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(Part 12)


Today's psalm is interesting, as it summarizes our three restoration themes, and introduces us to our theme for next year 2010.

In 2007 our theme was hope in the Lord. In 2008 it was joy in Christ. In 2009 it is trust in Jesus. All three are crucial for restoration, and all three help prepare us in facing the challenges of the greater work that is to come, accompanied by the afflictions that purify us. "For in God our hearts rejoice; in your holy name we trust. May your kindness, Lord, be upon us; we have put our hope in you." (Ps 33:21-22). In the midst of lamentations, our hope is in the Lord. Because of our restoration and God's raising a holy remnant, we rejoice in Christ. And because Jesus is our savior, we are confident and not afraid, as we trust in him.

For 2010 our theme is "The Almighty! Just and righteous is he." Justice and righteousness are crucial attributes that we need to hold on to, as we face the challenges of the massive work ahead. Whatever happens, we trust in the God who is just and righteous. "The Lord loves justice and right and fills the earth with goodness." (Ps 33:5) . How does God fill the earth with goodness, when the earth is full of darkness and evil? God does this through His human instruments. God does this through us as we proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus. "Good news" results in "goodness" in the life of people and in the life of the world. This happens as we replace the "w" in good news to the "s" in goodness. The "w" is we, the "s" is the Son. We focus less and less on ourselves, and more and more on Jesus, who is the good news. We decrease, Christ increases. We humble ourselves, so that Christ may be exalted.

The reality is that we (all Christians) are crucial to the work of God in the world. We are His instruments. Thus we have to be formed in the mind and heart of God. We have to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and imitate him. As Jesus loves, we love. As the Father is merciful, so too should we be merciful. As God is holy, we strive to be holy. Now as the Almighty is just and righteous, then so too should we be. "Rejoice, you just, in the Lord; praise from the upright is fitting." (Ps 33:1).

Our formation begins with acknowledging God as the Almighty. "By the Lord's word the heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth all their host." (Ps 33:6). What God told Job awed him. "Where were you when I founded the earth?" (Job 38:4a). "And who shut within doors the sea" (Job 38:8a)? The psalmist acknowledges this. "The waters of the sea were gathered as in a bowl; in cellars the deep was confined." (Ps 33:7). Such acknowledgment, just as with Job, results in awe or reverential fear. "Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all who dwell in the world show reverence." (Ps 33:8).

As we are awed by God's majesty, acknowledging Him as the Creator who rules over the whole universe, then we acknowledge His power. "For he spoke, and it came to be, commanded, and it stood in place." (Ps 33:9). We rest assured that He has a great and wonderful plan for us, and He will carry it through. "But the plan of the Lord stands forever, wise designs through all generations." (Ps 33:11). God will accomplish His plan despite the opposition of the world and bad people under the power of the enemy. "The Lord foils the plan of nations, frustrates the designs of peoples." (Ps 33:10). As we grow to be His holy people, living in hope, trusting in His help especially in the most severe afflictions, then God delivers us--from sin, from afflictions, from bad people, from fear and anxiety, from hopelessness, from the darkness of the world. "But the Lord's eyes are upon the reverent, upon those who hope for his gracious help, delivering them from death, keeping them alive in times of famine." (Ps 33:18-19).

God has called us, chosen us, and entered into covenant with us. We are His people. We are His instruments. As we look to Him with reverence and awe, as we place ourselves totally in His care, as we carry out the mission He has given us, as we endure through trials and tribulations, then we will be fulfilled and happy. "Happy the nation whose God is the Lord, the people chosen as his very own." (Ps 33:12).

Because of who God is and because of what He has done for us and will continue to do for us, we rejoice and praise Him (Ps 33:1). We thank and praise Him (Ps 33:2). We worship with songs, instruments and joyful chants (Ps 33:3). We trust in His words and His works (Ps 33:4). We wait for Him, confident that He is our help and our shield (Ps 33:20).

God bless you.


(October 18, 2009)

"For to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)

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