SHOFAR

DRAWING NEAR  

Begin your days with praise.  Accept the gift of dawn as a day of opportunity, and celebrate the end of the day as leading us to better days that will never end.  This life is a short day of trials and challenges. But the next life is endless joy.  The challengers who confront us are challenging God and they will be answered in his time.  The signs of the day of the Lord are here now.

Psalm 100  (A Psalm of praise.)

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.  Psalm 100:1-5

Can I begin my day better than a song to the Lord?  I thank God for a new day, and I ask forgiveness and guidance, but am I just mumbling?  We are his sheep, and have a new day to graze on the bread of life.  Even the sheep make a little noise as they move through their day.  So we should be in the spiritual temple even on days when life keeps us at work and home, always announcing his greatness to the world.

Psalm 101 (A Psalm of David.)

I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.  I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.  I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.   A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.  Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.  Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.  He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.  I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.  Psalm

David begins his day with praise, and with the purpose to be a living example of God’s goodness.  He expects God to answer, and he aims to keep his house and heart free of sin when he arrives.  I can ask God to forgive and to deliver me from temptation every morning.  But it is hard for me to feel spiritually lifted if I carry the weight of my own mischief.  David has also decided to be separated from evil people.

Now even in the church we may encounter an infiltrator, one who serves the enemy more than the Lord.  We need to turn away from these without trying to impose our laws on them.  Church leadership should know how to deal with problems.  But we may have to warn a friend away from error if we truly love them.  That means we ask if they understand without intending to hurt or belittle them.  Similarly our feed on Facebook may need to un-follow or un-friend those who feed us too much gossip or whining.  I can speak up when people are being bullies or when they belittle the gospel too.  The world is attempting to burn down the house of God.

Psalm 102   (A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.)

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.  Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.  For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.  My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.  By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. Psalm 102:1-5

Lord hear my prayer and come quickly to help me.  Medication does not cure depression.  Prosperity does not lift your spirits unless you are imbibing spirits.  Those spirits and drugs only drag you deeper into despair.  Humor will not make the nightmares go away.  But some troubles are connected to real enemies and violent threats.  Poverty, sickness, and death follow us along the road of life.

I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.  I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.  Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.  For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping,  Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. Psalm 102:6-10

I wish I could fly above these threats like a bird.  How many Christians are being attacked and driven out by every manner of false cults?  In some cases our own sins have invited God to add to our suffering.  But we don’t have to take guilt from everyone because repentance and faith can lift us out of our despair.

My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.  But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.  Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.  For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.  So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. Psalm 102:11-15

Don’t these days disappear like smoke in the wind, or like the grass without water?  But God does not fade, and he remains on the throne of mercy.   Zion is to be favored again, and the land of Israel is still holy.  Rebellious men and their kings will know the power of God in his season.

When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.  He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.  This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.  For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;  To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;  When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.  Psalm 102:16-21

How do the Christians retain hope and joy in the face of persecution?  This is possible because this verse is a solid promise to them from God.  He will hear their prayers, see the evil earth, and deliver the oppressed.  The world today is marked by persecution in many nations.  They will see their hope in God.  HE will release them to peace in his service.  http://www.persecution.com/public/newsroom.aspx

He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.  I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.  Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. Psalm 102:21-25

We may often feel like God has left us suffering and fear an early demise.  But the psalmist asks God for relief knowing that he will be heard.  God forms heaven and earth and the days of every soul.

They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:  But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.  The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee. Psalm 102:26-28

The creation itself will fade while God is eternal.  There will be a new heaven and a new earth, but God and his people will endure eternally.  We can see the world around us a mankind circling the drain.  I watch old television shows on the internet and notice the gradual slide towards immorality.  We see the news and the anarchy that seems to reign as Christians and Jews are persecuted.  As Joseph and Daniel prospered in captivity so we will continue in the days ahead.  How the son of God will shine on the dark day of his return.  Are we living in the generation to witness that event?  Perhaps the trumpet is being blown in Zion this very day.

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