BIBLE PASSAGE FOR DECEMBER 9
“Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal Son…” (Psalm 2:11-12a, NLT).
Lot of meat in this short passage. First, we see a command: “Serve the Lord.” Then we’re told how to serve Him: “with reverent fear.” We’re to have a respectful awe or fear of the Lord our God. Never refer to Him in a derogatory manner, as in the Man Upstairs, etc. And please, please, please don’t use His name as a byword. If you say, “Oh, my God!” you better be talking to Him. Otherwise, you’re using God’s name in vain. And that, my friends, is a sin.
So first, we’re to “Serve the Lord.” How? Through our daily lives. By using our words and abilities to bring comfort and joy to others. By being the hands and feet of Jesus to our family, friends, and even strangers. Through prayer, church attendance, and financial giving. You may not be able to go on that mission trip across town or across the ocean, but you can give so others can. You may not be called to serve in a specific position at your church, but if you listen to the Holy Spirit, He will continually point you to places and people where you’ll be able to meet a need and/or introduce someone to Jesus.
The next command – not suggestion – in today’s passage is to “rejoice with trembling.” How’s that? As a friend with a critically ill child once told me, “Any day that’s not a hospital day is a good day.” When things are going well, be thankful as well as mindful that your situation could change in a heartbeat. Don’t waste a healthy or trouble-free moment.
Finally, we’re told to “Submit to God’s royal Son.” In other words, do what the old hymn says. Tell the Lord, “Have Thine own way, Lord. Have Thine own way. Thou art the potter; I am the clay.” Instead of telling the Lord what you want to do and asking Him to bless it, ask Him to show you what He wants you to do. ‘Cause if you do that, I guarantee He’ll bless it.
And when the Lord blesses what He’s called you to do, two things happen: you yourself are blessed; and you become a blessing to others. It’s a win-win that’ll keep you pumped to do the work of the Kingdom.
Judy Woodward Bates
BIBLE PASSAGE FOR DECEMBER 8
“You thrill me, Lord, with all You have done for me! I sing for joy because of what You have done” (Psalm 92:3, NLT).
Back in the Stone Age when I was a kid, I looked so forward to the state fair with all the rides and games and candied apples and cotton candy. And the older I got, the braver I got. I took on the thrill rides like the double ferris wheel and the Mad Mouse that fairly flew along a twisting, turning wood and steel railway. By the time I stepped off one of those rides, my heart was pounding a thousand beats a minute. It was absolutely exhilarating.
But as big a thrill as those rides were to little kid me, I should be and am far more thrilled when I think of all the Lord has done for me. “You thrill me, Lord, with all You have done for me!” the psalmist writes. And I echo his sentiment.
How long has it been since you can truthfully say you’re thrilled with Jesus? When you think of all He’s done for you, you sure oughta be. Maybe you just need to take a moment and think about that. And then tell Him: Lord, “You thrill me.”
The psalmist goes on to say, “I sing for joy because of what You have done.” If the people of God need one thing on a daily basis, it’s joy. And it needs to show. On our faces. In our words. In our attitudes. In our actions. Make it your daily goal to spread joy wherever you go and whatever you say. The negative folks out there sure don’t need any help with their agenda.
The psalmist clearly spread joy, but he also did it through song. When’s the last time you sang to the Lord? You don’t have to have a trained voice to sing to the Lord. Any song that comes out of your mouth to glorify Him is beautiful music to the Lord’s ears. Sing in the shower. Sing around the house. Sing in the car. “Sing for joy” because of the goodness of your Savior.
And while you’re at it, sing in church. Men, please do your part to “Sing for joy.” I know we women don’t get it all right, either, but I see so many men who either stand silently staring at the screen with the words on it or holding one side of a songbook and acting like they’ve fulfilled their Christian duty by coming to church with their spouse. As Billy Sunday said, “Coming to church no more makes you a Christian than being in a garage makes you a car!” If Jesus has truly saved you, show it. “Sing for joy!”
And ladies, men aren’t the only ones who refuse to sing. I see women singing their hearts out on the old hymns and then clamming up completely when a praise chorus comes along. All of these songs honor the Lord. And so should your attitude. If you refuse to sing because you don’t like a song, you refuse to honor the Lord who, I believe, is a lot less picky about the style of music and a lot more concerned with the attitude of the worshipers.
“Sing for joy!” It’ll put a smile on your face and that just might be contagious.
Judy Woodward Bates