh, and people who heard also laughed with him. Try to imagine that whenever Sarah calls the name of Isaac, she was actually saying "my laugher, my laughter!"
Psalm 126 talks about the outcry of the Israelites when they were in captive at Babylon, and Psalm 137 says that whenever they thought about the time in Zion they would sweep, all because they could only sing the song of Jehovah in gentile land. In our life, we also often fall into the state of captivity. Sometime we feel like we are captured by disease, circumstance in life, or the wound and curse we suffered from the past. Sometime we have dream and wish deep down inside: "Lord, please bring down revival! Please manifest your presence!" It's like how the Israelites cried out to God when they were in captivity in Babylon. Imagine if you were awaken from your dream and discover that your dream was true. Wouldn't that be wonderful! Psalm 126 says that when those in captivity were returned, we become like dreamers. Actually, we weren't dreaming, for God actually did great things for us! Those who sow in rears will reap in joy, hallelujah! Brothers and sisters, our God really did great things for us, so we must rejoice, because our God will help us with smile on His face! Let us continue to thirst for Him, wait upon Him and follow Him!
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, I thank you because not only did you help us, but you always helped with smile on your face! Let us look upon Him daily, be our strength and help, and let us keep on being thirsty for you. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!